Over 10 years since the launch of Bravely Default, the game’s producer has strongly hinted that a remaster may already be in the works.
The original Bravely Default remains one of the best games on the 3DS and one of the best RPGs released in the past decade. It told the story of a world thrown into chaos when the elemental crystals that keep it in balance are consumed by darkness, and you controlled the four characters trying to bring it back to peace.
The four central characters – disgraced priest Agnès Oblige, disaster survivor Tiz Arrior, amnesiac Ringabel, and the defector Edea Lee – were fascinating protagonists who poked at tropes and traditions of the JRPG genre at every turn.
The game spawned an excellent sequel, Bravely Default 2, but the original remains lodged in my heart.
“A remaster […] would be the best possible thing and something fans would desire,” Bravely Default producer Tomoya Asano said in a 10th anniversary livestream, translated by Gematsu (opens in new tab). “For now, I’m unfortunately unable to announce anything like that. ‘For now’, let’s just say.”
We can’t take this as a confirmation of a Bravely Default remaster, but Asano’s comments, coupled with the stream opening with a high-resolution version of the game’s opening cinematic, make it very likely.
Fortune favors the brave
Bravely Default is well deserving of a remaster, it pushed the boundaries of the JRPG in a host of bold and interesting ways, gently poking holes in RPG conventions while never straying too far from what makes the genre great. It boasts meta-commentary reminiscent of Nier Replicant alongside a job-based combat system that refines and perfects some of the most cherished aspects of JRPG game design.
A remaster would also open up the classic to loads of players who missed it the first time around, when it was only released on 3DS. A remaster would likely appear on the Nintendo Switch, where its sequel already showed the series could easily work on single-screen hardware.
And, given that Bravely Default 2 was also released on PC, we might see a PC version of a potential Bravely Default remaster, too.
A remaster would also be a great opportunity to jazz up the original character models. Though the environments remain gorgeous to this day, the original 3D character models in Bravely Default show their age 10 years on. I wouldn’t want to see a graphics revamp at the expense of the original, highly distinctive character designs.
Square Enix has leaned heavily into remasters in recent years, with a string of Final Fantasy rereleases. Final Fantasy 7 Crisis Core is next on the radar and from what I’ve played it’s breathing new life into the PSP classic. And, of course, it’s also going one step further with the Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
With the hope of a Bravely Default remaster down the line, it looks like the good times have only just begun for JRPG fans. Should remasters continue to be successful, perhaps we’ll see Square Enix experiment with more time-tested game mechanics in its newer titles, too.