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Kefka poisoning Doma's river, against his commander's orders.

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.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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Main Series and Associated Works

  • 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 the heroic Cecil and the brainwashed 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 was the court jester of the Gestahl Empire, but through treachery and atrocity he rose through the ranks and eventually became the world's most dire threat. His notable actions include putting a slave crown on Terra Branford to force her to attack villages and slaughter resistance fighters; poisoning the Kingdom of Doma's water supply against direct orders—killing innocents, including children; brutally murdering the noble general Leo by cowardly tricking him with illusions playing on his loyalty; and killing the Espers at Thamasa—along with his own men—without any remorse. Kefka reaches his worst, however, when he betrays and murders Emperor Gestahl and uses the power of the Warring Triad to turn the world into a poisoned wasteland. In the World of Ruin Kefka rules on high, killing and tormenting on a whim with the Light of Judgement across the whole world. Finally confronted by the party, Kefka is incensed that they managed to find hope in this dying world, and proclaims he will destroy everything and create a "monument to non-existence". Misanthropic, nihilistic and deriving pleasure from suffering and destruction, Kefka serves as one of the most iconic and singularly vile villains in the entire franchise.
  • Final Fantasy VII and associated games:
    • Professor Hojo may not be the primary antagonist, but 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 attempts to mate Aerith with Red XIII to create a half-human hybrid; experiments on the survivors of the Nibelheim massacre; murders Vincent, experimenting on his corpse and turning him into a half-monster; and attempts to help his son destroy the world at the end of the game. 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 super soldiers to commit mass kidnappings and murders, with the ultimate goal of awakening Omega and fusing with it.
    • Before Crisis prequel: Fuhito is a scientist for the original AVALANCHE. Fuhito, who idolized 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 power base 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 VII Remake:
      • President Shinra is the leader of Midgar and the President of Shinra Electric Power Company, which powers Midgar with the Mako Energy from the planet's Lifestream, with Shinra uncaring of what will happen to the planet if the energy runs out. When AVALANCHE fights back against Shinra, he has his men destroy Mako Reactors 1 and 5, endangering many lives while framing AVALANCHE for the crimes. In order to get rid of AVALANCHE for good, Shinra orders Sector 7 to be destroyed, resulting in the deaths of many innocent lives, while framing AVALANCHE and accusing them of being allies for Wutai in order to have a excuse to go to war with them. After Aerith is captured by the Turks, Shinra plans on using her to lead him to the "Promised Land," while also allowing Hojo's plan on having Aerith raped by SOLDIERS in order for her to reproduce to "mitigate the risks". Afterwards, he plans on abandoning Midgar and its people and then building a new Midgar in the "Promised Land" with unlimited Mako Energy for him to rule. A cruel and vile businessman who believes that truth, justice, honor, and freedom are vain indulgences, President Shinra will gladly kill anyone in order to achieve his own personal desires.
      • Don Corneo, the lord of Wall Market, is a ruthless Mafioso fully on board with Shinra's plan to bomb Sector 7 to oblivion with the promise of a new and improved Wall Market to reign over, and has no compunction calling himself a "villain". A sickening pervert, Corneo is known for claiming nightly brides, from willing and unwilling women alike, passing others to his men to be "enjoyed" by them. Once he is done, the women are fed to his monstrous pet Abzu, a pattern that continues for a very long time, with not even the loved ones of his own subordinates safe.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn:
    • Sastasha levels: Captain Madison, the leader of the Serpent Reavers, disappeared to escape his gambling debts and resurfaced after having allied himself with the monstrous Sahagin. Madison goes on a campaign of Rape, Pillage, and Burn throughout the coast of Limsa Lominsa, putting village after village to the torch. Madison murders all the men of the settlements he devastates, and takes the women and children to become slaves, usually of the carnal kind. Madison's worst deed is the creation of the Hole, a dank recess in his hideout of Sastasha where he keeps the women he's turned into sex slaves for himself and his entire crew.
    • Stormblood: Asahi sas Brutus is an ambassador from the Garlean Empire who reveals himself to be a sociopathic follower of Zenos yae Galvus. He tries to sabotage the peace between Doma's leaders by trying to provoke the Warrior of Light, and it was revealed that he hired the mercenaries to fake his good nature. However, his worst act is when his parents adopted his cousin, Yotsuyu. When Yotsuyu got mistreated by Asahi's parents, Asahi then came out with the idea to sell Yotsuyu to an abusive drunkard for money and political connections, as well as selling her to a brothel. After Yotsuyu regained her memories, Asahi sent her parents on her, which resulted them being killed. When the prisoner exchange happens, Asahi then tries to invoke the primal Tsukuyomi into Yotsuyu and callously shoots her multiple times when she tries to die peacefully, mocking the player, while brutally beating Yotsuyu, that attacking him would result in a war.
    • Shadowbringers: Valens van Varro is a commander of the Garlean Empire who wants to use the Oversoul and is motivated by petty jealousy. An abusive boss, Valens would leave his men to die without a care if he he sees no value in them anymore. Valens forces his young wards to torture a man with a burning rod pressed against his back, in order to warp them into being abusive and cruel like him. Later on, it's revealed that Valens disciplines all of the siblings by using abusive, torturous methods, and this is shown by one of the siblings having permanent scars on her back. He forces a man to go to the Oversoul chamber capsule against his will and lies about how he and his family would be let go with his cooperation. The man's body and mind are gruesomely contorted until it overrides them down to their consciousness entirely.

