So, was anyone going to tell me there was going to be a Bravely Default sequel, or did I have to learn that when a demo dropped on the Switch store?
First, some background: Bravely Default was an RPG, published by Square Enix for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012. It’s basically a Final Fantasy game, but with a different name: it had a plot revolving around crystals, and a lot of the spells and items were the same. It also had a variation on the job system that a lot of Final Fantasy games have. Essentially, you could change characters’ classes to fill different roles.
One major difference, however, is the mechanic that the series takes its name from: in battles, characters can skip turns to build up “brave points” which can then be spent to give a character more than action per turn. Knowing when to default and when to brave was a key component to winning fights.
Needless to say, the first game in the series was very well received, and it was only a matter of time until a sequel came out. Which is, I think, part of why I was taken by surprise here: there was already a sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer, that came out for the 3DS in 2015.
That one was actually a direct sequel to the first one, featuring a number of the same characters in the same world. That one, however, had a bit more of a lukewarm reception than the first one. So, I suppose that’s why they decided to just go ahead and title the next game Bravely Default II.
Bravely Default II is going to revolve around completely different characters, in a brand new world, which is also how the Final Fantasy series generally operates. This time, we have Gloria, the last remaining princess of a ruined kingdom; Seth, a shipwrecked sailor; Elvis, a scholar; and Adelle, a mercernary. They are on a quest to, you guessed it, save the world. Like the other two games, on their journeys they come across mysterious items called Asterisks, which allow them to take on different roles in battle. In particular, the demo showcases 4: vanguard, monk, white mage, and black mage.
Having played the demo recently, it seems to play mostly the same as the previous titles. One major difference, though, has to do with the hardware. Since the 3DS had two screens, the bottom screen was utilitzed to show maps or other information, while character movement, battles, and scenes took place on the top screen. Since the Switch only has one screen, all of the information has to be presented on that screen. There’s also the fact that the game is at a much, much higher resolution, which makes sense considering that the 3DS is a nine-year-old handheld with fairly small screens.
Another major change from the other two is that the demo seems to have done away with random battles, instead having monsters roam around environments, with battle starting when the party encounters one. This is very similar to how the battles work in the Tales series, or later Persona titles.
The demo, as mentioned before, is currently available on the Switch store if you want to check it out. Unfortuantely, as for a release date, we currently don’t have one other than “sometime this year.” This seems to mostly be so that the developers can incorporate feedback.
I do hope that we get a release date soon, though, because I really want to see more of the game.