European cover art
|Release date(s)||Flying Fairy
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. Originally released in Japan in 2012, the game was developed by Silicon Studio. 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. 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. The game's job and battle system are similar to Final Fantasy V. It features augmented reality in the gameplay. Bravely Default revolves around four young heroes as they journey across Luxendarc in an attempt to save it from destruction by reawakening its four crystals.
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 sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer, was announced in December 2013 and was released in Japan on April 23, 2015, and will be released in North America and Europe in 2016.
|This section requires expansion. (March 2014)|
Bravely Default uses turn-based combat and multi-hit combination moves. The game also features cut scenes. 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. The original game had a single save slot, which producer Tomoya Asano stated on Twitter was due to the game's "wireless features". The For the Sequel version, and consequently the western version, featured two more save slots. Bravely Default features heavy use of voice acting within the story and during battles. The game also features multiple endings. 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. 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.
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. Coming to a week after Norende's destruction in the city of Caldisla, Tiz attempts to find survivors in the Norende Ravine. He meets Agnès and Airy, a cryst-fairy who appears to be helping the vestal purge the crystals of their corruption in order to stop natural calamities across Luxendarc. Agnès is being pursued by the Knights of the Eternian Sky, members of the Eternian military who have been terrorizing Caldisla and aim to keep the crystals from being awakened. Though Agnès refuses 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, who owns a mysterious journal that seems to predict the future, and Edea, who becomes disillusioned with the Sky Knights' dishonorable actions and, after finding the vestal to not be as evil as she was raised to believe, defects to her side. Taking the Sky Knights' airship Eschalot, they meet the eccentric Sage Yulyana in order to get Agnès a vestal garb for a ritual to awaken the crystals. The group then proceeds to Ancheim to reach the wind crystal, and Agnès cleanses it while disproving the propaganda set against her by the city's ruler, whose group has ties to Eternia.
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 airship's skystone to keep the vessel grounded. Reaching the town by foot, the group find the normally highly devout women of Florem acting in an uncharacteristically vain fashion due to the actions of Eternian commander Fiore DeRosa. Forced to attend a beauty contest, Agnès manages to contact her fellow vestal Olivia Oblige to meet with her so she can receive her aid with the water crystal. However, the group are followed and ambushed by the Council of Six's Victoria F. Stein, who fatally wounds Olivia. Victoria subsequently prepares to kill Agnès as well, but she is suddenly struck by a seizure and is carried off by her fellow council member Victor S. Court, leaving Agnès to the task of cleansing the water crystal on her own. The group then proceeds to Eisenberg, a region locked in civil war between the Shieldbearers, the ruling faction, and the Swordbearers, a rebellious faction supported by the Eternian Black Blades. Agnès cleanses the fire crystal, while her company helps the Shieldbearers defeat the Swordbearers and the leader of Black Blades, Edea's former swordsmanship teacher, Nobutsuna Kamiizumi.
Soon after gaining a new airship, the formerly sea-bound city of Grandship, the group arrives in Eternia where the Council of Six mount a final defense to stop them from reaching the Earth Crystal. The party defeats Victoria and Victor, but they are knocked out by the mysterious "vampire" Lester DeRosso. Sage Yulyana, revealed to be an inactive member of the council alongside DeRosso, helps the group escape. They then defeat Edea's father, Grand Marshal Braev Lee and cleanse the Earth Crystal, causing a Holy Pillar to appear in southeast Luxendarc. The group heads to the Holy Pillar, where Airy says she can complete their quest and save the world. However, Alternis attacks them; when the party defeats him, his helmet is destroyed, revealing him to look exactly like Ringabel; he drops a journal that looks very similar to Ringabel's and falls off the railing as Grandship is 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 nearly identical to theirs. The group decides to repeat their quest, which ends once more with Alternis's attempt to stop them. Before falling off of Grandship again, Alternis reveals he was sent to kill Airy. The party once more finds themselves in another Luxendarc. Ringabel's memories begin to return; he remembers that he was the Alternis from a world predating the others' and that his last memory was of Airy turning into a monster and slaughtering Agnès and her company; the group begins to realize that Airy is not what she appears to be. The group also hears the story of a fatally wounded "angel" that appeared before Yulyana and DeRosso 1800 years prior, warning them of all the events that have come to pass and of an "Evil One" who deceived her, and the backstory of Braev, who is revealed to have rebelled against the Crystal Orthodoxy after it fell into corruption. At this stage, the story diverges into two paths. In the first path, Agnès, despite being overcome with disbelief at the fact Airy is the Evil One, rebels and shatters one of the crystals. This enrages Airy, who 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. 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 pursues Airy to the Dark Aurora above the Great Chasm and defeats her perfect form. The revived Ouroboros devours her for outliving her usefulness to him and reveals his intent to devour all versions of Luxendarc, invade the Celestial Realm (heavily implied to be our own reality), and remake 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, who uses his immortal soul to contain Ouroboros forever, the group succeeds in destroying Ouroboros and uses the Great Chasm to return home, which closes just like in the first path. In a short epilogue detailing the group's fates, Agnès returns to her vestal duties and properly cleanses the crystals, Edea swears to bring her father's ideals to fruition, Ringabel is taken back to before the Edea of his world was killed by Airy and reclaims his identity as Alternis Dim, and Tiz returns to Caldisla, releases the Celestial being within him, and falls into a coma. In a special movie unlocked after the credits, Tiz wakes from his coma in a medical facility. Suddenly, a woman appears, takes down the guards and defeats 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.
