Chancellor of Niflheim. Ardyn rose to power by introducing magitek infantry to the ranks of the imperial army, and has since amassed political power at the emperor's side. An aloof manner shrouds the chancellor in mystery.
Chancellor Ardyn Izunia is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XV. He appears in the feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and handles the Niflheim Empire's political operations for Emperor Aldercapt.
Ardyn is a middle-aged man with red-violet hair, amber eyes, and strong facial features. He dresses in a long, black jacket that has a white and gray trim, and matching trousers. He wears a red scarf and a hooded, gray and white mantle. Ardyn wears a black fedora and sometimes wears a winglike accessory on his left arm. He is the only notable person representing the empire to dress in black rather than white.
When his true identity is revealed, Ardyn's face sometimes appears demonic and grotesque. His sclera turn black, his irises and pupils turn gold, his skin becomes paler, and black markings appear across his face.
Ardyn is a man shrouded in mystery. He expresses his eccentric personality through his unique attire, and he is both polite and flamboyant. Ardyn is bold and manipulative; he remains civil, patronizingly so, even in the face of hostility, and perhaps even to attract hostility. Ardyn's behavior is performative, and his expressions and movements are exaggerated.
Ardyn's ruthlessness grows until his true personality is revealed: he is evil, vicious, calculative, and twisted. He uses his influence over the empire to accomplish his goals. Behaving unpredictably, Ardyn remains casual and unfazed by the world around him. He taunts others, and is acting out of spite, regret, and a desire for vengeance. Having become the very thing he tried to prevent millennia ago, Ardyn longs for the day on which he will battle the True King. During his final battle with Noctis, he debates staying alive to doom the world, or die and finally seek peace in the afterlife.
Ardyn's actions reflect his conflicting nature: he often helps Noctis and his friends along the way by giving them access to imperial-controlled areas, but also kills Lady Lunafreya, accelerating the Starscourge. Ardyn yet claims to have earned the right to call Noctis "Noct", a nickname only his closest friends call him. Ardyn's actions after he kills Lunafreya seem personally vindictive, as he continues to torment Noctis in various ways, such as by separating him from his friends, even if at the same time he desires for Noctis to reach his goal: the Crystal. He lures Noctis into a booby trap while at the same time guiding Ignis and Gladiolus to Noctis in the nick of time to hit a kill switch. He refuses to kill Noctis until he has become the True King, and during the final battle, repeatedly taunts Noctis, yet when he has Noctis pinned down, he releases him. Ardyn comments on how Noctis has grown from being the helpless prince he was without his friends, borderlining being proud of him.
According to Lead Scenario Developer Saori Itamuro, Ardyn sought to rise to power in Niflheim to bring him closer to the line of Lucis, and Noctis in particular, as he has no interest in imperial rule. Ardyn is bent on destroying Noctis as king, and does not want him dead until then. As a result, he leads Noctis while tormenting him, entangling Noctis in a web of contradictions.
Ardyn's personality in the present greatly contrasts the one he seemed to have 2,000 years ago. Back then, he was a kind and caring man who healed people to prevent the advancement of Starscourge. He fell from grace when the astrals saw him as unclean and he was demonized by his people.
Ardyn has great political influence. A careful strategist, he is good with words and manipulates those in power to advance his own schemes. He drives a red car while in Lucis. Using an ordinary dagger to murder Lunafreya, Ardyn later reveals his superhuman abilities. An immortal, he can control time and survive attacks that would kill an ordinary man. Because Ardyn is part of the Lucian royal family, he can use the same powers Noctis can, such as the Armiger. He can warp and fly at high speeds. He can stop time and assume the form of another, such as when he masquerades as Noctis to betray Ravus Nox Fleuret. Similarly, he can manipulate people into attacking their friends by having them see them as himself.
Ardyn claims that pain is something only mortals feel, implying he is immune to it. Ardyn doesn't shiver with cold in Shiva's presence the way Noctis does.
He's been living a long time. In a world he could share with no one.
Two thousand years ago, Ardyn Lucis Caelum was a Lucian king chosen by the Crystal to save Eos from the Starscourge, a malady that transforms people into daemons. He did so by absorbing the Starscourge into his own body. While his actions saved thousands across the world, he was rejected by the Crystal as tainted, and was denounced by the astrals. He was denied entry to the Astral Realm since the daemons he had absorbed rendered him immortal. He became demonized by a jealous future king, one not yet chosen by the Crystal. As the fallen King of Light, Ardyn took the surname of "Izunia" (which he implies later on that the surname was chosen in direct relation to the king who demonized him) and plotted to one day end the astral-appointed bloodlines of the Lucian kings and Tenebraean Oracles, alongside their divine artifacts.
