Square Enix trademarks 2D art style for future Switch games
Square Enix knows when it’s onto a winner. The Japanese developer has filed several trademarks based on the luscious animation in 2018’s Octopath Traveler, the expansive eight-character JRPG that launched on Nintendo Switch last summer.
The trademarks include “HD-2D” and “HD2D”, referring to Octopath Traveler’s use of enhanced environmental effects and animations over traditional 2D pixel sprites, blending a retro RPG aesthetic with modern animation technologies.
Despite an occasionally-disjointed narrative, the game won acclaim on the basis of its art style, and it’s no surprise to see Square Enix hoping to repeat the trick – while trying to stop other developers from jumping on the trend.
The Nintendo Switch console lags behind the PS4 or Xbox One S on graphical power – and at most can only display gameplay in 1080p – but games like Octopath Traveler show you can do a huge amount with an imaginative use of the assets and capabilities on offer.
A sequel or successor to Octopath Traveler seems possible, though we also have word of a new Bravely Default RPG, which could feasibly take on some of the artistic flourishes of the other IP.
There are many possible paths ahead – and they all look flat and rendered beautifully.