Even though the game has been called a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, 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. 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." 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. 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". 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. 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."
The game was originally designed as an action RPG, but later in the development, the development team switched to a traditional RPG formula. 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. 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. 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. In addition to that, though no original content was cut from the game, the estimated completion time was shortened from fifty to thirty hours. 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. In September 2013, Square Enix confirmed that the version to be released in North America and Europe would be based on For the Sequel.
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. 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". The game topped GameSpot's list of Japanese games that were likely for Nintendo to help publish in the West. Although Asano stated in October 2012 that there were no current plans to localize the game, 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.
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. 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, and 2014 in North America. At the end of July the same year, the company announced that the game's European release date had been pushed back to 2014, however this was later refuted by Nintendo. 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." 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. 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.
Demos and versions
The game's demo was released in five downloadable installments on Nintendo's eShop, with the last one coming just two days before the game's release. 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. The game's soundtrack album and the single by Linked Horizon also came with DLC outfits and abilities for the player characters. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Cutscenes from the game were shown on the Nintendo Direct video stream in June 2012 for the Japanese market and was praised by Destructoid. 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. 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). The game has been well received in Japan, with Famitsu magazine awarding it a 38/40, calling it "a supreme game".
In its initial launch week, Bravely Default topped Japanese sales charts at number one with over 140,000 copies. Sales of the game have approached 300,000 copies as of late January 2013. The game sold 200,000 units in its first three weeks on sale in the United States. On July 28, 2014, the Bravely Default official Twitter announced that the game has sold one million copies worldwide.
|2014||GameSpot's Game of the Year||3DS Game of the Year||Won|||
|2015||IGN's Best of 2014||Best 3DS Game||Nominated|||
On November 11, 2012, a browser game called Bravely Default: Praying Brage began an open beta. The game takes place 200 years after the original game, includes a new cast of characters, and is connected with the Nintendo 3DS game. It has also spawned a manga series titled Bravely Default - Flying Fairy that is based on it. The sequel, titled Bravely Second: End Layer, is released in Japan and is currently under development for the 3DS in the US and use the altered gameplay system in the re-release of Bravely Default. In an interview with Japanese magazine Dengeki, producer Tomoya Asano said that he would ideally like to release a new Bravely game every year.
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Edea: [to Agnès] So this is the vestal of wind. A black-hearted witch, as the tales I was raised on go. But of late, it seems things are rarely cut quite so cleanly. Behaving as the Sky Knights did makes a person wicked. That lot is black as they come. And what other lies have I been told, then? The only thing for it is to see for myself. What is black, and what is white? Your actions will tell me the color of your heart, vestal. And I plan to watch up close, so I suggest you get used to me!
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Olivia: Nh...nngh... / Agnés: No! Olivia! It was me... That was meant for me! / Victoria: It was meant for the both of you. How irritating.
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Airy: Death was too generous a wage for the lowly worms' meddling... How dare they!? The search for a new vestal and warriors will hold. I need to first find a crystalline core. To come this far, and be denied for another five millennia... Rraaagh!
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