6 Square Enix characters who can’t help but raise a smile

These hilarious characters may not be the heroes of their games, but we love them all the same.
By Duncan Heaney

WARNING: Contains mild spoilers for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, the Deus Ex series, OCTOPATH TRAVELER, and FINAL FANTASY VI


As gamers, we spend a lot of time with the fate of the world in our hands.

But while being the hero is an important job, it doesn’t have to be a grim one. In fact, too much self-seriousness can be exhausting - sometimes you just need something that lightens the mood.

Fortunately, Square Enix games are full of rich characters who do just that. They may not be the heroes, but they entertain and amuse us and we love them for it just the same.

With that in mind, here are just a few of those characters that put a big grin on our faces:


Johnny - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

In most respects, Johnny is the polar opposite of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s main man Cloud Strife. While the merc is typically cool, collected and competent, Johnny is none of those things.

He appears throughout the game, but his shining moment takes place in Chapter 9. As you explore the many memorable sights and sounds of Wall Market, you’ll constantly run into Johnny.

The brash and bumbling himbo is on a parallel path to the heroes. He visits the same spots and shares the same goals, but without the benefit of common sense it doesn’t work out well for him.

He’s thrown out of the hand massage parlor for being a deadbeat, forcibly ejected from the Honeybee Inn, and his attempts to compete at the Corneo Coliseum leave him with more than a bruised ego.

Yet for all his incompetence, there’s something endearing about his sheer bone-headed enthusiasm. When he hears that his beloved Tifa’s in trouble, he throws himself whole-heartedly into a quest to save her.

it fails miserably of course, because… Johnny, but it’s hard not to like the poor sap. He may be short of brains, but he at least has heart.


Z’aanta - OCTOPATH TRAVELER

The master hunter Z’aanta is an interesting case because although he’s not in OCTOPATH TRAVELLER for long, he makes an impression.

He lives deep in the woodlands, in the town of S'warkii, where he mentors the playable character H’aanit in the ways of the hunt. From that description (and the fact that his name sounds a bit like Santa), you might assume that Z’aanta is a wise and dependable role model, but you would be wrong.

Actually, he’s a little bit unsavoury. He gambles heavily - and usually loses, and has a carefree attitude that belies his age and experience. Rather than providing H’aanit with sage advice, it’s usually his student who has to look after him.

And although H’aanit does do her best to keep her surrogate father on the straight and narrow, it’s a losing battle. Still, there’s a clear love and respect between the two all the same.


Ultros - FINAL FANTASY VI

This recurring boss from FINAL FANTASY VI is petty, belligerent… oh and a giant purple octopus. Should have probably led with that.

You first meet the tentacled terror during a raft ride - he pops up out of the water, eager to chow down on some delicious human flesh. He’s promptly defeated and flees into the depths - a resounding victory for the team (at least until Sabin decides it’s a good idea to attack a river and gets washed away).

Each subsequent encounter gets more and more ridiculous. Ultros pops up again during the famous opera scene, bitter and seeking revenge. He doesn’t succeed in disrupting proceedings - the heroes just work his appearance into the plot. After getting beaten up in front of a paying audience, Ultros is forced to flee again.

Things don’t get better for him from there. He gets distracted mid-fight by having his portrait done by a child, his friend literally sneezes him off of an airship and late into the game, he faces the ultimate humiliation - he has to get a job.

FINAL FANTASY VI can be a dark, dramatic game, but it never loses its sense of fun. ‘Uncle Ulty’ is a perfect example of that - he’s silly, crazy, and completely hilarious.


Bonanzo - DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2

This green-thumbed resident in DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 has a big beard and a bigger dream: to be mayor of an island.

Unfortunately for him, nobody else shares that dream.

You first encounter Bonanzo on Furrowfield - one of the first islands you’ll visit in the story. Like many in the game’s world, he lives in fear of the destructive Children of Hargon, and resists your quest to bring life and creativity back to the land.

But he can only hold out so long before the spirit of farming awakens within him, and he becomes one of your staunchest allies - and self-appointed father figure, whether you like it or not.

He’s a useful chap to have around, willing to chip in with building projects and even battles, but that compliment is nothing compared to his opinion of himself. He’s haughty and self-aggrandizing and assumes that his candidacy for mayor is a given.

But it’s not - particularly because his big bushy facial features make many who meet him instantly wary. Even your BFF Malroth says that he doesn’t trust anyone with a beard.

He may not achieve his dream, and he may not be loved by the other residents, but he’s won our hearts. That’s why we built a lavish private bedroom just for him.

On top of a cliff, away from the other residents though. It’s probably for the best.


Frank Pritchard - Deux Ex: Human Revolution / Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Sarif Industries’ head of cyber-security Frank Pritchard has an… interesting relationship with augmented agent Adam Jensen. At first he’s not a fan - and Frank’s not one to hide his feelings.

Throughout the game, poor Adam - and by extension you - have to deal with amusingly snarky comments from the prickly Pritchard.

Get trigger happy during a mission, and he’ll show his disdain with a quip about Atilla the Hun. Proud of yourself for doing that perfect no-kill run of a mission? Frank’s there to burst your bubble with some bruisingly sarcastic remarks about your humanitarian approach.

And woe betide you if you go into the women’s toilet.

But over time, Frank and Adam develop an understanding. A respect starts to grow, and by the time of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the two have become allies - if not exactly friends.

His comments don’t get any less snippy though. And why would we want them to?


Hildibrand Manderville - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

As the Warrior of Light, you spend a lot of time in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online with the fate of the world on your shoulders. You’ll battle powerful creatures, explore vast dungeons, stand between warring nations... being the hero is a serious business.

At least it is until you run into Hildibrand Manderville. This… erm… unique detective calls himself an inspector extraordinaire, and in a way that’s accurate. He’s definitely not ordinary.

As a member of the affluent Manderville family, he’s noble in more ways than one. He wants to use his wealth to protect those less fortunate - he’s just not very good at it.

He lacks even basic deductive skills, his disguise skills are… misguided, he’s terrible at shadowing suspects, and he has a weird compunction to pose dramatically at every opportunity.

His naïve assistant Nashu isn’t much better - between the two of them, there’s not a case they can’t bungle. It’s a good thing you’re around to help him out.


Those were just six characters who bring us mirth and merriment, but what do you think? Which NPCs brighten your day? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter:

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