Being a franchise well-known for its strong characterization and enduring protagonists, the Final Fantasy series is home to some of the most memorable heroes in all of gaming. While Final Fantasy VI doesn’t buck this trend by any means, it does do something very different in that it allows three heroes to share the limelight as the main stars, rather than focusing on a single character.
With Terra Brandford, Locke Cole and Celes Chere all sharing top-billing for vast swathes of the game, Final Fantasy VI is the only mainline entry in the series that lacks a clear protagonist. So who is the main character of Final Fantasy VI? We aim to figure it out below.
The first character that players take control of (during the legendary opening trek across the snowfields of Narshe), Terra Branford begins Final Fantasy VI as a slave to the empire. Restricted by a magitek circlet and confined to magitek armor, Terra exterminates the townsfolk of Narshe before regaining her sentience, thanks in part to Locke.
For the next 10 hours or so, Terra remains central to the game, always being at the forefront of the plot and remaining a leadership figure for the party members. However, after interacting with a frozen esper, Terra reveals her own esper powers, before transforming into a superhuman entity and flying off.
From this point, Terra disappears for a huge section of the game, forcing Locke to take on the role of the main character. Still, in most Final Fantasy games, the first character you take control of is the central protagonist of the game. Furthermore, Terra is featured in the key art of Final Fantasy VI and serves as the hero from this story in Square’s Dissidia series. However, since the same series places Jecht as the main villain of Final Fantasy X over Seymour, that choice is suspect at best.
Locke Cole, introduced early on in Final Fantasy VI, is the second party member to become available to players, and the character most similar to previous Final Fantasy protagonists. Taking control of the party to search for Terra after she disappears, Locke becomes a huge focal point for the storytelling of the game long before that.
The lynchpin behind many of Final Fantasy VI‘s main plot points and story developments, Locke is also the most like a typical fantasy protagonist in all forms of fiction. He wanders into the middle of a long-simmering conflict, not unlike Luke Skywalker or Frodo Baggins. Due to this happenstance, he becomes one of the most important figures in the battle to save the world from Gestahl, Kefka and the evil empire.
Though Terra does eventually rejoin the team, Locke still feels the most like the main character of Final Fantasy VI, at least until a certain monumental story development.
Rescued from a cell by Locke in the first quarter of Final Fantasy VI, Celes Chere would be the least likely of this trio to be viewed as the main character, were it not for the final section of the game. After Kefka uses the statues of the Warring Triad to reshape the world, killing millions in the process, it is Celes who the player takes control of.
Though Celes is initially hopeless, and even suicidal, she eventually finds the courage to go out into the world of ruin and seek out her lost companions. This is the strongest section of the entire adventure, as all hope feels lost, and the challenges ahead appear to be truly insurmountable. Still Celes soldiers on, finding all 13 of her comrades at arms before heading off with them to destroy Kefka once and for all.
Since Celes is the leader at the end of the game, and the first character players take control of after the calamity, it seems like she has as much right to be called the main character of Final Fantasy VI as Terra or Locke. Finally, since her story is the emotional lynchpin of the last section of the game, she gains all the more importance in Final Fantasy VI, since Kefka may have never been defeated had she not reunited the scattered adventurers.
Which leads us back to the question at hand: who is the main star of Final Fantasy VI? With three different characters sharing top billing for large sections of the game, it’s hard to settle on anything resembling a definitive answer. While this writer’s vote settles on Celes generally, there’s certainly an argument to be made for any of the triumvirates at the center of Final Fantasy VI.
So what do you think? Sound off in the comments below: who is the main character of Final Fantasy VI?