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Julius

Granblue Fantasy: Relink (Cygames/Platinum)

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I've been following this game for a while now, but with yesterday's announcement from Tetsuya Fukuhara confirming that there plans are for both Relink and Versus (a fighting game) to each be released worldwide simultaneously, I finally decided to go ahead and make a thread dedicated to the game. 

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I feel like the stage needs to be set regarding Granblue Fantasy, as it is a franchise currently only accessible in Japan, and so some here might not be familiar with the franchise, its importance, or success.

Background

A free-to-play turn-based JRPG developed and published by Cygames, Granblue Fantasy is playable on iOS, Android, and web browsers in Japan, releasing in March 2014. Here's a brief gameplay description from over on Wikipedia:

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The game plays as a role-playing video game with turn-based battles. The game also contains summons and a class system that alters the main character's move-set and growth. Characters gain levels and abilities by accruing experience; summons and weapons equipped also confer characters with bonuses on attack power and HP. The characters themselves are gained either via quests (the main story quests or special event quests) or by using in-game currency to receive random crystal fragments, which may contain special weapons that add specific characters to the party. Characters, summons, and weapons are ranked (from best to worst) as SSR, SR, R, or N; each is also of type wind, water, fire, earth, light, or darkness. Voice actors provide voices for all of the characters in battle, and for much of the main and event storylines.

Most notably, the game reunited legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu, renowned mostly for his work on Final Fantasy, with art director Hideo Minaba, also renowned for his work on Final Fantasy. The pair previously working together on Final Fantasy V (1992), Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and Lost Odyssey (2007), and in part thanks to their work on it, the game garnered a lot of attention. Uematsu worked on eleven tracks for the game -- which were accompanied by Tsutomu Narita's nine tracks (he was the composer for Final Fantasy XV: Comrades, and also worked in the music department on Xenoblade Chronicles) -- and it is believed that Minaba drew nearly one hundred potential character designs for the game.

To give you a taste of the game's gorgeous soundtrack (at least judging from what I've listened to so far), here's the main theme:

To speak to the game's success, it has been a commercial juggernaut in Japan, having been downloaded over 10 million times two years after its release in March 2016, and had been downloaded over 22 million times as of October 2018. Thanks to its implementation of a gacha system seen in many other successful mobile games in the Japanese marketplace, such as in Fire Emblem Heroes, the game grossed at least ¥54.8 billion ($489 million) in Japan between 2017 and 2018. Outside of its commercial success, though, it has all been received very positively by critics, with many journalists comparing it favourably to early Final Fantasy entries. 

Project Re:Link

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Originally announced as Granblue Fantasy Project Re:Link back in August 2016, the game was revealed to be an action RPG serving as a collaboration between PlatinumGames (Bayonetta franchise, NieR: Automata) and Cygames (who would also be serving as the game's publisher), with Nobuo Uematsu and Hideo Minaba reprising their roles as composer and art director, respectively, and the aforementioned Tetsuya Fukuhara set to direct. The game will be set in the same fictional realm as Granblue Fantasy, with some characters from the original game appearing, but in an entirely different location. One month later, in September, it was revealed that Cygames were aiming to release the game on the PS4 -- and that was the first and last time we heard about what consoles the game was aiming to be released on. It was at this point that they also mentioned that they were aiming to connect the mobile game and PlayStation 4 game, with each unlocking special events/items in the other.

The first gameplay trailer was shown in December 2017, during Granblue Fes 2017, which was shortly after I learned about the game. And it looked great:

Around this time, director Tetsuya Fukuhara also revealed some gameplay details, the most interesting of which undoubtedly being that the game could be played in four-person cooperative multiplayer, or enjoyed as a single player experience, with three remaining characters being controlled by AI.

Localisation for the game in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian were announced in July 2018.

