PREVIEW – State of Play indeed has a prominent announcement the Star Ocean: The Divine Force, which came from tri-Ace and Square Enix.
The publisher’s overview follows: “Developed by tri-Ace Inc., Star Ocean: The Divine Force will transport players to an expansive sci-fi fantasy world and take them on an exhilarating journey with fast-paced action combat, rich exploration and an original story.
With Star Ocean celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Star Ocean: The Divine Force builds on that rich history with new features that are sure to delight for many years to come.
The debut trailer showcases various new and returning elements to the Star Ocean franchise that players can look forward to super-high-speed action battles. No random encounters – players will seamlessly enter battles with enemies that populate the world. Players can float in the air, dive at enemies and fly around areas. Richer exploration – climb towering mountains, venture into the dark, vast valleys and investigate the castles and towns present in the world.
Showcasing a diverse cast of playable characters, Star Ocean: The Divine Force will tell a gripping story that seamlessly melds science fiction and fantasy elements and can be enjoyed by newcomers to the series and veterans alike. The game features dual protagonists, which offer different story perspectives and gameplay experiences: Raymond, the captain of the space trading ship, Ydas, and Laeticia, the princess-knight of a kingdom on an underdeveloped planet. Fate will bring Raymond, Laeticia, and several other ally characters together, all designed by renowned artist Akiman (Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, Street Fighter series),” Square Enix wrote.
Sci-fi fantasy world
There are additional details via the PlayStation Blog, which is a welcome surprise for a brand new game’s announcement: “[…] The first game in the series was released in 1996, and up until now, five mainline games, one spin-off game, and one smartphone game have been produced. […] At the end of Infinite space… the fate of the universe awakens when our two heroes cross paths. In Star Ocean: The Divine Force, you can fly around areas freely. In this game, characters can move freely in 360 degrees and can also fly in the sky. Move and explore freely in three dimensions: everything you see is part of the field! You can move in three dimensions whilst flying around the most significant areas ever. Whether you’re flying around and exploring rockfaces and roofs of buildings in the city or leaping off cliffs to enter battles seamlessly, you’ll have more freedom in terms of both adventuring and battling.
This Star Ocean game has the fastest and strongest action of any entry in the series. This play experience where you play as you please has also helped to evolve the battles. Characters can subdue a large number of enemies with super high-speed movement attacks, an action where you can vanish for a brief moment from right in front of your enemies’ eyes, and a skill that could kill in one hit! This game will feature a challenging yet thrilling battle experience to enjoy while freely soaring in the skies.”
The story also got a prologue overview: “The Pangalactic Federation. From their earliest days in the Sol System, this organization has sought to bring peace and tranquillity to the galactic multitudes. As their reach has expanded through the universe, many heroes have served under their banner; saviours to planets in need. But by the year 583 SD, things have changed. The once peaceful Pangalactic Federation is now known for assimilating worlds against their will. Once standing for justice, they are now wreathed in darkness.
Raymond, captain of the merchant vessel Ydas, departs from the nonfederated planet of Verguld on a common transport mission. The job is simple, the route familiar, yet things go awry when the Astoria attacks the Ydas. It’s a battleship carrying a member of the Pangalactic Federation’s preeminent Kenny family. Raymond and his crewmate Chloe are forced to abandon the ship amidst the chaos and head for the remote, underdeveloped planet of Aster IV. Before their escape pods can even land, a burst of energy resembling an EMP from the planet’s surface knocks out their systems and brings them crashing down. They find themselves separated and stranded in an unfamiliar world.
Upon landing, Raymond is immediately attacked by some of the less-than-friendly local wildlife. But when all seems lost, his life is saved by the crown princess of the Kingdom of Aucerius: Laeticia. Marvelled by the sudden appearance of this man who rode into her life on a “shooting star,” Laeticia asks Raymond to help save her kingdom from the threat of the neighbouring Vey’l Empire. He accepts in exchange for help finding Chloe. So begins their journey on Aster IV. However, Raymond will soon discover he has yet to escape the shadow of the Pangalactic Federation. “Whence do you hail, Ray?” “I’m from another world—one that’s far, far away in the sky.” This encounter, and the ensuing stand against overwhelming power, marks a new chapter in galactic history.
Protagonists from two different civilizations
Science-fiction and fantasy protagonists from two different civilizations collide in a story experienced from each character’s perspective. The “dual protagonist” system has made its comeback. The story of this magnificent ocean of stars unfolds through the eyes of a protagonist from an advanced civilization (sci-fi) and one from an undeveloped planet (fantasy). The events which take place during the story, and who will be your allies at the end of the game, will also change depending on the protagonist you choose!”
The main characters also received an overview: “Raymond (voiced by Subaru Kimura in Japanese); weapon: greatsword. A young man from the nonfederated planet of Verguld. He is the captain of the merchant vessel Ydas under Lawrence Logistics, a company run by his family. His confidence often sees him rushing recklessly into situations when it comes to his friends and work, much to the distress of the Ydas crew. Raymond has a big heart, generous nature, and a good nose for business. His lack of affiliation with the Pangalactic Federation means the Underdeveloped Planet Preservation Pact does not bind him. This sincere openness to meet others where they’re at regardless of technological advancement wins Laeticia over but leaves Albaird wary.
Laeticia (voiced by Inori Minase in Japanese); weapon: dual blades. Princess of the Kingdom of Aucerius: an extensive territory located on the underdeveloped planet of Aster IV. Her radiant and resolute personality is admired throughout the kingdom, but her prim demeanour betrays her penchant for wearing armour and remarkable skill with the dual blades. To remedy the encroaching threat of a neighbouring country, Laeticia sets off on a secret journey to locate a specific individual. She meets Raymond along the way, recently stranded on Aster IV. The two agree to help one another and begin travelling together.
Albaird (voiced by Natsuki Hanae in Japanese); weapon: chakrams. A childhood friend of Laeticia’s, he now serves her as a knight of the Kingdom of Aucerius. He excels at semiomancy and the wielding of the chakram. His strong sense of loyalty to Laeticia means he is never far from her side. Albaird’s left arm is covered down to his fingertips, and he occasionally gestures as if to protect it. He does not trust Raymond upon meeting him while escorting Laeticia on her secret journey. Loathe to go against her wishes; however, he reluctantly allows Raymond to join them.
Elena (voiced by Atsumi Tanezaki in Japanese); weapon: hybrid weapons. A crew member of the merchant’s vessel, Ydas and Raymond’s first mate. She manages the operation of just about the entirety of the ship, and her vast knowledge and calm demeanour has earned her the complete trust of Raymond and the crew. Elena is constantly surprised by Raymond’s penchant for recklessness, but all the same, she holds a high opinion of his leadership qualities.”
Star Ocean: The Divine Force has its character design by Akiman, its music by Motoi Sakuraba, and its scenario by Yoshiharu Gotanda, Satoshi Wagahara, and Shunsuke Sarai. The game will get further details in Spring 2022, and it’s set to launch next year on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. As a new reveal, this information bomb was strong…