5 of the best thieves in Square Enix games

They’re sketchy at the best of times… but we love them anyway
By Duncan Heaney

Not every hero is a brave and noble warrior - games portray people in all walks of life. Including some that are a little… let’s say ‘morally flexible’.

Square Enix games feature their fair share of these rogues. They may technically have committed crimes, but we forgive them anyway. Because they’ve also stolen the most important thing of all… our hearts.

…okay ugh - that one’s too cheesy even for us. Let’s just get one with it.


Balthier lives a life of freedom. The debonair pirate sails the skies of FINAL FANTASY XII’s Ivalice in his airship The Strahl, getting up to sneaky shenanigans pretty much wherever he goes.

True to form, when we encounter him for the first time he’s raiding the Royal Palace of Rabanastre’s treasury along with his beloved partner Fran. He sticks with the party for the rest of the adventure, but only with the promise of reward and profit.

At first, Balthier seems to be hard and cynical - he cheats in contests of luck, and demands party members’ treasured items as payment for his company. But we forgive him - partly because he’s disarmingly charming, but also because it becomes clear that Balthier uses his piratical persona as a mask for his true nature.

Beneath all the cynicism and bluster, the pirate’s actually a bit of a softie at heart. He takes Vaan under his wing, opening the naive urchin’s eyes to the wider world, and the dangers therein, and protects the party far more than his ‘fee’ would justify.

He’s a character who combines cunning, quips and an unmatched sense of style - no wonder he’s such a fan favorite.

Adam Jensen - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Some of you may be thinking “hold on a sec - Adam Jensen’s not a criminal”. Well he is the way I play him.

One of the joys of the Deus Ex series is the freedom to approach the game how you want. For many people, that means finding clever ways to investigate the sinister conspiracy that threatens to tear the world apart. But for me, it’s about sneaking into people’s homes and stealing all the food out of their cupboards.

… look - crime is hungry work, alright?

Fortunately, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s Prague is dense with apartments, clubs and shops, just begging to be broken into. You can hack the front door, sneak in through a window, even blow a hole in the front door if you think subtlety’s for chumps - it’s the ability to find your own way that really makes you feel like a master burglar.

The ultimate target for any would-be thief though, is the Palisade Property Bank. This high-security fortress contains hundreds of credits-worth of valuable loot and secret conspiracy-revealing documents… but also lasers, turrets, mechs, alarms and a platoon of heavily armed guards with itchy trigger fingers.

…yeah, you know what? I’m just going to stick to stealing beer from my boss’s kitchen.


OCTOPATH TRAVELER features eight very different heroes, each with their own stories, class and abilities. Therion is the team’s thief, and he’s very, very good at his job.

We first meet Therion in the town of Bolderfall. He’s already a legend among the criminal community, but attempts by fellow thieves to collaborate with him are firmly rebuffed - he’s been betrayed before and trust comes hard.

A solo heist on the other hand… that’s his bread and butter. Rumors of a treasure in an impregnable mansion are all too enticing, and in mere minutes, Therion’s managed to find his way in - he’s just that good.

Not only is he an adept breaker and enterer, Therion’s also a first rate pickpocket. If you don’t believe us, ask… well, pretty much every NPC in the game.

So long as this brooding bad boy’s in your party, you can attempt to pickpocket most townsfolk, and take their beloved items for yourself. That can be something as simple as a healing grape, but he can also nab powerful weapons, armor and more.

In short, Therion is a thief through and through. Wherever he goes, he leaves a path of empty pockets in his wake and although his moral compass may not always point north, he’s an undeniably useful member of the OCTOPATH TRAVELER crew.

Plus his theme music is incredible.

Garrett - THIEF

Garrett’s not just a thief. He’s the Master Thief.

This hooded figure sneaks across the rooftops and the alleys of the City - getting into any building he wants and leaving with any items that catch his eye, all without a trace…

Although Garrett once stole to live, now he lives to steal. His exploits are is less about the gold and more about the lure of the impenetrable, the impossible, the secret and the unknown. The challenge is what keeps his body and mind alive and sharp.

For him, larceny’s more than a job - it’s a way of life. He spends most of his time planning and executing heists - finding targets to grab and ways to get in and out as cleanly as possible.

And that’s actually an important point - while Garrett’s no angel, he does show himself to be a little more noble than many others in his line of work. He considers murder in particular unacceptable - it’s messy, and it draws attention. This is clear from his annoyance at his apprentice Erin, when she gets a bit stab-happy with a guard early on in the game.

This dedication to professionalism means that Garrett tends to come off as cold or distant to all but his closest friends.

But spend some time in the Master Thief’s shoes and you’ll find that he’s actually equipped with a wry, occasionally caustic, sense of humor - something that’s welcome considering the brutal world he inhabits.

Zidane Tribal - FINAL FANTASY IX

You know how some videogame thieves are tortured souls who live lives of isolation and avoid forming close bonds? Zidane is the complete opposite.

The hero of FINAL FANTASY IX is cheerful, enthusiastic and social - he loves meeting people and making new friends.

This extrovert element to his personality may come from his time with the Tantalus Theater Troupe - a traveling company who use their plays to cover their less-than-legal activities. After all, what could be a better distraction than a good production of ‘I Want to Be Your Canary’?

Though seemingly content as a thief, Zidane’s life takes an unexpected turn when he attempts to steal a person - Princess Garnet of Alexandria. But unexpectedly, the princess wants to be kidnapped, and in the chaos that follows Zidane is thrust into an increasingly heroic role.

But even when fighting for the fate of the world, he’ll still find time to tease the straight-laced Steiner, or pick a pocket or two. In fact, his ability to steal from his foes is a vital skill - especially against bosses who often carry incredibly useful and valuable armor, weapons and accessories.

It’s clear that he’ll never fully give up his roguish ways - and why would we want him to?

Those were just five of our favorite videogame thieves, but what about yours? Which rogues did we miss? Share your thoughts in the comments and on social media: