Bravely Default Was Originally Designed As An Action RPG

By Spencer . May 1, 2013 . 5:30pm

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy feels like a classic Final Fantasy game. It has Final Fantasy III’s job system, a clever twist on turn based battles, and an art style that’s reminiscent of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light. It must have been designed as a nostalgic JRPG all along, right? Nope!


“In the beginning, Bravely Default was an action RPG. We switched to a traditional JRPG style by selecting commands and without action,” Takehiro Terada, president of Silicon Studio explained to Siliconera.


Silicon Studio developed Bravely Default: Flying Fairy for Square Enix and also made 3D Dot Game Heroes. I asked Terada why they switched game designs, especially since Silicon Studio has developed an action RPG before.


“We did a prototype that was up and running,” Terada replied. “We played it and discussed with the producer if it was fun or not, and we decided to make a traditional JRPG.”


One of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy’s unique features is its augmented reality cutscenes. In Japan, Square Enix released multiple demos and each one had an AR movie accompanying it. Compared to other uses of AR, the movies in Bravely Default are impressive. Characters act out a scene by walking around your room and even fall through your floor.


“The AR is from the Nintendo SDK, but the implementation was done by us,” Terada explained. “Everything is possible with the SDK alone, but probably other developers haven’t had a chance to dig into it.”


“When we spoke awhile ago you said 3D Dot Game Heroes was developed to market Silicon Studio’s middleware. Is Bravely Default showing any new tech?” I asked. Ian Graham, Principle Engineer at Silicon Studio, replied: “I’d say it’s less of a tools show horse and more a pure game development powerhouse.”


So, how did Silicon Studio get started with Bravely Default?


“Square Enix is a shareholder, so we have had a relationship with them from the beginning. We had a connection with the producer so we started talking. They were planning to pick another company for development, but after discussion they selected us,” Terada explained.


While Silicon Studio is primarily a middleware company, they do plan to develop more games in the future, too. Meanwhile, Square Enix have been gearing up for a sequel to Bravely Default in Japan.


Bravely Default will be published in North America and Europe by Nintendo. Europe will get the game sometime this year, while North America will see it in 2014.

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  • fireemblembeast

    Huh. I would have liked it better as an action RPG, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference. The game is good regardless.

  • juma086

    I would have liked to see what this game would’ve looked like as an A-RPG. They don’t seem to make any good fantasy-themed A-RPGs these days other than kingdom hearts.

    • Caleb

      If it was something like the Crystal Chronicle series, especially on the DS, that would be really awesome. As mentioned already, however, the game looks great regardless.

    • Solomon_Kano

      And even then, KH’s setting is much less traditional fantasy than what we have here in BD. Kinda makes me wish that Fortress project from a while back had panned out (with a different dev though).

  • Interesting. Makes you wonder if they decide to make the sequel a ARPG.

    • I doubt they’d mess with a proven formula at this stage. They’re going to want to try and top the first game with the second one, and they won’t do that by switching genres.

  • raymk

    So its just like what happened with dragon quest 9 huh. I wish sometimes they would just go with their first gut and make an action RPG. This game turned out well but who’s to say it wouldn’t have been better as a action rpg? Well I know DQIX would at least seeing as how it was 4 players.

    • Farid Belkacemi

      DQ9 formula wasn’t changed because of the fans reaction back then ? If so, that’s hardly the same thing as BD.

      • raymk

        I don’t remember what it was, I just remember it being changed and I remember it was still up to the developers on what type of game DQ would be in the end.

  • sandra10

    Unless they wanted to make a more weighted combat system like the Souls games or Monster Hunter, I think the ARPG route is best left to Tabata’s team. They seem to have a good handle on it.

    • Solomon_Kano

      It may not have been an action-RPG in that same vein. Reading this, I pictured something more like Vanillaware’s work (largely because I just imagined they’d have kept everything else they ended up doing the same).

      • Neophoton

        Vanillaware style + With BDFF’s designs = I’d buy it.

