Panzer Dragoon Orta's 10th Anniversary

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Published by Draikin .

Time does go fast. Today, exactly ten years ago, Sega released Panzer Dragoon Orta, the fourth and to this day final installment of the Panzer Dragoon franchise, for the Xbox in Japan. At the time Team Andromeda, the team behind the original Panzer Dragoon trilogy, had already disbanded, so it was up to Smilebit and its producer Takayuki Kawagoe to make a sequel worthy of Team Andromeda’s legacy, which was certainly no easy task. In retrospect however, Smilebit managed to achieve that goal.

In the same way Panzer Dragoon Zwei added more depth to the gameplay from the original Panzer Dragoon, Panzer Dragoon Orta took aspects from all three previous Panzer Dragoon games to add a surprising amount of depth to the gameplay. The game also contained a ton of extras, including a complete version of the original Panzer Dragoon, a series of side-quests that ran parallel to the main storyline and an in-game encyclopedia that offered a ton of information about the Panzer Dragoon world and its history. Extras that today would no doubt be sold as DLC. The game was also praised for its solid graphics and animation that took full advantage of the Xbox’s technical capabilities.

While Panzer Dragoon Orta didn’t sell as much as Sega and Microsoft had hoped, it wasn’t due to the quality of the game. Panzer Dragoon Orta received high review scores and is still regarded as one of the most unique games ever released on the original Xbox. To this day I think we can safely say the game remains one of the best rail-shooters ever released.

Personally, I think this game should definitely be re-released on XBLA/PSN. Given the success of Rez HD, there’s no reason for Panzer Dragoon Orta to perform any worse in terms of sales. We’re currently running a petition asking for a re-release of the Panzer Dragoon games which has recently passed the 600 signatures mark. You can sign the petition here. We hope to reach 1000 signatures running up to the 15th anniversary of Panzer Dragoon Saga next year.

Microsoft Comments on the Status of Crimson Dragon

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Published by Draikin .

Eurogamer has recently released an article explaining why the Xbox failed in Japan. The article also contains some information regarding to the status of Crimson Dragon. Microsoft answered Eurogamer’s enquiry about the status of the game and made the following statement:

Crimson Dragon on XBLA was initially slated for a June 13 2012 release in Japan, however the release has been delayed. We don’t have a release date to share at this time, but we’re excited about Crimson Dragon’s progress, and we are continuing to work on it with the teams at Grounding and LandHo!

Unfortunately the comment doesn’t reveal anything new and doesn’t mention whether or not Crimson Dragon is still planned for a release on the Xbox 360. But even though the lack of updates is unfortunate, we’re looking forward to seeing how much the game has changed since the last demo shown at PAX.

Yukio Futatsugi Tweets About Crimson Dragon's Delay

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Published by Solo Wing .

A few days ago, Yukio Futatsugi posted a tweet about Crimson Dragon’s delay. Christine Mitchell from XBLAFans.com has posted a translation (provided by Twitter user lifelower). Basically, Futatsugi can’t say anything yet other than that Microsoft was responsible for the delay and it was not due to development issues. Which is basically what we already knew, but it’s nice to have an update. Specifically the translation states:

Many people ask me on Twitter, ‘What happened to Crimson Dragon?’ Sorry, I can’t tell you anything yet. You should ask Microsoft. But we’re still working variously for it.

It’s unclear what he means by “still working variously for it”. This could simply mean that Grounding are working to get the game released. However, another interpretation is that they’re still spending some of their development time working on the game.

There was also a follow up explanation from Grounding Inc, the developers of Crimson Dragon:

Microsoft has made this decision for better unfolding for this franchise. There’s not [sic] development issues.

My thoughts: I think it’s very likely that the game is going to be a launch title for Xbox 720 and Kinect 2. If so, we might have to wait until the new Xbox is unveiled sometime next year before any further news surfaces. The game would need to be updated to work with Kinect 2 which could explain Futatsugi’s comment about them “still working variously for it”. If the game is moved to Kinect 2 that can only be a good thing for Crimson Dragon, given the flakiness of the current Kinect.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story is Currently Unavailable

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Published by Solo Wing .

