Famitsu has published a new interview with Bravely Default II producer Takahashi Masashi and Bravely series creator Asano Tomoya, with a lot of interesting insights into the development of the new game. Among other things, they revealed that, early on, the game was internally nicknamed “Bravely Default Automata“—a name meant to emphasise its status as a refresh of the series, rather than a direct continuation from Bravely Second: End Layer.
“While explaining the project internally, I said, ‘This isn’t Bravely Third. This is Bravely Default Automata‘,” Asano told Famitsu with a laugh, before Takahashi elaborated: “I was very impressed with NieR: Automata. While it’s a sequel to NieR: Gestalt / NieR: Replicant, the characters and world are all new. I thought, ‘the same is true for the new Bravely series game’, so I used the same name to easily convey that.”
NieR: Automata technically takes place in the same universe as the original NieR (which was released in Japan in two different versions, NieR: Gestalt and NieR: Replicant, in Japan), but it’s set thousands of years later. It’s a standalone game that doesn’t depend on any prior knowledge of NieR, which is probably a big part of Automata‘s runaway success after NieR‘s commercial struggles.
This is Takahashi and Asano’s goal for Bravely Default II, too. After Bravely Second: End Layer, a direct sequel to Bravely Default, they wanted to create something that new players could jump into without missing anything. That’s why they ultimately settled on Bravely Default II as the title, rather than Bravely Third or a new subtitle a la Bravely Archive or Bravely Default: Fairy’s Effect.
For the same reason, characters from earlier games won’t appear in Bravely Default II. “We had serious discussions about whether or not to include them,” said Asano. “It might make fans happy, but we want new players to enjoy the game too. I thought it would be confusing if a returning character they don’t know suddenly appeared, so I decided not to include them this time.”
The interview covers a lot of other interesting little details, like the decision to go with older main characters, the desire to create an art style reminiscent of papercraft and miniature models, and some of the ways the team is trying to keep the job system fresh. It’s worth reading through (and even if you can’t read Japanese, Chrome’s translation does a decent job of getting across the gist.)
Bravely Default II (oh, how I now wish they’d stuck with Bravely Default Automata) is coming exclusively to Nintendo Switch sometime this year. A specific release date hasn’t yet been announced, but there is a free demo available on the eShop.
Note: Japanese names in this article use the Japanese name order—that is, family name first, followed by given name(s).