Star Ocean: The Last Hope International Marketed With Anime Art

By Spencer . December 28, 2009 . 2:12pm

Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Star Ocean: The Last Hope International are pretty much the same game, but Square Enix is marketing the game differently on each platform.


In North America, Star Ocean: The Last Hope International uses anime art for the game’s cover. This is a change from the sci-fi-ish Xbox 360 box art which has a CG silhouette of Edge. For the West, a classic menu interface with anime portraits is one of the new features in the PS3 release.


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An optional CG model menu interface is one of Star Ocean: The Last Hope International’s new features for Japan, but Square Enix Japan is still advertising the game with artwork instead of rendered characters.


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The marketing transition appears to be lost in Europe where Star Ocean: The Last Hope uses the same shadowy character models for both versions. Europe’s International box art is actually a modified version of our Xbox 360 cover art with Reimi and a purple glow.


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  • malek86

    This and the Nier affair, I think they pretty much sum up all that’s wrong with japanese companies trying to expand in the west: they are too bound to stereotypes.

  • Slashlen

    Needs more bald space marines. And guns.

    If SE doesn’t fix this, people might figure out Star Ocean 4 isn’t a western game. :)

    • rinshu

      So true. If SE would just stop trying to make their games appeal to the 360 Halo-bots and focus on their true fan-base they might find things alot more favorable sales wise, in the west I mean. I already finished the SE4 on the 360 but Ill be buying the international version and selling my 360 copy as I want the proper version for my collection.

      • Hraesvelgr

        You mean like how their “true fanbase” bought all of those non-FF/KH related games back on PS2? Oh, right, they didn’t… oh well… There’s a reason the games don’t sell well and it has nothing to do with sad sods who worry about stupid brand loyalty as if they were major shareholders.

      • It doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Actually, in a time where so many games are coming out and the difficultly of keeping track of them all, it’s a great idea to broaden your base, but the problem I see it with is why start with the boxart? When I was doing advertising with in the high school MBA program the idea was to make it the best of what it was rather than something else.

        Atlus USA did a sort of behind-the-scenes with Trauma Center 2’s boxart, but it was mostly the technical stuff and wasn’t too different from the Japanese counterpart anyway. It would be great to see what gets put on the table when discussing about what’s a good face to put on a game.
        It’s not a huge deal for me, but as fan of a lot of what even Europe gets for covers I can’t help but think what these N.A. market researches are really trying to tell me, if anything at all.
        Not being familiar with the SO series at all I have to admit, I’m a little confused after seeing both covers… but, hey, that’s why there’s Google and Youtube.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Where does the bald space marine stereotype come from, anyway? So many Western games, yet I can think of very few where you play as a bald space marine, let alone any space marine.What Square Enix does need to fix is the fact that the game sucks, otherwise people might figure out Star Ocean 4 isn’t a good game. Oh, wait, they already did. Nevermind.

      • Hmm.. I wouldn’t call it a stereotype, but if I were to put a face on the gaming decade of 2000-2009 I would have came to the same conclusion; some marine dude with a do-rag and alien weaponry. It’s just seems like “the thing” to me if the mainstream media outlets and sales are anything to go by.

      • malek86

        Stereotypes can often come from faraway times. For example, how some people keep saying all JRPGs have a blonde spiky-haired emo guy with a giant sword as main character.I guess the whole “bald space marine” thing originated as a mixture from Halo (space marine) and Gears of War (bald, kinda). But aside from that, it’s not like there are actually many games with bald space marines around.

  • holyPaladin

    I think the anime one looks good

  • Hraesvelgr

    As usual, Japan gets the best box art. ‘Course, decent box art can’t save this turd…

    • rinshu

      I guess they dont moderate for trolls in the comments huh?

      • Aoshi00

        lol, he hates SO4 w/ a passion, he’s been dissing the game for the whole year. I actually never got into the Star Ocean series, didn’t like SO3 Till the end of time on PS2, but I enjoyed SO4 quite much…

        • Hraesvelgr

          Well, I did think the battle system was pretty good. I just didn’t think the rest of the game was anything… well, good, really. To be fair, I didn’t like SO3, either, but I did love the original two games, as well as the remake of the first.

          • Aoshi00

            SO3’s story just didn’t grip me, but I like SO4’s cast just enough (just a wacky bunch) to want to continue forward, plus the battle system was very fun. I only bought the first PSP remake and played the beginning (got to the port..), I really need to get to that one of these days. I suppose the story for the first two games were much more epic.

      • We do. Did you flag the comment for moderation though?

        It’s really not fair to wipe comments after one strike, but after so many flags we take action.

        • JohnCasey1

          I’m sure.

      • Hraesvelgr

        I’d like to hope that so long as I’m not insulting to other commenters, I wouldn’t be moderated or be considered a “troll”.

        • Of course not. It’s OK to disagree and discuss :)

  • Aoshi00

    Personally I don’t think SO4 has the best anime art (that’s why I preferred the 360 ver’s CG artstyle and menu, I bought the Jpn ver on 360 too). The US cover is cool, but the characters look off somehow, like Reimi’s posture seems a little unnatural. The Jpn ver however is awesome looking, since that’s the cover of the Jpn complete guidebook, I want that!

