Star Ocean The Divine Force Reveals Development Details; tri-Ace CEO Involvement, Scrapped Bunny Racing Minigame & Writing Challenges

Last month, a Square Enix broadcast for their action JRPG Star Ocean The Divine Force received English closed captions. The staff present throughout this stream was tri-Ace producer Shingo Mukaitoge, tri-ace director Kentaro Arakawa, and scenario writer Satoshi Wagahara. Some minor, interesting trivia was presented throughout this conversation that fans may find intriguing.

One of the most interesting topics concerned Wagahara’s narrative writing efforts. He’s a novelist, and writing for a game is, as he puts it, contextually different in several regards. While the Star Ocean universe was already firmly established, meaning that Wagahara wasn’t needlessly given extra elements to craft, he had to ensure that scenes weren’t too lengthy so players could actually play the game. He was specifically asked not to make events over ten minutes.

On another note, the CEO of tri-Ace, Yoshiharu Gotanda, was deeply involved with creating The Divine Force. He conceptualized the plot and headed engine development, initiating the technical foundation, which is pretty cool for someone in his position.

In the broadcast, Wagahara showed the script books that contain The Divine Force’s main narrative that everyone will see throughout a playthrough. Gotanda’s penned plot was also presented, stated to be 441 A4-sized pages and more than 330,000 Japanese characters. Moreover, several elements of the game’s systems, such as D.U.M.A. are detailed in ways one will never see in the game itself. Gotanda was evidently quite serious about the lore and worldbuilding of The Divine Force.

Wagahara came up with the plot point regarding Albaird’s prosthetic left arm. Originally, his arm was normal, but Wagahara wanted Albaird to face his own demons rather than just be solely tethered to Laeticia. Plus, he wanted an early natural link to the Scorpium threat that becomes abundant in the narrative’s latter half. This choice also prevented Albaird from being grossly overshadowed by the science-fiction elements.

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Expectedly, the flight capabilities of D.U.M.A more than doubled the team’s workload since it allowed sight and action on a scope incomparable to previous entries. It’s no exaggeration to call this the most innovative facet of the game and a crucial part of its identity. Further, several considerations had to be made throughout development, so the exploration never reached a level the team couldn’t handle.

In the realm of minigames, we ended up getting the addictive Es’owa, though there were a few scrapped ideas, such as Bunny Racing. However, it would have been “hell to make.”

For those curious about the engine, The Divine Force utilizes ASKA, their proprietary engine since Infinite Undiscovery on the Xbox 360. Practically all of tri-Ace’s releases use ASKA, an impressive feat given their relatively smaller-scale team compared to bigger studios.

For more details on the development of Star Ocean The Divine Force, you can view the full VOD below:

In case you’ve missed it, we spoke to the Star Ocean Development Team, who revealed that fans’ voices might be what’s needed for Star Ocean: Second Evolution’s PlayStation 4 port to come West.

Star Ocean The Divine Force is now available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.