As fans of science fiction and space travel, the developers at tri-Ace created the Star Ocean series with a sci-fi setting in mind and have cited Star Trek as one of their main influences for the visuals of the games as well as being an underlying, but noticeable, influence to the series as a whole. While the first Star Ocean game included more fantasy elements to appeal to a broad audience, subsequent installments naturally moved towards a more sci-fi oriented feel, with Star Ocean: Till the End of Time described by its producer Yoshinori Yamagishi as tri-Ace's "ultimate vision" of the "whole Star Ocean world". In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, all the characters are able to use spells and battle skills (i.e. The original Star Ocean, published by Enix in 1996, introduced a "private actions" social system, where the protagonist's relationship points with the other characters are affected by the player's choices, which in turn affects the storyline, leading to branching paths and multiple different endings. This was expanded in its 1999 sequel, Star Ocean: The Second Story, which boasted as many as 86 different endings, with each of the possible permutations to these endings numbering in the hundreds, setting a benchmark for the number of outcomes possible for a video game. Party members can create new objects or improve existing ones through crafts like metalworking, alchemy, writing, painting and cooking. The characters of the series were designed to be "action-figure-like". Star Ocean gameplay is often compared to the Tales series of video games by Namco, which is not a coincidence: after the release of Tales of Phantasia, practically its entire design department left and founded tri-Ace.
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