Letter from the Director 2022

FKHR in a shark hat
2022 Letter from the Head Shark, FKHR

At the beginning of every year since 2018, Granblue Fantasy creative director Fukuhara Tetsuya has written a letter addressed to GBF players to discuss the game’s past, present, and future. The 2022 edition of the letter covers GBF, Granblue Fantasy Versus, and Granblue Fantasy Relink in one pass – here’s our translation of the whole thing!

(Standard disclaimer: this translation is not official – any mistakes are vibratingsheep’s unless noted otherwise)

Letter from the Director, Volume 5

Happy new year. This is the director, Fukuhara [Tetsuya].

This is the 2022 edition of the annual January 7th letter. Just like in previous years, I’ll write a bit about the previous year in review and my thoughts on what’s coming up, so I hope you can follow along on this journey.

For game update information, you can find a lot of it in the January 2022 edition of KoreGra.

Granblue Fantasy

Looking Back at 2021

When I look at the year in review slides that we showed at Granblue Fantasy Fes 2021, I feel like it was a year with a lot of quality of life updates. I’ll pull out a few lines from my 2021 letter:

“Our guiding principle for the year is the same as last year, we will continue to make the game easier to play.

When a game like ours has been around so long, you get more and more players who quit (or take a break) and come back to the game later. We want to make it so that when players want to try the game out again, they don’t think “It’s so different that I don’t recognize it” or “there’s so much new stuff that I don’t know what to do next.”

It’s a tough task to play the same game 365 days a year, so we want our game to be the kind of game that you feel like you can take a break from.

Of course, we do have a large number of players who do play every day and have for years, and for those people we want to express our continuing gratitude by being able to offer an unending flow of events, updates, stories, and more as only a social game can.”

Letter from the Director 2021

We’re going to continue along this path this year, and really, I believe we’re going to keep going along this principle every year.

Thanks to your support, our regular players kept playing in 2021 and many new players came to join them. I feel like that means we need to keep our players thinking “this game is easy to play” and “I can always have fun”.

GBF has been running for quite a few years, and the game industry and our philosophy as a company has changed in that time. Our principles going forward will be making a game service that you can play on your PC or your phone that feels good, that you can play casually if you want to, and that you have fun with.

2021 had less combat content added than the average year in GBF, and we plan on making up for that in 2022. We’ll have the Replicard Sandbox update, the Ennead series of fights that started with Osiris and the planned upgrades to the Ennead weapon series, plus the high difficulty Diaspora battle (name not final), and more – we hope you enjoy them.

Quality of Life updates

We have a lot of small updates planned for this year to keep making the game easier to play. As each update approaches launch, we’ll announce it in that month’s KoreGra, so we hope you look forward to all the changes we’re planning.

We’ve already added a whole lot of customizations to game systems that make the game experience smoother and easier, but we also feel that we’ve done so many that people haven’t been able to keep up with or find the smaller ones…

One example is the Auto-Reserve function. There are many weapons that you look at and say “I’ll only ever use this as fodder”, and if you check off a box on that weapon, then if that weapon ever drops in battle again, the game will automatically Reserve it for you. The Auto-Reserve feature really takes a lot of the pressure off of inventory management.

However, to be honest with you, we’re really bad at showing you that the function exists and how to use it (we’re very sorry about that), so we feel like not many people know about it and use it.

If you didn’t know about it before – please try it out and take advantage of it!

We will keep improving the UI and menu flow of our game, as well as add new features.

Battle content

We’ll have the Replicard Sandbox update, the Ennead series of fights that started with Osiris… the high difficulty Diaspora battle (name not final), and more

FKHR, earlier in this letter

We already announced the three updates above, and another big update is the addition of new classes!

Tier V classes

We plan on adding the Viking and Paladin classes to the game on the 8th anniversary (March 10th, 2022).

Viking class concept sketch
Paladin class concept sketch

The first Tier IV classes, Berserker and Sage, were added with the 2nd anniversary, on March 10th 2016.

Wow, has it been that long? It’s the first new tier in 6 years.

As I recall, the buzz around the Tier IV classes a while ago (or maybe two whiles ago) was “it’s an easier endgame goal than uncapping the Eternals to 5 stars”.

Compared to then, it’s much easier to achieve [these tier V classes]. But now we have Eternal Transcendence and other endgame content, so we want to make these much easier to unlock by comparison. We want you to be able to play a little each day and work visibly toward achieving these.

We hope you enjoy building toward these classes by working on the Master Levels introduced in December 2021.

The Main Character has been around the longest out of all characters, and we think it will be a nice, simple pleasure to change how your main character looks with upcoming classes and new class skins!

Further Tier V classes will be added after the 8th anniversary.

Endgame content

After the Dark Rapture (Hard) raid, we focused on making battles of equivalent difficulty, but the game has changed to the point where players are much stronger than this content. In order to challenge these strong players, we added Super Ultimate Bahamut.

