The prequel Octopath Traveler Tairiku no Hasha will be launching on October 28 in Japan, with an English version already teased.
This week’s Famitsu magazine (officially titled Weekly Famitsu Magazine November 5 2020 Issue) included a 20 pages feature on Octopath Traveler (Switch, PC), and its prequel Octopath Traveler Tairiku no Hasha, launching in Japan on mobile on October 28. Most of the feature is a recap of everything revealed about the prequel before launch, but also includes a 2 pages staff interview with new details. The interview is with Tomoya Asano, Planning, Producer, and Yuuki Yokoyama, Producer, both at Square Enix,
Octopath Traveler Tairiku no Hasha, which can be translated to Champions of the Continent, is a prequel to the original, and is a single player full fledged JRPG experience, despite being on Mobile and having gacha elements. It’ll even have an actual ending at launch.
In the interview, Yuuki Yokoyama first explained why Tairiku no Hasha was delayed for so long, from its late 2019 release estimate to October 2020. In a nutshell, Yokoyama mentioned they needed more time to make the game’s main story a full fledged experience that will satisfy the fans. And while it’ll be a complete game at launch, they’re working on adding new stories every one or two months after release. And if you’re worried about when they’ll run out, Yokoyama said he already thought up at least 2 years worth of story content in advance. New protagonists will be added too, at a pace faster than one per month. Yuuki Yokoyama also said some of the new protagonists will make fans of the original game happy.
A Closed Test of Octopath Traveler Tairiku no Hasha happened from March 26 to April 2, 2019. 1600 players, 800 on iOS and 800 on Android, were selected to try the game out. More than 100 changes and improvements have been made in the launch version compared to this test. Most are based on players feedback. For example, the trial version didn’t show the characters and enemies’ turn order during battles. That’s because it’s a smartphone game, people will play on small screens, so they didn’t want to crowd the UI. However they decided it’s definitely better to show the turn order at all times after many players asked for it. Many improvements like this were made.
In Octopath Traveler Tairiku no Hasha, 8 characters can participate in battles together. That’s four more than in the original game on Switch and PC. Yuuki Yokoyama explained the battle system is the same, and how you need to Break enemies by targeting their weaknesses, and use the Boost function accordingly. He added Tomoya Asano’s games are often hard to balance. They felt having eight characters in battle is the best number of characters, or else the game would have been too difficult. They also made sure the touch controls feels nice and responsive. When exploring the dungeons and fields, there’s also an auto mode to a certain extent. Overall, the team worked hard so it’s a satisfying game whether you played the original or not.
There are other differences with the original, like the dialogue events being a bit shorter because it’s on mobile. The scenario is always there for the gameplay, and not the other way around, with no filler. The game follows a similar pattern of town, event, dungeon, boss, rinse and repeat as the original, but there a lot of sub events. And a lot of player freedom, letting you pick stories.
Moreover, the original Octopath Traveler was built around the eight stories of the eight protagonists. This sequel, Tairiku no Hasha, is instead built around the three villains and each of their routes. The Wealth route with the “Witch of Greed” Helminia. The Power route with “The Hero” Titus. The Glory route with “The Playwright” Arguste.
Players pick a route at the beginning, but you can do all three. The game focuses on developing the trio of villains and properly portraying each, giving the story an overall darker and serious adult feel compared to the original Octopath. On the other hand, there are also individual stories focusing on each playable character, with a lighter tone.
There are 64 playable characters you can get in Tairiku no Hasha at launch, with more coming. Tomoya Asano wanted each one of them to be a protagonist, so it was particularly hard to write for Yuuki Yokoyama and the team. And while it’s a gacha, with characters having either 3 stars or 5 stars rarity, there is no difference in how they’re treated story-wise, and they each have the same amount of story.
Some of the townspeople of the original game are also among the 64 protagonists in this prequel. There are a lot of references for those who played the original. Tomoya Asano also wanted each protagonist to have their own illustration. The artwork were all supervised by Naoki Ikushima, the character designer of Octopath Traveler. Meaning he didn’t draw them all directly, but they retain his style. The new artwork below, which was used as Famitsu’s cover, showing the three villains of the game, was directly drawn by Naoki Ikushima:
The game’s original composer, Yasunori Nishiki, is back on this prequel as well.
That’s all folks.
— オクトパストラベラー 大陸の覇者【公式】 (@OCTOPATH_SP) October 21, 2020
The prequel Octopath Traveler Tairiku no Hasha was only announced in Japan for now, and launches there on October 28, on iOS and Android. However, Square Enix teased an English version will be coming. The original Octopath Traveler shipped over 2 million copies now, so this will definitely come over.