Ardyn bided his time for millennia before establishing himself as chancellor to Iedolas Aldercapt, the emperor of Niflheim. In M.E. 722 Ardyn entered Niflheim and proposed the establishment of a magitek army. He provided his knowledge to begin his plan for revenge, and the information on daemons Ardyn imparted upon the empire allowed Niflheim to build a mighty army. However, it also heralded the spread of Starscourge and the imperial lands were ravaged by a "vanishing disease". According to Aranea Highwind, Ardyn was the one who put the idea of stealing Lucis's Crystal to Emperor Aldercapt, and the latter became obsessed with his desire for it.
As depicted in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, in M.E. 756, Ardyn travels to Lucis to offer Aldercapt's terms of peace to its reigning monarch, Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII. Besides relaying demands for Lucis to surrender all territories save for the Crown City of Insomnia, Ardyn also insists for the king to have his son Noctis wed Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, the Oracle.
Ardyn meets Noctis and his friends at Galdin Quay where he tells them the ferry is not running. Declaring himself an "impatient traveler," Ardyn states the ceasefire between Lucis and Niflheim is "getting us nowhere." He tosses a coin to Noctis and company, telling them to consider it their "allowance." Noctis's companion Gladiolus Amicitia catches the coin and demands Ardyn's identity, who merely states he is "a man of no consequence."
When Niflheim invades the Crown City during the treaty-signing, Ardyn and the emperor steal the Crystal. The pair watches the Old Wall fight a Diamond Weapon, a daemon the empire unleashed upon the city, before fleeing. Ardyn laments it is a waste to see a city as glorious as Insomnia destroyed.
In Lestallum, Ardyn offers to take Noctis and his friends to the Disc of Cauthess where the astral god Titan rests. He bids them goodbye, but returns after Noctis forges a covenant with the astral. He arrives in a Niflheim airship to save Noctis and his friends from the volcanic terrain ready to engulf the party. In doing so, Ardyn reveals his identity as Niflheim's chancellor, yet continues helping Noctis and company.
When Noctis infiltrates an imperial base to recover his car, he is accosted by Lunafreya's brother Ravus Nox Fleuret. Ravus begrudges Noctis as the apparent True King who is yet oblivious to the danger his mission puts Luna in. Ardyn stops Ravus from attacking Noctis and lets them leave the base. When Noctis is looking for mythril to repair King Regis's ship so he can get to Lunafreya in Altissia, Ardyn has the roadblocks to Vesperpool opened and has Commodore Aranea Highwind assist him. Ardyn tells Noctis that while he is the chancellor, he is not in charge of the army.
Ardyn and Ravus head for Altissia where Lunafreya wants to rouse the Hydraean, Leviathan, to help Noctis. Ravus, as the high commander of the Niflheim army, is on a task to kill the Leviathan before Noctis can forge his covenant, as he disagrees with Luna sacrificing herself. Ardyn talks with Ravus in front of the cathedral where Luna was to wed Noctis. After Luna summons Leviathan Ardyn stabs her with a dagger knowing that Noctis would witness it. In the teaser for "Episode Ignis," Noctis's friend Ignis is pinned down by magitek troops in the ruins of Altissia, Ardyn looking down on him.
Without the Oracle holding back the Starscourge, Eos is plunged into further crisis. Ravus is blamed for the incident with the Leviathan going on a rampage in Altissia and is sentenced to death.
Ardyn appears before Noctis on a train ride to Gralea, Niflheim's capital. He torments him by tricking Noctis into pursuing his friend Prompto and to push him off the train. Noctis meets Aranea in Tenebrae where he learns Ardyn is left in charge of a chaotic empire as all the other higher ups are gone and the emperor is but a husk of his former self. As he passes through Ghorovas Rift the Glacian, Shiva, grants Noctis her power. Shiva freezes Ardyn solid, while Noctis, in a fit of anger, breaks Ardyn's body. Though frozen and shattered, he returns, revealing to Noctis that he is immortal.
