|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.
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 wherein players effectively gamble; 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.
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- $6,065 Spent in One Night Shows Dark Side of Japan's Mobile Games
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