Last week Square Enix announced Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithfulness, the next title in the long running franchise and the first since 2009’s Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Tri-Ace have been developing titles in this series since it launched on the SNES in 1996 and take the helm on this one too. Over the years Star Ocean has developed a huge following in the J-RPG genre and it was no surprise that the announcement of Integrity and Faithfulness got fans excited all over the globe. The astute amongst you will note the the title art is very similar to that of Star Ocean 3, a concious decision by the developer to assure fans long time fans about their commitment to the series.
The new title takes place around 500 years after The Last Hope on an distant Earth-like planet called Feycreed. You play as Fidel Camus, a young swordsman charged with defending his village whilst the kingdom of Leslia slips further into an unstable condition. Joined by his childhood friend Miki Sorvesta, a talented mage with healing skills, he sets off on adventure that could threaten the peace that the Galactic Federation worked so hard to attain.
The duo come from a small village called Stahr Village in the Leslia kingdom on the planet’s largest continent. Althought the kingdom has historically enjoyed peace brought in by the royal family it has since fallen on hard times known throughout as “The Dark 7 Years”. In a world technologically similar to that of the 1500’s on Earth, use of magic gives the different towns and cities their individuality and allows them to progress at different speeds. Stahr Village relies solely on wind power and, as it’s very close to the sea, is a bustling fishing hub.
The real time battle system is familiar to the series but this time blends seamlessly from the game-play itself. Players take control on one member of the team whilst the other roles are taken care of by AI. Shuichi Kobayashi, producer of the game, told Famitsu: “Allied party members run on an AI and attack automatically. The core combat is still the same, with the player-controlled character and their targeted enemy squaring off 1-on-1. But for boss fights, it’ll be the whole party against the boss, lending those a different flavor from normal encounters.”
Event scenes feature in this title and give the player the chance to trigger alternate directions for the narrative in real time altering the way certain scenes play out and providing multiple possible outcomes.
Check out more screenshots over at Gematsu here.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithfulness as yet has no official release date but it is in development for PS3 and PS4 systems. Are you a fan of the series or new to this sci-fi J-RPG franchise? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!