Solo Wing's News Entries

Major Galerider Update Coming in April (iPad Support, New Content and Features)

Major Galerider Update Coming in April (iPad Support, New Content and Features)
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Published by Solo Wing .

Daniel Choo from Orion Games has informed me that a major update will be released for the Panzer-esque shooter in April:

The Galerider team has been hard at work for the past few months and we have some exciting news to share! We have a major update coming soon in April 2019 and here are the highlights:

New Content

  • 2 new realms will be opened to players with a total of 6 new stages
  • 2 new colossal Overbeasts to conquer
  • 2 new Wind Drakes to unlock and ride

New Features

  • Galerider will be playable on iPad
  • Cloud save feature is supported

We are also preparing to release a demo version in tandem with the update. This will allow players to try out the first 2 stages for free!

It’s great to see the game is being actively developed, and expanded to work on the iPad. I played through the game when it was released in October on iPhone and shared my (positive) impressions.

Panzer Dragoon Classic Game Postmortem at GDC 2019

Panzer Dragoon Classic Game Postmortem at GDC 2019
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Published by Solo Wing .

Yukio Futatsugi and Kentaro Yoshida recently presented a “postmortem” talk on the Saturn Panzer Dragoon games at Game Developers Conference 2019. In a series of tweets, Brandon Sheffield has captured some of the slides from the talk. Key points include:

  • Futatsugi originally chose to make a racing game, but Gale Racer was greenlit first, so he made a shooter instead.
  • An organic dragon was chosen to contrast with the “hard” ship designs found in shooters of the time.
  • The homing laser was added because the original shooting mechanics were tough to aim with.
  • Futatsugi was inspired by the space rail shooter Starblade.
  • Team Andromeda were able to develop the game world and language because the Saturn development kits were behind schedule.
  • Panzer Dragoon’s graphics were a response to the threat of the PlayStation.
  • Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s on-foot sections were designed to accentuate the feeling of flight.
  • The development of Panzer Dragoon Saga has given Futatsugi the most grief in his 25 year career.
  • In Panzer Dragoon Saga, they originally they wanted you “to be able to go anywhere at any time” but realised it was impossible at the time.
  • The tunnel in Zoah was added to hide loading time.
  • For Panzer Dragoon Saga’s FMV sequences, they used a magnetic motion capture system.
  • The development of Panzer Dragoon Saga was delayed by a year.
  • At the time, SEGA had company culture of having employees engage in work that fell outside their fields of specialisation, which allowed Team Andromeda to break new ground.

Further information about the talk can be found on GDC’s website.

A couple of articles have been posted relating to Yukio Futatsugi’s attendance at GDC. A Game Informer article elaborates on how the threat of the PlayStation influenced Panzer Dragoon’s development. According to the article, Futatsugi said:

We rode the train home thinking, ‘What the hell are we going to do about this?’ That’s how much we were thinking about the PlayStation at Sega.

A second article from USgamer talks about the original idea for Panzer Dragoon’s storyline, and it’s even more fourth wall breaking than Panzer Dragoon Saga’s ending.

One idea we had was that the Panzer world, the whole world of Panzer Dragoon itself, was just a dream a salaryman was having. And so eventually the two worlds would start to mingle and mix at certain points. For example [the salaryman would] be riding the Yamanote line in Tokyo, and he’d look out the window and see a dragon flying there. So, we sort of had that idea we were running with, but we eventually gave up on.

Personally I’m glad Panzer Dragoon ended up being more grounded in a single reality than this, but it’s certainly interesting to learn what Futatsugi was originally considering for the game’s storyline.

A New Fan Art of Edge

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Published by Solo Wing .

Just a single fan art for this update, but it’s of a character who is often overlooked in favour of Azel and Orta.

Edge

A special thanks to Adamz for this latest contribution.

A New Way to Explore the Site: Browse By Your Favourite Panzer Dragoon Game

A New Way to Explore the Site: Browse By Your Favourite Panzer Dragoon Game
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Published by Solo Wing .