The Diaspora battle (name not final) we announced at GBF Fes 2021 will also be more difficult than Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Belial, so if you’re one of those players who wants to tackle the hardest challenges, then you should sharpen your fangs and wait for this.

On the other side, we’re still looking into systems that make the mental hurdle to hard content less intimidating. We thought that we could lower the mental barrier by making a system where your party wiping would not leave you feeling guilty, but there were a lot of issues with implementing the system we announced, causing many delays. We apologize to those who have been waiting for this feature for so long.

We believe that there are many players who are strong enough and ready to fight Lucilius, but they’re scared and can’t bring themselves to challenge him. We are looking into ways to give them a little encouraging push or help them out so that they can learn to enjoy the new challenges the game can offer.

The first set of Pride of the Ascendant fights has been added to the game, and we plan on making the second set even stronger than the first. However, since you don’t have to rush to beat any of the Pride of the Ascendant quests, we hope that you enjoy the challenge as a way to test yourself.

Story events

Last year, we reached a major climax for several ongoing plotlines in “Home Sweet Moon”, “False Heroes”, “Auguste of the Dead(???)” and more. “Showtime: Legend of the Blue Yonder”, “The Strength to Wield”, and “Imagination Overdrive!” were sequels, and “A Tale of Kindled Bonds”, “The Divine General Assembly”, and “Marionette Stars” started new storylines.

“The Time a 37-Year-Old Former Imperial Soldier Got His Life in Order by Awakening to the Greatness That Is Saunas” was… well, when you think about summer events in mobile games, it’s swimsuit season, and we wanted to inject a bunch of older men in a sauna into that. A normal game company would call us crazy for doing that story, but I remember it being received very favorably.

Last year we had more new story art than ever before (we seem to say that every year, I apologize to our art team) along with a lot of new NPCs and smaller character art adjustments (such as facial expressions, etc). This made the stories even more fun. We hope you enjoy the Graphic Archive for 2021!

The 8th anniversary story event is a story about the Primal Beasts, some of the most important entities in the Sky Realm. It delves into the topic of who the Primal Beasts are, and what purpose they serve, more than any other event in the 8 year history of Granblue Fantasy.

The English-subbed trailer for the 8th anniversary event

The Primal Beasts exist outside of the natural cycle of life. They imitate the forms of natural life, mortal and animal, and are all called by the same name, “Beast”. How do they think? What do they regard their own existences?

We hope you enjoy their tale.

Granblue Fantasy Versus

We released a major update for Granblue Fantasy Versus at the end of 2021.

We’re very happy about the success of the game, and especially happy about the increased tournament activity from players and fans.

The cover for the Legendary Edition of Granblue Fantasy Versus

We’ve added Vira and the boom-or-bust Avatar Belial to the game, and the Legendary Edition of the game is doing well! (The physical version of the Legendary Edition goes on sale March 3rd, 2022)

The announced updates for the game:

Spring 2022: Version 2.7x, with a connection strength indicator.
Early Summer 2022: Version 2.80, with new game systems (planned)

That’s all we’ve announced so far, but we’re also holding the GBVS Cygames Cup tournament as well as another major tournament with prize money on the line near those content updates, so you should look forward to those events and what they may have in store.

We want to continue supporting the game and are listening to requests both from the Japanese fanbase and the overseas fanbase.

We are looking into a way to give non-Japanese players the opportunity to unlock the special character colors that were exclusive to Cygames Cup competitors. (This is an announcement meant for overseas players, so we’ll cover this one on the official Twitter account for the game).

Banner promoting the Cygames Cup in Spring 2022

Looking at the short term, we’re holding our next tournament on February 6th. Entries close on January 26th, so please sign up – there are rewards just for registering! (translator’s note: the Cygames Cup is only available for Japanese residents, so the exclusive colors are not available – this was addressed in the previous paragraph and announced in English on the official GBVS Twitter account:)

This tournament will have two new characters available in the cast, so we think it’ll be exciting for the spectators too! For more information, please check on the GBVS Cygames Cup official site.

Granblue Fantasy Relink

Cover art for Granblue Fantasy Relink
Cover art for Granblue Fantasy Relink

The official Relink Twitter account (@gbf_relink_jp) is up! Please follow them and support them.

In our latest teaser trailer, you can se the Action RPG gameplay and the world of Granblue Fantasy in 3D. Please watch if you haven’t already!

We’re currently in the phase of development where we’re doing countless quality checks, making minor adjustments, and overall adding polish.

Our next set of announcements for Relink will take place during or after the 8th anniversary, and we plan on giving you a whole lot more information than we ever have before.

That’s all – please enjoy Granblue Fantasy for another year!

Granblue Fantasy creative director
Fukuhara Tetsuya