Granblue TV Channel #39: interviews with KMR and FKHR

The Granblue TV Channel end-of-2019 special featured Touyama Nao and Katou Emiri visiting the Cygames offices, and while we had a thread covering the fun little bits of the episode, we also promised a more thorough translation of the interviews with FKHR and KMR at the end.

Here they are!

FKHR’s segment

Q: What kind of year was 2019?

FKHR: I said some of this on the blog at the beginning of the year, but we wanted to break some of the patterns of the first four years. Starting with the story event schedule, we made big changes to things that had become predictable and expected.

Next year, we think we’re going to be making even bigger changes, so this was a necessary step.

Q: Talk about the updates you made this year.

FKHR: As was the case in year 4, we focused mostly on quality of life upgrades to make the game easier and more convenient to play.

No matter what game it is, people consume content extremely quickly and sometimes, the popular way to play a game one year stops being popular the next. To keep up with the times, we have to take decisive action on what we’re going to get rid of and what we need to add.

Full Auto was suggested about two years ago, and after we implemented it, a lot of people said our implementation was very convenient. There are a lot of Full Auto-specific party makeups, and in the end, I’m very glad we did it.

Q: Tell us about the story events this year.

FKHR: The “summer event” period started at the end of June, and Christmas characters started coming out at the end of November, and it was pretty tough just moving things ahead three or four days early.

Overall, I think we went about half and half on new stories and sequels. Characters like Ladiva and Medusa are ones who are well known to the player base, but we wanted to surprise the players by making them the leads of a story.

Right now, we’ve pretty much locked down what’s going to happen in 2020. We’re thinking about how to present those.

The Kou event was one example, but we feel like we have a good handle on which sequels the players want. We want to do them, but finding the right timing for them can be tough.

We also want to do some stories that feature nothing but new characters.

When you look at the overall framework of the story, we’re at a really big moment. The last five years have been building up to this.

Q: Talk about the Granblue Fantasy spinoffs.

FKHR: This past year was really taxing.

The anime and Granblue Fantasy Versus have been in development for 2 or 3 years, but I think the two of them turned out very well. On the Versus side, the downloadable content and other updates will keep our development team busy.

Q: With Granblue Fantasy Versus coming in 2020, who do you hope will play it?

FKHR: I want fighting game players to enjoy it, of course.

But I would also like people who have only ever played Granblue Fantasy on their phones to experience the joys of a console game. If they have fun controlling the game, then I’ll be happy.

We want people to be able to play together in real-time, and there are some things we’ve been able to do in the game that we did before the main game did, like having Katalina with Ares. No other games have that going for them, and we think that players who are playing both GBF and GBVS will have a unique experience.

Q: Talk about what’s coming to GBF in 2020.

FKHR: We’re getting Battle System 2.0, to start with. I think a lot of the game itself will change in the coming year, and we’re working with that in mind.

KMR’s segment

Q: What kind of year was 2019?

KMR: I think every year is so busy that when I look back, I find myself at a loss to remember what happened that year. We did a lot, but I think one of the biggest things we did was release the Evokers.

I think we did a lot of work making the game easier to start playing, and made it easier for new players to catch up to existing players.

We also released Proving Grounds, although that was first tested in 2018. As of 2019, though, players have accepted it as a normal part of the game.

Q: Have you ever thought of stepping away from the job for a moment?

KMR: I… don’t think so *laughs*

Going from one task to the next is like taking a break for me, and I think it’s easier for me to have many different jobs on my plate.

Q: How much GBF did you play this year?

KMR: I played through every event once, and during Unite and Fight, I woke up at 7 in the morning like everyone else and did my morning grind. My crew hit 1 billion honors for the first time this year.

If I don’t play the game myself, the ideas don’t flow for me.

My rank hasn’t gone up very much, though. I’m above rank 150, but I really do wonder how people have had their ranks go up so high.

Q: How did Unite and Fight fare this year?

KMR: We polished the gameplay a lot, but people don’t play this event like they play other events. People do a lot of testing and trial runs during Unite and Fight, and so it’s very sensitive to changes and we’re very careful about what to change to make it more fun. This year we did a lot of gradual changes to the event, with a couple of big changes. We’ve added the Special Battle, added EX+, added a new Nightmare level, and we’re not done with changes like those.

Q: How is Arcarum: The World Beyond going to change in the future?

KMR: We’re planning big changes to Arcarum. A small part of it the upcoming content will use the same system as the current Arcarum, but what we’re developing will be a very different way to play, even though it’s intended as a continuation of Arcarum.

Q: Talk to us about GBF collab events.

KMR: We’ve had a lot of crossover events with really big franchises, and they’ve been received very well. They have a lot of the unique Granblue Fantasy flavor to them that unlocks a lot of story possibilities. We’ve been very happy that they’ve allowed us to make big changes to the original story.

Q: And what about Gachapin and Mukku?

KMR: Well, Gachapin and Mukku give children dreams and hope. But wow, that event went way differently than how I thought it was going to.

Q: In 2019, Granblue Fantasy Extra Fes was held in multiple cities – how did those go?

KMR: In 2018 as well as 2019, we were very glad that we held these Extra Fes events. It’s so great to go to all these different cities and have so much fun. But I don’t think we’ll be able to handle any more Extra Fes locations than we have now…

But still, seeing our players so happy means that it’s worth all the effort.

Q: Tell us about Granblue Fantasy‘s upcoming spinoffs.

Ranger Sign Bravo! is one of the most-requested adaptations.

KMR: We still have Relink. A lot of our efforts will be going toward it.

After this, I want to try making a Granblue Fantasy stage play, and another orchestral concert, a sequel to the anime, and a movie…

Yes, I’d love to turn some of our events into anime of their own.

Final messages

Q: What’s your final message of 2019 to all the GBF players out there, FKHR?

FKHR: With GBF Fes 2019 behind us, and the new year ahead, we think we’ll announce our update plans through summer 2020 (translator’s note: KoreGra January 2020, and the Director’s Letter for 2020, lay out a lot of what’s coming this year).

We’re about to hit our 6th anniversary, and that makes GBF very long-lived in app terms. I said this before, but this coming year will be one of big changes.

The entire GBF team is up for the challenge, whether it’s new kinds of content or something even more amazing than that. We think the players will be very excited, and we hope that you’ll enjoy it a lot.

Q: What’s your final message of 2019 to all the GBF players out there, KMR?

KMR: I think we’ll have a lot to announce when the 6th anniversary comes around. We have a lot of updates coming in 2020.

Thank you for playing through 2019 – we hope that you stick with us for 2020.