One of the distinguishing features of Octopath Traveler is the ability to play through the stories of different heroes. How hard is it to get so many main characters into one game? How do you approach this kind of storytelling?
Keisuke Miyauchi, director: When creating the game Octopath Traveler, we first start by working out all the details of the world it will be set in. This includes things like the general nature of the era it is set in, what cultures and civilizations exist in the different geographic areas and what kind of people live in that world.
After working on these small details, we look at what kind of stories could realistically take place in different areas of the world we’ve built. This approach means that even though we’re dealing with eight main characters, we’ve managed to write core stories for all of them.
If we wrote stories for every character in a totally free and uninhibited way, with whatever themes we like, it could easily lead to an unmanageable mess of narratives, with overly heroic tales that won’t take place in the world or stories that feel like part of a bygone age.
Have you made any improvements to the gameplay and combat in Octopath Traveler II, compared to
Miyauchi: First of all, we made it possible to switch between day and night at the push of a button. It’s a really simple mechanism, but it’s really fun to use on its own, so I’d love for players to try that out. Transitioning between music tracks is also smooth and feels good, so I recommend you give that a look as well.
In terms of playing through the story, the previous game organized each character’s story in a flat format over four chapters, but in Octopath Traveler II, each character’s story is organized differently, and it feels like you’re playing a completely different RPG in each one.
In battle, the new “Lasent Force” mechanic means that a lot of different developments and outcomes can happen during the flow of combat, especially in boss fights. It also means bosses use a variety of attacks and puts more tactical thought into how you fight and how you choose your party.
Finally, do you have any advice for new Octopath Traveler players? Any hints or tips?
Miyauchi: The Octopath Traveler games really let you “cheat” a bit. You will find more and more
These little ways to stack the deck in your favor as you explore sideways, try out field commands on various NPCs, and delve deeper into dungeons (for example, you might discover powerful weapons or humble townspeople who are actually hiding a great power).
So I recommend that you don’t just follow the main storyline and enjoy exploring off the beaten path as much as possible!
Have you been playing Octopath Traveler II? Do you want to follow the series? How about playing the first game on PlayStation? Go on another adventure in the comments section below.
Thanks to Takahashi-san and Miyauchi-san for taking the time to answer our questions. Special thanks to Michael Bryant and the team at Square Enix for making this interview possible.
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