Bushido Blade – Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead

Welcome to this week’s, “Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead?” Each week we’re going to look at a dormant franchise that was once pretty popular, but for some reason has disappeared into the sands of time. Diehard GameFAN staffers will have four options for what they want to have happen to the series and you can see them in the title of this piece. For a little more detailed description see below:

Sequel – A direct sequel to the franchise. This means if it used sprites and was in 2-D, that’s how you want the next game to be as well. This might involve putting the game on a handheld system instead of a console, but it keeps the nostalgia and classic feel alive.

Spin Off – This is where you take the characters or a specific character is a totally different direction from the established franchise. Examples include Luigi’s Mansion, Hey You, Pikachu!, Shadow Hearts (From Koudelka), and so on.

Start Over – This is a reimagining of the series from the ground up. Perhaps it’s time to bring the series into 3-D. Perhaps you want a totally different control scheme or to throw away the old continuity. In a nutshell, this is taking the brand name from the old series and that’s about it. Everything else is new and re-envisioned.

Stay Dead – This is pretty obvious. This is a toxic franchise that you don’t want to see return in any way shape or form. Let the dead rest.

This week we’re looking at a fighting game series published by Squaresoft and developed by LightWeight. Although these two companies dissolved their relationship back in 1998 and LightWeight now belongs to Index Visual & Games, Ltd, the legacy of their creation lives on. The first game in the series went on to be the 25th best selling game of 1997 in Japan and reviewed solid reviews across the board. Its sequel wasn’t as well received, but it still had strong sales. Although LightWeight has taken the engine of Bushido Blade and moved it to the Kengo series, there are a lot of gamers still unaware of the actual developer of these games (much like Quest making Final Fantasy Tactics), or that Kengo is the spiritual successor to this franchise. Five DHGF staffers discuss whether the name value of the franchise and the current Square-Enix can still make something of Bushido Blade without the development being done by LightWeight.

Bushido Blade

Michael O’Reilly – Start Over

This is contingent on Sony Arc actually being worth a damn, but if it is, they could make a kickass game about guys with swords, and if you’re going to do that, why not make one that looks and feels historically accurate? The only problem the first game had was the controls were clearly not up to the task of emulating real life combat. It was too stiff, too unresponsive. Sony Arc should solve both those problems, so long as the developers don’t get too ambitious and try to make the game use the new 3D tech that’s in the works as well.

Mark B. – Stay Dead
So, fun fact: I was never a fan of the series. See, when Tobal came out, I was impressed by what an amazing and in-depth fighting game it was, especially from a company (Square) who had never made such a thing at that point. So, expecting the same thing from Bushido Blade only to find myself playing a fighting game where you could die in one hit, I was… not impressed.

Now, here’s the thing: I “get” the concept here about as well as anyone is going to, and I completely understand what they were going for: the game was a more realistic Samurai Shodown and it worked to whatever level it was going to. Fine. Many people love the idea behind the game and think that it was a strategic masterpiece. Again, fine. I don’t even think the games were BAD in any way, but I felt like the entire experience was made of ass and fail, and if I could go back in time to 1998 and find a way to not get Bushido Blade 2 and Brave Fencer Musashi for Christmas that year, I would do so in an instant.

So I guess you can say that I would not be the target demographic for a sequel.

A.J. Hess – Sequel

I don’t think the whole franchise needs a reboot, but I’d be down for an update. Bushido Blade had a very interesting take on the fighting-with-weapons genre. Sure, the Soul Calibur and Samurai Shodown series let you whack folks with giant, screen-obscuring blades over and over again, but it wasn’t much different than any other fighting series. I really loved the one-hit, one-kill potential of the matches. With some updated graphics, and a bunch of other edged weapons from around the world, both past and present, you’d have a compelling game.

Chris Bowen – Sequel

I am dumbfounded as to why there hasn’t been a new Bushido Blade. The first two were awesome games: fighting with a twist, one hit can kill, others can render limbs ineffective. In an era when 3D fighting was starting to hit its stride, Bushido Blade did something different, and it felt much better than the button-mashey crap that Tekken and Dead or Alive were giving.

Granted, it’s important to remember that Bushido Blade was made in an era where Squaresoft was simply amazing. Did you know Bushido Blade and Einhander were released in the same year? Squaresoft made those both! Holy shit, the PSX era was amazing! Of course, it’s no longer Squaresoft. They got a little too close to their own Lifestream, and like Sephiroth, it fucked ’em up. They’re now Squeenix – so unworthy of our respect that I don’t even bother using their full name – and all they do now is recycle old games, make safe sequels, spin off series that weren’t made for spin offs (looking at Final Fantasy here), and treat their fans with such open contempt that it’s a wonder anyone buys their bullshit. “NO CHRONO TRIGGER SEQUEL! YOU WOULDN’T BUY THE PORT AT $40, FUCK YOU!” “WE CAN’T REMAKE FINAL FANTASY VII! HD IS HARD! HAVE A PSP SPINOFF INSTEAD, FUCK YOU GAIJIN!” Ironically, the only Squeenix games that have been worthy of purchase, for the most part, have been the Enix properties. Dragon Quest IX is awesome, and the remakes were great, too.

With that said, if someone were to hit Yoichi Wada on the head with a gigantic mallet, and he were to wake up and say, “Let’s make a new generation Bushido Blade!”, I think it would turn out great. Yes, the characters would look like something off of the bishonen assembly line they have in Shibuya, but the gameplay is so simple it works beautifully. As long as they don’t go over the top with it – a sketchy question considering it’s Squeenix – it can work beautifully.