        Then again, I’m a fangirl for Yoshida’s art… and Odin Sphere…

    • Rogerrmark

      That would be great,although I’m not sure the job system would fit in.

    • I’m not sure I agree… the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles games on DS were both excellent action RPGs, and they were even better in co-op, where the puzzles were designed for two players. The second one, Echoes of Time, even had online play and both games sold really well, too. :)

      Both those games had Akitoshi Kawazu supervising them, though. It was a different team from the one working on BD.

  • Solomon_Kano

    I say bring the whole group back and try an action-RPG as well, then!

    I’m VERY glad that their initial plan gave way to BD as a traditional JRPG, but I’d like to see what they’d have done with an action-RPG as well. And I see no reason for them to not resurrect that idea in the future. I’d love an action-RPG from the exact same team they assembled here. Revo music in an action-RPG with Yoshida art? Yes please.

    • Duc PC-QB

      How about Bravery 2 action RPG ?

      • Solomon_Kano

        I’d prefer they keep BD how it is and come up with another IP for the action-RPG. Or maybe even make the action-RPG a spin-off, but I definitely want BD to continue in its current style for any sort of direct follow-up.

  • fenix7

    This would have been a bad ass ARPG! Make it happen!

  • Well, that’s extremely disappointing. How man JRPGs have turn based combat and random battles? This “classic” label is complete BS since the majority of JRPGs in the last 30 years have had random battles and/or turn based combat. Whenever I read that a JRPG is going for a “classic” approach I cringe because you hear it all the damn time. And if everyones been doing the same thing for the last couple of decades there is nothing classic about it. God dammit, this pisses me off. BD with real time combat could’ve been amazing now it’s just another generic JRPG with a BEAUTIFUL artstyle and music.

    • DesmaX

      … I know I’m being ignorant, but how many JRPG’s had Random Encounters this gen?

      • Neophoton

        Not that many, BDFF really didn’t hurt from having it seeing as how they give you plenty of options of fleeing from battles, as well as (if I recall correctly) having an ability in the Freelancer class to reduce encounter rates, or even increase them.

        Even then, BDFF’s battle system is pretty quick as they allow you to hold down the A button to speed up animations.

        • DesmaX

          I do believe that Random Encounters should’ve already be gone. It wouldn’t stop me from playing this, but seeing the enemies on the field is way, way better.

          But, on the other hand, I do like Turn-Based more than Action ones. And, even if I disliked them more, I can’t see how it turns an amazing JRPG into a generic one

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        I haven’t played any current gen RPGs in a while, but Etrian Odyssey IV (not the FOEs you can see) has andom encounters, but it is a 1st person dungeon crawler after all… although it gets kind of hectic not wanting to battle something and you just want to quickly get away

      • We’re in a transitional phase but these are a couple with random battles or unavoidable battles ALL of the FF/DQ/ remakes/ports, FF 4 Heroes of Light, Lost Odyssey, Suikoden Teikries, Nostalgia, My World My Way, Super Robot Taisen OG: Endless Frontier, Neptunia, Cross Edge, Trinity Universe, Enchanted Arms, Persona/Star Ocean enhanced PSP ports/remakes, Valkyrie Profile Lenneth, Class of Heroes, WoZ: Yellow Brick Road, Brave Story and more.

        Everyone who says they’re rare or there’s only a couple don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. The numbers is even more massive if you count 6th generation titles. The numbers of JRPG releases has declined dramatically though.

        • DesmaX

          … I don’t think you can count Ports from other consoles. And most of these games aren’t really worth it anyway

          • You just asked how many had random battles and turn based combat. I get if you don’t wanna include ports/remakes but now you’re saying “well some of those dont count.” Come on.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Let’s make sure both sides are reading before posting. Ports of older games really aren’t new games with the play styles being discussed. Other games on your list, according to @DesmaX:disqus ‘aren’t really worth it’.

            Yes, we are talking individual opinions here, but I don’t think you will find many folks who say a Trinity Universe or Enchanted Arms are bad only because they are turn based or have random battles.

