Square Enix’s fan favourite JRPG reutrns after a 7-year absence
It’s been a while since the last Star Ocean game came out – seven years in fact – so we’re really excited to bring the Star Ocean franchise back today on PS4! Don’t worry if you’re new to the series because you can enjoy Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness whether it’s the first game you’ve played in the series or the fifth.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness has quite an all-star development team including series creator Yoshiharu Gotanda, composer Motoi Sakuraba and character artist Akira “Akiman” Yasuda who is probably most famous for designing the characters in Street Fighter II!
If you’ve not seen much on the game then you can check out the launch trailer below:
Shuichi Kobayashi is the producer of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness and we recently had the chance to ask him a couple of questions from the Star Ocean community.
What is the meaning behind the subtitle “Integrity and Faithlessness”?
Shuichi Kobayashi: The meaning behind this subtitle for the game is something that was very much decided by Mr. Gotanda, who is the head of the development company (tri-Ace) who created the game. I’ve never explained it to people completely before, but basically you’ll get an idea of what it means through playing the game if you think about the meaning behind your actions, the decisions that you make, and what happens behind the scenes.
When making a new entry in the series how do you decide how heavily you want to reference the older games?
Shuichi Kobayashi: The Star Ocean franchise has been going on for 20 years and this is the fifth game in the series. The story of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is designed so that you don’t have to have played the other games in the series to get into it and enjoy it. It’s very simple and easy to understand but all of the special terminology (like character names, organisation names) all reference to this one ongoing (franchise) storyline and reference back to older Star Ocean games.
So if you enjoy Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness and you go back and play the other games you can enjoy finding all of those little links and references.
What was the inspiration for there to be such a large playable party?
Shuichi Kobayashi: In Star Ocean: Integrity & Faithlessness, transitions between battles, events and story happen seamlessly, so in the world you have all of your party characters travelling together in one big party (all seven of them) and they enter battle and fight together at the same time.
We really didn’t want to have an unnatural transition in which only some of the characters enter battle and you only get to use four of them so we had all seven of them fighting at the same time. We also thought it’d really good to make the battle really big, flashy and exciting and really up the level of the battle antics with everyone using really powerful attacks at the same time, and that made it look really good.
When you’re in battle it’s actually very easy to control, you control one character directly and all of the other characters are operated by an AI customisation system so they can fight for themselves.
How has the combat system evolved from previous games in the series?
Shuichi Kobayashi: The battle system is set up this time based on a rock-paper-scissors dynamic using the different qualities of the strong attack, weak attack and guard actions. Adjusting those to use against the enemy in the correct situation you can fight effectively in battle.
Another major feature of the battle system is the reserve rush gauge which builds up if you correctly use the right kind of inputs during battle. Depending on that gauge and how far you’ve charged it you can increase the amount of experience and skill points you gain from battle. You can use that gauge to initiate super moves, really powerful special attacks your characters have.
Will private actions return in Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness?
Shuichi Kobayashi: Yes, the private action system is back again in Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness! We’ve actually got more of them than in any other Star Ocean game and they’re all fully voiced as well. Both Japanese and English voices are available too.
There are two main types of private actions; ones which automatically trigger during the exploration scenes in which characters will come up to you, talk to you and start an event. The second one is a return of the kind of events you had in Star Ocean: The Second Story in which you enter a town and can choose to initiate a private action session where the characters go off and do their own things and you can go and talk to them and interact with them in town and see what they’re up to in their own time.
Based on the results and choices during these private actions you’ll be able to influence the endings and epilogues for each different character in the game.
Do you have a message for Star Ocean fans?
Shuichi Kobayashi: It has been seven years since the last Star Ocean game came out. I am sorry for making you wait this long for the latest one. For those who are trying out a Star Ocean game for the first time you’re going to be able to play with no trouble, you don’t need to have played any of the others to get into it and enjoy the story.
We think it’s going to be a really great experience and if you have any interest at all, please play this latest evolution of the JRPG. If you play for 15 minutes you’ll be hooked and I’m sure you’ll want to go straight through to the ending so please enjoy my game and give it a look – thank you.