Feature Article

Bravely Default: From Sequel to Sequel

The new heroes of light.

Bravely Default (originally titled Bravely Default: Flying Fairy) came out in Japan in 2012, and Europe in 2013. Now, a year and a half after its debut, it's finally available to 3DS owners in North America. During that time, the game underwent a litany of changes, earning a rerelease in Japan under a new subtitle, Bravely Default: For the Sequel. As the name implies, Silicon Studio, the team behind Bravely Default, is already working on the successor: Bravely Second. Interestingly enough, according to producer Tomoya Asano, Bravely Default was originally envisioned as a sequel to a preexisting game from another series: Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.

Asano said, "As it turns out, we originally, in the early planning stages, were looking at this project as a sequel to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, and we had spoken to Silicon Studio who had created a demo for that project, and we liked what we saw and decided to work with them."

Though Bravely Default eventually moved away from the Final Fantasy brand, it retains several ties to the series, causing many players to refer to it as the best Final Fantasy game in years.

Bravely Default producer, Tomoya Asano.
Bravely Default producer, Tomoya Asano.

"There are certainly some elements, like the turn-based battles or the job system or traveling around the world looking for crystals, that will feel like familiar elements to fans of the classic Final Fantasy series, but the reason that they exist in this game is that we know that these are elements that are going to make for ease of play and a comfortable play experience.

"I think that it's possible that some of the similarity of item names are due to the fact that we originally conceived of this as a sequel to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light; it might be just an artifact of that process. But there's also some deliberate thinking about it as well in that we know that people that were fans of the Final Fantasy series, and there certainly were a lot of them, enjoy seeing similar elements, and we know that it's fun for them."

Does that mean the game was designed to mimic classic Final Fantasy games, first and foremost? It may seem that way at first but once you dig into the combat and town-building system, you immediately realize there's more to Bravely Default than things lifted from Final Fantasy's playbook, and it begins to form an identity of its own. Asano points out that "we have also incorporated lots of interesting new elements that have not been seen in games in that series up till now."

There's a good chance he's referring to the game's combat system, which lets you borrow or bank turns during battle, but it's not the only deviation from the norm that may surprise players. Bravely Default incorporates numerous social features that allow you to augment various parts of the game. Once you start streetpassing with other Bravely Default players, you'll be able to summon friends into battle, borrow abilities from high-level characters, and gather a crew to open, repair, and upgrade item shops.

"One of our basic concepts for Bravely Default was that it would be a single-player RPG that you could enjoy and play with everyone, and what I mean by that is that you're able to get help from your friends in a lot of different ways. In this case, we're talking about the StreetPass functionality for friend summoning in particular, and this is something that we had to do a lot of balance checking around. But we were able to come up with a solution that we feel is really good for new players and allows for advanced play...and we think that we're going to see some interesting emerging gameplay around this once the game is out for a little while. That will hopefully spur us on to new ways to help these new players, and one thing that we've already been talking about is the ability to update [characters] on the Internet, for example."

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Nintendo published Bravely Default in Europe and North America, but Asano and Silicon Studio were committed to developing the game for the 3DS before Nintendo ever got involved.

"As it turns out, one of our very deliberate mottos when working on this game was the phrase 'only on 3DS.' So, we had a lot of ideas about how to use every single feature of the 3DS and incorporate it into gameplay here, and you'll certainly see that with the StreetPass features and the augmented-reality cards. But there's definitely an element of the visual presentation that works especially well on the 3DS also, and we knew this from a very early stage when we were looking at things as simple as illustrations and maps and thinking about how we wanted to represent space within the game."

Asano points out a feature that may slip past most players at first, which is too bad, because it actually makes a big difference in practice.

"One other thing that I think represents a really good point of compatibility with the Nintendo 3DS is the way that we have designed the game so that you can play it only with your left hand, if you so choose, using the direction pad."

No Caption Provided

The functions of the four inputs on the right side of the 3DS translate perfectly to the four inputs on the D-pad, while the analog stick is used for movement. Thus, you can accomplish everything with a single hand. It's a simple feature, but one that grows on you over time.

It's also a feature that was introduced as part of the upgrade to the For the Sequel version of Bravely Default, which was designed around feedback from fans provided directly to Asano and Silicon Studio. They didn't just read forums and reviews. Rather, Asano and company reached out directly to fans. With the approval for a sequel secured, they wanted to make the best Bravely Default possible.

