Square Enix's Octopath Traveler launched on Switch last week, seeing tremendous levels of success right from the off. The game has been selling out all over the world, actually forcing the developer to issue an apology to fans who have missed out, and it even managed to go straight to number three in the UK charts. So how do you make a game that is so instantly adored?
Well, a recent Nintendo blog post saw the game's director Keisuke Miyauchi explain the development team's thinking. He noted that three points were focused on, in particular, all aiming to create an experience in which players could really enjoy their own journeys.
"The first is the glorious visuals rendered in "HD-2D." We took inspiration from the pixel art of the RPGs we ourselves used to play, updating them with modern technology to create rich and varied landscapes that we believe players will find to be both nostalgic and freshly beautiful."
We have to agree with Miyauchi on this one; while graphics are usually less important than gameplay in our eyes, the art style of Octopath Traveler is staggeringly lovely to behold. In our review of the game, we said: "on the presentation side of things, Octopath Traveler manages to amaze, employing a unique art style that seems to capture how you remember 16-bit RPGs looking, rather than how they truly look." That's one out of three already in the bag, then.
"The second is the interactivity, with each character able to interact with the residents of Orsterra through their Path Actions. We hope you'll enjoy getting to know the people, with their sometimes tragic, sometimes heartwarming stories and pasts."
"The last point we paid special attention to was freedom. From your starting character to the course you chart across the realm, the choices are in your hands. We encourage you to spin a tale of adventure all your own."
So a fantastic level of presentation, heartwarming character interactivity, and the idea of freedom being used to evoke feelings of an epic adventure - all coming together to create a lovingly crafted game. It's a recipe that seems to have worked very nicely indeed, and one that will no doubt please players all around the world.
Have you been playing Octopath Traveler? How have you been finding it so far? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.