Famitsu.com posted an additional, longer interview with Tomoya Asano on their website on Mon, Sept 9 2013. While some of the information is the same as the printed version from Weekly Famitsu issue 9.19.2013, there is a lot more new and expanded information. Enjoy!
Not Only a “Complete Edition,” “Value Edition,” or “Demo Version:” The Complete “Bravely Default: For the Sequel” Interview
We’re bringing you an interview with the producer of Bravely Default: For the Sequel (due out 12/5/2013) - Tomoya Asano.
●"For the Sequel" = "For the Purpose of the Sequel"
Bravely Default: For the Sequel was announced on September 2, 2013. The newest installment in SquareEnix’s new “Bravely Default” RPG series, this version uses the previous game as a base for adding new systems as well as additional content. First, it should be noted that these new systems are being added as a preview of the next game in the Bravely Series, which is currently in development. While, a small portion of this interview was published in Weekly Famitsu Issue 9/19/2013, due to page space limitations, the entire thing wasn’t. Here it is! We now bring it all to you with topics ranging from interesting things in the sequel, what the developers main goal(s) was/were, and, of course, the game’s overall concept.
Tomoya Asano, Producer
●An All New Product Concept - Not Only a “Complete Edition,” “Value Edition,” or “Demo Version”
— First can you start by telling us about the concept for “For the Sequel.”
Asano: “Sequel” may not be a word you (note: “you” meaning Japanese people) are immediately familiar with but it means “subsequent version” in English. Directly translated, “Bravely Default: For the Sequel” means “a Bravely Default made for the purpose of the sequel.”
— Now that is a straight forward title! (laughs)
Asano: Right. (laughs) That is exactly the concept for this game.
— So “for the purposes of the sequel” means that the next game is being developed along with “For the Sequel,” right?
Asano: That’s correct. I’ve told lots of different outlets about it before but we are currently developing the next game. However, right now the time isn’t quite right to discuss specifics about that next game. Instead, to preview that game, we’ve taken the previous title, “Bravely Default,” and used it as the base for making “For the Sequel.”
— When did development of “For the Sequel” begin?
Asano: Development on the original game finished and we started planning the next game in the series right after that. ”For the Sequel” started at just about as early as that. We put out a survey online about the original version called “100 Improvements” and that was a large inspiration along with the next game in making “For the Sequel.”
— What was your original intention that lead to adding the systems of the sequel into this game so as to introduce them instead of doing a “complete edition”?
Asano: We originally didn’t intend on making a complete edition. As is implied by the title, doing so was necessary for making the next game; we decided to make “For the Sequel” because of that and that’s why we included the systems of the next title. The biggest reason was that we wanted people to be able to experience the next game as quickly as possible. If you say “demo version,” however, there is this feeling that you can only play just one portion of a game and that is not the case since here you can completely play the entire previous title.
— That’s a product style never before seen.
Asano: Correct. Since it’s an all new product concept, it may be a bit difficult to explain. (pained laugh) For the previous Bravely Default, we released a number of demos, got to hear what people who had actually played the game had to say, and make improvements with their feedback in mind. I think we were only able to make that game because of the back and forth with players. It may be easier to understand “For the Sequel” if you think of it as being a continuation of that original back and forth. By including and introducing the systems of the next game, which, of course, we already think they are fun, we want to see how enjoyable they are going to be players and want to confirm it with hands on play.
— Making this complete edition wasn’t just to include the systems of the next game but instead came about specifically because you are making the next game. And that is how you came to add the new systems to the original game.
Asano:Right. It’s because of that that “For the Sequel” got it’s title meaning “for the purposes of the sequel.”
— Generally speaking, I think it’s common to improve a previous game’s system, release it as it’s own product, and then prepare a demo of the next game separately but what sparked you into thinking to do both together at the same time?
Asano: Thinking from the standpoint of promoting a demo for the next game, it wouldn’t be for a while until we could do so. We wanted players to experience the game and see their reaction by the quickest means possible. Furthermore, we wanted many people to be able to experience the improvements to the previous version. Improvements to things like the interface are incorporated into the next game but to get feedback on them as soon as possible, using the previous game as a base was best. Further still we thought it would give people who had been interested in the previous game but hadn’t had the chance to play it a chance to do so.
