A new Panzer Dragoon won't sell?!

SEGA’s Panzer Dragoon is one of those rail shooters with fantastic art style that blew lots of fans’ imaginations and many consider the franchise as being one of the most underrated SEGA games of all time. The Dengeki Playstation magazine decided to ask some SEGA developers some direct questions about the future of some SEGA entries, one being Panzer Dragoon. Satoshi Sakai (Producer Phantasy Star Online 2) was asked if the company would ever make a new Panzer Dragoon type game and he answered:

" I would like to make it, but I’m sorry to say we’re in a difficult place for something like that to sell."

[Source: http://gematsu.com/2015/10/dengeki-playstation-creators-questionnaire-level-5-capcom-square-enix-koei-tecmo-sce-more]

That’s such a shame…

“Something like that” implies a specific direction that a new Panzer Dragoon would take. However, it’s not clear what that entails here. A rail shooter might struggle in the marketplace, as would another JRPG with 90s random encounters. But what about a mature, story driven action game like The Last of Us? How about a smaller budget, minimalist Panzer Dragoon game in style of Journey? There are lots of possibilities for expanding the form of “a Panzer Dragoon game” without losing the essence of Panzer Dragoon.


I think most of the charm we had in the 90’s is mostly gone or far and in between.

There was just something that was expertly executed in PDS. The random battles were spaced out perfectly as to not be annoying. I think rather than being random you had to fly within certain hot zones. And they gave you a lot of space in between to avoid them along with the different elevations.

Aside from that; I wouldn’t want anything else but a JRPG, taking into account how much I disliked Crimson Dragon. I need to feel that sense of exploration. Anything else done in a different way, might jeopardize that feeling.

If they have to be restricted creatively in some way or focus more towards making something feel like another game; that won’t be Panzer Dragoon to me. If it’s going to lose it’s spirit in order to fit in with the company mindset of what constitutes as a successful game; then I would rather it stay in my memories.

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Panzer Dragoon Saga consisted of a very different gameplay style than Panzer Dragoon Zwei. So I’m hesitant to rule out other game styles that haven’t been tried yet. Panzer Dragoon is not inherently a JRPG or a rail shooter unless you wish to dismiss large portions of the series as not being true members of the series.

We may not experience a game like Azel again, but a new adventure could still capture a sense of exploration and immersion so that it feels like we’re returning to the same world.


As long as the main focus is dragon based action oriented exploration; it would be okay.

But what about town explotation and character interaction? Would it still have enough depth if something was excluded?

None of the Panzer Dragoon games have really sold. I assume the first two may have at least broke even, but definitely not Azel and probably not Orta unless the MS deal helped to cover it somehow.

Not a shocking idea at all, sorry to say but it’s just how it is and how it really always has been.

At this point I don’t think I want another PD game. There’s no way it could live up to all we would hope and dream it to be; so it would be nothing other than a disappointment. Like Legaiaflame, I’m happy with the memories I have.

Am I the only one who doesn’t mind if the next Panzer Dragoon game isn’t another Saga? It seems the expectations of people here are ridiculously high - a new game has to be as good or better than Saga or it will be a disappointment.

Most of the Panzer Dragoon games were no where near the scale of Saga. We still thought Panzer Dragoon 1 and 2 were good games, right?

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I think the rail shooters are great; even phenomenal! They were the first games to introduce me to the Panzer Dragoon world! I’m not saying a new PD game in any other format would necessarily be bad if done right…

It’s just that after experiencing the PD world in the format it was presented in with Panzer Dragoon Saga; it’s hard to play something drawn back or scaled down. I guess it sort of spoiled me? Was that such a bad thing? I still loved Orta when it came out and played it to death; HELL it’s even what made me buy an Xbox, aside from Halo. (But I always wanted to explore Mobo’s village but couldn’t because of the genre the game was stuck in!)

Also, with today’s standards I would cringe in my seat if a new PD game was presented in chapters or episodes. And changing the tone and feel of the game would also be a problem. PD is about: exploration, mystery, discovery, faced paced combat and most importantly, adventure.

Changing the tone or the “heart” of the game to something more dark or even slightly more violent, to suit another game genre or company mindset (seeing how that’s what the market wants), would be disastrous in my opinion.

A new Panzer Dragoon game wouldn’t need to an RPG or a rail shooter. The latter, especially, would be inadvisable in today’s marketplace unless they did it as an low budget, Xbox Live Arcade style game. People aren’t likely to pay full price for a rail shooter. My point is that what people associate with Panzer Dragoon is not inherently either play style.

But Panzer Dragoon was one of the early pioneers of the immensely popular cinematic action genre that is commonplace today. In terms of gameplay, there is a lot of creative room to work within, while still respecting the core elements of the series - the boy and dragon theme, the surreal landscapes, the sense of mystery, etc.

Mainstream gamers like shooters, they like action, they like cinematic experiences. Panzer Dragoon ticks all these boxes, so you have the basis for something which might sell.

I wouldn’t mind the developers exploring alternative gameplay styles that might give the game more mainstream appeal either. For example, on-foot combat, so long as it was done in a way that makes sense within the context of the story (e.g. make the player feel vulnerable to contrast it with the dragon combat sections) and didn’t dominate the game entirely.

