Granblue Fantasy: Relink will be available on February 1 for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. Ahead of its release, we sat down with the General Director, Tetsuya Fukuhara, and Director Yasuyuki Kaji from Cygames to discuss the efforts that went into this title.

PlayStation Blog: As the release day approaches, tell us your feelings and thoughts about the upcoming title.

Tetsuya Fukuhara: Just like most team members, the reality hasn’t sunk in yet for me. With the support of the company, we were able to focus on the development of the game, and the demo version received a more positive response than we had hoped for, so I feel all the effort we made to make this title as exciting as possible has paid off.

Yasuyuki Kaji: I feel terrible about how long it took for us to develop Relink and for keeping our fans in limbo. That said, I truly believe our time and effort have translated well into this title. The great response we’ve received for the demo version has instilled confidence in us that players would appreciate the work we have put into Relink, but of course, I feel nervous as it gets closer to the launch.

The battle movements and tempo are quite nimble. Are there any behind-the-scenes stories on how the team decided on the battle speed and what adjustments needed to be made?

Fukuhara: From the initial concept stage, our goal was to make it so that even those still new to action games could control their character skillfully. As we refined the details like movements and hit timing, we adjusted the battle speed; Slower movement or delayed timing would ruin the exhilarating sensation, and faster movement or quicker timing would make it too difficult for the player to keep up with the movement.

Kaji: We wanted to appeal to a broader range of players. Or, more precisely, with the assumption that people who have played the original Granblue Fantasy will be playing the console version for the first time, so we wanted to avoid making the game system too strict. 

With over 20 playable characters appearing in the product version of the title, each with their own unique action style and different playstyle, what mind process did you go through to create this level of difference?

Kaji: Since Granblue Fantasy characters are very popular, I didn’t want Relink to be just another game with them. We aimed to create a game that pushes the limit by bringing out the best in each character and having depth and profundity in the action.

Fukuhara: When choosing characters to include in Relink, we envisioned which characters from the original title would offer a unique play feel and contribute best to make the game more exciting. In earlier days of development, I recall reminding the team not to hold back their creativity because they seemed too focused on mirroring the animation and styles of the original title. It is true that we had to make sure that we stayed within the character images of our original Granblue Fantasy fans, but it is also true that our job was to exceed their expectations and surprise them. 

The PS5 version supports the DualSense wireless controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. How are these features utilized in the game?

Kaji: One of the stages features an ether cannon that fires projectiles. When firing two types of projectiles, the adaptive trigger has different resistance, so the player feels the sensation of firing and the recoil at the tips of their fingers.

Haptic feedback, on the other hand, was fully utilized, especially in battles. As the title boasts a variety of fighting characters who use a wide range of weapons, the haptic feedback is distinctively different from slashing with a large sword to striking with a heavy fist to slicing with two swords. This is directly related to the difference in the playstyle of each character. Also, regarding the game system, when a player successfully performs a just-guard or other move, the DualSense wireless controller sends stronger vibrations. With Haptic feedback, players can feel whether their move was a success or failure, while simultaneously allowing them to experience a sense of tactility and exhilaration.

Cygames’ graphic work excels in the new 3D iteration of the Granblue Fantasy world. How did your team work together to elevate the world, and were there any hurdles along the way?

Fukuhara: Our fundamental goal was to stay true to its 2D illustrations. Achieving that in 3D took us years of trial and error until we were finally satisfied.

Kaji: There was a period of time when we would compare the finished 3D model with the original illustration and repeatedly make adjustments, saying, This part can still be better.  All the textures of the background were hand-drawn. For the background illustrations in Granblue Fantasy, the amount of information is cut back for objects seen in the distance, but to reproduce this in 3D space, we walked around the world and made adjustments.

This title places a great deal of importance on the characters. How are characters portrayed in the game?

Fukuhara: Each character comes from a unique, rich background, so it was important to include the elements of their Fate Episodes from the original version. We wanted to make them easily accessible to players stepping into the world of Relink. Since the backstory of who each character is and why they are with the main character plays an indispensable role in the game, the first two episodes of each character’s ten-part Fate Episode are revealed automatically.

Kaji: It’s not a lie if I say the Link Attacks were included for the purpose of dialogue. Chain Bursts, which is also in the original game, allow the characters to talk to each other, but that alone does not give them enough opportunities to have dialogue during normal gameplay. When we were trying to develop an organic way to allow players to have dialogue with their allies instead of monologue for a more enjoyable game experience, we decided to employ the concept of fighting together. 

What are your plans for additional downloadable content, new quests, and other post-launch developments?

Fukuhara: We have already announced that we will add the most challenging quest in March, two playable characters, Seofon and Tweyen, and a new quest in April. Beyond that, I cannot reveal yet, but we are planning another update in May.

Anything else you’d like to make sure players know?

Fukuhara: Each character offers a different play experience, so I recommend playing with all characters. Of course, you can enjoy the game even if you play the main character exclusively and play solo until endgame content. You’ll notice it will go smoothly when you play the story mode, but as we have carefully created every nook and cranny of the map, we hope you step away from the story and explore the map from time to time. It’s sure to give you a fresh perspective during the game! 

Kaji: We designed the game to be accessible so that many people can play and enjoy this title. As each character has their own unique style of play, we successfully imbued palpable profoundness in the game. We hope you will enjoy playing the game in a way that allows you to explore each character’s unique moves. The game offers a large selection of equipment and skills, so you can master your characters how you like to fight. 

Granblue Fantasy: Relink launches on PS5 and PS4 on February 1.