As the 32-bit console generation was getting underway, 3D gaming texture mapped gaming experiences were the high bar jumping standard many of the studios were focused on. All the new avenues and visual fidelity now opened to them. SEGAs in-house development team had a project they were bringing forward a unique on rails shooter riding on the back of a dragon across a landscape with ancient machines and biotech monsters populating a world gone awry. Bleak, almost post apocalyptical. It’s name Panzer Dragoon. Comparsions were initialy made to Argonaut Softwares siminal Starfox. The ability to fire your hand blaster, and also the dragon can unleash fire and destructive blasts of his own. Your dragon flying at a blistering pace as the world rolled beneath you. Visually outstanding, its colour palette vibrant and art design unique. An Empire using floating rocks with ships strapped with cannons beneath. Screen filling monsters unlike anything seen before.
Panzer Dragoon defined itself as a stand out title to be had on the Sega Saturn. Continuing to expand upon the world in its predecessor the title Panzer Dragoon Zwei was released in 1996, following the adventures of a different protagonist Jean-Luc and his dragon Nagi. The story enriched with more of this fascinating. Culture and superstition are challenged when the hero, saves and nurtures a young dragon, believed to be a mutant. Usually killed. As the rider now grown along with the dragon, your home is attacked and it’s off to the races! The game improved many of the criticisms including a fairer difficulty, multiple routes, improved graphics and story development.
Developed alongside Zwei was AZEL Panzer Dragoon RPG. Better known as Panzer Dragoon Saga, released in 1998 as one of the swansong titles of the generation. The world was ripe for deeper exploration, following Edge a young man working in the mines at an ancient machine dig site. An attack by the Empire and leaving all he had known at the mercy of the creatures now disturbed. A saviour in the form of a dragon, allows Edge to ride and take to the skies on a powerful story driven action role playing game. With SEGA of America shutting shop early on the Saturn, and SEGA Europes marketing struggling against the Playstation and N64, with the Dreamcast in the wings. Panzer Dragoon Saga had a limited print run in those territories. As such prices today fluctuate for an original copy, as one of the most sort after titles. For anyone that has played has been touched by the hand crafted lands and story. Despite its Japanese origin, there are relatively few JRPGs tropes to be found. Team Andromeda took their vision of this world very seriously.
Despite SEGA porting the original to PC and Panzer Dragoon Orta a return to an on rails shooter for the OG XBOX. Panzer Dragoon had remained a dormant IP. Like with so many of SEGAs properties.
Rays of light, In 2017/18 development began on a Panzer Dragoon, not a new title but a revision of the original. Panzer Dragoon Remake Making its way to Switch, PC, Stadia, PS4 and XBOX by MegaPixel Studio and published by Forever Entertainment. Sold very well, reviewed and scored averagely. Constructive and two-way communication with the community has seen improvements and updates rolled out. Comments of Zwei also getting a remake are positive. Saga however, would be ambitious. Almost too ambitious.
Panzer Dragoon continued to make waves of excitement. A VR exclusive title has being whetting the appetite with announcements and concepts. More of a fly-by action tour of various key moments seems to be the narrative. We shall see.
The next radiant light comes from development team AzelR, who announced publicly a new Patreon campaign. Along with some initial 3D render models, concept work and graphics. The lofty ambition to re:create the hallowed Panzer Dragoon Saga, with updates and information being announced coming soon. Inspired by the success of the Remakes of PD, PD Zwei and VR, but a lack of Saga in their future plans. So like many, the fans are having to do it for SEGA. In the age of community fundraising, there is potential. It must be confirmed the team doesn’t legally have the rights from SEGA or Team Andromeda. This AZELR is a passion project from some ambitious fans with lofty goals, hopefully the rug doesn’t get pulled from beneath. There is an opportunity here for something special to be created. In the near future, would like to hear SEGAs position on this.
Be soon to check out their Patreon, and their website here to follow their progress.