As depicted in "Episode Prompto", following his fall from the train, Prompto is brought to Niflheim's First Magitek Production Facility run by Verstael Besithia. When Prompto accesses the facility using his ID tattoo, Ardyn appears and reveals the place is Prompto's birthplace. After returning Prompto's gun and cryptically hinting at his past, Ardyn encourages him to seek out Verstael. Tape recordings scattered through the facility reveal that Ardyn worked with Verstael to create the magitek infantry.
Prompto learns that he is a clone created by Verstael. Confronting a mutating Verstael, Prompto kills him. Ardyn taunts him about his patricide over the speaker system. Prompto later appears in an illusion where he is hunted by Noctis while appearing as an MT, but whether this is a projection of his own mind or created by Ardyn is ambiguous. After Prompto and Aranea defeat Verstael's magitek incarnation, Ardyn watches Prompto ride towards Gralea while singing the "Victory Fanfare".
In Gralea, Ardyn's disembodied voice taunts Noctis after he is separated from his allies, but at the same time guides Ignis and Gladiolus to him. It is implied Ardyn deliberately lets Ignis and Gladiolus open the vault to the Crystal room, and lets them view a recording of Ravus first confronting the emperor, and then being killed by Ardyn himself masquerading as Noctis. As he kills Ravus, Ardyn mocks the former's desire to be the True King and save the world, yet being rejected.
After Noctis reunites with his friends, Ardyn has the trio face Emperor Aldercapt and Ravus whom he has turned into daemons. When Noctis is forced to abandon his friends to seek power from the Crystal, Ardyn confronts him and reveals his true identity. As he watches the Crystal absorb Noctis, Ardyn states he will be waiting for him to return as the True King. As Noctis's friends arrive they attempt to take Ardyn down, but he shrugs off the blows and unveils the deformities sustained from his work as a healer.
Unharmed by the Light. The Chosen King, indeed. Allow me to regale you with a tale. In an age long past, an incurable scourge ravaged mankind. A tiny menace that twisted men into monsters, the likes of which you've seen. In Lucis lived a savior that could cure the afflicted. His body would come to host myriad daemons, that countless lives be spared. But a jealous king, one not yet chosen by the Crystal, ostracized and demonized this healer of the people. Making a true monster of him. I gave you my name earlier, but you should know that it was not the name given to me at birth. Ardyn Lucis Caelum is my proper name. You'll never guess whose name Izunia was. Noct, killing you as a mortal will bring me scant satisfaction. Claim the Crystal's power. Arise as its champion. Only once the Crystal and King are no more...can I know redemption. Come back soon. I shall keep your friends company until you are ready.
With Lunafreya dead and Noctis out of the way, Ardyn allows the Starscourge to spread, thus causing daemons to run amok in Eos for the next decade. Ten years later he is confronted in his new abode, the Citadel in Insomnia, by a reawakened Noctis and his allies. He pits them against the Infernian, Ifrit, but following the hostile astral's defeat, Noctis challenges Ardyn in the Citadel's throne room. He confronts Noctis with the illusory bodies of Lunafreya, Regis, Iedolas, and Nyx Ulric, which Ardyn had grotesquely displayed for his own amusement.
Noctis orders Ardyn to step down from the throne. Ardyn incapacitates Noctis's allies so he can face the rival king alone. During the fight, he taunts Noctis regarding his status as the True King, and rants about how Noctis being sealed away for ten years was nothing compared to Ardyn himself having been in darkness for millennia. Overpowered by Noctis, Ardyn's body fades away. Noctis gives his life to face Ardyn's spirit in the afterlife and uses the Ring of the Lucii to summon the spirits of his ancestors to deal the final blow. Dying fulfills Ardyn's goals: finding peace in death and destroying the Lucian bloodline.
Ardyn is fought as the final boss during the Main Quest The Cure for Insomnia. He wields the same powers Noctis does, but with a red glow as opposed to Noctis's blue. He is the first and so far only Final Fantasy main antagonist/final boss to not transform right before the battle.
Creation and developmentEdit
Ardyn was designed by Roberto Ferrari around December 2010. Tweaks to his initial design were made in January, 2011. This would mean he was created while the game was still known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but Ardyn never appeared in trailers or other promotional material for it.
