Rapid-Fire Interview: Chatting with the developers of Octopath Traveler II
Octopath Traveler II dropped last month and was everything you could ask for in a sequel. It improved on the original game, added more to the world and gave everyone another 80 hours to sink their teeth into.
Thanks to Square Enix we got to have a quick chat with the game’s Director, Keisuke Miyauchi and Producer, Masahi Takahashi about the game.
Octopath Traveler II is available now, we’ve updated our bargain guide, there’s a demo available on the eShop as well. Progress continues onto the main game if you decide to pick it up.
What are the main changes between Octopath Traveler and Octopath Traveler II?
Miyauchi: In terms of game mechanics, the existence of day and night times is the major change. Just having this one new element expands many of the systems and other elements in the game. For example, NPCs will be doing different things in the day and at night and the heroes can all use different Path Actions depending on the time of day. When you go on a trip in real life, the same town or the same vista can show different aspects if you visit it at different times of day, and I think we successfully managed to capture that feeling and excitement in the game.
How did you go about managing eight separate storylines and having them intertwine?
Miyauchi: As I was in sole control of everything at the plot writing stage, I was able to ensure that none of the stories went down the same path or used the same themes. I also planned out how the eight stories would relate to each other at the same time, which is why I think they came together so well.
The world of Octopath Traveller II is much more modern than the first game. What was the rationale behind this decision?
Takahashi: As implied in the title, this is a game about travelling and enjoying a journey. We felt that it was essential to set OCTOPATH TRAVELER II in a completely new world in order to give the player that feeling of excitement and anticipation when exploring it, wondering what lies down the next path or who could be living in the next town.
The first game was a story that took place in a very small area of a medieval European style setting, so to give players a new and different feeling journey, we took care to make the setting for OCTOPATH TRAVELER II more expansive, contain different cultures and show a further advance of civilisation.
Will there be any crossover in the story between this game and the previous games in the series?
Takahashi: There are no direct links between the stories in OCTOPATH TRAVELER and OCTOPATH TRAVELER II. The second game is set in a completely new world and features a completely new cast of characters. Accordingly, it is designed so that players who are starting the series from OCTOPATH TRAVELER II will be able to fully enjoy all aspects of the game and don’t need to worry about events that have already happened.
How much of an influence did Octopath Traveller: Champions of the Continent have on Octopath Traveller II?
Takahashi: Just as there are no links between the stories in OCTOPATH TRAVELER and OCTOPATH TRAVELER II, we also did not work in any links with CHAMPIONS OF THE CONTINENT either. The development structure for the two games were different, so rather than influencing each other, I think it is more a case of the individual teams making their games in the best way for the respective home console or smartphone platforms.
How much variation is there in the actions taken during the day versus at night?
Takahashi: Each of the eight characters have different Path Actions to use in the day and at night, so there are a total of 16 different actions available.
Can you speak about the new additions to the combat system such as Latent Powers?
Miyauchi: Latent Power is a “super move” type ability that each character can use. We included the system because we wanted to inject more drama into battles. The basic flow of battle in the OCTOPATH TRAVELER series is to attack an enemy’s weak point to break them, then use boost and land powerful attacks while they are vulnerable. If that cycle was all there was, it would sometimes become repetitive, so we added the Latent Power system that allows the player to proactively change the battlefield situation to their advantage. The way this gives the player advantages in combat also allows us to make boss enemies with a wider variety of attacks and battle logic patterns. We aimed to create opportunities for players to experience their own individual dramatic moments, such as taking down a powerful boss that was about to kill them because they were able to use their Latent Power at just the right moment.
Thanks to Takahashi-san and Miyauchi-san for their time.