Previously the only way to browse the site was by first choosing a media type (e.g. Articles or Pictures). But this approach groups categories related to every Panzer Dragoon game all mixed together; if you wanted to just view content related to a particular game, you were out of luck.

Today, we’re introducing a new way to browse the site. Now, you can choose a game (or the original video animation) under the “Browse by Saga” menu in the lefthand navigation and you’ll be taken to a new hub dedicated to that game. Almost every category has been linked to a game, giving you to the option to find content related to a particular Panzer Dragoon game in one convenient place. We also have a Panzer Dragoon Series page for categories that cover multiple games.

You can now toggle between browsing the site by saga or by media type on the Site Map too.

In addition to this change, I’ve added preview pictures next to Downloads, Music, and Videos. I hope these new additions make navigating the site easier!

Yukio Futatsugi and Kentaro Yoshida to Speak at GDC 2019

Yukio Futatsugi and Kentaro Yoshida to Speak at GDC 2019
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Published by Solo Wing .

Yukio Futatsugi along with designer/art director Kentaro Yoshida will speak about the Panzer Dragoon series at Game Developers Conference 2019 in a session called Classic Game Postmortem: ‘Panzer Dragoon’, ‘Panzer Dragoon Zwei’, and ‘Panzer Dragoon Saga’. The hour long session will have the pair talking about the development of the three Saturn Panzer Dragoon games.

In this session, Yukio Futatsugi and Kentaro Yoshida will speak about the concepts for the art and design of the ‘Panzer Dragoon’ series on the Sega Saturn. This session will include not only talk of the original ‘Panzer Dragoon’, but also of ‘Panzer Dragoon Zwei’ and ‘Panzer Dragoon Saga’, which have rarely been discussed before. More specifically, they will disclose what they had intended with the idea of making an unusual shooting game that combines dragons and homing lasers, the thought process that went into planning the world’s unique atmosphere, and how they decided on the art style for the dragons. They will also talk about the concepts for the art and game design for Zwei, as well as what they had hoped to achieve with with Saga and what had to be done to make it a reality. While they are unfortunately unable to join the session, the materials that will be presented were made with the help of Tomohiro Kondo and Masanobu Kusunoki, who were pivotal members of the development team at Team Andromeda.

The session will take place between March 18-22, 2019 at GDC in San Francisco, California. Information regarding how to attend the conference can be found on the GDC website.

Galerider: iPad Version and Cloud Saves on the Horizon

Galerider: iPad Version and Cloud Saves on the Horizon
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Published by Solo Wing .

Galerider’s Twitter account recently shared the following statement:

Going for iPad support and cloud save. Hard at work on both those features right now 💦

Given the similarity between iPhone and iPad (they both run iOS), I imagine the iPad version will arrive before the Panzer Dragoon-esque rail shooter arrives on Android.

2018: A Year in Review

2018: A Year in Review
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Published by Solo Wing .

Looking back on 2018, it’s been a monumental year for Panzer Dragoon.

In January we were treated with Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement, an all new take on Panzer Dragoon Saga’s music from Saori Kobayashi. This was followed by digital releases of the soundtracks for the four mainline Panzer Dragoon games. I recently added entries for all of the new soundtrack releases to our encyclopaedia.

In April Panzer Dragoon Orta became playable on Xbox One. Not only did it look great, but suddenly half of the Panzer Dragoon series became playable on modern consoles. It’s also worth noticing that the emulation improvements also fixed a major long-standing problem with the Xbox 360 version, effectively making the game fully playable on all three Xbox generations.

Then, to celebrate the North American 20th Anniversary of Panzer Dragoon Saga in April, we were treated to a massive, in-depth article interviewing former Team Andromeda members. This is definitely worth a read if you missed it.

In October a new Panzer Dragoon-like game was released on iPhone called Galerider. While not directly connected with the Panzer Dragoon series, it featured a lot of similarities and was a nice surprise in a gaming landscape mostly devoid of Panzer Dragoon-esque titles.

Finally, earlier this month Forever Entertainment dropped a bombshell by announcing remakes of Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei, with the first remake due in 2019. It remains to be seen how these remakes will turn out, but it’s certainly going to make 2019 an interesting year, perhaps even more so than the current year.

It seemed for a while that Panzer Dragoon was going to go quietly into the night, but rest assured the dragon has emerged once again and is ready for the next episodes of the Panzer Dragoon saga.

The Last Batch of Fan Art for 2018

The Last Batch of Fan Art for 2018
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Published by Solo Wing .

Thanks to our various contributors for this lastest batch of fan art:

Edge's Gun Edge's Gun Azel Face Portrait Edge Face Portrait Alita Face Portrait The First Flight

Here’s to an artful new year.

The MIDI Version of Panzer Dragoon's Soundtrack

The MIDI Version of Panzer Dragoon's Soundtrack
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Published by Solo Wing .

Back in the 90s, it was common place to PCs to come with a 3.5 inch floppy drive. Sega released a version of the Panzer Dragoon’s soundtrack in MIDI format, and the entire soundtrack fit on one of these 3.5 inch disks. It was called Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data. One of our community members, Skye Welse, has kindly scanned some pictures of his copy:

Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data Data Disk Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data Insert 1 Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data Insert 2 Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data Insert 3 Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data Registration Card

Today, Panzer Dragoon SMF Music Data is a rare collectable; even if you manage to obtain a copy you’ll need a floppy drive which Microsoft no longer includes support for in Windows 10. My hope is that Sega will bundle data like this with the upcoming remake of Panzer Dragoon as a bonus, although I expect the sound quality will be much higher quality in the remake itself.

Galerider 1.3 Released; New Regions, Languages, and Controls

Galerider 1.3 Released; New Regions, Languages, and Controls
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Published by Solo Wing .

Version 1.3 of Galerider, the Panzer Dragoon-esque rail shooter for iPhone, has been released on the App Store.

The game is now available in a number of new regions: France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Latin American. With the update also comes support for a host of new language options: French, German, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

The update also features various graphical and UI fixes and improvements, including a new control scheme for left handed players.

Signed Limited Edition of Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement

Signed Limited Edition of Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement
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Published by Solo Wing .

Brave Wave are currently selling signed vinyls of Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement over on Bigwax. If you’re from Europe, Oceania, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America you can grab one, but you’ll need to be quick as there’s only fifty being sold.

The limited edition vinyls are numbered from 1 through to 100, and each have Saori Kobayashi’s signature on them. A previous set of limited edition vinyls were released for the United States and Canada but these are unfortunately already sold out.

New Art of Fan Favourite Characters Mobo and Azel

New Art of Fan Favourite Characters Mobo and Azel
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Published by Solo Wing .

Lusty Lundi has contributed two new drawings. The first depicts Mobo celebrating the birth of his child, and the second is of everyone’s favourite drone.

Mobo Celebrating the Birth of His Child (Uncolored) Mobo Celebrating the Birth of His Child (Colored) Azel Sitting Down on the Ground (Uncolored) Azel Sitting Down on the Ground (Colored)

As you can see, both drawings are available in coloured and uncoloured variations.

Questions and Answers with the People Behind Galerider

Questions and Answers with the People Behind Galerider
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Published by Solo Wing .

The Galerider team has kindly answered some questions about the new Panzer Dragoon-esque title for iPhone. My thanks to Daniel Choo and the development team at Orion Arts for providing this additional information about the game.

Panzer Dragoon Legacy: Were there any specific difficulties in completing the game within six months with such a small team?

Daniel Choo: There definitely were challenges, especially in the area of time. Our solution was to manage our scope to include only meaningful features.

Panzer Dragoon Legacy: Were there any major changes made to the game concept during the development process that you can share?

