A recent issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine features an interview where Bravely Default series producer Tomoya Asano does a surprising thing: he apologizes for 2015's Bravely Second: End Layer.
"[F]irst of all please allow me to apologise about Bravely Second. Despite receiving a lot of expectations for Bravely Second, we feel like there were parts that didn’t live up to all fans’ expectations," Asano says. "The introspection from Bravely Second has taken a deep, strong root in production for all titles being worked on by our team right now."
The interview, which was translated by Japanese Nintendo with help from BlackKite, contains another interesting tidbit about the Bravely games: One reason Asano moved onto making Octopath Traveler for the Switch is because he believed that "future expansions of Bravely series would be difficult."
The 2017 Japan-exclusive mobile game Bravely Default: Fairy's Effect gets credit for giving the Bravely team the confidence it needed to tackle Bravely Default 2 for the Switch. Asano was surprised when Square Enix's mobile team asked to make a mobile title based in the Bravely universe, and it gave him the courage he needed to move on with Bravely Default 2.
Square Enix producer Masashi Takahashi, who joined the Bravely team after Bravely Second, says Bravely Default 2 returns to the series' original intentions. "[We] decided to renew the world setting and appearing characters, in order to make even users who will touch the Bravely series for the first time able to 100% enjoy it," he says. "We thought what title would be good in order to convey that it’s a story about new characters and also a brand-new Bravely title without any misunderstanding."
Takahashi's worries about "misunderstandings" are valid, as Google reveals lots of potential players are confused about "Bravely Second" versus "Bravely Default 2." To clear things up: The former is a direct follow-up to the first Bravely Default game—and Asano is clearly disappointed in it. The translated portion of the interview doesn't reveal the specifics about why Bravely Second almost put the series on hiatus for good, but the wide breadth of recycled resources, including music and graphic models, might have something to do with it. Bravely Default 2, meanwhile, is a totally new game with new characters that's built ground up for the Switch.
If you're still confused about Bravely Second and Bravely Default 2, we have a detailed explainer for you. We also have impressions of Bravely Default 2's (difficult) demo.