Every Party Member Who Can Permanently Die

Final Fantasy and party member deaths go way back – almost to the beginning. If you’ve ever wondered, either intellectually or morbidly, which playable and near-playable characters are fated to perish, we suppose you’re not alone. Since, you know. Here we are, jotting it all down for our collective macabre pleasure.

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10 Best Protagonists In The Final Fantasy Series, Ranked

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We’ll be counting guest party members as well, even if they aren’t controllable. After some consideration, we decided to roll with that approach, though if you’d rather count only those who can be given commands directly, just ignore the rest!

We won’t be including the two Final Fantasy MMOs, 11 and 14. Not because we don’t love them (we do), but because 14 especially would be an overwhelming task worthy of its own list given the number of characters who will fight alongside your avatar.

It should go without saying, but beware of massive spoilers.

Final Fantasy 2

Final Fantasy 2 Pixel Remaster Black Knights

The Black Knights fight from the beginning of Final Fantasy 2 Pixel Remaster

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Minwu

Temporary controllable party member

Sacrifices himself to break the seal on the Ultima Tome.

Four. He looks cool.

Josef

Temporary controllable party member

Sacrifices himself to buy time for the heroes before getting crushed by a boulder.

Four. He doesn’t look cool, but man, what a way to go.

Ricard Highwind

Temporary controllable party member

Slain by the the Emperor.

Five. He’s the OG Highwind, but FF2’s cast just isn’t deep enough to go higher.

Scott

Temporary controllable party member

Slain during an Imperial siege.

Three. He neither looks cool nor is cool, but at least he warns the heroes about Borghen being evil.

Overall Thoughts

We dig how Final Fantasy 2 sticks to its mortal coil convictions, keeping the dead well and truly dead – kind of surprising for an NES RPG. The Dawn of Souls (Game Boy Advance) version gives them all a posthumous quest, which is neat, and their spirits departing in peace afterward doesn’t particularly diminish the weight of their collective demise. Still, FF2’s script is forgivably short. Not a lot of time is given for us to feel much for any of these people.

Final Fantasy 3

The party goes across the world map with Desch to reach the Nepto Temple in Final Fantasy 3 Pixel Remaster.

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Aria Benett

Assists party with curative spells (3D remake only); simply follows you around in 2D versions.

Killed by Kraken, but helps to restore the flow of time in the world again.

Three. She’s got barely any lines, but we’ll award her this much: despite her illness, she gives her all for the mission.

Overall Thoughts

We can’t blame the writers for revealing the dramatic faux-death of Desch is a fakeout. It’s a laugh-out-loud-hilarious little moment when, several hours later, he just… climbs back up the tower he fell from, announcing it’s been repaired.

Final Fantasy 4

Tellah from Final Fantasy 4
via movieandtvcorner.com

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Tellah

Temporary controllable party member

Uses his life force to cast Meteor on Golbez.

Six. Tellah is, frankly, kind of a jerk. But at least he realizes it.

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Overall Thoughts

We let Desch’s antics slide because a.) it happens once; b.) Final Fantasy 3 isn’t exactly trying hard to tell a compelling tale. Final Fantasy 4, well, it’s a great game and all, but the constant ‘party member sacrifices self; oh wait, gets better later’ is the weakest aspect of the game. It’s almost shocking they actually committed to Tellah staying six feet under.

Final Fantasy 5

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Galuf

Full-time party member

Breaks free from within a Crystal, holds his own against an ancient and all-powerful evil, and then succumbs to his wounds when his loved ones are freed.

Nine. Galuf rules. His death is a jaw-dropping moment for a game that’s so typically lighthearted, and it’s the first time in the Final Fantasy series that a tragic fate is fully felt.

Overall Thoughts

Geez, this one hits hard. Galuf is the coolest character in FF5 this side of Gilgamesh. Having Galuf’s abilities pass on to Krile is thematically fitting, but honestly? His sacrifice is all the more depressing for it, because Krile isn’t nearly as rad.

Final Fantasy 6

final fantasy 6 esper terra shadow locke

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Leo Cristophe

(Extremely) temporary controllable party member

Mercilessly murdered by Kefka.

Eight. Leo is a respectable fellow who clings to his convictions. Just an admirable chap all-around.

Banon (potentially)

Temporary controllable party member

Disappears after the World of Balance, which is really weird, so a lot of fans sort of assume he kicked the bucket.

Two. He’s hardly a major character, and we don’t even know if he’s dead and dusted or simply in hiding, so…

Shadow (potentially)

Full-time party member

This one’s… fun. Shadow is presumed dead if the player decides to escape the Floating Continent before he can arrive. Also, Shadow stops running in the game’s ending sequence when Kefka’s Tower is about to explode, seemingly ready to embrace death.

Eight. Shadow is a fantastic character, but you’d have to be rather rude, indeed, to intentionally let him die on the Floating Continent. As for his possible death in the ending, it’s just too ambiguous to say much either way.