Crimson Dragon: Side Story is currently unavailable to purchase from the Windows Phone store. An article on Windows Phone Central discusses the reason for this, namely that Crimson Dragon: Side Story and a number of other games are incompatible with Windows Phone 8. Apparently the underlying XNA architecture works differently in Windows Phone 7 and 8, causing some games designed for Windows Phone 7 not to function on the latest version of the operating system. When questioned about the issue, Microsoft responded with the following statement:

The Windows Phone 8 platform was designed to run existing 7x apps, but some may require a degree of optimization given the new hardware and software capabilities. We are encouraging all developers to test their apps with our new SDK to help ensure that apps and games run great and take full advantage of new features. We expect the catalog of existing app titles on new devices to grow steadily over the coming weeks and months.

It seems likely that Crimson Dragon: Side Story will return to the Windows Phone store at some point, but it’s unfortunate that the upgrade process was handled so poorly by Microsoft, with some developers having not been acknowledged that their games would be removed. We’ll post another update here when the game is made available again.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Wii U Features

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Published by Solo Wing .

Joystiq have posted a video of the Wii U exclusive features found in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These include a mini map which you can use to see racers behind you, motion controls, and the ability to play using only the game pad’s screen. At 28 seconds into the video you’ll see a birdeye view of the Panzer Dragoon themed track displayed on the mini map.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will be released on the 18th of November on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii U. Not long to go at all. The Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita versions are scheduled for December the 11th. I’ve heard no word on when the PC version is coming out.

Eight Minutes of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

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Published by Solo Wing .

YouTube member UltimateLF has posted the first eight and a half minutes of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed:

It’s the Xbox 360 version. You’ll see the Panzer Dragoon themed track being selected and played from about seven minutes into the video. The racing event has been named Canyon Carnage, although it’s unclear whether that name is specific to World Tour mode or if it reflects a renaming of the track (from Dragon Canyon). Also worth noting is the event’s logo. While the shape of the logo is based on the original Panzer Dragoon’s logo, the colours are from Panzer Dragoon Saga’s logo. It’s nice to see these small nods towards the different games in the Panzer Dragoon series.

Oh, and one more thing: the Panzer Dragoon track is the track featured the game’s intro. It’s awesome to see Panzer Dragoon given such a prominent place in the game.

The Will of the Ancients on YouTube

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Published by Solo Wing .

Previously this website had a YouTube channel, however some of the videos were censored, so I deleted it. Recently I set up a new channel which contains a subset of the videos found in The Will of the Ancients’ videos section. It does not contain the music videos, but everything else is there.

I’ve also uploaded a blurry recording of the first stage of Crimson Dragon: Side Story. It was recorded using my laptop’s webcam and the poor quality reflects that. I intend to re-record it with a better camera at some point, along with the other stages.

Spanish Translation for Panzer Dragoon Revival

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Published by Draikin .

I’m happy to announce that a Spanish translation was added to Panzer Dragoon Revival! A big thanks goes to Solo Wing’s sister Linda for providing this new translation. At the same time, Panzer Dragoon Revival has reached 550 signatures, a number that we hope will only increase as we draw closer to Panzer Dragoon Orta’s tenth anniversary in December. Thanks to all those who signed the petition so far and helped spread the word!

The Nintendo 3DS Version of Dragon Canyon

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Published by Solo Wing .

Segabits has posted screenshots and a link to a Nintendo video of the upcoming Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed running on the Nintendo 3DS. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed includes a Panzer Dragoon themed track called Dragon Canyon which you can see briefly in these screenshots and the video.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Achievements

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Published by Solo Wing .

There’s less than a month until Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is released, a new racing game from Sega which will include a Panzer Dragoon themed track. While we wait, here’s a list of the game’s achievements to browse, courtesy of Xbox360Achievements.org.

The list contains numerous references to various Sega franchises. For example, “Vyse The Legend” is clearly a reference to Skies of Arcadia, while “Welcome To The Fantasy Zone” is the text featured in Space Harrier. The most interesting achievement for Panzer Dragoon fans, however, is “Arrow Of Light” which may be a reference to the Dragon Bible which Edge finds in Panzer Dragoon Saga. From the Dragon Bible:

The arrow of light that cannot be shielded, the shell that cannot be speared, and the wings that cannot tire. These are the powers of the dragon.

