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- Amalia: "The situation requires I accept such help as I find. Though it be from thieves. I shall accompany you until we find my companions. No longer."
- Balthier: "Let's think of her as a 'Guest', then. Unlike Fran or myself, our 'Guest' probably won't be taking orders from anyone anytime soon. And she'll leave when she pleases. So, we keep to our affairs, and she to hers. I doubt we'll find her wanting in valor... Being such an upstanding member of the insurgence."
- Amalia: "Resistance."
- —"Amalia" and Balthier in Final Fantasy XII
Guests (ゲスト, Gesuto?) or temporary playable characters are temporary party members in the Final Fantasy series who typically join and leave the party during set points. Guests do not always take up space in the player's party, though they might appear in menus. If the game only allows for three party members in battle, a guest can be a fourth fighter outside of the player's control. Their abilities and equipment usually cannot be customized.
Minwu, Josef, Ricard, Leila and Gordon join the party for story-specific quests before leaving for a variety of reasons. In the "Soul of Rebirth" side story in the Dawn of Souls and subsequent versions, Minwu, Josef, and Ricard are normal playable characters. The player may freely change their equipment and spells, but they join the party with preset abilities and spells in a few key areas.
Guests will join the party, but are not treated as regular characters. In the 3D remakes' battles they appear at random intervals to fire off a random attack from their set list of moves. The rest of the time they will not appear and do not have HP or other stats that enemies can attack.
If the party is defeated, the game ends in a Game Over with or without the guests. Outside of battle, they can be spoken to with , the only method the player has to interact with them.
Guest characters include:
Edward, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cid, Yang, and Fusoya join the party for a short time. In the Advance and The Complete Collection versions, the player may switch these characters in and out of the party at will, excluding Tellah and Fusoya. Guests can have their equipment changed freely, and Palom and Porom can continue learning the rest of their magic spells.
Guests usually have few Band abilities, and those who know magic usually join knowing all the spells they will ever learn.
List of guest characters:
- Black Mage
- White Mage
- Monk A, Monk B, and Monk C
- Elder of Mysidia
- Guard A, Guard B, and Guard C
This was the first game to truly define a "guest character". Guests' equipment is preset and cannot be modified and they have no Desperation Attack, cannot equip magicite nor earn Magic AP, and they do not have chocobo riding sprites.
In addition to the following, Maduin is controllable during a flashback sequence, but there are no battles at this time and the player cannot open the menu to check equipment or abilities; all they can do while in control of Maduin is walk around and talk to other characters.
List of guest characters:
For a short while Sephiroth joins the player's party during Cloud's telling of the Nibelheim Incident. His equipment is set, he has no Limit Break, and he acts on his own and cannot be given commands. He is invincible and cannot take damage.
Aeris is playable through disc 1, but is not considered a guest. She could, however, be considered temporarily playable. When Aeris leaves the party she relinquishes the Materia and accessory she had equipped, but keeps the weapon and armor she had on.
Several characters assist the party at various points for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. Their junctions and spell lists may be changed, and they have Limit Breaks. When playing as Laguna, the player doesn't accumulate steps (used to determining draw point fill times, SeeD salary intervals, and the rate Rinoa learns Combine skills).
The following characters temporarily join the party at different points. Their equipment can be removed or changed, but they cannot learn or equip abilities, and they cannot enter Trance.
Each temporary character (except Beatrix) shares a character slot with permanent characters: Marcus shares his slot with Eiko, Blank with Amarant and Cinna with Quina. Marcus's stats carry over to Eiko, but his levels don't (known as Marcus/Eiko stat bug); however Blank/Cinna levels carry over to Amarant/Quina, but their stats don't.
Seymour participates in the second battle against Sinspawn Gui and leaves the party immediately afterwards. The player cannot view his equipment and cannot change it in battle, but he is directly controllable and has an Overdrive. Seymour will earn AP and gain Sphere Levels, but as he is never controllable again, the player never gets the chance to spend them, and he never appears on the Sphere Grid.
Additionally, computer-controlled characters often play a major part in content like Besieged and Campaign. Players may also unlock access to versions of established characters as NPC party members through the Trust Magic system—these characters function independently, although some may respond through player actions, for example, to open or close a skillchain.
Guests appear as a fourth party member on the field and are flagged as guests in the menu. Their equipment, licenses, and gambits are outside the player's control, but ally-oriented gambits will apply to them when available. They do not have Quickenings. When a guest is in the party, they take their share of EXP but don't level up. If the player party dies it is a Game Over even if the guest survives.
In the original version, guests are AI-controlled and items used by them are infinite and not taken from the player's inventory. Guests typically have unique weapons. In the Zodiac versions, guests' gambits can be changed and the player can control them on the field, but their equipment cannot be changed and they cannot be put to reserve.
Guest characters include:
- Amalia (later joins as a full party member under real name, Ashe)
- Basch (later joins as a full party member)
- Lamont (returns later as guest under real name, Larsa)
Reks is only controllable during the prologue, classing him a temporary playable character.
