Microsoft has revealed that Octopath Traveler II is coming to Xbox next year.
Klobrille has shared this announcement from Xbox’s Tokyo Game Show presentation. Microsoft also revealed that “more games from Square Enix coming”.
Team Asano’s latest installment in the Octopath Traveler franchise was released earlier this year to Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch, and is certainly counted as one of those releases that has made 2023 one of the biggest years in gaming. It was a huge success, particularly on Nintendo Switch. That is perhaps, in spite of its multiplatform nature, these games were conceived of as a franchise that Square Enix can bring to the Nintendo Switch.
The conceit of Octopath Traveler II makes it something of an RPG Mega Man. There are eight characters at the start, and you can choose to play the game as one of the eight. You have the freedom to play each characters’ level in any order you want, and there will be later levels where they all come together to be playable in one giant protagonist party.
So, this is a comparatively smaller game to Square Enix’s full 3D, state of the art Final Fantasy games. They use 2D graphics and have turn based mechanics. But unlike bigger scale turn based RPGs like the Persona games, the Octopath Traveler games are scaled down even more in the design phase, again, because they are intended for the Switch.
The first Octopath Traveler also game to Xbox One, so there was no clear reason for Microsoft’s platforms to not receive this game as well. It may be the case that Sony paid for time limited exclusivity, but it’s more likely that Square Enix and Microsoft hadn’t negotiated what now seems to be a bigger deal than they previously had.
We expect other Square Enix games coming to Xbox to be bigger than this. While Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were closely associated with PlayStation in their history, in 2023, it makes sense for these games to be on all platforms now.
We had seen some of the fruits of this new deal when Final Fantasy XIV was announced as coming to Xbox Series X|S last July. But then, Microsoft had to clarify that they were not getting Final Fantasy VII Remake as well.
While the latter news is disappointing, it’s easy to see why Sony would pay to make the new Final Fantasy VII games exclusive to their platforms. So Xbox may not get 1:1 parity with PlayStation in the future. This new direction is still an exciting one for Xbox owners and Square Enix fans.