The Games That Made Us: OCTOPATH TRAVELER II teamDirector Keisuke Miyauchi, Composer Yasunori Nishiki, Character Designer Naoki Ikushima and Scenario Writer Kakunoshin Futsuzawa reveal the games that shaped them.
OCTOPATH TRAVELER II is an incredible RPG. It’s clearly the work of a passionate and talented team, who worked hard to create something special.
But what made them?
We spoke to key members of the team to discover the games that shaped them and their careers. Kind enough to answer our questions were:
- Keisuke Miyauchi-san (Director/ACQUIRE Corp.)
- Yasunori Nishiki (Composer)
- Naoki Ikushima (Character Designer/SQUARE ENIX)
- Kakunoshin Futsuzawa (Scenario Writer/SQUARE ENIX)
So read on as the OCTOPATH TRAVELER II team reveal The Games That Made Us:
Hello everyone and thanks for your time! First, we’ll ask you to cast your minds back to a long time ago: what was the first game you ever played?
Keisuke Miyauchi-san (Director): It would have been… Pinball on the NES, I think!
Yasunori Nishiki (Composer): I have an older brother, so I can remember watching him play from over his shoulder - I have vague memories of watching him play FINAL FANTASY IV.
Hmm… but I’m sorry, but I don’t really remember what my first game was (laughs)!
There was a little traditional sweet shop near my house, which had a STREET FIGHTER II arcade cabinet. I remember this distinctive voice coming from it: “Hadouken!”
That caught my interest, and I gave it a go.
I can still remember how excited I was when I heard that you’d be able to play the game to your heart’s content in your own home on the SNES!
The release date was actually just before my birthday. My parents bought the game ahead of time and told me: “No playing until your birthday!” But I took it out of the box when my parents weren’t looking and played it in secret. I have really clear memories of that (laughs).
Naoki Ikushima (Character Designer): For me, it would have been Super Mario Brothers.
I was drawn into the world of the game. I loved picture books and being able to play an interactive game inside a world that looked like a picture book itself was a new experience for me.
Although I would die right away because I was useless at it (laughs).
Kakunoshin Futsuzawa (Scenario Writer): The first game I remember playing would probably be STREET FIGHTER II.
I remember thinking something like,“Blanka is so cool!”
What was the first Square Enix game you ever played?
Miyauchi-san: For me, it was DRAGON QUEST IV.
I remember that I liked how the stories of different characters with a wide range of backgrounds came together in the end, and I was really drawn to the art style on the box and the strategy guide.
Ikushima-san: DRAGON QUEST III. Naturally, I liked the sense of fantasy, and I also loved the monster design!
I was a child, so I didn’t pay proper attention to what the king says, so I didn’t realise for a while that other characters could join your party! I ended up going on the quest all by myself.
I still remember the shock when a friend at school told me (laughs)!
Futsuzawa-san: I think it was FINAL FANTASY V. I was drawn into that epic fantasy world right from the opening of the game!
Nishiki-san: Mine was either THE FINAL FANTASY LEGEND or FINAL FANTASY V… to be honest, I don’t remember too clearly.
I do remember liking the music in both cases. Nobuo Uematsu’s music has had such a huge impact on my life!
Above: FINAL FANTASY V Pixel Remaster
Which single Square Enix game could you not live without?
Miyauchi-san: I think it would be FINAL FANTASY VII.
It was the first game that made me interested in the people who were making games. I found myself curious about what kind of person had created this world, crammed so full of life and detail!
Nishiki-san: Wow, that’s a tricky question (laughs)!
I don’t think I could give up any FINAL FANTASY, putting aside the exact number.
The worlds that the series creates are great, of course, but honestly, it would have to be because of the music. As I said, Uematsu-san’s music and philosophy have been such a huge influence on me.
Ikushima-san: BRAVELY DEFAULT.
That game was the trigger for me joining Team Asano. It made me think: “this is the kind of game I’ve been wanting to make!” I put in a request and joined the team from BRAVELY SECOND.
To this day, I still dearly wish that I could have worked on the first game!
Futsuzawa-san: OCTOPATH TRAVELER. This was the game that started me on a new journey as a creator!
Above: The original OCTOPATH TRAVELER
If you could only listen to one Square Enix soundtrack or album ever again, what would it be?
Nishiki-san: This is another really tricky question (laughs)!!
They’re all wonderful albums, so I can’t pick just one… but if I absolutely had to, I might go with FINAL FANTASY V.
Miyauchi-san: Definitely OCTOPATH TRAVELER II.
I’ve been listening to all the music since they were demo tracks, so I’m really attached to them. I might be a bit biased though (laughs).
In terms of specific songs, I love “At Your Back.”
