Star Ocean: The Last Hope Developer Q&A

The development team behind Star Ocean: The Last Hope talks about the evolving series and the future of this saga.

The fourth Star Ocean game is about to be released in a couple of weeks and if you haven't already, check out our latest hands-on preview as well as our video preview. The story is a prequel to the Star Ocean saga, taking place shortly after World War III on Earth. We also had the opportunity to ask developer Tri-Ace a few questions about their sci-fi series, where it is heading and their future plans.

Meet Edge Maverick, The Last Hope's hero.

GameSpot: Since Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a prequel to the sci-fi series, we are assuming it's the last one. If so, how does it feel to be working on the latest Star Ocean game?

Star Ocean Development Team: The Star Ocean series that we had originally envisioned concluded with Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, so the fourth installment does not pick up where the third left off, but rather takes place before the first. We haven't yet decided what lies in the future for the Star Ocean series.

GS: How has this series evolved over time? Was this where you expected the series to end up?

SODT: The Star Ocean titles evolved alongside their respective platforms, with one title per hardware for the Super Famicom, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and Xbox 360. We believe we have been able to create fun systems and beautiful graphics that match the capabilities of each system. As mentioned above, Star Ocean: The Last Hope is not the final installment in the series, so it hasn't quite reached the end of the road yet.

GS: What was the decision behind making another Star Ocean game?

SODT: The Star Ocean saga concluded with the third installment. However, the development staff wanted to tell the story behind things, like how the Pangalactic Federation came to be and how the Star Ocean world was created. This desire to tell the full story resulted in the creation of Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

GS: What are your goals for the game?

SODT: We would be happy if not only Japanese players, but players around the globe--whether they are role-playing game fans or play any other types of games--enjoy this great experience, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, for Xbox 360.

GS: What can you tell us about the story? Will there be any surprising or shocking plot twists?

SODT: As with the previous titles in the Star Ocean series, there will be surprising plot twists that are characteristic to the sci-fi genre. Please give the game a try, as I'm sure it will be an entertaining experience for everyone.

GS: The battle system felt very familiar during our last hands-on. What are some of the changes or new additions?

SODT: The real-time action, battles, skills, and special attacks that have been part of Star Ocean's system have been carried on. In addition to these traditional elements, Star Ocean: The Last Hope incorporates a sense of depth to the Star Ocean world with more three-dimensional aspects, such as jumping, and a new system called "blindside" that enables players to jump out of an enemy's line of sight to make a defensive to offensive switch in a matter of seconds. There are also new systems called "rush combo" and "BEAT system" that will give players a chance to enjoy the game in an intuitive or strategic light.

The blindside system lets you land a critical attack.

GS: What are some of the notable changes between The Last Hope and Till the End of Time?

SODT: The main difference is in the story. While Star Ocean: Till the End of Time depicts the conclusion of the saga, Star Ocean: The Last Hope depicts its origin.

GS: Will the invention system return? If so, is it the same or are there any changes?

SODT: The invention system is present in this title as well. In the past, this system was used to directly create items; however, in Star Ocean: The Last Hope there is a system called "invention session" that calls the player to craft a recipe for the item before actually creating it.

GS: How long will the game be? What can you tell us in regard to side quests and extras?

SODT: If you play straight through the story, the game should take around 40 to 50 hours. However, there are many immersive elements, such as item creation and collection, side dungeons and quests, so players could probably continue for months if they decide to complete all of these aspects.

GS: What was the inspiration behind the character designs? How did they develop?

SODT: Character designs are always Tri-Ace originals, and I haven't heard that they were ever inspired by something in particular. I believe arriving at the final design was a fairly smooth process. We've also heard that the protagonist looks similar to the one from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time; however, the protective armor on their legs is the only real similarity, and it was not intended to cause any confusion.

GS: Since Motoi Sakuraba has worked on previous Star Ocean games, will we hear new arrangements of previous themes or is there an entirely new tracklist?

SODT: Players can listen to the wonderful original compositions by Motoi Sakuraba in this title as well. We have also intentionally rearranged compositions from the past, so if a fan of the series plays this game, I am sure it will make them happy to hear some of the more familiar tunes.

GS: What else can we expect from Tri-Ace? Is there anything you are working on now?

SODT: Tri-Ace has just been released from a long period of development. We have not started thinking about future projects at this point, but I am confident that we'll be able to introduce great games with the signature "Tri-Ace flavor" in the near future. Please keep an eye out for them.

GS: Thank you for your time!

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Discussion

74 comments
ghostlyrics
ghostlyrics

thanks for the view inside the industry once more.

