There have been a lot of reasons for SEGA fans to be mad at the company for probably a decade now. I think the company’s recent actions during MomoCon 2014 along with some other events give me a nice opportunity to talk about one thing I’ve wanted from SEGA for a while.
At MomoCon SEGA started a Q&A session with what they couldn’t talk about — mainly Shenmue 3 and any non-Asian releases of Phantasy Star Online 2. Mentioning PSO2 there dose kind of make me upset because that means SEGA knows western audiences still want PSO2 (they announced its western release… two years ago?) but isn’t giving it to us. Maybe that just means it’s still in the works. It better be. I can understand SEGA’s position with Shenmue, seeing how economically unsound that whole intellectual property has been. That’s not what I’m writing about today though.
Whenever I think “what do I want from SEGA right now?” for some reason the main thing that comes to mind is an HD re-release of Skies of Arcadia. Oh I’m still mad about not getting an English version of Ryu Ga Gotoku 5 (Yakuza 5). The petitions for PC ports of Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Valkyria Chronicles have merit. Vanquish at 60 frames per second could be amazing, and I’d love to play Bayonetta at a more stable framerate. The whole Valkyria IP is just a tragedy (like so many SEGA IPs). But Skies is the one I’d choose if I it actually came down to a choice.
I guess what makes me the most upset is how SEGA actually confirmed it knows Skies is one of the most requested Dreamcast re-releases along with Shenmue (not to mention the rumored finished Shenmue and Shenmue II ports SEGA’s supposedly been sitting on since 2009). That means the publisher is tantalizingly close to giving us one of my favorite console RPGs in a shiny new modern format.
It’s personally tantalizing for me because a while ago I lost my 60-hour save file for the Gamecube version. I think about replaying the game all the time, but keep hoping to be able to do so on a new version.
Re-releasing Skies on consoles would be a no-brainer, but I’d preferably like to have it on Steam. It seems like more Japanese developers are putting their classics on Steam every month. Who’d of thought we’d see SNK games and Ikaruga on Steam? SEGA’s been putting seemingly everything it can up there, on top of making its new PC games use Steamworks.
Really, I just want to play Skies in 1080p. Even if it has outdated Dreamcast graphics it would be an improvement. You can see an example of the difference in this Dolphin emulator screenshot (at a little under 1080p with a bunch of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering thrown in). Playing it with a controller is a no-brainer, but playing a JRPG with a keyboard and mouse is an interesting proposition for navigating menus.
I don’t even think porting the game to mobile is a bad idea. Similar to ports like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger, the turn-based combat can be handled through touch-based menus. Moving around the world with a virtual analog stick isn’t as much of a hassle in turn-based RPGs as it is in action games.
Why has it been two years since the last Dreamcast HD re-release? Did Jet Set Radio not sell?