A.D. 2064 - World War III broke out and weapons of mass destruction were unleashed upon the world causing widespread devastation and chaos. The World Republic Federation and its enemies around the planet nearly ended the earth - however a ceasefire was reached. It was too late; the vast majority of the planet's population had been killed and the natural resources were razed. The survivors of the human population left on Earth were forced to live underground in severely depressing circumstances. Mankind then looked to the stars as their last hope - forming the Universal Science and Technology Administration (USTA) group the last survivors of the human race sought to the far reaches of the Star Ocean - outer space. The 'Spacedate' calendar was created, and on S.D. 0001 the USTA created the Space Reconnaissance Force (SRF) project with a goal to launch on S.D. 0010 to seek out a new planet to relocate mankind.
Enter Edge Maverick - a young man who joins the SRF alongside his childhood friend Reimi Saionji in order to save mankind. Edge quickly becomes captain of the spaceship SRF-003 Calnus and leads a growing party consisting largely of alien friends to fight for the survival of his race.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a prequel set before the events of Star Ocean and continues to include a real time battle system. The game includes two main new battle features: the 'rush gauge' (which fills as battle actions are taken, then deployed for greater damage and speed) and 'blindsides' (which allow the player to dodge behind an enemy to land a critical strike). The game also retains the series feature of Private Actions, which allow private conversations to have an impact on character relationships. Each playthrough will have different conversations based on the actions taken by the player, as well as decide which of the multiple endings will be presented.
In 2010 the title was re-released on the PlayStation 3 under "Star Ocean: The Last Hope International" and had the following additional features:
- Both Japanese and English Audio
- All menus and subtitles available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German & Japanese
- The inclusion of the 'classic' animated-style menus and character portraits
- PlayStation 3 trophy support
- The entire game on one Blu-Ray disc (the Xbox 360 version was on 3 DVDs and required a disc change to re-visit earlier worlds)