Chancellor of Niflheim. Ardyn rose to power by introducing magitek infantry to the ranks of the imperial army, and has since amassed political power at the emperor's side. An aloof manner shrouds the chancellor in mystery.
Chancellor Ardyn Izunia, alternately known as Ardyn Lucis Caelum, is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XV who also appears in the feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. He handles the Niflheim Empire's political operations for Emperor Aldercapt, and is responsible for the expansion of Verstael Besithia's magitek infantry.
Ardyn is a shrewd, humorous and manipulative man who appears casual and unfazed by the events around him. He has an eccentric appearance and personality, often coming across as patronizingly civil. He is unpredictable, and his exaggerated and performative personality hides his sinister intentions and dark past. He enjoys manipulating events and watching them unfold.
Ardyn appears as a boss fight in the main game and in the Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis DLC. His own DLC episode, Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn, was released on March 26, 2019. An animated prologue, that details Ardyn's origins, leading up the DLC episode, premiered on February 16, 2019.
Ardyn is a middle-aged man with red-violet hair, amber eyes, and strong facial features. He dresses in a black trench coat and pinstripe trousers. He wears a red scarf and a hooded, gray and white flower-print mantle. Ardyn wears a black fedora and sometimes wears a black winglike accessory on his left arm.
When his true identity is revealed, Ardyn's face sometimes appears daemonic and grotesque. His sclera turn black, his irises and pupils turn gold, his skin becomes paler, and black markings appear across his face.
2,000 years ago, Ardyn dressed in a simple white cloak, which he used to hide the spread of Starscourge that had infected his body. In Episode Ardyn Prologue his eyes are blue and his hair brown.
Though wielding various weapons, Ardyn's personal arm is the Rakshasa Blade, a red counterpart to the Blade of the Mystic his brother wields.
A man cursed with life eternal, whose immortality stems from the selfsame scourge that wrought the daemons. One so impure of body and soul was deemed unworthy of the Crystal's Light, and forbidden to ascend. His mind twisted by spite and bent on revenge, the Usurper came to bring darkness down upon our world. Only the True King, chosen by the Crystal and guarded by his forebears, can end the Accursed's madness.
Ardyn is a man shrouded in mystery. He expresses his eccentric personality through his unique attire, and he is both polite and flamboyant. He sometimes acts suggestive, likely as a means to creep others out, calling Noctis a "tease" and stroking Prompto on his cheek. Ardyn is bold and manipulative; he remains civil, patronizingly so, even in the face of hostility, and perhaps even to attract hostility. Ardyn's behavior is performative, and his expressions and movements are exaggerated.
Ardyn's ruthlessness grows until his true personality is revealed: he is evil, vicious, calculative, and twisted. Behaving unpredictably, Ardyn remains casual and unfazed by the world around him. He has a dark sense of humor and an utter lack of empathy, finding cruel ways to taunt others.
Ardyn often helps Noctis and his friends along their journey by giving them access to imperial-controlled areas and by saving them from hostile situations. He claims to have earned the right to call Noctis "Noct", a nickname only his closest friends call him. His cruel intentions are revealed as he kills Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, and afterward continues to torment Noctis in various ways, such as by separating him from his friends, even if at the same time he desires for Noctis to reach his goal: the Crystal. He refuses to kill Noctis until the latter has become the True King, and during the final battle, repeatedly taunts Noctis, yet when he has Noctis pinned down, he releases him. Ardyn considers Noctis a means to an end and states his goal lies beyond revenge.
Despite all his taunts, Ardyn appears to enjoy witnessing Noctis grow. Ardyn bows to Noctis when the two meet in the "beyond", but whether it is done in respect or in mockery is up for the player's interpretation.
According to Lead Scenario Developer Saori Itamuro, Ardyn sought to rise to power in Niflheim to bring him closer to the line of Lucis, and Noctis in particular, as he has no interest in imperial rule. Ardyn is bent on destroying Noctis as king, and does not want him dead until then. As a result, he leads Noctis while tormenting him, entangling Noctis in a web of contradictions.
Ardyn's twisted personality greatly contrasts with how he was 2,000 years ago. He used to be a compassionate and righteous man, devoted to saving the people. Described as an idealist and a dreamer by the directors of Episode Ardyn Prologue in stark contrast to his realist brother, the siblings' differing methods in saving the world made them turn against one another. Filled with hatred towards his brother and bloodline, Ardyn now acts out of spite, regret and a desire for vengeance as he has become the very thing he had tried to prevent two millennia ago. When dining with Verstael Besithia at his lab shortly after fully awakening, Ardyn refers to himself as a monster in a self-loathing manner. Besithia corrects him, saying he's closer to "a marvel."
For a moment I felt death's chill wind, such is the might of the gods. But then, I remembered I'm immortal. Such is my blessing and curse. Your attack hurt me, nevertheless… My feelings at least.
Ardyn conceals his true capabilities behind a frivolous and lighthearted exterior. He is an effective manipulator and deceiver, positioning himself as the emperor's right-hand-man. He helped the empire develop an army of automata that utilizes ancient magiteknology, a deed that fueled his rise to his position as chancellor and paved the way for the rest of his plans.
