Thanks to GameAddictsDimples for the inspiration!
Ok, ok. So the Gunblade has gone down as a “stupid” weapon, even a useless one. But is it really? As an in-game weapon, maybe its great. In real life, would the principals of the sword be good?
First, what is a “gun blade”? It’s exactly what you think it is. They’re guns that function as swords, or swords that function as guns:
Gunblade (ガンブレード, Ganburēdo? in Final Fantasy VIII or デュアルウェポン, Dyuaruwepon?, lit. Dual Weapon in Final Fantasy XIII) is 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 fire projectiles, but later versions in other games, like in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XIII, work as both a gun and a blade, although seem to work more of guns with blades rather than swords with firing mechanisms.
Sounds like it would make sense to have a gun and a sword…in the 19th century. Nowadays, this weapon my be more of a liability than an asset. Why are they in Final Fantasy? Well, first this game is a fantasy. Second, they look cool. But is the concept ridiculous? Back to GameAddictsDimples:
Research has brought me to find out that there have been guns mixed with blades. So the idea of a GunBlade isn’t so far fetched.
But looking at the game, it doesn’t appear to be a gun ‘shot’ that happens when its in use. It looks more like a small explosion. The explosion cannot be too dangerous right? So my theory is that it uses a flash powder, maybe a fulminate or tetrasulfur tetranitride as the explosive. I dont know enough about these to be sure. More research is needed. But I think that the blade would not be too damaged from these and Squall would need to also not be harmed. To me, the Flash Powder makes the most sense. Its probably the least dangerous and it can create a flash to blind the enemy. Although, the problem with that, is that Squall would also be affected.
So what are your ideas? Do you have any info that would help my theory? Or is the GunBlade as useless as they say?
Swords look cool, but guns are much more efficient.
GameAddictsDimples research led him to factual history. Guns did have blades on them (i.e. a rifle with a bayonet), as a last resort. But there was a “Pistol Sword”, which was:
sword with a pistol or revolver attached, usually alongside the blade. It differs from a rifle with a bayonet in that the weapon is designed primarily for use as a sword, and the firearm component is typically considered a secondary weapon designed to be an addition to the blade, rather than the sword being a secondary addition to the pistol. In addition, the two components of these weapons typically cannot be separated, unlike most bayonet-fixed rifles.
Very much like Squall and Lightning’s gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII and XIII respectively.
I’ve noticed that in Western games, setting that aren’t medieval won’t feature swords as the main weapon. But in Japanese games, the main characters opt for swords, even if the setting is futuristic with sophisticated technology. This might have something to do with the fact with the history. While guns came to Japan in the 13th century, they were much less reliable; swords remained the traditional choice.
At the time, guns were still rather primitive and cumbersome. According to one estimate in 16th century Japan, an archer could fire 15 arrows in the time a gunner would take to load, charge, and shoot a firearm. Effective range also was only 80 to 100 meters, and at that distance, a bullet could easily bounce off armour. Furthermore, matchlocks were vulnerable to humid or rainy conditions as the powder would become damp. However, firearms could be manned effectively by farmers or non-samurai low-ranking soldiers.
This might be one of the reason we see the heroes with guns, but the low level grunts with guns. Still, how slow must those bullets travel, for them to do minimal damage to our party?
But of course, swords look really, really, cool. So I can’t help but choose a game where the character has a gun over a sword. But what about having a weapon that’s a gun and a sword?
This is the type of zaniness that we’ve expected from Tetsuya Nomura (who created the Final Fantasy concept). Starting with Final Fantasy VIII:
gunblades have 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 shockwave through the blade as the weapon passes through an opponent to boost damage.
Are gunblades ridiculous? Yeah, totally. They’re over-the-top and quirky. But it’s this type of ridiculous that makes Final Fantasy fun!