Its official title was revealed to be Granblue Fantasy: Relink in December 2018 during Granblue Fes 2018, where another gameplay trailer was shown, which continues to look incredible:

As of February 4th 2019, PlatinumGames left development of the project -- supposedly, they were unsurprisingly contracted for the action elements of the game, and it is believed that their contract was complete -- leaving Cygames to complete development on the game.

As of yesterday -- February 26th 2019, at the time of writing -- after the game's delay from its initial target of a 2018 release, director Fukuhara announced that the game was aiming for a simultaneous worldwide release, and that they would not be revealing further details on a release date until they were comfortable to do so. 

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2018 was our initial goal. After the project kicked off, it continued to become more and more massive, as the IP itself was growing at the same time.

Also, it wasn’t as easy as we initially thought to implement the full details of the Granblue world into 3D models, especially for the backgrounds. We didn’t want to make compromises on the quality. It was possible to choose the fastest and easiest way, but we didn’t. That’s the reason why the game hasn’t been released yet.

At the moment it doesn’t have a release date because we already delayed it once, we never, ever want to do it again. We will release that information when we’re absolutely sure that we can hit that date without risking any more delays.

[On Relink's framerate, after revealing that Versus would run at 60fps] 

For Relink, at this point 60 FPS is our goal, but depending the final visuals, if we decide that 30 FPS will the best solution overall, it’s possible that we’ll choose 30 FPS.

That being said, as mentioned, our goal, for now, is to have it running at 60 FPS.

Hopefully I've been able to bring the game to the attention of some of the JRPG and/or Platinum fans here, as I really do think that its one to keep an eye on!

Edited by Julius
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This looks amazing! Just my kind of game, and I got so pumped while reading your post. All the important points got checked. Platinum Games as developer. Nobuo Uematsu as composer <3. Hinaba Minaba as director. Everything was perfect. 

And then I read that it has only been announced for PS4 :p. Damn. As a PC and Switch gamer, this hurts my soul.

Thankfully there is hope!

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Bayonetta and Nier: Automata developer Platinum Games may bring its upcoming action RPG Granblue Fantasy Relink to Steam, publisher Cygames has announced.

The RPG is due to release in Japan on PS4 at some point in 2019, but game director Tetsuya Fukuhara has told Famitsu (translation via RPG Site), that he wants to bring the game to Steam too. Cygames were already planning localised versions of the game in the West.

This is from an article by PCGamer from an interview they did with Cygames. There is hope! :D

 

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The June 2019 issue of Official PlayStation Magazine UK had a 10-page feature on both Relink and Versus, with a few pieces of new information to be found. With regards to Relink

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• While PlatinumGames left the project earlier in 2019, the bulk of what it built remains, including the level layout, character animation, and fighting systems.

• Each character has their own fighting style and is tied to a certain weapon or weapon type.

• The game progresses in a mostly linear fashion, but there will be additional activities. “You can pick up side-quests from the towns you visit along the way, and come and go between them as you please,” according to director Tetsuya Fukuhara.

• Towns also act as lobbies where you can team up with other players online and take on missions. (You can also play solo, with the rest of the four-person party being AI-controlled.)

• Regarding characters, Fukuhara said, “We know there are many fan favorites, so we’ll try to fit in as many as we reasonably can. It’s not possible to match the roster size of the original game, of course, and the development team has its hands full deciding who makes the final cut.”

 

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Promotional trailer:

Four-player multiplayer quest gameplay: 

Still looking great, but with no release date coming out of FES this year, I wouldn't be surprised if the game isn't out until late 2020 at the earliest, or much more likely 2021. Feel like this game needs an E3 or TGS blowout, but with the former now very likely to be strongly focused on next gen games - and with no announcement yet of the game being transitioned to PS5 - I can't help but feel this game is starting to feel further and further away. 

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Director Tetsuya Fukuhara has released a short clip showing off the super skybound arts of Lancelot, Vane, Percival, and Siegfried, respectively.

All I'm saying is that this game looks like it would be really cosy to play through this Christmas...

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