Bravely Default Is A Japanese RPG Inspired By American TV, Says Producer

By Ishaan . February 17, 2014 . 2:31pm

Bravely Default producer Tomoya Asano recently answered a couple of fan questions directed at him through Nintendo of America on their 3DS Facebook page. Among these was a question that asked what inspired the storyline for the game.


Asano replied, “We created the world view as a fantasy RPG with a story revolving around crystals, because that way RPG fans won’t have any trouble jumping right into the world. The exaggerated characters are cute and players can enjoy them on their adventures.”


He elaborated: “Basically this is comedic up to the point where you start really liking the characters, and then the drama develops. I used the methodology of American TV dramas like the older Beverly Hills 90210 (I’m a huge fan!), and Glee as references.”


“In terms of games, a number of games developed outside of Japan had major influence on the storytelling,” Asano continued. “So if you think about it, I guess you could call Bravely Default a traditional Japanese RPG with American content thrown in. I look forward to hearing what all of you in the Americas think of it!”


Asasno is currently at work on a sequel to Bravely Default, titled Bravely Second.


Image courtesy Nintendo.

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  • Zer0faith

    Glee inspired Bravely Default?!
    Man this world never ceases to surprise me.

    • Your avatar feels kind-of applicable here too.

      Always fun to see how others (foreigners/outsiders) see what we see.

      • East: Why didn’t you bring that game overseas!?
        West: Why didn’t YOU bring THAT game overseas!?

        • katamari damacy

          How often does a game released in the west NOT get released in Japan? practically every game except maybe licensed yearly sports titles like NBA or Madden get released in Japan routinely.

          • KnifeAndFork

            Well they just shut down a major Western game distributor in Japan so I think they’ll be seeing less of them useless someone else pick up the slack

        • Icefang

          I know that feel, I’m still waiting on Metal Wolf Chaos.

        • Kai2591

          This needs a comic lol

      • Zer0faith
  • Jormangund

    Suddenly the reason why I can’t really stand Agnes makes so much SENSE.

  • Ferrick

    glee inspired bravfault ?
    well i guess chapter 2 and chapter 3 kinda does reference it to it

    • Samsara09

      “Love in the crossfire!” that is quite glee.

    • He said “methodology”, so I’m imagining maybe things like comedic formulas or something. I haven’t seen either of the works nor have I bought the game yet, so I don’t have a reference point to grasp; this is just speculation on my part. But I can at least say that I myself have come across a number of works, various aspects of which gave me different ideas to at least play around in my head with; I don’t think it’s unusual at all.

      • Ferrick

        i guess, but i still don’t understand the 90210 part lol

        • I haven’t heard of that title until he mentioned it either. But then again, I’m really not a TV person.

          • Ferrick

            in summary: Silicone boobs, facelifts, and plastic surgeries

            don’t ask why i know this

            edit: woops, wrong show

          • Ereek

            You make me feel old.

            Really old.

            Hell, I didn’t even watch it and I knew of 90210. It was like Seinfeld levels of popularity, really. Okay maybe not that far, but still, very popular.

    • Kaetsu

      Bravfault? That name makes me cringe.

  • Godspoken

    No wonder the story is so boring.

  • Suicunesol

    Awesome. Now let’s see a Japanese RPG inspired by Baywatch.

    • Eric Harris

      aren’t pretty much all compile heart games inspired by baywatch? (just subtract about 15 years of age on each sex symbol and you’re there dude).

    • Ereek

      But my favorite Baywatch character died! That does not bode well for the related character in the game.

    • AndyLC

      Senran Kagura

    • KnifeAndFork

      Is Japanese sitcoms really that bad that you have to go out of your way to find the crappie at Western shows to watch in place of them?

  • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

    That is something new to hear. Really…seriously and honestly. And it’s awesome in a way.

    • Tinye

      Ya it is. It’s just crazy where we can get inspiration from anything and make or do something truly amazing. Just makes me want to say, that’s the beauty of life.

  • nonscpo

    Of course Asano is going to say all of these things there still in the middle of selling the game. I think what should be more relevant is some info on that sequel

    • Samsara09

      the sequel is already coming this year.That is enough news for now,till E3 I mean.

  • Suriel Cruz

    By each dungeon I pass, by each monster I destroy, this game becomes more and more dear to my heart. The amount of nostalgic elements in it, is extraordinary and for me, is what makes this game a unique experience. Let’s not leave the artstyle, which is AWESOME.

  • Kornelious

    No…..Just No…..>:(

    • Kornelious

      don’t get me wrong i love Bavely default but really…Glee was the inspiration to it? i don’t know how to react to that………..

  • Kazekage Gaara

    o.o wat

  • vileBrenman

    I think they really fleshed out the character development. Well for the main 4 characters that is. I would have liked more character development for some of the Asterix holders

  • H_Floyd

    This does not help sell the game to me.

  • H_Floyd

    This does not help sell the game to me.

  • Samsara09

    that is why they say art inspiration is usually random and unexpected.Boy,call it a surprise.