Futsuzawa-san: OCTOPATH TRAVELER - because I have so many memories from it, and they’re connected to the songs as well.
The main theme is my favorite. It makes me want to set out on a journey!
Listen to the full OCTOPATH TRAVELER soundtrack on the Square Enix Music channel on YouTube.
Ikushima-san: Other than the OCTOPATH TRAVELER series? It would have to be BRAVELY DEFAULT.
I like all of the tracks in the game, but I really like the music that plays in the overworld. It always cheers me up.
What game do you think the entire world should play?
Miyauchi-san: Shadow of the Colossus.
I feel like the design is perfect in every aspect, neither underdone or too much - gameplay, the world and setting, the sound… everything.
Ikushima-san: OCTOPATH TRAVELER II!
The developers and creators loved the first game and have worked to make the sequel even better.
Futsuzawa-san: OCTOPATH TRAVELER II!
At the moment, rather than thinking about what people “should” play, I guess I just really want people to play it (laughs).
What’s your proudest career achievement?
Miyauchi-san: It’s probably the fact that so many people played the series’ previous title, OCTOPATH TRAVELER.
I’m so happy and proud about that!
Ikushima-san: The fact that I’ve been entrusted with character design - that was my dream!
When I was in elementary school, I entered a competition to design a character for a game. Predictably, I didn’t win (laughs).
At the time, I was really frustrated - that’s when I made up my mind that I was definitely going to become a designer for games!
Futsuzawa-san: For me, it’s the fact that I’m writing the scenario for the OCTOPATH TRAVELER series! I’m proud because the series is loved by so many people all around the world.
Of course, I count myself in that number!
Nishiki-san: The thing that I’m most proud of in and of itself, is that I’m now in a position to create new game music.
I think that, at times, everyone is drawn to the idea of becoming someone who creates the kind of thing that influenced their life when they were younger. However, not everyone can make that happen - not everyone ends up in their dream job. The world can be harsh.
And so, I’m really proud that I’ve made it in spite of that and have the good fortune to be in such a position myself!
What are you most proud of about OCTOPATH TRAVELER II?
Miyauchi-san: There’s so much I’m proud of about the game.
The graphics are more beautiful than the previous game, and the story structure really brings out the individual personalities of each protagonist. Plus, the game balances a lot of different elements without becoming overly busy.
Nishiki-san: Listing specific things is tricky. Besides, I think it all comes down to being able to present the players with a new OCTOPATH TRAVELER story - that means everything to me.
Ikushima-san: This might be a few things that made me happy, rather than what I’m proud of!
The first is that Octopuff became one of the official characters. Second, that we were able to create a sequel to the first game as the same team. And third, that I’ve heard people talking about much they love the characters!
Futsuzawa-san: I’m proud of writing the scenarios for the eight protagonists - and that I was unwavering and kept going with my convictions right until the entire scenario was completed.
I’m also proud of Ochette - and the fact that I introduced the Beastlings as something completely new to the OCTOPATH series!
Finally, what do you hope players take from your game?
Miyauchi-san: No matter what kind of game I’m making, I tend to be exacting about the details and insert some jokes – I’m always happy when players notice and enjoy these things.
OCTOPATH TRAVELER II has lots of those kinds of touches, so I hope you’ll keep an eye out, and that some of them become your personal favourites!
Nishiki-san: The fact that we’ve been able to make this sequel is thanks to everyone who picked up and played OCTOPATH TRAVELER when it was a completely new title.
When we created OCTOPATH TRAVELER II, we wanted it to be a thank you to everyone who believed in the first game. And, since we grew up playing RPGs, we wanted the game to pay homage to those games and pass along the favour.
I really, genuinely hope people have a wonderful journey in OCTOPATH TRAVELER II.
Ikushima-san: I would just like to say thank you so much to the players for warming to the eight new protagonists! I hope you have a great journey together!
Futsuzawa-san: Games will always have an ending. But if the characters I’ve written live on in your heart, then it’s not the end for them.
Have a great trip!
Many thanks to Miyauchi-san, Nishiki-san, Ikushima-san and Futsuzawa-san for sharing their experiences and opinions.
You can see how their love of RPGs has influenced OCTOPATH TRAVELER II - it’s an amazing game that celebrates the genre while modernising it with bold and fun ideas. The love of the developers comes through in every one of the HD-2D pixels!
If you’re yet to experience the game, OCTOPATH TRAVELER II is available now for Nintendo Switch, Steam, PS5 and PS4.
There’s also a free Prologue demo, which lets you pick a character and play through their story for three hours... and progress carries over to the main game! Find out more about that here:
We hope you enjoy the game! If you’re about to get started, check out our guide:
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