The name “Cid” is as synonymous with the Final Fantasy franchise as any chocobo, moogle, or cactuar. There’s literally a character named Cid not only in every mainline Final Fantasy but in so many spinoffs that ranking every incarnation of the man is going to require a whopping thirty spots. Some would call me crazy for attempting this endeavor, but then, some are unaware of just how many times I’ve replayed Final Fantasy games. Or ponder Final Fantasy games that aren’t even finished yet. Mostly for fun; occasionally for profit.
There will be spoilers aplenty. Consider yourself cautioned. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today (or should I say sky?) so without further ado, I present to you every Final Fantasy Cid ranked from worst to best.
30. Cid of the Lufaine (Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy)
I suppose it’s not entirely Cid of the Lufaine’s own fault for being stuck as a narrator in a pair of fighting game spinoffs with scripts so dire I cry stinging tears just remembering them. There’s a kernel of intrigue in there; he is, after all, partly responsible for the cycles of conflict which perpetuate all the battling (read: operates as a thin excuse to see Final Fantasy characters crossover to beat the stuffing out of each other). But the games squander it entirely. What’s worse, while Rodger Parsons does his best as a voice actor, he still comes across as tired and uninterested. Probably because his lines are so terrible. Possibly because he had a cold.
29. Cid (Mobius Final Fantasy)
This Cid hails from the first of a few original Cids native to Final Fantasy‘s various gacha-themed mobile games. Part of the reason he ranks so low is that he’s bland. Everybody in Mobius Final Fantasy is bland. Everybody in Mobius Final Fantasy has also been erased from existence. Mobius, you see, ended service in 2020. When a mobile game “ends service,” it ceases to exist. You cannot play Mobius Final Fantasy in any form. A bland character in a nonexistent game cannot be expected to go far in any list that isn’t specifically about bland characters in nonexistent games. Even if he does look kind of like a Skyrim blacksmith.
28. Otto Cid Bekenstein (FF Mystic Quest)
It’s pretty cool that Otto Cid Bekenstein operates a device called the Rainbow Road Machine. Unfortunately, the Rainbow Road Machine has nothing to do with Super Mario. And, tragically, Otto Cid Bekenstein is stuck in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a game specifically designed to target younger audiences in America by trimming every mechanic down to its bare components, including battles, story, and exploration. If Otto was cool in any way, he might have risen above the constraints of his world. But when your ultimate goal is to reach a location as trite-sounding (and trite in truth) as Spencer’s Place, you belong on TGIF.
27. Cid (Final Fantasy)
By contrast, the Cid found in the original Final Fantasy hails from a somewhat more interesting world than Mystic Quest‘s but is let down completely by the fact that he’s been dead for a really long time. Now, being dead for a really long time doesn’t stop every fictional character from popping up anyway. But in this Final Fantasy Cid’s case, he’s such an afterthought that it breaks his ranking entirely. In fact, when I call him an afterthought I’m being completely literal. He isn’t in the original NES version of the game at all. He was added in later ports for parity with the rest of the series. He’s mentioned in passing as the inventor of the world’s only airship by a random NPC in a single sentence. Not a great look, but we get it.
26. Cid (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers)
This man’s head is a horticultural abomination. He’s a talking flower and the game he’s in is bad. He’s only managed to get this far because he’s been up against even worse iterations. Harvest this thing and cook it with a little olive oil until tender.
25. Cid (Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light)
My man The 4 Heroes of Light Cid lives in a windmill and has zero impact on the main story. This Cid’s got so little going for him that only the wordiest of Leo Tolstoy-esques could hope to pen a complete paragraph about him. The one dope thing this Cid does, that nets him 25th in the ranking, is that he’ll tell you how long you’ve been playing the game. I could just as easily check my Nintendo DS settings for that answer, but at least he tries.
24. Cid Raines (FFXIII, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII)
The commander of the Wide-Area Response Brigade, which is never pronounced “WARB” because I guess Final Fantasy XIII‘s writers are allergic to fun, Cid Raines has the unfortunate distinction of being a Final Fantasy XIII character. To be fair, some FFXIII characters are pretty cool. Lightning, Fang, and Sazh occupy a special place in my heart entitled “video game people who manage to avoid being weighed down entirely by being stuck in bad video games.” Cid Raines might have a weatherly connotation to his name, but he’s no Lightning. This guy is like the dude who owes you a dollar in high school, but you forget that he exists, and then one day toward the end of college he shows back up and demands that you pay him a dollar. He makes no sense and thinks that’s your fault somehow. He pops up briefly in Lightning Returns, probably still wanting that buck back.