— I see. While we are interested in talking about the next game, let’s first start with additional content and improvements. I think fans of the last game will be interested in the added event scenes. How much has been added?
Asano: Adding event scenes was one of the points we wanted to improve. Feedback we got from many of the people who played the previous game was that “repeating events in the latter half of the game was tedious.” From the development side of things we intentional made them repetitive but players patiently went though each event; this was beyond what we had anticipated. So this time the events relating to the Asterisk holders in chapters 7 and 8 are pretty much all changed.
—Pretty much all changed!
Asano: Yes. While there were some spots we really delved deep into character stories, in the previous game things relating to the Air Corps (note: this particular enemy group is called the 空挺騎士団. There is no official English name available and “Air Corps” is my quick, literal translation) were all over the place. We’ve brought them together better as a group so you’ll be able to see new exchanges with them as a group, enjoy more exciting battles with them as a group, and won’t have to go searching for each of them one at a time… We’ve put in improvements like this to get rid of frustrating parts of the game. When it comes to voice for it as well, we’ve added additional recordings.
— In the last game there were spots where there were single battles in each country and when repeating sequences, enemies didn’t show up as a group. Is it basically more of a group battle feel now?
Asano: Yeah, it is. Basically, by bringing all the enemy characters together in a group, it’s improved the overall tempo. Furthermore, “as a group” doesn’t just mean fighting the Air Corps or Black Steel Blades. It’s on a country basis so you’ll be able to see new connections between them that weren’t there before because of these groupings.
— That’s definitely a big change.
Asano: Right. I think it’s pretty changed up. Also, in the last game, all these event markers appearing on the world map at the same time was a lot of pressure so that’s been alleviated too.
— It was definitely surprising to see all of them. (laughs) Are there scenes involving Najitto, who received a huge fan response, included in the additional event scenes?
Asano: Well, Najitto received a response way beyond what we had expected. We took that in addition to fan feedback in consideration when adding additional event scenes.
●100 Improvements Make it Far Easier to Play
— While there are a lot of improvements to this game, which of them did you push for the most?
Asano: The ability to have 4 times speed and auto input in battles. In the last game, under the Brave and Default system, when choosing 4 braves and then entering 4 commands, you had to press the button a lot and I think it may have been a little bit frustrating. In this game, we’ve added an auto input system to repeat the actions you entered in the last turn. You can go through battles with just one button press so it’s very easy. When you’re having everyone default and build up BP, it makes playing easier. Also, I think you’ll be surprised when you see 4 times battle speed with your own eyes. It’s really fast. Your ability to focus on moving things will definitely improve. (laughs)
— (laughs) So how did you decide on what parts to improve?
Asano: All of the improvements are in preparation for the next game but even still we wanted to make something “easy to play” and redid some of the details.
— So you’re saying the improved interface of “For the Sequel” is also being used in the next game?
Asano: Of course. Some of the design and such may change but everything been improved for the next game.
— That’s a really interesting way of testing things. It’s like an experimentation product.
Asano: Right. Something like that.
— For example, after the game went on sale, the “100 improvements” survey went live and it gave you some really deep research data. Did you mean to use that data to challenge yourselves this much?
Asano: No. We didn’t specifically mean for that. It was the only way we could make a fun game everyone would be happy with. Reflecting on the players feedback, our idea was that we wanted to make something interesting so we came up with the “100 improvements survey” and this game, “For the Sequel.”
— I see. In addition to 4 times battle speed and auto input, are there any other changes that have a large effect on gameplay?
Asano: Another improvement for this game is the ability to change your encounter rate. This is an important point and when you think like “I just don’t wanna do any random battles now” you can set the encounter rate to zero. When you think “I’m gonna level up here” you can then instead make the encounter rate high. You’re able to do that in this game. Players are able to match the game up with their play style and play. That’s really convenient.
— I didn’t think you could set it to zero.
Asano: Of course if you leave it at zero and progress through the game, you won’t gain any levels so I recommend fighting when it’s necessary. (laughs)
— It’s something like making it the player’s responsibility or like leaving it up to them to balance as they see fit.
