One of the defining features of Octopath Traveler is the ability to play through the stories of different protagonists. Is it difficult to involve so many main characters in a game? How do you approach this kind of storytelling?
Keisuke Miyauchi, director: When creating an Octopath Traveler game, we first start by defining all the details of the world in which it will take place. This includes things like the global nature of the era in which it is set, what cultures and civilizations exist in the different geographical regions, and what kind of people live in this world.
After working out those little details, we look at what kind of stories could realistically unfold in the different regions of the world we’ve built. This approach means that even though we’re dealing with eight main characters, we’ve managed to write grounded stories for each of them.
If we were to write stories for each character in a completely free and unrestrained way, with whatever themes we liked, it could easily lead to an unmanageable mess of narratives, with overly heroic stories that just wouldn’t happen in the world or stories that too feel like part of a bygone era.
Have you made any gameplay and combat improvements to Octopath Traveler II, compared to
the first game?
Miyauchi: First, we made it possible to switch between day and night at the press of a single button. It’s a very simple mechanic, but really fun to use on its own, so I’d like players to try it out. The transition between music tracks is also seamless and nice, so I recommend you take a look at that as well.
In terms of playing through the story, the previous game structured each character’s story in a fixed four-chapter format, but in Octopath Traveler II, each character’s story is structured differently, and it feels like to play a completely different RPG in each one. .
In combat, the new “Latent Power” mechanic means that many different developments and outcomes can occur during combat, especially in boss fights. It also means bosses use a wider variety of attacks and increase the depth of tactical thinking in how you fight and how you select your party.
And finally, do you have any tips for new Octopath Traveler players? Advice or tips?
Miyauchi: The Octopath Traveler games actually allow you to “cheat” quite a bit. You will find more and more
these little ways to stack the game in your favor as you explore back roads, try out field commands on different NPCs, and dive into sub-dungeons (for example, you may discover powerful weapons or unassuming townspeople who actually hide 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 played Octopath Traveler II? Would you like the series to continue? 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.