Octopath Traveler and Constructing an Eight-Fold World

Alfyn’s so-called path-action as one of many eight fundamental characters of Octopath Traveler is “Inquire”. This means would not provide a sensible benefit in the identical approach the opposite path actions may but it surely offers you a short biography of the NPC that you simply’re interacting with and what sort of life they’ve led. These biographies are every distinctive glimpses into an NPC’s life that in another RPG can be a clean slate or a textual content dispenser. However in Octopath Traveler, every of the townsfolk has led their very own tales on this world. It lends itself to the concept that you and your get together aren’t the one ones who’ve been on a journey; the world of Octopath Traveler is one which has boundless potential.

Spoilers forward for Octopath Traveler.

Octopath Traveler is one in every of Sq.-Enix’s most attention-grabbing forays into the RPG style in latest reminiscence. Flip-based fight is slowly however absolutely changed in favour of extra action-based battle methods, with even Sq.’s stout and devoted Dragon Quest franchise mentioned to be getting a shift within the upcoming  Dragon Quest 12. Octopath Traveler stands as a shining instance of how good turn-based fight could be. Headed by Group Asano of Bravely Default fame, Octopath Traveler marked the start of the HD-2D type as a method to merge the timeless visuals of the easiest SNES RPGs with the striding know-how of at present and the outcomes communicate for themselves. With a sequel proper across the nook in February, there is not any higher time to look again on this distinctive RPG launched in 2018 for the Change earlier than being launched on different platforms as late as 2021!

While most agree that the visuals of the sport are nothing in need of a deal with to have a look at even 5 years later, the primary level of dialogue with this sport stems from the distinctive approach it tackles narrative. That distinctive method lies within the title of the sport itself; Octopath Traveler. Octo is the frequent prefix for eight; as an alternative of 1 narrative that covers the whole continent of Orsterra, every get together member has their very own distinct narrative that belongs to them and them alone.

Supply: Writer

For an instance of how distinct these narratives could be, we will check out the character of Primrose the Dancer in comparison with Tressa the Service provider. Primrose was one of many first characters launched earlier than the sport was launched and was one in every of two characters that gamers might select to play as within the early pre-release demo approach again in September 2017. This was when the sport was simply “Undertaking Octopath Traveler” earlier than they settled on the official identify of “Octopath Traveler” in what might need been essentially the most anticlimatic identify reveal in gaming historical past.

Her story is a notably bleak one in every of revenge, with the mission to avenge her murdered Father by searching down those that killed him. Primrose finds herself changing into a dancer so as to bide her time earlier than she stumbles throughout one of many males accountable. Throughout this time, she falls underneath the “care” of the deplorable Helgenish, a person who’s explicitly proven to hurt and benefit from the dancers in his care and who additionally occurs to be working for one of many males liable for her Father’s demise. After killing Helgenish in a startlingly darkish scene, you journey to kill the remainder. With out going into spoilers, her story maintains this sense of macabre all through and it makes for a massively compelling journey in its personal proper.

Supply: Writer

Fully divorced from her story stands Tressa the Service provider, a personality whose plot is primarily involved in following the whimsical journal of a mysterious particular person and journeying across the continent to comply with on this particular person’s footsteps. Comparatively, a much more light-hearted story is complemented by Tressa’s usually bubbly persona compared to the extra severe Primrose.

It might be very straightforward to pit every narrative towards each other however the total sense is that every of those characters could be very a lot on their very own journey all through Octopath Traveler. The one eventualities wherein the ensemble forged truly work together are whenever you first recruit them to your staff and in bitesize vignettes that permit totally different characters to weigh in on sure goings-on.

Seeing a personality just like the mild-mannered Ophelia giving her tackle the bidding of Therion the thief or the old-spoken H’aanit interacting with any of the others are simply a number of the moments that basically stand out in a forged of 8 very robust personalities.

Supply: Writer

However regardless of the intricate and bold nature of the narrative being offered by Octopath Traveler, my first playthrough was met with slight disappointment. I had taken half within the authentic demo again in 2017 and loved what I performed because it jogged my memory of Bravely Default. Upon launch in 2018 I picked it up once more, and whereas I performed an honest chunk of the sport, I ended up falling off the experience partway by.

