Secret of Mana remake announced

In discussions of “What is the bestest best best RPG ever ever ever?” a few common candidates are relatively unknown on PC, as they were released in the age before almost everything came to PC too. One such game is Secret of Mana, released on SNES in 1993. Well, soon we’ll get to be all “Uh, actually, Dark Souls is the bestest best RPG – and yes, I have played Secret of Mana,” as Square Enix have announced they’re remaking Secret of Mana and it will hit PC. The remake will take Secret from 2D to cartoony 3D, as you can see in this here announcement trailer:

That luck dragon’s haircut is dreadful.

Along with bringing the game to 3D, this boasts a “newly arranged” soundtrack and voiced characters. Squeenix are tinkering with the gameguts too, saying systems have “been reworked in an effort to realise a modern action-RPG with improved gameplay”. They also note that they’ve added dialogue scenes, with “several core scenes from the original story now newly visualized in-game”. No, I don’t know why their marketing descriptions feel like they’ve been fed through Google Translate.

Secret of Mana is coming to PC via Steam on February 15th, 2018. It’ll cost £29.99/39,99€/$39.99.

Hey, you, you with the pocket history of SNES RPGs – what’s Secret of Mana like?

46 Comments

  1. Bury The Hammer says:

    Probably a controversial opinion, but I find Secret of Mana somewhat overrated. The presentation is nice and all, but the combat a surprisingly bland drudge. Better SNES RPGs exist IMO, like Terranigma.

    Great music when riding Flammie though. Wheeee!

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      subdog says:

      I don’t think it’s very controversial to say that games that came out later in the SNES lifespan (like Terranigma) are generally better than the ones that came out earlier (like Mana).

    • pepperfez says:

      With three players, though, it’s still great. I won’t claim it’s a pristine design success, but it’s a fun hang-out game.

    • Bluestormzion says:

      Controversial? Perhaps. True? Also perhaps. As someone who adores Secret of Mana, I can say that yeah, the combat was one of the game’s weakpoints. Too long to charge special attacks, definitely. Pause-to-cast interrupting multi-player sessions for whoever’s not actively casting, melee is mostly useless since appropriately-leveled spells can DEVASTATE bosses…

      Want to see something that greatly improves the Secret of Mana Formula? Then (DON’T!) illegally download a translated ROM of Seiken Densetsu 3, the sequel to Secret of Mana that Square idiotically refuses to release to the English speaking world. Melee is worthwhile and faster, spells exist but are no longer the be-all and end-all to bosses, it’s better looking and just all around better.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely. I found Terranigma, Chronotrigger, and Supermario RPG more enjoyable and better made.

    • Ejia says:

      I always found its successor Seiken Densetsu 3 to be better.

  2. Amatyr says:

    Now I’m conflicted, because I mostly ordered the mini-SNES thing to play Mana again and don’t know if I should wait for this instead.

  3. BiscuitP1mp says:

    Secret of Mana on SNES was great. Interesting story, neat characters. Getting new weapons was a real treat and felt like great rewards. My first truly epic RPG that I actually finished.

    The announcement got me excited, but that art style isn’t doing anything for me.

  4. shinkshank says:

    I like Dark Souls, but it’s a terrible RPG. Terribly unclear stats, an obtuse gear system, and a combat system so divorced from all the RPG mechanics that it’s entirely possible to beat the game without leveling up or getting any gear past your starting items (not counting progression items obviously).

    • Premium User Badge

      Dios says:

      Oh god, yes. You could rip all of the useless levelling and stats right out of the game and it would be none the worse for it.

  5. Spuzzell says:

    Secret of Mana is ace, it had drop in 3 player co-op.

    I know.

    I KNOW.

    The Japan only sequel, Seiken Densetsu 3, is by far the better game though.

    Also, this looks like utter shit, and Square should be ashamed.

    “Whats a sword doing here and why is my voice generic and shit and why is the amazing soundtrack ruined and why do I look like a Funko Pop knockoff of myself and oh fuck me sideways they’re going to ruin the FF7 remake too aren’t they kill me”

    • pepperfez says:

      SD3 was much better in all ways but one: it only allowed two players. A patch came out to fix that relatively recently, but it was a huge minus at the time.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Seiken Denetsu 3 is the cat’s vagina! I played this back when I was a teen and it blew my mind, especially when I found out that there is a playable character who will turn into a werewolf at night. Although I always found Hawk to be the most fun.

      There’s a games store around here that has carted versions for sale and I came so close to buying it before remembered I don’t have a SNES anymore.

  6. Ohmz says:

    Oh my god that soulless voice acting… One of the appeals of the Mana series is that the character was a silent protagonist you could project yourself onto.

    I loved this game, and I’m worried they may have ruined it with shit voice acting. I hope here is a Japanese dub so I don’t have to listen to that if I get this.

