Interview with Kimura Yuito and Fukuhara Tetsuya 2020 – Part 2

Check out my director in Granblue Fantasy

The second half of our interview with FKHR and KMR focuses on Granblue Fantasy in 2020 and beyond, from game updates to questions submitted by granblue_en followers!

Read part 1 of the interview if you want to read about Granblue Fantasy Versus or Relink.

Let’s dig in!

Granblue Fantasy Fes 2019

FKHR 2019: “Shaaaaaark”

Granblue_en: Fukuhara, you have had an increased presence in the live broadcasts and shows; you’ve gone from sitting silently in a reindeer costume to running a daruma-san (red light green light) game in a shark head. Was this the plan from the beginning?

KMR: That was in the script from the beginning.

FKHR: It was in the script. And the person in charge of the event asked me to do it.

Granblue_en: As time has gone on, the size of the live broadcasts has increased, from a small group to GBF Fes 2019’s large troupe; do you see the events growing even larger as time goes on?

The large, lively cast of the Granblue Fantasy Fes 2019 live stream

KMR: Do you mean the number of participants?

Granblue_en: The participants, and the number of live broadcasts themselves.

KMR: I don’t think that we’ll be increasing the number of broadcasts themselves. We’ll likely continue on as we have been up to this point.

As for the number of participants, that is adjusted based on the size of the stage and how much time is available. We had a feeling that the stage we used for this past Granblue Fantasy Fes would have the largest number of participants. The anniversary broadcast might have less people than the broadcast we just did, and in general, it feels like this might be the maximum number of people we can handle, taking into consideration each actor’s screen time.

Granblue Fantasy Fes 2019 announcements

Granblue_en: What’s the rationale for which characters get new seasonal skins?

FKHR: How we decide… well, to be honest, while the character’s popularity is taken into account, we also take into account characters that have been used in a lot of people’s parties recently. That’s why we have the new skins for Lily, Tweyen, and Shiva, as an example.

Granblue_en: Could you please elaborate on what the main story content updates will be like in 2020?

FKHR: From here on, in one update, we will be unveiling an entire island’s worth of story content at once. How many chapters, whether it will be 8 or 12, we still haven’t decided yet. What elements the player will be able to discover by going to that island will be added at the same time as the story content, though what those elements will be (it could be a new raid battle, a new weapon, or something else entirely) are yet to be determined.

Granblue_en: Could you give us an estimate of how far we are in GBF’s current main story? What are the challenges in creating and maintaining content for a game that theoretically has no end? Five years ago, Haruta said that there was about 10 years worth of story.

KMR: At this point, we can’t even see the end. ‘The end isn’t even in sight’ is all we can say.

The schedule for Battle System 2.0: 7 battles in March, 1 in April, 6 in May and June, and the new event type and Replicard Sandbox in July and August.

Granblue_en: Can you elaborate anymore on Battle System 2.0, which was mentioned during Fes? Can you specifically speak to what is being changed or updated?

FKHR: We won’t be making any big, sweeping changes, but it will be more that some of the rules will be adjusted, or this aspect might see minor increases. It involves a lot of really detailed information. If we talk about what might get changed, I think that it might cause a lot of misunderstandings, so we plan on collating the information on the changes right before the changes are implemented.

Granblue_en: Is Replicard Sandbox going to end up being a rework to Arcarum, or a new event type? 

KMR: It’s not going to be an event, but we’re thinking of making it a new, constant game mode. It will be similar to Arcarum in some respects, but we want to make it rather different as well. 

Granblue_en: Do you have plans for more content like Proving Grounds that encourage players to use more characters?

FKHR: There’s a new event – it’s going to be quite a while until it’s released, but during Fes, the slate for Battle System 2.0 showed a new event in the summer. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to have something ready by then. We don’t know if it will happen or not yet, however.

“Duffle coats.”

Granblue_en: It was mentioned previously that Vajra did not get an SR due to lack of use of other Zodiac SRs; could you please elaborate on why Kumbhira is getting an SR this year, and will we possibly see an SR Vajra then?

FKHR: We weren’t able to make a skin for Kumbhira this year, for a number of reasons. And so, since there weren’t many chances for Kumbhira to take a starring role, we created an SR version of her as a reward from Proving Grounds so that players could enjoy new Fate Episodes with her in them.