Daniel Choo: Fortunately there were no major changes, we managed to stay on course with our vision. A quick prototype at the pre-production stage helped us realize that the game play had potential for further development. We just kept moving forward from there.

Panzer Dragoon Legacy: Many mobile games incorporate micro-transactions. What made your team decide to make the game micro-transaction free?

Daniel Choo: We wanted to create a product that the players can truly own. Having IAPs on top of paying an up front premium did not sit well with us.

Panzer Dragoon Legacy: There are many platforms to develop for today. Why did you choose the iPhone?

Daniel Choo: We picked the iPhone for 2 reasons.

  1. Piracy seems less rampant.
  2. Limited resources. Given the targeted launch date and learning curve involved, we could only choose to deploy on one platform, at least for now.

Panzer Dragoon Legacy: Some say there’s no room for rail shooters in today’s marketplace. Was it difficult to secure funding for a game like Galerider compared to other mobile games and apps?

Daniel Choo: Since there aren’t many games similar to Galerider in the app stores, it would make our game unique 😉. But to be really honest, the way the funding came in was nothing short of a divine intervention.

Panzer Dragoon Legacy: Did your team grow up in the 90s playing rail shooters? Was your own nostalgia a primary reason for making this game?

Daniel Choo: Some of us actually grew up playing games since even the 80s!

But my personal reason has always been that I want to ride awesome dragons into battle. The rail shooter format helped us to provide a no frills, high-speed joyride where the player gets to focus on the action: shooting enemies and avoiding danger. Our goal is to capture the essences of arcade-styled game play for the mobile experience.

I posted my impressions about Galerider earlier, and if you haven’t tried it yet, now is as good of a time as any. Since launch, Orion Arts has released several patches for the game featuring graphical improvements and UI adjustments. The team’s next release is expected to see some improvements to the UI on iPhone X, as well as graphical improvements across different levels of the game.

Galerider 1.1 Released and My Impressions of the Game

Galerider 1.1 Released and My Impressions of the Game
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Published by Solo Wing .

Orion Arts has released version 1.1 of Galerider on the App Store, which fixes the UI scaling issues on newer iPhone models. The game should now be fully playable on modern iPhones (6S and above). With this fix released, I’ve been able to play through the game on my iPhone 8.

It’s no secret that Galerider borrows from Panzer Dragoon in many respects, particularly the lock on laser shooting mechanics (complete with an ultimate “berserk” attack). But Galerider isn’t entirely a Panzer Dragoon clone either, taking inspiration from endless runner games that include dodge mechanics and gem collection in a three lane system. It’s this three lane system which differentiates Galerider from Panzer Dragoon the most. Whereas in the Panzer Dragoon rail shooters movement and targeting enemies are both controlled by the left analog stick, Galerider splits these in two. Players lock on to enemy targets by sliding their thumb around the left side of the screen. Swiping left or right on the right side of the screen makes the dragon barrel roll into a different lane to avoid enemy fire. Tapping the right side of the screen also fires/releases lock on lasers, so the player often has to choose between barrel rolling and getting an extra shot in, creating an interesting trade off dynamic.

Being a mobile game made by a small team Galerider obviously isn’t going to be as detailed as the Panzer Dragoon rail shooters, but visually I think they’ve produced a game that is well presented. The music is solid too, and while the dialogue mainly exists to give justification for the missions, it does the job.

There’s a fair amount of gameplay to be experienced: a total of three area types, each split into three levels, so nine levels in total, each with boss fight at the end. iOS 12’s new screen time feature reported that I spent 1 hour and 40 minutes playing the game which encompassed a complete play through. The game can be challenging at times, but it never feels like you’re set up to lose, a welcome change from the plethora of pay-to-win mobile games. Given that there’s no in-app purchases, I think Galerider offers tremendous value (the complete game is only NZ$2.99 or US$1.99). The game ends with a message informing players that more content is on the way. If Orion Arts continues to monetise the game in ways that truly provide value, new content will certainly be welcome.

