How Octopath Traveller's Structure Actually Works

There’s been a lot of confusion about the structure of the upcoming Switch role-playing game Octopath Traveller, namely surrounding the game’s eight main characters. Allow us to clear things up.

Octopath Traveller, which comes out Friday, unfolds in an entirely non-linear fashion.

From the beginning, you can pick one of eight characters — the knight Olberic, the merchant Tressa, the apothecary Alfyn, the dancer Primrose, the thief Therion, the cleric Ophilia, the scholar Cyrus, or the hunter H’aanit — to be your main protagonist.

Each of these characters has their own story, and you can’t remove them from your party until you beat that story, but aside from that, this choice doesn’t matter much. You can see all eight stories in a single playthrough.

So let’s say you pick Cyrus. After beating Chapter 1 of his story, you’ll see a map that looks something like this:

What that means is that you can go around the world recruiting the rest of these characters by completing their Chapter 1s. You can (and should) get all eight, although you can only keep four of them in your main party at a time.

As you recruit them, you’ll get the option of skipping their intro sequences, although you’ll have to go through a simple dungeon and beat a boss before you can finish each Chapter 1.

As you unlock each character, you’ll open up their second chapters, which are sprinkled across the world map. You can go do them in whatever order you’d like:

When you beat a character’s Chapter 2, you’ll unlock their Chapter 3, and so on and so on. It’s up to you if you want to do all of the Chapter 2s at once, or focus on just a few stories at a time until you finish them.

But the level gates are steep, and characters who aren’t in your active party won’t gain experience, which makes progression a lot more complicated than it should be. (There is level scaling in the game, but as far as I can tell, it’s only for the first chapters as you’re building a party — after that, the “recommended level” for each new Chapter remains static.)

The optimal way to play is likely to pick your four favourite characters and stick with them, but Octopath Traveller allows you to be flexible. Want to maintain a rotating cast of equally powerful characters as you plow through each story one chapter at a time? Go for it. Want to try to solo the game as Ophilia? Probably a bad idea, but hey, you do you.

We’ll have much more to say about Octopath Traveller in our full review, which you can expect later this week.


    I thought the demo showed how it would work pretty clearly. It's rather disappointing though because it reduces your party members to just being extra options during battle rather than a group of people on a journey together. Hopefully there will be skits or something that you can view in certain places with certain party members so there's at least some sense of group dynamics.

    What would be interesting is to see how the difficulty changes if you complete a story solo or unlock extra characters. The demo noticeably scaled up the boss difficulty the more characters you had in your party but I'm not sure if that was due to the party size or it was a function of the average/highest level.

      From YouTube videos I have watched I think a lot of people are worried about the party not having any relationship. The demo made me think (hope?) that all the stories would be tied together somehow, maybe a final boss who was behind all the stories somehow? I plan on playing it anyway but I'll be disappointed if there's no group dynamics/bigger story.

    Looking forward to the release. Been playing the demo and I'm enjoying it. Though I think I'll start new with the full game now I've had time to see how things work.

      Ophilia should be the first "O"
      My son pointed out to me that not only does OCTOPATH represent the first letter of each name, but also the chars on opposite sides of the octogon are opposite in nature eg. Ophilia vs Primrose - Guide vs Allure.

    Author should've put the characters in an order to show how the name gets its title.
    Olberic, Cyrus, Therion, Ophilia, Primrose, Alfyn, Tressa, H'aanit.

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