Slight Spoilers for Octopath Traveler (but nothing story related)
Let's be honest, end credits for games are usually hit or miss at best and mostly ignored. People usually want to button through to see the trophy or achievement pop for beating the game, or maybe there is a quick extra scene at the end that is fun or sets up a sequel, but usually, nothing is there to keep the player engaged. Thankfully Octopath Traveler also realized this and set out to do something I’ve never seen a game do with end credits. I don’t know if there is some sort of email chain going around with Square Enix developers or if there’s just something in the water there, but they have housed two of the most interesting uses of end credits in recent history, if not ever. Last year fellow Square Enix brethren Nier: Automata made the end credits sequence not just a scrolling list of names of the hardworking creators, but made it into a final boss battle arcade shooter with an impactful decision looming at the end. Not only did this keep the player engaged it brought focus to the names of those that poured years into creating it. Because the player was actively trying to finish off a final curveball the game threw at them, they were not only heavily likely to see the credits through the end, they were able to see how many people worked on the music side of things alone, or the writing, or just how much it takes to output a game.
This year, though not as important to the overall game design, Octopath Traveler did something truly unique with the end credits. After pouring in dozens of hours finishing out the final chapter of all eight character stories the game hits the end credits. As I sat there for a few moments and the credits started rollings with still images of the beautiful retro art behind it, the game started to show quick clips of fights too. I didn’t think much of it at the time, in fact, I think I was actually looking up if there was any end game content to check out. Then, I noticed as the game was alternating between still images and quick, almost GIF-like video of seemingly random boss fights something clicked for me.
There are many different ways to organize the playing of this game, you can constantly switch between party members with exception of the one you chose at the beginning of the game which acts as your main character of sorts. Different fights might call for different methods and along with always having your main in the party, you also need to have the character whose storyline you are currently doing in the party as well. The way I played through was leaving one spot open depending on which character story I was doing and roll with Tressa, Ophilia, and Cyrus in the other three spots. So, by the time the third or so short video popped in the end credits, I noticed that the party being used in those videos always had the three characters I kept in my party. At first, I assumed the video being used during the credits was just some B-roll from press kits or something. I remember thinking that it was oddly coincidental that whatever random press kit videos they pulled used the same basic party I did. Then I thought those three characters (Tressa, Ophilia, and Cyrus) must be overpowered or a popular combination within the dev team or something and I just happened upon the same conclusion they did. It took a while to finally realize that the end credits for Octopath Traveler are in fact just playing back what seems to be the killing blow of character bosses during your actual playthrough. The game was recording or saving small video clips of whatever the final attack on the bosses was and organized them to play during the credits, which is something I’ve never seen before and was instantaneously cool as hell when I realized what was actually going on. Though it wasn’t physically involving like with Nier: Automata, it was an innovative way to keep me invested in watching the credits sequence play out and take notice of all those that put so much time into creating something for an audience. So a tip of the cap to whoever made the decision working on Octopath Traveler to make a neat, personalized end credits and hopefully more developers take notice of these fine examples in the future.