Producer Masashi Takahashi from Square Enix, and Director Keisuke Miyauchi from Acquire, came together last week to discuss Project Octopath Traveler in an interview with Famitsu.
Here are the highlights:
- The biggest theme of this game is ‘the journey’. The world is ripe for exploration with any of the eight characters.
- The project was started by Takahashi and producer Tomoya Asano, who headed the Bravely series.
- Acquire was chosen as development partner thanks to their work on the What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? series, showing off their pixel art prowess. Miyauchi recalls Takahashi and Asano coming together and suggesting, “What would this look like with rich-looking pixel art enhanced by modern technology, instead of just normal pixel art?”
- It took a long while to perfect the HD-2D look. At first, they didn’t add enough depth to the view, and it was uninteresting. Another time, they went too far on the resolution and saturation, losing the appeal of pixel art. It was tough to balance things, such as whether water should be pixel or photoreal.
- Furthermore, sprites looked lonely and simple in the context of a larger screen. In order to keep the appeal of sprites, the development team increased the density of tile variations and colors to create an altogether richer view.
- In order to have different party variations, they decided on having 8 characters: four male, and four female. In order to have different experiences with each character, they took care to differentiate each character’s storyline.
- All the characters have different classes, and more info will be released later. However, Takahashi mentions that character classes verge on the realistic side, being based on different occupations in Medieval Europe. The field commands were devised based on the classes.
- Olberic is popular with the Square Enix side staff thanks to being the first created character, but the man on the very left of the key art, reading a book, is popular with female staff. On the Acquire side, the man with the muffler and the woman with the hat are popular.
- Olberic and Primrose were chosen to be the demo protagonists as their stories started in a similar place, and the developers wanted people to be able to recruit the other character after beating the story.
- Asano and Takahashi requested to Miyauchi that the battle system be something that everyone can enjoy, even if it is old school. Takahashi further elaborated, stating that the action RPGs that are the current trend are hard for him.
- A simple turn-based battle system wouldn’t be turning any heads, so after trial-and-error the Command Boost and Break systems were added. Both aren’t new concepts, but go well with turn-based systems and add another layer of strategy.
- In order to add to the fun of the game, the guard points are displayed, showing how many attacks under a Break occurs. This means that players can set off their own combos, which is always a good feeling.
- Battle difficulty in the game is based on area, and not by character level.
Project Octopath Traveler releases simultaneously worldwide in 2018 on Nintendo Switch.