BlkCloud
BlkCloud

I heard about the issues also..they better release it

9th_SolBadguy
9th_SolBadguy

heard this game has some issues and might not be released such as ripping and tearing in visuals, its very slow and all kinds of other problems hey I'm not jinxing the game just saying what i heard

Dreski83
Dreski83

GS: What are some of the notable changes between The Last Hope and Till the End of Time? SODT: The main difference is in the story. While Star Ocean: Till the End of Time depicts the conclusion of the saga, Star Ocean: The Last Hope depicts its origin. Nothing personal... but thats a stupid exchange if I ever read one :lol: No doubt, I'm very excited for this latest addition because a lot of recently made Japanese RPG's have really came up short for me. I like to think the Tri-Ace team did another great job, especially when they suggest 40-50+ hours of game play.

lordrave
lordrave

Hurm, to port to PS3 requires money and time.. Since 360 still hold to DVD.. It wont take much cost/time to suit the game for DVD.. with all the past experience. BD-ray on the other hand, is new.. It's like a total stranger~ EA got budget to port it to BD with ease.. but most Japan company.. well, aint got much budget.. Most fantasy/anime/JRPG go for Wii/360/NDS/PSP..

RitterXplode
RitterXplode

I love these games, too bad I can't play any of them!

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

Love JRPG's, looking forward to it. But a good point made by some posters, why do male characters in most eastern games look like girls?

SWT2008
SWT2008

Glad to see the game is going to be relatively short as far as RPGs go, and has many hours of extras. This reminds me of Star Ocean: the Second Story, which had the cave of trials, and many secret character sidequests. If this game strays from the Till the End of Time formula, and goes back to its roots, I will not be the least bit disappointed.

eagles_band
eagles_band

It's impossible to tell if the main character is a boy or girl in JRPGs; I guess JRPG fans like feminine characters...

43n1m4
43n1m4

My biggest gripe with JRPG games seem to be the visual design, which by itself looks great but way too similar to other games ...and the main protagonist: boy or girl? Besides that, it looks great and I'll probably buy it.

Lancing
Lancing

edge maverick is the dumbest name i've heard in a while.

Lisaanne30
Lisaanne30

Looks cool, hope to get a chance to play it

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

I thought till the end of time was really good too, but I do have to admit I saw the plot twist coming a mile a way and the whole time I was playing the game I was like I swear if they *SPOILER* make a game in the game, the story for all of the star ocean games will suck from here on out, and sure enough they slapped me in the face and did it. but story aside the gameplay and everything before the twist in the story was really good, and I loved every minute playing the game till the twist. also the final dungeoon to me was very interesting.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

It's a matter of opinion and taste, Isaac. I, personally had mixed feelings toward the game that leaned toward dissatisfied. For instance: where you were pleasantly surprised by the twist, I was disgusted. While it might be interesting, it had no place in this franchise and it certainly didn't have any lead up. It was surprising because it seemed like it was tacked on at the last moment and made by a completely different team. In other words, poorly planned and poorly implemented. Not to mention demeaning to the player and the characters. But that's my opinion. As for the PS3/360 debate, yes Microsoft paid enough money. It also means Sony didn't pay enough money. So sit your butts down and think on that - They didn't care enough about your desires to put out that extra cash to bring Star Ocean to the PS3. Oops.

Dauragon
Dauragon

Sounds good, not sure if I'll buy it.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

It's a matter of opinion and taste, Isaac. I, personally had mixed feelings toward the game that leaned toward dissatisfied. For instance: where you were pleasantly surprised by the twist, I was disgusted. While it might be interesting, it had no place in this franchise and it certainly didn't have any lead up. It was surprising because it seemed like it was tacked on at the last moment and made by a completely different team. In other words, poorly planned and poorly implemented. Not to mention demeaning to the player and the characters. But that's my opinion. As for the PS3/360 debate, yes Microsoft paid enough money. It also means Sony didn't pay enough money. So sit your butts down and think on that - They didn't care enough about your desires to put out that extra cash to bring Star Ocean to the PS3. Oops.

isaac_van-mosly
isaac_van-mosly

I don't know why so many people seem to not like TTEOT, it's one of my favorite games. I liked the plot twist, it was so un-expected that when I saw it I was like "What?!?" but I got use to it and actually thought that it made the game that much more interesting. The Last Hope looks great, I can't wait till the 24th, I am going to pre order it this week so I can get it frist thing when it comes out next week.

isaac_van-mosly
isaac_van-mosly

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

enzo2606
enzo2606

This game looks great... My only concern is if the previous Star ocean came to PS2, why won't this one come to PS3? I've got both consoles. I am not against this game come to Xbox 360,but I would have liked to play it in my PS3 like I did before.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

