Mario and Princess Peach, Sonic and Amy, Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh, Cloud Strife and Aeris Gainsborough, Mr. Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man. These are some of the most famous gaming couples. Many are borderline platonic; others are not.
It’s unclear to me, and maybe most of the Internet, if my favorite gaming couple loves one another romantically, or if their friendship, their dependence on each other is what rings truer in their hearts. Certainly there’s some past adventures they do not speak of, some tension and flirting. Hard not to charm it up when one half of this equation is the suave, cocky Balthier, and the other is the super old, but super vivacious viera warrior Fran. Together, they try to rule the skies.
First, some Final Fantasy XII backstory. Balthier is a young sky pirate and the pilot of the airship Strahl. His copilot is seemingly the complete opposite, an otherworldly viera—that means rabbit-like—woman named Fran that is extremely sensitive to Mist magic, as well as a truly seductive lisp. They depend on each other, and they depend even more on their ability to take from anyone what they want, and it’s this blatant thievery that gets them mixed up with Vaan and Ashe during the chaos of a rebel assault on the palace.
And so they are a team, a couple. Pilot and copilot. Voice and reason. Hume and viera. It’s never openly said that they love each other, that their feelings drop deep, but the subtle looks they share speak volumes:
You meet them as one entity, and you’ll never see them as anything else but together. There is no Fran without Balthier, and the other way around. When out grinding for bazaar items and experience points, you’re allowed to use a three-person team. This usually meant Vaan and two others: Ashe, Basch, Balthier, and Fran. Sorry, Penelo. Battling monsters and using gambits isn’t for kids. Anyways, I never separated the combo, and they worked well with each other, both offering ranged attacks and strong Quickenings. However, come the end of the game, I had to rely on Basch the Tank for most of my boss slaying. Still, these two characters remain my favorite gaming couple for what they don’t say and are only closely followed in the franchise by Zidane and Garnet from Final Fantasy IX.