    • Spuzzell says:

      There is a Japanese voice option.

      You can’t change from the free to play mobile graphics though.

    • Emeraude says:

      That’s the whole thing to me… the whole presentation looks soulless. The 3D rendition that looks flatter than the original 2D.
      The shoehorned voice-acting and mini-map that do not belong here but have to be added because modern standards.

      Very sad to look at.

      • Chillicothe says:

        “…this boasts a “newly arranged” soundtrack”

        Plus they ruined the 3D sound. Just wasted time, money, and effort.

  7. pH101 says:

    I don’t think I will never get over how you guys listed a 3rd person action title as BEST RPG EVER, whilst putting Skyrim at 33. I mean. No. I just… not even top 10? I mean come on! 33? 33!!? SERIOUSLY??

    • RuySan says:

      In terms of stats and character systems dark souls is more complex than Skyrim.

      Both are equally action-ny… So, don’t really understand your point.

      • pH101 says:

        Well it barely has any quests or meaningful dialogue… surely these are quite big things in the genre known as RPGs? But put that aside. Perhaps Dark Souls deserves a very high spot maybe even the top. But to place Skyrim at 33 I just find unbelievably obtuse, given the depth and granularity of the world, the freedom and ability to actually carry out quests. To not even get in the top 10 for a title that was clearly a landmark game changer in the genre just shocked me. The list was made at the height of (the in my view unjustified) Witcher 3 fandom, so perhaps that’s why it suffered so. But really, it just seems strange for a game that so many people rate as their favourite or most played RPG to be so far down, and it almost seems as if the site was kind of being “too cool” to acknowledge this smash hit which probably gets more coverage to this day due to the massive mod scene and ongoing demand for new version/platforms… that was my take anyway.

        • MikoSquiz says:

          The dialogue, characterisation, and story telling in Dark Souls is several tiers above Skyrim’s. I’d rather eat a small medium-rare steak with garlic butter than a truckful of plain white bread with nothing on it.

        • Skandranon says:

          Well, I don’t want to get into a Skyrim bashing session (I’ve been down that road), but I just want to note that its not a popularity contest, and not everyone thinks about Skyrim the same way you do (I, for one, can’t really identify any landmarks that Skyrim hit that games before it hadn’t done better ohnothereIgoagain).

          33 is respectable (and more than it deserv-dammit) and to just expect it to be in someone’s top 10 just because a bunch of people liked it is a bit preferential in my opinion.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      More like WHYrim!!!!!

  8. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Get back to me when they port Legend of Mana to PC.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      The real greatest “of mana” game.

      And I don’t want a remake either, just a good pc port.

      • Emeraude says:

        Could use a patch for crafting – at least make it so the crafting components give you the bonuses the in-game compendiums tell you they’re supposed to be giving.
        Apart from that, yeah, better leave it untouched.

    • Emeraude says:

      Game had its faults, but from a game-design standpoint I find it was very much a beautiful experiment, definitely worth experiencing.
      Add to that stellar art direction, music and presentation, and an interesting story that managed to go *very* dark places and past censorship because of how cute it looked.

      Yeah, definitely wouldn’t mind seeing it readily available. Though it would still very much remain a niche game.

  9. Pablo Fallas says:

    Nice!!! Now, where is my Chrono Trigger Remake???

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      particlese says:

      Besides the hyperbolic “on every platform in existence” response I’ve seen on occasion, there’s a faithful DS remake which added an appropriate new area to explore, included some of the Satellaview bonus stuff (or similar, at least; I’ve only played Radical Dreamers myself), added in a weird but optional and mildly entertaining Pokémon lite thing, and included an option for turning off the anime cutscenes – a highlight for me since I hate the Dragonball Z art style. And that style would be my second biggest fear with a modern remake: It didn’t bother me as cover art and character cards, but a game made entirely in that style would drive me up the wall!
      My primary worry is the possibility of a phoned-in digital orchestra remix and extension of the game’s glorious original soundtrack. This assumes there’s no “go retro” button available, a la Halo HD, the Doublefine HD remakes, ROTT 2013 (for the music, anyway) and those sorts of things.

      Cynicism aside: yeah! Chrono next, please!

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        (here’s hoping this comment goes in the right place this time… )

        It’s funny, one of the (many, many) things I love about Chrono Trigger is that actually, the ingame sprites are styled pretty faithfully after Toriyama’s art. You possibly don’t notice it becauuse obviously the faces are the most recognisable part and they’re just a few pixels in Chrono Trigger, but yeah, it’s definitely based on his art style throughout.

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          particlese says:

          Ah, cool! Didn’t realize DBZ’s and CT’s characters were actually drawn/designed by the same guy.