"Well, we were very fortunate that the first title was so well received in Japan. It was at that time that we confirmed that we would be working on a sequel to that game and we wanted to collect as much feedback as possible from players to see what we could do to improve on some of the systems for the next game, and we got so much good information that we decided to use that to create something like a 1.5 version, which was called 'For the Sequel' in Japan, and this is the version that we used for the base for localization to create the US version of Bravely Default, the one that includes all these improved elements based on player feedback.

"I think it has become a game that is much easier to play for new players, which I think is an excellent improvement. But it still retains a lot of challenge for expert players, and the content still stacks up against Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, in my mind."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com


Peter Brown

Peter is Managing Editor at GameSpot, and when he's not covering the latest games, he's desperately trying to recapture his youth by playing the classics that made him happy as a kid.
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

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Avatar image for thiagofali

They should take B D's success as an indication that turn-based RPGs are still enjoyable and that they will sell when they are well made... check Ni No Kuni for example.. They should make more of such games for the new gen consoles... how awesome would it be to see a Bravely Default sequel on PS4 for example...

Avatar image for GH05T-666

Really? This has been out for a while here in Europe, usually North America get everything good first!

Its a great game, highly recommended!

If you loved classic Final Fantasy games, this is for you!

Avatar image for OtakuLiz

<< LINK REMOVED >> Oh man, I know—those last few days leading up to its NA release last Friday had me pulling my hair out and suddenly feeling very sympathetic to you European gamers.

Avatar image for benleslie5

I loved the game for it's story and soundtrack, I would love to see the sequel happen

Avatar image for NettoSaito

<< LINK REMOVED >> They announced the sequel quite awhile ago lol. They've even shown off the new main character, and told us a little about who we should expect to see returning.

Avatar image for Aspire85

I love a good JRPG and it has been a while since I played one up to standard but Bravely Default is great and has been giving me that fix I have wanted for a while. My only complaint is that some areas feel fairly linear but I'm only on Chapter 3.

Avatar image for playstationzone

well if don't sell do another one soz but that don't how it works if it sell do another game if not leave it alone.

Avatar image for YEPEE00

for better or worse feels like a little kid fantasy rpg. the bad guys are really stupid.

Avatar image for SilentAssassin

I played through the demo and loved it. If anyone wants to add me on their 3ds feel free too!! That way we can summon each other in battle and help restore the town.

Manny 4055 4335 3283

Send me a private message with your 3ds info so I can add you........

Avatar image for jhansvoice

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> i'm down to join the fun i want to summon people too! 0877-1198-7369

Avatar image for Aspire85

@SilentAssassin Hey, if it's cool I'll add you.

Mine is Lee 1091 7661 1487. Anyone else is welcome to add me too.

Avatar image for SilentAssassin

<< LINK REMOVED >> yeah I'll add anyone!! The more friends the better!! I'll add you back later today.

Avatar image for rhinemaiden

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>my friend code is 1392-4456-9987 if anyone wants to add me.

Avatar image for rhinemaiden

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> just sent an invite ill add you both..

Avatar image for baxwam

The Hype has been justify!!

Avatar image for ethanm1834

I bought a 3ds for this specifically. I have been enjoying the game so far. This is what I want square, I think you just struck gold again.

Avatar image for SilentAssassin

<< LINK REMOVED >> Manny 4055 4335 3283 add me

Avatar image for masfima1

buying a 3DSXL tomorrow

Avatar image for Stebsis

I think Bravely Default is just the opposite of what XIII was. It almost like tried to move as much away from FF as possible, while BD embraces its roots, giving that Final Fantasy feel but also improving on it, just like majority of FF games have done despite them being very different from each other. And I think that's how a new game in any series should be made, new things on top of familiarity. If they want to do something completely different then name it something completely different or make a spin-off, or in XIII's case make at least good game. Story in Bravely Default isn't anything great and characters are pretty generic, but better than the complete mess that was XIII.

Avatar image for Nev3rtime

<< LINK REMOVED >> It's as if they just stick the FF brand on whatever their latest big budget jrpg is so people pay attention to the game.

Avatar image for MattyTheButcher

If this game was peanut butter... I would rub it all over me.

Avatar image for stage4saiyan

If you have a 3DS, get this game. Now. Even if you DON'T have a 3DS get it. This is one of those rare games where the developers deserve every bit of credit they can get. Easy frontrunner for GOTY.

Avatar image for WTA2k5

Damn this shaky-cam is intense. It's like if Paul Greengrass made a film about video game journalism.

Avatar image for Numbuh100

This is a great game!

Avatar image for psuedospike

OMG this is probably the best turn-based JRPG I've ever played...and I've played 'em all! It's mostly just how well everything works, the battle system is perfect allowing you to gamble with 4 attacks at once but leaving yourself open to 4 attacks if you don't kill the mob, you can speed up or pause every battle and increase or decrease the enemy encounter rate allowing for exploration without being interrupted every few seconds as well as very fast and easy grinding, the job system is perfect and seems to combine everything we know about how Job systems in an rpg should work! All in all I think this game is near perfect and a TON of fun to play! Now if you'll excuse me I need to get back to playing Bravely Default...and so should you!

Avatar image for dinantes

Hmm, forums seems not to be working atm, so I'll ask here. Anyone know if 'formation' matters in this? Like if I wanna make Tiz a mage, should I move him to the bottom? Thanks.

Avatar image for psuedospike

@dinantes The only thing it seems to affect is who you see running around on the map...like in the Tales series. This game borrows a lot of what makes the Tales games awesome actually...

Avatar image for doc-brown

<< LINK REMOVED >> There are no front or rear lines in Bravely Default.

Avatar image for dinantes

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>So it doesn't matter if one person is on the top or bottom, a-la final fantasy 1? I didn't really notice in the demo if those characters were being hit more or less.

Avatar image for suchipi

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>You can rearrange your characters, but it doesn't seem to affect either who gets hit or who attacks first, so the only reason I can see to do it is to change which player model you use in the world.

Avatar image for widdowson91

It really is the best Final Fantasy game in years.

Avatar image for Mayleene

<< LINK REMOVED >> NOT! It is NOT Final Fantasy. Thank goodness! Sick of those games. It's about time Squeenix came out with a replacement to embrace. Final Fantasy has Finally Fantasized itself into nothing.....thank goodness~!

Avatar image for BrunoBRS

played for one day, already 12 hours in >.>

yep, it's a good game. a really good one.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Buy this game, NOT the disgrace that is FF13-3, if you want to play a real Final Fantasy game.

Avatar image for derclub887

<< LINK REMOVED >> More like if you want the same FF experience you've already played 3 or 4 times - Bravely Default is pretty much FF 1, FF 3, and FF: The 4 Heroes of Light all mashed together with a slight.change to the battle system. Don't get me wrong, it's still fun and definitely worth the purchase price but there's not much here you haven't already done multiple times in other FF games. I don't really see why FF13 gets all the hate it does, it's really not THAT bad. I'll bet you haven't even played FF13-3 yet. I'm not saying it's the best FF by any means but some people really let their nostalgia for the older FF games fuel unjust hate for the newer ones.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I'd rather play something that has been done before that I know is done right than an action RPG featuring one of the worst characters in video gaming.

Avatar image for derclub887

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Your feelings on what is "right"and how much you like the character are subjective and while your melodramatic characterization of the game's protagonist is only ending up proving my point, it's your opinion and you are entitled to it.

Avatar image for Barighm

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>And I don't know why some people knock nostalgia like its a bad thing. Maybe that "good ol' feel" of the great FF's should be a GUIDING force for future games.Finding a way to take what was great about the classic games and expanding on them in new ways can be done.

And just for the record, even the guys at Square admit the design of FF13 was messy and poorly planned. It showed.

Avatar image for derclub887

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>That's not a knock on nostalgia that's a knock on letting nostalgia narrow your mind and make you blindly hate something new in a series simply because you have set this standard in your mind that no game could ever live up to again. I may be wrong but that's the general gist I get from people who love to hate FF13.

Avatar image for StrikerXI


Avatar image for turtlethetaffer

I'm enjoying the game so far. Hopefully once I get more jobs it opens up more (which it does if reviews are to be trusted). I'm also hoping there are super dungeons akin to the Four Towers from 4 Heroes of Light. That would significantly extend the life of the game.

Avatar image for suchipi

<< LINK REMOVED >> Master your whole party in Black Mage as soon as you can- you won't be disappointed.

Avatar image for turtlethetaffer

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I would but I do like variety so I'ma mess with all the jobs.

Avatar image for psuedospike

<< LINK REMOVED >> That sounds like a terrible idea. lol

Avatar image for garywood69

Hopefully it'll sell well in the US so they can afford to spend a bit more on the sequel. This game suffers from a serious lack of content. Oh let's go exploring.......oh wait we can't, all of the environments are purely aesthetic.

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