Nintendo Switch’s Octopath Traveler had been churning around and around in the hype-o-matic since the early days of the system. It was always going to be a big deal on release, but nobody anticipated this. Oh very dear.
Fans of Nintendo’s hybrid handheld will know all about Octopath Traveler. It’s a retro-inspired RPG from Square Enix, those giants of the genre, and they really have been going ham with it in the runup to release. We saw a fresh new in-depth trailer at E3 2018, character introductions, overview guides, all kinds of footage.
The most recent demo gave players three hours to play as far as they could through the beginning, with the promise of being able to port their progress over to the full game (if you’ve played through the full three hours allotted, that is). Early impressions from journalists and reviewers were largely positive, too. All of this pointed to one thing: A strong early showing for Octopath Traveler. But this strong?
As Gearnuke reports, the innovative ‘HD-2D’ RPG is in great demand. Stockists are floundering to keep up with the demand, with the game going straight out of stock in many places through preorders alone. There was a time when this was quite a niche genre (before Final Fantasy VII came barrelling onto the scene in 1997), but that’s only part of the puzzle.
Another contributing factor is surely the Switch’s relative dearth of big Summer releases. There are those detractors who insist on telling us that the 2018 lineup hasn’t been a patch on last years, and that sort of thing is sure to influence the success of the next big Switch title. After all, the last big name first party release, June’s Mario Tennis Aces, just didn’t do enough in many players’ opinions.
All of these things combine into one big issue: there just aren’t enough copies of Octopath Traveler to go around. Sure, this won’t be much of an issue for those who prefer to buy their Switch titles digitally, but Square Enix’s suggestion that disappointed fans do so is unlikely to console anybody. Amazon are estimating a 1-2 month wait for a copy, and that’s a sad, sad state of affairs.