Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-05-24 16:29 JST)
Chinese developer Xiameng Studio has announced that the open world RPG Code Name: Wandering Sword will be coming to Steam. The visuals of the game may give many gamers a sense of déjà vu because they look just like the graphics in Octopath Traveler.
Code Name: Wandering Sword and Octopath Traveler look incredibly similar. The visuals of both games feature objects created with 2D pixel art combined with 3D environments and employ a variety of techniques, like three-dimensional lighting and depth of field. Even the pieces of concept art for the games are similar.
The gameplay, too, shares many concepts with Octopath Traveler as you can interact with and befriend the NPCs that inhabit towns, and characters each have their own unique ways with which they approach these kinds of interactions. However, the battle system is one place where the games differ, since Code Name: Wandering Sword allows players to choose between turn-based or real-time battle systems.
Developer Xiameng Studio has somewhat indirectly described the visual presentation as their own original style. According to the studio, the game uses Unreal Engine 4 to create a new pixel style that features a blend of retro pixels and 3D reality. The visuals are a call back to the pixelated Wuxia games of the MS-DOS era but are combined with modern effects to achieve an improved gaming experience.
In recent years, Square Enix has actively pursued graphics that combine pixel art and 3D environments with their HD-2D style games. In particular, it has been a specialty of Team Asano, led by Tomoya Asano, who have used the style not just for Octopath Traveler, but also Triangle Strategy, a Live A Live remake that is due out this summer, and even a remake of Dragon Quest III. The graphics for all of these games are also created with Unreal Engine 4.
The recent increase of games that combine pixel art with 3D graphics may be related to the popularity of the visual style that is featured in Square Enix’s HD-2D games. However, aside from Code Name: Wandering Sword, there likely aren’t any other games that so closely mimic HD-2D visuals while also claiming that it is their own original style. The HD-2D style will likely see an even greater following in the future.
The Steam page for Code Name: Wandering Sword can be found here.