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" 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.
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.
- Best Nintendo Switch games: the greatest titles to play at home or on the go