FINAL FANTASY V celebrates thirty years since its release in Japan on December 6! FFV introduced a number of iconic characters, but to celebrate this momentous anniversary, we’d like to shine a spotlight on the lovable rival of FFV protagonist Bartz: Gilgamesh! He shows his heroic visage in later FINAL FANTASY titles as well.
To top things off, later in the article we also have a comment from the creator of Gilgamesh, Tetsuya Nomura!
FINAL FANTASY V
In his big debut, Gilgamesh is a swordsman and the right-hand man, of sorts, of the evil warlock Exdeath. Even so, he possesses a humorous and surprisingly sympathetic, likeable personality.
Over the course of the game, he appears before Bartz and comrades multiple times, blocking their way as they attempt to save the world from Exdeath’s plans. Amongst the most memorable of their encounters is their battle at the Big Bridge—the track of the same title that plays there could even be considered Gilgamesh’s theme!
Over his battles with Bartz and comrades, Gilgamesh starts to feel something like companionship toward them, developing a sense of friendly rivalry. By the time FFV’s story nears its end, he even comes to their rescue in a pinch, lending them his strength. At what cost, however, you will have to play the game to find out...
And now we’d like to share a few of Gilgamesh’s appearances in other FINAL FANTASY games!
FINAL FANTASY VIII
Gilgamesh in FFVIII is a mysterious assassin who wanders the space between dimensions, appearing to assist Squall and friends under certain conditions. He attacks all enemies, but depending on which sword of the four that come crashing down around him he chooses, his attack will have different effects.
FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0
FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 has a warrior named Gilgamesh appearing as a Black Tortoise l’Cie and king of the Lorican Alliance. He begins running wild as a l’Cie when the Militesi Empire destroys his hometown, challenging all he meets to obtain the power of their weapons.
In Chocobo GP, Gilgamesh appears before Chocobo and friends over and over, getting in their way as they’re trying to race. However, he has a timid side and a tendency to get cold feet if his chosen target resists to any significant degree.
Gilgamesh is a character appearing all across the FINAL FANTASY series who can’t be summarized in just a single sentence—both an enemy and comedic relief who lightens the mood, sometimes even saving the games’ star characters! We hope you’ll check him out across FF titles in this 30th year since his debut!
And to close things out, we have a comment from the father of Gilgamesh, Tetsuya Nomura!
FFV's 30th anniversary means it's been 30 years since I first got my start in game development. To think it's been that long... I struggle to wrap my head around it. Recalling my memories of the time, I didn't care about being a big character designer or director. I was just a monster designer worrying over how what I was working on compared to the wildly popular monsters of the DQ series. I created things like cactuar and tonberry hoping they'd bring some popularity to FF monsters, and amongst them was Gilgamesh himself.
The development process was entirely different back then, and most monsters had visuals proposed first with their backstories handled after the fact. Personally the monster I most wanted to push for in my FFV sketchbook was this multi-armed magical being of sorts named Gilgamesh who carried a different weapon in each hand. And there was another monster called "Benkei" on a different page of my sketchbook, with many weapons on its back. It was proposed that these two monsters be used as Gilgamesh’s forms pre- and post-transformation. From there he was added to the scenario, and even given exciting extra dialogue and scenes in battle. As a new member of the team, I remember being really impressed by the way my colleagues skillfully integrated my design into the title. With that, Gilgamesh was born, not just as some grunt to hack away at but with his own unique personality.
By the way, in those days implementation of visual designs into the game programming was done first, so it was later on that Gilgamesh's visuals came to be based on Mr. Yoshitaka Amano's art.
A number of years later Gilgamesh appeared again in FFVIII, and since then he's become very popular as he continues to wander the space between dimensions. At first he was simply one of many monsters, but he's now grown to the extraordinary position of being his own fully developed character.
Someday I hope he will come to be valued as a lucky charm of sorts, and eventually be able to find his way back to his own world.