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 and the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto. He is an imperial researcher who developed the technology used to create Niflheim's magitek infantry. His megalomania drives him to produce ever stronger magitek creations in the empire's bid to defy even the Astrals.
- Mad scientist affiliated with the imperial infantry. A renowned researcher, he pushed for the mass production of an army of automata that utilized ancient magiteknology brought to his attention by Ardyn. His efforts encouraged the militarization of the empire and earned him a handsome promotion to boot. Using his newfound position, Verstael pushed forward with a new pet project: a series of experiments involving daemonic creatures. His research cost millions of gil and countless innocent lives—yet he was determined to let nothing stand in the way of what he deemed his "life's work."
Verstael is a balding man with white hair and beard. In his concept artwork and official render he wears a silver headpiece that has the symbol of Niflheim, but he does not wear it 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 magitek research laboratories, which produce magitek troopers, magitek armors and even daemons. He is ruthless, and considers the Astrals—the gods of Eos—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 experiments, and even delude himself into thinking that the victims of Starscourge would prefer to be used for his experiments rather than having died "in vain." As his experiments continued, Verstael grew increasingly arrogant and self-absorbed, viewing his results as transcending the gods.
Verstael, for some time, had been experimenting in creating magitek troopers (MT), robotic humanoids who would fight for Niflheim, though little progress was made. He was the one who freed Ardyn Izunia from his captivity in Angelgard.
In M.E. 722, Izunia ingratiated himself to Emperor Aldercapt by divulging the secrets of binding daemonic essences, miasma, to the human soul. 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. With the data Verstael collected from Shiva, he began developing a new magitek weapon codenamed "Godslayer." He became known as a hero who saved Niflheim from an eternal winter, and many clamored to work under him.
Verstael led the development within the empire that harvested energy from daemons to create weapons of warfare. The empire 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," i.e. 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.
Verstael creates MTs out of daemonified humans. His initial tests resulted in the soldiers suffering ego death and be unable to fight, and thus he began using infants. 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 become infected with Starscourge and the miasma exuded by the subjects is fed into magitek cores that power magitek troopers. 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. In October 724, Verstael stopped disposing the powerful daemons manifesting at the magitek laboratories from the harvested miasma, deciding to use them in experiments instead. In M.E. 736 a one-year-old clone was kidnapped from a magitek production facility by Lucian spies. Verstael tightened security around the magitek labs so the incident would not recur.
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 in M.E. 756.
After Insomnia's fall Verstael meets with Emperor Aldercapt, Commodore Highwind, Brigadier General Ulldor, and High Commander 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 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 created, and to gain access to the Crystal to perform experiments on it. The empire did steal the Crystal, but there is no record of Verstael ever getting his hands on it. The magitek facilities Prompto scours are empty of researchers, and it is implied Verstael deliberately let them turn into daemons and sabotaged efforts to contain outbreaks.
During their confrontation Verstael calls Prompto a failure for not having become a daemon. Verstael has begun to use even his own soul for magitek experiments, ready to transcend his human existence to something superior. Prompto shoots Verstael whose soul fuses with his latest invention, Immortalis, which 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 troopers. He finds documents detailing Verstael's magitek research, and discovers the ramifications of using said technology.
Verstael is fought as the final boss of Episode Prompto in the form of Immortalis.
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 until Episode Prompto.
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.
- Verstael is characterized by the "mad scientist" trope, following the likes of Dr. Lugae from Final Fantasy IV, Professor Hojo from Final Fantasy VII and Dr Cid from Final Fantasy XII.
- His Japanese voice actor, Jin Urayama, also voices Degwin Sodo Zabi from Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin OVA series, whereas Garma Zabi, Degwin's favorite son, is voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara, who in turn voices Prompto.