Final Fantasy XV

  • The Dawn of the Future: Bahamut, the Draconian, is the leader of the Astrals and a tyrant who views all the world as his garden. Angered by the war of the ancients in the past, Bahamut was barely stopped from erasing the world, later arranging the fate of Ardyn Izunia to spread the monstrous Starscourge and see the world overrun by Daemons. Believing mankind to be flawed and obsessed with his own view of destiny, Bahamut intends to erase the world entirely, having no compunction killing the Astrals when they attempt to defend humankind.

Ivalice Alliance

  • 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 he is worshipped above all else.

Other Games

    Miscellaneous Examples 
  • Dissidia series:
    • The Emperor from Final Fantasy II is one of the oldest warriors serving Chaos in his ongoing war with Cosmos. When Tidus appears in the 12th cycle of war as another Chaos warrior, the Emperor manipulates him into conflict with his father Jecht, culminating with him taking Jecht to Chaos and having him be converted into one of his warriors. Cosmos had granted her warriors fragments of her divine power that would manifest as Crystals, and the Emperor's ulterior motive was that Jecht's Crystal would not manifest as a Crystal attuned to darkness. In the 13th cycle, the Emperor masterminds a scheme to allow Cosmos's warriors to get their Crystals, as doing so will siphon her power so Chaos can kill her. With Cosmos dead the world begins to fall apart, and her warriors assault Chaos's realm to destroy him before they fade away. The Emperor reveals he will use the Crystal of darkness Jecht manifested to claim god-like power and reign over the world once both of the gods are dead, and until then he waits for Cosmos's warriors to kill off rivals to his power in their final stand. Cruel, condescending, and caring about no one but himself, the Emperor treats everyone including the gods as pawns to manipulate in his scheme to become a God-Emperor ruling their world.
    • Opera Omnia: Kefka Palazzo is an insane mage who causes destruction and chaos just because he can. Controlling the mind of Terra Branford and manipulating Vincent Valentine to fight the heroes for him, Kefka later aids in the defense of the Blackened Will, so that it may finish its goal of destroying the world the characters are fighting in. In Arc 2 Chapter 5, Kefka breaks away from Spiritus and makes his own play for power, seizing control of a number of Dark Manikins and killing another Planesgorger to absorb its ability to devour worlds. Infusing his own hatred and the Planesgorger's power into the Dark Manikins, Kefka cultivates dark energy in them that he uses to create another Blackened Will. So dangerous is Kefka's ploy that not even the other villains want any part in it, and the threat of another Blackened Will convinces Materia and Spiritus to work together to create a Torsion the heroes can use to pursue Kefka and destroy his creation. Possessing no empathy for anyone, having no goal but destruction for the sake of destruction, and expressing interest in unleashing in his Blackened Will on other worlds once he's done here, the Warriors of Light themselves consider Kefka the worst of Spiritus's warriors.
  • 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.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend: The Creator is the true power behind Ashura, the Four Fiends and all the woes they've inflicted on the world. Creating a tower separated into numerous worlds, the Creator made a "game" where adventurers would climb the tower believing Paradise to lie at its Apex. To create his game, the Creator deliberately made the worlds miserable, which included setting up a war in the World of Continent between three kings, having Byak-Ko establish a cruel dictatorship in the World of Clouds and having Su-Zaku turn the World of Ruin into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. When confronted by the party the Creator callously claims that because he created everything he can do anything he wants with the worlds and the people within, revealing himself to be a cruel and narcissistic god.