23. Cid (FF Record Keeper)
Final Fantasy Record Keeper is the FF gacha that keeps gacha-ing. It’s been around since 2014 and is still going strong; seven years with no signs of slowing down is basically an eternity in the mobile gacha space. It’s like a Netflix show going for seven seasons. Yes, I realize it’s happened. But some of those seasons sucked. Some of Record Keeper‘s seasons also suck, with hardly any new characters to slobber over and challenge battles that feel like they weren’t beta-tested. Some of the game’s seasons are good, though! With lots of new characters. And fun challenge battles! But Cid himself, much like any other original face in Final Fantasy Record Keeper, is kind of a lamer with a ranking that reflects it.
22. Cid (FF Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift)
I’ve noticed over the years that way more people played the first Final Fantasy Tactics Advance than its sequel, which is a bit of a shame because narrative aside Grimoire of the Rift is superior in almost every way. The DS sold bucketloads more units than the Game Boy Advance, too, so at a glance, I find this rather puzzling! Then again, the GBA didn’t have nearly as many hot JRPGs to haggle over, so I guess Grimoire got lost in the annals. Well, whatever. The only other thing I can think of that the first Advance did better than A2 is Cid. Indeed, the sequel Cid is a totally different fellow and he’s OK at best. Inoffensive? He leads Clan Gully and I admire his hair. But his outfit is so off-putting that he has got to go.
21. Mogcid (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King)
We’re quickly running out of spinoff Cids but I promise at least one will make it far. Mogcid narrowly misses the top 20 despite his singular status as a Cid who is also a moogle. In another Final Fantasy, a better Final Fantasy, a moogle Cid would inspire a far higher ranking. But Mogcid gets shafted with My Life as a King, which is even worse than The Crystal Bearers. Sorry, kupo.
20. Cid (FFII)
Given that the first Final Fantasy‘s Cid was added years after its release, this Cid is technically the franchise’s inaugural mechanically-inclined man. He’s kind of cool. Final Fantasy II in general is “kind of cool.” There’s a darker story here than many expect going into it and I suggest checking out its Pixel Remaster if you’ve never given it a shot. Sure, the leveling system is wonky. And yes, the protagonists speak about six lines all game. (Guy speak Beaver is an amazing piece of dialogue, however.) Sure enough, that’s why FFII Cid doesn’t go farther; though I reckon a bloke with this much swag would do well in more… talkative entries.
19. Cid (FF Dimensions)
Man, what is it with all these Cids who lack surnames? I could crank out another article ranking surname-less Cids alone. (I won’t.) This Cid looks like one of those Zeon captains who can’t believe how powerful the Gundam is, expresses exasperation upon realizing that the Gundam is piloted by a minor, and then explodes whilst screaming “Gundam.” If you don’t get the reference, that’s fine; there’s a decent chance you’ve never played Dimensions, anyway. You know, though, come to think of it, my cross-franchise analogy pretty much sums up Final Fantasy Dimensions‘ Cid ranking to a tee. He’s a recurring antagonist who is rude and wears a green trenchcoat. He’s fine.
18. Cid Haze (FFIII, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade)
You’d think a Cid who’s in four games would rank higher, but his ranking reflects his passable, unremarkable personality across the board. Still, he’s got a couple of things going for him. He’s the first Cid to name an airship like he’s some kind of Star Trek engineer. He uses something called the Wheel of Time in the crafting of the aforementioned airship. I willfully and stubbornly opt to ignore the fact that Final Fantasy III came out in 1989, one year before Robert Jordan’s first Wheel of Time novel, “Eye of the World,” and will faithfully pretend that’s a pop culture reference.
17. Cid (FF Explorers)
Explorers is Square Enix’s greatest effort to emulate Capcom’s Monster Hunter series. The fact that only one entry exists, and it’s been seven years since its release, suggests that maybe it didn’t do very well. Players who don’t find the game’s core cycle as monotonous as I do can boast 100+ hours of gameplay, but Explorers never quite clicked for me. Nor is its Cid all that impressive, but he’s a funny enough lout considering how little he actually does. He’s your go-to guy for tutorials as well as the exams necessary to pursue new job classes (think Fire Emblem). This Cid survived the first 13 eliminations primarily on the flaws of his lesser selves.
