5 of the best Square Enix Frenemies

Friends, enemies… something in between? We celebrate some of the greatest frenemies in Square Enix games.
Autor Duncan Heaney

Love and friendship’s all well and good, but a frenemy often makes for more interesting company.

You know what we’re talking about - two characters who drive each other crazy, or exist on opposing sides, but whose lives are intertwined by an unbreakable bond.

This Valentine’s Day, we wanted to do something a little different and celebrate some of our fondest frenemies. Because while they may bicker and battle, they’re mostly bound by the same thing: love.


Tony Stark and Bruce Banner - Marvel’s Avengers

If you’ve ever had a bad day, spare a thought for the Avengers. A-Day, a celebration of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, quickly descends into chaos and tragedy, as a massive explosion destroys much of San Francisco.

But it’s not just the city that takes a critical hit - the Avengers’ relationships do too, and none more so than Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. As the world turns on the heroes, the two friends butt heads over the big question: are the Avengers dangerous?

For Bruce, they are and his public admission as such is the ultimate betrayal for Tony. The two go their separate ways, friends and allies no longer.

…at least until Kamala Khan comes along and reunites the pair. They are… less than pleased to see each other and that tension continues to simmer throughout the single player campaign.

Beyond all the hostility, anger and trademark Stark snark though, the two still share a bond. Although they disagree - often violently - they still care about each other a great deal. You know they’ll have each other’s backs when the world needs it most because when all’s said and done, they’re more than frenemies - they’re Avengers.


FINAL FANTASY XV - Ardyn and Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto

As the Chancellor for the Niflheim Empire, Ardyn Izunia should be at odds with Noctis and his entourage - after all, they’re on opposing sides of the conflict. Yet each time he pops up in the story, that’s not the case.

The heroes know that there’s something… off about the fedora-topped fop, but he’s oddly charming and undeniably helpful. He removes roadblocks for them, helps them escape the army when they’re in trouble, and even gives them a lift where they need to go in his convertible.

It’s clear he has an agenda, but Ardyn still makes for a compelling and oddly likeable presence.

So when his façade finally drops, the sheer cruelty and viciousness comes a genuine shock. Not so much a frenemy, now he’s a sadistic horror who tortures the group physically and psychologically.

… yeah, we’re summoning Umbra and heading back to Lucis. We like Ardyn more when he’s in frenemy mode.


Lara and Ana - Rise of the Tomb Raider

It’s already a bit weird when you meet your father’s new girlfriend, but when she turns out to be a spy for a sinister secret society? Yeah, that’s awkward.

Ana dated Lara’s father and has become part of the young adventurer’s life - the two enjoy a friendly, familial relationship. What Lara doesn’t know is that Ana secretly works for Trinity, charged with keeping tabs on Croft so she can lead them to the Divine Source… and eternal life.

Suffice to say, when Lara finds out, she’s furious.

But while Ana can be cold and calculating, she does genuinely care about Lara. She doesn’t want to kill her, and even tries to convert her to Trinity’s side. And despite Lara’s (quite understandable) rage, she’s conflicted about Ana - capturing rather than killing her, and visibly upset when she’s assassinated.

What can we say? Family’s complicated.


Squall and Siefer - FINAL FANTASY VIII

These two Balamb Garden students have a lot in common. For example, they both use gunblades, their social skills are… less than stellar, and they both have a thing for the same girl (which is pretty awkward when you think about it.

But rather than being pals, Squall and Seifer seem destined to be eternal rivals, constantly competing to be the best. That rivalry drives them to be among the most skilled students in the school, even if things do get out of hand at times - as their scars will attest.

Yet despite all that hostility, there is respect between the two. When Squall passes his SeeD exam, Seifer leads the applause, despite having just failed the same test himself (he has an amazing talent for self-sabotage).

In turn, Squall and his friends are saddened when Seifer sides with the sinister Sorceress over his classmates - and while his increasingly unhinged behavior escalates into full-blown chaos, he never considers him truly evil.


Zidane and Steiner - FINAL FANTASY IX

One’s a free-spirited thief who thumbs his nose at authority. One’s a high-strung knight who values queen and country above all else. Put them together and what do you get (other than the premise of an amazing sitcom)?

One of the most compelling relationships in FINAL FANTASY IX.

Zidane and Steiner constantly butt heads throughout the game. Steiner considers Zidane to be a skirt-chaser and a brigand who doesn’t treat people with appropriate respect - which in fairness is technically true. Zidane thinks Steiner is stuck-up, rusty and incapable of thinking for himself - again, pretty accurate.

But both are fundamentally good men, and as their journey together continues, their eyes start to open to the others’ viewpoint. Steiner realizes that blind adherence to orders is not necessarily just or honorable, while Zidane matures and starts to act more responsibility.

By the time the story ends, the two moved beyond the frenemy stage and become genuine friends. Even if Zidane will continue to tease Steiner from time to time.


So what do you think of our list? Which famous frenemies do you think should make the list? Share your thoughts with us on social media:

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