While Ardyn uses a simple knife to murder Lunafreya, he later reveals his supernatural powers and true prowess in combat. Despite his corruption, Ardyn retains the "power of kings" granted to his bloodline: warping and phasing through solid matter, summoning weapons from thin air, and wielding the royal arms. He uses Armiger in various ways and can also manifest a giant red scythe.
Ardyn can cast powerful magic, such as striking down bolts of lightning, summoning blizzards, and causing fiery explosions, all without magic flasks or needing to collect energy from elemental deposits. He primarily controls the element of darkness, and can empower his sword strikes with it. He can fire laser beams and summon a barrage of meteorites. He can momentarily transform into miasma and use this to teleport and to fly, a feat independent of his ability to warp. He is also proficient in hand-to-hand combat (a skill he displays especially when wanting to conceal his identity as a Lucis Caelum).
Ardyn can temporarily halt time and assume the form of another, distorting others' perception of reality to create illusions, making him able to manipulate people into attacking their friends by having them see them as himself. It is implied that his disguising abilities are an extension of his daemonification powers to some extent. He can communicate as an omnipresent voice, observing events while remaining hidden.
As the Starscourge incarnate, Ardyn is the one to spread it over Eos. He has control over daemons, able to assimilate them to strengthen himself. When Ardyn assimilates people and even gods via daemonfication he also inherits their memories, which is implied to have warped his personality over time.
Two millennia ago Ardyn was blessed with the power to heal those afflicted with the Starscourge and traveled the world purging the plague by absorbing it into his own body. In his current state he can reverse the effect and turn others into daemons, and even revive the dead into ghastly mockeries of their former selves. He exudes miasma from his body at will, but unlike regular daemons, can operate in daylight as his body regenerates faster than the sun can damage him, although he still opts to wear clothing that conceals as much as possible. He can erect the Wall, although it is tainted by daemonic energy, and can even use the Starscourge to brainwash certain rulers of yore into fighting Noctis.
Ardyn seems to be either immune to pain or extremely resilient to it. During the final battle he says, "Does it hurt? The pain is proof you're mortal!" implying that he is an exception. He doesn't shiver with cold in Shiva's presence the way Noctis does, and doesn't flinch when Noctis's friends deal heavy blows on him, simply picking up his discarded hat and leaving. The only thing he recoils from is Lunafreya's healing touch. While he does experience fatigue at the end of his battle with Noctis, dying in the mortal realm doesn't seem to cause him pain. As the Starscourge incarnate he is immortal and even destroying his body will not stop him; the only thing that can end him is the True King wielding the power of Providence.
Whether the Oracles' daemon-repelling magic of havens would repel Ardyn is unknown, but during the time he stays the night with the party he insists on not camping, promising to pay for accommodation at an outpost instead.
- A self-styled "man of no consequence," Ardyn possesses more power than he first lets on. As chancellor of Niflheim, he supervises the highest reaches of government while also overseeing the empire's various research programs.
- The Ardyn who stands on the Altar of the Tidemother is a far throw from the "man of no consequence" who greeted the boys at Galdin Quay. He is cold and ruthless, stabbing Lunafreya right before Noctis's eyes. Though he has clearly made an enemy of the crown prince, his motivations are as of yet unknown.
- Though Ardyn was born to become the Founder King of Lucis, fate had other plans for him. Blessed with the power to heal those afflicted with the Starscourge, he traveled the world purging the plague from their bodies by absorbing it into his own. Yet when he stood before the Crystal for judgment, it deemed him unworthy of becoming its champion, decrying him as impure of heart. Ardyn was cast into exile, shunned by the people who once adored him and condemned by his own flesh and blood. He now seeks revenge of the Lucian bloodline—in particular, on the "True King" chosen to serve as the Crystal's champion: Noctis Lucis Caelum.
He's been living a long time. In a world he could share with no one.
Two thousand years ago, Ardyn was the firstborn of the Izunia family, which became the Lucis Caelum line*The German dossier for Ardyn is the most explicit on this, but Ardyn also says his original surname was Izunia in the French version of Episode Ignis, and the Japanese version of the main game says that Talcott and Ignis found ancient information on "Ardyn Izunia" (rather than "Ardyn Lucis Caelum") during their explorations on the long night. In the English version Ardyn tells Noctis that the latter "will never guess who Izunia was"., and he as Ardyn Lucis Caelum was to be the first Lucian king. He looked after his younger brother and the two used to play chess together.
As depicted in Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn – Prologue, the 33-year-old Ardyn traveled the countryside healing those afflicted with Starscourge in secret while his brother Somnus rounded the infected up and burned them alive to contain the outbreak. The two brothers were awaiting the gods' decision on which of them to crown the king of men. Ardyn believed Starscourge to be a potentially treatable disease, transferring it from the infected into himself. Ardyn concealed his deteriorating condition from everyone, believing he would be chosen by the Crystal to save Eos, and his actions made him a hero in the eyes of the populace. He met with his fiancée Aera Mils Fleuret, the Oracle, in secret, and the two explored ancient ruins whose builders had long since been forgotten. Aera promised she would always remember Ardyn even if he were to be lost to history.