There was going to be an imperial general named Safay Roth implied to originally be the main villain, as Ardyn was created after Roth was cut. Ardyn was first unveiled in the E3 2013 trailer for Final Fantasy XV where he is on the steps of the rainy Citadel with Iedolas Aldercapt, holding an umbrella. This scene is not in the final game, but Ardyn is with Iedolas on an airship and gazes down on Insomnia in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy XV has a scene where Ardyn and Ravus are in front of the Altissian cathedral in rain and Ardyn holds an umbrella, which appears based on his reveal scene from the original trailer.
Ardyn often helps the party and "assistance" is meant to convey that he is not a typical Final Fantasy villain: Ardyn is uninterested in material conquest, but harbors a deep-seated hatred for the royal line of Lucis, and assists Noctis to inflict more torment to him.
In Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, the likeness of Edward Saxby is used to portray Ardyn.
The most enjoyable part of playing Ardyn: the writing... He's a wonderfully written character. He's very human because he has so many different sides. He's got that very sincere insincerity, and I adored that about him.
Ardyn's Japanese voice actor is Keiji Fujiwara. He shares his Japanese voice actor with Reno from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Izana Kunagiri from Final Fantasy Type-0, and both Axel and Lea from the Kingdom Hearts series.
He is voiced by Darin De Paul in the English version.
One of Ardyn's abilities is Sword of the Wise, the first royal arm the player earns in Final Fantasy XV.
- Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
- Final Fantasy XV
Etymology and symbolismEdit
The main characters' names in Final Fantasy XV tend to derive from Latin. Although "Ardyn" is not Latin, ardēns means burning, but also shining, brilliant, ardent, and passionate.
Ardyn, in juxtaposition with Noctis, alludes to enemies and "devil" figures of major religions. In terms of Christianity, he could be compared to the Anti Christ, one of three major figures said to represent the end times, being that who claims to be Jesus but ultimately represents perversion and the straying of Christian principles.
How he is of the Caelum line, but comes to plunge Eos into darkness and despair, is most significant of this allusion. When Ardyn uses powers similar to Noctis's, he glows red as opposed to Noctis's blue. He represents the forces of darkness where as Noctis is the King of Light. Ardyn is unable to truly die and enter the afterlife, whereas Noctis must sacrifice himself to free the world of Ardyn's influence.
Some of the imagery around Ardyn alludes to Biblical themes. There's a piece of concept artwork of Ardyn riding a black chocobo into a city to prayers and cheers, alluding to Palm Sunday. Another piece depicts him stripped shirtless being chained up by people in black robes, alluding to crucifixion. He was originally chosen by the Crystal to cure the world of Starscourge, but became corrupted and fell from the gods' favor. He also wears an accessory that resembles a single black wing, a possible reference to Sephiroth, the villain of Final Fantasy VII, whose one-winged angel form in turn alludes to Luciferian imagery.
Ardyn's original role as a healer hearkens to the concept of a sin-eater, a person who magically takes on the sins of a person or household, thus absolving these persons' souls. Consequently, sin-eaters supposedly carried the sins of all people whose souls they had thus saved.
- When bleeding the blood of daemons, Ardyn's appearance resembles the onstage corpse paint of shock rock metal singer Alice Cooper. In addition, having at that point succeeded in bringing the world to its knees at the wrath of the Starscourge and becoming the world's "king", he has welcomed "all to his nightmare".
- Ardyn's lines "I'm worried about your friends. They've fallen and they can't get up!" during Chapter 12 is based upon a catchphrase from a United States-based television commercial for a medical alarm and protection company.
- Due to his goals mirroring those of Noctis, Ardyn is one of the few antagonists in the Final Fantasy series whose schemes and eventual goals are fulfilled rather than thwarted by the protagonist.
- ↑ Tabata talks magic, Niflheim and more in latest Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report (Accessed: August 16, 2017) at NovaCrystallis
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Final Fantasy XV Collector's Edition Guidebook developer interviews
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV Scenario Ultimania Translation Project — History of Eos (Accessed: August 16, 2017) at Medium
- ↑ (2016-12-28) Final Fantasy XV Ultimania -Scenario Side- (in Japanese). Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff.Invalid citation format.
- ↑ Character artist Roberto Ferrari speaks on Final Fantasy XV story changes, cut characters (Accessed: August 16, 2017) at NovaCrystallis
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV: Changes from Final Fantasy Versus XIII Explained; More Info on Characters Shared (Accessed: August 16, 2017) at Dualshockers
- ↑ https://www.instagram.com/p/BDnjv6EkIwu/