Balthier

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Balthier
Final Fantasy and Ivalice character
Balthier.png
Balthier in Final Fantasy XII
First appearance Final Fantasy XII (2006)
Last appearance Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (2007)
Created by Yasumi Matsuno
Designed by Akihiko Yoshida
Voiced by Gideon Emery (English)
Hiroaki Hirata (Japanese)
Information
HomeArchades
QuickeningElement of Treachery

Balthier(バルフレア,Barufurea) is a 22-year-old fictional character in the Final Fantasy series, and a protagonist in Final Fantasy XII . He was designed by Akihiko Yoshida, was voiced by Gideon Emery and Hiroaki Hirata in the English and Japanese versions respectively, and is one of the most positively received characters of the game, compared by some to the likes of James Bond and Han Solo.

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

<i>Final Fantasy XII</i> video game

Final Fantasy XII is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 home video console. A part of the Final Fantasy series, the game was released in 2006. It introduced several innovations to the series: an open world; a seamless battle system; a controllable camera; a customizable "gambit" system, which lets the player control the artificial intelligence (AI) of characters in battle; a "license" system, which determines what abilities and equipment can be used by characters; and a hunting side quest, which allows the player to find and defeat increasingly difficult monsters in the game's open world. Final Fantasy XII also includes elements from previous games in the series, such as Chocobos and Moogles.

Akihiko Yoshida is a Japanese game artist. Yoshida was born in 1967 and joined Square Co. in 1995, before the company merged with Enix. He then left Square Enix in September 2013 and became freelance. On October 2014, he became the company director of CyDesignation, a subsidiary of Cygames. He is well known for his work on the Final Fantasy series. He is a frequent collaborator of game designer Yasumi Matsuno.

Contents

In Final Fantasy XII, he is a sky pirate who is accompanied by a member of the fictional Viera species, Fran. While attempting to steal the "Goddess's Magicite", they encounter protagonist Vaan, who had already stolen it. This coincidence entangles them into the main plot of Final Fantasy XII. His birth name is Ffamran mied Bunansa, and he is the estranged son of Doctor Cid, one of the game's primary antagonists. Balthier later appears in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and in a cameo appearance in Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions .

Vaan fictional character

Vaan is a fictional character in the Final Fantasy series from Square Enix. Created by Yasumi Matsuno and designed by Akihiko Yoshida, he first appeared in Itadaki Street Special and then appeared in Final Fantasy XII as the protagonist. Final Fantasy XII establishes Vaan as an orphaned teenager from Rabanastre who dreams of becoming a sky pirate. He and his best friend Penelo join Dalmasca Princess Ashe in her fight against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire. Vaan also takes a more active role in the sequel Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and has also been featured in few Final Fantasy crossover games.

<i>Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings</i> video game

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is a real-time tactical role-playing game developed by Think & Feel and Square Enix who also published the game for the Nintendo DS. It is a sequel to the 2006 PlayStation 2 role-playing video game Final Fantasy XII.

A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance or voice part of a well known person in a work of the performing arts. These roles are generally small, many of them non-speaking ones, and are commonly either appearances in a work in which they hold some special significance or renowned people making uncredited appearances. Short appearances by celebrities, film directors, politicians, athletes or musicians are common. A crew member of the movie or show playing a minor role can be referred to as a cameo as well, such as Alfred Hitchcock's frequently performed cameos.

Character design

Balthier was designed by Akihiko Yoshida, who has stated that the character is his favorite from Final Fantasy XII since the character is based on "someone I admire." [1] Balthier has been called a "completely original character" by Yoshida, having not used any previous Final Fantasy character as a reference. [1] In an interview, Yoshida stated that all the characters of Final Fantasy XII were designed with a focus on creating an aesthetic found nowhere in the real world. [2] The armor of the Judges, which Balthier had been, were designed as a combination of historical armor, mountain bike gear, and futuristic ideas. [2] During the making of the game, there were some issues with the character's faces; In one scene Balthier asked Vaan how he was feeling which brought laughter to the staff because in that scene Vaan's face was poorly modelled. In retrospective, Square Enix members found Balthier as an appealing character and jokingly stated Vaan would need an entire decade to surpass him. [3] Balthier was also meant to appear in another Final Fantasy XII game where the character would appear within the game's climax to assist its protagonists, Ashe and Basch, but the game was cancelled. [4]

