A long-running Final Fantasy fan theory often touted as a fact was debunked on social media, as the creator of Final Fantasy XII has confirmed that Basch was never meant to be the protagonist of the game, despite reports to the contrary. This rumor stems from the fact that Vaan, the actual protagonist of FF12, is one of the most disliked protagonists in the series due to his character design and lack of agency within the story, especially compared to the other party members.
FF12 is a highly-regarded entry in the series, but it’s not without its detractors. The Final Fantasy fanbase has long spread the theory that Basch fon Ronsenberg was the game’s original protagonist, as he has a much more direct link to the plot than Vaan. Basch is a knight falsely accused of murdering his king, as he was framed by his twin brother for the crime. He joins the party in an attempt to clear his name and get revenge for his former monarch. By comparison, Vaan is just a kid who wants to be a Sky Pirate. He spends most of the game dragged along for the ride, rather than being an active participant, with the storyline revolving around other characters, like Basch and Princess Ashe. As such, fans have claimed that Basch was intended to be the main character, but Square Enix wanted a younger protagonist in that role, similar to what happened in the international release of the original Nier game.
Yasumi Matsuno Has Confirmed That Vaan Was Always Meant To Be The Protagonist Of Final Fantasy XII
The rumor that Basch was the original hero of FF12 has been officially squashed. Twitter user eyesonbee contacted FF12’s original director, Yasumi Matsuno, and asked him directly. Matsuno confirmed that this was a fake story, and it wasn’t true. It seems that Vaan was intended to be the main character of FF12 the whole time, even though fans might not like that answer, considering their disdain for the character.
It’s easy to see why the Basch protagonist rumor would spread, as Vaan and Penelo feel like afterthoughts compared to the other characters in the game. Vaan didn’t even make it into the original Dissidia, with Gabranth getting a slot, though he did make it into the sequel and had a really fun fighting style and an actual role in the story. At the same time, Balthier was the cameo character chosen to appear in Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, not Vaan. It seems that Vaan doesn’t get as much respect as other Final Fantasy protagonists, but that doesn’t mean that his inclusion was a last-minute decision made to appeal to specific demographics, as poor Basch was never intended for the starring role in FF12.