Final Fantasy XVI’s Cid Is The Game’s Breakout Star

Final Fantasy XVI’s Cid Is The Game’s Breakout Star

Characters named Cid are a Final Fantasy mainstay, but I wasn’t prepared for Final Fantasy XVI’s iteration, and neither were many people playing the action RPG this week.

Mild spoilers for the first few hours of Final Fantasy XVI follow.

When Cid, or Cidolfus Telamon to use his government name, first appears, saving protagonist Clive from his imminent demise at the hands of enemy forces, I felt the world shift on its axis. This man makes one hell of an entrance, taking out soldiers with a series of lightning bolts, then walking through the dust and smoke alongside the goodest of good boys Torgal. Then he opens his mouth, and the voice of Ralph Ineson (who can also be heard as Lorath in Diablo IV) comes out. Between the chiseled, sexy man walking into frame and a dog showing up to cleanse the sad vibes from a game that had been dealing some emotional low blows, I was already dealing with sensory overload. Then Cid’s low, Yorkshire accent hit my eardrums, and I knew I’d follow this man into whatever version of Hell there is in Final Fantasy XVI. I don’t even hear what he says most of the time, I just nod politely and go in the direction he points.

The Cid character hasn’t been beholden to any specific role over the years. The Final Fantasy VII version was a foul-mouthed party member, the Final Fantasy XIII version was a tragic antagonist, and Final Fantasy XVI’s does not fit neatly into any specific archetype, either. He’s a Dominant, which is the title given to people who are tied to the legendary Eikons, the game’s version of summons. He specifically is linked to Ramuh, who commands thunder and lightning. This is why he’s able to cast electric spells when he aids Clive in battle. But he doesn’t seem to relish his fate in the early hours. He tells Clive it wasn’t his choice to become a Dominant, but he’s dealing with the hand Ramuh dealt him. We love an angsty king just trying to do his best while bearing the terrible weight of a tortured soul. I’m in love, and so is everyone else playing Final Fantasy XVI.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Edmond Tran over at GamesHub highlights Cid as a standout character in Final Fantasy XVI’s cast, saying his “charisma transcends the screen to effortlessly win over both yourself and Clive.” Mitchell Saltzman from IGN says Cid’s “probably [his] new all-time favorite Final Fantasy character,” while Alex Donaldson at VG24/7 said Final Fantasy XVI’s Cid would likely rank at the top of a hypothetical “best Cid” ranking. I’m still early, but I’m inclined to agree. Corey Plante says in Kotaku’s review that Cid “is an absolute scene-stealer who’ll go down in history as one of the best Final Fantasy characters ever.”

Interestingly enough, Final Fantasy XVI seems to imply that Cid might be queer, as he remarks that Clive is “pretty,” but also says he’s not his type. A quick line of dialogue is hardly explicit confirmation of anything in a game that has a canonically queer couple elsewhere. However, Ineson and Clive actor Ben Starr say the line was part of the two riffing together during recording sessions, so while it might not be an intentional reference to Cid being queer, it does give fans some subtext to read into.

Ineson has thanked fans for their kind reception to Cid (as well as his recent role in Diablo IV), saying he started work on both games back in 2020. Ineson’s video game portfolio is small compared to his film and television credits, which include The Witch and Game of Thrones. Previously the only games he’d worked on were Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and the Deathly Hallows tie-in. So he’s having a banger few weeks right now for great video game roles.

I’m still early in Final Fantasy XVI, and thanks to some devastating early story beats, I was already pretty much on-board even before I met Cid. But now I will follow him to the ends of the earth. Or at the very least, to the end of the game. Assuming he makes it there. But given Final Fantasy XVI’s Game of Thrones inspiration, I am prepared to have my feelings hurt.

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