Galerider is the closest game you’ll find to Panzer Dragoon on mobile. If you own a recent iPhone and are a fan of the Panzer Dragoon rail shooters, there’s no reason not to try it.

Galerider is Now Available on the App Store!

Galerider is Now Available on the App Store!
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Published by Solo Wing .

Galerider, a new Panzer Dragoon-esque rail shooter, has been officially released on the App Store. Congratulations to team at Orion Arts on the launch!

Galerider requires iOS 11 or later and is compatible with iPhone (an iPhone 6S or later is recommended as this was the device the game was tested on). It is available for the low price of US$1.99 and does not feature any in-app purchases.

There’s currently an issue where part of the user interface being cut off on some iPhones (edit: the full list is iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max). Daniel Choo from Orion Arts reports that “my team is implementing a fix right now and it may take up to 2 days for the patch to be available.” If you have one of those iPhones you may want to wait until the patch arrives for the best experience.

Galerider Launching on iPhone, Planned for Android "Much Later"

Galerider Launching on iPhone, Planned for Android "Much Later"
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Published by Solo Wing .

We have some additional information regarding the platforms that Galerider will be available on. Daniel Choo from Orion Arts has provided the following statement:

Unfortunately the iPad will not be supported. Given the iPad’s form factor and weight, players may feel the fatigue on their hands while playing; which could get annoying after playing a few sessions.

We have plans to support Android devices, but that would come in much later. Right now my team is working on updates and improvements to the iOS version. Please expect more content in the months to come!

Given the recommendation of an iPhone 6S Plus or above to play Galerider at decent performance, we can rule out the lower speced iPod Touch hardware as well, effectively making Galerider an iPhone exclusive… for the time being.

Galerider Launches on October 10, New Trailer and Screenshots Available

Galerider Launches on October 10, New Trailer and Screenshots Available
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Published by Solo Wing .

Galerider, a new dragon rider combat game for iOS that looks a lot like Panzer Dragoon will now be launching on October the 10th. Orion Arts has released a new trailer and screenshots:

Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot Galerider Pre-Release Screenshot

Orion Arts creative manager Daniel Choo has informed me that since the game is quite graphically intensive, Galerider will play better on an iPhone 6S Plus or above.

You can find more information about Galerider over on the official website.

New Fan Art and Game-Specific Categories

New Fan Art and Game-Specific Categories
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Published by Solo Wing .

I’ve added six new pieces of fan art to the site. Thanks to the many contributors for this round of art.

Paet Edge and Azel Panzer Dragoon Neo Chibi Azel Kyle Portrait Muscular Azel

You may also notice we’ve split some of the site’s categories, including fan art, into smaller, game-specific categories. As an example, you can now see all of the Panzer Dragoon Saga fan pictures together in one place.

OrionArts Announces Galerider, a Dragon Riding Rail Shooter for iOS

OrionArts Announces Galerider, a Dragon Riding Rail Shooter for iOS
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Published by Solo Wing .

Singapore based mobile developer Orion Arts has announced a new mobile game, a dragon riding adventure called Galerider. The reason we’re posting it here is that it looks a lot like a certain other dragon riding rail shooter, complete with lock on lasers and barrel rolls. Check out the announcement trailer:

Galerider is expected to be released on October the 3rd, on the App Store. There’s been no word as to whether Galerider will be released on other platforms besides iOS, but it’s being built with the multi-platform Unreal Engine 4, so that’s a possibility. Keep an eye on the official Galerider Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.

New Fan Art of Orta

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Published by Solo Wing .

We have a new fan art contribution, this time of Orta:

Orta Fan Art Drawn on School Notes

Thanks to Space Lion 88 for the contribution.

Saori Kobayashi to Play at Metroid Metal Event in September

 Saori Kobayashi to Play at Metroid Metal Event in September
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Published by Solo Wing .

