Star Ocean is one of the few major long-running (Japanese) game series to have a documented timeline. You’ve got Zelda (barely), Castlevania, Legend of Heroes and Star Ocean. Most series like big platformers (Mario, Sonic) and RPG juggernauts (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Megami Tensei) dip into related games sometimes but mostly stay standalone. Star Ocean’s timeline, which I dug into for this article, is fascinating. Something like Castlevania is very localized to the events of the games, which are largely connected by a family bloodline.
However, Star Ocean, which exists in a massive universe, may as well comprise standalone games. But they don’t; even planets and centuries apart these stories are not directly related. But they are subject to the various political shifts and bigger events that happen in the background. It’s neat, even if things get pretty silly sometimes.
This isn’t going to be a super detailed timeline, because the details would probably quadruple this article rendering it unreadable by normal humans. I whittled it down to mostly just the games, with a few spots that seemed crucial to mention as well. If you want to really get into it, first play the games! Then check out the fan wikis and such for enough minutia to sate your sci-fi lore appetite.
It’s hard to decide how to present the A.D. and B.C. part of Star Ocean because the establishing history is probably the most unhinged aspect of Star Ocean lore. But to summarize, the universe is created by a magical space corporation from the 4th dimension, lots of civilizations on various planets rise and fall, and humanity starts and blows itself up in Worlds War III. Everyone left lives underground while government bodies figure out space travel. Hijinks ensue:
- S.D. 4 – The Pangalactic Federation formalizes a new dating system, Space Date. It’s retroactively applied to humanity’s subspace technology breakthrough.
- S.D. 10 is when Star Ocean The Last Hope takes place, beginning the actual games’ chronology – this is the story of the first human expedition into outer space
- S.D. 12 – Terran Alliance (later Pangalactic Federation) forms, Underdeveloped Planet Preservation Pact passed. Star Trek, basically.
- lore happens
- S.D. 46 – Part of Star Ocean (or Star Ocean: First Departure) takes place here via time travel. Yes, biological warfare involves time travel in this universe. Fun!
- lore break!
- S.D. 346 – This is the actual setting of the original Star Ocean. The characters do travel way back in time, but this is the “active” time period. An ancient biological weapon is released on a backwater planet, and a handful of survivors and crew from the Federation use a Time Gate to get cure ingredients (I’m trying to be brief here; thanks time travel)
- S.D. 360 – Pangalactic Federation established. Not super important but it seemed worth writing this one down since I mentioned it earlier.
- S.D. 366 – Star Ocean 2, also known as Star Ocean: The Second Story or Star Ocean: Second Evolution. A group of… walking weapons of mass destruction created four billion years ago are reactivated and resume trying to blow up the whole galaxy. This game’s story goes places, folks.
- S.D. 368 – Star Ocean: Blue Sphere takes place two years after Second Story, and is a direct sequel. Some characters crash on the mysterious planet Edifice and discover a being called Akuma has been destroying this planet and rebuilding it every 200 years, seemingly for funsies. Turns out it wasn’t just for funsies. Never released officially in English but that doesn’t mean you can’t play it in English!
- S.D. 537 – Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness for the PlayStation 4 happens here. It isn’t well-received but it has a really cool subtitle in my opinion. The story is much smaller-scale compared to the others. Conflict between two factions on planet Faykreed IV gets ugly when one side starts using weapons well beyond anything seen before. What could possibly have happened???
- S.D. 539 – Mobile gacha game and direct sequel Star Ocean: Anamnesis sees the player and their gacha army cure a disease or something. This game shut down in record time. RIP.
- S.D. 583 – Here’s where we currently are! Star Ocean The Divine Force, a game that really challenges the Underdeveloped Planet Preservation Pact, unfurls not long after the last game. They’re unrelated for the most part, though.
- S.D. 772 – Star Ocean: Till the End of Time brings great controversy and division to the Star Ocean fanbase. To be fair, there’s a pretty good reason, and dropping it here would ruin the fun of seeing it for yourself if you haven’t already. And if you know, you know.
With Star Ocean 3, we have arrived at the current endpoint of the Star Ocean timeline. We sifted through it pretty quickly here, but there’s a tooooon of stuff happening during all the gaps. Most of it is explained within the games, which of course ping pong back and forth all over the place. But hey, it’s kinda neat that despite most of the individual games being unrelated, they all exist in the same vast, endless space. Star Ocean!