Research Chief Verstael Besithia made a name for himself by almost single-handedly engineering a method to mass produce a magitek infantry. His rise to prominence also exacerbated his descent into madness, however, and his one-held hopes for peaceful world have warped into a lust for power and desire to wreak destruction.
Research Chief Verstael Besithia is a minor antagonist in Final Fantasy XV. He is the researcher who developed the technology used to create Niflheim's magitek infantry. His surname is given in the Final Fantasy XV Ultimania, and appears in one of the documents found in Zegnautus Keep in Final Fantasy XV. His role is expanded upon in Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto.
Verstael is a balding man with white hair and beard. In his concept artwork and official render he wears a silver headgear that has the symbol of Niflheim, but he doesn't wear it in the scenes he appears in the game. He wears a uniform of black metal and purple and red clothing and a cape. In his concept artwork his long gloves are white with the red symbol of Niflheim, but in the game his gloves are black.
The Oracle holds the key for the King. She could unlock many secrets...'nay high commander?
Verstael is a mad scientist who aims to create "the strongest existence by his own hand." He is in charge of Niflheim's research laboratory. He is ruthless, and considers the astrals as just another research subject. Initially, Verstael had some misgivings about using humans, especially children, in his experiments. However, he was able to ignore these feelings for the sake of his experiment. As his experiments continued, Verstael grew increasingly arrogant and self-absorbed, viewing his results as transcending the gods.
Verstael is Prompto Argentum's biological father. He for some time had been experimenting in creating magitek troopers (MT), though little progress was made. In M.E. 722, Ardyn Izunia ingratiated himself to Emperor Iedolas Aldercapt by divulging the secrets of binding daemonic essences, or Starscourge, to the human soul. The First Magitek Production Facility was completed on 26th November, M.E 723. Described as a "rising military star" and an authority on magitek, Verstael was appointed to oversee the facility and relinquished his field duties to work at the compound full-time.
By mass producing humans with this characteristic, and following the success of these new soldiers in slaying the Glacian, Ardyn was made chancellor of Niflheim and Verstael's research was granted more funding. Verstael leads the development within the empire that harvests energy from daemons to create weapons of warfare. The empire had discovered daemons and employed mercenaries like Aranea Highwind to capture them from old ruins, like those dating back to the ancient civilization of Solheim.
"Project Deathless" is the codename given to Verstael's research and development of magitek soldiers and weaponry through the manipulation of "commonly occurring parasitic protozoa," or the Starscourge. These findings paved the way to weaponize daemons. As daemons are averse to light, with their cellular structure breaking down upon contact with it, the troopers are equipped with medieval armor to protect against all forms of light. Verstael creates MTs out of daemonized humans.
When in need for more material to create an army, he began to clone humans from his own genetic material, and raising the infants to become MTs. The subjects are kept dormant in tubes until they are turned into daemons and, thus, into magitek troopers. Many years ago a 1-year-old clone was kidnapped from a magitek production facility by Lucians, those of the rival kingdom Niflheim was at perpetual war with.
Verstael began to view daemons as the superior life form, and developed delusions of grandeur to enhance them further with his magitek to surpass even the astrals. Though the magitek infantry is a success, Verstael continues to develop even bigger and more complex magitek creations, such as the Diamond Weapon, which are unleashed to destroy Insomnia.
After Insomnia's fall, Verstael meets with Emperor Aldercapt, Commodore Aranea Highwind, Brigadier General Caligo Ulldor, and High Commander Ravus Nox Fleuret to discuss the Oracle, Lunafreya. When the emperor orders Ravus to terminate her, Verstael asks him to reconsider, citing her power to commune with the astrals and being the "key for the King". He then gives Ravus full control over the magitek infantry.
As depicted in Episode Prompto, Verstael, who is slowly turning into a daemon himself, is confronted by Prompto following the latter's abduction by MTs. The meeting was orchestrated by Ardyn, who calls it a heartfelt father-son-reunion. Prompto is the infant who was once kidnapped from the facility, who had grown up in Lucis unaware of his origins. Prompto scours through the magitek production facility and reads the documents he comes across, and comes to believe Insomnia was destroyed at the behest of Verstael, who had wanted to witness the full power of the magitek army he had crated.
As Prompto confronts him, Verstael calls Prompto a failure for not having been turned into a daemon. He laments on his own superior existence, as he has begun to use even his own soul for magitek experiments, ready to transcend his human existence to something far superior. Prompto shoots Verstael whose soul fuses with his latest invention, Immortalis. Immortalis activates with Verstael's consciousness uploaded into it, and declares its intention to destroy the world. Immortalis is slain by the combined efforts of Prompto and Aranea.
When Prince Noctis later infiltrates Zegnautus Keep in Gralea, he finds it void of human life and swarming with daemons and rogue magitek troops. He finds numerous documents scattered of the detailed research involved in magitek, as well as the ramifications of using said technology.
Creation and developmentEdit
Verstael was designed by Roberto Ferrari. He has a prominent appearance in the Final Fantasy XV E3 2013 trailer, leading an army of armored soldiers. These are magitek soldiers in the final game, where Verstael doesn't have a prominent presence, although he is still credited as the magitek infantry's developer.
Verstael is voiced in English by Steve Blum, who previously voiced Vincent Valentine from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Ba'Gamnan in Final Fantasy XII and Cid Aulstyne from Final Fantasy Type-0.
In Japanese, he is voiced by Jin Urayama.