SaGa Frontier Remastered: A Far-Reaching Win For RPG Fans
In the past, I’ve been quite vocal about my love for both SaGa Frontier and the SaGa franchise as a whole. However, I’ve also attempted to be even-handed when it comes to the general shortcomings of the series, as well as those present specifically within SaGa Frontier. It is arguably an incomplete game from an obscure, relatively unapproachable Square Enix franchise, that was released in the shadow of that tiny release known as Final Fantasy VII. What could possibly go wrong? A mixed reception at launch and underwhelming sales in the West, that’s what! Although for many moons I have longed for a re-release of the game I hold so near and dear, despite its flaws, I would have never expected this game to receive any attention after laying low for over 20 years – even with the SaGa franchise (thanks to the recent re-releases) slowly gaining momentum more recently.
But, you know what they say, “never say never.” If that doesn’t end up being the understatement of the year, I don’t know what will.
On November 28th, Square Enix dropped an announcement trailer that, if I was a betting man, would have completely bankrupted me. They revealed, of all things, a SaGa Frontier remaster that is set to be released mid-2021. What? This would not be a quick remaster with slightly enhanced visuals, either. Instead, the SaGa Frontier remaster would also be featuring brand-new content, some of which was cut in the original due to constraints at the time. What?! There are plenty of articles covering the ins and outs of the release, but that isn’t really the focus of today’s topic. What I really want to emphasize is what this news means not only to fans (and potential fans) of the franchise, but also with Square Enix and the RPG scene as a whole.
First, obviously, this is a huge win for fans of the series seeing as SaGa Frontier is one of the most beloved entries in the franchise as a whole. For others that have perhaps jumped on the bandwagon recently thanks to the two Romancing SaGa games, Scarlet Grace, and the upcoming Collection of SaGa release, this is an amazing opportunity to experience the franchise at one of its finest moments despite the aforementioned issues with the original game. But that’s the point – this version will include new and previously axed content that should speak to both veterans and newcomers alike. Amazing!
This string of consistent SaGa announcements and releases certainly points to there being even more games coming to the platform, both old and new. While the most recent entries in the decades-old series have focused more on the mobile market, perhaps the increased exposure and relevance spurred on by these re-releases and remasters means that we may yet see another release developed with consoles in mind (or, at the very least, brought to consoles). On the flip side, several existing entries remain missing from the Switch library that could eventually make their way to the platform in the future. Some version of Romancing SaGa 1, SaGa Frontier 2, and the DS remakes of the first two “Legend” games would be awesome to have on Switch!
This announcement has widespread influence that goes far beyond the borders of the series, though. Why? We’re talking about a remaster of a “mediocre” game (to critics) within an already niche franchise – literally the last thing anybody would expect to be touched up and re-released, but it is so happening now. They could have just as easily released a carbon copy of the original version without adding in the additional content, but they are going the extra mile here which is simply incredible.
Ultimately, this means that if SaGa Frontier – of all things – can receive this much care and attention, ANYTHING is possible. Square Enix and subsidiaries have a massive library of games and franchises to pull from, and I would not be surprised to see remakes, remasters, and brand-new games in dormant franchises come to life in this post SaGa Frontier Remaster world we now live in! Longtime series director/producer Akitoshi Kawazu has gone on the record before regarding the challenges of bringing a game like SaGa Frontier to modern systems, but here we are! But again, it isn’t even just about the potential development hurdles here, but also the stigma associated with a historically niche, difficult to understand series.
In short, the impending release of SaGa Frontier Remastered is excellent news for the RPG scene as a whole. Whether you personally care for the franchise or not, this being a thing – and I’m still in disbelief of it all – means that literally anything odd or forgotten under the Square Enix umbrella is on the table, and in a very real way.
What did you think about the announcement of SaGa Frontier Remastered? Will you be giving this a go when it releases next year? Let me know!