|Platform(s)||Android, iOS, web browser|
Granblue Fantasy (グランブルーファンタジー) is a role-playing video game developed by Cygames for Android, iOS and web browsers, which first released in Japan in March 2014. The game is notable for reuniting music composer Nobuo Uematsu and art director Hideo Minaba, who previously collaborated on Final Fantasy V (1992), Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000), and Lost Odyssey (2007).
The game plays as a role-playing video game with turn-based battles. The game also contains summons and a class system that alters the main character's move-set and growth. Characters gain levels and abilities by accruing experience; summons and weapons equipped also confer characters with bonuses on attack power and HP. The characters themselves are gained either via quests (the main story quests or special event quests) or by using in-game currency to receive random crystal fragments, which may contain special weapons that add specific characters to the party. Characters, summons, and weapons are ranked (from best to worst) as SSR, SR, R, or N; each is also of type wind, water, fire, earth, light, or darkness. Voice actors provide voices for all of the characters in battle, and for much of the main and event storylines.
The Captain (the player character, either Gran or Djeeta by default) and their winged companion Vyrn are relaxing in the town of Zinkenstill, when they spot an Erste Empire airship in the sky nearby. The Captain inadvertently comes to the rescue of a girl named Lyria and an Imperial Officer named Katalina as they try to escape from the Empire. However, the Captain suffers a mortal wound during the fight, forcing Lyria to merge her soul with them in order to bring them back from the brink of death. Lyria then uses her power to summon a giant monster called Proto-Bahamut, driving the Empire's forces away. With the Captain and Katalina's fates now tied to Lyria, the three of them decide to head to the island of Estalucia, both to escape from the Empire and possibly find clues about the Captain's estranged father.
Unfortunately, Katalina's poor piloting skills cause them to crash-land elsewhere in the Port Breeze Archipelago. The trio look for a working airship and a pilot to steer it. They end up meeting Rackam, an odd helmsman working on an airship that has been broken for years. However, the Empire follows them to the island as well, looking to recapture Lyria. The three eventually manage to convince Rackam to help them fight off the Imperial soldiers chasing them, and in return help him finish repairing his airship, The Grandcypher, to make it skyworthy.
As the Captain travels across the skies, gathering up more allies on their journey and fighting Primal Beasts, the crew find themselves slowly dragged into a plot involving the mysterious Black Knight, the doll-like Orchis, and the history that the Empire seeks to keep secret while they pursue Lyria.
– DeNA director Kenji Kobayashi
Uematsu worked on eleven tracks for the game, with Tsutomu Narita doing nine others, and Minaba drawing roughly 100 potential character designs. The game also contains voice overs from Hiroaki Hirata, who previously worked on Final Fantasy XII and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
The game was originally planned for release in Japan for December 17, 2013, but it was put back to March 10, 2014. The game is free-to-play and published by Mobage. At TGS 2015, it was announced that the game would receive an international release in March 2016. Instead of an international launch, a language patch was released adding an in-game option to switch from Japanese to English. This allows international players who have been playing the Japanese version to keep all of their data.
Granblue Fantasy uses a gacha system; rather than buying new characters outright, players spend money to get a crystal, effectively a loot box, for 300 yen (~2.67 USD), then get a random "drop" from using the crystal. Buying crystals in bulk provides a discount. Thus, characters and equipment are acquired randomly; any one crystal only has a certain percentage chance of being a desired character. This system has proven lucrative, as some players compulsively attempt to get desired characters via spending money on repeated random character acquisitions. It was so effective to the point of raising worries of government regulation to stop exploitation; the Japan Online Game Association, a federation, self-imposed stricter restrictions on the industry after a player streamed themselves spending around ¥700,000 (~6,000 US dollars) attempting to get Andira, a new and heavily advertised character, on December 31, 2015. There was a time-limited period where Andira's appearance rate increased, with her becoming more difficult to acquire on January 3, fueling "delirium" and peer pressure on players to attempt to get her immediately. Frustration and claims of Andira's "drop rate" being less than advertised from other players as well led developer Cygames to offer refunds to people caught in the incident, a promise to set up a system to automatically give a drop after too many "misses", and an apology from the management.
By March 2016, the game had been downloaded over 10 million times in Japan. By January 2018, the game had crossed 18 million downloads. As of October 2018, the game has over 22 million players.
In Japan, the game grossed ¥20.9 billion ($186.32 million) between January 2017 and October 2017. In 2018, it grossed ¥33.9 billion ($302.22 million) in Japan, where it was the year's sixth highest-grossing mobile game. Combined, the game grossed at least ¥54.8 billion ($489 million) in Japan between 2017 and 2018.
- Granblue Fantasy The Animation (2017), episodic anime series and film
- Granblue Fantasy Versus (2019), console video game
- Granblue Fantasy: Relink (TBA), console video game
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- $6,065 Spent in One Night Shows Dark Side of Japan's Mobile Games
- Smartphone gamers blow small fortune on their obsession
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