There are other characters who will fight on the player's side, but do not appear in the party menu and act independently of the player's forces. For example, Basch, along with other ally soldiers, fight alongside Reks in the prologue. Sometimes these "allies" appear randomly, like the Garif Adventurers who appear in the field and will fight monsters alongside the party and will not harm them as long as the player does not provoke them. Additionally, members of Clan Centurio that join the party to fight a Mark behave in this manner. When an ally NPC gives the killing blow to an enemy, the player doesn't get EXP or LP.
Support characters include:
- Basch alongside Reks at Nalbina Fortress.
- Dalmascan Soldiers alongside Reks at Nalbina Fortress.
- Amalia in Garamsythe Waterway.
- Larsa during a battle on Sky Fortress Bahamut.
- Gabranth during a battle on Sky Fortress Bahamut.
- Bansat when fighting Gil Snapper.
- Monid when fighting Trickster and Belito.
- Krjn when fighting Carrot.
- Viera Wayfarer when fighting Vyraal.
- Insecure Seeq when fighting Overlord.
- War-chief Supinelu when fighting Catoblepas.
- Rabanastre Watch who occasionally appears at the Yarding Labyrinth and Galtea Downs.
- Bangaa Hunter who occasionally appears at the Giza South Bank.
- Garif Hunter who occasionally appears at the Starfall Field and Ozmone Plain.
- Garif Warrior who appears at Ozmone Plain.
- Seeq Fisher who occasionally appears at Phon Coast.
In the Zodiac versions, several changes were made:
- The guest levels up.
- The player can directly control the guest, even assigning them the leader role (gambit related).
- The player can customize the guest's gambits.
- Items used by the guest come from the player's inventory.
- The guest's skill set is modified, e.g. Larsa has learned Cura to restore allies' HP so he won't deplete the player's inventory by continuously using Potions.
Guest characters include:
- Giza Rabbits in Mission 04: The Coveted Derelict.
- Llyud (later joins the party as a player character) and Ansei in Mission 07: The Winged.
- Aegyl in Mission 11: Savagery.
- Rikken, Elza, and Raz in Mission 16: Pirates in Peril!, Mission 17: Pirates and Parrot in Peril!, Mission 18: Unrelenting Nemesis, and Mission 19: Filo in a Bind.
- Velis in Mission 21: The Man in the Jungle and Mission 23: Object of Desire.
- Penelo (who later returns as a player character) in Mission 24: The Dance.
- Fran (who later returns as a player character) in Mission 27: At Fran's Side.
- Dalmascan Soldiers and White Hares in Mission 35: The Secluded.
- Ba'Gamnan (as a temporarily playable character from the end of Mission 09: Reinforcements to when the party arrives at the Muruc Cahuac Skysea in Chapter 4).
Snow accompanies Serah and Noel in the Sunleth Waterscape 300 AF after they save him from a mass-merging of flan. He is uncontrollable and acts of his own accord, and he cannot be knocked out as he has no health bar.
There are two AI-controlled guest party members. Neither of them can be KO'd in battle.
- Fang fights alongside Lightning in the Dead Dunes after Lightning meets her in Ruffian, and until the two defeat Grendel (or Parandus, after Day 7). On the Final Day, Fang briefly rejoins Lightning inside the Luxerion Cathedral.
- The Angel of Valhalla aids Lightning in battle in the Wildlands after being nursed back to health.
During certain quests, NPCs could join the player's party and worked like having another player in the party (even counting towards light and full party stat bonuses and max party size). Their current HP number was displayed as "???" and could only be guessed by observing their life bar, their actions were based on specific behaviors depending on the quest, and they couldn't be ousted from the party, and neither could it be disbanded. They could be targeted normally by any ability that could be used on other players.
If a guest character was KO'd in battle, the related quest battle was usually failed and must be repeated, but some exceptions existed.
Guest characters included:
Guests appear during certain quests. A majority of the guests appear during the main scenario quests, but some guests help in guild and job quests.
Guest characters that join the player during main scenario quests include:
- Urianger Augurelt
- Kuplo Kopp
- Alphinaud Leveilleur
- Cid nan Garlond
- Biggs and Wedge
- Yugiri Mistwalker
- Oboro Moonrise
- Tsubame Sunrise
- Perimu Haurimu
- Galfrid the Gallant
- Gods' Quiver Bow
- Gods' Quiver Instructor
- Flame Sergeants
- Serpent Soldiers
Over the course of his journey, Noctis Lucis Caelum and his friends team up with Cor Leonis, Iris Amicitia, and Aranea Highwind. These characters have unique techniques, and while their equipment can be viewed, it cannot be changed. Cor is a guest in Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus, and Aranea accompanies Prompto in his episode. Ravus Nox Fleuret appears as a guest in Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis. Guests cannot enter Danger mode, making them essentially unkillable.
