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Bravely Default “Now THAT’s an RPG!” – Square Enix Interview with RPG Land

By Janelle | October 8, 2012 at 5:27 am

While hitting up the show floor at TGS, we got a chance to sit down with Tomoya Asano, the producer of the upcoming Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. Mr. Asano has previously served as the producer for Hikari no 4 Senshi, and the DS remakes of Final Fantasys III and IV. We discussed the upcoming Bravely Default, which will release in Japan on October 11.

RPGLand: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us. Recently, the lines between game genres have gotten very blurred. For example, Sega’s Yakuza 5 is touted as an action game, but it also has RPG and adventure elements. But when you look at Bravely Default, there is no doubt that it’s an RPG. What do you think the reason for that is?

Tomoya Asano: Well, Square Enix is, fundamentally, an RPG company, producing entries in popular series like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, among others. RPGs are a very traditional genre, with established conventions, and recently, it seems like the number of conventional RPGs is decreasing. We want to protect that, and continue producing true RPGs. There are also many fans who want traditional RPGs, so that’s what we aim to produce. We want people to be able to look at the games we make and say “Now THAT’S an RPG!”

RPGLand: So, what would you consider the fundamental characteristics of an RPG?

Mr. Asano: RPGs have three core components: battles, growth, and connection. All are very important, and we wanted to bring these three together for Bravely Default.

RPGLand: In Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, the Brave and Default system*, when added to a traditional turn-based battle system, completely changes the strategy required, doesn’t it?

Mr. Asano: Yes, it totally changes everything.

RPGLand: I imagine that made balancing the game more difficult than usual. Did you have any special strategies for balancing the difficulty during development?

Mr. Asano: Yes, we had to do a lot of work balancing the game. We have a dedicated debug team who are chipping away at the game even now. They’ve been playtesting week after week, helping us tweak and adjust the game properly.

RPGLand: By the way, what is the difficulty level like in Bravely Default?

Mr. Asano: Hmmmm…I would describe it as casual. There is challenge, but we were trying to make a system that even people who haven’t played something like Dragon Quest would understand. We tried to make a game that, say, a 20-year old girl could play and enjoy.

*: The Brave and Default system allows characters to build up Brave points by not taking action in battle (“Defaulting”), and then expending those points to gain extra actions in a later turn. This means the player could input up to sixteen commands in a turn, instead of four (one per character). Enemies can do the same.

RPGLand: Is there anything beginners should be careful of when they play the game?

Mr. Asano: They need to remember that they can always receive help from their friends. Bravely Default has several systems that use the 3DS’s StreetPass function to allow your friends to help you. First, you can summon your friends’ characters in battle. The actions that they took in battle, like powerful attacks or healing, you can then receive the benefits of. Also you can link with the job growth progress that your friends’ characters have made, and borrow their abilities. So there’s an aspect of collaboration, like “I’m making some strong mages, can you work on a good fighter and we’ll swap abilities?”

RPGLand: It’s like, even though it’s a single player game, you can still play “with” your friends.

Mr. Asano: Exactly! Bravely Default‘s core concept is “Minna to asobu”: everyone can play. We really wanted to bring some good aspects of the growing social game market back to the home console scene, like connecting with and helping your friends.

RPGLand: Do you think this will change the way players approach the game, or the way they use their 3DSes, outside of their normal activities?

Mr. Asano: It could. You gain benefits from connecting with friends via StreetPass, but you can also get the same benefits from browsing the internet with your 3DS, so it does encourage connecting and using your 3DS.

RPGLand: What kind of feeling did you want to transmit with the graphics?

Mr. Asano: Yoshida Akihito’s art style…we wanted to bring it as-is into the game, like the illustrations have come to life. You can see in the demo’s town, the 3DS’s layers work to give it a very distinct effect, almost like a picture book. Some of the images and palette have an almost Nordic feel to them, I think.

RPGLand: There are a lot of people who have been comparing Bravely Default to Final Fantasy games. Did you face any challenges, producing Bravely Default under the shadow of Final Fantasy?

Mr. Asano: Well, the previous game that I worked on, Hikari no 4 Senshi, was actually titled Final Fantasy Gaiden. So there was a legitimate connection to Final Fantasy. But after we finished that, I wondered, well, what should we do now? We could have made something within SE’s main series, like a Final Fantasy or a Dragon Quest, but I wanted to instead work on creating something with a new feeling, and new brand entirely. There were challenges, sure, but we’ve tried to differentiate ourselves with the use of StreetPass systems, the AR we’ve developed, and so forth. We’ve put out a large number of demos and tried to use the feedback we’ve received to create something fresh and different.

RPGLand: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers, in closing?

Mr. Asano: I know that we don’t have plans to bring the game over to America yet, but thank you for your interest in the game. Keep talking about it on Facebook and Twitter, and keep watching for new info from us!

Bravely Default Official Website

Bravely Default TGS trailer
Order Bravely Default from Play-Asia
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy will be released in Japan on Thursday, October 11. You can import it from Play-Asia, but make sure your 3DS can play games from the Japanese region.

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Topics: Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, Tokyo Game Show, Tokyo Game Show 2012