Gunblades (ガンブレード, Ganburēdo?) are a recurring type of weapon in the Final Fantasy series, first appearing in Final Fantasy VIII. Originally designed by Tetsuya Nomura, a gunblade is a fusion of a sword and a gun. The Final Fantasy VIII gunblades do not actually fire projectiles, but later versions in other games, like in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XIII, have gunblades that work as both a gun and a blade, although they seem to be more of a guns with blades on them, rather than swords with firing mechanisms.
Design and ExecutionEdit
In Final Fantasy VIII, all forms of gunblade consist of a sword blade with a gun action built into the hilt, the barrel running inside the length of the blade. They are mostly used like normal swords, but triggering a round sends a shock wave through the blade as the weapon passes through an opponent to increase damage.
In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Squall Leonhart's use of the Revolver is refined beyond the normal slashes seen in Final Fantasy VIII, incorporating the use of the gunblade's recoil for a unique combat style. Using the Heel Crush and Rough Divide techniques, Squall triggers a round while holding the gunblade behind him, the recoil pushing him forward. Using the Solid Barrel and Beat Fang techniques, Squall thrusts the blade into the enemy, triggers a round (which also damages the enemy), and the recoil of the shot pushes the blade back, where Squall immediately thrusts again, repeating the process several more times. In Final Fantasy VIII Squall wields his gunblade exclusively two-handed, but in Dissidia Final Fantasy he often uses the weapon with one hand.
The combat styles demonstrated for gunblades capable of projectile firing (as seen in Final Fantasy XIII and the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII) are simply alternating between ranged and melee combat with the favored style depending on the gunblade used. For example the Velvet Nightmare is more adept for ranged combat than melee.
Final Fantasy XIV introduces a variant named Gunhalberd, which has a halberd base rather than a sword base.
The gunblade was originally designed by Tetsuya Nomura for Squall's weapon in Final Fantasy VIII. With the weapon, the aim was to make the battles more dynamic, with the players needing to press a button at the correct time to deal a Critical Hit, and also to give Squall an iconic weapon. Nomura has stated that he designed Squall's gunblade during a time when he was into silver accessories, but on thinking back, he says it has a rather odd appearance.
For Final Fantasy XIII, the idea for Lightning to have a sword that can transform into a gun related to the game's Eidolons; which could turn into vehicles, and the narrative's themes of transformation. Reasoning that if the summons could transform, the developers thought the weapons should be able to as well.
Yazoo and Loz both use two ornate gunblades called the Velvet Nightmare. Despite being officially considered gunblades, they are not seen possessing any notable cutting ability, and are used mainly as guns, although they do have a blade running along the top of the barrel, and a smaller blade along the bottom forming the front end of the trigger guard.
- See also: List of Final Fantasy VIII Weapons.
The weapon's debut appearance, the gunblade is the weapon of choice for Squall Leonhart and his rival, Seifer Almasy. It is a sword with a fire mechanism, such as a pistol (as with Seifer's Hyperion), or revolver (as with Squall's weapons), which serves as the hilt for the blade. Despite its name, it cannot not be used as an actual gun, meaning it does not fire projectiles, and can therefore only be used in melee combat, making it more like a gun supplementing a sword than a blade supplementing a firearm, e.g. a bayonet on a rifle. The firing of the gunblade's rounds induces a tremor in the blade, causing it to deal additional damage to whatever it strikes.
In battle, one must press the R1 button while the character is striking in order to pull the trigger. If successful, the hit will be critical, multiplying the damage by x1.5 (as opposed to x2 for regular criticals). Triggering the gunblade is the only means of performing critical hits for its users. With Seifer, using this technique is slightly more difficult than with Squall because he attacks faster. Squall and Seifer are the only ones who can use a gunblade in combat, while Laguna Loire uses one in a flashback mini game, and also mentions he trained with one in his early years as a Galbadian soldier.
All gunblade models have 255% accuracy, making misses nearly impossible, even with Blind status.
There are seven gunblade models available for Squall throughout the game, plus the model used by Seifer.
