Boss Rush Banter: Is Star Ocean a Dying Franchise?

One of the lesser known but still popular RPG franchises is coming out with a new entry in the series in 2022. Star Ocean: The Divine Force is scheduled for release sometime in 2022, though no actual date has been confirmed as of yet, according to Square-Enix. The platforms on which the game will be released are the PS4, PS5, X Box Series X, X Box One, and the PC. At this time there are no plans for the game to be released on the Nintendo Switch.

The last entry in the series, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, was released in 2016. A lot of players were unsatisfied with it, but the publisher has decided to keep the franchise alive with a new game.

My earliest memories of the Star Ocean franchise are of Star Ocean: The Second Story. Originally released on the PS1, it was the game that introduced me to the series. To be honest, though, the only other one in the series that I’ve played was Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for the PS2. Both of those games are great, but after Till the End of Time, the series dropped off of my radar. Several more Star Ocean games have been released since then, but I honestly had no idea of the existence of any other game until recently.

First Departure R, a remake of the first Star Ocean game, was released in 2019 on the PS4 and the Nintendo Switch. This game caught my eye, as it uses the same engine as Star Ocean: The Second Story. Here’s a fun fact: The very first game in the franchise, Star Ocean, was originally released on the Super Famicom in 1996. It received an enhanced remake, Star Ocean: First Departure, for the PSP in 2007 in Japan (and 2008 for North America and Europe). In 2019, it received yet another remake—hence First Departure R—and was released on newer-generation consoles.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force

So why does it seem as if the franchise may be heading downhill? There could be any number of reasons, but I will say this: For me, the series dropped off of my radar simply because I did not possess any of the other consoles and handheld devices. Also, a lot of players were not satisfied with earlier titles. After reading about The Divine Force in issue 342 of Game Informer, my desire to get back into the Star Ocean series has been rekindled. Do I think that the series is dying? No I do not, and I hope it stays alive! The Divine Force looks promising, and in addition to adding First Departure R to my game collection, I’m seriously considering getting a next-generation console so I can play the newest release. I will admit I’m disappointed that the Nintendo Switch is not on the list of consoles for the game’s release, but oh well.

What are your thoughts on the Star Ocean series? Do you think The Divine Force will keep the franchise alive, or will it be its downfall? Head on over to Boss Rush Network’s Facebook and Discord pages and let’s talk about it!

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Sources: Square-Enix, Wikipedia, and Game Informer

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