In anticipation of the SEA release of OCTOPATH TRAVELER: Champions of the Continent, we got a chance to speak with Hirohito Suzuki, producer and scenario director of the game.
Suzuki has been working at Square Enix since 2009, taking on various positions such as game designer and project manager for both console and mobile titles after his work as a designer for Final Fantasy XI. In 2017, he served as the director of OCTOPATH TRAVELER: Champions of the Continent and is currently serving as the producer.
[Interview is edited for clarity]
Importance of Quality
One highlighted aspect of OCTOPATH TRAVELER: Champions of the Continent is how similar it is to the mainline games from both the visual and gameplay standpoint. It would not be a surprise if someone would have mistaken the mobile title for the mainline console games.
When it comes to the significance of Champions of the Continent being designed to match the experience of the main games, Suzuki noted that the title was “created to build the global recognition of the OCTOPATH TRAVELER franchise and promote the game as a single-player RPG.”
“We believe that having the option for players to play a high-quality JRPG on their mobile devices will help attract more players to the franchise and pave the way for the JRPG genre to succeed on a global scale.”
Soundtrack & Voice Acting
Of course, it would not be a discussion about OCTOPATH TRAVELER without the mention of the phenomenal soundtrack, which is being held with high regard in the community even among Western fans. Mentioning the music, Suzuki was quick to praise composer Yasunori Nishiki’s work and mentioned how the soundtrack in the first game even got nominated for the Best Score/Soundtrack award at The Game Awards in 2018.
“In Champions of the Continent, he also composed many new tracks, so be sure to put on your headphones to experience them,” added Suzuki.
Keeping in the topic of audio, Champions of the Continent only consists of Japanese voice-over, even in the Western release of the game. Curious, we asked Suzuki if there were any plans to add English voice-overs down the line now that the game is branching out to more countries.
To that, Suzuki said, “OCTOPATH TRAVELER: Champions of the Continent has a lot of dialogues and scenes, so there are yet to be plans to introduce English voice acting at the moment.”
He then added and praised the voice works from the Japanese voice cast, saying, “The voice actors’ performances in Japanese dubbing are excellent and we hope everyone will enjoy them.”
Inspirations from the Sequel
February of this year saw the launch of OCTOPATH TRAVELER II worldwide for major home consoles with Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions set to release in early 2024. Not only does the sequel retain many of the beloved gameplay systems of the first game, but also introduces a new mechanic in the form of distinct path actions based on the time of the day, whether day or night.
Considering the Japanese version had been ongoing way before the release of OCTOPATH TRAVELER II, we wondered if the developers would begin or have plans to incorporate elements from the sequel to the mobile title.
Suzuki responded by mentioning that they have already released a story from OCTOPATH TRAVELER II to the Japanese version called “Side Solistia”.
In Side Solistia, Suzuki pointed out elements similar to the sequel’s distinct time-of-day interaction, saying “Players will experience changes in scenery and BGM during day and night cycles.”
“That being said, Side Solistia is a much later update, so please look forward to its release in the Southeast Asian version.”
The characters in the world of OCTOPATH TRAVELER have always been the series’ biggest highlights. Considering Champions of the Continent uses a gacha system and introduces a massive roster that expands through frequent updates, there are bound to be many considerations when it comes to character design.
For how characters are categorized, Suzuki described that each character is equipped with a unique skill set and specialized in a specific position, and players would form the characters in teams of 8. With different positions, 4 characters will be taken in the front row while the rest stays in the back row.
“If I were to give more specific advice, I recommend creating a team with 8 types of weapons and 6 different attributes to deal with every kind of enemy weakness, including boss fights.”
He also described the system as being able to form “endless team compositions”.
Southeast Asian Release
As mentioned, OCTOPATH TRAVELER: Champions of the Continent is finally making its way to Southeast Asia on 7th December 2023 after the game was first launched in Japan back in 2020.
At the beginning phase of the launch, the developers said that they aim to focus on showcasing the game’s true charm and adjust the pace of updates to meet players’ expectations. In addition, Suzuki mentioned that fans can expect collaboration events such as the NieR crossover that was already released in the Japanese version to come.
“Some of them might be released sooner than you think. Stay tuned!”
The development team also mentioned that they are working on reducing the game’s file size to allow more players to enjoy their adventure in the continent of Orsterra.
As for launch events, players are guaranteed a 5-star character as well as receiving double the value on all gift pack purchases and 10 free draws each day for seven days. There are also pre-registration rewards and players can sign up now through the official website.
Fans can also expect to see Cyrus the Scholar from the first game in the card pool at launch. When it comes to any plans to collaborate with regional brands in Southeast Asia, Suzuki simply gave a yes as an answer without going into detail about it.
We would like to extend our thanks to producer Hirohito Suzuki and the development team of Champions of the Continent for the interview opportunity and for taking the time to answer our questions.