Triangle Strategy is the latest game from Square Enix that uses their HD-2D visuals, an approach that wa brought to life with Octopath Traveler.
While you might think it was straightforward to apply the HD-2D style, Square Enix actually looked into several companies before they found the right team to work with. Producer Tomoya Asano discussed the topic in an interview with 4Gamer, and you can read a snippet (translated by NintendoEverything) below.
We invited several companies to make HD-2D demo footage in the early stages of Triangle Strategy’s production, and after review alongside Octopath Traveler’s other developer, Acquire, we brought Artdink on board.
While other developers created photorealistic images and reduced them, Artdink was the only developer that Acquire said had the ‘accurate’ HD-2D visuals.
They prepared a deformed image at the writing material level, before adding realistic effects to ‘build it up’. A well-made HD-2D screen has pixel art characters and background.
Contrasting that, if you reduce a photorealistic image, it looks as if you’re simply lowering the image quality, which paints a picture that says ‘maybe this would have been better left clean.’