Last summer, Square Enix launched Octopath Traveler exclusively on Nintendo Switch, and the old-school RPG topped the sales charts and received critical acclaim. Square’s new hit has stayed exclusive to Nintendo’s hybrid console thus far, but that will soon change. The game was recently rated for a PC release in Korea, and today someone at Square apparently jumped the gun and leaked the official announcement.
As reported by Gematsu, the official Square Enix website published a blog post for a PC release for Octopath Traveler, then quickly deleted it. The post indicated that the RPG will hit Steam and the Square Enix store on June 7th. It also contained a brief overview of the game’s characters and features, although there wasn’t anything new.
Square Enix has grown quite confident in the selling power of games on Nintendo Switch, and the division that developed Octopath Traveleris focused primarily on that console, but after nearly a year of exclusivity, it seems they’re looking to bring it to a new audience. Square is also working on a mobile prequel to Octopath Traveler, so expanding the brand is clearly a priority.
Following the strong reception for the Bravely series, Square Enix’s new traditional RPG division began work on Switch exclusive Octopath Traveler. The game would launch to solid reviews and quickly topped the charts, boosting Switch sales in the process. Square Enix teased that new games were on the way for both the Bravely and Octopath franchises, and today we got our first look at one of them.
Out of the blue, Square Enix just dropped a trailer for a new Octopath game on mobile devices. Titled “Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent,” this upcoming adventure on Android and iOS is a prequel to the original game. Once again there will be eight stories to explore (with more content planned after launch) and the game will apparently remain a single-player experience. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect, courtesy of the game’s official Japanese website:
HD-2D for smartphones – 3D CG screen effects added to pixelized graphics create a magical world on smartphones.
Eight-character party command-based battles – Form a party of up to eight characters to fight in evolved command-based battles. Smooth gameplay with swipe controls.
Choice of story between three reigning champions – The setting is the Orsterra continent. The protagonist is a “Chosen One” who will fight against a great evil that has achieved fortune, power, and fame.
Field commands – Take various actions towards characters on the field. Try out all sorts of things, such as “Listen” for information, “Steal” an item, “Hire” an ally, and more.
Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent launches later this year. Pre-registration is already available on the website. Players can also register for a chance to participate in an early demo that kicks off on March 12th. It’s unclear when the full launch will be. So far there’s been no word on a localization date for territories outside Japan.
Square Enix Business Division 11 has revived the classic JRPG formula for games like Bravely Default, Bravely Second, and Octopath Traveler, and they’re just getting started! The talented team is now focused almost exclusively on Switch, and they’ve got multiple games in the works and ambitions of releasing one per year.
As the year draws to a close, some of the Octopath/Bravely developers took some time to teased exciting reveals planned for next year and beyond. Tomoyo Asano hinted at something different from what we’ve seen in the past, while Masashi Takahashi indicated that Octopath and Bravely both have new entries in the works.
“In 2019 we’ll have a challenge that is different from what we’ve had up to now with Octopath Traveler and the Bravely series. I’ll do my best! Business Division 11 is moving forward with the development of several games. Each one will surely please you guys! It will still be a little while until we can share information, but please look forward to it.” — Tomoyo Asano
“We received support from so many people in 2018, and we were able to release a brand-new title, Octopath Traveler. I’ll keep working on console games in 2019, too! First, we’ll properly reflect on ourselves before heading into the next season of preparations. I’ll do my utmost best to make games you can look forward to— from the Octopath series, the Bravely series, a new series, and more.” — Masashi Takahashi
It sounds like Square’s RPG team has their hands full with lots of exciting projects. It’s unclear when these projects are expected to launch (or be revealed for that matter), but the team is targeting a game per year, so it’s possible we’ll see one of them in 2019. Fans also believe that Square Enix was teasing a new Bravely game in an August tweet, so that seems like the most likely candidate for a 2019 launch.
The NPD Group has just released its report for the month of July, providing us with details on video game software and hardware sales numbers in the United States. Summer is typically a slower time in game sales, but revenue is up 14% overall for July compared to last year. Leading the charge at number one on the software charts is none other than Octopath Traveler.
We don’t have exact sales figures at this time, but the Nintendo Switch exclusive JRPG topped the charts just based on its retail sales alone. Nintendo doesn’t provide digital sales figures to the NPD Group, but it didn’t need them to outsell every other game in July. The top ten list includes five Nintendo Switch exclusives, and as a result, Switch was also the top-selling hardware for the month.
Nintendo leads all publishers in software revenue for 2018 in general, and that number is up 70% over last year. Microsoft and Sony aren’t exactly struggling themselves though, as Xbox revenue is up 50% and PlayStation 4 is still the highest-selling console of the year with strong software sales alongside it.
