Granblue Fantasy: Versus is a 2.5D high-fantasy fighting game developed by Arc System Works and published for the PlayStation 4 in Japan (by Cygames) on February 6, 2020, in North America (by XSEED) on March 3, 2020, and in Europe (by Marvelous) on March 27, 2020. It was later digitally released worldwide for the PC on March 13, 2020.
A spin-off of the mobile RPG Granblue Fantasy, Versus brings the game's characters and setting into a traditional fighting game reminiscent of the studio's Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series. Similar to Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- and Dragon Ball FighterZ, Versus uses the technique of specialized cel-shading and limited animation in Unreal Engine 4 to give the illusion of 2D hand-drawn character art.
The game is also known for its cooldown-based "Skill" system, where each character's special and super moves can be simplified with a dedicated shortcut button (the "Skill" button), and for its "RPG Mode": a side-scrolling beat-'em-up action-RPG mode that serves as the game's main campaign.
Each player has access to three basic Attack buttons (Light, Medium, and Heavy) and a bonus "Unique Action" button (which perform different actions based on the character chosen). Pressing both Light Attack and Unique Action performs a throw attempt, while pressing both Medium Attack and Heavy Attack performs an Overhead Attack. In addition, players can use an optional dedicated Block button, which can be used in conjunction with the joystick for quick evasions.
One of the key features of the game is its cooldown-based "Skill" system, where each character's special moves can be performed simply by holding down one shortcut button (the Skill button) and tapping the joystick a specific direction. Traditional command inputs can be used instead, sacrificing simplicity for a shortened cooldown.
Both players have an SBA Gauge, or "Skybound Art Gauge", which fills by dealing and receiving damage and serves as the game's super meter. When the gauge is completely full, players can perform a high-damaging super move known as a "Skybound Art".
If the character's vitality is 30% or lower, their HP gauge changes color and they can perform a one-time "Super Skybound Art".
In addition to the standard fighting game mode, Versus features a unique campaign mode (RPG Mode) that allows up to two players to fight against waves of enemies in beat-em-up style action. Similar to the original Granblue Fantasy game, the player travels to various islands, clearing out enemies, and fighting boss characters to advance the story. Depending on their performance, the player can acquire new weapons or items to upgrade existing ones.
Players in this mode start off playing as Gran, but can unlock new characters to control as the story goes on.
Gran and a few of his crewmates head to Albion to meet up with Katalina, but are surprised to find an attack by soldiers of the Erste Empire, a nation that they defeated in the past, and that Katalina appears to have completely forgotten her history with Lyria and rejoined the Empire. As the Grandcypher travels around the Skydom, they encounter similar problems with former crewmembers forgetting their pasts and attacking Gran on sight.
The base game includes 11 playable characters and 1 unplayable boss (who was later made unlockable for play). Additional characters were made available as downloadable content.
- Gran - Granblue Fantasy's default male protagonist, Captain of the Grandcypher and newly-minted skyfarer. He wields a standard sword, but can call upon Lyria's power with some special attacks.
- Katalina - Former Lieutenant of the Erste Empire who was charged with guarding Lyria, but helped her escape. She wields a rapier.
- Charlotta - the Harvin leader of the Order of Holy Knights with an inferiority complex about her short size, she often stands on top of boxes to appear taller. Wields a great sabre bigger than herself.
- Lancelot - Captain of the Order of the White Dragons. He wields a pair of short swords imbued with the ice element.
- Percival - A noble knight, former commander of the Black Dragons who left his post to help the weak and downtrodden. He wields a giant sword imbued with fire.
- Ferry - An Erune ghost who has recently come to terms with her deceased sister thanks to The Captain and their friends. She uses a whip and calls upon her ghost friends to help in battle.
- Lowain - A young, free-spirited Erune who became smitten with Katalina at first sight. He convinced The Captain to let him and his friends (Elsam and Tomoi) join the Grandcypher as cooks, but spends just as much time dreaming up ways to win Katalina's heart. Lowain wields a pair of daggers in combat, but can also call upon his friends to fight with him.
- Ladiva - The muscular wrestler full of love for everyone, she takes on all comers as a duelist in the Jewel Resort casino. Ladiva uses her pro-wrestling skills in combat.
- Metera - A flighty Erune archer who wields a magic bow and can magically fly through the air.
- Zeta - A stubborn human soldier for The Society, a secretive group dedicated to fighting the Primal Beasts and related supernatural threats against the Skydom, who wields the Spear of Arvess.
- Vaseraga - A Draph soldier who is rarely seen outside of his armor and wields his Great Scythe, Grynoth, to intimidate or destroy his enemies with his massive strength. Like Zeta, he also works for The Society.
- Beelzebub (final boss) - The ultimate antagonist of GBVS, an Astral being who seeks to stand above all creation. Beelzebub gathers his strength while he awaits the time to break free of Pandemonium. Made unlockable for play on March 3, 2020 (either by completing RPG Mode or by owning the Beelzebub Character Set DLC).
Character Pass 1
Although Beelzebub can be unlocked without owning DLC, he is considered part of this DLC "season" and is part of the season's corresponding Color Pack Sets.
- Narmaya - A Draph swordmaster who joined the Grandcypher crew after The Captain praised her skills. She constantly seeks validation and trains herself every day to earn the favor of the distant swordmaster relative who trained her. Players can switch between her two stances (Dawnfly and Freeflutter) to use different skills. Released on March 13, 2020.
- Soriz - An old, muscular melee fighter who regularly smashes rocks with his fists as part of his training. Released on April 13, 2020.
- Djeeta - Granblue Fantasy's default female protagonist, Captain of the Grandcypher and newly-minted skyfarer. She wields a standard sword, but can call upon Lyria's power with some special attacks. Released on April 13, 2020.
- Zooey - A dark-skinned girl who calls herself the "arbitrator," seeking to restore balance to the world. She wields a sword and shield in combat, and has befriended a pair of tiny dragons to aid her. Released on April 27, 2020.
Character Pass 2
- Belial - Primal Beast and self-proclaimed Fallen Angel who sparked the Primal Beasts' rebellion that led to the original War in the Sky Realm. Released on September 24, 2020.
- Cagliostro - The creator of alchemy who successfully transferred her soul into another body. An extreme narcissist who sees others as beneath her intellect. Released on October 20, 2020.
- Yuel - A foxy Erune who manipulates flames with her magical dances. She seeks to restore her family's royal lineage with her childhood friend Societte, unaware she's being manipulated by an ancient kitsune god. Released on December 13, 2020.
- Anre - The Sky Realm's greatest spear master and the founder of the Eternals. A sage who hovers off the ground and has an ironclad defense. Released on January 25, 2021.
- Eustace - An Erune who works for the Society, but unlike other members prefers to work on his own with nothing but peace, quiet, and his trusty rifle to keep him company. Released on April 20, 2021.
- Seox - Released on July 13, 2021.
- Vira - The Lord Commander of the Imperial Academy at Albion, bonded to the Primal Beast known as Luminaria. Vira is obssessed with Katalina after their time together at the Academy and seeks to earn her favor in return. She fights with a similar sword style to Katalina. Released on December 13, 2021.
- Avatar Belial - After stealing the "Versus Core" from Beelzebub, Belial now has even more power at his disposal to wreak havoc on the skies, though his body is decaying while he uses it. This version of Belial has a slightly different fighting style, with a lot more high-risk, high-reward moves. Released on December 13, 2021.