16. Cid Previa (FFV)
We’re beginning to slide into the Final Fantasy Cid rankings that cover the mid-range — men of decent caliber whose eliminations are somewhat harder to choose between. Cid Previa’s a likable old fellow with a grandson named Mid who shares the spotlight. (I’d like to believe Cid’s son/Mid’s father was named Hid, and he doesn’t show up in-game because he’s in hiding.) Cid and Mid build the Fire-Powered Ship, which, yes, is a proper noun and hence gets capitalized. They also fix an ancient airship up so that she’s good as new. Nice people. Cid Previa goes on to appear in a four-part anime called Legend of the Crystals, which actually isn’t terrible.
15. Cid Randell (FF Tactics Advance)
Most folks who have played Final Fantasy Tactics Advance have enjoyed the game overall but lamented how its rigid “Judge System” restricts the gameplay, often unnecessarily. In most fights, Judges will show up and dictate that a certain weapon type cannot be used, or a particular magic spell, restorative item… you get the picture. Defy their orders and you’ll pay a price. Cid Randell is Judgemaster — a master among Judges if you will. He is a smug bastard and the father of a kid named Mewt who is, get this, rather softspoken. I like Cid Randell primarily because the Ivalice of the first Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a dream world; in the real world, Randell is a drunken father who mourns the passing of his Mewt’s mother. It’s a pretty inspired twist for a game without many twists.
14. Cid “Veritas of the Heavens” (Final Fantasy Brave Exvius)
You know you’re in trouble when you’re up against antagonists who go by names like “Veritas of the Heavens.”Brave Exvius is another mobile gacha game. It’s not bad for what it is. It’s available on the Amazon App Store even though most single-player Final Fantasy games aren’t. So, that’s rude. But whatever, it’s a decent enough little game. And its Cid is a decent enough guy, too. I’m going to admit it though: the only reason he’s gotten this far is that he looks like my middle school soccer coach… if my middle school soccer coach ever put aside ball-kicking in favor of polearms. Who says looks alone can’t get you far?
13. Cid (World of Final Fantasy)
Cid is a robot in World of Final Fantasy. He’s a cute robot who does cute things but insists that he’s a human being. He’s like a robot version of a cat from a popular teen angst melodrama. Hilariously, the game lampshades the fact that this Cid isn’t very important by containing — and this is canon — a passage about how he was only written in because there’s a Cid in every Final Fantasy. Now, call me crazy, but that little wink makes me smile enough for beep-boop over here to make it all the way to 13th place.
12. Cid (FFX, FFX-2)
And the award for best Cid whose parents never bothered issuing him a last name goes to Final Fantasy X Cid, whose ranking is nod-worthy if nothing else. I suppose we should cut the guy a break, though; Spira is about as anti-surname as Dan Quayle is poorly-spoken. The Al Bhed are a cool faction of outsiders whose tinkering skills are looked down upon by the religious zealots populating the rest of the realm, and their arc is one of my favorites in what is a truly great video game. Cid himself, however, just isn’t very interesting relative to his daughter Rikku. He gets even less interesting in X-2, but then, so do most characters.
11. Cid Sophiar (FFXV)
Cid Sophiar has the obnoxious tendency to reminisce on his past in just such a manner that it makes things seem like Final Fantasy XV‘s story and lore are better-constructed than they truly are, but I live for those little moments when disappointing plots can momentarily masquerade as meeting expectations so I won’t hold it against him. He’s an old folk and a car mechanic whose granddaughter’s name is Cidney in Japanese and Cindy overseas. Why did the localization team remove the “Cid” from her name? We almost could have had 31 candidates instead of 30. Then again, this is already pushing it. As for Ol’ Sophiar, I simply have a soft spot for him. He fought in a handful of old battles with some cool side characters. He’s whittling away the remainder of his days at a gas station. I feel it.
10. Cid Aulstyne (FF Type-0)
Imperial Marshal Cid Aulstyne is a no-good, very bad dictator with a chip on his shoulder that leads to world domination. On paper, that’s cliche; in execution, it’s… well, it’s admittedly somewhat cliche. But he’s a genuinely clever man with a legitimately clever plan. His characterization culminates with the fulfillment of his Focus, which is a term borrowed from Final Fantasy XIII so you would think it’s both convoluted and dire. As it happens, in this case, it’s merely convoluted! Cid even gets to be the final boss, though of course at that point he’s basically become a god because this wouldn’t be Final Fantasy otherwise.