Octopath Traveler launched last month to fantastic reviews. The game takes the very best of turn-based RPGs and adds its own, unique twists to the formula. The main story of Octopath centers around eight different characters. Each story fleshes out your understanding of the game’s world, pulling you deeper in and making you truly care about each of their conflicts.
The game is undoubtedly incredible, and it’s been selling better than Square Enix expected, which is especially surprising for a Nintendo exclusive JRPG. This prompted the question of whether we would see future games like this from Square Enix.
According to Takashi Mokizuchi of The Wall Street Journal, Square is planning to make more games like Octopath. However, they did not promise that future titles like this would be Switch exclusive. They only said they would do so if it was appropriate.
Square Enix attributed Octopath Traveler‘s success to a resurgence in the popularity of JRPGs. They also think that players were enticed by the lovely HD-2D sprites the game sports, as well as the many interesting characters they created.
In addition to all this, the publisher committed to making more middle-range games on the Switch, saying that the console was a good home for them. So whether the successor to Octopath is coming to Switch or not, we can at least expect more good things from the developers in the future.
As for the game’s sales, Square was especially surprised that the game did so well in the US and Europe. It also exceeded expectations in the digital market, yielding a higher download to packaged version ratio than originally predicted.
It’s great to hear that Octopath is performing so well. The game has resonated with fans of turn-based RPGs, and it’s also introducing new people to the genre. It serves as a good entry point for anybody that’s never played a game like it while also remaining challenging enough to keep veterans of the genre invested.
As for myself, I can say that the game is a perfect representation of what RPGs should be. It has fantastic characters, a beautiful and interesting world, one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard, and a really fun battle system that never gets old. In my recent editorial about RPGs, I used the game as an example of what developers should focus on in their games, and I still stand by that. If you’re on the fence about the game, I definitely recommend it to anybody that thinks they’ll have even a little bit of fun with it. If you’re still unsure, there are demos on the eShop that are totally free to try out.
I’m excited to see what Square Enix comes up with next for the Switch. It’s about time some high-quality, third-party JRPGs came home to Nintendo consoles, and Octopath was a perfect game to start that trend again. Now we just need some other great RPG publishers to make the jump to Switch. There’s definitely more room for some exclusive third-party titles.
What do you want to see from Square next? What are your biggest hopes for the inevitable Octopath sequel? Let us know in the comments below!
Square Enix’s latest RPG, a new IP called Octopath Traveler, recently launched to strong review scores in the West and in Japan, and early sales numbers have been equally impressive. If you’re interested in learning more about what went into the development of Octopath Traveler, Nintendo has you covered. They recently teamed up with producer Masashi Takahashi and director Keisuke Miyauchi to release a developer Q&A video.
The two developers discuss the lessons they learned while working on the Bravely Default series, the inspiration behind the Boost and Break systems, how they came up with Path Actions and the Rogue and Noble choices, the importance of fan feedback, and more. You can check it out by clicking above.
Turn-based RPGs can take up a huge chunk of your time. While most games in this genre tend to have long stories, the dungeons you explore and the battles you fight in between these plot points will make up most of your experience.
You’re likely to encounter hundreds, if not thousands, of random encounters throughout your playthrough, and this is where some of these RPGs get a ton of criticism. Some gamers will lose interest because it feels like you’re just doing the same thing over and over again when you go into battle. So what are these games doing to turn away so many players? There are just some things that most RPGs can’t get right at all.
Too Much Grinding
I’ll be completely honest here. I hate grinding. It’s the worst thing you can do to artificially make a game longer. For example, classic RPGs like Final Fantasy have a heavy focus on leveling up your characters, and that honestly turns a lot of players away from the genre.
There are better ways to create a difficult challenge for the player rather than just making an overpowered boss that requires your characters to be twenty levels more powerful than they are now. Persona 5 handles this issue incredibly well.
Whenever things get too difficult in Persona 5, the answer is hardly ever to go back and fight a bunch of monsters so you’re more powerful. Instead, the first thing you’ll likely do is look at the different Personas you’re carrying with you. Each one is unique and causes your character to resist certain attacks. Every Persona will also come equipped with different abilities that might be more effective against the enemy.
Leveling is almost never an issue with Persona 5, as the game makes you rethink your strategy rather than your numbers. A simple resistance to an element or lowering the enemy’s defense will go a long way in this series, and many other RPGs do the same. Leveling up should feel like a reward rather than a requirement. The victories on the battlefield should be obtained through good strategies, not through brute force. Other RPGs that make good use of this are Octopath Traveler and the Pokémon series.
Not Enough Dialogue Between Party Members
Some people just want to play RPGs so they can fight monsters with swords and magic. I understand that; I’m sometimes in the same group of players. However, there’s something very special about characters that cheer you on in battle. There aren’t many RPGs that do that regularly.
Maybe I just like words of encouragement, but I feel pretty good when a party member says something like “Good job!” or “You really showed them!” It’s simple and kind of dumb, but it makes the journey feel that much more worth it. It makes you feel like a tightly knit family rather than a bunch of misfits or random travelers.