When Ardyn traveled to the Crystal upon receiving word he was to be the king, he found himself in a trap set up by Somnus who declared himself as king while accusing Ardyn as a traitor. When Aera died protecting Ardyn from his brother during their duel, the rage over her death caused his infection to fully manifest. Holding Aera while being attacked by Somnus and Gilgamesh, Ardyn approached the Crystal to know the Astrals' true decision. The Crystal's light harmed him and cast him aside. Somnus executed Ardyn on the spot and ascended the throne of Lucis as the Founder King.
The Starscourge that Ardyn had absorbed has rendered him immortal and thus he was chained up in Angelgard where he remained haunted by the memory of Aera's death. Virtually all traces of him were erased from history, the Cosmogony extolling how Somnus became the Founder King after earning the Astrals' allegiance and conjuring a collection of glaives of light that purged the Starscourge from the world.
After 2,000 years of captivity, in M.E. 721, Ardyn was freed by Verstael Besithia of Niflheim. As he was escorted out of his prison he was attacked by the Lucian Royal Guard, and amid defending himself learned he could daemonify others and take on their memories. Seven months later Ardyn came to in the imperial lab Verstael has brought him to, though he had lost all concept of the passage of time. Verstael informed him of everything that had transpired, including the results of the various tests he had performed on Ardyn.
Ardyn had no interest in aiding Niflheim end its war with Lucis, but learned about the extent of the empire's influence in Eos along with its research on daemons. Verstael showed Ardyn the frozen body of the treacherous God of Fire Ifrit, deep in slumber at the lab after Niflheim had salvaged him from the Rock of Ravatogh. Ardyn was horrified when Besithia asked him to daemonify the deity.
The lab was attacked by the Royal Guard whom Ardyn destroyed when his hallucinations made him see its members as Somnus. Ifrit awakened, furious man had made a mockery of a god. Ardyn subdued Ifrit and daemonified him while the god was stunned a member of the Caelum line was present. Ardyn took on the god's memories and experienced an intrusive flashback to Aera's last moments.
The Aera of Ardyn's memories revealed she had told Somnus that the gods had chosen Ardyn as king, without realizing this would lead to Somnus usurping the throne. Aera exclaimed Ardyn's fate was thus her fault and begged to be punished. While Ardyn could not bring himself to harm her, Somnus's spirit forced Ardyn to kill her with a dagger. Consumed by hatred for his brother, Ardyn submitted himself to daemonification and decided to craft a path of darkness to satiate his revenge, not caring if it defied the gods.
Now going by "Ardyn Izunia", he proposed the establishment of a magitek army in M.E. 722. He established himself as chancellor to Iedolas Aldercapt, the emperor of Niflheim, and the information on daemons he provided allowed the empire to build a mighty army and led to the decision to use humans as raw materials. Ardyn allowed the Starscourge to spread and the imperial lands were ravaged by a "vanishing disease", Ardyn using the epidemic to absorb the memories of the infected to learn as much of Lucis as he could. However, doing this warped him into a shadow of his original self.
Ardyn arrives in Insomnia at ME 734 during the Founder King's Day festivities. Posing as an MIA border patrol guard named Mars Sapienta (whom he presumably daemonified), Ardyn infiltrates the city and summons Ifrit to cause carnage before disabling the Wall amplifiers. Ardyn defies Besithia's orders to go after King Regis, intent on forcing him to summon the Old Wall to settle the score with Somnus. After Ardyn nearly kills Regis, the king's Ring of the Lucii summons Somnus's Lucii form and Ardyn proceeds to fight him. While trading blows, Somnus gradually admits his regret for what he did to Ardyn and confesses he was jealous for being outshined. After losing to his brother, Somnus tries to explain the reasons behind his actions, but Ardyn is outraged that the one who took everything from him would still have the audacity to plead for his understanding. Somnus wishes Ardyn will find peace as his spirit disappears.
The still-furious Ardyn is about to kill the unconscious Regis, but the Astral Bahamut intervenes and pulls Ardyn into another dimension where he reveals the Astrals' new purpose for him: to cover the world in darkness and be killed by the True King as a sacrificial lamb, freeing him from his curse while also satisfying his revenge.* Once back on the mortal plane, Ardyn finds himself in Angelgard. He laments that nothing matters and accepts the role he is to play in plunging the world into darkness, his plan to kill the True King once he comes. He then envisions himself murdering both Aera and Somnus. Depending on the player's choice, Ardyn either rejects that fate and be tortured into accepting it by a hallucination of Aera conjured by Bahamut, or reluctantly submits after asking if either Aera or Somnus knew about this as well. The latter is confirmed as the canon ending.
As depicted in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, in M.E. 756, Ardyn travels to Lucis to offer Emperor Aldercapt's terms of peace to the kingdom's reigning monarch, Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII. Besides relaying demands for Lucis to surrender all territories save for the Crown City of Insomnia, Ardyn also insists for Prince Noctis to wed Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, the Oracle.
Ardyn meets Noctis and his friends at Galdin Quay where he tells them the ferry is not running. Declaring himself an "impatient traveler," Ardyn states the ceasefire between Lucis and Niflheim is "getting us nowhere." He tosses an Oracle Ascension Coin to Noctis and company, telling them to consider it their "allowance." Noctis's companion, Gladiolus Amicitia, catches the coin and demands Ardyn's identity, who merely states he is "a man of no consequence."
