E3 2017: Hiroki Fujimoto and Kei Hirono Discuss Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius was originally released about a year and a half ago and has achieved 23 million players. Recently the Japanese version took over the number one spot in the app store so it is still doing extremely well. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius features a story reminiscent of classic Final Fantasy titles along with classic turn-based combat and exploration with intuitive touch screen controls as it was designed for mobile devices, with a combination of classic sprites and more modern 3D CGI images. An important element of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is the blending of classic Final Fantasy elements with its own original identity, and as such features its own original characters mixed with a few cameos from fan favorites and even pop sensation Ariana Grande as a playable character.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the global edition, a real world event FFBE Fan Festa will be held around the world as the game is being played around the world. Fan Fest will kick off on July 8 in Paris, France and in the following months will visit Taipei, Taiwan in September, New York City, NY, USA in October, Busan, Korea, in November, and wrap in Los Angeles, CA, USA, in December. Recently Hardcore Gamer talked with producers Hiroki Fujimoto and Kei Hirono about Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and some of the upcoming events related to the game.

[Hardcore Gamer] There’s a mix of Final Fantasy influences in all the screenshots and cutscenes you’ve shown me. The character sprites and monster designs in the fight scenes look inspired by the 16 bit Final Fantasies, particularly Final Fantasy VI, whereas the cut scene CGI looks like XIII and XV. The dragon I assume to be Bahamut is a new design but looks heavily inspired by how he looked in VII.

[Hiroki Fujimoto and Kei Hirono] The Bahamut design does take from the model but we wanted to change it some and add in some more modern touches, creates a new, unique design. We can show you it in action if you’d like (searches for file on system, says it will take a few minutes before it is ready). Final Fantasy one through six is considered the classic era and Brave Exvius takes the idea of what we just continued progressing the series in the classic style and kept going into the modern era, what would it look like then with sprite art and modern technology.

With the exception of the numbered sequels like X-2 or XIII-3, every Final Fantasy was its own unique entity in regards to its world, unique gameplay elements and characters. Were there any particular entries in the series that stand out as far as being more influential in the design Brave Exvius?

With so many amazing Final Fantasy titles to draw inspiration from you could say we have been inspired by all of them. The Brave Exvius team sees this title on par with a numbered Final Fantasy title and we really went all in trying to create an original game that speaks to fans of the earlier games with the story, the characters, the pacing, and exploration elements and wanted to create something unique that could stand along side all of the numbered titles.

I do see a strong resemblance to the structure of the classic Final Fantasies, not just with the visual presentation but also with the overhead world exploration and turn-based combat gameplay style.

It’s definitely more in line with the classic Final Fantasy style and the classic RPG style in general. We touched upon it a little bit earlier but as far as the series goes it was with Final Fantasy VII that the series took a major turn in terms of graphics where it abandoned the use of sprites and pixels and went into a more 3D polygon and CGI direction and so with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius we wanted to go back to that point and imagine what if Final Fantasy VII had been created with sprites and pixel art and just had progressed in that same visual progression until this point with Final Fantasy XV and how that game would play. That’s where we took that theme.

Going back to the one year celebration of the global version with Fan Festa, will there by any content updates to coincide with these events?

We are definitely planning a big content update on June 22 for version 2.2.0, and we’re planning on releasing a lot of new systems and features in that update. One of the main systems that will be new for this update is the expedition system which is where you can send off characters outside of your party to go on their own missions to retrieve some items for you and they will continue on their expeditions even if the app is closed so when you restart the app you will have some new items available to you so that is something fun players can look forward to.

Sounds like a nice way to passively acquire gear while you’re not playing.

It is and that feature will be exclusive to the global version (pulls up the video of the Brave Exvius Bahamut animation that was mentioned earlier in the interview),

Nice. I can see that the animation in its attack was inspired by Bahamut Zero in Final Fantasy VII. The creature design is quite different, but the attack animation shows its influence where he reels back his head and unleashes his attack from outer space.

Visual Works has been involved with creating the CG for the Final Fantasy series and have been creating the CG for this game as well so they really understand the importance of having the Final Fantasy appearance in the animations. We don’t have the actual artwork on hand here but I wish we did so we could show you, the actual artwork for this Bahamut has six wings.

It’s an interesting approach to the design. You are creating something new and unique, but because it’s being based off the previous games as a template and using the same overall style, you’re able to present something new but still be able to have it invoke an element of nostalgia.

The Brave Exvius team does have the Final Fantasy DNA flowing through their veins so they really want to make it something recognizable to the fans. We do have an upcoming collaboration involving Final Fantasy XII to coincide with the release of Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age and there will be several characters added to Brave Exvius, one of which happens to be one of the judges and is going to be an exclusive character to the global version and that is something we are really excited about. Something we want to add is since Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is a new title for mobile devices we are hoping that it gets new players interested in the series who didn’t have access to the earlier games when they were originally released and to commemorate the Final Fantasy series as a whole which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.