Asano: We were able to make it so “you can match everything and anything to your play style.” Of course we are concerned with balance and the recommendation is to not mess with the encounter rate and not run from battles. The concept is that experienced players can play more effectively by changing around the encounter rate. With the last game it took me over 70 hours to beat it but in this game we’ve made it so you can beat the game in around 30 hours or so.
— What! Only 30 hours without transferring over your levels and starting from the beginning? Cutting the time in about half is amazing.
Asano: True. We want everyone to beat this game.
— So you’d like the people who quit part of the way through the last game to play all the way to the end.
Asano: This game is easier to beat than the last one. A prime example would be the addition of difficulty selection. I’m looking forward to the responses of both players who only want to see the story and play the game on easy and players who beat the last game and play it on hard. The difficulty can be changed at any point during the game.
— Did the results of the “100 improvements survey” have a large effect on the adjustments you can made in this game?
Asano: You could say the survey had a large effect in so much as we were asking for people’s feedback on improvements that were necessary from the beginning as well as showing us spots for potential improvement. In the end, of the 100 improvements, we implemented 80. Of the remaining 20, we intentionally didn’t implement 10 and 3 of them we were against so we didn’t implement them. The final 7 of the 100 we weren’t able to implement. There were also some improvements that didn’t come from the survey that we fixed on our own so the total count comes to over 100 things we fixed.
— What were the things were you against?
Asano: It was things like “before leveling up a job, I want to know what abilities that job can learn” or “decrease the effect changing from a high level job to a low levels job has on battle.” There were pros and cons on both sides of changes like that so we avoided implementing them.
— Of course. You can’t just make anything and everything more convenient. Players can suggest extreme things. Was there any feedback of something people really wanted?
Asano: If you’re asking what came through loud and clear, that would be the amount of save slots and event repetition in the final chapters.
●Interesting Details About the Next Game…
— So the new systems of the next title are included in this game but there were some monochrome screen shots you released. Are those pictures related to the new systems of the next game?
Asano: That’s correct. I can’t give any specific details right now so please hold on just a little bit longer. What I can say right now is the eye-catching new features have something to do with the battle system.
— Is there going to be a big change to the play feel like there was with braving and defaulting?
Asano: No, it’s not as large of a change as that. However, it is similar in scale to the braving and defaulting elements. I’m really looking forward to seeing in what ways players are going to enjoy this new system.
— So if this game’s system doesn’t receive good reviews, are you going to fix it?
Asano: We put everything we can into making sure that doesn’t happen. (laughs) Still, I want to get lots of feedback.
— I want to ask more about the next game but the top thing I am most interested in is around when is it going to go on sale?
Asano: My idea is that I want to release a product relating to Bravely Default every year.
— So something like Bravely Default was in 2012, For the Sequel is 2013, and next is…
— Aside from combat, is there other content in For the Sequel that gives a glimpse of the next game?
Asano: There is. When it comes to game systems, the updated user interface for this game’s been fixed for use in the next game. Parts of the story have also been fixed for what we’re doing with the next game.
— That means that the story’s been slightly changed?
Asano: Right. But it’s nothing major.
— It’s more of adding some things in as a hint to what’s coming?
— I see. So there are going to be parts where people who played the previous game are going to feel “this is different.”
Asano: We made a point to do that on purpose so they may find those parts to be a bit “off.” (laughs)
— For players who beat the last game, is there anything interesting about the next game you can tell us about?
Asano: Hmm… The story will be related to Lukusendaruku. I think that’s for sure.
— For a story about connected lands, the next game could take place in a parallel world, no?
Asano: Right. However, the truth is that we are currently creating the scenario for the next game so… (laughs).
— I see. (laughs) So there are parts of the game that aren’t finished yet. But development of the next game is moving along?
Asano: Yes. You could also say “For the Sequel” is apart of the development of the next game.
— Understood. Also, is it possible there is some connection to Bravely Default: Playing Braige?
Asano: Of course Playing Braige is there and since we are currently making the scenario for the next game, there is potential for some kind of connection. However, it’s not like if you didn’t play Playing Braige you won’t know what is going on. The plan is to make it so if you’ve played Playing Braige you are going to be able to enjoy things on an even deeper level.