Attributes

For Final Fantasy XII, Balthier was voiced by Gideon Emery in English and Hiroaki Hirata in Japanese. Emery commented that while voicing the character of Balthier, he developed a "small crush" on Fran, Balthier's partner. He also commented that the biggest challenge of voicing Balthier was having to stay consistent, adding that he spent more than four hours in a small booth while doing the voice, which could cause him to "drift away from the character" if he goes on for too long. He also described him as being similar to the character. [5] Emery auditioned for Balthier, seeing him after he did this and "instantly fell in love with the character". He described him as a cross between Han Solo, James Bond, and Jack Sparrow, citing suave yet cocky attitude. He was thankful that he was not aware of Balthier's popularity since his reveal, stating that he would have been "crippled by the fear of not delivering on what the fans expected". He stated that he took no inspiration from anyone else for the role, wanting to ensure that he was unique. Instead, he cited the pictures and animation of the character as his inspiration. Emery cited Jack Fletcher, the voice director, as a great help in voicing the character and setting up the scene for him. [5] To give Final Fantasy XII a Western feel, Balthier's movements were recorded by a Western motion capture actor. [6]

Gideon Emery British actor

Gideon Emery is an English actor, singer and voice actor. He is best known for his role as Deucalion in Teen Wolf and for providing voice-over work in video games, television series and films.

Hiroaki Hirata is a Japanese actor, voice actor and narrator. He is the founder of Hirata Production.

Han Solo Character from the Star Wars universe

Han Solo is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise, who is a pilot from the planet Corellia. A primary character in the original film trilogy, Han is the captain of the Millennium Falcon, along with his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, whereby both pilots became involved in the Rebel Alliance's struggle against the Galactic Empire. During the course of the Star Wars narrative, Han becomes a chief figure in the Alliance and the love interest of Princess Leia. In the sequel trilogy, Han is Leia's estranged husband and the father of fallen Jedi Kylo Ren.

Balthier is a Hume sky pirate who pilots the Strahl, a small airship, around the skies of Ivalice. VideoGamer.com editor Greg Vallentin made a similar comparison, calling him a "Han Solo-like sky pirate". [7] 1UP.com editor Jeremy Parish compared Balthier to Albus, one of the characters from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia , stating that they share a physical resemblance. [8]

<i>1UP.com</i> American entertainment website

1UP.com is an American entertainment website that focused on video games. Launched in 2003, 1UP.com provided its own original features, news stories, game reviews, and video interviews, and also featured comprehensive PC-focused content. Like a print magazine, 1UP.com also hosted special week-long "online cover stories" that presented each day a new in-depth feature story, interview with the developers, game screenshot gallery, game video footage, and/or video of the game studio and creators.

<i>Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia</i> video game

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a platform-adventure game and the third Nintendo DS installment of the Castlevania franchise. Directed by Akihiro Minakata, with long time producer Koji Igarashi returning. It is the last action-adventure Castlevania game that Igarashi produced. The plot involves Shanoa, who is part of an organization set to defeat Dracula after the Belmont clan has vanished.

Appearances

Final Fantasy XII

Balthier and his companion, Fran, prefer to remain outside the war between the kingdoms of Ivalice. [9] However, their attempt to steal the Goddess's Magicite—later revealed to be the Dusk Shard—from the Dalmascan Royal Palace goes bad; Vaan steals it first, and, caught in the fray of a rebel assault against the Imperial Palace, Balthier and Fran find themselves embroiled in the conflict against Archadia. Born as Ffamran mied Bunansa(ファムラン・ミド・ブナンザ,Famuran Mido Bunanza), [10] he is the son of Dr. Cid (Cidolfus Demen Bunansa), though he grew weary of his father's madness and obsession with nethicite. Although Cid had made him an Imperial Judge, Ffamran eventually decided to cut his ties with his father and his role as a judge, becoming a sky pirate under a new name. [11] With this new career change, Balthier amounted a sizable bounty on his head, attracting the attention of bounty hunters such as Ba'Gamnan. Unfortunately for Balthier, it took him a while to realize he'd been following his father in pursuing nethicite while he served in the resistance. [12] Though he makes peace with his father prior to his death, Balthier goes with the group to destroy the Sky Fortress Bahamut as penance for his father's deeds. Balthier claims to be the "leading man" of the story many times throughout the game, and insists that this status makes him invincible. [13] Though never blatantly said a romantic relationship between Fran and Balthier is heavily suggested. During the final fight on the Sky Fortress Bahamut, Fran is badly injured and Balthier refuses to abandon her. While cradling her in his arms the ship crashes with them inside. They remain out of contact until they retrieve the Strahl back from Vaan and Penelo a year later, leaving a note for the new Queen Ashe which held her wedding ring that she used to purchase his services. [14]

