In the video game industry, tri-Ace occupies an unusual place in that quite a lot of gamers have never heard of it. On the other hand, out of those that do recognize the name of the developer, many are intensely loyal fans, largely thanks to the strengths of tri-Ace’s Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile franchises, in particular the games’ detailed worlds and combat systems that innovatively mix action and strategy.

So when tri-Ace was acquired earlier this year by mobile game developer Nepro Japan, many feared that the team’s talents for intricate craftsmanship would be wasted as it shifted to simplified smartphone titles. That doesn’t seem to be the case yet, though, as tri-Ace has just announced its newest project, Star Ocean 5, for PlayStation 3 and 4.

Square Enix will serve as publisher for the title, just as it has for the majority of tri-Ace’s works. While a release date has yet to be set, the game does have an official website with a short teaser video that places the upcoming installment between Star Ocean 2 and Star Ocean 3 in the series’ timeline.

This puts the events of Star Ocean 5, subtitled Integrity and Faithlessness, more than 500 years after those of Star Ocean 4, the first game in the series’ chronology. Considering that Star Ocean 4 is also generally held to be the weakest title in the franchise, gamers will probably also be happy to know that new producer Shuichi Kobayashi is also planning to distance Star Ocean 5 from its immediate predecessor.

“I want Star Ocean 5 to draw much of its essence from Star Ocean 3,” Kobayashi declares. So serious is he about this that he’s even made sure the new Star Ocean’s logo looks more like the third game’s than the fourth’s.

▼ From left to right, logos for Star Ocean 3, 4, and 5

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Other details that have leaked regarding the game include its setting, a planet called Faycreed some 6,000 light years away from Earth, and the names of its male and female leads, Fidel Camuse (voiced by Kaito Ishikawa) and Miki Vesta (voiced by Nao Toyama).

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Battles are described as being carried out in real time, and there are also allusions to a seamless transition between “events” and combat, with the former being the term often used in Japanese gaming argon to describe plot-advancing cut-scenes. Apparently, enemies can attack during “events,” and if members of the player’s party are captured it will affect the flow of the story from that point.

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Images of the game’s environment seen so far, such as Stahr Village with its windmills below, have a distinctly medieval atmosphere. Gien the series overarching science fiction themes, however, it’s likely only a matter of time until the heroes will have to venture out into the sea of stars and head to other planets.

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Kobayashi has stated that the game is currently about 30 percent completed, although a release date hasn’t even been hinted at yet. A bit of a wait might be worth it, though, if he it gives him the time he needs to stay true to this welcome sentiment:

I’m not considering adding story-based DLC, or releasing a ‘complete version’ down the line. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to be disagreeable to the fans.”

Hopefully Kobayashi gets his way, and when Star Ocean 5 is eventually released, gamers will get to enjoy a well-made, complete package.

Now, any chance of making us Valkyrie Profile 3: Hrist while you’re at it?

Related: Star Ocean 5 official website
Source: Jin (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Insert images: Creative Uncut, Hell and Heaven Net, YouTube