Is Ardyn Izunia a good villain?
You’re probably thinking, if you’re asking this question, he probably isn’t. However, the Final Fantasy XV antagonist has more to him than meets the eye. It’s not unheard of for Final Fantasy villains, and even heroes, to have some secret backstory that leads them to their current adventure. Typically, it is slowly and carefully weaved into the main story, dishing out crucial information throughout. Final Fantasy XV is no exception, keeping Ardyn’s motives hidden, even to Noctis and his crew. Throughout the game, his motivations are slowly (and sometimes vaguely) explained.
I’ll split this into two parts so I don’t spoil anything if you haven’t completed Final Fantasy XV yet. No one likes spoilers.
As far as backstory goes, the Niflheim Empire, is one of a few on Eos. Using their army of Magitek soldiers, they have claimed all other nations, except Insomnia, protected by a Crystal powered by King Regis Lucis Caelum. Ardyn Izunia, is the chancellor to Iedolas Aldercapt, the Emperor of Niflheim. Ardyn is responsible for providing the Niflheim Army with Magitek Soldeirs, whilst also delving into politics. Throughout the game, he remains shrouded in mystery with foggy details being given about background Ardyn. Without spoiling anything, I can simply say, that to fully appreciate Ardyn, it’s best to mentally note the details you get and piece it together yourself. Only this way do you see him in his entirety, which I think is a failure that rests more on the story than the character himself.
If you’ve finished the game, or don’t mind knowing plot points from the story then read on. Or skip to the conclusion for a spoiler free summary.
What was Ardyns deal?
Upon finding out Ardyn Izuniais actually Ardyn Lucis Caelum, everything becomes clearer. Sure, you’re learning all this at the very end of the game in a big chunk, which is a enormous change of pace to the drip feeding of information leading up to the finale. When you put all the snippets of info you got so far, he’s got a pretty solid reason for being a Salty Sandra.
He is an ancestor of Noctis, who was rejected by the Astrals, the crystal, and I guess, his family. For a pretty shitty reason too. Ardyn was given the power to heal people affected by the Starscourge, a plague that causes people to become deamons. Ardyn would heal the afflicted, absorbing it unto himself, only ultimately banished for doing so. He becomes an immortal deamon, and is pissed at the world. As motive goes, I think he’s got good reason to be pissed off. His revenge is aimed on the Lucis bloodline, but he’d be happy if the world was buggered up as well. He gets what he want in the end too. So… Woo… go Ardyn?
Why does he help Niflheim Army as well as Noctis?
With Ardyn helping Nocits, even after unveiling his status within the Empire, he knowingly casts suspicion. Despite being the right hand to Iedolas Aldercapt, Ardyn shows no alliance to the Empire or Noctis. He is manipulating both parties to get what he wants, simply playing the puppet master, ultimately ending in eliminating the line of Lucis. His cool deamon-er (get it?) and quiet, yet not-so-subtle self-confidence created a strong, untrustworthy character. Ardyn twists a situation, manipulates circumstances that make him vital. With Niflheim it’s his power with deamons they require, with Noctis it’s information and aid. He certainly knows how to play his part convincingly enough to succeed in the end.
So many questions!
Despite learning the central information that Ardyn is from the Lucis blood line, there are lots of unanswered questions. How far back into Noctis’s Ancestry would we have to go until we reached him? When did he start his attack on the Lucis blood line? Was he an oracle like Lunafreya? He has similar abilities as her, such as being able to talk to the Astrals and being a healer. Luna even states at one point to her brother that her flesh is beginning to fail her. Would she become a deamon from healing others as Ardyn did? The answers to these questions could make or break him as a villain, which is down to the interpreter in the end.
If you were skipping the spoilers, it’s safe to read again. I promise.
So, is he any good?
He’s has a solid motive, making his hatred towards Noctis and the world understandable. The story fails Ardyn in a lot of ways. The story forms a good character but fails to explore his backstory in more depth, making him unlikely to stand out in the Final Fantasy Villians Vault. The story’s conclusion leaves more questions about Ardyn, but interesting ones to think about. Overall, I think he’s an worthy villain. He has a calm smugness to him, instead of a passive aggressive smugness. He plays his part well, only stirring things up when he needs to. In terms of story though, he can seem underwhelming.
What did you think of Final Fantasy XV? Did you like Ardyn? What unanswered questions did the game leave you with?
Leave a comment to let me know what you all think.