Guests act in menus the same as any other non-generic units, except that they do not take up the roster space. The player can customize them as much as normal units with jobs, abilities and equipment, but the player cannot decide when to use them.
Guests only fight in specific story battles, and will not appear in random encounters. They are AI-controlled but will not be crystallized or turn into a treasure box after being KO'd for three turns, and thus cannot die permanently. If the battle objective requires the player to protect or rescue the particular guest, their KO will grant an instant Game Over. Most non-generic units fight in battles first as a guest before joining as a permanent party member.
In rare cases during random encounters, a guest may replace an enemy unit and fight alongside the player party. These guests are usually generic monsters, and do not join the party after the battle ends.
Guest characters include:
- Agrias (later joins as a full party member)
- Ladd (later joins as a generic party member)
- Alicia (later joins as a generic party member)
- Lavian (later joins as a generic party member)
- Boco (later joins as a monster party member)
- Mustadio (later joins as a full party member)
- Rapha (later joins as a full party member)
- Meliadoul (later joins as a full party member)
- Beowulf (later joins as a full party member)
- Reis (later joins as a full party member)
- Cloud (later joins as a full Party Member)
- Byblos (later joins as a monster party member)
In The War of the Lions version, some plot-related characters who have joined as a full party member, will become guests again during the new event battles (their presence in the player's party is also the prerequisite to trigger these events). Usually after the fight (or scenario) has been completed, the player will be given the option to recruit him/her again.
- Montblanc (later joins as a full party member)
- Ritz (later joins as a full party member after the main story)
- Shara (later joins as a full party member after the main story)
- Ezel (later joins as a full party member after the main story)
- Babus (later joins as a full party member after the main story)
Guest characters include:
- Cid (later joins as a full party member)
- Adelle (later joins as a full party member)
- Komodo Trader
In the HD version, other characters can be called in to assist in battle via the Support Personnel feature that replaces the multiplayer feature from the original PlayStation Portable version. Most of the supports are "shadow" versions of the player cadets, but there are three unique supports:
There may also be allies and friendly units during missions who are not considered to be part of the player's party.
Kaeli, Tristam, Phoebe and Reuben join Benjamin twice during set points in the story. With the exception of Phoebe, who gives the player her original weapon and then uses a different one, guests have set spells and equipment and cannot gain levels. Between the time they leave and join later, their spells, equipment and level has grown stronger. Guests can be toggled from Auto or Manual from the Customize menu or by pressing .
The player has other characters help Sumo during his journey. Although, they are helpful, the player cannot control them. Guests don't gain levels, and they can't take damage. They have poor AI, resulting in them attacking randomly, rarely aiming at enemies. If the player Asks the current guest, they will perform their special ability. If a guest kills an enemy, its experience points will be added to Sumo.
Temporary party members include:
Mr. S, Ki, Mask, Lynn, Hana, Taro, the lead character's Dad along with the goddess Isis, all join the party at various points with Lynn and Dad joining twice. With the exception of Mr. S, who is a Slime-type monster, and Isis herself, the guests are human. This includes Ki, whose magical powers are a result of MAGI, not mutant origin.
To offset the game's item durability system, the player may give equipment to guests, but cannot retrieve it, nor may they take any of the guests' initial equipment. The player cannot give meat to Mr. S during his short period with the party, and thus cannot transform. Guest characters will not gain statistics in any fashion during their tenure.
Pressing when the player has a temporary party member results in them giving a message.
At certain points a fifth character joins the party. They are at a sufficiently high level to make them powerful against the monsters and bosses the player will be facing. They do not gain EXP or level up, and they cannot undergo class changes. It is possible to give them equipment to fill out the empty slots, but the player cannot change or remove equipment once equipped. They cannot add or remove their magic spells either.
Temporary party members include:
Guests function like temporary playable characters due to the main party splitting up for the first half of the story. Guest characters wear certain Crowns that will obtained much later by the main party. Guests' Crowns cannot be changed, but their inventory and equipment can be accessed, allowing players to customize them. Guests will take everything they have with them when they leave the party, so it is advisable to remove all items and unique equipment to not lose them.
- Krinjh joins Brandt and Yunita in their search for the Moonlight Tower and Guera, and leaves after defeating the Sand Devil in Quicksand Castle. He wears the Spell Fencer crown in battle.
- Torte, as a mouse, joins Aire in her search for the Animal Staff in the Great Tree Roots, and leaves after defeating Arboroc at the Great Tree with Aire and Brandt. He wears the Sage crown in battle.
- Rekoteh joins Brandt and Jusqua in their quest to hatch the Dragon Egg in Invidia, and leaves after the party is ready to fly the Dragon to Spelvia. She wears the Dancer crown in battle.
- Rolan joins Yunita and Aire in their quest to purge the darkness in Rolan's Soul, and leaves after defeating Geri and Freki, the source of said darkness. He wears the Hero crown in battle.