Gilgamesh has a knock-off of the Revolver gunblade among his collection of legendary weapons. Like all his swords, it is slightly different from the original, having an image of a chocobo on the blade instead of Griever, no trigger and lacks the chain.
- See also: List of Final Fantasy XIII Weapons.
Also known in Japan as Dualweapon (デュアルウェポン, Dyuaruwepon?), the gunblade has the ability to transform between gun-mode and blade-mode. Used by Lightning, the gunblades are capable of both melee and long-range properties. Lightning's gunblade has a holster that swings behind her for the weapon to rest. In the web novelization Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, Sergeant Major Amodar mentions that Lightning's initial weapon, the Blazefire Saber, is a weapon only used by the most skilled soldiers.
Below is a list of the seventeen gunblade types/models available for Lightning to use throughout the game.
Note: Names in brackets are the names used in Japanese version.
- Blazefire Saber (Blaze Edge)
- Flamberge (Magnum Blaze)
- Axis Blade
- Enkindler (Ignite Blade)
- Edged Carbine (Saber Carbine)
- Razor Carbine (Slash Carbine)
- Ultima Weapon
- Omega Weapon
Lightning wields a new gunblade in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Given to her by the goddess Etro, the gunblade, like her previous weapon, possesses engraved writing in Etro script. The writing reads: "Gladius in turba aetern a induratus vincula inserepabilia rum", which translates to "The blade forged in everlasting chaos shall cleave the unbreakable chain" in English.
While her previous weapon was kept in a holster slung from her belt, Lightning's new gunblade could be summoned and dispelled whenever she desired.
A weapon of advanced technology, the Gunblade is the weapon of choice for the Garlean Empire centurions. The weapon is an ingenious integration of sword and firearm into a single instrument for killing purposes. The weapon is equally capable of dispatching enemies at close-quarters and at range.
One of the main antagonists of the game, Gaius van Baelsar, wields his own gunblade, naming it the Heirsbane, while another antagonist, Nael van Darnus, uses a gunhalberd variant called the Bradamante which is said to be named for a warrior maiden he killed. This might allude to the knight Bradamante, one of the greatest female knights presented in western literature; as an expert fighter, she wielded a magical lance that unhorsed anyone it touched.
Squall Leonhart wields his Revolver in combat, although this time he mainly uses the weapon with one hand. The gun rounds cannot be triggered by the player (except for his EX Burst); but the mechanism is executed automatically as part of the attack combo. Squall's attack style, called Relentless Revolver, centers around using the recoil from a triggered round to drive the blade back after attacking and quickly move into position for a second attack, allowing him to use powerful multi-hit combos that hit several times in rapid succession.
Squall switches to the Lion Heart in his EX Mode, increasing his range and letting him trigger rounds while attacking for extra damage, and the Revolver, Twin Lance, Punishment and Lion Heart appear as his exclusive weapons. As a Mime, Bartz is able to use Squall's Revolver in some of his attacks.
It is also mentioned that because of how the gunblade is used in order to achieve optimal performance, the weapon is considered an old-fashioned and notoriously difficult weapon to use in comparison to regular swords.
Lightning wields the Blazefire Saber in battle and exchanges it for the Omega Weapon in her EX Mode. As in Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning uses both the weapon's sword and gun forms, quickly switching between the two while attacking to combine close and long-range tactics, such as firing a barrage of gunfire then diving in for a sword slash. As with Squall, many of Lightning's exclusive weapons are named after her Final Fantasy XIII gunblades - the Blazefire Saber, Axis Blade, Flameberge, Enkindler, and Omega Weapon. Bartz also uses the Blazefire Saber in some attacks, but only in its sword form.
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Katana can be equipped by the Warrior, Red Mage, Blue Mage, Onion Knight, Firion, Terra, Celes, Zidane, Tidus, Ashe, and Lightning.
While the following weapons are not officially considered gunblades, they share many of their characteristics.
Wutai troopers wield halberds with gun barrels built into the handles, and can flip them around to fire bursts of gunfire.