I do understand the concerns. Games these days are so homogenised, there’s the risk that the heart of Panzer Dragoon would change. But that’s a creative issue as much a cost issue. The issue here is that a Panzer Dragoon game wouldn’t sell. That’s questionable, if you take a step back and ask what Panzer Dragoon is before it stops being Panzer Dragoon.

I disagree about the rail shooter genre being a mistake. A lot of games these days are actually very linear, but give the illusion of being something more than they really are. I think a rail shooter, done right, could work. Especially if there was a multitude of vastly different routes to take throughout the game, thereby increasing the replay value. This was only really touched upon in both Zwei and Orta.

You could also possibly add other game modes. Something along the lines of the collecting of shards or flying through hoops seen in Crimson Dragon (but executed more fluently) allowing players to rack up massive scores and post them online. Maybe even speed runs and stunts could be implemented, kind of like how they were in Nights into Dreams. However, I’m not sure how much this would detract from the beating heart of Panzer Dragoon that is, in essence, dark, serious and with underlying themes of loneliness / solitude, and where there’s little room for such horseplay and social competitiveness.

There are lots of things that could be done to bring the rail shooter genre into the 21st century. It’s not really the replay value I’m concerned about - how many hours did I spend trying to get perfect scores on Zwei etc. to open all treasures within Pandora’s Box? People would love it. There’s a reason why we still love playing the PD games today and it’s not just nostalgia; they’re quite simply an absolute blast!

I’ve said for a long time that I would love to remake the original titles (I’m currently working on a project of that ilk). If they could be sold as a collection and at an attractive price, I believe people would take notice and maybe new interest in PD could be generated. My ultimate dream is to remake the older games and then continue the series with Lundi’s story after the events of Zwei and his transition into the Sky Rider. This would be an RPG.

@legaiaflame - I suspect you disliked Crimson Dragon not so much because it took a step back from Saga, but because - for want of a better word - it “sucked” in general. The controls were an absolute dog.

Well, I guess it’s like the developers were thinking: “How do you make a Panzer Dragoon game without making a Panzer Dragoon game…” And therein lies the problem. (it ends up feeling forced or lacking something familiar)

IMO the art style felt generic and the controls were a bit clunky. They also apparently took the original music and altered it too much…Just compare this gameplay to Orta and that’s it; the game holds no water for me. Also, the story/world/characters didn’t create any kind of meaningful mystery or attachment.

I think a new Panzer game would need to be a rails shooter - it’s what the series always has been (apart from Saga). However, it could be tweaked.

What if a stage has multiple entrances and exits, all leading to different places? And the gameplay would be mostly on-rails shooter, but with more overt hints at an RPG?

Let’s take this for an example. You’re in a town (on-foot, as in Saga) and want to get to another town. You stock up on the usual RPG stuff (potions etc) and go to your dragon to get to this other town.

Between the two towns is a large canyon level - a veritable maze. Your dragon constantly flies forwards (as in Orta, you can change speed and perhaps type) and you choose different routes as you go.

Now, to make this more like an RPG, there are lots of routes which allow you to discover different places. It could be that one particular route leads into a cave network, or a caravan where you can set down and do more trade. You don’t need to discover that caravan to complete the game, it’s just an optional thing.

Your route is also mapped out, and you can even purchase a map from various towns. Use this map to plot your route in the future and put direction markers, telling you which route you need to take. So you can travel again from one town to another, but in the reverse direction, and see what score you get. You may have to play this area again to get to the tunnel network, but basically it always plays as an on-rails shooter (though perhaps you’d need the ability to stop, get your bearings and turn around).

As for “a new game won’t sell”, I’d say it could, but Sega would need to be cautious. The demand isn’t there currently. That’s not to say it couldn’t be recreated, especially if they could do digital re-releases of all the games so far. Then, perhaps, a new game (even if digital only) could be a good idea.

Yes @Domiddian, I think that if a new Panzer Dragoon is a rail shooter, it would need to be significantly modernised (or released as a cheaper, arcade style game, like Crimson Dragon).

If we look at modern action games - I’ll use Call of Duty as an example, since most people would have played it, not because a new Panzer should be just like COD - on rails sections are sometimes included. There’s usually a good reason; the player is wounded and can’t walk, or the player is on board a moving vehicle. But limiting the player’s freedom to move is the exception, rather than the rule. Players of action games expect that they’re in the control most of the time - that’s why they play games, rather than watch a movie. What would players think if their freedom is severely limited for the whole game?

The Panzer Dragoon games were all very cinematic, going to great lengths to show that they were cinematic (it takes 20 minutes before we experience any gameplay in Saga, and the short gameplay section was then followed by another FMV). This was impressive in the 90s. Since then, games have improved the fusion between gameplay and being cinematic, so that more action takes place while the player is in control. A new Panzer would need to keep up with this trend.

Reading all this, two years later.

I agree with what Solo Wing said personally. For me, the experience of exploration is the most important. I wouldn’t ask for any specific genre, except I wouldn’t want a shoot only game. I want exploration, I want the story to be developed much more than that.

Did you see how the Zelda series reinvented itself ?
They spent much time defining what to keep and what to re invent as per the making off videos.

And that’s exactly what we need. Keep the world of Panzer Dragoon, I mean this is a mine of gold but break the rules, break the walls, tell a new story before/after the PDS, surprise us !
There is so much potential with today’s technology!

I will develop this idea more in my petition. There will be reference to the movie Avatar, the game Assassin Creed… you might be surprised :wink: