- Final Fantasy 12 is a fantasy JRPG developed and published by Square Enix.
- Final Fantasy 12’s original director, Yasumi Matsuno, finally shot down the long-running rumor that Basch was meant to be the main character instead of Vaan.
Yasumi Matsuno, the director behind Final Fantasy 12 and other influential JRPGs such as Tactics Ogre and Vagrant Story, finally shot down a longstanding rumor plaguing Final Fantasy 12 over its lead character for over a decade. According to Matsuno on Twitter, the rumor that Basch was supposed to be the main character of Final Fantasy 12 was a fake story.
That rumor is a fake story.
— 松野泰己 (@YasumiMatsuno) April 18, 2023
It’s a rumor that has been endlessly perpetuated over the years by fans and official outlets alike for a handful of reasons. The first of which is Vaan himself, compared to the rest of the cast that had huge stakes in the story, Vaan felt like he was solely just along for the ride without any massive emotional or personal determination in the story.
He stands out among the other characters in the party, especially Ashe and Basch, who are key players in the game’s story. Basch is a disgraced former soldier who clings to his duty and gives it precedence over his own life, and Ashe is a royal fugitive who fights to reclaim her rightful throne as the princess.
Compare this to Vaan, who was a young random thief who happened to stumble into the wrong place at the wrong time and just decided to stay to watch everyone else, and it’s an easy misconception to make. Over the years, Vaan generally has slowly become one of the most disliked FF protagonists. Thanks to his personality and his lack of any major involvement in the game’s story.
This is also something that personally lands at a fairly opportune time as I am currently going through my very first playthrough of Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age. I too had heard the rumor that Basch was originally supposed to be the main character, and it definitely impacted a lot of my own thoughts regarding Vaan.
That aside, the game itself is fantastic. It’s a rich, beautiful world filled with wonderous locales, interesting dungeons, and some of the best, most intricately detailed towns you’ll ever find in a JRPG. The writing and presentation are leagues above any prior Final Fantasy game and, to an extent, even surpass many of the later games in the series, particularly when it comes to how the cutscenes are acted and framed.
It is genuinely an often-underrated entry in the series that gets forgotten solely due to a relatively forgettable protagonist and its somewhat bizarre albeit really fun combat system. Definitely a game that more Final Fantasy fans owe it to themselves to actually go back and play, especially with the highly anticipated Final Fantasy 16 on the horizon.
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