Square Enix friendships that will warm your heart

From FINAL FANTASY to Life is Strange, we look at the characters who’ll always be BFFs…
By Duncan Heaney

We all need friends, and videogame characters are no exception.

Square Enix games are full of buddy-buddy relationships that will make you feel the warm and fuzzies. Not only do these friendships deepen the characters, they also enrich - and in some cases define - that games they appear in.

Here are just a few of our favorites:

Noctis, Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus - FINAL FANTASY XV

Beyond the world-threatening threats, political turmoil and mouth-wateringly massive sandwiches, FINAL FANTASY XV is a story all about friendship.

Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus act as bodyguards to Noctis, but the relationship between the crew is more than purely professional. They’re all good friends, and that friendship only grows as they travel across half the world, bickering and bantering as only true pals can.

One of the joys of the game is that it lets you roam around the expansive world, completing side quests, taking on hunts and searching for the perfect meal - but mainly just hanging out with four people who love each other. It feels like being on a jolly holiday with a group of chums.

Until suddenly it doesn’t. While the first half of the game builds the bonds between this band of brothers, the second pushes them to their breaking point.

Stakes are raised, and the situations become increasingly intense, and each of the group faces his own tragedies. The scars start to build - both physically and emotionally - and cracks in the friendship begin to show.

What would once be a friendly disagreement turns into a full-blown argument, while characters act selfishly or lose confidence in the others. It’s telling that the threat to the friendship feels as serious as any of the physical challenges ahead.

The Builder and Malroth - DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2

You wouldn’t think that the Builder and Malroth would get on very well - after all, they have very little in common.

For example, the Builder is a genius creator - he or she can construct everything from humble toilets to complex multi-tiered palaces.

In contrast, Malroth can’t rub two twigs together, but boy howdy - does he excel when it comes to destruction! Get into a fight, and the spikey haired hoodlum wades in without fear, dealing serious damage to his foes. And while he can’t help with the building, you won’t find many better at smashing up the scenery for resources.

There’s a big personality clash too - the Builder is kind and helpful to a fault. Even when captured on a boat full of monsters, they can’t help but assist the creepy crew tidy the cargo hold or patch the hull.

Malroth, on the other hand, is a prickly ball of aggression. He tends to rush into problems club first and regularly clashes with his fellow islanders.

Yet despite all these differences, the two figures build a firm friendship that forms the core of DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2’s lengthy story. In this case, opposites really do attract.

The Balamb Garden Disciplinary Committee - FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

Students at FINAL FANTASY VIII’s Balamb Garden should be careful not to break the school rules, lest they fall afoul of the Disciplinary Committee.

This self-run group consists of three friends: the brash Seifer, monosyllabically aggressive Fujin and the overly talkative Raijin, and it’s as close-knit a group as you’re likely to find.

It’s rare to see them apart from each other - even when Seifer goes out on his exam mission early in the game, he almost immediately reunites with his friends when he returns.

That’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows between them, of course. Raijin’s tendency to run his mouth typically results in a sharp, painful kick from Fujin, ya know. And there’s definitely a power imbalance in the relationship too - Seifer’s undeniably the top dog here.

Even so, they remain together and loyal to each other even at the darkest times, such as when Seifer joins forces with the malevolent Sorceress Edea.

His decision puts him in direct conflict with his school and classmates. Fujin and Raijin must choose between their beloved buddy or their alma mater - and even though they’re a little concerned about his erratic behavior, they still side with Seifer.

It just goes to show - antagonists can have good friends too!

Sora, Donald and Goofy - KINGDOM HEARTS III

When Sora says: “My friends are my power”, he ain’t kidding!

The big-hearted hero’s adventures across the many Disney and Pixar worlds included in the KINGDOM HEARTS series have earned him the friendship of everyone from Hercules to Buzz Lightyear - but his most steadfast companions are Donald and Goofy.

Like the best friendships, each member of the group brings something different to the party. Donald may sometimes disapprove of Sora’s ways, but his heart’s always in the right place. Without his magic, the group wouldn’t even be able to operate on some worlds, let alone save them.

Goofy is rock solid. He has his friends’ backs even in the most dangerous situations, and his humble brand of wisdom repeatedly steers the group in the right direction.

And as for Sora himself, his bravery and generous spirit keeps the group together no matter how difficult things get.

By the time the most recent game in the series - KINGDOM HEARTS III - starts, the trio has become as close as any pals could hope to be.

There’s a natural warmth and familiarity to their interactions, from their good-natured teasing of Sora, to them always having Sora’s back in battle. But it’s the team’s emotional support that proves most valuable.

Sora experiences some tough times in KINGDOM HEARTS III - he worries that he’s not strong enough to fulfill his duties, and even starts to fall into a funk. But Donald and Goofy are there to prop him up - their unwavering confidence is just what Sora needs to push through his doubts and carry on.

Honestly, he couldn’t ask for better friends.

Max and Chloe - Life is Strange

One of the most fascinating things about Life is Strange is that it’s not a story about a friendship being formed - it’s about a friendship being reformed.

Max Caulfield and Chloe Price were almost inseparable as kids. The two would often spend their time at Chloe’s house, dressing as pirates, playing with Chloe’s dad… generally having a lovely time.

But then Max moved away, and, as so often happens, over time the two drifted apart and fell out of contact.

So when Max encounters Chloe again many years later, she’s shocked to see how different she’s become. She’s angry and rebellious - a far cry from the happy, cheerful girl she once was.

As the two hang out together, we see them start to repair their friendship and witness the two growing closer once again. Max starts to understand the pain that Chloe’s experienced in their years apart - pain that her absence contributed too - and help her friend come to terms with her trauma.

Chloe in turn makes the shy, introverted Max let her hair down a little and enjoy life a little more. They help each other, just as friends should.

Of course, being Life is Strange, there’s another element at play too: you. While Max and Chloe will always be friends, the exact nature of their relationship is left up to the player.

It’s your decisions that drive the details of their relationship - will Chloe encourage the typically restrained Max to break some rules? How will Max’s involvement affect Chloe’s relationship with her stepdad? Will they start to edge towards becoming more than friends?

Whatever path you take them down, Max and Chloe’s friendship remains engaging and relatable throughout. They may be the ultimate BFFs.

So those were just a few of our favorite videogame pals, but do you have any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments, or on social media - and head to the Square Enix Blog regularly for news and articles about your favorite games!