The Legend of Dragoon’s fanzine is quite loud, and these fans have made their presence well known within our JRPG Group on Facebook, and within our main site. Most of these fans have waited for a remake (or even a sequel) of the game for the last 23 years, or so. This week’s release of the original game (in digital form) as a PS Classic title, is as close as Sony has come to delivering on the aforementioned fanbase’s hopes.
But is this (the game’s release as a PS Classic) as far as Sony will ever go with The Legend of Dragoon’s IP?
Unless Sales Speak Loudly…This Could be it for The Legend of Dragoon
Given how the game joins the PS Classic library alongside Wild Arms 2, its arrival to the PS4 and PS5’s PS Classic library is more of an expected step (Sony is expanding its back catalogue on modern consoles), than a sign that Sony’s executives are pondering a revival of the IP.
That said, the fact that it retails for $9.99 offers an opportunity. Hypothetically speaking, if LoD were to sell a million units, I am sure someone at Sony will take a long hard look at the IP, and perhaps, Sony would see potential in the long forgotten IP. The Legend of Dragoon did sell over one million copies back in 2000.
However, it has been speculated that given the massive budget spent on the game, and its marketing costs at the time, The Legend of Dragoon was not a financial success for Sony. Sony wanted ( and spent money for) Final Fantasy sales numbers, as Final Fantasy VII sold over 14 million copies, and the other two FF entries on the PS sold over 5 million copies each. The Legend of Dragoon’s average critical reception, coupled with the less than expected sales numbers, are the reason why Sony never revived the IP again.
The Road Blocks to a Proper Revival of The Legend of Dragoon
The Legend of Dragoon, in terms of its followers, and fans, is a fascinating PlayStation era phenomenon to me. In our JRPG group (which has about 40,ooo members), it seems that a good chunk of its population love the game, or at least, is interested in it. There is no better example of this than our 2021 April fools’ spoof of a “The Legend of Dragoon Remake” interview.
The spoof, is by far, our most successful written work in terms of clicks, and reactions. It is ridiculous, but the spoof has garnered more than 100,000 (perhaps a lot more) clicks at this point. So, clearly, despite the average reviews, and less than stellar reputation that the game earned during its hey day; a loud and, perhaps, large fan base does exist.
The issue is that the petition for the game’s remake has only gathered about 30,000 signatures, despite said petition having been around for years. These are hardly the numbers that would drive Sony to invest on the IP again. For comparison’s sake, Days Gone 2’s petition garnered over 50,000 signatures over a 48 hour period, and now has over 200,000 signatures…Sony still refuses to continue that IP. While The Legend of Dragoon is well known within the hardcore JRPG circle, within the big picture of mainstream gaming, the IP pales in comparison to other projects that Sony executives have already deemed not worth the effort in pursuing.
So, clearly within the JRPG circles, The Legend of Dragoon is a title that resonates within the niche community (after all it did sell 1 million copies two decades ago), but it has failed to grasp an audience beyond that select group of gamers. At the end of the day, whether The Legend of Dragoon is ever remade, remastered, or followed up with a proper sequel, or not, is up to Sony’s execs deeming the IP a profitable one. If these executives think the company would lose money, or not make a profit on the effort, then the company will not pursue it.
A best case scenario would be that Sony treats The Legend of Dragoon like Square Enix has treated some of its smaller scale projects like Bravely Default, or even, Octopath Traveler. The former games were made with smaller budgets, and genuine low sales expectations, as they target the niche JRPG market.
Unless you are Zelda, Final Fantasy, or a Soulsborne game, you are probably not moving millions of units as a JRPG during this era. All of the former franchises are based on, or have turned to, action combat in order to remain relevant. It would be a risk to take out the turn based roots of The Legend of Dragoon because of the potential of alienating its loyal fan base.
So, while The Legend of Dragoon was the very definition of a high budget AAA title in the year 2000, times have changed, and its survival in modern times would be predicated on it being a smaller project, with a reasonable, but conservative budget.
A possible final stumbling block for a Legend of Dragoon revival is the general discontent with the PS Classic’s port of the game. Our group members have complained extensively of some bugs that are potentially game breaking, and many are awaiting a patch before resuming their playthrough of the game. Word spreads fast, and it is likely that initial sales of the title could be affected by the faulty port.
So, is This it For The Legend of Dragoon?
I would wager that this is the end of the line for the IP. Its PS Classic re-release was accompanied by another legendary title in Wild Arms 2. Unlike, The Legend of Dragoon, Wild Arms managed to turn into a long running franchise spawning Anime, and Manga complimentary products. For all intents and purposes, this particular series died with Wild Arms 5 on the PS2, though the series would get a PSP release named Wild Arms XF in 2007 (2008 in the US).
The Wild Arms series lasted as long as it did, because at least, for its first 3 entries, it was a profitable venture. The games did not have the production, or marketing costs of The Legend of Dragoon, and yet, the first three games sold nearly 2.5 million copies combined. The last two games would come crashing down to earth with 400,00 combined units sold, with Wild Arms 5 only moving 140,000 of those copies.
Forecasting that The Legend of Dragoon will remain entrenched a PS Classic for the rest of eternity is not a bad bet to make, nor would it be an oddity within the JRPG genre. Plenty of JRPGs from the PS1 era died with the PS1, and at best, went on to die within the PS2 era. The Legend of Dragoon would join the likes of Skies of Arcadia, Baten Katos (though this franchise did get a prequel), Lost Odyssey, Xenogears (though the Xeno franchise lives on in spirit with Xenoblade Chronicles), and Thousand Arms, as JRPG titles that only got one entry within their respective universes, and were never pushed further by their respective publishers.
Once upon a time, successful franchises like Grandia, Suikoden, Lunar, and Chrono, also went the way of the dinosaur. So, yeah, let’s hope for a patch that further polishes the PS Classic port of The Legend of Dragoon, as that game (and its universe) might forever live within that single 23 year old entry.
Agree with the author? Couldn’t disagree more and are frothing at the mouth to tell him? Leave a comment here, on Facebook or send an email and make sure to follow Never Ending Realm on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!