UPDATE: Star Ocean The Divine Force Party Member Marielle Was Meant to be a Choosable Protagonist Instead of Laeticia

UPDATE: Star Ocean The Divine Force Party Member Marielle Was Meant to be a Choosable Protagonist Instead of Laeticia

The most recent issue of Weekly Famitsu contained a lengthy interview with staff behind the Square Enix and tri-Ace-developed action JRPG, Star Ocean The Divine Force. Scenario producer Satoshi Wagahara and character designer Akiman were the interviewees.

One notable exchange they had revealed that one of the game’s party members, Marielle L. Kenny, was supposed to be one of the choosable protagonists instead of Laeticia Aucerius. Initially, the staff wanted there to be two sides to a sci-fi story before ultimately deciding to shift gears and adopt dual fantasy and sci-fi perspectives.

Marielle’s design was near finalization before this change in development was made, and her appearance reflects this. For instance, Marielle’s attire is almost entirely white, which was created to contrast Raymond’s nearly completely black clothes. On an offhanded note, a recent PlayStation Japan Blog interview stated that development began while the franchise’s now shut-down mobile game, Star Ocean: Anamnesis, was thriving in Japan.

The full part of the PlayStation Blog interview detailing those points is translated below via our team’s Ryuji:

Interviewer: First, tell us about how Star Ocean: The Divine Force was conceived. 

Shingo Mukaitoge: After the release of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, we released a mobile gacha game titled Star Ocean: Anamnesis, which was a title that focused on the action aspect of battles and was aimed towards both existing fans and as a way to introduce new fans into the series. It ended up being received quite well by the target audience (the smartphone market).

I initially thought that if we could introduce the best aspects of the battles in Anamnesis into a console title, we would be able to truly create an “evolved Star Ocean”─ one that will be accepted by both audiences who played Anamnesis. And while Star Ocean: Anamnesis is no longer in service [in both Global and Japan], I would say its relative success was what started the necessary momentum for the development of this new title. 

Interviewer: Please tell us about the concept and theme of Star Ocean: The Divine Force.

SM: The previous numbered title, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, can be more or less considered a reboot of the Star Ocean series, and we had started its development with the goal of creating a “completely new Star Ocean.” That being said, we still upheld the theme that past series games have brought, which is a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi, but we also tried to make it more “digestible” for younger audiences.

Interviewer: Were there any points you focused on when creating the world of Star Ocean: The Divine Force?

SM: In this title, there are both advanced planets and undeveloped planets, each in their own stages of evolution. We wanted to express the differences between them in a big way. However, the series also has a point of “family ancestry,” so we were rather particular about making a clear distinction between the two while still making a worldview that does not destroy the concept of previously established organizations, such as the Galactic Federation and such.

Interviewer: Tell us more about the “Double Hero System” introduced in Star Ocean: The Divine Force.

SM: Star Ocean: The Second Story already introduced such a system, and it is meant to be the same in Divine Force. You have these two stories that run together in parallel, so for players who like seeing all of the story, this adds to the replayability because although there are points where the two protagonists meet, the tale that is spun during the times they split up is completely different, offering unique perspectives.

Interviewer: There are many other fascinating characters in Divine Force, but were there any particular points you paid attention to when deciding on elements, such as the design, personality, skills, etc., of each playable character?

SM: There were three main points to consider before deciding on the playable characters. Raymond was drafted and considered from the beginning as a protagonist. We also needed to consider how many characters were necessary in order for the story to flow smoothly, as well as how they would contribute to it. And as a matter of fact, Laeticia was not the protagonist originally…

Interviewer: Eh? Really? How so?

SM: Initially, the story of Star Ocean: The Divine Force focused on the “corruption and decay” of the Galactic Federation. So you would have two perspectives: Raymond, a merchant who isn’t necessarily affiliated with the higher brass of the federation, and Marielle, a young lady who works for them and would have “an insider’s perspective.” But then we realized rather late that it was becoming hard to make two divergent stories out of that.

[He then goes on to explain that had they gone much forward with the plan, playing Raymond’s route would spoil some facts of Marielle’s route, and vice-versa. He says that it was getting more and more complicated to diverge the two stories. Plus, they were missing the main point of Star Ocean, which is to mix fantasy with Sci-Fi. So once they switched the story to include Laeticia’s POV, they found it was much easier to depict the story there, or rather, to differentiate between the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, resulting in two unique stories.]

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Star Ocean The Divine Force is the newest RPG from developer Tri-Ace. The game features a sci-fi setting as the sixth entry in the franchise with an action-focused battle system. This narrative tells an original story led by protagonist Raymond, the captain of a space trading ship, along with Ydas, and Laeticia, the princess-knight of an underdeveloped planet. After how lukewarm  Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was, it’s relieving to see this series be given another new chance.

Throughout  Star Ocean The Divine Force, players get to choose between protagonists Raymond and Laeticia, witnessing the story from multiple unique insights. Raymond’s perceptions offer more sci-fi know-how, while Laeticia’s perspective focuses more on fantasy elements. Combat is real-time Further, the addition of Stop Mode allows players to literally pause the action, letting them form new stratagems on the fly.

Star Ocean The Divine Force is releasing on October 27, 2022, for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.

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