Bravely Default

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Bravely Default
BDFF Logo.jpg
European cover art
Developer(s) Silicon Studio
Square Enix
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Kensuke Nakahara[1]
Producer(s) Tomoya Asano
Artist(s) Akihiko Yoshida
Writer(s) Naotaka Hayashi
Composer(s) Revo
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s)
  • JP October 11, 2012
For the Sequel
  • JP December 5, 2013
  • EU December 6, 2013
  • AUS December 7, 2013
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Bravely Default, known as Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (ブレイブリーデフォルト フライングフェアリー Bureiburī Deforuto: Furaingu Fearī?) in Japan, is a role-playing video game by Square Enix for the Nintendo 3DS, a spiritual successor to the 2010 video game Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.[4] Originally released in Japan in 2012, the game was developed by Silicon Studio, best known for the adventure game 3D Dot Game Heroes.[5] On April 17, 2013, the game was announced to be released in Europe and Australia in 2013 and North America in 2014, published by Nintendo.[6] An updated version, titled Bravely Default: For the Sequel (ブレイブリーデフォルト フォーザ・シークウェル Bureiburī Deforuto: Fōza Shīkuweru?), was released in Japan on December 5, 2013. The Western versions of the game are based on the updated version.[7] A full sequel, Bravely Second, was announced in December 2013.

The game's job and battle system are similar to Final Fantasy V.[8] It features augmented reality in the gameplay.[9] Bravely Default revolves around four young heroes of Luxendarc.

Critical reception to the game has been highly positive. In its initial launch week, Bravely Default topped Japanese sales charts at number one with over 140,000 copies. A browser game has already gone into development called Bravely Default: Praying Brage.

Gameplay[edit]

Bravely Default uses turn-based combat and multi-hit combination moves.[10] The game also features cut scenes.[11] There is a job system, similar to those in some other Square Enix games such as Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.[12] The original game had a single save slot, which producer Tomoya Asano stated on Twitter was due to the game's "wireless features".[13] The For the Sequel version, and consequently the western version, featured two more save slots.[14] Bravely Default features heavy use of voice acting within the story and during battles.[13] Asano has said that the game will feature multiple endings.[15] With the official Member's Site, the players can create a community, unlock achievements (the 3DS does not have global achievement support.) and take on Quests created for the whole community.[16] One of the core aspects of gameplay is the option to both "Default", an option which allows the player to store battle points for later, and "Brave", in which the character selected unleashes multiple attacks in a single turn.[17]

Plot[edit]

Bravely Default revolves around four young heroes of Luxendarc: the Wind Vestal Agnès Oblige who finds the Wind Crystal consumed in darkness; a mysterious vagrant named Ringabel with no memory of his past; Edea Lee of the Duchy of Eternia who is sent on a mission to protect the world from a great evil; and a youth named Tiz Arrior who witnesses his brother and his hometown Norende being swallowed up by a Great Chasm. They are accompanied by Airy, a cryst-fairy who is seeking to restore the crystals and save the world from the natural calamities that the tainted crystals are causing. Coming to a week after Norende's destruction in the city of Caldisla, Tiz meets Agnès and Airy as he comes to Norende Ravine in hope of finding other survivors. However, Agnès is being pursued by the Knights of the Eternian Sky, who have been terrorizing Caldisla. Though Agnès refused his aid at first, Tiz manages to convince her to let him help her in her quest. Soon after, the two are joined by Ringabel and Edea, the latter disgusted with the Sky Knights' dishonorable actions while amazed to find the vestal not to be as evil as she was raised to believe. Taking the Sky Knights' airship Eschalot, meeting the strange Sage Yulyana to get her a vestal garb for the ritual, the group proceed to Ancheim to reach the Wind Crystal and Agnès cleanses it while disproving the propaganda set against her by the city's ruler.

As the group are about to fly to Florem, they are ambushed by Alternis Dim of Eternia's Council of Six. Shocked to see Edea aiding the vestal, Alternis falls back to report this turn of events while damaging the skystone to ground the airship. Reaching Florem by foot, the group find the women acting in a highly vain fashion. Forced to attend a beauty contest, Agnès manages to reach her fellow vestal Olivia Oblige to meet with her so she can receive her aid with the water crystal. However, the group are followed by the Council of Six's Victoria F. Stein who fatally wounds Olivia before being carried off her fellow member Victor S. Court when she starts having a seizure. Forced to cleanse the water crystal on her own, Agnès does the same with the fire crystal in Eisenberg while her company aid the Shieldbearers against the Swordbearer faction, who employ Eternia's Black Blades under Edea's swordsmanship teacher.

Soon after gaining a new airship, the formerly sea-bound city of Grandship, the group arrives to Eternia where the Council of Six mount a defense to stop them from reaching the Earth Crystal with Victoria and Victor being killed in battle. However, the group is knocked out by the mysterious "vampire" Lester DeRosso while Edea is brought before her father, Grand Marshal Braev Lee. Sage Yulyana, revealed to an inactive member of the council alongside DeRosso, helps the group escape as they then defeat Braev before cleansing the Earth Crystal. After this, the group head to the site of the Holy Pillar, where Airy says she can complete their quest and save the world. However, Alternis attempts to stop them before he is revealed to be identical to Ringabel and then falling off the railing as Grandship in consumed in the light of Airy's brooch.

Coming to in the Caldisla Inn, Tiz and others find themselves in what they later learn to be another world as they repeat their quest with it ending once more with Alternis's attempt to stop them. However, before falling, Alternis reveals he was sent to kill Airy before the party once more find themselves in another Luxendarc. Eventually, as Ringabel remembers that he was the Alternis from a world predating the others', the group begins to realize that Airy is not what she appears to be. They also hear the story of a fatally wounded "angel" that appeared before Yulyana and DeRosso, warning them of all the events that have come to pass and of an "Evil One" who deceived her. At this stage, the story diverges into two paths.[15] In the first path, Agnès is overcome with disbelief at the fact Airy is the Evil One yet she rebels and shatters one of the crystals. This enrages Airy, and she slaughters the party in her true monstrous form and leaves to wait out the creation of a new crystal to continue her work. The protagonists are then resurrected by the angel from Yulyana's tale. After this, they pursue Airy to the Great Chasm and slay her, but she ominously proclaims that her master Ouroboros will one day come to the Luxendarcs despite this setback. The Great Chasm then starts closing, prompting the party to return home so they may live out their lives.

In the second, canon, path, the party repeats the Holy Pillar process up to three more times and then learn that they were used by Airy, who reveals herself to have linked countless versions of Luxendarc for many millennia in the name of her god Ouroboros. Finding Yulyana and DeRosso, they learn the full story from them and realize that the "angel" was a version of Agnès from a previous world that might have been Ringabel's. The group then pursue Airy to the Dark Aurora above the Great Chasm, defeating the fairy in her perfect form before witnessing her being devoured by Ouroboros for outliving her usefulness to him. In a reflective guise of the party, Ouroboros then reveals his intent to devour all versions of Luxendarc before invading the Celestial Realm and remaking reality in his image. He also reveals that Tiz is carrying a Celestial being within him that has been prolonging his life. After this, Ouroboros draws the group into the Infernal Realm and tries to destroy them. With the aid of their counterparts in other realities and the sacrifice of DeRosso, the group succeed in destroying Ouroboros and then using the Great Chasm to return to their home, which closes just like in the first path. Six months after moving into the Caldisla Inn, Tiz walks to the Caldisla cemetery where he releases the Celestial within him and enters a coma, unbeknownst to Agnès and Edea, who are nearby but unaware of Tiz's prescence. In a special movie unlocked after the credits, Tiz wakes from his coma in a medical facility. Suddenly, a woman appears, taking down the guards and defeating a monster that attacks her. She then opens the capsule to help Tiz escape, introducing herself as "Magnolia Arch". The movie ends with the words "Bravely Second", referring to the upcoming sequel.[18]

Development[edit]

Even though the game has been called a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light,[4] Bravely Default was designed as a new IP heavily inspired by both the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises. Its title stemmed from its two core battle options.[17] Kensuke Nakahara, the game's designer, said that the project started as "an incredibly standard RPG, a bit like [Final Fantasy III] or [Final Fantasy V], but the concern was whether this was the best thing for a new IP like this. With this gameplay system, I felt like it really had the chance to turn the whole game around, so I was incredibly excited about it."[17] Naotaka Hayashi was the scenario writer for Bravely Default, having previously been the scenario writer for Steins;Gate, and developed the plot and the characters.[5] During development, Asano asked Hayashi to increase the age of the characters, and make sure that all the characters were appealing, whether good or bad. Hayashi explained in an interview that the title Bravely Default means "have courage and renounce the promises and responsibilities that are expected of you".[5] The games producer Tomoya Asano was attempting to make a game with "appealing and likeable characters and a scenario that surprised players", and after seeing Steins:Gate, asked Hayashi's employer, 5pb., if he could work on the project.[5] Asano designed the Final Fantasy-style story so players would have little trouble entering, while the story-telling and gameplay was heavily influenced by western video games and television series, with Asano seeing it as a "Japanese RPG with American content thrown in."[19]

The game was originally designed as an action RPG, but later in the development, the development team switched to a traditional RPG formula.[20] The game's developers also decided to cater for the core Japanese RPG fanbase, as they did not believe the game viable for Western release at the time.[21] During the latest stages of the game's development, the team had to make several last-minute tweaks and changes to ensure the game delivered the best possible performance.[22] In August's issue of Jump, Square Enix announced an improved version of the original game titled Bravely Default: For the Sequel: improvements included the ability to alter difficulty settings, extra save slots, modified gameplay, dual English and Japanese audio and revisions to the later chapters.[14] In addition to that, though no original content was cut from the game, the estimated completion time was shortened from fifty to thirty hours.[23] The For the Sequel version also included micro-transactions, whereby players could pay for the ability to stop time in battles for limited periods. This ability can also be obtained for free by putting the game in sleep mode.[24] In September 2013, Square Enix confirmed that the version to be released in North America and Europe would be based on For the Sequel.[25]

Localization[edit]

The game was frequently cited by video game journalists as a likely candidate for an English language release. Kotaku strongly supported its release, citing the game's high sales in Japan, similarities to older Final Fantasy titles, and a relative lack of English translated role-playing video games for the 3DS as reasons it should be localized.[26] 1UP.com echoed these sentiments, stating that its similarity to PlayStation-era Final Fantasy titles, most notably Final Fantasy IX, were reasons to hope for an English release "sooner rather than later".[27] The game topped GameSpot's list of Japanese games that were likely for Nintendo to help publish in the West.[28] Although Asano stated in October 2012 that there were no current plans to localize the game,[29] comments made the following year by the game's official Twitter account led some journalists to believe they were hinting at an English language release.[30][31]

On April 3, Siliconera published an article which said that several trusted sources at the Game Developers Conference 2013 stated that the localization of Bravely Default, though not officially announced, was underway.[32] On April 17, 2013, the game was officially announced for English release in the West in a Nintendo Direct, scheduled for release in 2013 in Europe,[33] and 2014 in North America.[34] At the end of July the same year, the company announced that the game's European release date had been pushed back to 2014,[35] however this was later refuted by Nintendo.[36] Speaking through the Bravely Default Twitter account shortly before the game's European release, it was stated that the team "thought overseas expansion was impossible. Seeing this much anticipation [moved them] deeply."[21] The localization itself was handled by Bill Black and his company Binari Sonori, whose previous work included Demons' Score for Square Enix and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade for Blizzard Entertainment.[37] The Western localization of the game contains censorship related to some sexual material in the original game: the ages of the main characters were increased to no longer be underage by Western standards, with 15-year-olds being changed to be 18-year-olds, and two of the female playable characters' costumes were altered to make them less revealing.[38]

Demos and versions[edit]

The game's demo was released in five downloadable installments on Nintendo's eShop,[39] with the last one coming just two days before the game's release.[40] In addition to the regular release, Bravely Default received a collector's edition, sold through Square Enix's online store, which included a poster, soundtrack album, art album, and a cover for the 3DS.[41] The game's soundtrack album and the single by Linked Horizon also came with DLC outfits and abilities for the player characters.[42] The English demo for the game included a side-quest not available in the main game, and gave players the option to transfer character progress from the demo to the main game.[43] A version of the game dubbed "Deluxe Collector's Edition" was released in Europe through online retailer ShopTo. This edition was also made available in Australia.[44] This version included a copy of the game, 34 AR cards, a CD of music from the game, an art book and a figurine of Agnès.[45] The North America Collector's Edition features a copy of the game, 34 AR cards, a CD of music from the game and the art book. The Agnès figurine was not included.[46]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 85.14%[48]
Metacritic 85/100[47]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 8/10[49]
GameSpot 8/10[52]
IGN 8.6/10[51]
Official Nintendo Magazine 90%[50]

Pre-release[edit]

Cutscenes from the game were shown on the Nintendo Direct video stream in June 2012 for the Japanese market and was praised by Destructoid.[53] IGN called it one of the top games that would make the Nintendo 3DS worth owning, and later the most beautiful and visually creative games yet seen on the system.[54][55] Bravely Default also won the Future Award of the Japanese Game Awards on the 23 September 2012 and the Dengeki Online Award 2012 consumer section, beating Persona 4 Golden (2nd) and Rune Factory 4 (3rd).[56][57] The game has been well received in Japan, with Famitsu magazine awarding it a 38/40, calling it "a supreme game".[58]

Sales[edit]

In its initial launch week, Bravely Default topped Japanese sales charts at number one with over 140,000 copies.[59] Sales of the game have approached 300,000 copies as of late January 2013.[60] The game sold 200,000 units in its first three weeks on sale in the United States.[61] On July 28, 2014, the Bravely Default official Twitter announced that the game has sold one million copies world wide.[62]

Legacy[edit]

A browser game has already gone into development called Bravely Default: Praying Brage, which began an open beta on November 11, 2012.[63] The game takes place 200 years after the original game, will include a new cast of characters, and will be connected with the Nintendo 3DS game in some manner.[64] The sequel, titled Bravely Second, would be made for the 3DS[65] and use the altered gameplay system in the re-release of Bravely Default.[66] In an interview with Japanese magazine Dengeki, producer Tomoya Asano said that he would ideally like to release a new Bravely game every year.[67]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]