Romancing SaGa 2 comes west next week, 24 years late

Romancing Saga 2

There’s been an awful lot of surprise announcements these past few days, but this one really caught me off guard. We’ve known for a while that Square Enix are aiming at a broader market than ever before, but the last thing I expected was a fully localised remake of Square’s oddly capitalised Romancing SaGa 2 coming to PC, 24 years after its original Japanese-only launch on the Super Nintendo. Even more surprisingly, it’s just on the horizon, due out next Friday, December 15th.

Baffled? Step inside for a nice cup of tea, a trailer for the PC version and a little more explanation as to what the Romancing SaGa 2 brings to the table.

I must admit some degree of surprise at this announcement. Firstly because it’s amazing that Romancing Saga 2 is resurfacing after so long, but also because it turns out that it’s been available on Android and iOS for some months now, although judging by the sum total of 7 ratings for the iOS version, it was released so quietly that even old-school JRPG fans failed to notice. Japanese publishers sometimes move in mysterious ways.

For fans of more open western RPGs looking for something with a different flavour, Romancing SaGa 2 might be just what you’re looking for. While superficially similar in look, mechanically it’s almost nothing like Final Fantasy, with a linear opening section paving the way for a remarkably freeform game on a multi-generational, empire-spanning scale, with the protagonist leading the country and each hand-picked heir to the throne inheriting the abilities of their predecessor. While not quite as grand in terms of timescale, Square’s experimental JRPG The Last Remnant bears a lot of similarities to the SaGa series, mechanically.

Rather than just being emulated or a quick port, this looks more like a complete remake of the game, with major graphical upgrades across most elements, with more animation in combat and much more detailed backdrops, all while retaining the original sprite-art, chunky pixels and all. It’s a world apart from the better-known yet notoriously rubbish Final Fantasy 6 port released back in 2015, which took the iconic sprites and put them through an upscale-filter blender.

On top of the visual improvements, there’s a sizable chunk of new content, expanding the already lengthy RPG with four new dungeons and a gardens area in your home city, which will visibly grow and flourish as your empire’s strength increases. I’m personally hoping that Romancing SaGa 2 finds its niche on PC and modern consoles, and sells well enough for Square to consider giving the even more mechanically exciting (army-scale strategic battles, anyone?) sequel the same treatment.

Update: The Steam store page is up for the game now. No price-tag, but the game is out in 5 days. You should probably also check out the official site for the game. It’s a lovely, creative little thing that’s well worth a gentle scroll down through.

 

16 Comments

  1. Relkin109 says:

    Dominic, looks like the Steam page for this game is up already, at least on the states side.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Just updating it now – it wasn’t at the time of writing, and was scheduled to go live later.

  2. Erinduck says:

    I hope this means we get a remaster of Romancing SaGa 3 if this does well. I played a fan translation of the original so many years ago and I still revisit it every couple years.

    • Ejia says:

      It’s been so long since I last played RS3 with a fan translation patch (that had weird broken english). I remember really enjoying the stock market and kingdom ruling subgames at the time.

    • CaidKean says:

      You don’t have to hope, it’s already officially confirmed: link to twitter.com

  3. GeoX says:

    Hmm. The first Romancing SaGa is basically unplayable without a walkthrough. RS 3 is more accessible; I wonder how 2 (which I’ve never played) stands up.

    • Merus says:

      It’s a SaGa game, which means it’s got borderline incomprehensible systems at the best of times, but I understand that Romancing SaGa 2 is a pretty good one – reasonably well-executed, and not dragged down too much by being iconoclastic for its own sake.

      The localisation on the mobile port is apparently pretty rough, so I’d imagine we’re getting that script, sadly.

      • BooleanBob says:

        For those of us not familiar with the series, what is it about them that is so mechanically opaque?

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          Just about everything. The entire SaGa series (including The Last Remnant) are basically a test-bed for Square to go completely off walls with mechanical experimentation. Even concepts as standard as hit points might work wildly differently from game to game.

          The Last Remnant, for instance, has multi-party-scale combat where you give general one-line orders to each group and the individual members attempt to use skills most appropriate. It feels like calling plays in an American football, instead of a standard RPG combat engine.

          The biggest departure from normality was Unlimited Saga, which was a non-linear board game/slot-machine/RPG hybrid.

  4. Ghostwise says:

    For a non-console bloke like me these games all strongly evoke a cheap lil’ (but potentially interesting) RPGMaker indie release. Which I guess is quite ironic. :-)

    I hope RPS give a Wot I Think treatment to such ports. These have the advantage of being written from a stricter PC PoV, rather than for people familiar with the material.

  5. DanMan says:

    Even with updated visuals. Surprising.

    Anyway, can we please get a Vagrant Story remake?

  6. Kolbex says:

    “judging by the sum total of 7 ratings for the iOS version, it was released so quietly that even old-school JRPG fans failed to notice.”

    It might also have something to do with hahaha $18 for a phone game.

  7. lordcooper says:

    I can’t help but see Romancing Salsa.

  8. Haborym says:

    A remake of 3 would be really nice, I loved that game.