What's in a name? There isn't a deep meaning in or literal connection between the dozen-plus Cids we've met through thirty years of Final Fantasy, but the name has become a Final Fantasy tradition alongside Moogles, Chocobos, and airships. Heck, most of the time those airships are discovered, invented, or piloted by a Cid. The following eight Cids are a few of the more memorable men of that name we've encountered over the decade, and by any other name, maybe they wouldn't be as sweet.
There's something very different about Cidolfus Demen Bunansa. Final Fantasy XII's Cid is the first in the main series to be a major antagonist. I was so used to Cid being the mentor character, the one that either tells you to "get a grip" or who gives you counsel and guidance, that encountering the mad Doctor Cid for the first time was unsettling in the best possible way. It's very uncomfortable for this series staple to become anything but the voice of reason or the comic relief, but this is proof it can be done with excellent results.
Like any good villain, Cid wasn't always evil: it was a chance encounter with the Nethicite, a crystal capable of absorbing enormous amounts of Mist. After encountering the Occurian Venat at Giruvegan, he gained the knowledge to help him to create what became known as manufactured nethicite. With his research, the kingdom of Archades gains a great deal of power in the seven years leading up to the events seen in the game. What makes this incarnation of Cid such a great addition to the family is his little ticks. While he still sticks to the wise old man template, someone who has years worth of knowledge on technology, he's unstable at the best of times. The game spends hours building up to Vaan's encounter with the mad doctor, revealing just snippets of his erratic personality, and when you finally meet him in the Draklor Laboratory, it's easily one of the most memorable moments in the game: his speeches combine flowery, Shakespearean language with the ramblings of a madman and everything that comes out of his mouth comes across as either poetry or a riddle. He is a once great genius who has tasted the sweet nectar of power, only to get drunk on it.
Many of Cid's speeches circle back to history, and Balthier in particular clings to these — mostly one from his earlier years, "History is built by our hands." It's clear from Cid's mannerisms why he embraces this philosophy. He wants to break away from the Occuria and shape the world as he, and Vayne, see fit. The power of the manufactured nethicite will allow him to do this. The only thing that bothers me about this Cid is that we don't see enough of him. The party encounters him twice in the main game and both of these are in the final third of the game. Regardless, Cidolfus Demen Bunansa remains one of the most memorable Cids in the entire series for changing the formula up so drastically, and leaves a lasting impression on players.
by Alana Hagues
The FFIV Cid checks most of the boxes of traditional Final Fantasy Cid characteristics: he's an engineer/inventor, he works wish airships, he sports lustrous facial hair, and he's a father or grandfather figure to a few characters. He's also one of the Cids that joins your team as a combatant, and is a real tough mofo in combat. In the later versions of Final Fantasy IV where a few characters rejoin the team for the final act, Cid maxes out Strength and Stamina stats long before Cecil or Kain.
FFIV's Cid stands out to me in large part because he has all four characteristics of a great Cid: He's an airship pilot, he's an inventor, he's a mentor, and he's a hard-hitting combatant. All future Cids are some combination of those. Cid seems like a comedy character at times, with his gruff demeanor and goofball personality, but he is beloved by his crew of mechanics and the other party members.
...which makes Cid's mid-game sacrifice all the more surprising. Cid deploys a bomb to seal off the entrance to the Underworld so the rest of the party can escape some enemy airships in pursuit, and even though he turns out okay, his loss comes as a shock. Cid is a teddy bear of a character who loves Cecil, Rosa, and Rydia like they're his own children or grandchildren (to the point where he's distrustful of Edge at their first meeting), and one of the best Cids of the classic Final Fantasy era.
by Michael Sollosi
Cid's Final Fantasy VII incarnation is, like FFVII itself, one of his more well-known appearances. Cid is only sometimes a party member in Final Fantasy, and while he is foremost an engineer of sorts, Cid Highwind also embraces his namesake (carried over from Final Fantasy IV's Kain) and is a skilled Dragoon too. It makes this Cid unique in terms of skills, and a personal favorite of mine, since the mere concept of the Dragoon has appealed to me since I first played FFIV.
But Cid's lance-wielding and jump attacks alone aren't what make him an interesting character. No, Cid Highwind is easily and often recalled for his brash personality, and this infamous line:
Cid instantly comes off as abrasive in general, and especially to Shera, barking orders both at this poor woman and your party and soon after meeting him. He seems like an unlikable sort, which comes through both in dialog like this and his body language. If this was all there was to his persona, Cid would be an amusing addition to the cast, but thankfully, his story runs deeper. His anger is partially a mask: His heart is in the right place, as the only reason his dream of going into space was dashed was because he worried for Shera's safety.
