The beginning of 2024 turned out to be extremely successful for Japanese developers. Granblue Fantasy: Relink, a new RPG developed and published by Cygames, is now doing big numbers on Steam.

Granblue Fantasy: Relink peaks at nearly 74k concurrent players, third biggest launch on Steam this year

Granblue Fantasy: Relink’s successful launch

Released on February 1, Granblue Fantasy: Relink received positive reviews from critics, with an average Metascore of 80.

Although it currently has a “Mixed” rating on Steam (68% of the 2,510 user reviews are positive), the main criticism is aimed towards the game’s technical issues like crashes and bugs rather than gameplay or the story. So the game’s score may improve in the future.

According to SteamDB, Granblue Fantasy: Relink has already peaked at 73,949 concurrent players, indicating strong player interest.

UPDATE (February 4): Over the weekend, Granblue Fantasy: Relink attracted even more players, eventually peaking at 114,054 CCU.

Cygames’ new title is now the third biggest launch on Steam of 2024 by peak CCU, behind only two survival hits — Enshrouded (160.4k CCU) and Palworld (2.1 million CCU). It also managed to attract more concurrent players on the platform than other hot new releases, Tekken 8 (49.9k CCU) and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (46.1k CCU).

It is hard to remember a time when four of the top five Steam games by that metric were developed/published by Japanese companies:

  • Palworld — Pocketpair (Tokyo);
  • Granblue Fantasy: Relink — Cygames (Tokyo);
  • Tekken 8 — Bandai Namco (Tokyo);
  • Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth — Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio / Sega (Tokyo).

Who is Granblue Fantasy developer Cygames?

Established in 2011 by Japanese web services company CyberAgent, Cygames is a video game developer best known for mobile games like Shadowverse, Princess Connect! Re:Dive. However, its biggest hit is Uma Musume Pretty Derby, a life sim / horse racing title based on the popular Japanese media franchise.

Uma Musume Pretty Derby is one of the highest-grossing mobile games globally, having already generated over $2 billion in lifetime revenue since its launch in February 2021. According to Sensor Tower, Japan accounts for 95% of player spending.

Granblue Fantasy is also an important IP in Cygames’ portfolio. In 2014, it launched a mobile title of the same name, generating the initial hype by bringing together the two names that hold a special place in the hearts of Final Fantasy fans — art director Hideo Minaba and composer Nobuo Uematsu.

The game ended up being a huge hit, with lifetime IAP revenue estimated at over $579.1 million (via AppMagic). As with Uma Musume Pretty Derby, the vast majority of its audience is from Japan.

Cygames’ top 5 mobile games by lifetime revenue, according to AppMagic

With Relink, Cygames wanted to create a full-price action RPG for PC and console rather than a free-to-play mobile title. Announced in 2016, it was originally in development in collaboration with PlatinumGames (Bayonetta, Nier: Automata), but the studio left the project a few years later. The company eventually released the game today after several delays.

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