Octopath Traveler was an inventive, experimental game when it released in 2018, but one of the most striking things about it was the now iconic “HD-2D” artstyle it pioneered, which has since been applied to this year’s Triangle Strategy and Live A Live remake. Now, with the sequel on the horizon, producer Masashi Takahashi and director Keisuke Miyauchi sat down with Famitsu to discuss Octopath Traveler II’s visuals (as translated by Nintendo Everything).
For the first game, pixel art was used to invoke nostalgia in people who love SNES RPGs, but the team didn’t want to just do the same thing over again. This time, they drew inspiration from high fidelity pixel art of the ’90s (the trial scene in Chrono Trigger is specifically mentioned) to make art that “would be picture-perfect no matter when you screenshotted it.” They note how people tend to have rose-tinted glasses for pixel art from the past, and how that now affects how people see the first Octopath game — “Really, last time it was like a battle between Octopath Traveler and nostalgia for Super Nintendo games, and this time it’s a battle against nostalgia for the previous game.”
A couple specific tricks and tweaks are mentioned: there are different camerawork arrangements instead of a simple top-down perspective, utilizing Unreal Engine features to code things more like a 3D cutscene rather than simple scripted events. Characters are a little taller to allow for more expressiveness, particularly during battle. Skills have unique attack animations and added some flashiness. It sounds like a very thorough and nice revamp, all things said.
Octopath Traveler II releases on February 24th, 2023
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