9. Cid of Bastok (FFXI)
Technically he’s only listed as Cid, but Final Fantasy XI‘s Cid is referenced as “Cid of Bastok” or “Cid from Bastok” in so many interviews that we’re sprucing up his name unofficially today. (Besides, I’ve heard the Al Bhed Cid gets really angry when he loses things.) Cid’s at the heart of a plethora of quests in the franchise’s first (and amazingly, still kickin’) MMO, and he plays a crucial role in its excellent Chains of Promathia expansion. He looks a bit like Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor from a certain point of view. Ultimately, he’s a nifty dude with some nifty story bits whose niftiness cracks the top 10 but doesn’t push him into the loftiest clouds ahead.
8. Cid Pollendina (FFIV, FFIV -Interlude-, FFIV: The After Years)
Pollendina’s the rare treat of a Final Fantasy IV character whose subsequent appearances in the game’s unfortunate sequels don’t damage his image over much. (No, seriously, they’re not good.) Heavily bearded and likely inebriated, Cid Pollendina is the father of heroine Rosa Joanna Farrell, who is only ever called “Rosa” in-game because I guess Joanna and Farrell are too plain for Square Enix, huh? Rude. Cid is willing to be imprisoned for treason when his king starts behaving shadily, but he’s also the bloke who built every airship in the king’s fleet. Painfully aware of it, he drops out of one particular airship holding a bomb that blows up in bad guys’ faces, presumably putting Pollendina down for the count. He pops up later on despite the likelihood that he was holding the bomb when it went off while falling thousands of feet down toward the earth and manages to heal up enough to show up as the best man at Rosa’s wedding to the main protagonist Cecil Harvey. That is peak extra.
7. Cid Fabool IX (FFIX)
Coming in 7th is the ninth in a long line of Fabools. We don’t know much about any of the previous Fabools, but I have a hunch they’re all bad at spelling. Final Fantasy IX is sort of weird to think about these days because its melancholy fantasy setting and the return of the Crystals as a big part of the plot were meant to evoke feelings of nostalgia toward older FF entries. It was like taking a trip back in time after the steampunk FFVI, the cyberpunk FFVII, and the CW-punk FFVIII had all moved increasingly wayward of dungeons and dragons. What makes things odd now, at least to me, is that the game came out in 2000, 13 years into the franchise lifespan, but there have been a whopping 21 years since then.
Time is weird. Do you know who else is weird? Cid Fabool IX. The guy rules a powerful kingdom but looks like a total dweeb because his ex-wife, upon discovering he’s had an affair, justifiably turns him into a diminutive one-off creature called an oglop. Incredibly, an attempt to transform Cid back into a person turns him into a frog instead. Even more incredibly, you get to play as that frog in a stealth-based sequence later on.
6. Cid Del Norte Marguez (FFVI)
Whether or not you subscribe to the doctrine that states the man has a banana on top of his head, there’s no doubting the coolness of Del Norte Marquez. Like much of Final Fantasy VI‘s cast, Cid will tug at heartstrings in the midst of a ludicrous yet heartfelt story about love, hate, and the occasional yeti. It’s Cid’s fault that the cruel Gestahlian Empire has become a global superpower, and even wicked, megalomaniacal Kefka is a test subject of his. It’s patently obvious that the man has a ton to atone for, but that crisis of conscience is the spark that leads him on a path toward some measure of redemption.
Realizing his life’s work is killing innocent beings is the tipping point, but bearing witness to the strength of resolve from ex-Imperial general Celes Chere is what pushes him to the brink. After the world is ravaged, a sickly Cid can be saved by feeding him a few good fish. I, however, am a monster who lets him die because I believe there is more impact in his death than him just sticking around on an island for the rest of the game. Sorry-not-sorry.
5. Cid Kramer (FFVIII)
If the late Robin Williams’ life can be linked to a single video game reference, it’s obviously going to be Zelda. But if Williams can be linked to two, the other is clearly Cid Kramer from Final Fantasy VIII. As people, they don’t share much in common; in appearance, it couldn’t be more obvious that character designer Tetsuya Nomura was binge-watching Robin Williams movies at the time. But you know, Williams is a legend. Go for it, I say.