“Will Vajra ever get an SR version?”
“She might”

Granblue_en: Will Vajra ever get an SR version?

FKHR: She might, but we haven’t made a decision on that yet.

Granblue_en: Why was Lumberjack selected to be the next class IV job?

KMR: *laughs* That might be kind of tough.

(No, it isn’t Monty Python)

FKHR: The main priority in making the decision was the favored weapons. The pairing of axes and harps felt like a very “woodcutter”-y motif to us, which is how we ended up here. The animals also are a part of that motif.

Granblue_en: There isn’t a tier 3 job for Lumberjack; is this going to happen more in the future?

KMR: You’re talking about Class IV jobs in general?

Granblue_en: Yes.

KMR: For now, it only applies to this job.

Granblue_en: Granblue Fantasy has a reputation for releasing very few figures. In the last month, we have seen at least 4 announcements for figures from Nendoroids and Tamashii Nations. Is this a sign of things to come for Granblue Fantasy?

FKHR: Well, part of this is that the announcements all happened to be together, but…

KMR: But there aren’t going to be too many coming out overall.

FKHR: We would like to release more, and Cygames is working as hard as they can on that, and there will be more goods released. But in this case, it just happens that the timing worked out so that the announcements were simultaneous, so it looks like a lot is being released at once. There will be more merchandise released, but it will not be at this pace.

Granblue_en: How deeply do you want players to read into the mythological sources of your names?

Shalem, one of the characters announced at GBF Fes 2019.

FKHR: Helel Ben Shalem… What can I say about her… Well, I think that the players can enjoy imagining what she’s like based on her appearance and her name until she appears in the story… we hope that the players will look forward to her appearing in the story. 

Granblue_en: Why did you choose Eternals as the next anniversary story event?

FKHR: We had always wanted to do a story that starred the Eternals, and there was even a plan to make the story for the 3rd anniversary the Eternals one, but at that point, there still weren’t many players who had any Eternals in their crew yet. So there was the concern that no one really knew what kind of characters they were. So we reworked that story into the “What Makes the Sky Blue” event.

It’s been three years since then, and now almost all of the players know who the Eternals are. And with the story for the WMTSB arc complete, we decided that this was the time to do the Eternals event.

Check out our subtitled Eternals trailer on YouTube!

Granblue_en: You said before that you didn’t want the event to be multi-year; what happens if this becomes very popular, like “What Makes the Sky Blue”?

FKHR: Well, there’s always the chance that we will add to it. But at this point, we had already decided to not do a trilogy, and we already are working on the 7th anniversary story. So the Eternals’ story will not continue on into the 7th anniversary.

(Twitter-submitted question): Are you considering integrating the Evokers more into story events like the Eternals these past few years?

KMR: Well, there still aren’t that many players who know who they are yet…

FKHR: Kind of like how the Eternals were a few years ago.

KMR: Not everyone has had one join their crew yet, so it may take some more time until they’re notable enough for everyone to know who they are. 

(Twitter-submitted question): Are you planning to remake the Evokers’ CA animations?

FKHR: We are aware of the various comments from the players in regards to this. However, fixing all of them would be complicated, since there are ten of them. But we did mention at Fes that there are plans to give them 5-star uncaps, so we’re thinking we’ll renew their CA animation then.

The GBF Handbook, which is being updated further in 2020.

Granblue_en: You said that 2019 was the year to provide better tutorials and guides to the players; how much progress did you make towards that ultimate goal?

KMR: The guide system was something we really wanted to do. It’s still not perfect, though, and we do still want to add to it. We have accomplished a lot of what we set out to do, though we do still feel we have a lot to do next year. 

Granblue_en: Are there plans to ease the transition from a new player grid to a mid-tier player? (i.e. going from suggested grid to suggested grid)

KMR: Well, we’ve done quite a bit to help with that so far, but there’s the question of what is hard to understand. We hope that the new guide functionality will help with a lot of this.

Granblue_en: The newer players have been grateful for the free level 100 weapons that have been given to them.

KMR: Well, having even one of those makes it easier to obtain weapons of the next element, so we’re working on increasing the opportunities to more easily obtain strong weapons.

Future Granblue Fantasy updates

Granblue_en: Will we get high level filters for players that are higher than rank 150?

