Interview with the producer and director of Granblue Fantasy part 2 – Anime Expo 7/4/2019

Kimura Yuito (KMR) and Fukuhara Tetsuya (FKHR), the producer and director of Granblue Fantasy, talk about GBF‘s increasing international presence, and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the fun side of GBF development. Continued from Part 1.

Granblue goes global

Granblue_en: Are there plans for creating localizations for GBF in other languages, like Chinese or Korean?

KMR: For now, no. It’s unbelievably hard just to keep the English version running (FKHR laughs), so I don’t think we’ll add any more languages to that list right now. 

(Omori Dai, Localization Coordinator at Cygames, is in the room and thanks KMR for this statement)

Granblue_en: International fans are also learning about Granblue Fantasy through anime, console games, and other multimedia projects – does Cygames see itself trying to make the main game more accessible to them?

KMR: I’d definitely like to take the opportunity to get those people into the game. 

Granblue_en: Do you have any plans on how you’ll do that?

KMR: We’re still in the idea stages.

Granblue_en: Can Granblue Fantasy support international servers, to reduce ping to those players outside of Japan?

KMR: We’re not sure yet. But we’ll look into it now that the game is gaining more international notice.

Chaos, the latest GBF soundtrack album

Granblue_en: Granblue Fantasy Versus (GBVS) is also introducing new audiences to GBF’s music. Are there plans for Granblue Fantasy soundtracks to be available internationally via streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify?

FKHR: Wait, I thought they were. Are they not? Apple Music and Spotify have them in Japan, do they not have them here? (Omori-san checks on his phone and confirms that they’re not on Spotify)

KMR: When we get back, we’ll talk to the right people and ask them if that’s something we can do.

Cygames’ international presence

Granblue_en: The Cystore USA Tour is one of the first official Cygames events outside of Asia – has it been performing up to your expectations? 

KMR: The tour as a whole has been going extremely well. It’s been very popular, and I’m glad that we did it.

Granblue_en: If the Cystore USA Tour goes well overall, will there be a chance at more overseas events? Like, say, a Granblue Fantasy Fest outside of Japan?

KMR: I don’t know if we can do something on as large of a scale as Granblue Fantasy Fest, but we can definitely expand on the scale of the Cystore Tour.

Granblue Fantasy Versus, scheduled for release in 2019

Granblue_en: You’ve said in previous interviews that Granblue Fantasy Versus (GBVS) tournaments and events will start out smaller in scale than those of Shadowverse esports. Do you plan on primarily running your own independent events for a potential GBVS pro circuit? 

KMR: I think both will work. I said in interviews that GBVS events would be smaller than Shadowverse tournaments, but I think that only applies to how it will come out of the gate. I believe that it will grow in scale – Shadowverse tournaments are some of the biggest esports events in Japan, so when I said that, I meant that we wouldn’t aim to be that big from the very beginning.

The fun stuff

Granblue_en: Besides Sandalphon and Belial, has there been any times where the fan reaction for something has turned out differently from what you expected?

FKHR: Hmm… Bonito, maybe?

KMR: I think the Young Cat counts. We didn’t expect the Young Cat would create as much buzz as he did.

The Cystore’s 30,000 orders of cat food were then donated to cat causes across Japan.

Granblue_en: How much chocolate – sorry, how much cat food was purchased for the Young Cat during the Valentine’s and White Day campaigns?

KMR: 30,000, I think? (checks with the staff) 30,000.

Granblue_en: Who is in charge of naming the skills? How many of them are heavy metal fans, sneaking all these references to metal songs and albums onto characters?

As one example, references to Blind Guardian appear in Vaseraga’s skill names.

FKHR: Up through the third anniversary, I was in charge of all of the skill names. Now, we leave that to the combat designer. But that current combat designer still keeps the metal references in the names for me.

Granblue_en: Is that because he wants to, or because you pushed it onto him?

FKHR: The combat designer saw the pattern, and turned out to be a metal fan himself. So he kept it going.

Granblue_en: Does Seofon make all the outfits for the Eternals like he made Seox’s skin?

FKHR: As a wise man once said, “I leave that to your imagination.”

Granblue_en: If money was not a concern, what GBF prop or piece of merchandise would you love to see made or sold?

KMR: We’ve pretty much made everything we wanted for Granblue Fest. We don’t want to make anything just for our own satisfaction, we want to make things that people will buy and enjoy.

Granblue_en: Earlier at Anime Expo, you took part in our Granblue Fantasy cosplay gathering, taking pictures with fans. Could you tell us about your experience with the American fans?

KMR: I’m surprised that people love Granblue Fantasy so much that they actually want to take their picture with a guy like me.

FKHR: I heard that everyone at that gathering made their own costumes. I was very impressed – the quality was very high, just as good as the costumes we see in Japan at events like Comiket. They must have spent a lot of time studying our designs. That thought makes me very happy.

Granblue_en: Do you have any parting words for the international fans?

FKHR: It’s amazing to me that there are so many people playing this game in regions where we haven’t been officially released yet, like North America. It’s both surprising and rewarding to see that as part of the team behind the game. GBVS, Granblue Fantasy the Animation, and Relink are all contributing to the international reach of Granblue Fantasy, and I hope that people who play and watch those will go back to the mobile game and experience all of the content we’ve made.

KMR: From the second season of the anime to GBVS, we’re releasing a lot of content in multiple languages this year. We’re going to keep giving you more as time goes on, so I hope you’ll enjoy it. I think that GBVS will be especially fun for players who are already GBF fans, so please play it when it comes out.

Granblue_en: Thank you for your time, and apologies if our questions were too specific or nitpicky!

KMR: Oh, we expected that from you.

KMR commented on the Zombie Land Saga shirt worn in this picture. We asked him when a ZLS collab was coming to GBF, and he said “I don’t know.”