— For this game you’ve released a new illustration of the Council of 6. What’s the reason for that? There weren’t any drawings of the Council of 6 from Akihiko Yoshida with the last game…
Asano: Correct. He was finally able to draw one. (laughs) A drawing of the Council of 6 would have kind of been a spoiler before so I don’t think he could have drawn one until now.
— Are the events relating to the Council of 6 improved?
Asano: They are. We added more to the event scenes in chapters 7 and 8. They are featured and we re-recorded more voice sequences with Kanon Tani who played Victoria as well as the other actors.
— Tokyo Game Show is pretty soon. Are you going to present there?
Asano: We’re planning to show a new promo video at Tokyo Game Show. It is going to feature a new song made by Revo.
— So there is going to be a new song from Revo in For the Sequel?
Asano: Yes. You’re going to be able to hear it as an accompaniment to the new features in the next game.
— I see. Are the monochrome screens we mentioned earlier related to these new features?
Asano: No, they’re separate. Please look forward to more information about that later.
— I’d like to ask you about transferring data from the previous game. Any combination of things you want can be transferred over like just your levels, your PK (money), or anything else, yes?
Asano: That’s right. However you need to upload your save data to our Square Enix members site. People who played the previous game and were able to get achievements and items won’t have a problem transferring.
— So if someone say uploaded their data part of the way through and then didn’t upload after beating the game, their part of the way through data would be transferred?
Asano: That’s right. So make sure to upload your latest data now.
— If someone got their levels to 99 in the last game, were to transfer all their data, and then set the battle speed to four times, they could beat this game really fast, no?
Asano: I think they could. But rather than just try and beat the game, I’d like people to transfer as few things as they can and challenge themselves with even more exciting battles. For example, transferring just your jobs and job levels and playing hard mode with low levels and a zero encounter rate. This game is really technical and allows you to do things like that.
— Woah. You can take down bosses without leveling up since there are no trash battles.
Asano: That’s just one example. I’ll give you another one involving multi-language. You can change the language at any point while playing from Japanese to English or German or anything. You can change a lot of things from the title screen and I think it’s uncommon to be able to change something like that whenever. I think it would be fun to use it as foreign language study. (laughs)
— Can you change the voice track to foreign languages too?
Asano: The voice track is Japanese and English only but you can switch between them. You can put on the English voice track with Japanese subtitles so you can use it for study.
— For the Sequel is also cheaper, yes?
Asano: Right. The packaged version is over 1000 yen cheaper than the last game’s 6090 (tax incl) price tag and comes in at 4990 yen (tax incl). For people who have the the previous game there’s a special download version they can buy for 2900 yen (tax incl).
— Someone who bought the packaged version of the previous game can buy the special download version at that price?
Asano: Right. A person who already has the previous cartridge or the download edition of the previous game can buy it at that price.
— Finally, taking all you expectations from here into account, could you give us a message for the fans of Bravely Default?
Asano: Almost a year has passed since the last game went on sale and I’m happy to have the chance to once again communicate with everyone on a yearly basis. This game and it’s 100 improvements, among other things, are because of everyone who played the previous game so when you see the parts we’ve improved, I’d like you to think to yourself “so there was a point to filling out that survey!” (laughs) Also, for those who didn’t have the chance to play the previous game, this title has all new functions and is cheaper so if you pick it up, I’d be very pleased.
— Thank you very much! By the way, on the logo for For the Sequel…
Asano: Let’s stop that conversation right there. (laughs)
— Okay. We’re looking forward to what’s next! (laughs)
Asano: Lastly, let me say it beforehand; there are no limitations on what you can do in For the Sequel!
— (laughs) Fans of the previous game are going to be able to think up all kinds of things. And they’re probably looking forward to the same in the next game too.
Asano: That’s probably true… So I’m going to say it before hand again; in For the Sequel, there are no limitations!
— Understood. (laughs) Thank you very much. We’re looking forward to when the game goes on sale!
Bravely Default: For the Sequel
Maker: Square Enix
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: 12/05/2013 (planned)
Price: 4990 yen (tax incl)
Genre: RPG / Fantasy Adventure
Additional Info: Street Pass, DLC, the download price for owners of the previous game is 2990 yen (tax incl), Producer: Tomoya Asano, Scenario Writer: Naotaka Hayashi, Sountrack: Revo, Lead Artist: Akihiko Yoshida, Developer: Silicon Studio.