February 23rd? dam i thought this was going to be released in March... i need more money..... and my 360 is acting strange, i hope i dont get RROD

solidstein
solidstein

People this is not tri aces decesion it was square enix decesion to make it an exclusive due to MS trying to expand in the japanese market so dont be mad at tri ace they had no control over it and maybe if your an RPG fan you should drop your fanboy allegiance and get and xbox

solidstein
solidstein

microsoft is trying to take over the japanese market so that is why its a xbox exlusive therefore microsoft paid enough money to square enix and tri-ace to compensate for it not being on the ps3 so if it does come on the ps3 it wont be for along while...but im truly excited for this game it is one of my favorite RPGS ever....now lets get FFXIII out already

vedolino
vedolino

the good thing is that MS is a very 'hungry" company, so maybe they even port it to their second platform, "Games For Windows" :D

Sophia
Sophia

Although, to me that doesn't mean never :)

Sophia
Sophia

The PS3 question has been asked many, many times and the answer still is: There are "no plans" to release SO4 on the PlayStation 3.

Noah-Phoenix
Noah-Phoenix

No one cares if this comes out for the Fony PS3, its dead, get over it.

King9999
King9999

Ah, the eternal question..."Is SO4 coming to PS3?" I'd like to know this as well, but I'm confident that this will come out for PS3 eventually. I'm counting on you, Square Enix...

01_855403
01_855403

why didnt GS ask them if there was a ps3 game.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Why not make this a multiplatform game? Especially since more Japanese own PS3s. The mind boggles. Oh well, you lost yourselves a sale over here Tri-Ace.

nemisis980
nemisis980

I agree with Slash_out, as it is also my first SO game I've played as well, though i would've liked to see this new SO on the PS3, I can't see why they couldn't, but if not I guess that means I'd have to get a X360 for this game.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

Till the End of Time was super generic, more so than normally tolerable, and slow as sin. The story took forever to get anywhere and worse still is that it didn't even touch on the real story or hint to it until the last quarter. It was total Bovine Scatology. But the worse thing about it was the plot twist. I hate it with a passion. It isn't just a cop out, it was poorly implemented and demeaning to the player. An intelligence insulter for lack of ability to toss out any stronger expletive.

Slash_out
Slash_out

I wonder why so many people didn't like Tteot. Till the end of time was my favorite. It was the first of the saga I played (so it's special to me in that way), and I only played the remakes because of that episode.The first one was really nice, I enjoyed it (and finished it) but not mind-breaking. And the second is just too much of the same stuff, actually I kinda felt it was the exact same thing with a different story straped on it ^^;. That's probably why I still didn't finish it since it came out too early after I finished the first one. So I'm really waiting for that one. It reminds me of the ps2 version somehow. And it got rids of the random battles (I enjoyed that at first, but after a while I get an overdose of them ^^;). A bit more than 10 days left... Can't wait :)

kurohubby
kurohubby

I played all SO games expect the one on game boy I love this series. end of time really made me mad I got to the end and the twist and never played it again, up to that point it was a great game. Now last hope is my new hope for the series. yea it's coming to 360. so, what! stop whining about it and grab one. and when PS3 comes out with more than the 6 good games they got I'll get a PS3. ok

towelie123
towelie123

this game looks good so far,hope the hype from the fans in the forums wont ruine the game...maybe i should stop goin to the forums lol

Ovirew
Ovirew

I think this will be the first really successful game in the series, this might even have Platinum potential.

lordrave
lordrave

Why didnt they interview about whether it's coming out for PS3? It will make everything clearer

magusat999
magusat999

It's great to see another Star Ocean game. All of the Star Ocean games are great - except for Till the End of Time - I'm glad that TTEoT wasn't the sour note it was going out on!

zRO_degrees
zRO_degrees

I always wanted to play Star Ocean. This'll be my first and I hope it comes out for PS3.

splendormk7
splendormk7

will they be doing it for ps3 or not

ps3loverr
ps3loverr

if they make the next star ocean itll be on a different console ps3 or wii

mingfu
mingfu

My first star ocean game . Looks great!

dark_kartos
dark_kartos

i agree, thank god its not the last of the series. Thx gamespot for giving me a heart for no reason :D

Bysta
Bysta

God, i love this franchise. I am happy that its not the last one in the series

dstv
dstv

is ther co-op like in tales games

MegandDia128
MegandDia128

That is good to know that this will not be the last Star Ocean game I about cried when I read that in a magazine

4163982838
4163982838

I'm just really glad this isn't the end of the star ocean series. This series has a lot of life in them just like their counterpart team who creates the tales series (namco bandai) it would of been a shame if this was the end. Fans...be sure to support tri ace and buy this game. Great RPG's like this one don't come to America/Canada very often.