I've always felt Cid's development was fairly unique, at least amongst his angry RPG peers. It's common enough to see a hero that is initially unlikeable or rude soften a bit and open up to their friends over the course of the game, which makes it easier to care about them. Grandia II's Ryudo is a prime example of this, and there's nothing wrong with it (boy, do I love Grandia II), but it's not how Cid progresses.
I said his anger is "partially" a mask because his story doesn't suddenly turn him into a softie. He cares for Shera, others, and the planet, to be sure. But his anger is just as real. He's not lashing out at Shera only because he's angry at the situation and how events transpired: Some of that anger really is directed at her, and himself, for putting her life above his dream.
And that's what keeps Cid Highwind interesting, and a memorable part of Final Fantasy history. He never really "gets over" what's happened. He doesn't apologize and have a "hey, I was wrong, I'll be nice now" moment. Instead, he embraces his anger at life, at Shinra, and uses it as a motivator to help save the planet.
By remaining true to himself and juggling two very distinct outlooks on the world, Cid Highwind manages to be an engaging and three-dimensional character through his actions and words, and not just because of his polygon-based character model.
And that's just goddamn great.
by Mike Salbato
Final Fantasy V's Cid looks like an old hippie, and his early introduction as a would-be saboteur stuck in Karnak's prison makes him seem like a dangerous old hippie who might blow up a logging camp to save a few acres of rainforest. This Cid noticed issues with the Fire Crystal before everyone else in Karnak, and was imprisoned for attempting to shut off Karnak's advanced power source before disaster struck. Like many Cids before him, Cid Previa is a genius inventor connected to his game's airships; unlike other Cids he has a precocious grandson just as talented as he is.
Cid is one of the most persistent characters in Final Fantasy V — he plays a role in the first and third acts of the game, moving the plot along multiple times by providing the team with new vehicles and technologies. And his relationship with his grandson, close enough to inspire him out of motivational funks and to trust him to collaborate on complicated machinery, is as sweet a relationship between video game grandparent and grandchild can be.
Cid and Mid's relationship also helps bring back Galuf's memory in part, as Galuf is also a proud grandfather with a talented (if somewhat violent) grandchild. For having such a sweet relationship as grandfather and mentor to Mid, Cid Previa is a pretty cool old hippie Cid.
by Michael Sollosi
Now here's a Cid that's very hard to miss. Final Fantasy X's incarnation of Cid is a delight. He comes with a booming voice, a passion for machina, and a surprisingly protective manner towards the summoner Yuna. Yet, for his rash attitude and reckless personality, this Al Bhed has a whole lot of heart. Cid is captain of the airship Fahrenheit, which is piloted by his son Brother, whom he frequently bickers with. As leader of the Al Bhed, his people scour the land in search of summoners, to stop them going on their pilgrimage. This is mistaken by Yuna and her friends as a ploy to sabotage the arrival of the next Calm and rebel against Yevon, whose religion forbids the use of machina, but it's that personal touch that makes Cid's mission all the more heartbreaking.
Cid is actually Yuna's uncle, and his sister was married to High Summoner Braska. She died as a result of Cid, and of course Braska died to bring about the most recent Calm. Cid does not want to lose another family member, but also doesn't want anyone else to sacrifice themselves for a false tradition. This revelation shakes the foundation of the game — the very task you're undertaking is immediately underpinned by the fact that Yuna will die. The people you've believed in, the Maesters of Yevon, have been hiding a secret from you, and the Calm never ever lasts. Cid is fighting for humanity, and this shows in his love and protectiveness of Yuna. He spurs the party on to break the cycle and find a new solution to end Sin and bring about an Eternal Calm. Without this Cid, FFX might have ended very differently. He also makes a welcome return in FFX-2, but is scolded by Yuna for trying to turn Zanarkand Ruins into a tourist attraction.
I think the tattoo on the side of Cid's head sums him up perfectly — the word "Love" is inscribed in Al Bhed, and that's what Cid is full of. He loves his family, and his people, and is willing to fight against the conventions of the world, because he feels things can be done differently and a better result can be achieved.
by Alana Hagues
Four years after Final Fantasy XIV relaunched, Cid Garlond remains a key character in the world of Hydaelen. Once again, Cid is known in this world as a master engineer, and just like in Final Fantasy VI — a clear inspiration on XIV in several areas — he was once part of The Empire. That is, until he became aware of the unconscionable acts his Emperor was committing, and he said, "No thank you, sir!" (I'm paraphrasing)
Another throwback to past Final Fantasy titles is that in FFXIV, your party of heroes seeks out Cid because they need his airship and particular set of skills to engage with the Ixal's summoned god, Garuda. Who would have expected from the simple premise of "hey, this dude has an airship" that Cid would be so integral to the game in the years following? Through the rest of A Realm Reborn, Cid and his Ironworks engineers Biggs and Wedge provide essential support in infiltrating Empire strongholds and more. Despite severing ties to the Garlean Empire, some of its agents try and win him back; a fruitless effort. The finale to the original storyline involves taking down some of the Empire's strongest fighters in The Praetorium, which wouldn't have been possible without Cid's expertise.
