tri-Ace, Incorporated (株式会社トライエース, Kabushiki Gaisha Toraiēsu) is a Japanese video game development company formed in 1995 by former Telenet Japan employees Yoshiharu Gotanda (programmer, current tri-Ace President), Masaki Norimoto (game designer,) and Joe Asanuma (director). The name is a play on words regarding the "three aces" who formed the company. All of tri-Ace's games have been published by Square Enix (originally by Enix) except for the game Resonance of Fate, which was published by Sega.
The group exclusively makes console RPGs, and is known for giving their games action-packed battle systems, deep skill systems, advanced and colorful graphics, and many musical scores made using electronic keyboard instruments. This trademark style began when the founders of tri-Ace originally worked for Telenet Japan's Wolfteam, and had created Tales of Phantasia. This game, published by Namco, is a precursor to tri-Ace's own Star Ocean games in several ways; i.e. an action battle system where the player controls one character and AI controls others in the party and special battle skills that the player can assign to different buttons. (Radiata Stories is the latest example of this design.) Besides the Star Ocean series, they also created the Valkyrie Profile series in 1999. Their most recent release was Resonance of Fate, which was released in early 2010 by Sega. Their second most recent release, Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, was released in the United States by Square Enix on March 16, 2009.
tri-Ace games have sold over 3.8 million copies worldwide as of September 2005. The company's sound programmer Hiroya Hatsushiba formed tri-Crescendo in 1999 which has since independently developed Baten Kaitos and Eternal Sonata.
- Star Ocean: Released July 19, 1996
Game Boy Color
- Star Ocean: Blue Sphere: Released June 28, 2001
- Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: Released February 27, 2003
- Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: Director's Cut: Released January 27, 2004
- Radiata Stories: Released January 27, 2005
- Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria: Released June 22, 2006
- Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth: Released July 18, 2006
- Star Ocean: First Departure: Released October 21, 2008
- Star Ocean: Second Evolution: Released January 19, 2009
- Frontier Gate: Released December 22, 2011
- Infinite Undiscovery: Released September 2, 2008
- Star Ocean: The Last Hope: Released February 19, 2009
- Resonance of Fate: Released January 28, 2010
- Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume: Released November 1, 2008
- Star Ocean: Blue Sphere: Released June 8, 2009
- Star Ocean: The Last Hope: International: Released February 4, 2010
- Resonance of Fate: Released January 28, 2010
- Beyond the Labyrinth: Released January 19, 2012
tri-Ace is known for taking characters from one game and placing them as optional, extremely difficult enemies in another, usually as part of bonus dungeons or other extra. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time features Lenneth Valkyrie and Freya from Valkyrie Profile as optional bosses; Radiata Stories features Valkyrie again, as well as Lezard Valeth. The main character of the game, Jack Russel, has a suit of armor that makes him look identical to Fayt Leingod, the main protagonist from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. Also notable is that Ganz Rothschild wears a costume that makes him look identical to Claude Kenni from Star Ocean: The Second Story. Also, Fayt can get a costume which is very similar to Claude's. The optional enemies Gabriel Celesta and Ethereal Queen (Iselia Queen/Iseria Queen) are also present in most tri-Ace titles, and are usually the most powerful and difficult foes in the entire game.
There are also optional dungeons in where the optional bosses are located. For the Valkyrie Profile Series and Infinite Undiscovery it is called the Seraphic Gate while in Radiata Stories it is called the Dragon Lair Cave and Distortion Corridor. In Star Ocean the Second Story it is called the Cave of Trials and in Star Ocean Till the End of Time the dungeons are called Maze of Tribulations, Urssa Lava Temple, and Sphere 211. In addition to the optional bosses in the optional dungeon, the normal enemies you encounter there are at least two to five time stronger than they would be in the original story. Some who are not careful and get overconfident can get a game over on these enemies alone. Also there are no save points located in these dungeons except at the beginning, (The exception being Infinite Undiscovery which there is a save point on floor seven of the Seraphic Gate).
The tri-Ace Logo (tri-Emblem) appears as an equipable item in all of the Star Ocean games along with another item similarly named (tri-Emblum) but a lot less useful, the knock-off version appearing to be one of the weakest equipable items in all of the games. The genuine one however sports many effects that will make battles far easier. The item can only be obtained by buying the item near or in some of the most challenging dungeons of the game, such as buying it from "Santa's Gift Bag" from Santa in the Maze of Tribulations in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. This is a extremely difficult item to afford however but in the end, for the major bonus bosses, the tri-Emblem is a must have item.