  • JohnCasey1

    You forgot one. International has an additional *third* portrait style, which is like high-res anime art. Multi-shaded, more or less.

  • Would have imported the Japanese game just for the boxart, but I saved 15 dollars ordering the North American game, and I think the North American boxart is still pretty damn good. I find it interesting that they’re using the anime artwork on the PS3 boxart, I guess they think PS3 owners perfer anime? Which at least for me this is true haha.

    • Aoshi00

      I haven’t pre-ordered this yet, I might actually fork over more for the Jpn cover if both US and Jpn version have the exact same content. I’m very picky when it comes to cover art, like I bought the Jpn ver of Heavenly Sword (…) instead of the US ver (…). Although the Jpn version of Ratchet A Crack in Time has dual tracks, the cover is not as good as the US cover this time around (…) compared to the cool US one (…). If the PS3 version of Bayonetta wasn’t worse off, I would’ve imported it for the Jpn cover too. As it stands, I don’t feel like getting the region locked 360 ver by paying more.

      I must say though, I’m still not very used to the anime ver of the chars, because I’ve gotten so used to the CG ver, which I thought looked very nice and most of all consistent. The anime illustration looks very different to me from piece to piece.. still, I’m glad we finally have the definitive version of the game, all in one package.

      • Well I’m kinda hoping folks will put out a high res scan of the Japanese cover that I can just print onto the back of the North American cover.

        Also, I think that Japanese Crack in Time cover looks much better haha.

        • Aoshi00

          lol, that’s not a bad idea. They should give us a “reversible” cover, now that would truly be the “International” version. Again, my problem w/ SO4’s anime art is I don’t think they’re very consistent, Edge and Reimi look like different people btwn the US and Jpn covers…I guess the Jpn one is kind of cool too, I would prefer them using the same US cover like Tools of Destruction, but I thought the US one is cooler, kind of like Naruto/Sasuke for Ultimate Ninja Storm, not to mention his thick brows are always slightly unsettling.. But how about Nariko, she looks sexier in the Jpn one right. Sometimes I can’t believe how much I value cover arts either, it’s not like I stare at it all day.. but then I think about Wartech Senko no Ronde, cough..

          Adding one more thing, actually one thing that bugs me about the Jpn cover is the boring “plain text” on the side for the titles, compared to the logos and pictures in US games which look colorful and easily distinguishable at first glance. I just pulled out my drawer and look at all my Wii/360/PS3 imports, god they look boring, see told you I’m picky :)

          • It’s all about havin’ the pretty collection, you wanna pull out that case on your shelf and say “Damn, that’s some fine ass artwork!”. Speaking of which, I hope this game has colored manuals! I haven’t bought a SquareEnix game since FF4 for DS, and I forget if that game had color manuals or not…

            I’m not sure what you mean about consistency though, maybe I don’t have the eye for art, but they look the same to me… Though it’s hard telling with such small images. Unless you’re talking about the anime art vs the in game graphics, then yeah I see what you mean. Shame they didn’t add some sort of cel-shaded filter to this version, ala Katamari Forever.

          • Aoshi00

            yeah, I forgot, US games almost always have B&W manuals, at least back then.. I actually rarely flip thru any game manuals. I just digged out my Jpn FF4 DS copy to check, all pages are colored, but I haven’t opened my US game yet, I just bought it for collection’s sake. No, I mean they look inconsistent, like they’re drawn by different artists (obviously in most cases), the profiles on the Jpn cover have a more mature art style and make everyone look older, but the US one looks more cartoonish and they look like teenagers.. Maybe I’m just biased though, I usually prefer original artwork (anime art in JRPGs’ case), but in SO4’s case I really don’t think it has the best artwork and thought some char portraits during the conversation were poorly drawn, so I like the CG art better.

            I hear you, ugly covers bug me. Even though Jpn covers sport better art 90% of the time, the side of the boxes looking boring (gray text for Wii and black text for PS3), I don’t know why they would make the side so uniform..

          • Well the side for Taiko no Tatsujin Wii 2 is pretty nice, it actually uses the game’s logo(like most North American boxes) and not the boring gray text. On that same note, one thing I really like about recent Japanese box sides is they put the rating at the bottom, I think that looks rather nice.

            Edit: Also I checked my NA copy of FF4 for DS and it did indeed have a colored manual, and so did SO1 for PSP, so luckily SquareEnix still does colored manuals in North America. Now if only Ignition and Xseed would do colored manuals!

  • Saturnus

    I really like the 2nd PS3 cover art with all the characters’ profiles. Looks nice. The first once just looks awkward…

    I also like the PS3 ‘shadow’ one, too. I like the shadowed out characters, gives this mysterious space feel.

    tbh, I don’t care about SE problems. Just give me the game, and then I can move on with my life.

  • Extra_Life

    The European PS3 box art is so similar to the original 360 art that I almost wouldn’t be surprised if Europe got a direct port without any of the anime art options. Of course, it says ‘International’ on that box too, so I must be wrong. Bad as it is based solely on box art, I think I’d be more likely to pick up the Japanese or American version if I re-purchase the game on PS3.

  • woow … im torned between USA cover or japanese cover ………
    this time european cover sucks XD ! In the end it will be wich ever game is chaper XD ! but humm yes ill defenatly import one of them , im very picky on covers «« ……. when there is such a choice that is XD !

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