Overall Thoughts

Final Fantasy 6 doesn’t off many characters relative to its vast roster, but that’s OK. It doesn’t need to. The story’s rock-solid as-is, and ‘killing your darlings’ isn’t always the path to a more meaningful plot. Leo’s noble end is well-done, though Banon’s strange disappearance feels more like the result of not enough development time, rather than anything intentional. Shadow’s did-he-or-didn’t-he gig is… fine, and if he decided enough was enough in Kefka’s Tower (which we choose to believe), rest in peace, Clyde.

Final Fantasy 7

Aerith praying during her death scene in Final Fantasy 7

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Aerith Gainsborough

Full-time party member

Murdered by Sephiroth while praying.

Ten. Um, yeah.

Sephiroth

Temporary uncontrollable party member

Explodes after being on the receiving end of Cloud’s Omnislash.

Nine. It’s hardly sad, of course, but Sephiroth’s one of the best antagonists in gaming.

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Overall Thoughts

What can be said here that hasn’t been said before? On the assumption that you didn’t have it spoiled for you, then If you cherished the character of Aerith leading up to her murder, you probably cried. Even if you detested her, you were probably stunned to silence for a few moments on sheer account of the writers’ commitment to the bit. ‘Aerith dies’ (or, we suppose, ‘Aeris dies’) is up there in internet trolling history with ‘Snape kills Dumbledore’ because all those trolls knew throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s just how many people didn’t know it yet.

Oh, and Sephiroth’s death is cool.

Final Fantasy 9

final fantasy 9 vivi casts fire

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Vivi Ornitier

Full-time party member

Passes away during the unknown number of days between the bulk of Final Fantasy 9’s ending and Zidane’s triumphant return to Alexandria.

Nine. Vivi is a spectacular character – one of Final Fantasy’s finest. The problem is, so many players’ tears are weirdly belated, because it isn’t quite clear enough for many of us that Vivi even died the first time we watch FF9’s otherwise-excellent ending.

Overall Thoughts

So… yeah, Vivi dies. Even as we prepare to publish this article, we suspect at least a handful of readers will be learning this for the first time. The identities of the two narrators during FF9’s ending montage prior to the very last scenes are a little too cryptic, though the usage of certain pronouns makes it more readily apparent in the original Japanese script. Having to explain to folks that this even happened undercuts it, but once it clicks (we all knew Vivi’s lifespan was slim) it still manages to hit pretty hard. Vivi, you were awesome.

Final Fantasy 10

Tidus and Yuna in Final Fantasy X

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Tidus

Full-time party member

Well, he’s not quite alive to begin with, but fading away with the conclusion of the Dream of the Fayth still counts in our book.

Ten for Final Fantasy 10. Not everyone is going to love Tidus when they play this game, but it’s hard to deny his exit stage-right is incredibly effective.

Auron

Full-time party member

Sent to the Farplane alongside Tidus.

Another ten. There’s a reason Auron’s inspired so much cosplay for decades. His gruff, no-nonsense demeanor, his meaningful wisdom, his tragic secrets, he’s got it all.

Seymour Guado

(Extremely) temporary controllable party member

Sent by Yuna just hours before the story’s end.

Three. Seymour is a decent villain, so it’s a little sad to see him go? At the same time, good gosh, just die already, for real this time, you know?

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Overall Thoughts

Final Fantasy 10 has one of the most beloved endings in the medium. The one-two punch of seeing Tidus and Auron necessarily depart from Spira in this fashion stings. But it’s executed so terrifically, and watching Yuna prepare to enter the world stage (more literally than we knew, as the sequel would reveal) in a recovering world is reason to celebrate.

Yeah, we know, Tidus can return if you have a perfect file in FF10-2. But the conditions are so strict, and the circumstances so singularly strange, that we’re keeping him on the list.

Final Fantasy 12

Reddas and Basch fight in Final Fantasy 12

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Reks

Temporary controllable party member

Fatally wounded by Gabranth masquerading as his twin brother Basch, though he lives long enough to play his role in this political charade in the several days thereafter.

Five. We don’t get to know Reks well in the prologue, and then bam, he’s gone. We know that’s the idea, of course. Vaan carrying the pain, and falling for the ruse until he learns the truth, makes this matter more in hindsight than in the moment.

Vossler York Azelas

Temporary controllable party member (Uncontrollable in the original version)

Heavily injured by Basch, Fran, and the rest of the party, and then perishes when the warship Leviathan explodes.

Seven. Vossler leaves a decently strong impression on players for the stretch of the game in which he teams up, and his suspicious nature is justifiable. Working with the Empire is tough to forgive, though.

Reddas (Foris Zecht)

(Extremely) temporary controllable party member (Uncontrollable in the original version)

Wielding Ashelia’s Sword of Kings, he sacrifices himself to destroy the Sun-Cryst inside the Pharos of Ridorana.

Eight. Reddas, or rather, Judge Magister Zecht, is an intriguing character whose haunted past bears narrative fruit when he atones for it at the cost of his tormented life.

Gabranth (Noah fon Ronsenburg)

(Extremely) temporary uncontrollable party member

Fatally wounded by Vayne, dying aboard the Strahl as the party escapes the Sky Fortress Bahamut’s destruction.