          I hadn’t thought about it this closely before, but after poking around the internet a bit, it seems to be exclusively the shapes of the eyes which bug me in Toriyama’s style, and since those are mostly just 4 pixels total in the game (+sockets, etc.), they’re subject to a fair amount of interpretation, which I think was a part of your point. Yea or nay on that part, I totally agree with you on the rest now that I’ve given it a closer look/think: the overall design is a really good match between ink and pixels. And that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

          This is perhaps necrocommenting at this point, but if you end up reading this: Thanks for the insight. :)

  10. Syrion says:

    While I’m usually rather forgiving as regards graphics, my first thought watching that trailer was that it’s really quite… hideous, at least compared to the nicely drawn, charming original visuals. But, looking at another screenshot, it does seem to look good enough and actually features a minimap that looks exactly like the original. That’s a nice touch!

    I’ve never played it and am eagerly awaiting playing it on a SNES Classic, but this doesn’t draw me in at all. I guess I’m not really part of the target audience, though.

  11. Emeraude says:

    what’s Secret of Mana like?

    It’s a somewhat flawed but charming game that lives on its presentation (god that music, if only) and co-op feature.
    It’s a critical darling by sole virtue of having had so very little competition in what it offers, historically – three players action-RPG? On console? Don’t have much of a catalogue here, and all the more true at the time of release, though it probably doesn’t seem that much impressive now given the state of modern multiplayer games.

    Worth experiencing if you’re a fan of the genre, though it’s unlikely you ever get hit by the “it” of it. You’ll more likely have to work out what the magic was analytically.

  12. Chaoslord AJ says:

    SoM is the second entry in the Seiken Densetsu series, first part was released on the ol’ gameboy.
    Plays like a zeldaish real-time Final Fantasy (also by Square). Hits with the weapon could miss though even if they connect due to hit%. Hits could stun/lock player characters or monsters.
    Spells take a second to cast and hit automatically, 8 elements.
    You control one of the three characters yourself and can switch.
    Player 2 could control another character on the screen.
    It was really great at that time and I played it several times to the end including grinding everyone to max level.

    • Premium User Badge

      DantronLesotho says:

      Same here. I played the bejesus out of the game multiple times. The attack skill system was a lot of fun to improve and play with, and the graphical style ushered in a playful feeling that hasn’t really been imitated since. The music was a masterclass in SNES audio and is quite distinct. To this day if I hear any of the songs or effects sampled (and it happens more than you would expect) I instantly recognize it.

      The only thing that could use a major overhaul is the dialog. I went back not too long ago and played it, and a lot of it is lost in translation and is of the RPG language of the day.

  13. genoforprez says:

    Secret of Mana is really great if you enjoy JRPGs and if you love grinding to level up equipment and abilities (I am always surprised that some people genuinely love to just grind, grind, grind).

    But even as an old SNES fanboy and vet, I could never really get into SoM precisely because it was so grindy. I agree with Bury The Hammer: there are much better JRPGs from the SNES era and Terranigma is definitely in the top 5. Hot damn that game was amazeballs.

  14. Mehve says:

    It had fun (if slightly grindy) mechanics for its time, a colorful and varied world that didn’t get bogged down in details, and some absolutely gorgeous music that I still pull up on occasion today, but that voice acting… GOD that voice acting. That’s what I expect from some kid making an abridged series.

    As much as I’d like to grab this for nostalgia, I’m going to have to see some MUCH better trailers, or I’ll avoid it simply to preserve my nostalgia. I think this game would have been better served with a 4K re-sprite, but I suppose there’s no real market for that sort of approach unless you’re Starcraft.

  15. Kohlrabi says:

    So, will we get a Monkey-Island-style toggle to get back to the graphics and interface of old? Probably not. Would still be great if they at least added that version as a bonus game.

  16. Yglorba says:

    One thing I do hope they add is the ability to play three-players right from the start. Secret of Mana is a great game to play multiplayer, but it suffers from the fact that it’s single-player for a big chunk early on, which makes it a bit hard to just sit down and play it with friends unless you’re willing to have everyone watching one person play for a while.

  17. Mehve says:

    Oh god, I just saw the preorder bonuses on the Steam page. Moogle and tiger suits for all. Keep digging SE, keep digging.

  18. LukeW says:

    that 3d presentation looks terrible. I played through this again a few months ago on the SNES and the original graphics are still great. That 3d stuff makes it look like it’s a cheap phone game.

  19. Chaoslord AJ says:

    40 € on Steam? That’s more than the original cartridge was, Square.

  20. icemann says:

    I hate that when the question of “How would we make Secret of Mana look better for the PC release?” that their immediate response was “We’ll do it in 3D”.

    Why not do it in even better 2D with sprites?

    This remake looks meh. Everything doesn’t have to be in 3D to be made “better”.

    Or better yet, why couldn’t they have just given us the 2D original but with extra game modes, more content etc etc?

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