When Niflheim invades the Crown City during the treaty-signing, Ardyn and the emperor steal the Crystal. As Aranea Highwind later tells Noctis, Ardyn was the one who had instilled Aldercapt's obsession to steal Lucis's Crystal. The pair watches the Old Wall fight a Diamond Weapon, a recently constructed magitek armor the empire unleashed upon the city, before fleeing on an airship. Ardyn laments it is a waste to see a city as glorious as Insomnia destroyed.
In Lestallum, Ardyn offers to take Noctis and his friends to the Disc of Cauthess where the Astral god Titan rests. He bids them goodbye, but returns after Noctis forges a covenant with the Astral. He arrives in a magitek engine to save Noctis and his friends from the volcanic terrain ready to engulf them, and reveals his identity as Niflheim's chancellor.
When Noctis infiltrates an imperial base to recover his car, he is accosted by Lunafreya's brother, Ravus Nox Fleuret. Ravus begrudges Noctis as the apparent True King who is yet oblivious to the danger his mission puts Lunafreya in. Ardyn stops Ravus from attacking Noctis and lets the prince and his retinue leave the base. When Noctis is looking for mythril to repair the royal vessel so he can get to Lunafreya in Altissia, Ardyn has the roadblocks to the Vesperpool opened and Commodore Aranea Highwind assist him. Ardyn tells Noctis that while he is the chancellor, he is not in charge of the army.
Ardyn and Ravus head for Altissia where they meet with Accordo's head of state, Secretary Claustra. Lunafreya wants to rouse the Hydraean, Leviathan, to help Noctis. Ravus, as the high commander of the imperial army, is on a task to kill Leviathan before Noctis can forge his covenant. Ardyn talks with Ravus in front of the cathedral where Lunafreya was to wed Noctis. After she summons Leviathan, Ardyn stabs Lunafreya with a dagger knowing that Noctis will witness it.
During Episode Ignis, Ardyn, in the form of Gladiolus, comes across Noctis's friend Ignis and Ravus on the remains of the Altar of the Tidemother shortly after the latter's rampage upon seeing his sister deceased. Though Ignis is fooled at first, Ravus sees through the disguise and makes a futile attack. The two are detained by magitek soldiers while Ardyn gloats and threatens to kill Noctis. He offers Ignis the chance to join him, and claims there is no point in a world that "only ever disappoints you," saying he wouldn't mind ending it right here. Before Ardyn can plunge his dagger into Noctis's unconscious body, Ignis shakes off the soldiers' hold and adorns the Ring of the Lucii, a magical royal heirloom he had gained from the unconscious Noctis. Certain the old kings would reject Ignis, Ardyn is shocked when he is empowered by the Ring. Ardyn duels Ignis without using the full extent of his powers, and once the Ring's enchantment wears off and Ignis loses his sight, Ardyn takes his leave.
Without the Oracle holding back the Starscourge, Eos is plunged into further crisis. Ravus is blamed for the incident with the Leviathan going on a rampage in Altissia and is sentenced to death.
Ardyn appears before Noctis on a train ride to Gralea, Niflheim's capital. He torments him by tricking Noctis into pursuing his friend Prompto and to push him off the train. Noctis meets Aranea in Tenebrae where he learns Ardyn is left in charge of a chaotic empire, as all the other higher ups are gone and the emperor is but a husk of his former self. As he passes through Ghorovas Rift, the Glacian grants Noctis her power. Ardyn accosts him but Shiva freezes him solid, while Noctis, in a fit of anger, breaks Ardyn's body. Though frozen and shattered, Ardyn returns, revealing to Noctis that he is immortal. He tells Noctis Prompto is being held captive in Gralea alongside the Crystal.
As depicted in Episode Prompto, following his fall from the train, Prompto is brought to Niflheim's First Magitek Production Facility run by Verstael Besithia. When Prompto accesses the facility using his ID tattoo, Ardyn appears and reveals this is Prompto's birthplace. After returning Prompto's gun and cryptically hinting at his past, Ardyn encourages him to seek out Verstael. Tape recordings scattered throughout the facility reveal that Ardyn helped Verstael create the magitek infantry, and Verstael credits Ardyn's cooperation for developing a way for him to transfer one's ego and consciousness into a magitek armor.
Prompto learns that he is a clone created by Verstael. Confronting a mutating Verstael, Prompto kills him and Ardyn taunts him about his patricide over the speaker system. Prompto later enters an illusion where he is hunted by Noctis while appearing as an MT, but whether this is a projection of his own mind or an illusion created by Ardyn is ambiguous. After Prompto and Aranea defeat Verstael's magitek incarnation, a content Ardyn watches Prompto ride towards Gralea.
In Gralea, Ardyn's disembodied voice taunts Noctis after he is separated from his allies, but at the same time guides Ignis and Gladiolus to him. It is implied Ardyn lets Ignis and Gladiolus open the vault to the Crystal room, and lets them view a recording of Ravus first confronting the emperor, and then being killed by Ardyn himself masquerading as Noctis. As he killed Ravus, Ardyn had mocked the former's desire to be the True King and save the world, yet being rejected. He had scattered the letters Ravus had sent to Lunafreya about his corpse for Noctis to discover.
