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Bravely Default Braving Its Way To New Consoles

Successful JRPG Bravely Default is striding towards more markets, shedding it's chibi charm for a more realistic feel.
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

The JRPG genre is kind of like Ska music… Not many people are playing them, but the ones that are become diehard fans. 

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For those of you who don’t know, Bravely Default is a JRPG with style that harkens back to the glory days of the Final Fantasy series. The developer, Silicon Studios, channeled the days when job systems were new and random encounters were abundant while bringing new systems of Brave and Default into the mix. This mix of old and new appeared to be the perfect blend; the game sold more than 200,000 copies in its first month after seeing Western shores. 

Let’s analyze this a little more for full effect. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the latest title in the most famous JRPG series the world has ever seen, only sold about 277,000 during its release. Keep in mind that Square Enix is a collaboration of Square and Enix, both over 20 years old and having the success and brand of the legendary Final Fantasy series under their belt.

Silicon Studios, on the other hand, produced only a handful of games before releasing Bravely Default. They also released on the handheld, and outsold Fire Emblem: Awakening by 10%. Bravely Default is the top selling JRPG on the 3DS and you should own it if you consider yourself a fan of the genre. Based on profit loss and news of Square Enix layoffs, it’s no wonder the company picked up and published Bravely Default

A recent GDC interview with Silicon Studios president Takehiko Terada focused in on where the developers are going with the series, now that Bravely Second has been announced. There were a few key points from this interview:

“In the future we want to have a really realistic game, not like Bravely Default which is really cartoonish.”

“We may expand {the series to other consoles} in the future, but we don’t have a clear plan yet. We’re talking about that, maybe using other devices, but we don’t have a clear plan.”

These two bits of information were a little shocking to me. If I were to describe Bravely Default to a friend, I would probably say “You know, that game with the chibi characters and the job system on the 3DS?” It’s a title that’s known for its art style and return to JRPG roots. It’s also seen great success on handheld, where JRPGs seem to be having the most success.

Now the creators are flipping the board: moving to a realistic art style instead and hinting at crossing over to, who knows, Wii U or PS4? It’s a bold move but for the most successful JRPG on the 3DS, it could mark the beginning of a long-standing series and a revival of the genre itself.

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