          • That post had nothing to do with the quality of the games though. I was asked to list games that had random battles. And I did just that. If you exclude the ports/remakes it’s still a sizable list that would grow if I listed all of them. The people who say random encounters or turn based combat systems are somehow dying out are clearly wrong.

    • Solomon_Kano

      I can see what you’re saying but, despite being turn-based, BD’s Brave, Default, and Abilink systems make it a good deal more than a “generic” JRPG. To be fair to your argument, most all games have at least some unique feature, but I dunno that I’d call BD generic. Turn-based battle systems are old hat, but they’re one of the definitive elements of the JRPG genre much like combos are to fighters.

      • Xenoblade, The Last Story and Soma Bringer dont have turn based combat and they’re fantastic JRPGs. I argue turn-based combat is not a definitive elements but dated game design that has held the genre back. I don’t think the combo comparison holds up.

        • Solomon_Kano

          I certainly could’ve come up with a better comparison, but my point remains without the comparison. It’s a genre staple. I don’t doubt there are great JRPGs without turn-based combat. Hell, I could name some myself. But, like it or no, that style is one of the elements that the genre’s known by.

          Simply having a turn-based system doesn’t preclude a game being generic when there are various ways of differentiating a game’s combat within that larger style. That’s what I’m saying. Xenogears, Breath of Fire IV, and Suikoden 2 are all turn-based. Surely they aren’t generic as well? Beyond a common base, the games are quite different. That’s what I’m trying to say. Certainly, there are generic turn-based RPGs, but being turn-based doesn’t automatically make one generic.

          • The games you listed are over a decade old. Developed and released during a time when the genre was still thriving. Like Super Mario Bros. they’re considered classics and great games. NSMB2 and Mario Kart 7 get heavily criticized for being extremely similar as their predecessors I think it’s fair to criticize JRPGs when they’re still holding on to archaic mechanics like random battles decades later. While I’m not a fan of turn based combat I could’ve dealt with it. Its the random battles that really have me upset over BD.

          • Solomon_Kano

            That was my point. You didn’t say “games from [year] to [year] with turn-based battle systems are generic,” but if you’d like to make that your argument I can name you turn-based RPGs from this gen that are very different. I can name you generic turn-based PS1-era RPGs, too. The year the game released shouldn’t be relevant to if a game is generic or not.

            While we weren’t discussing random battles, that I can agree with. Random battles are indeed an archaic design decision. There’s no spin to be put on them, no new element added to them from game to game, they simply… are. So we’re in agreement on that point. Luckily, in a survey posted after BD was released, it was revealed that they’re at least considering axing random battles for the sequel. So there’s that.

        • biskmater

          held back, huh? then I suppose you didn’t play Radiant Historia with its lauded gameplay style that involved you manipulating the turns of your allies and enemies to your advantage. You forget, the reason it is so prevalent it is because players like it, they have become synonymous of one another. And I don’t blame them, it gives you the time to adjust your tactics, not mention makes the move flashier since you don’t to bother to make an entire array of movements you will be constantly using while watching out for such things as space, range, or position.

          • And I don’t mind people liking them. I’m simply expressing my dislike for turn based battle systems. One example doesn’t refute my entire point. There’s been so many turn based combat RPGs and I’ve played quite a few. Sure they all have differences but to me they felt subtle and the entire genre became incredibly stale and predictable. I know JRPG fans are vocal and love their tried and true mechanics but there is a reason the genre isn’t as popular as it once was.

            I’m not saying they have to become action games with mindless button mashing and QTEs. But the genre needs to fresh ideas and continuing to use random battles and turn based combat isn’t helping. At least that’s what I think. It just bugs me when people complaining about yearly rehashes like CoD but when it comes to games/genres they enjoy they just want more of the same. (For the record, I don’t even played CoD.)

    • Since english is not by native language I had to check the dictionary and it reads: “Classic: Serving as the established model or standard” …so yeah…I think they are using the right label, since even you admit that random battles and turn base combat has been the standard for JRPGS since….well, forever I guess.

