Crafty and charismatic, Cid Aulstyne once only held the reins of the imperial army. In a bid for power, however, the grand marshal used his influence to launch a coup d'etat. He successfully incarcerated the emperor, seizing control of both the Militesi Empire and its affiliated White Peristylium. Since taking over, he has directed the design and development of new armaments, personally helping produce teknology allowing the empire to seize the Crystals of the other nations in Orience. He has already taken his own nation's White Tiger Crystal hostage and begun forcing its l'Cie to do his bidding. Moreover, he has already made clear his designs on the other three Crystals, so it is only a matter of time until he acts on those intentions.
While there have been Cid characters who have served as antagonists in Final Fantasy games before (such as Dr. Cid from Final Fantasy XII and Cid Raines from Final Fantasy XIII), Aulstyne is the first Cid to be the main antagonist of a Final Fantasy game.
Cid wears the Militesi officer's uniform of white colors representing the White Tiger, the nation's Crystal. He wears the officer's white hat, coat and cape, a red scarf, black gloves, trousers and knee-high boots. His face is gaunt and his hair and eyebrows are white. He brandishes a katana, although he is never seen wielding it in battle.
In this time of darkness, we must unite to bring forth the light of hope! The time has come! Yes, this is the dawn of a new age!
Despite appearing gruff and cynical, Cid tries to rally the imperial citizens to look to a more hopeful future. Though he appears power-hungry, seemingly having usurped the emperor and wanting to take over Orience, he sees this as a necessity and himself following a duty in doing it, seeing himself as strong enough to take on the task. Fiercely individualistic, Cid abhors being used by anyone, wanting to grant the same freedom of thought to all of mankind no matter the cost. An engineering and military genius, Cid carries out his objectives in a cold and calculating manner.
High commander of the technologically advanced army of the Militesi Empire, Imperial Marshal Cid Aulstyne became the country's dictator after the emperor mysteriously disappeared. He may have been guided in this task by a White Tiger l'Cie called Theo, whose l'Cie Stone posits he wants to serve the empire by "protecting our beacon of hope" after becoming "cognizant of the truth about this world." Theo believed he had found the man who could unite Orience under the banner of the White Tiger Crystal and left the future in his hands, entering crystal stasis.
After having seized the reins of military power, Cid began plotting a coup d'état, which he executed on Tempestamens XV, 832 RG. As the empire had the means to mass-produce magitek armors, the emperor had little actual influence over the government or the military, and only and handful of soldiers were willing to fight for him.
The coup d'état was carried out bloodlessly and Cid became the new head of state. He incarcerated the emperor, took control of the White Peristylium, and placed the White Tiger Crystal under his supervision, also taking control of the l'Cie who obey its Will. Cid resolves to free humanity from the "slavery under the Crystals" and rallies his populace to support his cause by declaring that the empire will become Agito, a savior foretold to appear during the end times, Tempus Finis, and lead Orience to a new future.
An engineering genius, Cid had devised a machine to subjugate the White Tiger Crystal to harness its power and enslave its l'Cie. Using his newfound power, Cid begins his conquest of invading the other Crystal-States in 842. He breaks the Pax Codex by deploying l'Cie to war, and has the Militesi fleet to invade the Dominion of Rubrum from all sides while a squad under the new White Tiger Secundus l'Cie Qun'mi Tru'e attacks Akademeia, the capital and magic academy of Rubrum where the Vermilion Peristylium is located.
Via the crystal jammer, a device Cid had invented to disable other nations' Crystals, the imperials render Rubrum vulnerable. Cid has his l'Cie attack the city while trying to force Chancellor Khalia Chival VI to comply and relinquish the Vermilion Bird Crystal, or the people still in the peristylium would be slaughtered. A group of Agito Cadets, who would become known as Class Zero, drives off Qun'mi and her forces as Rubrum retaliates in the war that follows.
The empire annihilates the Lorican Alliance with an Ultima Bomb, its new weapon of mass destruction whose power is enhanced by Qun'mi, who many speculate to have been in love with Cid. Cid has the nation's Black Tortoise Crystal salvaged from the ruins. Not having the means to deploy the bomb to the nations lying further away, Cid begins the imperial campaign with fleets of magitek armor to obtain the Crystals. While General Qator Bashtar suspects future generations will view the empire's act as the start of Tempus Finis, Cid claims they will go down in history as the saviors of Orience and annihilating the Black Peristylium was the first step taken toward this goal.
Cid has the White Tiger Crystal l'Cie support the Militesi troops. Some are uneasy about this, but Cid states that as long as they hold the Crystal hostage the l'Cie cannot defy him. In an unusual move, the other Crystals of Orience send their l'Cie to try and quell the war, the Vermilion Bird Crystal deploying Lord Zhuyu to face off against the Primus l'Cie of the White Tiger Crystal, Nimbus, at the battle over Togoreth Stronghold, and the Azure Dragon Crystal sending Queen Andoria to invoke the Fabula Pact to enact a ceasefire.
Cid finds the Crystals' attempts to hinder him amusing, but the Militesi war effort takes a step back when Class Zero destroys Brionac, the prototype magitek armor developed to deploy the Ultima Bomb.
