Interview of the SaGa series with Akitoshi Kawazu, Hiroyuki Miura and Masanori Ichikawa

the Saga the series has seen a resurgence in recent years. Not only did they finally release the hugely popular SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions, SaGa Frontier remastered, the Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend, and even a mobile title in Romancing SaGa Re; univerSe.

So when we had the opportunity to chat with some of the key figures behind the Saga series, including the legendary Akitoshi Kawazu, creator and director of the series, Hiroyuki Miura, producer on Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend in the same way SaGa Frontier remastered, and Masanori Ichikawa, producer of the SaGa series, we jumped at the chance.

Our questions cover everything from recent reissues, where the series is currently and where the series could go. We hope you enjoy it!

RPGFan: The Saga the series has taken on big themes, from the murder of the alleged creator of the world in its first entry to the rebranding of the myth of Prometheus with the Firebringer in SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions. For each of you, which main theme or story arc resonates most with you, and why?

Kawazu: An underlying theme throughout the series is that humans must control their own destiny. We cannot just hide behind our parents, our gods, our money or our authority and run away.

Miura: It’s from a game production point of view, but I personally believe Romance SaGa 2The theme of “an RPG to build the story” is the biggest of all. This underlying theme encompasses all aspects of the game, global lore, setting, storyline, and system, elevating the game to the point where I want to play it over and over again. I believe it is very difficult to find a title that can sum up its appeal in a concise and easily understood sentence, which is “build the story” for that title.

SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions

RPGFan: With all the exciting remakes planned, some fans are wondering when the next new entry in the Saga a series can happen, and what could that look like? We are on the heels of Dragon Quest XII announcement, which includes plans for a significant change in combat / gameplay. Any speculation you’re willing to bid on a new one Saga Title?

Kawazu: We try something new with every entry into the Saga series, so we see no need for plans of any sort of significant change. With that said, I’m hoping to do something that will encourage as many RPG fans as possible to try the Saga series.

Ichikawa: I’m afraid I can’t say anything at the moment, but if we have to release a new one Saga title, I think that would be something that would break the framework / concept of JRPGs.

RPGFan: in SaGa Frontier remastered, many fans were excited about the restored content of Asellus’ story. However, there have been theories for decades that the Blue / Red ending “The End” was not planned, but instead was created when there was not enough time to create an ending streak anymore. long. Is there any truth in this rumor? Was there any question of extending the ending while working on Remastered?

Kawazu: The Blues scenario ended with his fight against the Reds. As the following story is an epilogue, the “END” that appears in the Battle of the Lord of the Abyss is exactly as we expected at the time.

Miura: When we started planning for the remastered version, Kawazu-san mentioned that what’s implemented in the original is already done as is, so we thought we shouldn’t add it in the remastered version. However, if you play in the Fuse storyline, you might come across some new discoveries.

The cast of SaGa Frontier hang out by a river in a pretty gazebo while the player selects their character!
SaGa Frontier remastered

RPGFan: The ‘Fuse’ storylines, which served as epilogues / alternate versions of character stories, were an interesting inclusion for SaGa Frontier remastered. From a development perspective, what have been the biggest challenges and rewards for implementing this new content?

Kawazu: One challenge we overcame was adding alternate storylines without making any changes to the original elements. It was gratifying to see that the welcome from the players was even better than expected.

Miura: Our challenge (which was also a really fun part of development) was to recreate the concept from the time the original was developed.

As a result, we were able to complement the game with aspects that we couldn’t describe in the original, making the title even more appealing. Also, I think replaying the game knowing what’s going on in it creates a whole new way to enjoy the game.

RPGFan: It’s been a full year since the Re; univerSe global launch! This first year has been filled with original content, limited-time events, and additional features like the Robin Cup and Skill Boost. Based on fan response and / or your own observation, what specific events, moments or aspects in the evolution of the game have marked you? (We loved the Saga Prefecture conquest event! We are aware that this is a regular collaboration between Square Enix and Saga, and when travel restrictions are relaxed, perhaps Saga fans all over the world can visit!)

Ichikawa: Before the game launched, I had no understanding of what overseas Saga the fans thought. Given this situation, I have decided to appear in many global livestreams, organized by our community team. These livestreams allow me to receive direct feedback from fans, and through that I discovered that our overseas fans are like Saga fans in Japan, even more hardcore. To give an example, there are fans who are very familiar with content that has not been released to the foreign market, like unreleased tracks or stage performances, as well as things like the Saga prefectural collaboration. Thanks to these live broadcasts, I am able to hear player voices better than I would be thanks to user research data. Based on player feedback, we decided to drastically change our mid-term operating policy and switch to a production method similar to what we do in Japan. Our top priority has become to please the fans.

To do this, we have set up collaborations with our console titles, offering surprises, as well as the release of characters close to when they were released in the JP version. the Saga Collaboration with prefectures was also very popular in Japan, so we would like to start over, both in-game and in Saga Prefecture.

Romancing SaGa ReUniverse Illustration by Red Alkaiser
Work for Romancing Saga Re; univerSe

RPGFan: The last time we talked about Romancing SaGa Re; univerSe a year ago, one area that we questioned at length was the development of the assets of the whole Saga franchise. As this game grows, its roster of characters available in all games grows, including some villains that were previously unplayable. Any clues about any surprise characters that might be coming soon? And, over the past year, who was the most challenging / rewarding character to introduce into Romancing SaGa Re; univerSe?

Ichikawa: At first, we were following the character release schedule for the Japanese version of the game, as we thought it would work fine on its own for the global version. We found, however, that this approach was not very surprising for Saga Fans.

When SaGa Frontier remastered has been published, we have decided to implement SaGa border characters in the global version at about the same time as they were implemented in the Japanese version. It was quite difficult, as the development process for the Global and Japanese versions of the game is quite different.

We did something similar for the SaGa Soul gacha characters – they were released a month after being implemented in the Japanese version. As these were presented to players out of the blue, we may have caused some confusion, but I think they were generally received positively.

In the future, I hope to introduce the characters in the global version first (before they release in the Japanese version), as well as Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend characters, which have not yet been implemented in the global version.

RPGFan would like to humbly thank Akitoshi Kawazu, Hiroyuki Miura and Masanori Ichikawa for taking the time to answer our questions.

About Douglas Torres

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