After Noctis reunites with his friends, Ardyn has the trio face Emperor Aldercapt and Ravus whom he has turned into daemons. When Noctis is forced to abandon his friends to seek power from the Crystal, Ardyn confronts him and reveals his true identity. As he watches the Crystal absorb Noctis, Ardyn states he will be waiting for him to return as the True King. As Noctis's friends arrive they attempt to take Ardyn down, he shrugs off the blows and unveils the deformities sustained from his work as a healer.
Unharmed by the Light. The Chosen King, indeed. Allow me to regale you with a tale. In an age long past, an incurable scourge ravaged mankind. A tiny menace that twisted men into monsters, the likes of which you've seen. In Lucis lived a savior that could cure the afflicted. His body would come to host myriad daemons, that countless lives be spared. But a jealous king, one not yet chosen by the Crystal, ostracized and demonized this healer of the people. Making a true monster of him. I gave you my name earlier, but you should know that it was not the name given to me at birth. Ardyn Lucis Caelum is my proper name. You'll never guess whose name Izunia was. Noct, killing you as a mortal will bring me scant satisfaction. Claim the Crystal's power. Arise as its champion. Only once the Crystal and King are no more...can I know redemption. Come back soon. I shall keep your friends company until you are ready.
With Lunafreya dead and Noctis out of the way, Ardyn allows the Starscourge to spread and daemons run amok in Eos for the next decade. Ardyn spends ten years assimilating daemons to accumulate his power until he is confronted in his new abode, the Citadel in Insomnia, by a reawakened Noctis and his allies. Ardyn erects a barrier around the Citadel, the only place where Noctis can fulfill the prophecy. He mocks Noctis on how it reminds him of Regis before teleporting away. Lunafreya's spirit summons the Astrals to break through the barrier, and on the Citadel courtyard Ardyn pits Noctis and his retinue against Ifrit. After defeating the Infernian with Bahamut and Shiva's aid, Noctis and his friends fight their way through some of the rulers of yore whom Ardyn has enslaved with the Starscourge, among them Ardyn's brother Somnus (the Mystic). After Noctis is triumphant, the Mystic asks for Noctis to release Ardyn from the thrall of darkness.
In the Citadel's throne room Ardyn confronts Noctis with the illusory bodies of Lunafreya, Regis, Iedolas, and Nyx Ulric, which Ardyn had grotesquely displayed for his own amusement. Noctis orders Ardyn to step down from the throne, calling him a jester. Ardyn incapacitates Noctis's allies so he can face the rival king alone. During the fight he taunts Noctis regarding his status as the True King, and rants how Noctis being sealed away for ten years was nothing compared to Ardyn himself having been in darkness for millennia. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition offers extended dialogue, where Ardyn claims the Crystal is using Noctis. Noctis accepts it if it means he can banish the darkness, saying Ardyn himself is a slave to the dark, much removed from the kind and noble king he used to be.
Overpowered by Noctis, Ardyn humbly accepts his defeat and calmly questions Noctis's decision to save the world. When Noctis tells him to rest forever, Ardyn smiles and says he will await Noctis in the "beyond" before his body vanishes. Noctis gives his life to face Ardyn in the realm between life and death where Lunafreya's spirit reveals Ardyn's true form and Noctis uses the Ring of the Lucii to summon the spirits of his ancestors to deal the final blow with the royal arms he had collected, finally destroying Ardyn for good and granting him both the peace and vengeance he had wanted for so long. With both Noctis and Ardyn dead, the Starscourge is purged from Eos and the sun rises again.
Blessed was the man born for the throne, yet he, so impure of heart, was denied by the Stone and cast into ignominy. Feeding on the dusk and embracing the darkness, he spurned the dawn, effecting a life untouched by time. And through the coming of night eternal, he now seeks to exact vengeance upon his own blood.
If Ignis decides to follow Ardyn after facing him in Altissia, the latter takes him to Zegnautus Keep and tells him this is where the empire has imprisoned the Crystal. When Ignis finds the Crystal, he is apprehended by Ardyn, who says he lured Ignis there as bait for Noctis, whom he wants to inherit the Crystal's power. Ardyn reveals his true identity as Ardyn Lucis Caelum, who in ancient times was to become the king of Lucis, but considers the title stolen from him by his brother. Rendered immortal by the Starscourge that now inhabits his very soul, Ardyn has lived for two millennia, awaiting the time he can get his revenge on the Crystal and bloodline that had discarded him. Ardyn easily defeats Ignis and is about to kill him before the latter reveals he has the Ring of the Lucii, puts it on and gains its power for the price of his own life.
Ignis is able to disintegrate Ardyn's body, but as he is immortal, his return is inevitable and he taunts Ignis before vanishing. The dying Ignis is found by Noctis, Gladiolus and Prompto, who had been brought to the Keep by Ravus. In this version of the events, the train ride through Niflheim never happens, and Prompto is never captured. Noctis asks for the Crystal's power to save Ignis, and while he sleeps in its core for ten years, the others return to Lucis.
