Anytime someone boots up a Final Fantasy game, there are certain non-negotiables one would expect. Chocobos, moogles, crystals, and of course, Cid. Since the second game in the series, a recurring character named Cid appears in each Final Fantasy title. Even within the context of being “Cid”, there are certain characteristics that fans expect from his various appearances. First and foremost, Cid is usually a mentor to the party; an older, wiser, and more world-weary adventurer who provides guidance to the protagonist and his companions as Final Fantasy‘s version of the classic “Supernatural Aid” from the Hero’s Journey.
Every Final Fantasy starting with Final Fantasy II has its own version of the iconic Cid character, and they are (practically without fail) grizzly old engineers or airship captains. That said, Cid isn’t always an ally to the party, occasionally making an appearance as a character antagonistic to the heroes’ mission or an outright villain. Part of the freedom in the creation of a new Cid to feature in each Final Fantasy is that the game’s writers can have fun with his characterization, including completely flipping players’ expectations upside-down by having him hurt the party rather than help.
The “Original” Cid – Final Fantasy II (1988)
The original version of the Cid character and the first to appear in the series comes to players courtesy of Final Fantasy II. This game’s version of the iconic character is the owner of the world’s only airship, and he charges a premium for use of its flight around the world. After initially charging Firion and his companions, though, Cid eventually gets a change of heart and decides to part with his airship as a dying gift to Firion. As the first Cid in the series, this version of the character establishes the trends of each game’s Cid being older, wiser, and somehow involved with airships.
Cid Haze – Final Fantasy III (1990)
The next Cid to feature in the series is Cid Haze from Final Fantasy III. This version of Cid appears even older than the original from Final Fantasy II but is also a skilled engineer and airship captain. In fact, Final Fantasy III‘s narrative credits this Cid with being the inventor of the airship and a citizen of the Floating Continent where the technology originates. After helping the party earlier in their adventure, Cid returns to transform their sailing ship into the series’ iconic airship and even assists them in their battle against the evil sorcerer Xande.
Cid Pollendina – Final Fantasy IV (1991)
Final Fantasy IV‘s Cid is the first fully playable version of the character in the series, proving to be a crucial party member and excellent physical powerhouse after his rescue. Like the other Cid characters from early Final Fantasy games, this version of Cid is also an engineer who is credited with inventing and perfected airship design, and the first airship the party acquires in the game is his best version of the flying machine yet — The Enterprise. Cid is practically an uncle figure to both Rosa and Cecil, watching over the two as well as helping them both to come to terms with their love for one another via some well-timed comic relief.
Cid Previa – Final Fantasy V (1992)
Another Final Fantasy, another older and wiser Cid character. Cid from Final Fantasy V is one of the world’s most skilled researchers and inventors, and his study of ancient texts leads to his creation of the machines that extract power from the world’s Crystals. Unfortunately, these machines ultimately bring about the destruction of the Crystals, allowing for Exdeath to take root in physical form. He helps the party by both restoring an ancient airship as well as figuring out how the heroes can travel between dimensions to enter Exdeath and Galuf’s homeworld.
Cid Del Norte Marguez – Final Fantasy VI (1994)
Donning his iconic yellow mage’s robe is Cid Del Norte Marguez from Final Fantasy VI. This version of Cid is a surrogate grandfather to General Celes, and even goes so far as to sacrifice himself for her betterment after the two end up washing ashore on an island following Kefka’s destruction of the world. Like the Cid from Final Fantasy V, his inventions and research end up inadvertently bringing about the end of the world, but he redeems himself by helping the party during pivotal moments and ultimately committing to selfless acts in service of the game’s heroes.
Cid Highwind – Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Cid Highwind is, to put it bluntly, a bit of a jerk. He constantly belittles the people closest to him as a way to deflect his own feelings of failure and inadequacy, but he eventually realizes that Cloud and his companions are perhaps his final chance to take to the skies in persuit of his ultimate dream: flying in space. Outside his rough initial impressions on the party, Cid is an excellent companion and combatant, being the first Cid in the series since Final Fantasy IV that players can have as a party member. His unique skills with a spear help to make him Final Fantasy VII‘s de facto version of the classic Dragoon archetype.
Cid Kramer – Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
Taking the “Cid as a mentor” approach to its logical conclusion is Final Fantasy VIII‘s version of the character, who is the headmaster of the SeeD military academy where the game’s protagonist Squall is one of the top students. Under Cid’s guidance, Squall and his companions receive the training that will help them eventually be able to take down Ultimecia and stop her conquest of time itself. Final Fantasy VIII‘s Cid fulfils the mentor/teacher role literally while also being a calm and collected presence for the party, even going so far as to use the SeeD headquarters as a means for the party to travel the world.
