Kefka Palazzo: I will destroy everything... I will create a monument to non-existence!
Party Member: Life will go on! There will always be people, and dreams!
Kefka: No! I will hunt them down. I will destroy it all! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!!
Party Member: We won't let you harm another living being!
Kefka: Hee-hee-hee! But what's the fun in destruction if there are no "precious" lives lost?Here are the most head-explodingly evil characters in the Final Fantasy franchise.
Main Series and Associated Games
- Final Fantasy II: Emperor Mateus, the primary villain, is the ruler of Palamecia. A tyrant defined by his arrogance and greed, Mateus unleashes the Legions of Hell to attack the innocent peoples of the world and aid him in his quest of total global domination, seeking to destroy all those who won't submit themselves to his iron-fisted rule. In order to remove the threat of the island of Deist and their Wyvern-riding warriors, the Dragoons, Mateus poisoned the Wyverns' water supply, wiped out the creatures, then exterminated the weakened Dragoons. He also enslaved the peoples of Salamand and Bafsk, the latter of which he forced to construct the Dreadnought, an air warship which he uses to rain death upon cities that oppose him. Following the Dreadnought's destruction, Mateus instead uses a massive Cyclone to completely obliterate the towns of Paloom, Altair, Gatrea and Poft, killing all within. Dying in the attempt to wipe out Fynn as well, Mateus's soul was split into a dark half and a light half. The dark half conquered hell, returned to the world of the living, murdered the last Dragoon, Ricard, and revealed his new intention to destroy the world with his newfound power. Meanwhile, Mateus's light half seized the throne of heaven, and, after briefly pretending to be a pure being to tempt the souls of four heroes who had died in the war against him, vows to grant them eternal suffering once they realize the light half of Mateus's soul is just as evil as his dark half.
- Final Fantasy IV: Zemus, the true Big Bad, was The Corrupter of, and the man behind, Golbez. Zemus was was the only Lunarian (of which Cecil and Golbez are each half-Lunarian) pushing to conquer earth, resulting in him being forced by his own people to fall into a millennium-long coma to allow humanity to evolve until the two could coexist peacefully together. Even in this state, he is still capable of manipulating Golbez to carry out his unsettlingly extreme dreams of an all-Lunarian utopia, which involves not only committing the atrocities throughout the entire game, but also using the artificial abomination Giant of Babil capable of dealing massive amounts of racially-based genocide on a global scale. Besides Golbez, Zemus also manipulates Kain during his fight with Cecil, who has turned into a paladin. It is also strongly implied that Zemus was responsible for the brainwashing of the four essences' incarnations, thus being responsible for the atrocities committed by the Elemental Archfiends. It is revealed that Zemus's hatred is so strong, that after his defeat, he turns into Zeromus, a being "fed by Zemus's unbridled hate…who knows naught but hate!"
- Final Fantasy VI: Kefka Palazzo's backstory establishes that he was the first Magitek knight created, but the imperfections of the process drove him insane. It shows through the various acts he performs throughout the game including arson; poisoning Doma (made more impactful by showing how it affects the character of Cyan, whose wife and son die in the process); stabbing General Leo to death after the latter tries to stop him; killing the Espers at Thamasa (not caring about the deaths of the Magitek-armored minions accompanying him); and destroying the world halfway through the game. He seeks joy in destruction and is prone to laughing like mad amidst the chaos. He has also stated that he enjoys hearing people scream. Kefka absorbs the magic from the Warring Triad, so when he is finally defeated all of the magic disappears from the world and all the espers go extinct. While he may look silly, some of his dialogue is darkly comical, and some translations give him a feigned charm and affability, his actions are portrayed in a horrific and often tragic light. He embodies despair, hatred and death and believes that life is meaningless, finding destruction fun because "precious lives" are lost.
