Gilgamesh, also known as the Blademaster, is the Shield of the Founder King of Lucis Somnus Lucis Caelum and therefore the first Shield of the Lucian Kings. He has sealed his soul inside the Tempering Grounds in order to become immortal so he can remain alive until the final Shield of the King of Lucis, who is destined to aid the True King in his fight against the Immortal Accursed Ardyn Lucis Caelum, has arrived so he can provide guidance to said Shield. Therefore, he sets up a vast array of trials in his residence and himself as the final challenge. After countless dissapointments and deaths, with Cor Leonis being the only one to ever emerge alive of his trials, Gilgamesh finally found the true worthy Shield of the King in Gladiolus Amiticia, who was the first and only one to ever defeat him, and therefore passed on his wisdom and power to Gladiolus.
Although he is the Final Boss of the Episode Gladiolus DLC, Gilgamesh is more of a villainous protagonist than a villain, as his actions were ultimately for the greater good of all.
Gilgamesh in Final Fantasy XV is associated with the color red and numerous swords, has a cape, and wears a mask, although the mask is not painted like in his usual appearances, instead being plain silver. Gilgamesh is covered from head to foot in armor and has long silver hair in two braids and glowing red eyes. His appearance is somewhat akin to a magitek trooper, as his mask and glowing eyes give him a mechanical look. He is missing an arm and is much taller than a regular human; Gladiolus, himself very tall, only comes up to his chest.
Gilgamesh believes that the weak are not worthy to live and cuts down those who seek to challenge him. He also is loyal to Somnus, willing to fight Ardyn alongside him and was described as being childhood friends with him, often going into hunts together. Like Somnus, Gilgamesh had no hesitations in commanding his soldiers to burn all those infected, although like Somnus he appeared solemn when doing so, showing he, like Somnus, merely saw the destruction of Daemons as being necessary for the future rather than an accomplishment to take joy in it. Despite his harsh personality, Gilgamesh is fully devoted and loyal to the Lucian bloodline, which is why he sealed his soul in the Tempering Grounds to not die and be able to test and guide the future warriors of Lucis. His loyalty extends to allowing those he saw fit to live even if they still failed to best him, as he spared the young Cor despite him having cut off his arm. Seeing this as a testament of the soldier's potential, Gilgamesh believed the challenger would be of more use to the Lucian kings alive than dead. Gilgamesh's wisdom makes him understand that the Shield of the True King must possess not only the necessary strength, but also the will to not back down from any threat that stands in their way. While he may talk conscendingly to those he saw unworthy, as shown after Gladiolus completed all his trials, he can offer kind guidance should he find someone worthy, as he bore no ill will for Gladio's victory and adviced him on how to best serve as Shield.
Powers and Abilities
Gilgamesh's most prominent ability is his exceptionally deadly swordsmanship skills and superhuman physical prowess (he is immune to regular attacks and his attacks cannot be blocked by even the strongest of normal beings, with only those who have completed the previous trials of the Grounds being able to challenge him. His constitution, however, makes him unable to be staggered by even blows able to hurt him. Despite his size, the Blademaster can easily outpace much smaller and fast opponents or at least keep up with them as well as jump and quickly land to attack), which was so legendary that in addition to earning the title Blademaster, his fearsome record of victories over countless soldiers of Lucis, killing all but Cor Leonis, who despite having managed to cut off Gilgamesh's arm, admitted that he barely managed to survive, has made the Tempering Grounds no longer disturbed by the Lucian warriors. The highly powerful and skilled Gladiolus proved to be no match for him in their first fight and even after acquiring the power of the souls, was only barely able to defeat Gilgamesh and not without suffering his share of injuries, with Gilgamesh being the one who gave Gladiolus the scar on his head. Gilgamesh, benefitting his advanced age, has mastery and knowledge over many forms of swordmanship, which according to Cor makes him able to predict any move his opponents could use. He is capable of fluidly shifting between three styles of sword combat depending what sword he uses: with his greatsword, he wields it in wild arcs and is rather slow but can still land damaging combos if underestimated, with his fencing sword, he displays superb fencing skill, showing masterful fencer style and superb evasion and speed and finally with the Genji Blade, he uses the katana to launch deadly slashes in all directions. He can also dual-wield the Genji Blade with another one of his swords for devastating attacks that will instantly knock out Gladio.
Gilgamesh, despite the Founder King, having died, somehow retained at least a measure of the power of the royals granted to him by Somnus, as displayed by his ability to warp and phase as well as manifest and demanifest his weapons. It seemed that he used some sort of arcane magic to bind his soul to the Tempering Grounds, which granted him immortality, having lived for over 2.000 years and also being seemingly unkillable and able to heal at superhuman rates given only a brief moment to recover, as while he was struck down by Gladiolus, he quickly gets back up with any damage dealt to him healed, with him also fully recovering his stamina after his first round of battle with Gladiolus, and this is further made evident by how the usually blue divine powers of the royals instead emits red holograms, which seems to show Gilgamesh used some dark magic to live that long and that has tainted his powers. He skillfully uses his warping and phasing powers as effective evasive techniques that he can quickly employ in the midst of an opponent's attack. He can also manipulate some sort of dark energy in the color of either violet, purple, or red, manifesting an aura of violet-colored energy that twisted the air around him, emanating energy from his sword when strucking it into the ground to keep enemies from harming him without sustaining damage themselves, slashing purple waves of energy and bolstering his sword with red energy to easily knock out Gladiolus with only a few blows. He also can manifest a spectral arm to replace his cut-off arm.