Lets hope so; the Panzer Dragoon series deserves more love. If I’m right, I imagine that once the achievement icons are revealed, the “Arrow Of Light” icon will represent something from the Panzer Dragoon universe.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story 1.1 Released

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Published by Solo Wing .

WPCentral reports that an update has been released for Crimson Dragon: Side Story. The patch fixes a number of bugs, in particular the issues relating to the GPS and corrupt save files. Here’s the full list of fixes, courtesy of Microsoft’s PR team:

  • Fixed the issue where the GPS distance calculation was not functioning properly
  • The game will now correctly calculate the distance traveled from the last check-in location even if the game is not left on. The game will also now automatically check in on game boot.
  • Changes have been made to the GPS Specialist Achievement
  • Given the fix to the GPS distance calculation, the achievement “GPS Specialist” should now be much easier to unlock.
  • The correct unlock condition for this achievement is ”Use the in-game GPS feature to collect 50 Jewels.” To help out, the game now shows how many jewels you have earned in the GPS check-in screen.
  • Fixed a rare issue that could cause the game save to disappear
  • Fixed an issue with English text being displayed incorrectly in a Chinese language environment

It’s good to learn that these issues have been fixed. I have yet to try the update; I’ll give the GPS feature another try when I go for a walk later today. Better to obtain jewels by exercising than by purchasing them.

Panzer Dragoon Revival Reaches 500 Signatures

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Published by Solo Wing .

Our Panzer Dragoon Revival petition, which plans to ask Sega to re-release the four Panzer Dragoon games on the current and/or next generation consoles, has reached 500 signatures. We’re pleased to have reached this number, however it would be great to reach a higher number of signatures before we send the petition to Sega. I would love to see the petition reach 1000 signatures.

If you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’ve already signed the petition. But there’s still more that you can do to help. If each person who is reading this asks one other person to sign the petition it will go a long way in increasing the total signature count.

Do you have a gamer friend who has not played the Panzer Dragoon series but is be curious about it? Get them to sign it.

Do you know of someone who has played the Panzer Dragoon series but doesn’t follow The Will of the Ancients? Send them the link.

If each person who follows The Will of the Ancients on Facebook gets one person to sign the petition, we’ll have an additional 176 signatures. You can also help by sharing the link around on gaming forums you frequent (without spamming of course), or in the comments section below articles about the revival of other classic Sega games. These are just some of the ways that you can help; if you have other ideas, please share them with the Panzer Dragoon community.

Thanks Donators

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Published by Solo Wing .

My thanks go to everyone who donated towards the web hosting fee for The Will of the Ancients. Earlier this year I asked for donations towards the site’s annual hosting fee. It turns out that despite the online Panzer Dragoon community being small, you’re also quite generous bunch. Together we’ve succeeded in surpassing the US$102 required for one year’s worth of web hosting, reaching a grand total of US$173. I’ve just paid for the coming year and I will save the excess US$71 for next year’s payment.

If you would like to help out with next year’s hosting payment, please refer to the How to Contribute page which contains my PayPal details. Please note that donations only go towards web hosting and have nothing to do with the frequency or quality of content on The Will of the Ancients.

Bug Fixes Coming For Crimson Dragon: Side Story

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Published by Solo Wing .

WPCentral have reported that bug fixes are coming for Crimson Dragon: Side Story. Version 1.0.0 of the game includes problems with the GPS function, as well as save file corruption. These issues will apparently be fixed by the patch. Paul Acevedo of WPCentral writes:

Developer Grounding is aware of both of these issues, and they’re already working to fix them with a patch. They can’t say for sure when the patch will pass certification, but hopefully it won’t take long.

Let’s hope that the certification process goes quickly and smoothly.

WPCentral's Full Review of Crimson Dragon: Side Story

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Published by Solo Wing .

Paul Acevedo of WPCentral has posted a full written review of Crimson Dragon: Side Story. The review reflects my own impressions of the game so far, especially the part about the controls:

Much as I enjoy Side Story, it controls like Grounding has little to no experience with mobile development. First, instead of dragging up and down anywhere on the left side of the screen to move, you have to tap a tiny virtual stick in the bottom-left corner and then slide your finger up and to the right a bit in order to fully move up or down. Sliding to the right is necessary because the buttons for subweapons and action skills are located above the virtual stick, exactly where they shouldn’t be.