- Final Fantasy VII and associated games:
- Professor Hojo may not be the primary antagonist, but this Evilutionary Biologist is responsible for nearly everything bad happening in the game. Prior to the game proper, he injects Jenova cells into the womb of his wife, Lucrecia, in order to turn their son Sephiroth into a Super Soldier. He later murders Aerith's father and experiments on both her and her mother, his research leading to the latter's death. Throughout the game he is implied to manipulate most, if not all, of Sephiroth's actions, because he thinks of Sephiroth as research he wants to see blossom. He tries to mate Aerith and Red XIII, experiments on the survivors of the Nibelheim massacre, murders Vincent, experiments on him and attempts to help his son destroy the world at the end of the game. It was also implied that Hojo was the one who wrecked one of the Mako generators at the Nibelheim Reactor to lure Sephiroth to the reactor and receive his first clue about his possible origins before Crisis Core placed the implications of Genesis doing this act. Dirge of Cerberus reveals Hojo to have copied his mind into the body of an experimental Super Soldier and used him to order other experimental supersoldiers to commit mass kidnappings and murders, with the ultimate goal of awakening Omega and fusing with it.
- Before Crisis: In this prequel, Fuhito is a scientist for the original AVALANCHE. Fuhito, who idolized the aforementioned Hojo, found a way to copy part of Shinra's SOLDIER program, which he uses to create his own variants; this degrades the mind of the victim, and turns said victim into a monster. He takes two of the SOLDIERs Zack later remembers and turns them into abominations on par with Hojo's aberrations. He later finds an ancient Ultimate Summon that has been broken long, long ago. He builds on Hojo's having implanted a piece in an innocent girl, transforming her into a weapon to be AVALANCHE's spearhead against Shinra, while the piece starts sucking out her life to rebuild itself. He establishes a firm powerbase to release the Summon, which would burn the entirety of the world. In the end, he winds up taking it all and merging with it.
- Final Fantasy Tactics:
- Hashmal(um) is second only to Ultima/Altima in the Lucavi and is the demon possessing Folmarv Tengille. The mastermind of nearly every misfortune in the game, Hashmal manipulates the massive war that claims countless lives so he can manipulate the resurrection of Altima. Upon confronting Ramza, who had learned that the Ultimate Church was corrupt, Hashmal massacred all present, including his host's own son. Tricking others into being possessed by the Lucavi and broadening the monstrous conflict, Hashmal kidnaps Ramza's sister Alma to use her as the host of Altima, only caring about creating more death and destruction to revive Altima and unleash her upon the unsuspecting world.
- Dycedarg Beoulve is a ruthless schemer obsessed with achieving more power for himself. The elder brother of the hero Ramza, Dycedarg slowly poisons their own father over the course of years to kill him and take control of the noble family. To gather even more power, Dycedarg helps plunge Ivalice into a brutal civil war against Duke Goltanna. Dycedarg proceeds to backstab and murder his partner before allying with the demonic Lucavi, even murdering his brother Zalbaag. Unlike most of the Lucavi, Dycedarg seems to be a willing host to his demon, and while he may claim to have good intentions, he is merely a hypocrite willing to resort to any means to obtain the power he craves.
- Final Fantasy XII: Judge Bergan is a ruthless Judge Magister of the Archadian Empire. He supports Vayne Solidor's rise to Emperor because he admires his desire for power and the ruthless means he uses to achieve his ends. When his ally Judge Drace accuses Vayne of murdering his father to take the throne, Bergan gleefully strikes her down and is the only Judge who is unmoved by her execution. Later he and his fellow Judges travel to Mt. Bur-Omisace, a major religious site and home to many refugees, to retrieve Vayne's brother Larsa. While there, Bergan leads a slaughter of the innocents who live there and murders the religious leader known as the Gran Kiltias. Even though the men he served had good intentions, Bergan was simply interested in power.
- Vagrant Story: Romeo Guildenstern is a power-hungry man cloaking his ambitions under false piety. Abusing the woman in love with him, Guildenstern slaps her hard enough to draw blood. Hiding his devotion to the forces of darkness by attacking one of their temples with his forces, Guildenstern, in his lust for power, throws aside his religious facade and sacrifices his abused lover in return for immense power. With his newfound strength, Guildenstern intends to take his rule worldwide and enact a cruel dictatorship in which his is worshipped above all else.