KMR: Not right now.

Granblue_en: Our followers have been commenting about wanting rank 180 or over options.

KMR: Hmm. That might not be a bad thing to add.

Full Auto mode in action

Granblue_en: What were your goals with Full Auto, and do you consider it a success?

FKHR: Well, what can we say… the normal auto only uses regular attacks, so for some of the quests, such as the Xeno Clashes or the Gachapin event Maniac quests, using only regular attacks either takes too long, or are just not quite enough to clear the quests for some players.

So our main goal for full auto was to allow these players to clear these quests, even if it means not using character skills in each individual battle. Using every character’s skills in the most efficient way was not something that we had ever considered.

The rules for Full Auto

Getting this to actually become a reality was rather difficult. Deciding the order that skills would be used based on the characters, keeping in mind that combinations can change the effects as well, made determining the in-game logic very difficult. Many of the games out there these days have a very basic full-auto system, and it seems pretty well accepted, so we felt that it wasn’t a bad idea to include one in Granblue Fantasy as well. 

Granblue_en: How did it affect Unite and Fight, and did you have Full Auto and Unite and Fight in mind when you made it?

KMR: We did design it with Unite and Fight as a consideration, and it performed as we expected it to; it has also led to other interesting uses, so in fact, it actually exceeded our expectations.

Granblue_en: Are there any plans to further adjust/improve full auto functionality?

KMR: There will be small, detailed adjustments made here and there, but if we make any major changes, but we feel that it would become a different functionality all together.

Granblue_en: With order being even more important now with full auto functionality, are there any plans to update the UI to make adjusting team order require less screen changes?

KMR: Not really, but if there are requests for it. Something like being able to swap them around, right?

(Editor’s note: this was mentioned in FKHR’s Director Letter on January 7, 2020. Read more about it here:)

The purple says “It will be easier to swap main party and sub, and change order in the party menu”

(Twitter-submitted question): Will they ever make it possible to make duo units use the characters they are comprised of as skins?

FKHR: We would like to, but on a structural level, it would be very difficult. If we discover a way to do it, that would be great. But right now, it’s not feasible.

Blast Accel/Pedal to the Medal, the Platinum Sky II mini-game

Granblue_en: In “Platinum Sky II”, there was keyboard support for the mini-game; are there plans for more keyboard support for the game?

KMR: We are considering making keyboards usable in future events.

FKHR: It will depend on the kind of mini-game, of course.

KMR: There are likely to be players who only play on PC, so we keep that in mind for the mini-games.

Nakamura Yuuichi, the disappointed uncle of GBF

Granblue_en: During the broadcast, Nakamura (Yuichi, voice actor for Romeo and Tsubasa) said that he only played the mini-game via keyboard…

KMR: Yes, we had him and people like him in mind for the mini-game, people who only play on PC.

Granblue_en: Are there any plans for more rebalances of the T4 classes?

FKHR: The ones that aren’t being used, we’re taking a look at those for adjustment.

KMR: This is true.

Characters and more

Martin, Human Male NPC and Shark Hunter.

Granblue_en: A really popular NPC is the human man. We see that character as the referee, the race announcer, and other NPCs; are they all the same person?

FKHR and KMR: *laughs*

KMR: No, it’s all different people.

FKHR: They’re all different people.

KMR: It’s a different person every time.

Go get ’em, Granny!

Granblue_en: Will we see Granny in the Pride of the Ascendant-level battles?

FKHR and KMR: *laughs*

KMR: Well, we don’t know. When will she show up? We don’t really know. I wonder. Right now, the bosses for it are all serious enemies.

Granblue_en: She’s really popular.

FKHR: This is true.

Granblue_en: The Gachapin event was a digest version of the first part of the main story. Could you please elaborate as to why?

KMR: I think that if you play the event and read the story, you’ll understand why. It’s just as it’s written.

Gachapin and Mukku, together again

Granblue_en: Why is Gachapin so powerful?

KMR: *laughs* It’s because Gachapin can do anything. Gachapin is a character that can do anything, so we set things that way to express that.

FKHR: Exactly.

Granblue_en: There have been two Gachapin campaign collaborations every year for the past few years. Why was Gachapin chosen for these?