Other games

Both he and Fran intend on finding the Cache of Glabados, which is resolved in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings when it turns out to be tied to Eternal. Balthier was at first intent to take Lemures' treasure, the Auracite, but knew the truth behind it and attempted to destroy the Auralith, eventually rejoining Vaan's group to fight the Judge of Wings, letting Vaan be the "leading man" while he himself leaves the limelight. [15] He makes a crossover appearance in Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions . He was the first cameo character they added to War of the Lions, with co-producer Shingo Kosuge stating that it was not a conscious decision to add continuity to the Ivalice story. [16] He also appears in Itadaki Street Portable. [17] Balthier also reprises his role from Final Fantasy XII in the manga adaptation by Gin Amou. [18]

While Balthier himself doesn't appear in Final Fantasy XIV , players can acquire his attire via the Sky Pirate's Aiming gear set in the Return To Ivalice chapter The Orbonne Monastery. His Viera partner Fran also appears as a prominent non-playable character in the narrative. Producer Naoki Yoshida had expressed an interest in Balthier appearing in Final Fantasy XIV but the idea was ultimately scrapped. [19]

Merchandise

A Balthier figurine was sold randomly in Japanese sets of Final Fantasy XII characters. [20] Square Enix released a Sculpture Arts set of Balthier and Fran escaping the palace of Rabanastre in 2008. [21] A full-colored action figure of Balthier has also been displayed in the Square Enix Japan merchandise page. [22] [23]

Reception

Since his appearance in Final Fantasy XII, Balthier has received mostly positive reception. When he was first revealed, the fan response was very positive. [5] GameSpy's Justin Speer described him as a "clever-bastard type", praising his wry delivery. [24] GameSpot's Greg Kasavin called Balthier the best character in the game, describing him as the "Auron of the cast". [25] 1UP.com editor Jeremy Parish called Final Fantasy XII protagonist Vaan annoying, placing the duo of Balthier and Fran above him. [26] 1UP.com's Andrew Pfister stated Balthiers presence in Final Fantasy XII helped ease some fans dislike of the "angsty teen" behavior of the main character Vaan. [27] PSX Extreme editor Cavin Smith commented that while Vaan is the main character, he usually takes a back seat, adding that Balthier is the closest thing to a male lead. [28] For similar reasons, GameZone listed Balthier as the tenth best Final Fantasy character, emphasizing how Balthier becomes "as much the leading man as Vaan." [29] PALGN's Phil Larsen commented that though a lofty prediction, he expected that the duo of Balthier and Fran would "go down in history as one of the greatest duos of modern narrative storytelling". [30] Balthier ranked ninth on IGN's top 25 best Final Fantasy characters, ranking higher than any other character from Final Fantasy XII. Editor Dave Smith commented that he makes a "convincing case" that he is the main hero, upstaging fellow playable characters due to his "sharp looks and even sharper wit." [31] GamesRadar's AJ Glasser listed Balthier and Fran as one of her favourite Final Fantasy couples, describing theirs as being a well-balanced relationship. [32] Destructoid's Aaron Linde noted that few video game characters had both his intelligence and his common sense, and wished more male characters in gaming could be like him. [33]

Balthier has been compared to other characters in fiction. Simon Wigham of Console Obsession called Balthier his "favourite by quite a wide margin", comparing him to James Bond due to his "humorous lines". [34] RPGFan editor Stephen Harris compared his voice to that of Ian Fleming's depiction of Bond. [35] 1UP.com editor Andrew Pfister compared the duo of Balthier and Fran to that of Han Solo and Chewbacca, two characters from the Star Wars franchise, adding that they are far more interesting than any other character in the "modern FF era". [27] Gideon Emery's work as Balthier's English voice actor was acclaimed by Eurogamer writer Martin Robinson as one of the best ones from the entire game as "it's fascinating to think how the game's wider perception might have changed if he was placed as the leading man". [36] In August 2017, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age producer Hiroaki Katō discussed the possibilities of Balthier and Fran of having the their own spin-off games based on gamers' demands. [37]

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