  • Eric Harris

    What do I as an American think of it? Sir I think your game is WAAAAAAAAAAAY better than 90210 and Glee.

    • KnifeAndFork

      He probably had no direct communication with the western fans. Something a lot of developers and publishers need to work on

  • kylehyde

    So Ringabel is inspired in Dylan McKay? Even the genius have the right to have guilty pleasures. If Tarantino liked green lantern I don’t see anything wrong with Asano being a BH 90210 fan

    • Tarantino routinely loves shitty movies almost as much as he loves ripping them off (and getting away with it because no one saw the originals).

      • KnifeAndFork

        I saw them

  • Audie Bakerson

    I think this ranks up there with ATB being inspired by the NFL On what I’m not sure, but it ranks up there.

  • Audie Bakerson

    I think this ranks up there with ATB being inspired by the NFL On what I’m not sure, but it ranks up there.

  • ThatGuy3190_7

    So a Japanese RPG game that was inspired by American TV drama was almost close to not being released in America?

    • SetzerGabbiani

      I said that same thing to myself.

    • LastFootnote

      Do we know this to be true? Perhaps the plan was always to release the “For the Sequel” version overseas. Hence the delay.

      • ThatGuy3190_7

        There was an article mentioning that they were unaware of how much the West wanted Bravely Default. The official announcement of localization came around the same time of the For the Sequel announcement in Japan.

        • KnifeAndFork

          Just proves how bad customer relations is at S-E. you guys made a Western liasons branch for a reason

    • Kango234

      Yet the game with the acrobatic pink-haired girl and giant talking crystals was A-Ok!

      I’m convinced SE headquarter is located in Bizzaro World.

    • Callonia

      Only in Japan!

  • Warboss Aohd

    he should have used House as a reference, but if it made a good game, who am i to complain?

  • I remember reading about 90210 being a bit popular in Japan. I think it was the fact that teenagers driving to school was an interesting part for the audience.

    I haven’t played this game, yet, but I’d be interested to know if a show like Breaking Bad inspires any developers in Japan!

    • Persona 5 is going to be about a drug lord. That’s how they’ll break free of the shackles of society. Everyone smoking pot and getting high.

      • Göran Isacson

        And then it will turn out that breaking free from the shackles of society through drugs only ends up creating another prison as yuo become addicted to being the alpha male provider for your team. Biggest plot twist ever: if you play it like previous Persona games, go around and get involved in everyones lives, solve everyones problems, the ending will be that you turn out to secretly be a douche who just wants to feel powerful and a bad end happens where you roll a barrel through a dessert.

        Not gonna lie, I would play that game.

        • YES!! Sold. It’s like Monolith Soft’s level of bizarre mind-numbing insanity with an Atlus twist.

          • Göran Isacson

            Well now I feel bad for getting your expectations up when the game comes out and it probably won’t be anything like this :(

          • ;_;

            (I don’t really expect P5 to be about drug lords, haha.)

      • Bigabu Beaze

        Oh god no.

  • Heropon

    Tomoya Asano is Producer not Director. Wrong article

    • Gah, I don’t know why I said director. Fixed.

      • s07195

        Hey Ishaan, I was wondering whether any of the article writers other than you go read the comments and perhaps edit some spelling/word mistakes pointed out… It seems that some of the annoyances (like Neptune spelt Neptunia -I feel this is on purpose now though) felt by some readers might be solved this way.

        • We do have an editorial process and I’m the one that checks most of our content and edits it before it goes up.

          I think what happens in the Neptune posts is that we tend to mistakenly use the Japanese names sometimes because most of the news coverage comes from NIS Japan long before a localization is even announced.

          • s07195

            Of course, I don’t really mind them myself, since I’m the sort of person who just quietly laughs a bit then moves on, but sometimes there are mistakes a bit facepalm-worthy, like the wrong video being posted, that’s all.

  • fireemblembeast

    Inspiration can come from anything, I suppose… I don’t know how I feel about this!

  • BlueTree

    Link’s Awakening had that whole “Inspired by Twin Peaks.”

  • Jirin

    It’s kind of funny that the game was influenced by shows that do not appeal to a majority of his fanbase. I just started the game, we’ll just see what he does with it. Hopefully cues from Beverly Hills 90210 does not mean the game is about shallow self absorbed teenagers banging each other.

    Anyway, this is not unprecedented for RPGs as the entire genre was influenced by Tolkien. I’d like to see them take cues from things like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Great Escape, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, stuff like that.

    • BlueTree

      Just wanted to chime in on a few things on the list… Game of Thrones inspired a great deal of Yasumi Matsuno’s games, particularly Tactics Ogre. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is just ironic since The Man with No Name trilogy of movies was started off by a non-credited remake/plagiarism (resulted in a lawsuit, hence the language) of Yojimbo.

      • Armane

        “Game of Thrones inspired a great deal of Yasumi Matsuno’s games, particularly Tactics Ogre”

        I can’t say whether Game of Thrones has inspired Matsuno or not, but Tactics Ogre certainly wasn’t inspired by it, considering it came out in 1995, a year before GoT was published in English (let alone in Japanese).

