Girls' Frontline, known as 少女前线 or 少前 in Simplified Chinese, 少女前線 in Traditional Chinese, 소녀전선 in Korean and ドールズフロントライン (Doll's Frontline) or ドルフロ in Japanese, is a turn-based strategy game with gacha and resources management components for Apple and Android smartphones developed by Sunborn, with technology from Criware and Live2D, soundtrack by Vanguard Sound and animated sequences by Liverless. The game was made available in Mainland China on May 20, 2016, in Taiwan and Hong Kong on January 18, 2017, in South Korea on June 30, 2017, in a worldwide English version on May 8, 2018, and in Japan on July 1st, 2018.
The main concept of Girls' Frontline is to have the players collect Tactical Dolls, feminine androids named after the real-world firearm they are using, depicted and voiced by an expansive cast of artists and actors. T-Dolls are upgraded and used to fight against computer-controlled enemies. The game supports regular limited time events, sometimes in collaboration with other franchises, and paid-for in-game bonuses, and has added numerous features over its lifetime, creating a complex set of unit statistics and management features.
Despite numerous problems when it first reached the market and some subsequent controversies, Girls' Frontline has since become a commercial success for Sunborn and has enabled the developer to produce a remake of its previous game, Codename: Bakery Girl, and three games derivative from Girls' Frontline:
- Girls' Frontline 2: Exile, a sequel set 8 years after the the start of Girls' Frontline (due to run alongside the first game).
- Project: Neural Cloud, a prequel set some time before the current Girls' Frontline Timeline.
- Girls' Frontline: Glitch Land a fanmade game using some assets and characters from Girls' Frontline. Now shelved.
The game has assembled a large and active community in several languages, sharing creative works and strategies.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Plot
- 3 Development
- 4 Derivative works
- 5 Girls' Frontline in other games
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Links
- 8 References
This is a high-level overview of the Girls' Frontline gameplay and features. For a comprehensive overview, see Guide:Tutorial.
For overviews of the interface, see Guide:Main Screen, Guide:Combat Menu, Guide:Formation Menu, Guide:Factory Menu, Guide:Research Menu, Guide:Repair Menu, Guide:Dormitory Menu and Guide:Friend Menu.
An account connection is recommended to play the game, see Guide:Registration.
Standard T-Dolls receive their name from the weapon they carry. The weapons represented are real-world firearms from many countries and decades, starting from 1865 with the Derringer. Special T-Dolls from collaboration events differ from this base concept.
Each T-Doll has a rarity, a type, a set of statistics, a formation buff and an active skill (two with Neural Upgrade). Standard rarities rank from two to five star (with exceptions for one-star collaboration events T-Dolls) and the rarity of a T-Doll can increase with Neural Upgrade (up to six stars). Rarer T-Dolls have a higher statistics threshold. There are six types of T-Dolls: Handgun, Submachine Gun, Rifle, Assault Rifle, Machine Gun and Shotgun, each type having specific synergies with other types. Each T-Doll receive a Combat Efficiency rating representing its global statistics.
The statistics of a doll are its level, experience, Dummy Link level, Health Points, Ammo and Ration level, damage, accuracy, evasion, rate of fire, mobility and Affection. T-Dolls gain experience in battle and when they receive Combat Reports as a gift, which is used to increase their level up to 100, or up to 120 with Neural Upgrade. The Health Points of a T-Doll increase with its level and Dummy Linking, as well as its damage, accuracy, evasion, rate of fire and mobility thresholds. The actual numbers of these five statistics are increased separately from the level, by using T-Doll Enhancement. Affection is gained from successful combat encounters or by gifting sweets up to 100 (up to 200 with Neural Upgrade and Oath) and give bonuses to damage, accuracy and evasion, but can decrease if the Dolls are defeated in combat. Ammo and Ration are resources that are depleted in combat and must be replenished on specific nodes so the Doll can continue fighting.
The formation buff is a passive bonus to damage, accuracy, evasion and rate of fire granted by a T-Doll to other T-Dolls adjacent to her. The buff's grid pattern, the buffed statistics and the amount of buff varies from T-Doll to T-Doll and can change with Dummy Linking and Neural Upgrade. The active skill of a T-Doll can have a variety of effects on her, her teammates or enemies and requires a charge delay between activation. The level of the skill can be increased by skill training, expending one of three types of training data.
Neural Upgrade is a three-level process requiring resources, Dummy Cores and Memory Fragments that can be used on certain T-Dolls when they reach their maximum level and maximum affection. Neural Upgrade provides various statistics buffs, a new active skill at MOD2, and a new appearance and unique equipment at MOD3.
Outside of combat, the appearance of a T-Doll can be changed with costumes acquired in the currency shop, the dorm gacha, Luffberry Chess or Code Redemption. Some of these costumes are animated and interactive through Live2D technology. Players can also set a T-Doll as their Adjutant so she can be displayed and interacted with in the main menu.
For lists of T-Dolls, see the T-Doll Index.
Before combat deployment, players must set echelons comprising up to five T-Dolls and one Support or Combat Technical Fairy, a drone which will provide statistics boost to the echelon, can use an active skill and may trigger its Talent to provide further buffs. Depending on its level, a T-Doll can also be equipped with up to three equipment pieces to boost its statistics. Equipment and Fairies can be enhanced with resources and calibrated with Calibration Tickets to further increase their bonus. The nature of the equipment a T-Doll can receive vary depending on T-Doll type and special cases. T-Dolls positions are set on a 3 by 3 grid used in combat, which will define how each T-Dolls' formation buff will affect her teammates. The efficiency of an echelon is highly dependent on the synergy of the T-Dolls active skills and formation buffs.
Combat Missions have two different states: the map and the combat screen.
On the map, the player can see the layout of the nodes, their nature and who controls each node (or if they are unclaimed). They can then spend Action Points to move their echelons from node to node or deploy new echelons on the map if they control an heliport. A player can also take actions without depleting Action Points at heliports, like deploying a friend echelon, resupplying an echelon, performing emergency repairs or extracting a rescue target. Players can end their turn even if they still have Action Points. A node is controlled by a faction if an echelon end their turn on it, or if all adjacent nodes are controlled. In most maps, the objective for the player is to control the enemy Command Post without losing their own, but it can also be to defeat all enemy unit (standard objective for Night Missions), to defeat a boss unit, to save a unit from being killed or to maintain a supply route for a set number of turns. Some maps can be completed by achieving one of several objectives. The map screen is also where the player can spend Fairy Command Points to use Support Fairies skills or prepare Combat Fairies skills for the next fight. The player can partially automate the fight by entering planning mode and setting a path for deployed echelons to follow.
When two opposing echelons meet on a node, the game shifts to the combat screen. The player echelon advances from the left to meet the enemy units coming from the right. Player units are set up in a 3 by 3 grid and can be moved freely during combat. Moving T-Dolls can be necessary to avoid attacks targeting a certain area on the grid. T-Dolls skills and their charge delay are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and can be set to be autoactivated. T-Dolls are granted experience and affection gains after each successful encounter. If a T-Dolls is in danger, it can be withdrawn from the encounter while still being available for later encounters. But if the entire echelon is withdrawn, it disappears from the map and must be redeployed. If the health of a T-Doll in an echelon is depleted, it cannot be redeployed before it has been repaired from the main menu.
When the mission ends, the player is given a score from B to S (or C if they failed the mission) depending on whether they completed certain objectives, lost echelons or used emergency repairs. Night Missions are special missions with no ranking, where the objective is to destroy all enemies on a map where enemy position is not always visible. Players must use a Handgun T-Doll to provide an echelon visibility to adjacent nodes, and capture radar nodes or use an Illumination Fairy to further expand their detection radius. A harsh penalty to accuracy is also in effect, which can be countered with the PEQ equipment.
Main missions are story missions, unlocked in a sequential order, and can be replayed freely. They can be either Normal missions, harder Emergency missions or Night Battle missions. Combat Simulations are special missions dedicated to gathering Enhancement Capsules, Training Data, experience points, Memory Fragments or Calibration Tickets. A slow-replenishing Sim Energy currency is used to play Combat Simulations, and available Combat Simulations missions rotate daily. The missions in limited time events often introduce new combat mechanics. Events critical to the storyline are made available as main missions later after their initial run.
For details information about combat modes, see Combat and Guide:Combat Missions. For a list of equipment, see Equipment Index. For a list of enemies encountered in combat, see Enemy Index.
Resources and production
T-Dolls, Fairies or equipment can be acquired by random drops during combat missions or purchased in the various shops, but are mainly produced from the Factory screen by expending T-Doll and Equipment Contracts. Production is the main gacha aspect of the game, it doesn't provide a specific result on demand but selects a random one in a pool of possibilities. The content of the pool is modified by the amount of resources pledged, the use of Standard or Heavy Production and the occasional rate-up events. Production also takes a fixed amount of time (from 20 minutes to more than 8 hours for T-Dolls) but timers can be skipped with Quick Production Contracts. Unwanted production results can be Retired to provide some resources, and Dummy Cores for higher rarities T-Dolls.
The main resources in the game are Manpower, Ammo, Rations and Parts. A small quantity is acquired over time or by stepping on random nodes, but they are mostly gathered by sending echelons on Logistic Support missions and by completing quests. Ammo and Rations are used to supply T-Dolls in combat, and Manpower and Parts are used to repair damaged T-Dolls (along with Quick Repair Contracts to bypass the repair timer). All four primary resources are used in production, Neural Upgrade, and equipment and Fairy enhancement.
Other necessary resources are: Dummy Cores used for Dummy Linking, Heavy Production and Neural Upgrade, gathered by retiring rare T-Dolls ; Calibration Tickets used to calibrate equipment and Fairies, gathered in Defense Drill ; Batteries acquired daily in the Dorms, used to upgrade the base and train Heavy Ordnance Corps ; And Memory Fragments used to perform Neural Upgrade on T-Dolls. Most resources can also be gathered from completing quests, exploration runs, daily mail and event mail, or purchased with gems in the shop.
For detailed information about production, see T-Doll Production and Equipment Production.
Players can spend their resources outside of combat to upgrade the various features in their base. Some of these features are unlocked after reaching a certain point in the story, or by reaching a certain Commander Level.
The Data Room is used to convert experience surplus into Combat Reports to give experience to T-Dolls and Fairies. The Fairy Chamber unlocks more Fairy Command Points to use in combat and boosts Fairies experience gathering. The Forward Basecamp is used to send T-Dolls and pets in exploration missions and gather various objects and special currencies to spend in the Black Market shop, replenished monthly. The Cafe is used to read the side stories of Neural Upgrades and costumes, and exchange Batteries for promotional videos and official gag comics.
The Intelligence Center produces information samples that are analyzed to gather Enhancement Chips and Central Data for Heavy Ordnance Corps. The Heavy Ordnance Corps can be deployed on some maps from Heavy Helipads to act as artillery support for regular echelons. They are managed from the Garage, where they can be trained to enhance either their level with Batteries and Special Combat Reports or one of their three skills with Training Data. Heavy Ordnance Corps can also receive statistics boost by using Enhancement Chips, and repaired from the Garage.
The Dorms are customizable rooms where T-Dolls in an echelon can live. Only one Dorm is available by default, up to 10 Dorms can be purchased with Gems. Dorms produce Batteries daily depending on their comfort level, which is dependent on the quantity and rarity of the Furniture in the dorm, and the presence of pets acquired in exchange of batteries in the Rescue Station. Furniture is acquired through the second gacha component in the game, which uses Tokens. This gacha is also used to get T-Dolls costumes from limited-time gacha pools, or from the fixed pool called Radiant Collection. Spending tokens on a limited gacha pools will grant Exchange Tickets usable to get a specific item in the pool, and duplicate costumes can be exchanged for Black Tickets usable to get any past or current costume.
For a list of costumes, see T-Doll Costume Index.
Player progression and interaction
The player gains Commander Experience and levels by playing the game, gradually unlocking new gameplay features. The player's avatar can be customized with objects exchanged for Gems in the clothes shop. Quests can also be completed during gameplay, granting various resources and sometimes T-Dolls upon completion. Some quests are refreshed daily or weekly.
Commanders in a friend list can help each other by setting up a friend echelon that can be deployed in most battles. Both the helped and helper commanders receive Friend Points, usable to purchase cosmetic items in the friendship store like ID cards backgrounds and icon, and base backgrounds (these can also be purchased with Gems). A Dorm can be opened to visit by other commanders, where they can get bonus Batteries daily and leave likes for 10 Friend Points. Commanders can also compete in ranked leaderboards in Defense Drill and during some events, but not in direct battle.
For details about quests, see Quests. For a list of customization features, see Commander Customization.
The main source of revenue for the game is the paid shop, where players can purchase Gems to spend on game content. Small amounts of Gems can be gathered from weekly social media sharing and completion of certain quests. The shop sells limited costumes, resources, production contracts, Tokens for the Dorms gacha, surplus Sim Energy for Combat Simulation, commander customization options and infrastructure upgrade, like echelon slots, new Dorm, T-Dolls storage and production slots.
Some limited-time events also let players gather special currencies when playing event missions, which can be spent in the event shop instead of Gems for limited-time bonuses, resources or T-Dolls.
The story starts in 2062. The player is a new Commander of the Private Military Contractor Griffin and Kryuger, directing Tactical Dolls in battle. Griffin is tasked with fighting against the T-Dolls of Sangvis Ferri, who rebelled against mankind after the Butterfly Incident, but one special T-Doll in Griffin's AR Team, AR M4A1M4A1 , comes at the center of the attention of Sangvis Ferri and other factions as Griffin is drawn into a conspiracy involving Relic Technology.
Aside from the main storyline, Girls' Frontline tells side stories in limited time events, character costumes and the Neural Upgrade feature. The world of Girls' Frontline has been expanded on by Confidential Files and is set 30 years before the game Codename: Bakery Girl, set in the same universe.
For a list of story chapters, see Story. For a list of limited time events, including story events, see Events Overview. For information on the world of Girls' Frontline, see Lore. For events with storylines, see Story Events and Collaboration Events.
Girls' Frontline can be seen as the fusion of the concepts from MICA Team's previous projects, using both the Sci-Fi war story from the Codename: Bakery Girl game and the light-hearted gun anthropomorphism from the Guns&Girls doujin series.
Mica Team (incorporated as Shanghai LBX Network Technology Company, and later Shanghai Sunborn Network Technology Company) started development on Girls' Frontline in early 2015. Mica's lead Yuzhong (羽中, a pseudonym) enlisted the help of his personal friend and CEO of Yostar, Yao Meng (姚蒙), who established Shanghai Array Network Technology Company (上海阵面网络公司) to help fund and produce the game. Yuzhong and Yao Meng had previously worked together on a short-lived amateur games fanzine, then on Codename: Bakery Girl in 2013 with Yao Meng's previous company GameMaster. Array was expected to handle distribution of the game and its derivative products and share revenues with Sunborn in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Japan.
The game was first announced on 4 June 2015 with an expected release date for October 2015, then shown during ComiCup 16. The first beta for the game launched on 31 August 2015 with an initial distribution of 500 accounts, and attracted a total of about 6000 people. The second beta launched on 26 October 2015, with an initial distribution of 6000 codes. With 3000 to 4000 players logging in at once, the game's servers crashed for 8 hours due to various technical oversights from Mica Team. About 10,000 activation codes were distributed in total for the second beta. 2 hours after the launch of the third beta on 25 January 2016, the servers went unresponsive for 9 days and problems with the game's Weibo account prevented Mica Team from communicating on the issue during a day and a half. The beta players nonetheless spent around 2 million RMB in the cash shop, expecting their accounts to be transferred in full to the final game. The game was delayed after the third beta, then scheduled for release in Mainland China on 20 May 2016.
Chuapp reported that the game's development was significantly hindered by repeated miscommunication, reduced team sizes, lack of internal skills, unclear distribution of responsibilities, legal disputes and general trust issues between Sunborn and Array. Shanghai Xinfan Asset Management, one of Sunborn's main investors, reportedly pushed Sunborn to end their partnership with Array in favor of Windplay and later Digital Sky, who would become Sunborn's launch partners. The internal debacle was followed by the general public on Weibo and described by Chuapp as the second big public drama on the Chinese mobile games market after Warship Girls R. Due to contractual issues with Array, Sunborn was denied access to data from the third beta and asked beta players to take on a multi-steps verification system to transfer their accounts to the final game. Array ceased operating after the partnership with Sunborn ended. An estimated 30 Sunborn members worked on the initial game development. By September 2016, the game had one million accounts with over 200,000 daily active players.
Skills for the characters Neptunia, Noire and Blanc from Compile Heart and Idea Factory's Hyperdimension Neptunia series dating from early 2018 point to a collab event being considered. Datamined chibi files found in November 2018 revealed that Sunborn had worked on characters Aliasse and Riela, and later Imca, Selvaria, Alicia and Edy from Sega's Valkyria Chronicles series, including normal, swimsuit and Valkyria form chibis, as well as enemies and Technical Fairies based on Isara and Juliana, hinting that a collaboration event had been planned at some point. Soon after, an anonymous source claimed that Sunborn and Sega had cancelled the partnership after Sega pushed contractual terms disadvantageous to Sunborn.
Dormitories and Costumes were added to the game in October 2016, Shotgun T-Dolls in January 2017, Technical Fairies in July 2017, Neural Upgrade in January 2018, Heavy Ordnance Corps in July 2018, Forward Base in August 2019, Protocol Assimilation in March 2020 and Luffberry Chess in April 2021.
The partnership between Sunborn and Digital Sky for distribution of the game in Mainland China ended in April 2020. Sunborn distributes the game internally in all regions (under the name Darkwinter Software for the Android release) except in Korea and Taiwan, where it is distributed by local branches of X.D. Network. As of the game's fifth anniversary, more than 13,400,000 player accounts had been registered.
The Japanese release was announced in January 2016 to be handled by Wave-Game (who at one point were to handle customer service for the original release) and planned for the same year, but the partnership was scrapped and the game delayed to July 2018 due to a trademark dispute where Sunborn Japan engaged in legal proceedings to buy the name Girls' Frontline (少女前線) from its local owners, but was unable to do so as it had been transferred to a third party before the expected transaction date. The trademark is instead known as Doll's Frontline (ドールズフロントライン) in Japan. The original trademark was acquired by Sunborn in Japan on December 2020.
Yuzhong shared in a 2017 Gamecores podcast that 20 story chapters were planned.
On Weibo, Yuzhong detailed the difficult process of producing the more ambitious Singularity event and the writing troubles associated with the increased complexity in the interplay of characters and factions. With Chapter 10 released at the end of December 2017 and after a holiday break, the team had less than a month to produce the event before its release date in early February, using the HOC System and image assets prepared in advance. The “Bad End” routes introduced in Continuum Turbulence were planned for Singularity, but had to be abandoned and only the notion of multiple stories unfolding at the same time was kept. The lengthy exposition by Havier in part 3 was originally intended to be pieced together by the players instead, but this would have required too many levels. Part 3 also originally contained three story routes, but they had to be merged into one. Yuzhong announced a slower release pace to increase quality of the next events. He had previously complained about the quality of Chapter 10 not meeting his expectations due to tight time constraints.
According to then writer Jano, special in-game dialogues for the second anniversary are meant to take place after Singularity.
Gunslinger Girl's author Yu Aida confirmed in a Twitter post that the Dream Theatre event was not to be considered canon to Girls' Frontline story. Girls' Frontline official Korean Twitter account acknowledged that they used a version of the story differing from the author's intents.
Girls' Frontline's identity has expanded over a variety of books, animated productions and merchandising articles like figures and accessories.
