More than 10 years since the release of Bravely Default, the game’s producer has 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 last 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 control the four characters trying to bring it back to peace.
The four central characters – the disgraced priest Agnès Oblige, the disaster survivor Tiz Arrior, the amnesiac Ringabel and the defector Edea Lee – were fascinating protagonists who nudged JRPG genre tropes and lore 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 thing possible and something that fans would want,” said Bravely Default producer Tomoya Asano in a 10th anniversary live stream, translated by gematsu (opens in new tab). “For now, unfortunately, I can’t announce anything like that. ‘For now’, let’s just say.”
We can’t take this as confirmation of a Bravely Default remaster, but Asano’s comments, along with opening the stream with a high-res 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 number of bold and interesting ways, gently punching holes in RPG conventions without ever straying too far from what makes the genre great. It features meta-commentary reminiscent of Nier Replicant, along with a work-based combat system that refines and perfects some of the most beloved aspects of JRPG game design.
A remaster would also open up the classic to many 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 that the series could easily run on single-screen hardware.
And given that Bravely Default 2 was also released on PC, we might see a PC version of a possible Bravely Default remaster as well.
A remaster would also be a great opportunity to improve on the original character models. While the environments remain beautiful to this day, the original 3D character models in Bravely Default show their age 10 years later. I wouldn’t want to see a graphical overhaul at the expense of the original and highly distinctive character designs.
Square Enix has leaned heavily on remasters in recent years, with a series of Final Fantasy re-releases. 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 also goes a step further with Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
With hopes for a Bravely Default remaster, it looks like the good times are just beginning for JRPG fans. If the remasters continue to be successful, perhaps we’ll see Square Enix experiment with more time-tested gameplay mechanics in their latest titles as well.