        • BlueTree

          You’re right, I see the references emerge in Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics, but those dates don’t lie.

          • Armane

            Well I just found out when they were published in Japanese. I’m not sure if Matsuno can read English, but they first started being published in 2002 (according to this wikipedia article at any rate: So I think you’re just imagining things/localizers added references.

          • BlueTree

            Well I’m clearly not imagining Milk of the Poppy being inserted into Vagrant Story, but I’d more so take Metanoia and trying to move toward an idea, even if it’s from a guy who’s apparently going to collaborate with Matsuno based on a close working relationship, over “Right and Wrong”, because I find it’s pretty useless to my inference if I just went “Oh well this was in the script but I guess I imagined it.” I don’t mind being corrected, but don’t be asinine, please.

          • Armane

            I’m not saying you imagined it in the script. I’m saying it probably doesn’t exist in the Japanese version, and thus Matsuno probably wasn’t inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire at all.

            Although as for milk of the poppy, it’s just a euphemism for opium. I’d hardly call it a reference.

          • BlueTree

            I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said you were right, if that’s some kind of point of confusion here.

            “So I think you’re just imagining things/localizers added references.”

            Not exactly exaggerating language here either. I’ve read things on Twitter on the guy’s account, but certainly not anything to substantiate that claim I made beyond a hunch/similarities, nor with the game in question (Tactics Ogre). As I said earlier, the dates don’t lie, just take it easy on me progressing past that, I think “imagining” is a bit harsh past the initial assertion of “don’t make shit up”, which itself is fine by me.

    • Before that came Arthurian legends and of course mythology.

    • Chip

      Formulas. He’s borrowing formulas. Not direct references.

  • Fox

    I don’t see it.
    At all.
    Not even slightly.

  • ReidHershel

    Tiz being the not so special protagonist.
    Agnes being the innocent, pretty girl.
    Ringabel being the jock that tries to hit on all the ladies.
    Edea being the bratty girl that all the guys want.

    Yeah, I see this working out.

  • Jesse

    If there were any obvious references to/influences from those shows in the game, I’d need someone to point them out for me, since I’ve never watched either of those two. ^^;

  • Chip

    He’s not directly referencing things. Take a moment to comprehend the article. He based it on the plot formulas, making the people comfortable with light hearted character moments before nailing you with heavy-duty drama. Which BD does VERY well.

  • For all the people expressing shock and surprise at this: Japanese devs citing inspiration from TV, and American TV in particular, is a pretty commonplace thing these days. A few years back Yuji Horii said he took inspiration from Lost and Dexter, and Shigeru Miyamoto has cited some popular Japanese TV dramas. The developers of Resident Evil: Revelations (who also worked on 5 and 6) modeled the game’s structure and narrative style after 24, and it shows.

    I guess the connection is in the nature of serialized, long-form storytelling seen in both games and television, and notably NOT in cinema.

    Now, I’ll be patiently waiting for a JRPG inspired by Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and/or The Wire. (The Sopranos is my GOAT TV drama, but I can’t even imagine how such a narrative where the characters’ lives, relationships and inner struggles take priority over any kind of external action would translate into a video game.)

    EDIT: Well, I suppose anything by Yasumi Matsuno is already the Game of Thrones of JRPGs.

  • Azim Salimi Bin Lukman

    In term of demand for Japanese RPG in the West and all over the world, English version for great games like Bravely Default is a MUST. Honestly, there seems to be few JRPG games in English version to be enjoyed whereas the demand for them are always high. JRPG does not need to be of the highest quality of graphics to make them into a great games — games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles are some excellent example. Thankfully Bravely Default is here and hopefully other great ones shall follow its footsteps.

    In addition, exciting single player experience games too seems to be lacking in the gaming world today. In my opinion, if you can create a game like Tera Rising (i.e. the MMORPG) as a great single player experience, I think it would be one of the best selling games. Great play mechanics and Dark Soul like bosses to fight around. The MMO elements just puts me off because of ‘compete to win’ elements and the constant lagging of the MMO part in the present Tera. Imagine playing Dark Souls against a great boss battle while having to endure 3 seconds lagging constantly — which would lead to absolute death.

    Trust me (game developers) that the demand for RPG style single player experience is very high in the gaming industry. Just look at Dragon’s Dogma success in the past year as well as Dark Souls series.

  • AndyLC

    The Mass Effect art director says he told his team to watch Final Fantasy: Spirits Within for the look and feel of the ME world. Everyone gets inspiration from everyone else.

  • This is really surprising!!!

  • J_Joestar

    So when will we get a Glee rendition of “Love in the Crossfire”?

  • Lol that totally makes me wanna buy it now! -_- I get enough drama in my life as it is. Don’t need it in a game I’m trying to enjoy…

  • Hector Velar

    i want to play this so bad on my big screen tv. darn Nintendo make it so we can play 3DS on big screen…. freaking Sony is doing it!

  • KnifeAndFork

    Lol two of the worst shows ever. He should have kept this info to himself it’s not going to help sell the game

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