    • Akuosa

      Turn based RPGs are the majority? This gen? Surely you jest… they’re all beat’em ups nowadays.

      • Nope tale a look below. Hell that list would grow a lot bigger if I didn’t just list ones with random battles. Bravely Default, Shin Megami Tensei IV and Ni no Kuni are recently released/upcoming JRPGs. All three are turn based.

        • Byas

          Ni no Kuni as a turn-based with random battles… wut?

        • Akuosa

          But what you said was that turn.based RPGs with random battles were the mayority, or at least more than action RPGs… and you listed three examples (one of those doesn’t have random battles, but still, that’s not the point). The thing that bothers you seems to be the fact that they even exsist, not that most of them are that way, because they’re clearly not… hell, that’s not even up to debate, just look at all the RPGs released this gen and put in one side the action ones and in other the turn based. Are there turn based ones? Sure. Are most of them turn based? Lol, not by a long shot, it’s not even contest, they’re a dying breed.

          • Did you read my post? I said look at my comment below to another poster. I listed a lot of them. Feel free to read whatever best supports your argument though. I just simply listed three recent and upcoming titles that have turn based combat. It’s not like JRPGs are coming out left and right these days.

          • Akuosa

            Again, I’m not saying there are not turn-based RPGs coming out, I’m saying the mayority of them are action based. So you can list a lot of them and that’s perfectly fine… still not the point, considering you can list even more of the other. So yeah, let’s complain this isn’t one, as we’ve literaly none, it’s just turns anywhere you look!

            It’s like someone who likes FPSs and complains there make way to many of other genres nowadays, I mean, I can list plenty of games that are not FPSs!

          • Peoples definitions of RPGs has certainly expanded. If we’re looking and true RPGs. (Final Fantasy, Xenoblade) and not games simply labeled as RPGs (3rd Birthday, Muramasa, Pandora’s Tower) I will continue to argue that this perception that turn based combat systems are somehow the minority or dying is completely false. It’s not a matter of where you look. RPGs with turn based combat systems are everywhere.

          • Akuosa

            Sigh, le’ts just… agree to disagree.

          • You can say real time combat is taking over JRPGs but it’s simply not the truth, Dunno what else to tell you if you feel like ignoring all the turn based combat titles that constantly being released.

    • BDFF harkens back to the NES RPG days.

      • That’s what lots of JRPGs supposedly do and when they all do it they’re not harkening back to anything. They’re all just extremely similiar and the entire genre suffers because of it.

        • biskmater

          Wow, you are complaining about the very essence of the JRPG, though I will agree, rather than classic “usual” would me more appropriate. But I still get to mock you:

          • M’iau M’iaut

            In the future, let’s try not to mock. Differences in opinions are fine, we can share that we disagree while continuing conversations, not asking for frustrated responses back.

    • revenent hell

      That’s what I like about a lot of RPG’s…….

      I actually like turn based combat. It adds in an element of tactics and thought where as I think real time takes away from it because your just trying to beat the enemy be for it beats you. When games are turn based I feel like my actions are a bit more important and its more necessary to put in thought to those actions.
      Real time battles wouldn’t have taken away or added anything to the game. No matter whether they used turn based or real time battles in the game wasn’t (and still isn’t) the important factor of the game to me, sure its a part of it but its not why I want the game at all.

      • That’s the thing. I like strategy/tactics games. I like them because it’s like a comprehensive and complex chessboard you get to play in. I don’t like having all this 3rd person exploration and interaction with NPCs only to be thrown into a combat situation where everyone takes turns. It just throws me out of it.

        There are good real time combat systems where you’re not just “trying to beat them enemy before it beats you” (which you try to do in all games) but I get what you mean. I don’t like just mashing buttons either. I actually do play RPGs for the combat and exploration. Not for their story and characters because they’re usually cliche and boring to be honest. All my opinion of course.

