RPG fans the world over are enjoying the first major Nintendo Switch release of the year, Octopath Traveler. Despite the outdated visuals and turn based combat, the game has impressed many due to its creators being very strongly influenced by classic Japanese RPGs. However, the developers have admitted to us that there was another major influence to the team. One that director Keisuke Miyauchi feels was far more beneficial to the final product than titles like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.
“Octopath Traveler was a title made to showcase just how far gaming has come since the nineties.” He explained to us. “Back then players were satisfied with little pixels slamming into each other. Nothing like what studios like Naughty Dog are producing today.”
Miyauchi explained that it was a common feeling among the dev team that it was best to implement design philosophies from both western and eastern releases. It was decided early on that the combat for the game would be strongly influenced by RPGs, but the story and tone would be inspired by titles like the Last of Us.
“No one plays RPGs because they are fun.” Miyauchi told us. “People play RPGs in order to feel engrossed in the story and world that we, the developers, have created. Neil Druckmann made a very interesting statement earlier this year regarding how the team at Naughty Dog are not thinking of whether or not the game is fun. It was kind of uplifting to hear him come to the same conclusion that we did.”
Naughty Dog’s influence over the developers of Octopath Traveler was so great that the team felt it necessary to acknowledge its impact in game. The sidequest of a father searching for his missing daughter Ellie was very made designed to pay homage to the Last of Us.
“The Last of Us is one of the best games ever made.” Miyauchi confided in us. “Better than Zelda, better than Dragon Quest, better even than Pokemon.”
Critics have been saying such things for years, but it seems that Naughty Dog’s impact on the industry is only just beginning to hit its stride. Only time will tell just how strongly The Last of Us Part II will impact the industry, but it is clearly on its way to establishing itself as the new standard as to what a video game should be.