HD-2D games are now a style unto themselves. The new approach to visuals was ushered in with Octopath Traveler in 2018, and since then we’ve seen Square Enix employ the style in multiple titles. Of course, HD-2D would be the path forward for Octopath Traveler II as well, but in a new interview, we learn that the dev team struggled with how to improve the graphics this time around.

Square Enix just shared an internal interview with some big names on the Octopath Traveler II dev team. The lineup includes Keisuke Miyauchi (Director/ACQUIRE Corp.),Yasunori Nishiki (Composer), Naoki Ikushima (Character Design/SQUARE ENIX) and Kakunoshin Futsuzawa (Scenario Writer/SQUARE ENIX). In one portion, Miyauchi talks about the struggles the team went through when looking to improve the HD-2D visuals from the first game. It was all about finding the right balance, and getting to that point took a lot of time and effort.

First and foremost, we wanted to showcase to players that there had been iterations, rather than drastic changes made to the overall experience.

This was particularly true when it came to the visuals, where it was challenging to find the right balance. We wanted a game that was even more beautiful than the first but making the graphics too finely detailed lost what makes the pixel art great.

It took a lot of trial and error to find that balance. Fortunately, the core development team worked together on OCTOPATH TRAVELER, and we’ve built really strong relationships with each other. That helped us to go through this repeated trial and error process relatively smoothly.

When the camera angle changes, it means you can see places that would originally have been hidden! So we had to create these places in detail, which was a challenge we didn’t have in the previous game.

However, from the beginning stages of development, we planned the maps in much more detail than in OCTOPATH TRAVELER. Thankfully, because we did this work, making these new maps wasn’t as tricky as expected!

[Keisuke Miyauchi, Director]

The whole interview is chock-full of behind-the-scenes details, anecdotes and interesting tidbits about the development of Octopath Traveler II. If you’d like to learn more, make sure to check out the full feature here.

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