Octopath Traveler: Continent Heroes Screen

Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent brings the beloved JRPG to a new world – GameSpot

Octopath Traveler made a way for Japanese role-playing games, with its flashy HD-2D style and branching storytelling. This path has led the franchise to mobile phones and tablets, as Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent brings the story of Orsterra to mobile devices in a new advance story.

The new Octopath Traveler for mobile launches today, July 27, on both iOS and Android devices. To learn more, we spoke with three key members of the development team: global producer Hirohito Suzuki, composer Yasunori Nishiki, and screenwriter Kakunoshin Futsuzawa about the franchise’s transition to mobile.

We talked about free-to-play mechanics, the prevalence of HD-2D art style, differences in the battle system, and more. We’ve also touched upon whether characters or locations from the original game might affect this new game, and what players can expect from the three branching stories as they play.

This interview was conducted via email.

GameSpot: Why was mobile the preferred platform for returning to Octopath Traveler? What does the platform offer for this experience that consoles/computers don’t?

Hirohito Suzuki: Hello, this is Octopath Traveler: Continental Champions Producer Hirohito Suzuki. Thanks for having me!

The team’s mission is to get Octopath Traveler to as many people as possible. To this end, we have decided to release this game as a free download for mobile devices, which has grown into a platform with the largest player base.

However, our intent is to provide the same kind of experience as a console or PC game using a mobile device and it’s not about what the mobile platform offers for that experience that consoles/PCs don’t. As such, unlike a typical mobile game, there are no social elements, and we mostly don’t intend to hold time-limited events.

Hope you enjoy this Octopath Traveler title which can be played on a mobile device.

The battle system in this game doubles the number of heroes on the screen at once. What was the decision to increase the number of player heroes made, and how did that choice affect the battle system?

Suzuki: This was motivated by the large number of characters, and I wanted to give them a moment to shine together.

What sets the battle apart in this title is that players will use characters placed either forward or backward. BP will accumulate for all 8 party members, so players can enjoy a faster battle than the first game.

In addition, there are abilities that activate based on whether your character is positioned as a front or rear guard, so it offers strategic battles as well.

What kind of free items will be included in Continental Champions? How will they affect the player experience?

Suzuki: The main gameplay of the title is free. We’ve tweaked it so players can bypass the first end of the main story, which is about 60 hours of content, for free, too.

Which characters join the player’s roster will largely depend on luck, but I’d be happy if players could enjoy the process of figuring out how best to use the characters available to them.

Explain how the in-app purchases were implemented. How important are microtransactions to the Champions of the Continent and what kinds of purchases can players make?

Suzuki: Basically, players can make a summon from drawing and unlocking characters if they choose to do so. In this game, characters’ abilities may provide an advantage when progressing through the main story and battle content, but this is not necessarily mandatory. However, if you want to delve further into the scenario of a favorite character, you will have to get that character to play on.

How difficult would it be to design a “free to play” ecosystem without relying heavily on the use of real-world currencies? Do you think you have struck the right balance in this regard?

Suzuki: As mentioned earlier, the purpose of the game is to offer Octopath Traveler to as many people as possible, so the mods we’ve made allow the core gameplay to be free for everyone. That’s why, unlike typical mobile games, we made sure that perspectives like ecosystems or business models didn’t affect game systems much.

This was a very difficult decision as a producer, but my goal is for people to first play this title for free and fall in love with the game and then, based on that, choose to make a purchase based on their desire to collect. Their favorite character.

The game’s art style has become a subgenre of RPG in its own right, with Live A Live and Dragon Quest III remaster as notable upcoming examples. Are there any other games in the Square Enix library you’d like to see get HD/2D processing?

Suzuki: This is strictly my personal opinion, but I’d like to see some Final Fantasy titles with pixel art done in HD-2D. Octopath Traveler was hugely influenced by them, so I think they’ll come out great.

However, as a creator, I also like to think about creating new games in HD-2D style and not just focus on remasters.

Octopath Traveler: Continent Heroes Screen

How does your configuration change when working with a mobile address? Are there any limitations you found writing the music for this game, or is the process similar to the previous game?

Yasunori Nishiki: I think it can be said that producing music for modern mobile games has almost no difference or limitation from producing console games. However, some applications that can put a heavy load on the device’s CPU, such as interactive music, or long tracks from high-resolution music/music file formats, may cause download capacity issues, and may be affected to some extent by restrictions.

Of course, if a mobile game aims to offer a different gaming experience than its console counterpart, the way music is created must change to follow suit; However, our concept for this game was to provide our players with a gaming experience that does not pale in comparison to a console game. As a result, I made sure to maintain the feel of the first game of music as well.

The soundtrack of the previous game was widely praised upon the game’s launch. Do you find some kind of pressure trying to recreate that success for this game, or do you approach this as its own separate challenge?

Nishiki: The first title depicts the story of eight heroes and each of their journeys, so the music was created to focus on this aspect. The story in this game revolves around diabolical and attractive villains; As such, music is created with the focus on it.

Of course, I felt the kind of pressure that I can’t disappoint those who thought so hard about the first game, but I also remember being excited about how the music served to these awesome villains.

In fact, I was able to incorporate different musical genres that I didn’t use in the first game, so it was a great opportunity to experiment.

Plus, since this is a live service title, I wrote the music at first without knowing how the story would end, so that was very interesting too (laughs).

How do the heroes of the continent fit into the overall story of the Octopath Traveler? We know it’s a prequel, but how far are we heading back in time?

Kakunoshin Futsuzawa: This game takes place a few years before the events of the first game. The same towns and characters will also be indicated. People playing Octopath Traveler for the first time can still enjoy this game without any issues, but those “travelers” who tried the first game might enjoy the trip a little deeper.

How will characters from the original game – whether they are playable heroes or non-playable characters – get into this story, if so? Will we see any familiar faces on our travels?

Futsuzawa: Sometimes the characters may appear as a friend or sometimes they may stand in the way of your journey. I’m afraid I’m unable to go into details, but many of the characters from the first game will definitely appear, so I hope you look forward to seeing them again!

The story so far revolves around three characters in Herminia, Tytos, and Auguste. Will we see these three stories intertwined, and if so, how much at scale?

Futsuzawa: These three are “absolute evil,” so to speak. The story takes place in the vast land of Orsterra, but given the sheer evil – and three of them, at the time – these three couldn’t be related one way or the other.

The Octopath Traveler series includes stories of many different people, and so I’m very keen on these characters, their stories, and how they relate to each other. That’s all I can share for now, however, I’d like you to take a trip into the world of Octopath Traveler and experience how the stories are a little different and darker than the first game.

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