Rosso the Crimson's weapon is a double-bladed sword with a gun built into its handle. Weiss the Immaculate wields a pair of rifles with katanas built into the barrels. At least one of the Restrictors uses a pair of automatic sub-machine guns with blade attachments.
Soldiers armed with gunblade-like weapons appear in the game. The weapons appear to be based on rifles and bear a large blade extending from the barrel like a bayonet.
Non-Final Fantasy AppearancesEdit
In the Kingdom Hearts series, Squall, under the name Leon, uses his trademark Revolver, sans the Griever etching as it had in Final Fantasy VIII. When charged up, the Revolver will emit an aura of blue energy, making it similar to the Lionheart. Two Keyblades are associated with Leon, the Lionheart and the Sleeping Lion, the former taking its name from the gunblade and the latter being based on the Revolver in design.
A gunblade makes an appearance in Parasite Eve II as a weapon that the GOLEM type character No. 9 uses. Upon his defeat Aya can use the weapon as one of her secret weapons if certain objectives are met. It is aptly named "gunblade".
Gunblades in Popular CultureEdit
In the fanmade CG movie series Dead Fantasy, Rinoa Heartilly wields a black gunblade called the Vanishing Star. It features a revolver gun component with dual triggers and a blade with a white feather and the words "Vanishing Star" inscribed upon it. An actual gun barrel atop the weapon's blade, as well as exhaust ports on the blade itself, suggests that it can be used as a ranged weapon. On said gun barrel, the words "All Existence Denied" are inscribed: a direct quote of Ultimecia in Final Fantasy VIII's final battle. Rinoa is seen wielding it one-handed in a similar style to the Chinese Dao sword. When not in use it has a belt holster that it can attach to on the wielder's hip.
In the popular Dion Rogers' Rinoa concept design of Rinoa, she is seen wielding a gunblade that has a shotgun handle and a Griever etching on the blade. It has been dubbed the "shotgunblade" by Dion Roger when commenting on the art's design.
- Final Fantasy Master Arms include miniaturized replicas of both Squall's Revolver and Seifer's Hyperion.
- The Lion Heart model is included in the Play Arts Arms set along with four other ultimate weapons.
- Scaled replicas of Squall's and Lightning's iconic weapons have been featured with every figurine of the characters regardless of what media or game the figure is portraying.
- While it is assumed that the gunblade models have to use specific bullets/shells to fire, only one example of a "gunblade bullet" has been shown through an image in Final Fantasy VIII that appears during the game's introductory credits.
- Some gunblade models bear similarities to the real-world pistol swords; weapons consisting of various swords with pistols or revolvers built into the hilt, originating from medieval Europe and the U.S Civil War in the 18th-century.
- The character Juji Kabane from Gungrave: Overdose uses a gun/sword hybrid "Gun Blades" called Tsumuji and Hayate.
- The titular character from the 23rd Kamen Rider series Kamen Rider Wizard uses a magical weapon that can transform between a sword and a gun called the WizarSwordGun.
- In Dissidia Final Fantasy, whenever Squall uses a melee attack in EX Mode, bullet shells can be seen ejecting from Lion Heart's chamber.
- An ability called Gunblade is used by Squall in Chocobo Racing; allowing him to use a Turbo Boost until he reaches first place.
- Lightning's Blazefire Saber can be seen on a weapons rack among other weapons and guns in a live action video commercial for PlayStation, titled "Michael" - PS3 Long Live Play. Lightning herself can be seen listening to a story told by Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series.
- Hidden within the game files of Final Fantasy VIII are two enemies named "Gunblade" that share the appearance of Seifer's Hyperion gunblade. Numbered #82 and #142, these "enemies" are not encounterable in the game.
- The Gunblade is mentioned in one of the possible questions in Captain Cryptic's Confounding Quiz in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The question, "Which celebrated movie introduced the gunblade, a now-popular toy among kids?" can be answered with "The Sorceress's Knight". This answer alludes to a movie in Final Fantasy VIII of which Laguna Loire held a staring role as the titular knight wielding a Revolver Gunblade. Due to this, it might also be presumed that Final Fantasy VIII gunblades exist in the world of Final Fantasy XIII-2 as toys for children.