I’m going to say go for it, with the assumption that the mallet someone whacks Wada with doesn’t make him go “… and we’ll put it on the iPhone!”

Aileen Coe – Sequel

I’m surprised there hasn’t been a sequel made already. The possibility of one hit kills and disabling limbs was an addition no other fighters had, and it can either have you doing a victory dance or cursing up a storm and grumbling about cheating AIs. Some of the stages were large and had multiple areas, which meant you could run around exploring while fighting, though if you’re not careful you could kill yourself by running off a cliff, and that would be a silly way to die during a fight. They even included ways to fight dirty such as kicking up dirt to temporarily blind your opponent. So yes, a sequel could turn out great with some updates, as long as they don’t stray from what made the series good in the first place.

End Result:
Sequel: 3
Start Over: 1
Stay Dead: 1
Spin-Off: 0

Well, it appears the overwhelming opinion is for Bushido Blade to see some new release in one form or another. Will Square-Enix make a new one, and can they legally as it is unknown who actually owns the series. Only time will tell.

Join us next week as we look at a series that was born and died on the Nintendo GameCube. After tri-Crescendo’s releases like Eternal Sonata and Fragile, would gamers even want a third game in this series? See you then!



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7 responses to “Bushido Blade – Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead”

  1. Nalyd Psycho Avatar
    Nalyd Psycho

    Best drinking video game ever. It’s like a depper version of rock paper scissors.

    Shouldn’t be a full game, but as a 10-15$ PSN/X-Box Live game it would be great.

  2. Hah. Avatar

    I wonder if Chris Bowen likes any game that The Internet ™ circa 2001 doesn’t tell him to like.

    FF7 was a pile of crap. Stop demanding a sequel to the worst game in the series.

    Chrono Trigger *had* a sequel. It was called Chrono Cross. Perhaps you should play it sometime.

  3. Josh T Avatar
    Josh T

    He’s speaking from Square Enix’s point of reference in those quotes, i.e. hypothetical quotes that Square would say about those properties.

  4. Christopher Bowen Avatar

    I really shouldn’t justify some idiot’s random troll comment – Josh nailed it for me – but I feel I need to clarify some things.

    * I enjoyed FF7 up until about the second disc. It’s definitely not my favourite in the series, but I find it more enjoyable than X, XII and much more so than XIII. That said, I’m also on record as saying it started the decline of the entire JRPG genre in many ways, too many to list in a random comment box. My feeling is that the only thing left for Squeenix – a company that has whored the game for spin-offs shamelessly – to do is remake it, with the graphical power that they gave XIII. Would that make a GOOD RPG? It’d make a decent one, just like FF7 was. But yes, I’d be all over it, partly because of the nostalgic factor, and partly because it’d be REALLY fucking gorgeous.

    * I’m aware of Chrono Cross. I like Chrono Cross! In fact, I’m one of the minority who thinks Chrono Cross was good, and jilted CT fans need to calm the hell down. I “got” what CC was bringing. That hypothetical comment about a CT sequel? I really didn’t take too artistic license from something that was actually said! A high-level Squeenix executive once said that we would never get a Chrono Trigger sequel because not enough people bought the CT port that came out for the DS – a port that, although I reviewed it well, I was extremely critical of (check my UTS archives) – at $40 a pop. Someone actually said this, in response to fans that wanted a “proper” (read: not Chrono Cross) sequel. This was also right around the time Squeenix let a fan-made project get to 99% completion before sending a cease and desist. That’s not just protecting your copyright, that’s hanging a head at the gates to warn everyone else.

    * I spent most of 2001 overseas on an aircraft carrier. I didn’t know – nor care – what The Internet said about video games, because I had neither the time nor resources to look at it.

  5. platomaker Avatar

    Good job with the article. This was the first game I thought of when I first saw the Wii. I don’t think there will ever really be a sequel or spiritual successor to this game though. Call me pessimistic, but all squaresoft(ware) died with the name.

    Besides final fantasy (and obviously dragon quest) what is squareenix really pushing out? If a game doesn’t do well enough to make a return is the sequel already out of the question? (that almost happened to the megaman series after all)

    I think the real question is, would the sequel or spin-off have to be full 1080p? Would a average quality HD game be enough or a very detailed standard definition?

    1. Christopher Bowen Avatar

      Platomaker – I don’t think a sequel or spin-off have to be a full HD game because so many “good” looking games aren’t 1080p as it is; really, how many games go the full monty on resolution? I’d be happy with 720p, but really, I’d be happy with 480 (the Wii’s resolution) as well. Bushido Blade on the Playstation was an ugly game even in the 90s, so it’s not about graphics, at least speaking for myself.

      I’d say the Enix part of Squeenix is the only one that’s actually worth anything. Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t as bad as people said it was, but it definitely wasn’t good. But Dragon Quest IX is great (I’m reviewing that, within a week or so). Everything else, you’re right, I don’t trust them, though I hold out hope for Tactics Ogre… another Enix property.

  6. platomaker Avatar

    I only played bushido blade at a friends house. A casual decapitation game that has hidden depth? A fighting game that could end in mere seconds? It all sounded great and I really liked it; I suppose the novelty could wear off but from what I’ve experienced even a $10 remake with motion controls are worth something.

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