Packaging artwork, featuring the game's characters
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
Octopath Traveler[b] is a turn-based role-playing video game developed by Square Enix, in collaboration with Acquire. The game was released for the Nintendo Switch in July 2018, for Microsoft Windows in June 2019, and for Stadia in April 2020. The Switch version has sold over two million copies, making it one of the best-selling games on the platform.
Octopath Traveler is a role-playing game that sports a graphical aesthetic known as "HD-2D", defined by the developers as combining retro Super NES-style character sprites and textures with polygonal environments and high-definition effects. The game puts players in the role of one of eight adventurers, each of whom begins their journey in different ways. Each character comes from different parts of the world, each of which determines their job or attribute. Each character has a unique "Path Action" command that can be used when interacting with NPCs that are divided into two categories: Noble, the ability's effectiveness dependent by the character's level or amount of in-game currency, and Rogue, which has a risk of its user losing credibility upon other NPCs. When the player loses enough reputation in a given town, they can no longer use their path actions on any NPCs in that town. For example, Olberic and H'aanit can challenge characters, Cyrus and Alfyn can inquire about certain bits of information that can be used for completion of quests or in the form of hidden items, Tressa and Therion can acquire items directly from NPCs, and Ophilia and Primrose can guide NPCs and use them as guest summons.
The game features turn-based battles, in which the player can attack using different kinds of weapons or elemental attacks, as well as use abilities and items. Playable characters receive a Boost Point at the end of every turn, of which they can store up to five at a time. During their turn, a player can use up to three Boost Points to boost a command, allowing their character to attack multiple times, raise their defense, or increase the potency of an ability. A boost point is not gained the turn after using boost points. Enemies have a shield counter that lowers whenever they are attacked with a weapon or element they are weak against. When the counter is depleted, they enter a stunned state where they can receive more damage and lose a turn.
Set in the land of Orsterra, the Order of the Sacred Flame believed their world was created by thirteen deities before twelve were forced to seal the fallen god Galdera, who refused to relinquish what they created, within the afterworld that can be accessed through the sealed Gate of Finis. The player follows the stories of eight heroes as they journey through Orsterra: Ophilia, a cleric of the Sacred Flame whose pilgrimage brings her into conflict with a cult headed by an apostate named Mattias; Cyrus, a scholar and teacher at the Royal Academy seeking a missing tome of dark arts called From the Far Reaches of Hell that was stolen by Headmaster Yvon and his assistant Lucia; Tressa, a merchant who goes on a journey after acquiring a journal detailing a past adventurer's travels; Olberic, a former knight of the Kingdom of Hornburg seeking purpose after his kingdom was destroyed in an attack by a sellsword named Werner; Primrose, a dancer and former noble seeking revenge against the Obsidians, a criminal organization that murdered her father; Alfyn, a traveling apothecary inspired to take up his trade after a stranger saved him from a fatal disease as a child; Therion, a thief tasked by a noble family to recover a set of dragonstones belonging to them; and H'aanit, a hunter tracking the monster Redeye after it petrified her mentor.
After progressing through all the characters' various stories, the heroes' quests become intermingled as Mattias, Lucia, the Obsidians, and Werner are all revealed to have been under the employ of the immortal witch Lyblac. Revealed to be Galdera's daughter, Lyblac orchestrated the acquirement of From the Far Reaches of Hell and the dragonstones, along with the destruction of Hornburg, to unseal the Gate of Finis while using the Obsidians as her personal army to eliminate threats like Primrose's father. Lyblac required Graham Crossford, the man who wrote Tressa's journal and saved Alfyn as a boy, as an ideal vessel for Galdera to gain corporeal form due to his bloodline's ties to the god; Graham escaped from her clutches, but was mutated into Redeye. This forced Lyblac to seek out Graham's only living son Kit to complete the ritual. After tracking down the Gate's location in Hornburg, Lyblac fully resurrects Galdera and is absorbed into him. The eight heroes fight a vicious battle against Galdera, sealing him back into the afterworld and saving Kit, who receives closure with his father's spirit.
Development and release
Octopath Traveler was announced on January 13, 2017, under the working title of Project Octopath Traveler. A playable demo was released on the Nintendo eShop on September 13, 2017, with a second demo being released on June 14, 2018. The second demo included improved mechanics and all eight playable characters, as well as save data transfer to the full game. The demo consisted of the first chapters of each character's story, with certain areas blocked off to the player. The demo also had a three-hour play time limit. The game was released worldwide on July 13, 2018. A special edition that includes the game's soundtrack, a replica of the game's in-game currency, a pop-up book, and a map was also released the same day.
The project was started by producers Masashi Takahashi and Tomoya Asano, who previously headed the Nintendo 3DS titles Bravely Default and Bravely Second: End Layer. Acquire was chosen as development partner for the game based on their previous work on the What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? series. During the development process, various graphics options such as the depth, resolution, saturation, as well as other features such as whether water should be pixel or photorealistic are taken into consideration to perfect the "HD-2D" look. The eight main characters, four male and four female, are chosen to provide different party variations. All characters have different classes, and the character design, as well as the field commands, are based on different occupations in Medieval Europe. For the demo, Olberic and Primrose were chosen to be the protagonists as their stories started in a similar place, and the developers wanted people to be able to recruit the other character after beating the story. According to Takahashi, no downloadable content or other large post-release content updates are planned for the game.
The game was released for Microsoft Windows on June 7, 2019. A prequel for Android and iOS, titled Octopath Traveler: Conquerors of the Continent, was originally scheduled to be released in Japan in 2019, but was delayed to 2020. A Stadia version released on April 28, 2020.
Octopath Traveler received "generally favorable" reception, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Polygon's Jeremy Parish hailed the game as "the magical RPG the Nintendo Switch needed". GameSpot's Peter Brown praised the game for its "innovative battle system", character progression and presentation but found that the main drawbacks were the stories of the eight playable characters, which he described as "lackluster" and "repetitive".
Square Enix issued two apologies after many in Japan were unable to purchase a physical copy due to stock shortages the week, and the following week, of its release. The game sold 188,238 physical copies within its first two months on sale in Japan, and placed at number one on the all-format sales chart. By August 2018, the game had sold over a million copies worldwide. As of January 2019, the combined physical and digital sales of the game have exceeded 1.5 million copies worldwide. The PC version was among the best-selling new releases of the month on Steam.[c] Square Enix confirmed in March 2020 that combined retail and digital sales of Octopath Traveler had surpassed two million copies.
|2018||Game Critics Awards||Best RPG||Nominated|||
|Golden Joystick Awards||Best Storytelling||Nominated|||
|Nintendo Game of the Year||Won|
|The Game Awards 2018||Best Art Direction||Nominated|||
|Best Role-Playing Game||Nominated|
|Gamers' Choice Awards||Fan Favorite Role Playing Game||Nominated|||
|Australian Games Awards||Mobile/Handheld Title of the Year||Won|||
|2019||New York Game Awards||Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game||Nominated|||
|NAVGTR Awards||Art Direction, Fantasy||Nominated|||
|Game, Original Role Playing||Nominated|
|Original Light Mix Score, New IP||Won|
|SXSW Gaming Awards||Excellence in Art||Won|||
|Excellence in Musical Score||Nominated|
|Most Promising New Intellectual Property||Nominated|
|2019 G.A.N.G. Awards||G.A.N.G. / MAGFEST People's Choice Award||Won|||
|Famitsu Awards||Excellence Prize||Won|||
|Best Game Music Award||Won|
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