    Bravely Default series 
  • Bravely Default (first game):
    • Ouroboros himself, the God of Destruction, 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.
    • Airy, 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.
    • Dr. Qada, the Salve-Maker, is an obese psychopath who stands leagues over Eternia's normally-sympathetic ranks. Qada sacrifices thousands of innocents through the Toxic Mist, including those of Eternia's own swordbearers, while acting as a medic to both sides of Luxendarc's conflict to have a large supply of healthy bodies to experiment on. 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. Reviled even by his own superior, Qada is completely unsure as to whether or not he should be remembered as a gloried hero for providing the cure to his own plague—or as the vile, disease-spreading sociopath who unleashed it in the first place.
  • Bravely Second: End Layer: Lord Providence is the ruler of the Celestial Realm and the source of all the game's misfortune, with all of Anne's evil tracing back to him. 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 while perverting her good memories to twist them into the monstrous Ba'al. Providence's plan to keep Vega as a food source for him forever is to allow 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. After the death of Anne, Providence personally confronts the heroes and tries to obliterate Luxendarc himself, merrily noting that Luxendarc's destruction would be "pointlessly absurd"—a sentiment he considers amusing. With the worst master plan in the series, Providence manages to beat out even Ouroboros in sheer, unmitigated sadism.
  • Bravely Default II:
    • Chapter 2: Folie, the wielder of the Pictomancer Asterisk, was a Lonely Rich Kid empowered by Edna who used the chance to start pursuing her artistic ambitions. Folie took part in the destruction of Musa, reminiscing fondly about how "fun" the slaughter was, and for the duration of the chapter operates as a Serial Killer in the city of Wiswald, murdering several noted scholars in the city all for the sake of using their blood in her artwork. In her cruelest touch, Folie murdered a young girl named Mona, then brainwashed Mona's parents into her slaves by using her cursed paintings to drive them insane with the belief Mona was still alive.
    • Chapter 3: Helio, the wielder of the Spiritmaster Asterisk, is the true power behind the corrupt, dragon-worshiping theocracy of Rimedhal. A spy from Holograd sent to destabilize the entire nation from within and eliminate anyone who could stand up to the conquest, Helio manipulated his fellow Asterisk wielders Dominec and Gladys into setting up the "judgments". As chief inquisitor of these judgments, Helio has any innocent people who stood up to the church made out to be fairies and forces them to plunge into a frozen ravine called the Jaws of Judgment to "prove" they're innocent, a regular process that had led to countless deaths over a decade. When the time finally comes for Holograd to invade, Helio murders Domenic himself and pauses in his escape to cruelly mock the dying Gladys that he was the one who killed her parents and set Gladys off on her path to begin with by pinning it on the fairies.
    • Vigintio, wielder of the Arcanist Asterisk, was a deranged sorcerer in life killed by his prestigious rival Lady Emma after he turned to experimenting on innocent people. Before he died, Vigintio perfected a formula that allowed him to become undead, a formula he uses to whip up a massive undead army in the pursuit of his revenge. To spite Lady Emma's name, Vigintio intends to have the entire city of Wiswald massacred by his army and converted to their ranks, all after he's tied up his old colleague Roddy from the highest point in Wiswald to ensure he sees every moment of the slaughter.

Other Media

  • Legend of the Crystals: Ra Devil is a malevolent cyborg who seeks to become Deathgyunos, the God of Oblivion. He stole Cid Previa's brain from his grave before murdering Cid's young grandson Mid. He then kept the brain alive and in torment to forcibly extract the knowledge of the elemental crystals that stabilize the world. Returning to Planet R two hundreds years later, Ra Devil steals the crystals, dooming the world to destruction. Setting sight on the Wind Crystal, he launches raids on Rouge Island and later the city of Tycoon. He then abducts the heroine Linaly, whose body hosts the the Wind Crystal and uses her as a battery to drain the energy of the universe and complete his transformation. After the heroes interrupts the process, Ra Devil fights them back and sadistically electrocutes Prettz and Rouge in front of their friends.