Bring it Back | The Legend of Dragoon
It’s Sunday and that means another edition of Bring it Back! Last week, we looked back on Square Enix’s Parasite Eve games, but this week, we’re doing something a little different. Previous entries discussed game franchises, meaning an IP with more than one game. For this week, we look back at an interesting Sony Japan Studio title. Perhaps one of Sony’s most experimental developers, Japan Studio often makes games that think outside the box. In one instance, however, they did a more traditional approach to a JRPG. Of course, we’re talking about The Legend of Dragoon.
“When the clash of swords echo, the journey chasing the past ends and the journey to know today begins. One soul seeks another and pledges their sworn friendship to another. One mystery begets the next and the doors of fate are opened. You are free to sever the chains of fate that bind you…” These are the words that greet you upon starting up The Legend of Dragoon, a tale of heroes on a quest to save the world of Endiness. You play as Dart Feld, a survivor of the Black Monster attack on his hometown of Neet. Dart hopes to avenge the deaths of his parents and take down the Black Monster in a quest for revenge. Of course, fate has other plans for him, and he gets caught up in a quest to defeat the God of Destruction.
There’s a lot of details we don’t want to spoil, but the story is a pretty solid one. It helps that the game had some great production values, including fantastic CGI cutscenes, voice acting ,and spectacular visuals at the time. The game also had the wonderful score by Dennis Martin and the late Takeo Miratsu, who worked together to make the soundtrack, though they actually did their work individually. Miratsu was actually brought in after the scope of the game grew to be too much for Martin, allowing for more music to be composed. Either way, this was definitely a late PlayStation game, really pushing the system as far as it could go. Pre-rendered backgrounds were well animated, the sound design was amazing, and the animation was also pretty impressive.
The world building that the game had was pretty great as well. Endiness was the home to humans, dragons, and a race of winged humanoids known as Winglies. Dragons were able to harness their essence to form Dragoon Spirits, granting special power to one lucky individual. Not many Dragoon Spirits are in existence, but lucky for the player, they get to experience most of them. Dragoon Spirits work sort of like Green Lantern rings. When their current host falls, they will find worth in a new host (usually the one that defeated their previous host). When unleashing the spirit, the wielder gains massive power from the dragon, including wings and armor. Fueled by “Battle Rage”, each represent a different element (fire, light, water, etc.) in combat. They also give their host a unique appearance.
One of the interesting features for The Legend of Dragoon was the “addition” mechanic. The game is your standard turn-based RPG, though when performing attacks, a pair of squares would merge. If the player pushed the button at the right moment, they would power up their attack. It’s a similar system to something like the Mario & Luigi series, among others, as the button presses often lined up with the attack animation. Players would learn many additions throughout the game, and the system would grow more complex when enemies gain the ability to counter them. Regardless, it was always a satisfying feeling to pull off the addition with the right timing.
Critics of The Legend of Dragoon were often at opposite ends. Many praised the high production values while others said it didn’t bring anything special to the table. The game was often compared to the Final Fantasy games at the time, but the game still found an audience and sold well over a million copies. It became a cult classic among fans, and a sequel was even in the works at one point. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, that sequel never saw the light of day. It’s been over 20 years since the game released, and while some were able to experience it on PlayStation 3, PSP, or even the Vita, this is a game that’s deserving of Sony to Bring it Back!
With a game like The Legend of Dragoon, it’s an old IP at this point. The best option here would be to do a full blown remake of the game with today’s graphics. Considering how Sony doesn’t seem to have any problems with remakes, this would be a great option. They can even have Bluepoint Games take the reigns here, as they have plenty of experience in remaking PlayStation games at this point. A remake of this caliber would have to stay true to the source, so it would be best to keep gameplay as is. Of course, there could still be quality of life adjustments. Perhaps even additional story tidbits to spice up the lore. The dialogue and writing could also use some embellishing for a more modern era of gamers.
After remaking the game and bringing the series back into the spotlight, Sony can gauge the interest. If the game were a successful PlayStation 5 remake for example, then they could potentially revive their sequel plans. Even if they don’t use the same ideas, Japan Studio could still go another route entirely. It could be a Breath of Fire type deal where they do a story in the same world but with a different time period. There’s also potential for a prequel to the original game, as the story does provide a lot of context for it. Perhaps at this point, they could change up the gameplay a bit, maybe even modernize the addition combat. If done right, The Legend of Dragoon could be a return to turn-based RPGs for Sony.
It’s hard to say if Sony feels the game is worth revisiting. After decades, it’s easy to lose hope, but there are definitely fans out there that want to see more. Are you one of those fans? Do you want to see this series make a comeback? Or do you prefer it stay in the 20th century? Let us know in the comments below. Tune in next Sunday as we feature Capcom yet again, this time with a true cinematic experience in need of a return.