After a fair bit of waiting, 3DS RPG fans in the West are no doubt looking forward to getting their hands on Bravely Default
— it's based on the updated version known as Bravely Default: For the Sequel
in Japan. The goal of the fresh iteration is to improve and react to feedback on the original Bravely Default: Flying Fairy
release, and it's certainly a positive that the localisation will incorporate the various adjustments; yet Square Enix is planning to step up with a slightly less appealing enhancement in this release — microtransactions.
In an interview with Famitsu (translated by Siliconera
) producer Tomoya Asano describes the Bravely Second, an ability designed to help players past tougher enemies. You pause time by using SP, during which you can then attack the enemies and bosses without them striking back.
SP can be slowly accumulated when your 3DS is in sleep mode (one SP for every eight hours, so three in a day), but you'll also be able to buy a day's worth of sleep mode SP on the eShop in the form of drinks. The Bravely Second is ultimately a trump card, and Asano-san acknowledged that no everyone will be fans.
There’s a chance that all the players could end up disliking it, so we really put a lot of thought into this one. With that in mind, the reason we decided to go through with the plan is because of our wish to have as many people possible beat the game. Some players might want to continue with the story but might not be able to beat the boss no matter how hard they try, and eventually give up on the game, which is the last thing we’d want.
It’s for this reason that we also included the difficulty and encounter rate adjustments. Ultimately, it will be an item that will allow you to beat bosses, simply by drinking it — although we didn’t make it into some item that’s like a ‘bomb that instantly blows up bosses’ because we still want you to have fun with the game. Just to be clear, the game will allow you to still use the Bravely Second up to two or three times a day, without having to purchase SP Drinks.
It was also confirmed that pricing is still to be decided.
We’re actually still in the brainstorming stage for that. If it’s too cheap, then players will get to use it as much as they want, and that would ruin the balance. I think it’d be good to have a price that stays true to the value of a special trump card.
With microtransactions of this nature, we'd suggest it's all about balance. If most players can access the relevant feature enough with the free option, then that makes the paid option easy to ignore, but when games are skewed and designed to push gamers towards spending more — especially in a retail game — then the issue is more contentious. We'll see how balanced Bravely Default is on 6th December in Europe and in 2014 in North America.