Points: 5
Cover Story: It Came From Outer Space!

A Decade Later, Still The Excalibur of RPGs.

continued, (page 5 of 5)

1UP: Just so I get my story straight, the person who committed suicide on Team Andromeda who was above you, was this related to the response to Panzer Dragoon Saga, or was it just related to the stress of making a game?

YF: It's not because of the sales of Azel or anything. Azel was a project that took a year and a half, so it was a tough project. So during the project, his parents got sick, and he had to fly back to Kansai every weekend, and he was getting tired, so that may have contributed to what happened.

1UP: OK, thank you for sharing that with us. I'm glad to get clarification on this subject, as I want people to know how hard video game development can be. I wish it were possible for people to play Panzer Dragoon Saga, since so few people got to experience it.

YF: I think it would be difficult for Azel to see a port. There are reasons for it, but the specifics should remain secret. We had to squeeze everything out of the Saturn in order to make Saga, so porting it would be very difficult. You know the Sega Ages port of Panzer Dragoon to PS2? We thought it would be easy to just emulate on PS2, but it took a lot longer than we budgeted and it was a huge effort. And in Panzer Dragoon Orta, the port that was unlockable in the game was the PC version, because it was too much work to port the original code. So, I'm I can't say for sure, but it would be very unlikely that Saga is ever ported to another console.

[Futatsugi then told us the politics behind Saga's disappearance, which we can't reveal, but the gist of it has to do with the original code having been lost, making a port -- in case you're wondering -- all but unlikely.]

1UP: I feel stronger about Smilebit and Kawagoe bringing Panzer back for Orta. It's like they wanted to keep the franchise alive. That's nice.

YF: The director of Orta was in charge of the battle system in Panzer Dragoon Saga.

1UP: That's good. Orta feels more genuine now that you've said that. How do you feel about Orta overall?

YF: I think they tried very hard to make a good Panzer game. Maybe they shouldn't have tried to make a Panzer game as they thought Team Andromeda would have, and instead gone more with their own instincts. It's a tough call, but I think it would have been OK too if they'd followed their own creative instincts rather than try to stick with what happened in the past. My impression was that people might have been trying too hard. The creative spark might have appeared if they came to the development table with a free mind. But if they came to the project with the idea "What is Panzer?" they already limited themselves in a box. But it's probably difficult because nobody was there to say "Create freely."

There's one sequel product that I actually like, which is Aliens. The first one was a horror movie, so it's impossible to have the same kind of impact with a sequel. So, the second film was science fiction. It still kept the same core concept, but it took a different spin. It was a war-action movie.

1UP: Which is your favorite character from the series?

YF: The blue dragon. [Smiles]

1UP: If you could change one thing about the series, what would you change?

YF: I'd make the first game less difficult.

1UP: One problem I had with Saga is that the underground maze part, with Azel riding on the back of your hoverbike was a little long, confusing, and basically just long. [Laughs]

YF: Yeah, I have to admit, that part could definitely have been improved. [Laughs]

"if my wish were to come true, I would be allowed to create a sequel to Panzer Dragoon before I die. "
1UP: If you have any final words for the readers, now is the perfect time to share them. If you could do anything in the world in regards to the Panzer series, what would you do, would you make a new game?

YF: I want to make a shooting version of Azel [Panzer Dragoon Saga]. I want to create the third project as a shooting game and end it there.

1UP: A remake of Azel as a shooter? Or a shooter based on the events after the end of Azel?

YF: To me, the story ended with Azel, so I don't want anything to continue from there. So I want to just create a shooter Azel. Or I want to create a Panzer without a dragon. [Laughs] You know, you're not the person riding the dragon this time. You're just a person, a nobody in the game, and you see a dragon flying in the distance, and you can't even imagine riding such a thing. It might even appear to be an enemy.

1UP: So when does it get fun? [Laughs]

YF: I just want to create something that will make no money. You find bits and pieces of old planes and machines, and you rebuild it, and then you fly far away with it. You travel and find pieces of weapons and machines, and reassemble these things. So if someone came to me and said "Make a Panzer game that would make the original fans happy," I'd make a shooter version of Azel. But if there was no lock on the concept, no preconceptions, I'd make the game I just described. You're a little person in this town that's about to collapse, you can't ride the dragon. You just collect pieces from caves all over a mountain, and build a plane, fly somewhere else, create a gun or weapon, and just do stuff like that. I'd probably create a game like that.

I'm saying this now, but if the opportunity came I'd be more serious about it. But if my wish were to come true, I would be allowed to create a sequel to Panzer Dragoon before I die.

This cover feature is dedicated to all those who worked on the Panzer Dragoon series, especially those who aren't with us any more. Special thanks goes out to Yukio Futatsugi and Takayuki Kawagoe for their participation in the creation of this special feature.


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Comments (2)

  • Pytor
  • Azel

    Posted: Mar 08, 2013 12:00AM PST by  Pytor

    Great read. On break now and playing through Saga again :)

  • Musiqal1
  • I wish.

    Posted: Feb 27, 2012 12:00AM PST by  Musiqal1

    If I ever have any influence in the gaming industry, I would do everything in my power to get this game made. Be it from scratch or not. Just to honor those who put so much into such an amazing title.

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