When Noctis returns he and his retinue head to Insomnia where they team up with Ravus to defeat Ardyn in the throne room. They appear to have succeeded as light returns to the world. Yet, Noctis doesn't die and the Ring of the Lucii doesn't shatter, Noctis continuing to rule Lucis from the Citadel. Whether this means the prophecy of the True King has been fulfilled, or if Ardyn's immortal soul still lingers and the Starscourge can yet return, is unknown. Final Fantasy XV: Official Works posits that Ignis devised a "secret plan" to destroy the immortal Ardyn and drive out the darkness, and managed to surpass even the intent of the gods to bring forth another future.
Ardyn is fought as the final boss during the Main Quest The Cure for Insomnia. He wields the same powers as Noctis but with a red glow as opposed to Noctis's blue, and his set of royal arms are red rather than platinum. Ardyn uses dark magic and is immune to all status effects and the Death and Holy spells from the Ring of the Lucii. He resists Alterna (though it can still work). He is one of the few Final Fantasy main antagonist/final bosses to not transform right before the battle, and one of the few to be entirely fought by a single character.
Ardyn also has further boss battles in Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis and Final Fantasy XV: Comrades, where he uses a more extensive set of Armiger skills and weapons than in the main game.
Ardyn is a playable character in Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn. He fights using daemonic powers as well as the power of kings. The player can freely move about at high speeds to points on the map with the "Shadow Move" ability and defeat enemies by Daemonfication by landing a finishing attack (landing five consecutive hits). The player can also activate Daemonification by successfully landing a sequence of attacks following a back-attack. Ardyn's Shadow Move can be used to attack the enemy from behind. By turning opponents into daemons, Ardyn can drain their energy to replenish himself. By landing a sufficient amount of attacks, Ardyn can use dark-elemental attacks that can KO most enemies except bosses. Ardyn can cast magic and uses a battle system similar to Noctis's with weapon-swapping. Should his health reach zero, Ardyn revives and briefly greatly grows in power. After filling the command gauge, Ardyn can summon Ifrit. He also has the ability to use Armiger and can warp-strike.
In Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, Ardyn's appearance is accompanied by the theme "The Chancellor" from the Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV: Original Soundtrack.
In Final Fantasy XV, Ardyn has two themes: "ARDYN", which plays in Chapters 1–7 and has an upbeat tone, and "ARDYN II", which plays in Chapter 10 onwards, including his appearances in Episode Prompto and Episode Ignis, which has a more somber tone. A few more variations of "ARDYN" appear, including the scene between Ardyn and Lunafreya in Chapter 9's climax, one named "Beckoned by Darkness" when he meets Prompto in Episode Prompto, when he apprehends Ravus in Chapter 13 Verse 2 titled "Ravus' Last Moments", and when he appears behind Ignis in the Crystal room in Chapter 3 Verse 2 in Episode Ignis under the name "Ardyn III". His theme is given an even darker remix with low male vocals in the ending for Episode Ardyn.
Ardyn's three boss themes in Episode Ignis contain motifs from the "Theme of Episode Ignis".
Creation and development
Ardyn was designed by Roberto Ferrari around December 2010. Tweaks to his initial design were made in January, 2011. This would mean he was created while the game was still known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but Ardyn never appeared in trailers or other promotional material for it.
There was going to be an imperial general named Safay Roth, implied to originally be the main villain, as Ardyn was created after Roth was cut. Ardyn was unveiled in the E3 2013 trailer for Final Fantasy XV where he is on the steps of the rainy Citadel with Iedolas Aldercapt, holding an umbrella. This scene is not in the final game, but Ardyn is with Iedolas on an airship and gazes down on Insomnia in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy XV has a scene where Ardyn and Ravus are in front of the Altissian cathedral in rain and Ardyn holds an umbrella, apparently based on his reveal scene from the original trailer.
Ardyn often helps the party and his "assistance" is meant to convey that he is not a typical Final Fantasy villain: Ardyn is uninterested in material conquest, but harbors a deep-seated hatred for the royal line of Lucis, and assists Noctis to inflict more torment to him.
In Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, the likeness of Edward Saxby is used to portray Ardyn.
Episode Ardyn is a DLC episode focusing on Ardyn. Ardyn also appears as the main villain in Episode Ignis, but the developers refrained from giving him too much lore there so they can fully explain it in Episode Ardyn.
- Ardyn Izunia
- This middle-aged military tactician rose through the ranks by reforming the empire's magitek infantry, and now runs the nation seated at the emperor's side. Quick-witted and observant, he not only grasps any situation in seconds—he also manages to transcend and take control of it shortly thereafter.
In the final game Ardyn's role as the chancellor is not expanded upon much (perhaps because he is never actually seen with the emperor), and his role in creating the magitek infantry 30 years ago is kept until it becomes apparent he has supernatural powers.
The most enjoyable part of playing Ardyn: the writing... He's a wonderfully written character. He's very human because he has so many different sides. He's got that very sincere insincerity, and I adored that about him.
Ardyn's Japanese voice actor is Keiji Fujiwara. He shares his Japanese voice actor with Reno from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Izana Kunagiri from Final Fantasy Type-0, and Axel and Lea from the Kingdom Hearts series.
Ardyn is voiced by Darin De Paul in the English version, who initially thought he was not right for the role, but his wife pushed him into auditioning.