        • revenent hell

          I was wondering if I was going to have to explain that sentence better haha.

          I like RPG’s more for story myself but its the whole package that makes me like them over any other genre.
          While my preference is turn based, real time (if its a good system) isn’t to bad either but I’ve found I have played one to many RPG’s that don’t use it well and its really frustrating to play a game and then have the battles rendered redundant because you’re basically spamming the same button…. I really, really hate that and I expect more thought to be put in to actions than that as far as RPG’s go..
          Even if your actions are the same, for most turn based games it takes in to account a lot of different factors so it “feels” a little more important (even if its equally redundant).

    • Tom_Phoenix

      It’s “classic” in the sense that it goes back to the roots of the Final Fantasy series. The actual FF series has strayed far away from what people liked about the old school games. The entire reason people were so excited for Bravely Default is beacuse it seemed like a return to form.

      By the way, I find it funny that you are calling Bravely Default “generic” simply beacuse of its choice of combat mechanics. I guess that means Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas are generic WRPG beacuse they use a first-person perspective like most Western games.

      There are plenty of bad, generic JRPGs. It’s just that the reason they are bad and generic has nothing to do with what combat mechanics they employ and everything to do with excessive linearity, overemphasis on cliché characters and storylines, stale and unimaginative worlds and needless padding.

      • I’m not a fan of Final Fantasy so yea, it sucks to know that instead of taking a new approach to genre they decided to go back and create a game in the style of six games before it. I would have preferred if they took a new approach to the genre.

        The game as a whole might not be generic. I guess I should have clarified and specified it’s using generic or dated combat design. I’d argue that along with all the points you listed (that I agree with) in addition to random battles and turn based combat make JRPGs generic. I’ve played a lot and they’ve all felt similar to me. I knwo people play RPGs for their story but I hardly get invested because they’re mostly terrible, especially JRPG stories. So cliche characters and a shitty story aren’t that big of a negative to me. It’s the exploration and combat that ruins them for me.

        • puchinri

          Technically speaking, BD isn’t a FF anyway and the point is that we haven’t had a FF game with turn-based combat (the classic route) in some time. It’s nice to see it back in some form (with a fresh take on it).

          I don’t think random battles or turn-based combat alone can make something generic, because they’re simply a part of the system and they can be played with to bring something new/fresh to the experience (even though FF:T is turn-based, it has plenty of interesting dynamics to its battle system).

          It’s fine if a certain aspect of the game is a turn-off for you and you have a preference, but that alone doesn’t make the game generic [using it with a (negative) connotation at least]; that just means it doesn’t suit your taste.

          • revenent hell

            This exactly.

          • I know it’s not a Final Fantasy. I realized I should’ve clarified the comment a bit. The game itself might not be generic but it’s using very dated game design that has made the JRPG genre as whole feel extremely similar to me me. I’m more upset that instead of taking a new approach to a JRPG and implementing a real time combat system they decided to create something inspired and feels a lot like multiple games before it. It might not be generic but it definitely isn’t something new and refreshing.

          • puchinri

            And that’s why I say, turn-based battle itself isn’t what makes the battle system generic, but it can be. (If it was just plain turn-based, I’d agree that’s generic; by adding different elements to it they can liven it up and do the opposite.)

            The thing is though, real time combat is also becoming a convention in JRPGs; and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s okay for these kind of things to coexist. Tales has real time, SO4 did, plenty of FFs, Xenoblade did and the list goes on. Really, going real time combat wouldn’t be that new; it might be refreshing for some people, but it’s not new either (especially for a SE game of this gen).

            But again, at the end of the day, it really comes down to how everyone enjoys it. If you can’t enjoy turn-based combat, regardless of it having an interesting take or just being plain turn-based (with no dynamics added), that is a loss for you and sorry for that, but it’s not a loss for others and plenty of us will still find the battle system refreshing for the spin they’ve given it.