Eight. Noah is yet another example of an effective character in Final Fantasy 12’s extensive cast (sure, the story drops the ball sometimes, but the people who populate it seldom do). We love that he was given the chance to redeem himself this way.

Overall Thoughts

Aye, Final Fantasy 12 has quite the cast. We know, we know, many of you abhor Vaan. But Vossler, Reddas, and Gabranth are all reasonably well-liked (Gabranth more as a villain than ally, of course). In every instance sans Reddas, the pain we feel over the dying party member is usually linked more to the surviving character whose ties with them were the closest – in which case, youch, poor Basch. Two out of three of them are closely linked to him.

Final Fantasy 15

noctis, gladio, ignis, prompto about to enter insomnia final fantasy 15

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Noctis Lucis Caelum

Full-time playable party member

Sacrifices himself to save the world

Ten. Final Fantasy 15’s story is infamously wobbly, its genuinely neat plot too poorly-told too frequently. Even Royal Edition can only give it so many bandaids. But FF15 absolutely nails the ending, and Noctis’ epic heroic tearjerker moment is a big part of why.

Ravus Nox Fleuret

Temporary controllable party member

Murdered by Ardyn, and then revived by him as a daemon, put to rest for good by Noctis, Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus.

Six. Ravus’ characterization is one of the biggest casualties of Final Fantasy 15’s shoddy storytelling quality at launch, and we’d have given him a four (he’s still cool, you know!) if we’d written this prior to Episode Ignis. We get enough Ravus during his appearance in that DLC to crank things up a couple of notches.

Ifrit

Temporary uncontrollable party member

Shattered inside a prison of ice by Shiva.

One. Ifrit just barely qualifies for this list courtesy of the Episode Ardyn DLC, and while, yeah, his past is sad and all, we can’t be expected to even consider shedding a tear when he dies in the main game.

Overall Thoughts

We already said it, but wow. Final Fantasy 15 truly hits its peak with its ending. There are worse fates for a story than to be remembered most strongly for its closing moments, right? Noctis fulfilling his kingly mission at the cost of his life is some crushing stuff. The world is cured of its darkness, and as Royal Edition makes clearer, Noctis’ best friends live on, so it’s not some bummer finale, just a meaningful one.

Ravus’ death doesn’t land as well as it ought to by virtue of FF15’s problems, and we only included Ifrit because it technically qualifies; not much to say there.

Final Fantasy 16

Final Fantasy 16 the main protagonist Clive

Party Member Death

Status

Cause of Untimely Demise

Our Sadness Score

Clive Rosfield (potentially)

Full-time party member

Possibly succumbs to complete petrification after destroying Ultimalius.

Eight? Clive Rosfield is handily among Final Fantasy’s best protagonists. Make no mistake. But we’re not too keen on the ambiguity of his fate here. If we knew for certain he doesn’t make it back to Jill, this would be an easy ten.

Joshua Rosfield (potentially)

Temporary controllable party member (prologue) Temporary uncontrollable party member (much later)

Supposedly killed as Phoenix during the Night of Flames. Then, during the climactic battle against Ultimalius, likely perishes for good after passing his powers to Clive.

Eight. Once again, Joshua is great. And though there’s a bit less reason to believe he survives than there is with Clive, it’s still kind of open-ended, since there’s the question of who actually wrote the book attributed to Joshua in the post-credits scene.

Cidolfus Telamon

Temporary uncontrollable party member

Fatally wounded by Ultimalius.

Ten. OK, this one is clear as (Mother)crystal, and profound.

Dion Lesage

Temporary uncontrollable party member

Sacrifices his life to protect Clive and Joshua against Ultimalius.

Nine. Dion’s redemption is excellent stuff, and we really wish he’d survived so that at least someone unequivocally makes it back from Origin. At least this one’s concrete.

Rodney Murdoch

Temporary uncontrollable party member

Burns to ashes during the Night of Flames.

Seven. Rodney is a likable fellow in the brief period of time we get to know him, but what really makes this effective is what happens when Clive and Jill meet his widow, Hanna, 13 years later.

Tyler

Temporary uncontrollable party member

Burns to ashes during the Night of Flames.

Six. It’s hard not to mourn the guy despite the brevity of his role. Final Fantasy 16 is too well written for it not to land.

Overall Thoughts

Final Fantasy 16’s aspirations to be darker than other entries certainly prove successful. The deaths listed above aren’t even half the casualty count among important characters. This works within the world of FF16 itself, though it’d be rather much in most other titles.

We’re less enthusiastic about the unknown fates of Clive and Joshua, as you can see. We respect the fact that many fans feel otherwise, enjoying that aspect. It’s not even the ambiguity itself so much as it’s exhausting to see two groups of fans – those who don’t understand how anyone can interpret the deaths as anything else, and those who don’t understand why anyone would ever jump to the conclusion – bump into each other, pitchforks raised. Hey, if nothing else, we can’t say the writers didn’t make us feel something, and in the final telling, maybe that’s what matters most.

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