A youth draped in monster hides, his eyes shining with a warm and gentle light...
Gau is a playable character in Final Fantasy VI. He is a feral child who grew up on the Veldt. Gau is one of the few party members with no personal story tied to the central plot, and doesn't appear to have a reason to join the party beyond his attachment to Sabin and Cyan. As he grew up alone on the Veldt, he has little understanding of etiquette, and while he understands human language, he uses it improperly.
Gau is a teenager with wild hair (blondish-brown on his sprite, but green in artwork). While he's of average height for his age, he walks with bad posture—occasionally on all fours—and wears tattered clothing fashioned from animal skins. His artworks by Yoshitaka Amano and his in-game sprite portray him as skinny.
Having grown up alone in the wild, Gau has no concept for etiquette or grammar and often refers to himself in the third person. In some situations, he calls out "gau!" even if the player has not opted to keep his default name. Notable for a boy of his origins, he has a fair understanding of human language despite his often improper use of it. He is knowledgeable enough to understand certain sensitivities, such as mourning the dead. Gau has a keen interest in shiny objects, hoarding them in a cave on the Veldt. He is afraid of heights.
Gau is fond of human contact and becomes attached to Sabin and Cyan upon being given food when hungry. His commitment to the party runs deep, as he partakes in several battles despite lacking a major reason to do so. Furthermore, when the party becomes divided, Gau submits himself through rigorous training in the Veldt to strengthen himself to help the others, seemingly trusting that his friends would look for him.
Gau can be considered a rather innocent, pure-hearted boy. When he has a chance to meet his father, rather than express anger or sadness, Gau is happy that his father is alive, not holding any grudges.
Gau was born in a house north of the Veldt. During childbirth Gau's mother died and, as a result, his father went mad. He believed Gau was a demon and threw him out on the Veldt. As part of his delusion, Gau's father convinced himself it was all a dream and no longer remembers Gau or his wife. Gau survived on the Veldt on his own.
Amid their escape from the Gestahlian Empire, Sabin and Cyan leap off Baren Falls and wash up on the northern shore of the Veldt where Gau finds them on the beach. Gau runs away as Sabin comes to, and the next time Sabin encounters Gau he demands food. Tossing Gau a Dried Meat earns the wild child's trust, and Gau starts following them around.
Gau takes a liking to Cyan. The feeling is mutual, even though Gau makes fun of Cyan's overly formal and archaic speech (and starts to use it on the perplexed Sabin, calling him "Mr. Thou", despite Sabin's insistence that Cyan should be "Mr. Thou"). Gau agrees to show them his treasure, a diving helmet. Sabin, Cyan, and Gau use the diving helmet to travel through the Serpent Trench to Nikeah, where they take a ferry to South Figaro and make their way to Narshe where Cyan and Gau join the Returners, a rebel group that opposes the Empire.
Gau helps the Returners fight the Empire, but during the end of the world he is separated from the others. A year later, Gau has returned to the Veldt. He rejoins the others when they visit the Veldt, but only if a group of three or fewer encounters him. After rejoining his companions, Sabin decides Gau should meet his father—but first, Gau is given a makeover.
Sabin takes him to Jidoor and dresses him up. The armor salesman makes rude comments that anger Terra and Celes. Locke makes Gau wear a bandana just like his, and Edgar comments it would be hard to expect some class out of Locke, which infuriates him enough to beat up Edgar in the armor shop.
When Gau meets his father, his father doesn't recognize him, and mentions having had a "dream" of throwing away a supposed demon child into the Veldt. He compliments Gau's "parents" for raising such a nice young man. Sabin threatens to beat up Gau's father, but Gau is happy to find out his father is still alive.
As the party is escaping the crumbling Kefka's Tower, Gau finds several "shortcuts" to help the party get away, which generally seem to involve him throwing party members off of cliffs while he skillfully climbs down.
Gau's special ability is Rage, which allows him to imitate the elemental affinities, status effects and resistances and the abilities of enemies. This makes him uncontrollable for the duration, but depending on the situation, can make him more resistant to the damage of the enemies or more powerful against them. He can only imitate enemies fought in the Veldt, which must have been fought and defeated elsewhere before they will appear there, and he must Leap first. Unlike most characters, Gau has no normal attacks. His stats are all around high, though his defensive stats are low. While he cannot equip a weapon, he makes up for it in not only his Rages but his high natural attack power.
Creation and developmentEdit
After it was decided Final Fantasy VI would feature an ensemble cast with no clear main protagonist, everyone in the development team was encouraged to provide ideas for characters and their episodes. Gau's character and story were colored by influence from Yoshinori Kitase.
The developers acknowledge that Gau doesn't have much to do with the game's plot, but is something of an extra character. Originally, the reunion with his father was supposed to take place in the World of Balance and was shorter. Sabin and Cyan were both involved with the reunion, so it may have been meant to occur during Sabin's split scenario after the Lethe River event.
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Gau has an eponymous theme heard when Gau finds Sabin and Cyan lying near a river after they dive into the Barren Falls, as well in the ending sequence. It was selected and rearranged for both the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale albums.
Gau has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a character and summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a card.
"Gau" is most likely derived from gao, a Japanese onomatopoeia for growling and snarling sounds made by large beasts, such as lions and bears.Gao is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a growling noise.
- A "just in case" text can be found among the Albrook dock dialogue before the party embarks on the Magitek Armor transport ship. It was thought it could be possible to have Gau here, if the player left him on the Veldt and picked him up right before this event, but there is no way this can be done as the player cannot leave the southern continent at this point due to the airship being grounded near Maranda, and the dummied scene can only be unveiled by hacks. Once the party of three arrives at the ship, Gau waves them good-bye and leaves Terra and Locke. The dialogue on the SNES/PSX version is: "Terra: ... Where's Gau...?" and the reply "Locke: He hates ships. We must...leave him behind!", while the Game Boy Advance equivalent is: "Terra: Where's Gau?" and the reply "Locke: He must not like boats. Oh well...guess it's just the two of us!"
- To see the full version of the armor shop scene where the party dresses Gau up to go meet his father, the player must have both Locke and Edgar in the party, while Terra, Celes, Cyan and Setzer must be waiting in the Falcon.
- When the player must reach Zozo to find Terra, and sends a party of one to Zozo with only Gau, he will have his own scripted dialogue in the scene with Ramuh.