Star Ocean: Anamnesis headed to western mobile devices in July 2018

Square Enix announced today that the mobile title Star Ocean: Anamnesis is coming to western shores this July on iOS and Android devices.

Star Ocean: Anamnesis “puts you in the captain’s chair” according to Square Enix, and allows players to lead a squadron of heroes across the galaxy. Choosing between attackers, sharpshooters, defenders, invokers and healers; players will have the freedom to build their own powerful teams by utilizing the returning all-star cast of characters from the Star Ocean series.

Though on mobile devices, players will be able to experience fast-paced real-time combat enhanced with mobile-specific controls in full 3D graphics. And players will also get to take part in a brand-new co-op multiplayer mode, allowing friends to tackle various missions together.

iOS device users can register for the official Apple Testflight closed beta to get an exclusive preview of the game before it launches. You can fill out the application here.

Fans can also pre-register through the official Star Ocean Twitter, Facebook and Google Play to unlock various rewards following the launch of Star Ocean: Anamnesis. These prizes are determined by the total number of pre-registrations across all participating platforms. You can see the number of prizes for pre-registration goals listed below:

For additional information on Star Ocean: Anamnesis, you can check out the official Star Ocean series website.

Star Ocean: Anamnesis is available now in Japan for Android and iOS devices, and releases on mobile devices in the US this July. The latest entry from the series on console is Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 in 2016.

Producer Shuichi Kobayashi asks fans to “Please wait a little longer” for Star Ocean 6

Square Enix hosted a special celebratory festival for the Star Ocean series this past Sunday(May 20th, 2018). The event was called Star Ocean Fes 2018 ~Festival of the Sea of Stars~, and featured a musical concert and a cast of Star Ocean voice actors for story dramas. There was also a live stream for stage events, including an on-tour version of the Star Ocean Program.

Though Star Ocean 6 had not been present or announced during the event, Square Enix producer Shuichi Kobayashi had addressed the demand for a new entry to the series during the Star Ocean Program live stream.

“I understand,” he said. “I know what else everyone would like to hear, but speaking frankly, it’s not that simple to make. If it could be made without tri-Ace, then surely it would possible. But that’s not the case, is it? I’m saying please wait a little longer. Won’t you please wait a little longer?”

“Please keep faith in us as we continue with Anamnesis.” Kobayashi continued. “I’ll also do my best. That’s all I can say today, but I believe that everyone’s support will empower us to work hard.”

Star Ocean: Anamnesis is available now in Japan on Android and iOS devices. The latest entry from the series on console is Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 in 2016.

Sources: Gematsu, Siliconera

Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster Review

Star Ocean The Last Hope International recently received a re-release that included a visual upgrade in the form of Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster. This title includes all of the features bundled into the PlayStation 3 release of Star Ocean The Last Hope International and is a good introduction to the series for newcomers looking to explore earlier installments of the franchise.

While elements of the story haven’t aged remarkably well, Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster offers itself to be a good entry point to the series and to scratch the itch of those looking for a lengthy JRPG to fill their time.

I sunk a good amount of time into Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster. While the base game is wholly the same when compared to Star Ocean The Last Hope International, I found the upgrade to the game’s visuals to be the most stand-out part of this re-release.

This port to both PlayStation 4 and PC provide a handful of new visual features that can be accessed through the menu. I quickly turned these new settings on and found that the environments were crisper, cleaner, and benefited from the extra bloom. Environments were generally brighter and more immersive. Character models also benefited from these enhancements. While there were some stray shadows due to unclean renders of bangs for certain characters in very specific lighting, this is something that can be easily overlooked. The highly detailed outfits and designs of Star Ocean The Last Hope’s main cast look great in 4K and the game functions exceptionally well.

The combat is far more fluid than the versions on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, allowing for battles to fulfill their true potential. Combat effects are especially vibrant and add to a greater sense of enjoyment even while trudging through a tedious amount of grinding. Even these small additions made revisiting Star Ocean The Last Hope all the more enjoyable.

