Legend of Dragoon

If I learned anything this week, is that there is a genuine chunk of passionate fans out there that continue to care about PS1 era JRPGs. My Tuesday news report about Chrono Cross finally earning a much deserved remaster took social media by storm. Responses to the article varied from gamers expressing their joy, to others venting their frustration at Sony’s continued disregard of the Legend of Dragoon IP.

Chrono Cross Getting a Remaster is a Good Thing…For Legend of Dragoon Fans

Chrono Cross JRPG

Why? Because if Square Enix does good commercial numbers with the Chrono Cross remaster, Sony might take a second look at its own 2000 JRPG IP. Both of these titles were released a month apart from each other (LoD on June, and CC on August).

Naturally, they were both seen as natural competitors, at that point in time. While Chrono Cross did amazingly well with critics (94/100 Metacritic), The Legend of Dragoon didn’t fare as well (74/100 Metacritic). One would think, however, given the disparity in critical scores, that Chrono Cross outsold The Legend of Dragoon by, at least, a couple of million units. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case.

Chrono Cross did out sell The Legend of Dragoon, but only by 200,000 copies, and both titles sold well over a million units (The Legend of Dragoon moved 1,300,000 copies).

My point? If Square feels that Chrono Cross can be profitable enough as a remastered title, what would hold Sony back from thinking the same about The Legend of Dragoon? Both had near parity sales numbers 21 years ago.

What is Holding Sony Back?

While The Legend of Dragoon sold very well 21 years ago, it might not have sold enough copies to justify its massive development costs, and expensive marketing campaign.

Reportedly, LoD cost $16 million to develop back in 1999 (the equivalent of 26 million dollars today), but these costs do not take into account the massive Ad campaign that Sony underwent with the game in those days and the manufacturing expenses.

For example, Final Fantasy VII cost $45 million to make, but $100 million was spent on its marketing campaign, and reportedly (Wikipedia), another $100 million was spent on manufacturing costs (though I have reservations about that number).

Assuming (I am taking a wild guess here) Sony spent half the budget that was spent on FFVII on LoD’s own marketing, it would mean that with manufacturing costs taken into account we would have a $100 plus million investment (keep in mind the number could have been greater, or smaller) on a game that was probably expected to sell 5 plus million copies (LoD was billed as a direct Final Fantasy competitor).

Instead, the cheaper to make, and market, Chrono Cross out sold it, and turned in a profit for Square. If my guess work above is close to the amount of money that was spent by Sony on The Legend of Dragoon, it would mean that the game fell 1-2 million copies short of actually turning a profit for Sony.

What I explained here regarding costs and profits is the only plausible reason for Sony’s refusal to bring back the property. After all, Sony recently canned Days Gone, a new IP with some upside to it, because it didn’t meet with the company’s sales/profits expectations.

Sony Shut Down Japan Studio

Legend of Dragoon TBT Analysis Shadow of the Colossus
While Japan Studio had some flops, the Studio was also responsible for a huge amount of titles that came from Japan, and one of the greatest games of all time in Shadow of the Colossus.

Due to a ‘lack of profit’, Sony shut down the legendary studio last year. If Sony was willing to close the doors on a development studio (founded in 1993) that many equated with the PlayStation brand thanks to a decade of commercially unsuccessful projects, then it is highly unlikely that the company will bring back the IP on Remade or Sequel form (as many have hoped). After all, The Legend of Dragoon was a Japan Studio creation, and now its creator no longer exists.

But Remasters Can Be Profitable

Remastering a game like The Legend of Dragoon shouldn’t be a herculean task. Sony can keep the remaster to a digital only purchase (no physical copies), and it would save millions in manufacturing costs. Given the reception that The Legend of Dragoon articles get on our site, I feel that the game in remastered form can yet still turn a profit for Sony…even if the company had to wait two decades (and counting) for it to happen.

Social Media is a powerful tool, and I truly feel that its fan base would unite to at least move 500,000 downloads of it. And maybe, like a wildfire, the LoD fever would spread and other JRPG fans that didn’t try it back in the day can jump into the action and drive the sales further up.

Let’s purchase the Chrono Cross Remaster. Let’s show Sony (and Square) that there is a large contingent of fans hungry for PS1 era remasters. Who knows? If we get lucky, maybe Parasite Eve, and Vagrant Story are next… or perhaps Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and maybe even, The Legend of Dragoon.

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.