1UP: "The Star Ocean series is developer tri-Ace's longest-running franchise, a more ambitious take on mechanics seen in the Tales series. According to producer Yoshinori Yamagishi, The Last Hope is Star Ocean's final chapter -- yet it's also a prequel set years before the first entry in the series (which will arrive in the U.S. soon via PSP remake First Departure). There's a simple reason for this: The previous game, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for PlayStation 2, more or less painted the series' storyline into an inescapable corner. At the end of that game, players were surprised to discover that the universe that had been so richly developed through the course of three adventures was in fact a virtual-reality simulation, a self-contained reality within fourth-dimensional space.
With the plug more or less pulled on the worlds of Star Ocean, the only place left to explore is the VR realm's past -- although Yamagishi stresses that "VR" isn't entirely the correct term to use here. "It's more accurate to say the games take place within another dimension," he says. But he confirms that The Last Hope is set within that dimension and, he hopes, will help resolve the mystery behind its existence.
"The reason we've created Star Ocean 4 [The Last Hope] is because the team wanted to explain why this world came to exist," he says. "If players pay careful attention to the story, they'll be able to understand its meaning.""