Star Ocean: First Departure (スターオーシャン１ ファーストディパーチャー, Sutā Ōshan Wan Fāsuto Dipāchā?) is the remake of the series' original game Star Ocean, originally released for the PlayStation Portable system. It is the fifth Star Ocean game to have been released.
- New voice actors, animated cutscenes and character portraits, as well as a new character designer. All major story events now have voice acting.
- New recruitable characters: Erys Jerand and Welch Vineyard.
- The plot remains mostly unchanged from Star Ocean. However, new characters, and consequentially, new Private Actions and endings were added. They increased from the SNES version to around 80 different endings.
- Unlike the original game where the player has to select which enemy to attack and see the character go towards that enemy and attack, the player now has full manual control of any party member.
- Linking special attacks to make combos and increase the amount of damage is now possible.
- The MP cost of certain Special Arts were changed along with the level requirement to be learned.
- The Mastery (also called Proficiency) system was introduced.
It has also a theme song, "Heart", performed by the Japanese group Asunaro, and three added tracks: "Come on Bunny" and "Mission to the Deep Space" from The Second Story's soundtrack, and "Mother Ocean" from the Star Ocean Perfect Sound Collection.
The first details about the game were revealed at the "Star Ocean Special Stage" during the Square Enix Party 2007, alongside those of Star Ocean: Second Evolution, which was released four months later. Yoshinori Yamagishi, producer of the series, stated that he wanted the remakes to feel as though they are completely new games.
First Departure was produced using an improved version of Star Ocean: The Second Story's engine, which introduced prerendered backgrounds and 3D battle fields. The same engine was used for The Second Story's remake Star Ocean: Second Evolution, produced at the same time as this game. Production I.G provided the artwork and animated cutscenes for the game. The voice actors were fully re-cast and it has massive amounts of voiced dialogue in comparison to the original. Plot-wise, it remains virtually unchanged, with some new additions regarding optional scenarios and the two new characters.
The English localization was handled by Nanica, Inc., with voiceover production services provided by Epcar Entertainment, Inc. Recordings were made at the Oracle Post studios in Burbank, CA.
In May 25, 2019, Square Enix announced a high-definition remaster of the game with additional new features for PlayStation 4 and Switch, called Star Ocean: First Departure R. The release date and price were not announced, but it will be released worldwide. The announcement also showcased new character illustrations of Roddick Farrence, Millie Chliette and Dorne Murtough, all by Katsumi Enami (the character designer for Star Ocean: The Last Hope).
Alongside the regular version of First Departure, a limited edition package, the Eternal Edition, was released. It included a branded PSP Slim & Lite and an alternate box art, and other accessories, such as a carrying pouch. It retailed in Japan for ¥24,840.