The Second Story R: Bringing New Life to Star Ocean 2 with Enhanced Graphics and Gameplay

2023-09-16 13:00:06

On November 2nd, the new RPG ‘Star Ocean the Second Story R (hereinafter referred to as Second Story R)’ developed by Gemdrops will be translated into Korean and officially released. This work is the second title of the Star Ocean series released in 1998, ‘Star Ocean Second Story’, a remake version of the work called Star Ocean 2 for convenience. In this new work, players can explore the world of Star Ocean expressed in new visuals that combine 3D and 2D graphics. All in-game events include new full-voice recordings featuring the original voice actors, and you will also be able to see new character illustrations created specifically for this work. In fact, this is not the first time that ‘Star Ocean 2’ has been remade. In 2008, 10 years after the original release, ‘Star Ocean 2: Second Evolution’ was already released through Tose Studio. Then, in 2015, the remake version was ported to PS3, PS4, and PSVITA with improved graphics. At this time, Gemdrops, the developer of Second Story R, ​​was in charge of the port work. Remaking past masterpieces is a popular activity in the gaming industry. Although it is a common occurrence, it is not common to remake a work that has already been remade once and even transplanted to the current generation. Why did they decide to remake Star Ocean 2 once again, and what charms of Star Ocean 2 do they want to convey through this new work? Gemdrops producer and director Yuichiro Kitao, who developed Second Story R, ​​and Yuki Masuda We listened to art director Nori’s story. ▲ Gemdrops producer Yuichiro Kitao, art director Masuda Yukinori Star Ocean The Second Story R, ​​reason for the second remake Q. Star Ocean 2 has already been remade and ported once. At this point, I am curious about the background to planning ‘Second Story R’, a remake of Star Ocean 2. Producer Yuichiro Kitao (hereinafter referred to as Kitao) = ‘Second Evolution’, a remake of the original released in 1998, was released in 2008 and has also been ported. However, I think this work was not properly known in Asia at the time. Star Ocean 2 was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and while we wanted to commemorate this, we received requests from fans of the series who wanted a remake. Last year, the latest work in the series, ‘Star Ocean 6’, was released, and we thought it was the best time to receive support from fans, so we prepared a remake with an R. This can be said to be the background for preparing Second Story R. Q. It was introduced that the visual aspect has been greatly improved, and the battle system, which can be said to be the basis of the game, has maintained the texture of the original. What things actually changed through the remake? Kitao = It is safe to say that he has changed almost 100%. This is true both in battle and in field graphics in general. Since this work is a ‘remake’ and not a remaster of the original, all parts were made new. The parts that were well-received in the original were inherited, but a new system was added to make them richer. Various elements such as assault action and bonus gauges have been added, and I think it will be a game in which those who have already enjoyed the original will be able to continue making new discoveries until the ending. Art director Yukinori Masuda (hereinafter referred to as Masuda) = Worldview of the original Core elements such as and settings were maintained, and most of them other than these were completely new. Shading was added to the dot character so that it can blend in with the 3D drawn background without any discomfort, and flashy effects that were not seen in the original were added at various moments, such as when using anti-magic, to ensure that the current generation of gamers can enjoy the game without any inconvenience. The UI was also reworked. In addition, you will be able to find various changes, such as adding a new interpretation of the remake to the same events as the original. Q. In the case of the original, the level design showed a battle balance where the difficulty of the early battle was very high and the difficulty rapidly decreased in the latter half. Has this aspect been improved? Kitao = We made a lot of balance adjustments, and you will be able to experience quite a different experience from the original. In this work, the difficulty of boss battles was made especially more difficult. Of course, since it is an RPG genre, if you feel it is difficult, you can try it after leveling up. The balance of all general battles has been adjusted, but the higher the level, the stronger the player character becomes, so the feeling of ease seems to be similar in this work. ▲ “The battle balance has changed quite a bit, but the fundamentals of the RPG have remained the same.” Q. Second Story R is developed with a focus on which of the original works released in 1998 and the remake ‘Second Evolution’ released in 2008 Please introduce yourself. Kitao = Development was not focused on one title or the other. This is because we wanted to respect both the experiences of fans who enjoyed the original Star Ocean 2 and those who enjoyed the remake version. Rather than prioritizing one side or the other, we can say that we took the good parts from both sides and applied them well. In fact, you can find these elements in the illustrations and sound sections. Of course, if you haven’t played the original, you will be able to enjoy both experiences through Second Story R. ▲ Those who played the original or the remake version will also be able to relive their memories Q. Among Korean gamers, there are quite a few who have never played the ‘Star Ocean’ series before. Will they be able to enter the Star Ocean series through Second Story R and enjoy the game world 100%? Kitao = There is not a single thing in this work that is ‘unintelligible to those who are not fans of the series.’ If you have experienced part 1, you will have a deeper understanding of some parts, but playing just part 2 is enough. Even those who say this is their first Star Ocean or even their first JRPG will definitely have an enjoyable experience. The biggest appeal of Second Story R lies in the pixel art visuals that combine 2D and 3D. Not only does it contain new visuals that have not been seen in existing JRPGs, but it also applies various convenient functions such as ‘Fast Travel’ for today’s gamers, so I think it will be easy and fun to enjoy. Q. In the original, there were many controls for experts, such as diagonal striking, but I am concerned that if these controls disappear due to improved graphics, the battle will become too difficult. Kitao = If you are not familiar with the action genre itself, it may feel difficult, but Star Ocean is a game with easy controls that allow you to engage in some combat by simply pressing the O button. The technology won’t be that difficult as it can be used simply by pressing the trigger button without complicated button manipulation. If you still find it difficult to operate, you can adjust the difficulty at any time in the in-game options, so you can deal with it by changing the difficulty level to the section you need. What I want to make clear is that you don’t have to worry that you can’t play the game because it’s difficult. As mentioned before, Second Story R is an RPG, so if you encounter a difficult part, you can level up and come back. You can enjoy battles with just one button, and I believe you will continue to grow and enjoy the game without even realizing it. Q. You said that the voice actor from the original film went back to recording the voice for the new work, but it must have been a difficult task given that it has been 25 years. Were there any difficulties? Kitao = Because the original work was not a full-voice recording, the full-voice feature in Second Story R was highly anticipated by fans who remembered the original work. We proceeded with the recording while thoroughly discussing how the gamers of the original generation would have felt, and there was no sense of discomfort. It would also be a point of appreciation to see how the voice actors of the time acted now, 25 years later. Q. When it comes to Star Ocean, you can’t miss the music by composer Motoi Sakuraba. Could you please introduce whether there were any difficulties in the process of remaking the BGM for this work, or if there were any memorable episodes? Kitao = Sakuraba Composer rarely refuses when asked to write a song. Because he showed so many different works at such a fast pace that it was difficult to choose, there were times when I had trouble deciding which one to use. There is also an interesting episode I heard about from composer Sakuraba. This time, in order to arrange Second Story R’s BGM, we had to look again at the original data from 1998. Since the device at the time was so old that even Windows did not work, it was said that an effort like ‘excavating ruins’ was necessary. I think that thanks to these efforts, a remade BGM with realistic band sound was able to be applied to Second Story R. Q. There are many requests to enjoy Part 1, ‘First Departure R’, in Korean. Users who started using Star Ocean 5, which has started to use Korean, are also looking forward to the first part being translated into Korean. Can we expect the first part to be translated into Korean according to the release schedule of Second Story R? Kitao = As introduced earlier, Second Story R is a title that can be enjoyed without having to play the first game. This is because Part 2 itself is an improved work that contains many elements that were well-received in Part 1. Of course, after enjoying Part 2, I think there will be a request to try Part 1. We will definitely review it internally and if there are many requests from users, we will try to localize it someday. Q. ‘Star Ocean Bluesphere’, released as a spin-off series, takes place two years after the second story. Since it depicts the same time period, I am curious if there are any plans to include the content in this work or connect it in the future. Kitao = There is nothing I can say for sure at this point. It is impossible to judge right now. If Second Story R, ​​which will be released in November, receives a lot of response, and if there are requests from many gamers, I think it will be considered then. Q. Second Story R is also being released on PS4 and PS5. I am curious as to whether cross save is supported. Kitao = Cross save is not officially supported. Of course, there will be many people who still only own PS4, but there is no need to worry as a free update to the PS5 version will be possible in the future. At this time, save data will also be transferred naturally, so you can enjoy it comfortably with the console you currently own. Q. Is there a message you would like to convey to fans who started with Part 5 and are still waiting for Star Ocean to be released in Korean, and to those who love RPGs but have never encountered Star Ocean yet? Masuda = I enjoyed Star Ocean 2 as a student. It is a title in my memories. I worked hard to create it with the desire to convey the memories and emotions I felt at the time to the current generation of gamers, so please look forward to it. Kitao = I understand that the Star Ocean series is a series that has rarely been translated into Korean. Part 2 is the most popular of all Star Ocean series, and it is no exaggeration to say that it contains all the essence of the Star Ocean series that continues to this day. There is a perception that ‘if it’s Star Ocean, it’s part 2.’ Even if you have never encountered Star Ocean yet, I hope you will experience the pleasure of the series’ traditional battle system, science fiction fantasy story, and multiple endings through this work.
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