Queen Andoria is assassinated and the blame is placed on Class Zero whose cadets had been given leave in the Militesi capital of Ingram during the ceasefire. Imperial forces ambush the cadets in Hotel Armada, but they escape. The assassination had been orchestrated by Cid and the man who would succeed Andoria to the throne of Concordia. Cid helps the king usurp the queen and the monarchy's matriarchy to exploit his lust for power to gain access to the Azure Dragon Crystal, which the new king relinquishes under imperial watch for its supposed safety. With the regicide blamed on the dominion, the joint Militesi-Concordian forces begin their campaign to lay waste to Rubrum.
The Vermilion Bird Crystal fights back and has its Secundus l'Cie Lady Caetuna summon a Verboten Eidolon to annihilate the Militesi forces. Concordia capitulates and one by one Rubrum invades the imperial cities until they storm the capital. Cid stays in the White Peristylium until an Ultima Bomb explodes in the atmosphere above the city, and he realizes the empire's premier magitek pilot, Qator Bashtar, perished in the blast. He escapes and the dominion legionaries that take over the peristylium search for him to no avail.
Rubrum uniting Orience under the Vermilion Bird's banner starts Tempus Finis. The temple Pandæmonium rises from the sea, sending out Rursan Reavers to slaughter mankind. Recognizing the event from the legends foretold in the Nameless Tome, Cid has Nimbus take him there to face the Rursan Judge, as only l'Cie are said to be able to set foot in the Land of Judgment.
Upon arriving at his destination Cid learns he is to become the one to destroy the world as part of its spiral: whenever Orience is destroyed in a Tempus Finis, it will be reborn and the chain of events restarted in the gods' effort to open the gate to the afterlife. Refusing to be used as the gods' tool, Cid commits suicide. Regardless, his body is branded by the deity-like being Gala to become the Rursan Arbiter, a unique demigod l'Cie with no will of its own. As the cadets of Class Zero fight their way to him, Cid, acting on Gala's will, puts them through several trials to deem their worth to become Agito, the soul the gods believe can open the gate.
As they face him, Cid belittles the cadets for being unworthy. He completes his transformation into the Rursan Arbiter and kills Shinryu Celestia. He steals the twelve cadets' phantoma, combining them within himself to fulfill his true Focus: to become Agito himself. The spirits of Machina Kunagiri and Rem Tokimiya bestow each member of Class Zero the strength to continue and release the phantoma from the Rursan Arbiter's body and absorb it at the cost of their lives leading to the Arbiter's certain defeat. Cid's body disintegrates into phantoma and disappears into the void. Cid's goal of freeing Orience realizes nevertheless, as Class Zero convinces Arecia Al-Rashia to break the spiral and the Crystals lose their power.
Cid is fought as the final boss in the form of the Rursan Arbiter.
Cid is voiced by Shuichiro Moriyama in the Japanese version.
He is voiced by Steve Blum in the English version, who also voiced Vincent Valentine in Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Arbiter of Time in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Ba'Gamnan in Final Fantasy XII, and Verstael Besithia in Final Fantasy XV.
Cid is a recurring name in the Final Fantasy series. سيد (sîdi or sayyid), which means "lord" or "master."Cid is derived from the dialectal Arabic word
His surname could come from the combination of "old" and Stein, the German word for a rock.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 has many allusions to World War II. The scene where Cid Aulstyne gives a rallying speech to his troops before their invasion of Orience resembles Adolf Hitler's infamous yearly rallies given on the anniversary of him coming to power, and to his most notable of speeches made: his "Lebensraum" declaration and his war declaration on the United States.
- Cid's brandishing of a katana hearkens to the uniforms and standards of Japanese military commanders during WWII. The carrying of katanas signified the loose appropriations of the more dominant aspects of Bushido and Japanese patriotism in the Empire of Japan, despite having relinquished many aspects of tradition in the Meiji era and having adopted modern weapons, such as guns and rifles.
- Cid shaking hands with the King of Concordia resembles the event that Adolf Hitler meets Benito Mussolini for the first time on June 13, 1934 in the city of Venice.
- His voice actor, Steven Blum, has also voiced characters of works themed in eras nearest or set in the era of World War II:
- Makoto Shishio of Rurouni Kenshin, the Kyoto Arc antagonist (the embodiment of a future power ruling and violence driven Imperialist Japan).
- William Joesph "BJ" Blaskowitz of Wolfenstein, series protagonist (US Special Agent of the Office of Secret Affairs sent to the German front).
- Tank Dempsey of Call of Duty (specifically, its "Nazi Zombies" mode).
- The way Cid kills himself is comparable to seppuku, a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment originally reserved for the samurai. Part of the samurai honor code, seppuku was used either voluntarily to die with honor rather than fall into enemy hands, or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed because they had brought shame to themselves. Cid's death refers to the former, as he kills himself to avoid being used by Gala.
- Cid embodies the core concept of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series that emphasizes humans' free will and individuality in juxtaposition to divinity and fate, represented by the Crystals in Final Fantasy Type-0. Another theme in Fabula Nova Crystallis is to re-imagine the old Crystal tales. Many of the older Final Fantasy games had antagonists who wanted to steal the world's Crystals, being opposed by the fabled Warriors of Light, the heroes chosen by the Crystals to save the world. Cid takes the role of a classic Final Fantasy villain in wanting to conquer the Crystal-Nations' Crystals, but the trope is subverted in him doing this in an attempt to free Orience from what he deems living in slavery to the Crystals.