Mirage, true name Sky Valdis, is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XVI. While she may appear to be an acerbic, taciturn young woman, she merely uses this cold persona to mask the inner turmoil she constantly suffers from. Mirage is very curious about her past, and once she learns to accept the many hard truths that accompany the answers she discovers on her journey, she finally opens her heart to her companions.
Mirage possesses several unearthly abilities and moves elegantly in battle, also possessing an almost unrealistic level of physical beauty. She has the distinction of being the only character in the Final Fantasy series to wield Illusion Sabers.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Mirage is a fit young woman with black hair that reaches to the base of her neck in the back and is styled into rather messy, vertical spikes with a bang that partially hides her right eye. One lock of hair has grown increasingly longer than the rest, flowing over her right shoulder. She has red-violet eyes, and she also wears dark eyeshadow. One of Mirage's most prominent physical traits, however, is her unearthly physical beauty and the small black markings under her eyes.
As a tribute to Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Mirage wears a slightly revealing silver Valkyrie-like suit of armor. Shields cover her wrists on both arms, from which her Illusion Sabers are emitted. A black cape hangs from her right shoulder. Mirage also wears thigh-high armored boots, and over her left leg is a long sash made of black feathers, which symbolize a lost connection with the gods.
In terms of her personality, Mirage is cold and merciless. However, this heartless exterior is merely a ruse she uses to mask her constant inner turmoil. She is afraid to feel emotion and get close to others, hence she distances herself from her companions and prefers to work alone. Mirage hides many secrets, and she has a great curiosity concerning her past and origin. She has a no-nonsense attitude and speaks without feeling, but her heart is in the right place. She is resourceful and cunning, and once she opens her heart to her companions, Mirage is willing to make any sacrifice for them. She is honorable and possesses valor, highly respected by her comrades.
Final Fantasy XVIEdit
Abilities and EquipmentEdit
Mirage is voiced by Jennifer Hale in the English version of Final Fantasy XVI. She was confronted by Square because of her portrayal of Satele Shan in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Mabuki Andou, voice of Oerba Yun Fang in Final Fantasy XIII, returned to Square Enix to voice Mirage in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XVI.
In an interview, Motomu Toriyama stated that Mirage and her role in Final Fantasy XVI was the hardest thing for the staff to develop. In original concepts, she was a male character named "Klaus", and this character was to face a legendary warrior from the past who had turned to evil while meeting a love interest. This plot idea was ultimately dropped. It was finally decided that Mirage would be female when Square Enix noticed the overall popularity of Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, on whom Mirage is heavily based.
Once Mirage was confirmed to be female, there was much difficulty in deciding a name for her. One name that appeared several times in early released drafts of Final Fantasy XVI was Sakura Vanidos, a name that would pay homeage to her physical beauty and overall elegance, as well as her dark past and cold personality by combining the Japanese name for "cherry blossom" and the Spanish word for vain, "vanidoso." It was decided that another reference to Lightning would be made by giving Mirage a false name, her true name being Sky Valdis. Her first name now continued Tetsuya Nomura's trend of naming main protagonists after the elements and her last name was derrived from an Icelandic name that means "goddess" or "of death."
Toriyama knew that in order for Mirage to fit in with the game's dark plot, she had to "steal" personality traits from past well-received protagonists in the series, specifically Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII, and Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. It was important not to simply show a balanced blending of the three characters' personalities or favor one personality in particular, so staff decided Mirage would take all three to the extreme in addition to adding her own personal flare to each trait the past characters had exhibited. The final product of the various personality blendings was a cold-hearted and almost emotionless young woman that was constantly on the run from whatever made her human, whether these things be her own emotions or a past that she is too ashamed of to accept.
In terms of her appearance, Tetsuya Nomura decided to give Mirage a sort of androgynous look to reference the early concepts of Final Fantasy XVI, in which she was male, hence her shorter hair (which was loosely based on Terra's from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep but given an extension to maintain her gender). Nomura wanted to also portray her with an unearthly beauty, and he joked that he designed Mirage with the intent of making her the "one woman any man would fall for if she were real." He also wanted to add an overall mysteriousness to her appearance, hence the bang that partially covers her left eye. Nomura stated he added this to Mirage's design because "If you can't see the eyes, what audiences pay most attention to in human characters, you see her as an enigma, which is what we wanted." Nomura also sought to convey the idea that Mirage is hiding something, not necessarily her face. In terms of her hair and eye color, which would change at certain points in battle or in the story as a tribute to Noctis Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Nomura wanted her to be a darker character, adding to her look by coloring her hair black and her eyes red-violet. He dressed her in armor that would further add to her grace, which was loosely based on Lightning's in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Staff wanted to give Mirage, who was to be an entirely new take on what a Final Fantasy character could be, an original weapon no character in the series had ever wielded before. Thus the Illusion Sabers were designed. These unique blades were loosely based on Xemnas's Ethereal Blades from the Kingdom Hearts series, but contrary to Xemnas's weapons, the Illusion Sabers sprouted from Mirage's wrists to portray the idea that they are a part of her and iconic to her character. The weapons were ultimately intended to add to Mirage's overall grace as they moved elegantly with her body. Staff intended to create visually spectacular battles that almost appeared as if they were straight from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and they created the Illusion Sabers to ensure every battle was unique. Their ability to shoot lasers or change shape to a degree continued to strengthen Mirage's uniqueness. Her several otherworldly skills also created the chance for staff to explore knew gameplay systems triggered to those abilities both in battle and out on the field.
Many musical themes present in Final Fantasy XVI attributed to Mirage were written to convey her emotions. Masashi Hamauzu composed her main theme, "Letting Go," to be darker and sadder than other characters' main themes, while also maintaining a sense of hope. He stated he wanted players to "take the character more seriously than any other, and so I did my best to make you feel like you're her or a part of her and that you actually feel or think as she does through the music."