Even if you've collected all of those Final Fantasy XVI trophies, there's no guarantee you will have noticed the very best of Final Fantasy XVI's side stories in your playtime. That's because these little tales are tucked away, only to be seen by die-hard completionists and people trying to drink in as much of the game's world as possible before writing some sort of Final Fantasy XVI review.
The three best NPC side stories in Final Fantasy 16Unlike the side quests that I advised players to skip in our Final Fantasy XVI trophy tips article, FFXVI best side stories unfurl more naturally as you play the game's main story. So naturally, in fact, that you might miss them entirely as they require you to interact with some of the background NPCs dotted around the game's central hub, The Hideaway.
Jackin and his friends.
You'll return to Cid's Hideaway/The Hideaway between main missions and usually be made to slowly trudge all around this central hub to ask certain characters for information or favors. It's on these long trudges that you might run into the following three NPCs, whose stories progress every time you chat with them between main missions. So, if you're just starting out on your FFXVI journey, here's an additional sixth note to go with our Final Fantasy XVI beginner's guide: make sure to chat to these three characters whenever you get the chance.
Jackin, Amateur TwitcherLook, I get it — personally, I find nothing more tiring in a big RPG than talking to kid characters, so I won't blame you for mentally blocking out the existence of Jackin throughout your Final Fantasy XVI playthrough. Video games are not particularly great at writing kid characters. Where in real life kids can be pretty perceptive and have a sense of humor about them, in RPGs they're as dumb as rocks. They're perpetually unaware of their environment and almost exclusively saying obnoxious things to help meet the developer's "world-building" quota.
All of these things are fairly true for Jackin as well, although his little side story is pretty neat, so it warrants keeping an eye out for it. As an amateur twitcher, Jackin primarily spends his day hunting down birds and, occasionally, other animals. Each time you check in on him (he moves around a bit, so you might have to look for him), he'll usually be chilling with some new creature, and you can gain little details about the world that way. Maybe not the most involving side story, but neat nonetheless.
Asta, Hopeless RomanticAsta, who can always be found hanging by the railing atop the staircase you use to visit Tarja's infirmary, holds the title of Final Fantasy XVI's thirstiest character. The "Hopeless Romantic" hovers from her little perch watching all the boys at the Hideout go by, and spends every day agonizing over which of FFXVI's many eligible bachelors might best suit her.
Asta, all dressed up for the Phoenix.
Honestly, a visit to Asta is equal parts hilarious and tragic, because, for whatever reason, she seems perfectly incapable of deciding on a man to approach for the entirety of Final Fantasy XVI. She's team Gav one day, then team Otto the next. Whether it be Gaute, Goetz, or Cole — everyone's on the menu. Everyone except the bard, Lukahn Larkstongue, that is; there's something just not quite right about that one, in her view.
Slowly, Asta even comes around to fancying the main cast. She develops a doomed crush on Prince Dion, the fallout of which is left to our imaginations. She gets all dressed up and joins Team Phoenix for Joshua, although he's obviously a little too preoccupied to notice her. By the end of the game, she finally realizes that only Clive — the man who has listened to her plight since day one — is truly worthy of her affection. Honestly, if they do make a Final Fantasy XVI sequel, its Asta's story I want to hear about most.
Suspicious CharacterIn the Hideaway's highest nook, tucked as far out of the way as any character can be, Clive can run into the Suspicious Character — a hooded guy whose name is never revealed to the player. First seen locked in the prison of Cid's original Hideaway, the Suspicious Character continues to hang around and speak to Clive exclusively in terse, bitter jabs.
Throughout your conversations, the Suspicious Character never goes so far as to reveal his origins or political affiliation, but he drops hints at a deeper story every time you meet him. He teases a history with Cid, in which Cid supposedly asked him to join the cause not once, but twice. He holds some respect for Hugo Kupka and the current order of things, and interestingly, unlike most of the Hideaway's members, he does not have the markings of a Bearer.
What's up with this guy?
As one of the game's great unsolved mysteries, the Suspicious Character's little side story might infuriate players who are hoping for some sort of dramatic revelation. Yet, I found that the intrigue supplied by the character does a far better job than 90% of the supporting cast at keeping the player engaged and curious about the world around them. Maybe someday, in some shape or form, we'll find out just who this mysterious figure is — or we won't, which works for me too.