As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Paul that Crimson Dragon: Side Story’s controls really hurt the overall game. Overall though, it appears that he recommends the game:

Crimson Dragon Side Story is flat-out one of the best Xbox games on Windows Phone. It’s beautiful, has an interesting world, and the Mission Mode and skill system instill tons of replay value. Those things plus the low price and two free avatar awards make Side Story a tremendous bargain compared to most other titles. I wish the controls were better, and the game deleted all of my progress once, so not all is perfect in this world of dragons. But Side Story’s overall level of quality bodes very well for Crimson Dragon on XBLA. I can’t wait to try it out on the big screen.

Lets hope the full Crimson Dragon doesn’t suffer from the same control issues as its side story. Being a Kinect game there’s certainly the potential for control issues, but I think it’s better not to become pessimistic at this point.

Kotaku Reviews Crimson Dragon: Side Story

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Published by Solo Wing .

Kotaku have posted a brief review of Crimson Dragon: Side Story. The article is titled “This is a Mobile Panzer Dragoon Game in Everything But Name” which is fitting considering all the similarities between the two franchises.

Also, the people running the Nokia website NokNok have published a short piece on Crimson Dragon: Side Story. They offer a word of warning about the game’s system requirements. The game works on the Nokia Lumia 900 and Lumia 800, but the entry level Lumia 610 phone cannot run the game with it’s limited 256MB of RAM.

I had a chance to play the game yesterday. My limited experience with it so far has given me mixed feelings. I’ll post my thoughts later when I’ve finished the Story Mode.

WPCentral's Video Review of Crimson Dragon: Side Story

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Published by Solo Wing .

The people from WPCentral have uploaded a video review of Crimson Dragon: Side Story to their YouTube channel:

You’ll see an entire level being played through and an in depth discussion of the various modes and unlockables that the game has to offer. No word on the storyline, but the review is definitely worth checking out if you’re curious about the Crimson Dragon side game.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story Video and Achievements

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Published by Solo Wing .

YouTube member CourtOfGame has posted a video of Crimson Dragon: Side Story being played. The fellow speaking in the video is doing so in Italian, but for the English speaking amoung us the video still does a good job of showing how the basic gameplay works.

Also, the website Xbox360Achievements has added a list of the game’s achievements to their archive. Crimson Dragon: Side Story provides players with the opportunity to unlock 20 achievements, adding a total of 200 points to the player’s gamerscore.

Another Quick Look at Crimson Dragon: Side Story

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Published by Solo Wing .

The folks from another Windows Phone site, everythingWM, have written a short article containing their thoughts on Crimson Dragon: Side Story. From the article:

With the momentary play time we had with this game, we can tell you that it is very well developed on the Windows Phone. It features quick menus and loading screens, once you are in the play area within the game the layout for customization and power-ups is also very nice. We took Crimson Dragon: Side Story for a run on a Samsung Focus Windows Phone. And, although the focus isn’t the best Windows Phone available right now, the game ran perfectly smooth, no hiccups.

Nothing to complain about there. While I wait for my own Windows Phone to arrive I’ll link to more of these articles as they come in.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story Concept Art

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Published by Solo Wing .

PlayXBLA posted a new piece of Crimson Dragon: Side Story concept art yesterday. I recommend checking out this stunning picture of a dragon flying into a cave.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story Concept Art 01

A lone human cowers below, as if to equally avoid the falling rocks and a dragon that could very well be about to devour them. I’ve added the picture to our archive.

The First Look at Crimson Dragon: Side Story

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Published by Solo Wing .

WPCentral have posted their impressions of Crimson Dragon: Side Story. It’s a good read that outlines the basic gameplay and story details of the game. In particular, I like how they’ve compared the gameplay to the Panzer Dragoon games:

Combining with the limited movement system (which hearkens back to past Panzer Dragoon games in which players can only move along two axes instead of three) is a deep weapon and skill system. At the start of a level, players select from three main types of attacks. One of these is the traditional lock-on system, which lets you tap and drag around the screen to lock onto multiple enemies. It’s a great attack method that you don’t see in normal shmups.

