The legendary director behind Final Fantasy 12 recently addressed a long-running rumor about disgraced knight-turned-party member Basch von Rosenberg. Released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006, Final Fantasy XII marked a turnaround for the long-running JRPG franchise, introducing open-world settings, real-time combat, and a revolutionary “gambit” system that allowed players to program their AI-controlled teammates To perform a specific action in a specific situation. Its story takes place in Ivalice, a medieval-style world divided into warring kingdoms that has since served as the setting for numerous Final Fantasy spinoffs.
It’s here that players are introduced to Final Fantasy XII’s party of rebellious heroes, including the fallen knight Basch. A former captain of the Knights of Dalmasca, Bash was framed and sentenced to death for the murder of King Raminas, before being rescued by Varn and his crew of sky pirates. The venerable Final Fantasy hero Basch joins the group in an effort to overthrow the oppressive Archadian Empire, proving to be a valuable ally due to his mighty swordsmanship and experience. His popularity proved enough to bring him back in 2007’s Final Fantasy 12: Revenant Wings, and further flesh out his backstory in the Final Fantasy XII manga adaptation.
It’s even been rumored that Basch was originally going to be the protagonist of Final Fantasy 12, and that Square Enix decided to focus the spotlight on teenage Vaan and Penelo to appeal to a younger audience. This rumor persisted for many years after the release of Final Fantasy XII, but director Yasumi Matsuno recently stated on Twitter that this is not true in response to fan discussions about who will be the oldest protagonist in Final Fantasy.
Rumors that Basch was the original protagonist of Final Fantasy 12 stemmed from the game’s long and troubled development cycle, which released two years behind schedule and Yasumi Matsuno resigned midway due to health reasons and creative differences with Square Enix. He would go on to freelance on games like 2009’s MadWorld, before joining Level-5 in 2011 to help develop Crimson Shroud. Matsuno eventually returned to Final Fantasy to work on more content for Final Fantasy 14–including a raid that would return players to Ivalice.
The recent discussions surrounding Final Fantasy 12 happened right before Final Fantasy 16 – a new work that shares many similarities with FF 12. Having an older protagonist come out to avenge his fallen kingdom is such a parallel – though unlike Final Fantasy 16’s time-shifted Clive, as Matsuno Yasumi just confirmed, Basch never intended to be in Final Fantasy 12″ as the protagonist.
Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.