In the main storyline of Heavensward, Cid isn't featured quite as prominently, but that's because he has his hands full dealing with time-traveling goblins and the primal Alexander. It's a bit amusing to step back from the game world and examine the Alexander story alongside the Dragonsong War. The latter is the main draw in Heavensward, and there are villains abound that need defeating. But this optional raid inside Alexander reveals beings with the power to alter time itself, and bend history and reality to their will. Putting both into perspective, Cid's interest in saving the timeline is arguably more important, despite being a side story. Thankfully, things work out in the end, and Cid can stop being consulted every time a giant ancient robot threatens the realm.
...at least until the lead-up to Stormblood, where he has to help awaken the ancient Omega Weapon, in a desperate attempt to forestall something even more wicked from ravaging the realm. Oh, Cid, if you weren't such an expert with these things, we wouldn't have to keep involving you. Sadly, only one part of an eventual planned three is available in the game right now, so I can't say a ton about how Cid's involvement in the Omega situation will play out. All I can say for sure is that thanks to his crew, we have a command center inside the Dimensional Rift that has all the essentials for survival. And by that, I mean a high-tech coffee maker:
Best Cid confirmed.
by Mike Salbato
A lot of people tend to forget about Regent Cid Fabool IX: is it because he's very much a classic Final Fantasy Cid on the surface? He's an old, wise man with knowledge beyond his years. He loves technology and enjoys building the best airships on the Mist continent. But he's so much more than the mentor Cids we've grown used to.
Characteristically, he fits the bill — visually, on first appearance, he does not. Fans will never forget walking into Lindblum Castle for the first time and encountering a red cloaked, grey-mustachioed oglop, squelching and scurrying around the castle throne room. He's a man attempting to atone for his mistakes, yet is full of pride and arrogance, but his gentle counsel towards Princess Garnet. In particular, the first time you meet Cid is wonderful. He doesn't come to greet the Princess when she arrives in Lindblum, and instead peers around the corner of the chair. Steiner's scream makes the scene all the more amusing, and kicks off your relationship with one of the funniest Cids.
Regent Cid is a flawed man with an eye for the ladies. After having an affair with a young waitress, Cid faced the wrath of his wife, Lady Hilda, who turned him into an oglop and stole his beloved Hilda Garde airship. This was the first known airship that didn't need Mist to power it. He tried to recreate it, but to no avail, and later turned his focus to his niece Princess Garnet and the increasing madness of her mother, Queen Brahne. As a means of rescuing her, he paid the Tantalus Theatre Troupe to kidnap her, and the rest is history. As an oglop, it's amusing watching him coming up with ideas as he scuttles and hops around the floor like a cockroach. His form limits him from being as brilliant as he could (in his own interpretation) so he orders a potion that would cure him of this insectoid appearance — but not everything goes right for Cid, and instead he transforms into a frog. His speech is now littered with "ribbits" and he jumps around constantly.
Cid is the mastermind behind a lot of Zidane's early work, and you'd be doing FFIX a great injustice if you forgot about him. He's a throwback to the old, wise Cids of earlier Final Fantasy games, but also embraces the humour of some of the more recent ones. And can you name another Cid that has been an insect, an animal, and a human in the same game? I didn't think so.
by Alana Hagues
Supposedly, the two strongest warriors of the Fifty Years War (which takes place some time before the events of Final Fantasy Tactics) were Balbanes Beoulve and Cidolfus "Thunder God Cid" Orlandeau. If this is true, then prior to his illness Ramza's dad must have been one bad dude. Orlandeau, on the other hand, is like a cheat code given in-game for free.
Endowed with extremely high stats, a moveset that combines all of the skills of Agrias, Meliadoul, and Gafgarion, and one of the best swords in the game, Orlandeau is so powerful it seems like a mistake. He'll already be one of your strongest fighters when he joins, and after wading into Final Fantasy's class system a bit, T.G Cid becomes one of the most powerful permanent party members in Final Fantasy history, and that role makes him one of the most memorable Cids ever. We'll give Final Fantasy Tactics a pass this time for not making him an airship pilot to boot.
by Michael Sollosi
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