Cid Fabool IX – Final Fantasy IX (2000)
Final Fantasy IX‘s Cid is the regent of a city full of technological wonders and skilled engineers, and players get to briefly control the character during one of the game’s story sequences. As the ruler of the city of Lindblum, Cid’s skill in designing the world’s best airships is unparalleled, and even after his transformation into an Oglop he is still respected and revered as the world’s best airship expert. The game mentions his lineage briefly, indicating that Cid Fabool IX is simply the latest in a long line of brilliant engineers and airship pilots.
Cid, Leader of the Al Bhed – Final Fantasy X (2001)
The version of Cid players meet in Final Fantasy X is both the leader of that game’s technologically advanced tribe the Al Bhed and the father of Tidus’ companion Rikku and uncle of Yuna. Cid assists the party by skillfully unearthing the ruins of an Al Bhed excavation and repairing them, giving the party their airship The Fahrenheit. After his appearance in Final Fantasy X, this version of Cid returns as an NPC in the sequel Final Fantasy X-2.
Cid – Final Fantasy XI (2002)
Like the character’s other appearances in previous games, Final Fantasy XI‘s version of the iconic Cid character is the world’s most prominent engineer and inventor. Although Cid himself is not a playable character in Final Fantasy XI, players can visit the nation of Bastok where he resides and visit his workshop. Here, he provides the party with quests to gather materials for his inventions. Later expansions to Final Fantasy XI reveal that Cid has a son, Midras, who is carrying on his father’s inventive legacy by trying to revolutionize Vana’diel’s agriculture.
Cid of the Lufaine – Final Fantasy (FF Origins Version) (2003)
Although the original Final Fantasy does not include a version of Cid, developers retroactively added in a mention of the character in every subsequent remake and reissue of the classic RPG. The first of these is the Wonder Swan version of Final Fantasy, which is the very same version from the PlayStation collection Final Fantasy Origins. Although players never meet this version of Cid, it is revealed that he is Lufenian and the inventor of the game’s airship.
Cidolfus Demen Bunansa – Final Fantasy XII (2006)
While Cid from Final Fantasy VI may switch sides from that of the adversary to that of the protagonists, Final Fantasy XII‘s version of the character is an outright villain. This marks the first time in the series that a Cid character is a villain and boss for the heroes to fight. This version of Cid is the chief researcher and engineer of the Archadian Empire, as well as the designer of its airships that make up the bulk of its military might, including the gargantuan Sky Force Bahamut.
Cid Raines – Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
For the first time in the series, the version of Cid featuring in Final Fantasy XIII is closer in age to that of the game’s heroes and not an older male authority figure. Cid Raines is a brigadier general of the Sanctum Guardian Corps and an initial aid to the party by preventing their capture and arrest. However, it’s later revealed that his intentions are not entirely altruistic and that he is only operating in his own interests rather than trying to help Lightning and her companions.
Cid nan Garlond – Final Fantasy XIV (2013)
Leader of the Garlond Ironworks and one of Eorzea’s most skilled engineers, Cid from Final Fantasy XIV is another non-playable version of the character that mostly operates in the background. Still, he does provide the party with some quests that provide insight on his background and motivations, and the Ironworks’ goal of providing magitek to the smaller nation states of Eorzea is done to try and offset the might of the Garlean Empire and its imperialist leanings.
Cid Sophiar – Final Fantasy XV (2016)
Like other series Cids, Cid Sophiar from Final Fantasy XV is skilled with machines and an expert mechanic. He uses these skills to assist Noctis by repairing and modifying the Regalia at the Hammerhead service station along with his grandaughter Cindy. This version of Cid is much older than many of the previous versions and doesn’t provide much to say in terms of dialogue, mostly existing as a nod to the series’ past Cids via his status as the game’s primary mechanic.
Cidolfus Telamon – Final Fantasy XVI (2023)
After appearing mostly as a side character throughout the series, Final Fantasy XVI‘s version of Cid takes a much more prominent role as one of the game’s main characters and a mentor to the directionless Clive. Cid informs Clive of the truth behind the Crystals and the Eikons, setting him off on the path to avenge his brother’s apparent death and restore balance to the world like a Final Fantasy version of Robin Hood. Although Cid is not playable as a character, he does join Clive as a party member and even imparts his mastery over the Eikon Ramuh to Clive as a final gift before succumbing to wounds he receives at the hands of Ultima.