FKHR and KMR: *laughs*

KMR: If you read the story in the event, you’ll understand why, I think. But well, there is a chance that it won’t always be Gachapin, but that’s up to all of the players.

Granblue_en: During the first roulette campaign, Gachapin appeared, and many overseas players asked, “who is this?”. And they are wondering why Gachapin was chosen to represent the campaign.

KMR: *laughs* If they read the story for the event, they’ll understand. Then again, it’s true that overseas players might not know who Gachapin is; almost all of the Japanese players do. Not having to explain why Gachapin is in the game and campaign is part of the fun. We finally revealed the reason this year (during the event).

Gachapin’s skills

Granblue_en: Gachapin was released on 12/07. His skills are very similar to the Eternals Anre (1), Tweyen (2), and Seofon (7). Was this done on purpose?

KMR: Oh, that’s coincidence.

FKHR: That was a coincidence. 

Granblue_en: Really?

KMR: A coincidence. I thought it worked out well, though.

FKHR: Indeed.

KMR: We selected the three skills that we felt would be the most impressive.

Granblue_en: Some of the overseas players think that it’s the Eternals putting on a Gachapin costume and changing as skills are being used…

KMR: Let me say this one thing – there is no one “inside” of Gachapin. There’s just Gachapin.

Lucky! Cookie! Vicky!

Granblue_en: With dark Vikala, this completes the element set. With that, and the color scheme for her being different than the other Divine Generals, what does this mean for the rules for making the next character, the Ox?

KMR: Well, we added a brand-new element to Vikala’s design with her mouse-ear hairband.

FKHR: Indeed.

KMR: And because of this new element, the design rules have changed, and thus we don’t know how the next character is going to turn out yet.

Elisheba’s valentine

Granblue_en: In regards to voice actors, recently there was an announcement that the voice actor for Elisheba (Naoise’s mother) would be changing. Have there been any considerations to replace the voice actor for characters whose original voice actors have passed away?

KMR: That’s something we’ll consider when we come across it, if the need arises. We don’t have a specific rule about what to do when it comes to that.

Final thoughts

Granblue_en Are there plans to do a Cystore USA Tour in 2020?

KMR: We would like to do that, yes.

The Granblue Fantasy escape room

Granblue_en: Have either of you escaped from the escape room?

KMR: I did, but I also knew half of the questions. I’m part of the creative team for it. I helped write it and make some of the puzzles.

Granblue_en: SCRAP Entertainment has an American office, so we were wondering if there are plans to run the GBF Escape Room in the United States?

KMR: We don’t currently have plans to right now, but if everyone asks for it, there might be a chance.

(Twitter-submitted question): Has the team thought about adjusting the draw pool, considering the widening SSR pool of limited and regular characters, and how it makes it challenging to obtain characters that are not frequently sparkable?

KMR: Time-limited characters?

FKHR: Like the swimsuit characters, or the Christmas ones?

Granblue_en: Yes.

KMR: Do they mean the previous characters?

Granblue_en: There’s that, and there’s also… 

KMR: The recently released characters?

Granblue_en: Yes. Having only one week or two weeks to get the character, then having no choice but to wait until next year to get them.

KMR: Well, once every half year or so, we do rerelease some of the seasonal characters, and we have previously made a ticket available that allows the player to obtain certain time-limited characters, but well… perhaps it might be a good idea to make the really old characters available by surprise ticket.

Granblue_en: Finally, do you have any messages for the overseas players?

FKHR gracefully autographed our mask, even after all the silly pictures we took of him.

KMR: Well, there’s Versus being released in 2020, and it’s Granblue Fantasy’s first global launch. I hope that everyone will play and enjoy it.

As for next year, there will be a variety of things, like the new Arcarum content. There will be lots of new things to come, so please look forward to them.

FKHR: Well, I mainly feel the same way. Versus is going to be releasing in languages other than English, so players in other countries can play it as well, and it would make me happy if they did.

As for the main game, we’re going to be doing even more than we did this year. And we may do some things overseas. So it would make me happy if our players look forward to the things to come next year, both in-game, and outside of the game, like goods and such.

Many thanks to Granblue_en Tokyo for the assistance with this interview. Please remember to follow @granblue_en for (unofficial) Granblue Fantasy news and translations, and good luck in 2020!