Square Enix trademarks 2D art style for future Switch games

Octopath Traveler (Nintendo Switch)
Credit: Nintendo
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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 (opens in new tab)" 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.

Looking good

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.  

The trademarks, however, are predictably broad, and cover everything from future "video game software" to "mouse pads" and "decorative magnets".

There are many possible paths ahead - and they all look flat and rendered beautifully.

Via NintendoLife (opens in new tab)

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.