One of Ardyn's abilities is Sword of the Wise, the first royal arm the player earns in Final Fantasy XV.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
Ardyn appears briefly at the end of the quest "A Gift from the Gods". Sealed in an underground tomb, Bayek releases Ardyn and hides as he steps forward. Bahamut swoops down and casts Ultima Sword, surrounding Ardyn with the blades and drawing him up in a pillar of light. Carvings of him also decorate the tomb.
Ardyn has a downloadable skin.
Etymology and symbolism
The main characters' names in Final Fantasy XV tend to derive from Latin. Although "Ardyn" is not Latin, ardēns means burning, but also shining, brilliant, ardent, and passionate. "Ardyn" is also an alternate spelling of "Arden", the name of a forest used as a stock location by William Shakespeare in several of his plays. Though possibly coincidental, Shakespeare quotes were used in early trailers for Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
Ardyn, in juxtaposition with Noctis, alludes to enemies and "devil" figures of major religions. In terms of Christianity, he could be compared to the Anti Christ, one of three major figures said to represent the end times, a being who claims to be Jesus but ultimately represents perversion and the straying of Christian principles.
How he is of the Caelum line, but comes to plunge Eos into darkness and despair, is most significant of this allusion. When Ardyn uses powers similar to Noctis's, he glows red as opposed to Noctis's blue. He represents the forces of darkness whereas Noctis is the King of Light. Ardyn is unable to truly die whereas Noctis must sacrifice himself to free the world of Ardyn's influence. Ardyn is finally killed for good after Noctis returns as the King of Kings, which could allude to the Second Coming. Him becoming evil due to in-fighting with a jealous brother resembles Cain and Abel, although, ironically, even though he adopted the Cain element by wandering the earth with the mark of evil, Ardyn is closer to Abel due to being demonized by his jealous brother.
Some of the imagery around Ardyn alludes to Biblical themes. There's a piece of concept artwork of him riding a black chocobo into a city to prayers and cheers, alluding to Palm Sunday. Another piece depicts him stripped shirtless being chained up by people in black robes. This is realized in Episode Ardyn where he is chained shirtless with nails through his palms, alluding to crucifixion. He once believed he was chosen by the Crystal to cure the world of Starscourge only to fall from the gods' favor at 33 years of age and learning his true role is to die so the Starscourge epidemic can finally end. Jesus was 33 years old when he was crucified and died for others' sins. Ardyn being impaled by a spear in Episode Ardyn Prologue and in Episode Ardyn by Aera's spirit, hearkens to Jesus's side having been pierced by a lance as he hung on the cross. Ardyn wears an accessory that resembles a single black wing, a possible reference to Sephiroth, the villain of Final Fantasy VII, whose one-winged angel form in turn alludes to Luciferian imagery.
Ardyn's original role as a healer hearkens to the concept of a sin-eater, a person who magically takes on the sins of a person or household, thus absolving these persons' souls. Consequently, sin-eaters supposedly carried the sins of all people whose souls they had thus saved.
When Noctis first meets Ardyn as the "suspicious stranger" at Galdin Quay, the latter throws an Oracle Ascension Coin at his way, calling it his "allowance". After Ardyn leaves Noctis learns the former has been giving the coins out to everyone at the resort. In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased to the world of the dead, requiring a coin as payment for passage, usually an obolus or a danake. This allusion may be intentional, as Ardyn knows of Noctis's fate as the True King. Charon is the brother of, among many others, Thanatos (personification of death) and Hypnos (personification of sleep, whose Roman equivalent is known as Somnus—Ardyn's brother).
- Ardyn drives a red car registered to Duscae while in Lucis. There is a document on his seat when he is not in the car that appears to be a contract of some kind (perhaps a rental agreement for the vehicle). Though the text is too small to read, it doesn't appear to have been signed with any of Ardyn's real names.
- Ardyn's lines "I'm worried about your friends. They've fallen and they can't get up!" during Chapter 12 are based upon a catchphrase from a United States-based television commercial for a medical alarm and protection company.
- Ardyn's birthday is in April. In the Q&A session for Episode Ardyn Prologue, the developers revealed they chose April as birth month for strong-willed characters because then their birth stone would be diamond. The characters who have their birthdays in April are Ardyn and Gladiolus.
- When bleeding the blood of daemons, Ardyn's appearance resembles the onstage corpse paint of shock rock metal singer Alice Cooper. Having at that point brought the world to its knees at the wrath of the Starscourge and becoming the world's "king", he has welcomed "all to his nightmare".
- Where Ardyn's given surname "Izunia" comes from is ambiguous. In English, he simply says, "You'll never guess whose name Izunia was." Ardyn's German dossier says he is the firstborn of the Izunia family, which became the Lucis Caelum line due to their unique skill, and he says he reassumed his original surname in the French version of Episode Ignis. The English version contradicts this, where he says "I gave you my name earlier, but you should know that it was not the name given to me at birth. Ardyn Lucis Caelum is my proper name." In the German version of Episode Ignis Ardyn introduces himself as "Ardyn Lucis Caelum Izunia". In Episode Ardyn Prologue Ardyn is known as the elder son of "House Caelum", and is descended from nobility. In Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn, it is simply said Ardyn was given the name Ardyn Izunia as he became an imperial citizen.
- In the German localization Ardyn says the Starscourge originated from the Meteor of the Six during his soliloquy at the end of Chapter 13. This is not stated outright in other versions; the Japanese version simply stating "a plague without remedy became widespread". In the English version he says "an incurable scourge ravaged mankind".
