A Manifestation of Sorion's Arrow... Perion ascendant... This is merely the beginning of the twilight of the gods. A prologue to inevitable renewal.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (スターオーシャン３ティルジエンドオブタイム, Sutā Ōshan Surī Tiru ji Endo obu Taimu?) is the third installment of the Star Ocean mainline series, originally released for the PlayStation 2. A remastered version was later released for the PlayStation 4. It takes place in S.D. 772, four hundred years after the events of the second game.
The game has received a manga adaptation, written and illustrated by Akira Kanda, and published by Gangan Comics. It also received a novel adaptation, written by Naohiko Kitahara and cover art by Akira Kanda.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time inherits the recurring real-time interactive combat system from the series while presenting many new elements: instead of random encounters, battles now occur when running into enemies on the main travel field or when certain pre-scripted events occur. In-battle, though, there is little change: the player now controls a party of three members, like in Star Ocean: Blue Sphere, controlling one character and assigning the tactics used by the other AI-controlled characters. The player can also switch which character they are directly controlling by pressing a single button. The Bonus Battle Gauge progressively fills and gives different types of rewards.
Enemy attacks can target either a character's health points (HP) or mental points (MP). If either of these two values reaches zero, the character is KO'd. Characters will also lose HP or MP from using battle skills or symbology, as well as a certain % from the Fury Gauge. The game also introduces the system of Major or Minor attacks, in which the potency of a skill depends on which button the move has been assigned to. There are support skills for different added effects.
Like the previous games in the series, the game contains an Item Creation feature that allows the player to create and enhance a multitude of items. A variety of trades are offered, including Cooking, Alchemy, Engineering, and Smithery. However, Item Creation must now be performed at Workshops scattered throughout towns and dungeons, where in previous games, Item Creation could be accessed anywhere. Once a player invents an item, they can file for a patent, and get money from the profits made off selling those items in various shops. The player is also able to recruit Inventors to aid in the process.
The Director's Cut version added a Multiplayer Mode to battle against a second player or against the computer. Up to two players could compete, either against each other or against another character controlled by the computer. Another addition is the Battle Trophy feature, acquired by completing various challenges in combat. Earning battle trophies unlocks bonus options such as harder Difficulty Modes, alternate costumes, and a sound test.
The game features an in-game Dictionary. Whenever a new word appears in a color different from the standard text, a detailed entry is added to the encyclopedia. It offers definitions and backgrounds for the different races, people, places, and other general terms.
In S.D. 772 (A.D. 2858), the game starts on the resort planet of Hyda IV. Fayt Leingod is on a family vacation with his parents Robert and Ryoko Leingod, and his childhood friend Sophia Esteed. Fayt is enjoying his holidays and ignores his college work—related to the field of Symbological Genetics—by playing games, specifically combat simulation holographic games, which earns him his father's reproach. Everything seems fairly normal... until the galactic faction known as the Vendeeni invades the planet, their intentions unknown.
Fayt and his family are forced to flee on the Helre, but he is separated from them and his escape pod ends up crash-landing on the planet Vanguard III. His meeting with Cliff Fittir only proves enigmatic, as he has a special interest in Fayt as does the leader of the anti-Federation group Quark. His journey thereafter will not only reveal a few truths about himself, but about the origin of their very universe.
- Playable characters
- Fayt Leingod - A college student whose life turns upside down during his family vacation on Hyda IV.
- Sophia Esteed - Fayt's childhood friend and space-time symbology student.
- Peppita Rossetti - A circus performer from the Rossetti Troupe known as "Fairy of Illusions".
- Cliff Fittir - A Klausian member of the anti-Federation group known as Quark.
- Nel Zelpher - An Aquarian spy and Crimson Blade, as well as the leader of the Secret Legion.
- Roger S. Huxley - A young, bratty Menodix from the Lost City of Surferio.
- Albel Nox - The commander of the Black Brigade of Airyglyph, known by his title as "the Wicked".
- Maria Traydor - A mysterious young woman seeking Fayt for her own reasons. She is the leader of Quark.
- Mirage Koas - A Klausian and Cliff's right-hand woman, also a member of Quark.
- Adray Lasbard - A former Crimson Blade, father to Clair Lasbard, and a friend of Nel's late father.
- Supporting characters
The music for this game was composed by Motoi Sakuraba, a long-time collaborator with tri-Ace. The soundtrack was eventually released in four parts: Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 (containing mainly the softer and orchestral tracks), Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 (containing the upbeat music, primarily the battle and dungeon themes), the Arrange Album and the Voice Mix Album.
When the game was revised into the Director's Cut, Sakuraba composed several new pieces of music, which were released in a new album: the Director's Cut Original Soundtrack.
The song "Tobikata wo Wasureta Chiisana Tori" by the J-pop singer MISIA was used to accompany the game's ending credits. It was also used very briefly at the beginning of the game, and an instrumental version plays during some cutscenes.
Producer Yoshinori Yamagishi stated that one of the major influences of the design changes from Star Ocean: The Second Story to this entry was Star Trek, and in terms of the story, its main message is one of "trust". The combat system was mostly unaltered from the previous title, but characters were rendered in 3D instead of 2D and more strategy was incorporated into the fights. Transitioning to a completely 3D environment from a 2D/3D mix was a lengthy process, and was only possible due to the increased power of the PlayStation 2 console. Several characters and dungeons did not make the cut for the final version of the game, but most of what developers wanted found its way into the game.
The original Japanese release date was in February 2003 by Enix, shortly before its merging with Squaresoft to become Square Enix. Initially, the game received a somewhat negative impression in Japan. Parts of the game were alleged to be buggy, and the game refused to work at all in older SCPH-10000 PlayStation 2 consoles. Enix blamed Sony, as they had coded Star Ocean: Till the End of Time with features from updated libraries that were apparently not backward-compatible. Sony denied all responsibility. Regardless, it impacted the game's sales, and Enix released the Director's Cut (ディレクターズカット, Direkutāzu Katto?) in 2004 to assuage grievances about the original by fixing the bugs and adding features.
Adray Lasbard and Mirage Koas were added as party members into the Director's Cut. Mirage was already part of the story, but she wasn't playable. Adray was not present in the original version of the game at all, and was added primarily to increase the appeal of the game's second release.
The Director's Cut version was the basis for the North American and PAL versions, and gameplay balance was adjusted between the Japanese and American releases, as well as fixing various technical errors.