Game News Square Enix: The Secrets of HD-2D Style Revealed by the Producers of Triangle Strategy
Square Enix is a major player in the video game industry, famous for licenses like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest or Kingdom Hearts. The cult-like studio J-RPGs has recently created a retro-looking style called HD-2D. The producers of Triangle Strategy recently revealed under the products that adopt this particular touch.
New label on Square Enix
The advent of the independent video game scene has given pixel-art unprecedented popularity. Surfing both the nostalgia of the players and the singular biases, developers are now constantly adopting this retro style. Square Enix, to which we owe many J-RPG cults like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, understood to lure players for pixel-art and started creating a style with similar inspirations: HD -2D. Tomoya Asano and Yasuaki Arai, both producers of Triangle Strategy, spoke at length on Square Enix’s new signing during an interview with 4Gamer.
Used to date for productions such as Octopath Traveler and Triangle StrategyHD-2D has a bright future ahead of it and should be at the heart of the remakes of Dragon Quest III and Live to Live. And while Square Enix’s latest claw has apparently won over many parts of the gaming community, no other development studio has been tempted by HD-2D. To this question, Triangle Strategy producer Tomoya Asano provides a clear answer. For him, above all is the question of the budget.
Interestingly, HD-2D costs a lot more than you think. It’s good with games expected from a studio like Square Enix. But there may not be much to gain for other companies that want to copy this style.
It’s true that pixel-art can undoubtedly be described as minimalist, but it’s important to remember that the technique remains expensive, especially in the case of HD-2D which requires a certain level of skill. This expertise also freely circulates among the development teams working under the leadership of Square Enix, as Asano explained.
Teams from previous titles share information with new teams. If they have information they consider useful, we encourage the exchange of information between different developers. If an expression method was used in the previous game, there is no reason not to include it in new apps.
A style of his childhood
Tomoya Asano and Yasuaki Arai continue to discuss various issues associated with HD-2D. If Square Enix’s service teams are working hard around this style, it’s because it hasn’t yet shown the full range of possibilities it offers. Who says different game means different genre, and therefore brings new constraints where HD-2D needs to be adapted. A challenge that Triangle Strategy teams must face.
Tomoyaki Asano: Octopath Traveler offers a fixed camera, but in tactical RPGs you have to rotate the camera 360 degrees. We had to find a way to make the maps look beautiful from any angle.
Yasuaki Arai: Many resources are used to make the map visible from any angle. In addition to achieving a beautiful world, artists and creative groups have done a beautiful job of creating many places to be together.
A remarkable translation
The two producers ended up talking about the HD-2D effect, which is often compared to a diorama. At this point, they explain that this result is above all the result of long-term research, obtained after various experiments. It took a lot of testing for the producers before they could find the right team to develop Triangle Strategy’s HD-2D.
Tomoyaki Asano: We’re trying to find the middle ground with character changes, while pixel-art characters have to be beautiful, in pixel-art. As the proportions change to look more realistic, the resolution increases and the pixels decrease, making the characters look more like illustrations than pixel-art. Apparently this result acts as an illustration in its own right, but it deviates far from what we wanted to achieve in HD-2D.
Yasuaki Asano: We invited several studios to do an HD-2D demo early in the making of Triangle Strategy, and after looking for the right team with Acquire, the developers of Octopath Traveler, we chose Artdink . While other developers created photorealistic images before downscaling, Artdink was the only one to achieve “true” HD-2D according to Acquire.
HD-2D is a changing style, the result of many trials and is now beginning to express itself enthusiastically. The enthusiasm of the players for this graphic rendering has rightly pushed Square Enix to continue using it. With the arrival of Live A Live next July and then the remake of Dragon Quest III, there is no doubt that the studio will once again bet on its latest claw in the future.