- Ardyn warps into the confrontation between Noctis and Ravus in the imperial base before his powers are revealed to the player and the party. It happens off screen, but the warping sound effect plays before Ardyn walks onto the scene.
- In Chapter 11, the "Prompto" who fights alongside Noctis is Ardyn in disguise, as revealed at the end of the chapter. "Prompto" says lines he has never uttered before, and moves slightly differently, the way he stands up and his swagger walk being the most noticeable. Similarly, when Noctis pursues "Ardyn" on the train he behaves in a way unlike how Ardyn normally acts, such as telling Noctis to stop playing around, running away in a panic, and saying "dude, are you seriously trying to kill me?" Prompto's experience of the events shown in Episode Prompto confirms that the "Ardyn" whom Noctis chases down the train car is actually Prompto, who recalls Noctis pinning him against the wall and threatening him.
- Bahamut's English line to Noctis regarding Ardyn has led to some misconceptions within the fanbase regarding Ardyn's immortality. Bahamut describes Ardyn as: "A man cursed with life eternal, whose immortality stems from the selfsame scourge that wrought the daemons. One so impure of body and soul was deemed unworthy of the Crystal's Light, and forbidden to ascend." The word "ascend" here refers to ascending the throne of Lucis, rather than ascending the mortal life into the afterlife. What Bahamut says in Japanese is その汚れた身体を聖石に拒まれ王位に就くことなく葬られた愚かな男, or "A foolish man who was rejected by the Holy Stone for that unclean body and was buried without ascending to the throne."
- Ardyn makes light of his inability to die in Episode Ardyn, feigning envy at the soldiers he kills for the sweet release of death they get to experience.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Ardyn's English bestiary entry in Final Fantasy XV
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV Ultimania Scenario Side, p.018
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 FINAL FANTASY XV EPISODE ARDYN PROLOGUE Q&A (7:52) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by FINAL FANTASY XV at YouTube
- ↑ FINAL FANTASY XV EPISODE ARDYN PROLOGUE Q&A (8:20) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by FINAL FANTASY XV at YouTube
- ↑ Character overviews (Accessed: December 01, 2018) at Final Fantasy XV Official Site
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Final Fantasy XV Collector's Edition Guidebook developer interviews
- ↑ FINAL FANTASY XV EPISODE ARDYN PROLOGUE Q&A (6:45) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by FINAL FANTASY XV at YouTube
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 German dossier for Ardyn: "Als Erstgeborener der Familie Izunia, die einst für ihre besonderen Fähigkeiten zur Linie der Lucis Caelum erwählt wurde, hätte er der erste Kônig zum Schutze des Kristalls werden sollen."
Translation: "As the firstborn of the Izunia family, chosen for their special skills to become the Lucis Caelum lineage, he should have become the Founder King to protect the Crystal
- ↑ FINAL FANTASY XV EPISODE ARDYN PROLOGUE Q&A (10:24) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by FINAL FANTASY XV at YouTube
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV Scenario Ultimania Translation Project — History of Eos (Accessed: July 25, 2018) at Medium
- ↑ Appendix 6 - Armaments of the Niflheim Empire from ''Final Fantasy XV Official Works'' translations by higharollakockamamie (Accessed: August 17, 2018) at higharollakockamamie @tumblr
- ↑ https://www.famitsu.com/matome/ff15/2019_03_27-2.html
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV Ultimania Scenario Side translations (Accessed: January 08, 2019) at The Lifestream
- ↑ Noctis Lucis Caelum Character Profile from ''Final Fantasy XV Official Works'' translated by higharollakockamamie (Accessed: December 12, 2018) at higharollakockamamie @tumblr
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Another Possibility: the Extra Chapter shown in ''Episode Ignis'' (Accessed: July 25, 2018) at higharollakockamamie at tumblr
- ↑ Character artist Roberto Ferrari speaks on Final Fantasy XV story changes, cut characters (Accessed: July 25, 2018) at Nova Crystallis
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV: Changes from Final Fantasy Versus XIII Explained; More Info on Characters Shared (Accessed: July 25, 2018) at DualShockers
- ↑ Edward Saxby's Instagram (Accessed: January 08, 2019) at Edward Saxby's Instagram
- ↑ Dengeki First interview translated by Paperchampion23 (Accessed: July 25, 2018) at /r/FFXV at reddit.com
- ↑ [ spoilers ] unuse + cut + pending content topic at /r/ffxv at reddit (Accessed: June 12, 2018) at reddit
- ↑ FINAL FANTASY XV: The English Voice Cast (3:42) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by Final Fantasy XV at YouTube
- ↑ FINAL FANTASY XV 2nd Anniversary English Voice Actors Thank You Message (5:35) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by Final Fantasy XV at YouTube
- ↑ 【Final Fantasy XV】 Episode Ignis -German Version- (1:35:49) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by BlindingAwesomeness at YouTube
- ↑ Let's Play Final Fantasy XV German Ending Full Fight (4:01) (Accessed: December 08, 2019) by Prinzdicky at YouTube
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV chapter-by-chapter lore exposition and development, part 3 (Accessed: December 21, 2018) at The Lifestream