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Tetsuya Nomura Reveals the Origin of FFV Gilgamesh

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FFV gilgamesh Final Fantasy Tetsuya Nomura

Final Fantasy V turned thirty years old on December 6, 2022. Square Enix celebrated by turning the spotlight on one of the Final Fantasy‘s most iconic characters, Gilgamesh. In FFV, Tetsuya Nomura’s Gilgamesh was introduced as a subordinate of the worlock Exdeath.

Throughout the game, Gilgamesh battles the Warriors of Light, and even declares Bartz his rival. In a blog post commemorating Final Fantasy V‘s 30th anniversary, Square Enix showed off the looks taken on by Gilgamesh since FFV. The blog entry also included a comment by none other than Tetsuya Nomura, who began his game development career working as a monster designer for FFV. Nomura designed Gilgamesh initially, and held forth on how the now-iconic character came to be.

According to Nomura, Gilgamesh was an old favorite from his FFV sketchbook.

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.

Nomura also reflected on Gilgamesh’s appearance in FFVIII, and remarked that “he’s become very popular as he continues to wader the space between dimensions.”

Final Fantasy V is playable on PC, iOS, and Android devices as a Pixel Remaster. Nomura also drew Gilgamesh again to promote his appearance in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins.

Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino is Senior Staff Writer at Siliconera. He previously helped run Japanator, prior to its merger with Siliconera. He's also got bylines at Destructoid, GameCritics, The Escapist, and far too many posts on Twitter.