Metroid Metal, a band which provides a “celebration and interpretation of the Metroid soundtrack” will be performing in Houston, Texas this September. Panzer Dragoon Saga composer Saori Kobayashi will also be performing at the concert as a special guest. From the blog post:

Metroid Metal is headed to Houston, TX for the very first time thanks to REPLAY – Sept 2, 2018. Join us for our 15th birthday jam party fest featuring Darren Korb w/Ashley Barret (Bastion) and Danimal Cannon (chip majesty). Also, coming from Japan (!!) is special guest Saori Kobayashi, composer of the Panzer Dragoon series. Well that’s hecka neat.

While on the subject of music, Artist Formally Known as Lundi has submitted a new in-progress fan track called No More Wandering. Be sure to check it out if you enjoyed his previous contributions.

Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement Vinyl Album is Now Available

Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement Vinyl Album is Now Available
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Published by Solo Wing .

Some fans have reported that they’ve received the vinyl edition of “Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement” which had previously been delayed. Here’s an unboxing video from YouTube user SkillJim showing off the vinyls in all their purple glory:

And there’s more news surrounding the “Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement” vinyl edition. Brave Wave have announced that a second pressing in black of the vinyl edition is now available on BigWax.

Restock Announcement!

The 2nd pressing of “Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement” is now available on BigWax for EU customers!

Please note that the 2nd press comes on black vinyl, instead of the purple used in the 1st press.

The new black vinyls will be available to US customers on Fangamer in the coming days. No doubt both the purple and black versions of the album will be sought after by hardcore collectors.

Panzer Dragoon Orta Emulation on PC Progresses with Cxbx-Reloaded

Panzer Dragoon Orta Emulation on PC Progresses with Cxbx-Reloaded
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Published by Solo Wing .

A new build of Cxbx-Reloaded, an Xbox emulator for Windows, has been released which runs Panzer Dragoon Orta significantly better than previous efforts. Some new footage has been released showing almost the entire first episode running on the emulator:

The Cxbx-Reloaded project began its life as a fork of the older Cxbx emulator, but with added 64-bit support. Cxbx-Reloaded is under active development, so support for Panzer Dragoon Orta may improve over time. You can follow the project over on GitHub.

Two New Pieces of Fan Art

Two New Pieces of Fan Art
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Published by Solo Wing .

We have two nice, new additions to the fan art section. The first is a picture of a battle with Atolm, while the second is of everyone’s favourite drone, Azel.

Battle With Atolm The Lovely Azel

Thanks to the artists Saulo Souza and Pariah Exile Wrath for contributing these.

The North American 20th Anniversary of Panzer Dragoon Saga is Upon Us

The North American 20th Anniversary of Panzer Dragoon Saga is Upon Us
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Published by Solo Wing .

On the 30th of April 1998, several months after it’s Japanese debut, Panzer Dragoon Saga was released in North America.

To celebrate, Polygon has released a massive article discussing the game with former members of Team Andromeda called Panzer Dragoon Saga: An oral history. The article includes a video of former Panzer Dragoon Saga character designer Katsumi Yokota sketching the story’s heroine, Azel, along with numerous comments from the original team, including what they would like to see in a continuation of the series. These words from Panzer Dragoon Saga director Yukio Futatsugi stood out for me:

At the beginning, I envisioned it to be something like [thatgamecompany’s] Journey. But we didn’t go that route, because we figured nobody would want to play a game so open and distant from the original Panzer Dragoons. But I feel that now something like that might be accepted. Of course, I would keep the dragon in the game, but the focus would be more on riding the dragon and exploring the world, and the player would find traces of the previous games within this universe. The game would be like a remake of the entire series and flash back to the originals. That’s just what comes to mind. The core members of the Orta team work at [Futatsugi’s company] Grounding now. But I think everyone would like to revisit Panzer Dragoon again. I’d like to tie up any loose ends and complete the saga before I die.

Journey is my second favourite video game (after Panzer Dragoon Saga), so it’s exciting to read that Futatsugi would consider an abstract game like it set in the Panzer Dragoon world.