  • Pockystix

    I love both traditional and action console-style rpgs, so I’d very much love to see them make more of them,

    I got a very FFV and FFIX vibe from the game as well, though V’s class system is pretty much III’s system on steroids.

  • Rogerrmark

    Thank godness its turn based. I love Tales series/Star Ocean/Ys, but just hate to use support jobs/characters in most action RPGs(except for Graces and support demons in Raidou Kuzunoha’s Devil Summoner games ). And considering BDFF’s system is all about the jobs…my support jobs/characters would always be controlled by th A.I,probably,while the meele one would be my main character to button-mash/hit an run from most enemies. Never liked Crystal Chronicles that much either,always got tired of the battle system before the clock reached 10,15 hrs.

  • DanijoEX

    I see nothing wrong with their choice. I’m pretty much used to both turn-based and action-style rpgs.

  • brian

    This may be a dumb question but will we get any of that AR stuff?

    • biskmater

      I see little reason not to, so you can probably relax.

  • HerosLight

    I’m glad they went turn-based in the end.

    I can’t imagine it as an action-RPG but I wouldn’t mind if it was.

  • Prinny Dood

    Nino kuni nino kuni nino kuni next please. I ready preorder project x zone

    • Solomon_Kano


      • Prinny Dood

        Oh I was talking about nino kuni for ps3 a few days ago they were asking if you would like nino kuni on 3ds.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          This is a thread about Bravely Default. If you wish to discuss other topics the best place to do that is on the open thread.

          • Prinny Dood

            Nino kuni

          • Göran Isacson

            … He responded to your comment with even more “nino kuni”. I think he may either be a bot, or fallen under some kind of hex where he can only utter one word over and over again. We must investigate this deeper.

          • Solomon_Kano

            He may be under control of the Patriots.

          • Göran Isacson

            My God. Nanomachines, son. Their power is starting to extend into real life.

  • Ibi Salmon

    Well that’s a shame. I would’ve considered purchasing the game if they continued that route. Oh well…

  • TiredOfMyOldUsername

    I would love to play some good japanese style ARPG.
    The only Japanese Arpg i can think about is Demon Souls, Dark Souls and Dragon Dogma, but even though they are games developed in japan they all have a western style.

    • Solomon_Kano

      Kingdom Hearts is an action-RPG.

      • TiredOfMyOldUsername

        Not completely.

        • Solomon_Kano

          Huh? What’s a complete action-RPG? An action-RPG has action-based gameplay with RPG elements. Kingdom Hearts fits that.

          • TiredOfMyOldUsername

            I said it wasn’t completely what i had in mind, but seem like disqus decided to cut my comment -_-

          • Solomon_Kano

            Ah. So you got Disfuq’d lol. Happens to the best of us.

  • M’iau M’iaut

    Come on folks, keep the talks on the game at hand.

  • Prinnydoom

    Wow we europeans get it first o_O this is…..strange…..but good. Yay cant wait

  • Haseyo

    Aw, I really could’ve used an action RPG. Still neat nonetheless.

  • Göran Isacson

    Now I’m curious as to what it would’ve played like as an ARPG. if they invented the whole brave and default system AFTER they went turnbased, or if the first prototype was some variant of the current system but more realtime.

  • Kioku


  • Space_Ghost

    Sure glad they kept it as is. I don’t mind the occasional Action RPG, if done correctly, but I have and always will prefer traditional JRPG battle mechanics. The Four Heroes of Light seems very similar to this game, and I loved that DS Final Fantasy game. I’m very happy they are localizing this in the US.

  • Anime10121

    Would have taken it either way as I enjoy both Classical turn-based combat along with modern Action based combat! Though, it is nice to have a new game with a innovative take on turn based combat :)

    But hey, I woulda got Bravely Default either way, because it just oozes a FFIX (my favorite game in the series) aura!

    • Solomon_Kano

      Whoo! IX! *high fives*

  • Someone should gave an award for the guy who persuaded the creator of this game to make an FF5 lke game ! XD

  • Skyer Ist

    I love you, Nintendo!

  • DOmega


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