It seems that this game is essentially “Panzer Dragoon side-scroller”, at least in terms of the core gameplay. The hand-drawn cut scenes sound nice too, perhaps a minified homage to the Panzer Dragoon series’ FMV-rich story telling. With thirty side missions, it sounds like there’s a lot of content to explore for such a cheap price.

We’ll have more coverage of the game as it becomes available.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story Has Arrived

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Published by Solo Wing .

Crimson Dragon: Side Story, the spin off title to the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title Crimson Dragon, is now available on the Windows Phone marketplace. You can view the marketplace page by following this link. The game’s description is as follows:

Set on the mysterious planet Draco, “Crimson Dragon: Side Story” is a shooter in which you control dragons to defeat enemies. Use touch controls to pilot your dragon and target enemies–it’s a perfect match for your Windows Phone 7! Breed new controllable dragons, level up through repeated play, and choose from more than 170 skills to customize their attacks. Begin your journey on Draco today!

The game is priced at US$0.99 / UK£0.79 / CA$0.99 / AU$0.99 / NZ$1.49 (to list just some of the currencies), and I imagine it will be a rough equivalent in whatever region you’re located in.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story’s requirements are 205 MB of free space and phone with the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system or higher installed. The game also requires location services, data services, movement and directional sensor, music and video library, Xbox LIVE, and phone identity, so if you’re thinking of getting a phone for this game I would advise checking that it is capable of all those features.

Still no word on when the main Crimson Dragon game is coming out, but Tokyo Game Show is just around the corner (September the 20th until the 23rd), so maybe we will hear what’s happening with the game soon.

The Third Version of the Will of the Ancients is Here

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Published by Solo Wing .

Well here it is. Since last year (yes last year!) I’ve been working on this new design for the site. I won’t bore you by rambling on about it here, but let’s just say that after a lot of hard work I’m glad it’s finally up and I hope that Panzer Dragoon fans will appreciate the effort put into it. If you’d like to know more, there’s a small amount of information in the About section and there’s always the forums.

With this update also comes a completely new section. Lance Way has put a great deal of work into analysing and enhancing the maps that can only be found in the unbelievably rare Japanese Panzer Dragoon guidebooks. The Maps section comes complete with the original maps, enhanced illustrated versions of the maps, and three detailed pages where Lance has explained how he has managed to find out where most of the Panzer Dragoon locations can be found.

Besides these two major updates, I’ve have also gone through and tweaked a number of features on the site. Here’s what’s changed:

  • I’ve added a link to a web archive of Team Andromeda’s old site.
  • I’ve converted most of the ‘downloads’ on this site to .rar format to save on webspace.
  • I’ve updated the About page, slightly, with a little more detail.
  • I’ve added a ‘Related Articles’ section to each summary in the Factions section.
  • I’ve added more ‘Related Articles’ to each mystery in the Mysteries section.
  • I’ve added a second Theories index page (the previous one was getting too crowded).
  • I’ve converted the MP3s from the Die Panzer Dragoon Chronik album to VBR format.
  • I’ve added a newer version of the MEKAW emulator to the Programs section.
  • I’ve removed the Webmaster section and exchanged it with a Staff section.
  • I’ve added dates to all the pages in the Factions section.
  • I’ve added screenshots of the Winamp skins to the Skins section.
  • I’ve added a new music video created by Windrider called Wings of Gold.

Geoff has also revamped his Towers summary in the Factions section, so it now contains more details about the story.

German Translation of Panzer Dragoon Revival

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Published by Draikin .

Yet another translation was added for Panzer Dragoon Revival! This time it’s Senor Kaffee who was kind enough to provide the German translation, bringing the total supported languages up to six. A big thanks goes out to him for the help! At the same time I’ve also updated the website so that the translated pages can now be indexed by all of the different search engines out there. This should help make the website easier to find, which in turn may bring in a couple of new signatures. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can by following this link.

Crimson Dragon: Side Story to Cost 99 Cents

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Published by Solo Wing .

The price of Crimson Dragon: Side Story has been revealed. Yukio Futatsugi has posted on Twitter that Crimson Dragon: Side Story will sell for 90 yen or 99 cents (USD). Thanks go to WPCentral for the translation.

The price of the software was never going to be a barrier to this game. The hardware on the other hand…