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.