Additionally, the inclusion of content packaged with Star Ocean The Last Hope International, such as the Japanese voice acting, contributed to an overall better experience. I found myself swapping to the Japanese voices fairly early on and eventually made use of the selective muting feature found in the system menu. The ability to mute specific characters during combat was something I did frequently throughout the game. It wasn’t that the voice acting was particularly bad on the Japanese side of things, but their victory dialogue quickly became tedious after hours upon hours of grinding.

That being said for those unfamiliar with the Star Ocean series it falls into mechanics typical for a game of it’s time. Players are expected to spend upwards of forty hours grinding for stats and enhancing skills in order to truly realize the potential of specific party compositions or characters. I felt like Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster could have greatly benefited from some kind of “speed up” system similarly seen in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. This would have helped break some of the tedium of grinding which becomes necessary for story progression on even the easiest level of difficulty.

While certainly not the strongest entry of the Star Ocean series, I was left with strong feelings of nostalgia. For those new and interested in the series I would say this would be a good place to start if you are willing to look over some fairly dated storytelling elements and character archetypes. Old fans who enjoyed the original release of this title will surely enjoy the 4K and HD Remaster and will find it to be a great port of a game they previous experienced.

Disclaimer: A PlayStation 4 (digital) version of Star Ocean: The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster was provided to Nova Crystallis by Square Enix for review.

Star Ocean Producer discusses rebooting the series and his hopes for a new Star Ocean game

Shuichi Kobayashi, a producer at Square Enix, had been the one to revive the once dormant Star Ocean with the release of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness after the series had been quiet for roughly seven years. And in a recent interview with Sisilala, Shuichi spoke about his experiences with rebooting the series and discussed his hope for the development of a new Star Ocean title.

Thanks to Siliconera, some of the highlights from Kobayashi’s interview have been translated to English:

  • When Kobayashi went to get approval from producer Yoshinori Yamagishi who said he’ll no longer make a Star Ocean game, he was jokingly told “So you’re going to take one for the team.”
  • Kobayashi said there wasn’t any chances in his favor but felt it was a waste to see the IP that is Star Ocean remain dormant. He always felt that it was worth doing since he understood that it has many passionate fans, but since nobody stepped up to the task he decided to do it myself.
  • Unfortunately, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness didn’t meet its sales expectations, but that was also something that Kobayashi expected.
  • Resource management was one of the first things Kobayashi thought about. From the very start, he had no intention to simply make Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness and stop right there.
  • The producer explained that nowadays if you make something from scratch and end it there, the hurdle of making profit is very high. For this reason, it’s important to manage resources. For better or worse, by “customizing and recycling” well you can consequently secure its quality.
  • Assets are part of your resources, and something that has been cultivated doesn’t go bad. By using those resources, you can think of various new developments, reduce risks, and develop with a sense of speed. Simply put, you can use assets as a base and from there it is possible to make something even better.
  • Kobayashi used assets from Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, including  its game engine, character model data, backgrounds, and other texture data in the early development of Star Ocean: Anamnesis.
  • When Kobayashi first brought the idea to bring back Star Ocean, he presented a three-step proposition to Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda:
  • The Star Ocean series that has been dormant will reboot under Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness on console and revive the IP.
  • With the revived IP we’ll develop an IP and bring sales from there.
  • If this development works out we’ll continue boosting the series with new title developments.
  • Star Ocean: Anamnesis is being supported by many fans. If Star Ocean’s popularity continues, and there’s enough demand from fans, Kobayashi hopes to be able to do the next thing for the series.
  • Star Ocean: Anamnesis uses tri-Ace’s very own Aska Engine, and they have modeling, effects, and textures on a level that can even be used on PlayStation 4. That said, unlike Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness that was made from scratch, Kobayashi feels that they can make a sequel with less expense and time using their resources.

With the HD re-release of Star Ocean: The Last Hope 4K & Full HD Remaster on PC and Playstation 4, it will certainly be interesting to see where the series will go from here.