Thanks to Scott Baird of ScreentRants.com for the inspiration!
There are some Final Fantasy characters who aren’t as important to the story as others. This could be due to the fact that they are optional (like Gogo in VI or Vincent in VII) or that they join at a late point in the game (like FuSoYa in IV.)
Amarant Coral is one of the main characters of Final Fantasy IX yet he barely adds anything to the story.
He was originally a bounty hunter who ends up joining the party out of a desire to become stronger than Zidane.
Amarant is actually a useful character in terms of his abilities, but he has almost no impact on the story. There are several more interesting characters who could take his place (such as Sir Fratley or Beatrix) and who would have a better dynamic with the party than the person with no personality and who has no effect on the outcome of the story.
One assumption Scott makes is that Amarant isn’t important and that he barely adds anything to the story. It’s true that we recruit him last, far too late for him to truly establish himself. It’s also true that his character arc suffers recruited this late. But his arc does impact the story in a meaningful way.
Amarant is a rejection of the brooding heroes we got in the past. Cloud and Squall were both somewhat standoffish characters and Amarant follows in this tradition:
A rather arrogant man who fights with the honor of a warrior, Amarant also seems a little naive, confused at Zidane’s actions throughout the game, and follows him to understand more. He is enigmatic and rarely opens up.
Amarant would have been cool main character material in any other game. Yet Amarant isn’t the main character, happy-go-lucky Zidane is. This was a conscious decision, as fans tired of the brooders from past Final Fantasy. Amarant’s inclusion is to show the contrast between the gloomy and friendly hero.
Amarant’s impact on the story teaches the audience that “the only dependable thing about the future is NOT uncertainty”. And while the story isn’t about Amarant overcoming his problems, his arc does involve coming to terms with Zidane’s way.
Replacing Amarant with Beatrix or Fratley would conflict Steiner and Fratley. Plus, Amarant’s job class (Monk + Ninja) works.
I personally believe the developers rushed his character arc. But I’d like to see much more involving him, and Freya, if they ever did remake Final Fantasy IX.