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Octopath Traveler II Will Feature More Music, Side Dungeons, & Character Interactions

While it’s good to know that Square Enix is making a sequel to Octopath Traveler, little is known about it apart from its new characters and retained HD 2D art style.

Famitsu recently conducted an exclusive interview with Square Enix regarding the project. Here’s what we know (via Reddit):

  • The decision to make Octopath Traveler 2 happened shortly after the first game’s release, but active development didn’t start for a while after that, with composer Yasunori Nishiki only coming on at the start of 2021.
  • One of the biggest goals the team had was to increase the “travel” feeling the game has. The day/night system was introduced in part because of this desire, and in part because it would be a great way to show off how the game had evolved from the first game.
  • As with the first game, the field command system is very important. However, they recognize some players prefer to ignore field commands entirely, so like the first game they’re present but not over-emphasized.
  • With regards to the change in setting, the developers feared that setting OT2 in the same middle ages fantasy setting as the first game would result in the characters feeling like rehashes of the first game as well. By moving culture and technology ahead a bit, they felt the travelers would naturally find different reasons to travel compared to the first game as well.
  • Similarly, while the first game was set on a contiguous continent, this time they decided to split the world up across a sea to further distinguish it from the first game’s setting.
  • As a rule, they tried to avoid including references to the first game or specific references to Orsterra so that anyone can enjoy OT2, but there are small elements that will remind players of the first game.
  • Like with OT1, they decided to highlight Hikari and Agnea, the warrior and dancer, because “you can fight any NPC” and “you can recruit any NPC” are the sorts of things that make people’s ears perk up when hearing about Octopath for the first time.
  • The developers heard the feedback that people felt the protagonists didn’t interact enough in OT1, so they introduced the Crossed Paths mechanic in this game to try and enhance the sense that the group is traveling together. The main stories will still be focused on the individual characters, but the Crossed Path stories will supplement that and help the characters feel closer.
  • The “Latent Power” system in battle came about because they wanted to add something to shake up the general pattern of “break the enemy, then boost and do damage”. It also serves as a way to give the characters more individuality in gameplay and give players a new avenue to make interesting builds.
  • The main story is tuned to not require really deep use of the game’s systems. But like OT1 there will be side dungeons with much more difficult bosses.
  • Like OT1, the characters’ stories are divided into chapters, but unlike OT1, it will not follow the same pattern of “4 chapters per story”. While they can’t go into details yet, they wanted each character’s story to feel different this time, like you’re playing different RPGs.
  • Since OT1 released, there’s been several other HD-2D games, so they wanted to take the learnings from those games and make a kind of “Super HD-2D” this time, and even try and match the “idealized” version of old 16-bit RPGs we all have in our heads.
  • The camera is still locked outside of cutscenes and battles to try and avoid confusing players, but the camera is significantly more dramatic in cutscenes and battles now.
  • The updated pixel art style in the environments meant they had to make the character sprites taller so the proportions didn’t look too weird, but then that meant they also had to update the battle animations too.
  • Director Miyauchi was in charge of map design for both OT1 and OT2, but he was able to take more time on OT2 and had much more flexibility in designing the maps, and the art/environment team then took his designs and made them into the 3D maps we see now.
  • Music-wise, Yasunori Nishiki wound up making 85 tracks for Octopath Traveler 1, and as of the current updates 110 tracks for Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent. He can’t give a specific number for OT2, but it’s more than CotC.
  • Nishiki wound up composing totally new songs/arrangements for the night versions of each area, which is part of why the game wound up with so many new tracks. At first they considered just stripping down the instrumentation for the night variations, but decided to go all out and do new arrangements. Nishiki also wanted to use more vocals in OT2’s music, not just with lyrics but as an instrument.
  • Unlike the first game, where Nishiki didn’t have much say in where his music played (he actually only met the director, Miyauchi, at TGS), this time he reviewed the game’s cutscenes personally and decided when each track should play for important scenes.
  • While the first game tried to avoid using electric guitars, drums, and the like outside of battle tracks due to the middle ages setting, this time Nishiki has the freedom to use those instruments and wanted to aim for a more jazzy feel overall.
  • Most of the game’s soundtrack was recorded in Japan, but for some parts they recorded in Nashville in the USA. One of the musicians there was even a big fan of OT1 and was super excited to be playing on the OT2 soundtrack!
  • Like with the first game, the characters have special themes that continue into the boss themes. You can get a CD with all these variations by ordering the deluxe edition.

As you can tell, there’s a lot of emphasis in the game’s music from composer Yasunori Nishiki this time around. After all, the first game didn’t win our Best OST of 2018 for nothing.

Octopath Traveler II will be out for Nintendo Switch on 24 February, 2023. Check out more of its gameplay and music samples below:

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