- Final Fantasy XV note : Ardyn Izunia, real name Ardyn Lucis Caelum, poses as a "man of no consequence", but is far older and far crueler than he initially seems. As the Grand Chancellor of the Nifleheim Empire, Ardyn arranges for the invasion and destruction of Lucis's capital city Insomnia, and later reveals his true colors by gutting the game's heroine Lunafreya when she has summoned the Astral Leviathan, resulting in greater damage and the deaths of nearly everyone in the nearby city. With this death, an affliction known as the Starscourge is allowed to run rampant, turning many into monstrous daemons as the nights grow longer. Fixated on his chosen nemesis, Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum (known as Noct), Ardyn tricks him into almost murdering his best friend Prompto by making Noct see Prompto as Ardyn. Turning on Nifleheim, Ardyn lets daemons run rampant throughout the city, annihilating it and turning many of the people into Daemons themselves, leaving them in hideous pain. In addition, Ardyn reveals he is the one who taught Nifleheim how to convert people to living weapons to begin with, and tricks Noct into being absorbed by the Crystal that is the source of power for the line of Lucis. Awakening ten years later, Noct sees that Ardyn has made the world a twisted land where humanity faces annihilation, all for Noct's benefit so Ardyn can destroy him as the Chosen King at last. Despite his past of being rejected by the people he once saved, Ardyn's sadism, megalomania and utter acceptance of the monster he has become solidify him as a self-described true monster, and even after his defeat, he lurks in the afterlife for one last chance to destroy Noct and prevent him from saving the world, wishing nothing more than to damn the world out of spite.
- Dissidia: Final Fantasy: The villainous entity Shinryu turned Chaos into a force of destruction despite knowing this could destroy the very world he was entrusted to watch over, purely out of spite. Taking advantage of Cid's grief over his wife's death, Shinryu tricks him into giving him his soul in return for promising to make Chaos strong enough to destroy the nation responsible for the death of his beloved. Lying, Shinryu strips Cid of his physical body, turning him into an immortal spirit cursed to forever witness the great War, which Shinryu manipulates to go on for untold centuries while draining the constantly resurrected warriors of their memories to increase his own power. When the soldiers lose all strength for Shinryu to steal, he stops bringing them back to life, instead leaving their spirits to rot in the Void for eternity. When Cid breaks the eternal war and allows the heroes victory, Shinryu spitefully traps him in a world of nightmares. In the sequel, Shinryu returns to summon manifestations of himself in the hopes of destroying all of World B. A monstrous excuse for a deity, Shinryu is a spiteful sociopath who torments the very world he was meant to oversee.
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time: Larkeicus is an immortal Clavat and a nasty piece of work. Originally, his goals were for the good of humanity, as he invented special crystal powered inventions to give the people of the world untold riches. Once the crystals began vanishing, though, the citizens blamed the collapse of the world on Larkeicus. They found a crystal in the forest and at first, Larkeicus wanted to investigate it, hoping to find more crystals. He instead had a change of heart and killed the villagers (including the children) in the village near the forest, which disgusted his apprentice Veriaulde the Yuke. Veriaulde tried to stop his master, but was knocked out. Sherlotta, the only survivor of the massacre, was a prime target of Larkeicus as she was given the ability to spawn crystals. Larkeicus decided to capture her and experiment on her and his apprentice so he could obtain immortality and be treated like a god again. Because of his master's experiments, Veriaulde transformed into a monster on contact with any crystals, which was a boon for Larkeicus, who wasn't concerned with the Yuke's well-being. Throughout the game, Larkeicus is shown to have free agency and is perfectly able to stop what he's doing, but is too engrossed in the scientific experiments he is conducting to really care about his apprentice or anyone else.