Moving into, I anticipated a narrative that may ultimately unite all eight characters underneath a single banner and combat towards one frequent enemy. That completely isn’t the case and looking out again on it, that is greater than okay! Every character’s story would undergo with changing into wrapped up within the different’s plot. Therion’s quest to seek out the dragonstones must conveniently hyperlink with Primrose’s quest to avenge her father who would then need to discover a cause to assist Alfyn go around the globe and research medication.

Supply: Sq.-Enix -Promotional artwork for the sport – it led folks to consider that the eight protagonists can be stalwart allies and pals when this was hardly ever the case.

When serious about the narrative like that, it will find yourself being a massively complicated and convoluted affair that may do itself a large disservice. Due to that, Octopath Traveler is a sport that I’ve needed to be taught to like over the course of a few years.  Whereas a youthful me was all about an action-packed narrative with a giant total villain, a barely older me has been capable of recognize the extra nuanced and considerate storytelling that underpins Octopath as an entire.

The flexibility to have eight distinct and well-realised tales inside one fantasy setting is a formidable achievement that many do not recognize at first look. Many builders craft their fantasy worlds to suit one narrative and that’s the finish of it; having a world that’s versatile sufficient to comprise 8 totally different tales is nothing in need of commendable on the very least! And whereas there may be in the end a grander battle that swoops in on the conclusion of every traveler’s story, bringing all of them collectively, this end-game risk isn’t the place the main focus of the sport lies and is as an alternative a neat bonus for individuals who have taken this lengthy journey.  

This along with the well-developed NPC characters that populate the world helps to cement Octopath Traveler as a masterclass in RPG world-building that deserves to be appreciated for what it does relatively than for what it would not do. With this in thoughts, Octopath Traveler actually does turn into one of the genuine “role-playing” video games out of the entire of Sq.-Enix’s latest lineup.

You are allowed and borderline inspired to not simply journey throughout this world looking for monsters and dungeons however to turn into a half of the world itself and forge your personal journey throughout the continent. Participant company is one thing that’s well-respected as you play Octopath Traveler and that company to decide on who you need to comply with and what tales you need to expertise provides to it. Orsterra is not only a stage for a narrative to unfold, it is a dwelling and respiration world.

A fan-made portray of the continent of Orsterra by Francesca Baerald

That is helped considerably by how the sport at all times frames every narrative as “you’re” whoever you select to play as. The builders need you to discover these horizons within the footwear of those characters themselves, relatively than placing a barrier between you and the protagonists.

The sequel to the sport is due out in February, aptly named Octopath Traveler 2. It appears to be like to supply much more when it comes to the fantastic characters and world first launched again in 2018 and if the standard of that sport is something to go off, Octopath Traveler 2 might be a deal with for RPG lovers. With an already strong battle system as a basis, the world seems to be much more diverse in tradition and structure in a approach that makes me desperate to journey and see what sort of individuals are dwelling on this new world!

Supply: Sq.-Enix 

With tales that promise even higher selection when it comes to tone and premise, the forged of Octopath Traveler 2 is constructing itself as much as be an thrilling continuation of the unique sport’s type and a daring new turn-based RPG at a time when this style is being largely sorted by impartial builders!

Along with this are extra story moments the place numerous characters will come throughout each other and assist one another of their narratives. Whereas it’s nonetheless unclear how this may inform the construction of every character’s particular person story, seeing extra interplay between numerous characters might be attention-grabbing nonetheless!

One factor is ready in stone, the way forward for the turn-based RPG is safe with the continuation of franchises like Octopath Traveler and Bravely Default and builders like Group Asano.  Whereas Remaining Fantasy has all however deserted its turn-based roots, there are nonetheless loads of choices providing narratives that handle to face shoulder-to-shoulder as mature and compelling choices for all.

Official artwork from Sq.-Enix’s Twitter displaying one of many “Crossed Paths” eventualities, this one between the cleric Temenos and the thief Throné

Like a nice wine, I used to be perhaps too younger to understand the nuance and subtlety of Octopath’s ambition. Over the course of a few years although, I’ve been capable of be taught to understand the ambition of Octopath Traveler and embrace it for what it’s relatively than what it is not.

This is to a really fruitful future for turn-based RPGs!


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