A brand new fighting game has entered the field. It’s a beautiful and vibrant game called Granblue Fantasy: Versus (GBVS) developed by Arc System Works, who are well-known for their works on anime-style fighting games.

To many, GBVS might seem like a brand new game featuring a brand new concept, but it isn’t. Rather, it’s actually a spinoff title of a popular smartphone JRPG in Japan called Granblue Fantasy.

If you haven’t heard of Granblue in your life, don’t fret. Plenty of other people will likely be scratching their heads about this, and rightly so considering Granblue Fantasy Versus (GBVS) is actually Granblue’s first official foray into the overseas market.

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Though the mobile game has been available in English for a while, the developers Cygames never did officially release the game beyond its native home of Japan. You’d basically have to look for the game yourself to learn about it.

To help you ease into Granblue Fantasy Versus and its vast world, we’ve put together a brief primer on the Granblue game and its characters.

What The Heck Is Granblue Fantasy?

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Granblue Fantasy launched in 2014 as a free-to-play JRPG for mobile devices and web browsers. Developed by Cygames, then a growing name in the Japanese mobile gaming space, the title was pitched as a project that would take after classic and iconic JRPGs of the past. It aimed to rekindle the tropes and experiences that the genre was so known for, but within an ever-growing game that one could simply access from their smartphone.

To this end, Cygames enlisted the talents of composer Nobuo Uematsu (known for his legendary Final Fantasy soundtracks) as well as artist Hideo Minaba (who worked on Final Fantasy V, VI, and IX).

The resulting game was a fairly modest turn-based RPG with a familiar fantasy premise, but featuring music, art, and an atmosphere that very much harkened back to the old days of JRPGs.

Perhaps this was the game’s recipe for success, as Granblue Fantasy would soon develop a niche and bolster it into a unique cultural phenomenon quite separate from its Final Fantasy roots. We’re talking yearly conventions, concerts, an anime series, and now its very own console game.

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Yeah, THIS happened back in Tokyo Game Show 2015.

Currently, it’s one of the most popular mobile games in Japan, and one of the oldest running story-focused gacha games around.

What’s The Premise Of Granblue Fantasy?

Granblue Fantasy takes place in the Sky Realm, where floating islands reach out farther than the eye can see. As you, the protagonist, receive a letter from your father inviting you to find him in the distant land of Estalucia, you come across a fleeing girl named Lyria who mysteriously wields a unique power to control powerful magical beasts.

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Your attempt to protect her from her pursuers ends in a fatal injury, after which she binds her own life force to you so that you may continue living.

It is from here that a grand adventure begins. As you embark aboard a flying airship called the Grandcypher, you’ll visit many different islands, encounter allies and foes alike, mediate conflict, and summon fantastical beasts in the process, all as you search for your father in hopes of discovering the reason as to why the sky’s end is near.

If you’ve played enough JRPGs, then this will all sound very, VERY familiar.

Who Are All These Characters?

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Granblue Fantasy lets you recruit new individuals through spending in-game or paid currency on a gacha system. By pulling for new allies, these characters are treated as new party members that meet you somewhere along your journey.

Each character has their own backstory and motivations, but within the lore they’ve inevitably decided to join your ship’s crew. It’s not unlike how things are in a traditional JRPG, though the number of characters you can bring into your fold here does fall into the whopping hundreds.

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Amongst countless established characters and beloved fan favourites, GBVS plucks only a small handful for its cast of 11 playable characters. But even that much might be intimidating to someone who is totally new to Granblue Fantasy.

Rest assured that though these characters hold different places in the game’s vast lore, they’re really nothing more than a band of interesting and colourful individuals that hold no crucial stake in the main plot.

NEXT: Let’s focus on the stars of the game…

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