- Bravely Default series: Many of Luxendarc's villains, including those from the Duchy of Eternia, are rounded and have sympathetic traits. Alas, this is not the case for the following:
- Dr. Qada, the Salve-Maker of Eternia's Black Blades in the first game, is the Duchy's resident Mad Scientist and an obese psychopath who stands leagues over his more sympathetic compatriots. An utter sociopath willing to sacrifice leagues of Eternia's own men against the order of his superior Kamiizumi in the name of research, Qada's experiments with the horrific Toxic Mist—tales of which are relayed through the ghosts of his victims—killed thousands of men—including some of Eternia's own swordbearers—and ruined parts of the land itself, with Qada studying the effects of his work on the infected corpses. Qada, as The Medic, also helped to heal both sides of Luxendarc's conflict, purely so he could use their healthy bodies as test subjects for further research. Qada's ambition extends to planning to wipe out the Council of Six with his equally-treacherous compatriots Fiore DeRosa and Erutus Profiteur to take over Eternia themselves, with Qada planning to unleash a fatal plague through Luxendarc and being completely unsure as to whether he wants to be remembered as a gloried hero for providing an antidote or a vile, disease-spreading madman. The vilest of the Eternian forces in every world he's seen in, Qada's own superior Kamiizumi is reviled by him and kills Qada himself in one of the parallel worlds as a testament to Qada's endless, amoral thirst for knowledge, no matter the cost.
- Airy, also from the first game and fittingly titled "the Evil One", is the Piercer of Boundaries and chief servant to the evil god Ouroboros. Posing as a helpful fairy ally to the Warriors of Light in their mission to reactivate Luxendarc's corrupted crystals, Airy is in truth behind the opening of the Great Chasm and the wide swath of destruction it caused throughout Luxendarc, traveling from world to world and manipulating the heroes into purifying the elemental crystals and thus linking those worlds to Ouroboros. Airy takes sadistic delight in manipulating the heroes like puppets and butchers them after she is done with them, having repeated the process with tens of thousands of worlds over a course of millions of years. Once she's ousted as Ouroboros's servant, Airy, in the false ending, quickly slaughters the party while taunting them about how she's manipulated them. Forced to rest in the Dark Aurora after being cheated of purifying the last crystal, Airy, once confronted by the revived heroes, decides to torture the warriors of light for five thousand years to bide her time, and pretends to have been possessed purely so she can shatter an already despondent Agnes's will further by revealing she is exactly the remorseless demon she appears to be. A deceitful monster under her seemingly innocent, childish exterior, Airy's singular wish was to allow her master access to the Celestial Realm in order to destroy all reality.
- Ouroboros himself, the God of Destruction in the first game, plots to wreak havoc on the Celestial Realm, and is responsible for every catastrophic event in the game's plot. Unseen until the game's true ending, Ouroboros pulls the strings behind his servant Airy and oversees her link the tens of thousands of worlds that comprise reality in a bid to break the boundaries between them, utterly destroy all of them, and bring chaos to the Celestial Realm to recreate reality in his own twisted image. Ouroboros devours his pleading servant once he finally tires of her, dismissively compares her to cattle, and, in the final battle, obliterates world after world for the sheer purpose of breaking the heroes' spirits, nothing less than utterly gleeful once they beg him to stop. Ouroboros, motivated solely by boredom and a lust for chaos, strife, hatred, and suffering—things he considers exciting—goes down as the greatest evil in the story.
- Bravely Second: End Layer: Lord Providence, the master of the devious fairy Anne, is the ruler of the Celestial Realm and the source of all the game's misfortune. After his takeover of the Celestial Realm, Providence nourishes himself off the utter despair of a woman named Vega, feeding off her depression over being separated from her lover Altair in the Celestial Realm. In a bid to completely break Vega, Providence corrupts Vega's positive memories and turns them into the nightmarish Ba'al and orchestrates a scheme to have his servant Anne remove the Moon from Luxendarc, planning to allowing the Ba'al to ravage Luxendarc before he plunges the world into despair and annihilates it—all for the purpose of permanently breaking Vega's lingering hope so he can feast off her despair forever. Having Anne first remove Airy and Ouroboros as a threat to his plans, Providence oversees Anne's complex manipulations and gives her the order to utilize the Ba'al Diamante to raze Luxendarc in the second timeline. After Anne's defeat and Altair is reunited with Vega through the will of the heroes, Providence personally confronts the heroes and continues to leech off Vega's lingering despair to empower himself, cruelly stating that obliterating Luxendarc would be so pointlessly absurd—something he considers delightful. In the final battle, Providence directly addresses the player themselves, and turns the game against their control in an attempt to delete their save file. A nightmarishly callous sadist of a god, Providence's plans don't necessarily entail the catastrophic damage that Ouroboros does, but makes up through the sheer pointless cruelty of his plot.