This is something Xenoblade Chronicles is good at. Your fellow party members support each other with words of encouragement throughout the battle. Other RPGs don’t get enough recognition for things like this. Undertale has a ton of moments where the characters cheer you on to reach the end and save the world.
However, Pokémon has gotten a lot of flack for making friendly characters lately. In the past, Blue served as the main rival for new trainers, always being one step ahead of them and taunting them throughout their journey. But now the series features more friendly characters that just want to see you grow up to be the best trainer you can become. Both types of characters serve as great motivators, but the Pokémon series already has villains that are trying to upset the status quo on a global scale. That’s already one evil force for the player to go up against, so a friendly motivator is needed to balance that out. The new friendly rivals in the series make a great addition, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to go back to the more antagonistic ones.
They’re Afraid to Break Away from Old Conventions
When I hear my friends say they quit an RPG, they’re always quick to blame the battle system for being too repetitive. This is a fair point, as there are a lot of things about turn-based combat that can get extremely boring. So it’s important to shake things up and stray away from old conventions to make each RPG fresh and unique.
Most turn-based games try to utilize a weakness system. This is a good step in the right direction, but the player needs to be rewarded for exploiting these weaknesses outside of doing just a little more damage.
Let’s take a look at the recent Persona games for example. Persona rewards its players for knocking down an enemy with an extra turn. This can be done by finding your opponents weakness or by landing a critical attack. After all the enemies are down, the game lets you perform an All-Out Attack, which causes the entire party to rush the enemies and hopefully finish them off.
Earthbound is another game that was praised for being weird and unconventional. None of the characters handle typical RPG gear like swords, axes, metal armor, or anything remotely close to it. Instead, the charming cartoon characters use baseball bats, frying pans, and other normal household items to face off against alien foes.
This is the kind of weirdness we need to keep the genre alive. While games like Octopath Traveler and Ni no Kuni are still successful with the medieval fantasy setting, we need to see more change and overall weirdness in the genre. Why aren’t there more RPGs that focus on a few neighborhood friends that are just exploring the forest or the mountains just on the outskirts of town?
There’s a reason why games like Earthbound and Undertale have such huge followings. Neither game was afraid to break away from conventions, and they both managed to pull it off in unique and interesting ways. We should be done with stories about four travelers that journey across the globe in search of the four ancient crystals.
Developers have a variety of ways to make their games more engaging than this. The possibilities are endless and only limited to the designers’ minds. A good RPG needs to focus less on grinding, more on supporting party members that relate to each other, and above all else, they need to be different and weird.
But these are just some of my opinions, and I would like to hear from you too! What makes up the dream RPG for you? Is there anything else you would suggest to make a great role-playing game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
As of today, the much anticipated Octopath Traveler has finally been released to the world, and official reviews of Square Enix’s new RPG have been flooding in. Almost everything about the game has been garnering massive praise from reviewers, so it looks like the Nintendo Switch has another hit on their hands!
At the time of writing, Metacritic lists 33 different review scores for the game, thirty of which are positive and another three which gave it a 7/10 “mixed” score, for an average of 84/100. There are also another ten reviews listed from sites which decline to score games with a number system. The game is being called a wonderful send-up to the RPGs of the SNES-era, which is appropriate since Octopath Traveler is meant to be a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy VI. Its reinvention of turn-based combat adds new depth to the age-old fighting system.
The main criticism, noted even by many of the sites that have given it positive scores, seems to be the lack of cohesion and interaction between the eight characters’ storylines. Perhaps cutting one or two and turning the game into Sexapath Traveler would have been a better idea? Maybe so, maybe not.
Octopath Traveler is available today exclusively on Nintendo Switch. Will you be picking up this new title today?
Nintendo fans are looking ahead with anticipation to first-party Switch games like Super Mario Party, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee!, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but there’s another Switch exclusive launching even sooner. Square Enix will be launching their latest RPG exclusively on Nintendo Switch on July 13th.
The first reviews are starting to pop up in Japan, and the retro-styled game is impressing. Popular Japanese publication Famitsu always has four editors review each new game, assigning it four different “out of ten” scores for a possible total of 40 points. Octopath Traveler received a 9/10 from all four reviews, so its grand total is 36/40.
It looks like Octopath Traveler is shaping up to be a great experience for RPG lovers. If you’re not yet sold on the adventure, you can always check out a free demo on the Switch eShop and get a taste for yourself.
Nintendo and Square Enix didn’t have a lot to say about Octopath Traveler during E3, but that isn’t very surprising since the game is launching next month. However, there will be a brand new demo for the game on June 14th, which will give players another chance to check out the game before it launches.
Nintendo also revealed a new trailer on their YouTube channel that goes over all eight of the main characters. Check it out above!