Cid Kramer is ex-husband to antagonist Edea, a cunning sorceress with a massive pharaonic decoration of some kind floating over her head because Final Fantasy, I guess. The headmaster of Balamb Garden, a delightful slice-of-life academy that serves hot dogs and teaches teenagers to become mercurial killing machines, Kramer is not only a nice person but he even hands you a magic lamp that can summon forth a diabolical being hellbent on slaughtering you if you’re not careful. See? Just like Aladdin. Just like Robin Williams.
4. Cidolfus Orlandeau (FF Tactics, FFXIV)
Don’t let the wild word “Cidolfas” fool you into thinking this old Obi-Wan is any sort of doofus. A close friend of hero Ramza Beoulve’s father, Orlandeau has been kicking ass and taking equally wild names for decades by the time Final Fantasy Tactics begins, and this Cid ranking would be even higher if the remaining Cids weren’t so dang rad. People in his native Ivalice have been known to call him “Thunder God” Cid. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about how powerful he is, there’s also the fact that in a strategy-oriented turn-based isometric RPG, Cid and Cid alone can probably tank the final boss without much trouble. You’d think he’d rank lower on account of sheer over-the-top goofiness, but Orlandeau is too suave and stalwart for that nonsense. He appears again briefly in Final Fantasy XIV‘s own rendition of Ivalice because nothing stops this man from cheesing his ranking. Naturally, he is tough.
3. Cidolfus Demen Bunansa (FFXII)
Speaking of Cidolfuses (Cidolfi?) Ivalice creator Yasumi Matsuno’s other Cid is somehow even better than the first one. Dr. Cid is a whipsmart scientist who serves the sprawling Archadian Empire in various technological capacities because if there’s an Empire in a Final Fantasy game there’s a pretty good chance there will be a Cid in its ranks. Cid’s pursuits have less to do with world conquest and more with reclaiming free will for mankind, a massive undertaking that — naturally — involves enough atrocities that the means don’t justify the end.
He appears to be downright mad, and to a point that’s apt; but rather than talking to himself, he is in fact in communication with an unseen creature lending its aid to his cause. What makes Bunansa so wonderful, however, is not the plot he plays a role in. Heck, I’d go so far as to say there are a few missed opportunities for him in the story, which simply highlights how flawed Final Fantasy XII‘s narrative can be. But his scriptwriting is crisp. Every line drips with untamed genius, every glance from his character model feels meaningful. Say what you will about FFXII, but don’t say anything bad within earshot of this guy.
2. Cid Highwind (FFVII, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII)
Only the most ardently anti-FFVII fans would refrain from ranking Final Fantasy VII‘s Cid Highwind at least somewhere near the top. Given that I am a big fan of the game (as well as its ongoing Remake series, which Cid has sadly not yet made his debut in), the chain-smoking cap’n very nearly goes for the gold. Much has been said about Cid Highwind’s unforgettably profanity-laden dialogue filled with fun. Plenty has been written about his ace piloting skills and flippant behavior. What I personally adore about Highwind is that he’s basically Zefram Cochrane. Despite the grit in his personality that’s been forged from living in a cruel and unjust world, Cid and Zefram both dream of space. In Zefram’s case, it’s a scattered post-WWIII society (and a Borg assault, I suppose) that almost pulls him down to earth; in Cid’s, it’s the nefarious Shinra Electric Power Company. In both instances, dreamers emerge from the dredges, rocketing into the stars and helping to save the world while they’re at it.
1. Cid nan Garlond (FFXIV)
And finally, our #1. I’m a single-player RPG fan at heart. It took me years before I finally gave FFXIV the time of day despite constantly hearing people brag about its story. And honestly, the story doesn’t even start out all that grand. (The worldbuilding, on the other hand, is peerless from the get-go.) But when it gets there, it gets there, and Cid nan Garlond earns his Final Fantasy ranking because he not only plays a role in getting there — he’s a gem of a character from thereon out. A defector (natch) of the evil Garlean Empire (natch), Cid is (natch) an engineering mastermind and (natch) the inventor of Magitek and airships.
What separates nan Garlond from other, similar Cids is the writing. Every step of the way, from a forlorn man hiding among monks to a redeemed hero to a recurring narrative trump card, Cid nan Garlond is growing. He’s changing. He’s developing, but always maintaining his core, his dry wit, and insatiable thirst for technological progress. He evolves, as real human beings evolve. That is the advantage that Final Fantasy XIV has over every other game in the franchise — its starring cast has been around for so many years now that they have well and truly grown. It’s not unlike watching a long-running serialized fantasy television drama. Except this will probably get a better ending.