From Fantasy And Magic To Bosoms And Giant Axes: The Story Of Queen’s Blade

By Ishaan . December 13, 2009 . 1:02pm

image

I first came across Queen’s Blade a few months ago. We’ll get to why it caught my attention in just a bit. I’d never heard of Queen’s Blade before, but apparently, it’s part of the "visual combat book" genre. Even being a fan of visual novels, I’ll admit I’d never heard of this particular genre that Japan has apparently been enjoying for a few years now. A quick look at this site, however, gave me some info on Queen’s Blade to help me get started:

 

Queen’s Blade is called "Visual Book for Duel." It is based on the Lost Worlds Combat Picture Books, the classic game book for duel.

 

In this game, each player uses one beautiful fighter (for one book) to duel with another player. The combination of each player’s choice of offenses and defenses then leads to the character being in a state of, for example, falling down, being wounded, having armor broken, etc (each state has an artistic page in the character book), and the repetition of these decides a winner, by accumulated wounds.

 

Books? Status effects? This was all very vague. It sounded a little like Dungeons & Dragons…some sort of table-top RPG. Surely, it couldn’t be Japanese by origin?

 

Unsatisfied, I decided to do some further research. What I came across was the aforementioned Lost Worlds, a series of "game books" created by a person named Alfred J. Leonardi, Jr.

 

http://storage.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/lost_worlds.jpg Here’s what I found out: a gamebook is somewhat like an RPG rule book which features a "character" meant for combat. Play using these gamebooks requires at least two players and a gamebook for each, ie; a character for each.

 

Play requires two players and at least two "visual combat books", with each player choosing a character (i.e., a book) from those available. Both players pull their "character sheet" out of their gamebook and hand their respective book to their opponent. Each book lists the moves and abilities for that character in tabular form, so what you’re seeing during play is your opponent’s character, not yourself.

 

Quoting Wikipedia, "During each turn or combat phase, players secretly select an action from those shown on their card, possibly influenced by the results of previous turns. Players then simultaneously reveal their intended action, by number, to each other. Using the character sheet to cross-reference their action with that of their opponent, players then turn to a specific entry in the book they are holding in order to determine the results. These effects may include hit point loss (i.e., a wound), as well as any restrictions on the opponent’s next move (which is read aloud to them). The first character to reduce their opponent to zero hit points wins."

 

Funny story: I thought up the exact same game back in the 6th grade. My friends and I would play it every free class we had until we finally tired of it a year later.

 

Coming back to the origins of Queen’s Blade, though, the "game book" concept was capitalized on in 2005 by Hobby Japan, the same publisher that translated the third and fourth editions of Dungeons & Dragons for the Japanese market. HJ may as well have stuck with the abbreviated title trend from D&D and named their new series based on the gamebook concept "T&A" for reasons that will become obvious soon enough.

 

http://storage.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/qb_figure.jpg T&A– er, I mean, Queen’s Blade was, for the most part, a re-skinning of pre-existing character matrices from Lost Worlds. And what a re-skinning it was! Gone were the days of mages and skeletons and trolls and gnomes. Who needed that when you could have the usual harem of scantily clad beauties with torn clothes? Hobby Japan also went ahead and added a variety of pre-existing popular characters from Japanese media, including Mai Shiranui from King of Fighters and eventually, even added entirely new characters to the mix.

 

The series grew into a successful franchise, spawning anime spin-offs, dozens of gamebooks and action figures. The only thing it seemed to be missing was a series of videogames.

 

Of course, that particular issue didn’t last very long.

 

Enter Queen’s Blade: Spiral Chaos published by Namco Bandai for the PSP — a crossover of sorts featuring Queen’s Blade characters. Famitsu describes it as a "simulation RPG about the battle of beautiful warriors." With the RPG equivalent of moneyshots in the form of tearing clothes and ecchi pictures…very ecchi pictures…Spiral Chaos features super-deformed female fighters controlled as units in real time like a strategy RPG. By directing these characters, you can get into one-on-one battles with opponents.

 

Each character’s damage stats are linked to five parts: head, chest, waist, arms and legs. By focusing on a particular part, you can damage it faster and cause the armour or weapon associated with that part to break. Doing this will result in the aforementioned ecchi pictures and cutscenes. For example (click on the thumbnails):

image image image image image image

 

And now you know why Queen’s Blade caught my attention. Here are some nice shots of the gameplay so we can pretend I wasn’t just reeled in by the pantsu. For those that are curious, Alfred J. Leonardi, Jr. also designed a combat book game called Ace of Aces, set during World War I. It was voted one of the best games of the millennium (yeah, beat that) by Pyramid magazine in 1999.

 

image

image

image

image


Read more stories about & & & & on Siliconera.

  • Genjo

    i was interest how U.S guy created the game and hobby japan create another version of the game but overall i like queen’s blade. the coolest thing i though was it was all girl’s XD i ordered the game not to long ago few days ago i ordered it next i have get psp system which i am going get here soon.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

    Totally like the NSFW warns, SE. >.>

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    it caught my attention as well………

  • eliel

    is this game gona come to the US if so i’d get this…(the anime is bad ass 2)

  • EvilAkito

    I watched the first season of the anime and enjoyed it. The PSP game looks cool, and I’d consider importing it, but I also kind of want to hold off just in case one of our favorite niche game publishers decides to localize it.

  • Genjo

    Well the Queen’s blade anime is license by Media Blasters so we can enjoy the show when it comes out XD

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-11-05/media-blasters-adds-queen-blade-ikkitousen-great-guardians

    • Xien12

      Even though the anime is terribad?

      • http://twitter.com/nameoftheyear Elliot T.

        Yeah. It’s close to so-bad-it’s-good, but really hinges on how long you can watch animated T&A before realizing how much time you’re wasting

  • JeremyR

    I believe Flying Buffalo still sells the old Lost World games.

    Yup, they do

    http://www.flyingbuffalo.com/lostw.shtml

    Even have some info about the Japanese version

  • Aoshi00

    Question is should I get the regular or limited edition for the unapologetic Moe game, w/ the visual artbook, CD, and Figma figure… I would feel guilty spending more on a game like this than FF XIII (spilt milk has never looked so good..)

  • http://twitter.com/nameoftheyear Elliot T.

    The history of Queen’s Blade is also fascinating to me. I mean, all they did was took a niche but solidly designed pre-existing game, change the presentation to serve a different niche, and suddenly they have this hugely profitable franchise.

    I really wonder if Queen’s Blade would have become such a success if the original game mechanics just sucked? In other words, would it have been possible for the same thing to sell if it was just all fanservice and no quality?

  • http://www.younganimal.com/berserk Mr_Qoo

    Pyramid, D&D, Tabletop, Lost Worlds… Holy Haunted Past, Ishaan’man. This brings back some memories that I didn’t think a video game site could! Interesting read for sure. This reminds me of how Record of Lodoss Wars started; being a series based on D&D and then coming into its own.

  • http://twitter.com/ravenschwann Tim Nguyen

    I’ve known about Queen’s Blade since the anime came out but never watched it until this year. Still not done it cause its pretty bad, but the animation and “fan service” is a nice touch for something with such an awful story.

    What really got me into Queen’s Blade are the Excellent Core figures like the one you have posted. They are cast off but I don’t leave them naked, really, they are really great figures. Everything else about QB, I don’t really give a damn about.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Truth be told, the figures are probably the only thing I’d ever buy, too. :P

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos

Popular