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Octopath Traveler demo players celebrate sweeping updates based on their feedback

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Square Enix is addressing problems after 45,500 players speak up

Square Enix’s upcoming Nintendo Switch role-playing game Project Octopath Traveler remains a work in progress, which is good news for both the studio and players of its recent demo. After assessing 45,500 feedback surveys, the development team shared a video about recent updates and tweaks it has made to the game — almost all of which come in direct response to players’ complaints, to their appreciation.

Square Enix released the demo for Project Octopath Traveler, a 2.5D, turn-based RPG featuring branching story paths, on the Switch eShop in September 2017. While it met with acclaim from traditional Japanese RPG fans, the game also received criticism for elements that felt a little too similar to much older, slower Square Enix games.

“One of the issues many of you raised was that it was a hassle to get around,” said lead programmer Satoshi Hasegawa about the full game’s latest version, referencing one of the most common pieces of feedback.

The demo version of Octopath Traveler requires players to press a separate button to run — and not very quickly at that. Square Enix has since greatly increased character speed for the full game, with additional boosts available so that players can move much more quickly. The game will also include a fast travel option, another modern upgrade.

project octopath traveler battle screen
A typical battle in Project Octopath Traveler.
Square Enix

The rest of the improvements seem minute, but to those who checked out the demo, they’re indicative of Square Enix paying attention to the feedback. They include skippable and replayable cutscenes, an increased number of save slots, more balanced combat, and streamlining of graphical elements and the user interface.

Players are praising the video update for addressing even their most granular concerns, which have mounted since the release of the demo last fall. Square Enix hasn’t addressed some of the game’s noted storytelling issues — like what some players called its surprising, pointed sexual content — but overall, many RPG fans on Reddit and Twitter are calling the update one of the best examples of how a company should embrace player feedback.

“I almost feel like we don’t deserve this,” wrote one Redditor about the video update. “No other team/company would release a video detailing changes from a demo, and even if they did, they would just release a simple blog post with patch notes, not a full video that required interviews, recording footage, and editing. This must really be a passion project for them.”

We’ve seen other studios tweak games or even demos based on player feedback in the past, like the teams behind Nioh and Valkyria Revolution. But with Project Octopath Traveler still only dated for sometime in 2018, this is an early, elaborate recognition of widespread complaints.