Artist:AC130 illustrated 4-panels humorous and informational cartoons for the game's loading screens at launch, and for the game's social medias. On 25 January 2018, a game client update replaced the cartoons with new ones by Artist:MADCORE. In the same update, the Comic Stand was added to the Cafe, where new comics from AC130 can be unlocked. AC130 and MADCORE's characters and gags were later used in Chibi Dolls Theater.
The artbooks by Jiaxing Wuyue Digital Media provide details on the design of T-Dolls and other graphical elements, as well as some background on the story, especially in the Confidential Files attached with the Chinese versions. Kadokawa also released two Official Skin Collection artbooks.
The official manhua adapting the game's story is titled Girls' Frontline: Doll's Song.
A manga titled Girls' Frontline: The Works of Hiroji Mishima (ドールズフロントライン みしまひろじ作品集) by the eponymous author was published released by Dengeki Comics Next. It follows M4A1 as she meets various T-Dolls at a cafe and hears their stories and experiences.
An anime series based on the game aired in 2022. Chibi Dolls Theater are parody shorts divided in the light-hearted “Healing Chapters” and more chaotic “Madness Chapters”.
While most PVs for in-game events only use Live2D and lightly animated 3D assets, the PVs for Shattered Connexion and Polarized Light contain exclusive animated segments.
Girls' Frontline: Trigger Happy (ドールフロントライン トリガーハッピー) is an official Japanese 4koma (4-panels gag comics) by tobimura (鳶村), serialized in 11 chapters from December 2019 to June 2020 on the official Japanese Twitter account. It received a paper serialization in Manga 4koma Palette from February to August 2020.
Japanese publishers Ichijinsa and Kadokawa have released comics anthologies under their labels DNA Media Comics and Dengeki Comics NEXT since 2018.
Girls' Frontline Original Soundtrack spans more than 200 tracks including collab event tracks, and original songs from the album Girls' Frontline ECHOES. Multiple concerts played the music made for the game.
Girls' Frontline in other games
The Mainland China server for Call of Duty Mobile had a collaboration event on 9 July 2021. The SEA server (“Garena CODM”) received the event on 18 January 2022. It contained a skin for the character Scylla based on AR AN-94AN-94 ; multiple animated weapon skins and accessories based on AR Type 95Type 95 , AR HK416HK416 , SMG MP5MP5 , SMG PP-19PP-19 , SMG AUG ParaAUG Para , AR M16A1M16A1 , HG Desert EagleDesert Eagle , SG M1887M1887 , AR AS ValAS Val and RF Kar98kKar98k ; a special mission against Dinergates ; and various other small references and easter eggs.
From the Glory Day story event, a Girls' Frontline song pack was released for DJMax Respect V for PlayStation 4 on 4 September 2018 and for Steam on 10 December 2020, containing the tracks Barbarous Funera, Frontline and What am I fighting for? and a Girls' Frontline visual skin.
- Official website (Mainland China)
- Official website (Taiwan)
- Official online shop
- Weibo account
- IOP Special Goods Department (Official merchandising Weibo account)
- Bilibili account
- Legacy website (girls-frontline.com)
- Legacy website (gf.ppgame.com)
- ↑ On the Chinese market, turn-based strategy games are defined as “SLG” for “Simulation Game”.
- ↑ Girls' Frontline 4th Anniversary Livestream
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Translated article from Chuapp
- ↑ Game announcement on Hexieshe and Chuapp
- ↑ Array's Breach of Contract public announcement
- ↑ Girls' Frontline Summer Event Livestream (Translation)
- ↑ First anniversary post on Weibo
- ↑ Notice of transfer for Digital Sky accounts on the official site
- ↑ Girls' Frontline Carnival 2021
- ↑ Weibo post on customer service recruitment
- ↑ Chuapp article
- ↑ 4Gamer (JP) news article about Girls' Frontline copyright issues in Japan.
- ↑ Japan Platform for Patent Information
- ↑ Bilibili (14:10)
- ↑ Weibo posts   
- ↑ Weibo post
- ↑ Original Weibo post (locked), Mirror link
- ↑ Weibo - Collab announcement