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The Sega Saturn Turns 20 Years Old

Published by Solo Wing .

On November 22nd, 1994, the Sega Saturn was released in Japan, making the classic Sega console twenty years old today. Our friends over at Segabits have covered the anniversary in an article called SEGA Saturn’s 20th Anniversary: Celebrating Decades of Arcade Perfection.

Panzer Dragoon was originally planned as a launch title, however Team Andromedia missed the deadline. In a NowGamer article on the making of the Panzer Dragoon series, Kentaro Yoshida (who was an artist on the original Panzer), explains:

“The schedule we were working to was really tight,” Kentaro says. “We actually ended up missing our deadline, which was set as the Japanese launch day of the Saturn hardware. At first we were on the same schedule as the team producing Clockwork Knight, but no matter how hard we worked there was no way we were going to be able to meet that deadline, so Sega ended up putting Clockwork Knight out first and releasing Panzer Dragoon some months later. Sega had wanted a launch line-up of Clockwork Knight, Virtua Fighter and Panzer Dragoon…”

The delay was not surprising considering that Team Andromeda didn’t even have a Saturn to test the game on until late in development. Kentaro elaborates:

At the beginning of Panzer Dragoon’s development, the Saturn hardware wasn’t finalised and we didn’t have any prototype consoles to test with. The artists were using Silicon Graphics’ SoftImage, and the 3D graphics were programmed on workstations using OpenGL. After a while, we were finally able to send things across to the [debug] Saturn we’d received, but the transition was really difficult for the programmers. Of all of us, I’d say the programmers probably had the most difficult job, because of the volume of 3D work they had to get through. They used both of the Saturn’s GPUs in tandem, but I’m not sure how well that really worked out… [laughs]. Early on, the frame rate was terribly low, but eventually they got it up to 20fps.

The development of the Panzer Dragoon series was riddled with challenges and it’s quite amazing that we got the three high quality titles during the Saturn’s lifetime. If you had to ask me to pick one console that I have the fondest memories of, it would be the Sega Saturn: games such as NiGHTS, Shining Force III, and of course Panzer Dragoon Saga stand out as some of the greatest games ever made.

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Valkyria Chronicles Coming to PC, Orta Next?

Published by Solo Wing .

It seems Sega have been listening to their fans who started a petition requesting that more Sega titles are ported to PC. Or it could be a happy coincidence. In either case, the much requested Valkyria Chronicles has arrived on Steam. Valkyria Chronicles was released in 2008 and up until now it was a Playstation 3 exclusive.

With the actuality of Valkyria Chronicles being ported to PC, why not other Sega titles? Although there would be considerable difficulty porting Panzer Dragoon Saga to PC, Panzer Dragoon Orta is a good candidate for a re-release. Steam user Griever_GF has started a discussion outlining the reasons why Sega should port Panzer Dragoon Orta to PC. If you agree, please contribute to the discussion and show you support for a Panzer Dragoon Orta PC port.

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Was Alita Going to Be Playable in Panzer Dragoon Zwei?

Published by Solo Wing .

According to an old issue of GameFan magazine (volume 4, issue 9), Alita was originally planned to be a playable character in Panzer Dragoon Zwei. From the magazine:

Sega’s animation division is currently working on an animated version of Panzer Dragoon that’s due out in Japanese rental stores later this summer. The storyline will be based on Panzer 1, but in addition to hero Kyle, will also feature Alita, a female dragon-rider that was originally going to be a selectable character in Panzer 2.

Jeremy Prusak has kindly provided a scans of the magazine:

GameFan Volume 4 Issue 9 Page 111 (Relevant Content Only)GameFan Volume 4 Issue 9 Page 111

I can imagine Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s story being quite different had Alita been a playable character. Perhaps she would have fused with the Guardian Dragon instead of the Dark Dragon or provided a further motive for Lundi to pursue Shelcoof. Or perhaps Alita was going to be the protagonist instead of Lundi.

I’ve also updated the Alita encyclopaedia entry, linking to one of the scans for reference.

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A Sketch of the Panzer Wing

Published by Solo Wing .

The Artist Formally Known as Lundi has contributed a new sketch, this time of the Panzer Wing Agility Class.

Panzer Wing Agility Class Sketch

He has also sent me an updated version of his Panzer Dragoon inspired track What Life which I’ve replaced in the Music section.

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He Was Created For Me

Published by Solo Wing .

There was no #fanartfriday last week. I hope this stunning new piece of art makes up for that:

He Was Created For Me

My thanks go to Michael Gadsby for the contribution.

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Witness the Ancients and What Life

Published by Solo Wing .

The Artist Formally Known as Lundi has submitted two new music tracks.

The first is called Witness the Ancients:

The second is called What Life:

Both tracks are inspired by the Panzer Dragoon series, with full details and download options on their respective pages.

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Nago Tower

Published by Solo Wing .

A backlog of new content has been mounting up. If you’ve sent me content that I haven’t added yet, it’s because I’ve been busy.

My thanks go to Uruc Art for this picture, based not on Panzer Dragoon, but a similar world:

Nago Tower

If you like the picture, check out Uruc Art’s dragoon profile for links to more.

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Senshudo TV Interviews Brave Wave Productions

Published by Solo Wing .

Senshudo TV have recorded a video interview at EGX London with Brave Wave, the company behind Saori Kobayashi’s new album, Journey.

Great to hear about their relaxed policy towards video streams and podcasts which feature Brave Wave music.

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Journey is Now Available on iTunes

Published by Solo Wing .

Journey can now be purchased on iTunes. It is two dollars more expensive than the Bandcamp version if you’re purchasing from the US iTunes Store (US$13.99 versus US$12). It’s significantly more expensive on the New Zealand iTunes Store; NZ$27.99, which currently converts to US$21.69. Do yourself a favour and avoid the Apple tax.

Worth noting is that AKANE’s first album, Kochae is also available on iTunes.

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Journey: A Design Exploration With Natalie Hanke

Published by Solo Wing .

Mohammed Taher from Brave Wave has written an article about Journey’s cover art. The article discusses how Natalie Hanke was chosen to produce Journey’s cover art and how the design evolved based on feedback from Saori Kobayashi and Yumiko Takahashi.

It is also mentioned in the article that Journey will be available soon on iTunes, Amazon, Google, and other services. There’s no need to wait however; Bandcamp is a great service, providing the album in a number of formats and arguably better for artists.

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Journey is Now Available, Plus Some Thoughts

Published by Solo Wing .

Journey, the new album by Saori Kobayashi is now available:

http://store.bravewave.net/album/journey

You can buy the album or stream the entire album for free on Bandcamp. I recommend that Panzer Dragoon and Crimson Dragon fans purchase the album to encourage future music from Saori Kobayashi.

Unfortunately, I have not had time to write a full review, but I’ll sum up my thoughts causally here.

Journey is a must purchase for fans of Saori’s work. The album features three Crimson Dragon tracks, but these are different from the tracks included in the games. We have a piano remix of Crimson Dragon’s main theme and a song based on Crimson Dragon: Side Story’s menu music (now with vocals). I like what has been done with the music here better than the music in the games. Furthermore, the album features Pirika which was originally going to be Panzer Dragoon Saga’s theme music.

Besides Crimson Dragon and Panzer Dragoon music, there are a number of other great tracks. Maboroshi is my personal favourite. Most tracks are composed by Saori Kobayashi, and many have a similar feel to her earlier work. Not exactly the same style, but the resemblance is there. I think Saori Kobayashi sums it up best herself on the album page:

After composing the music for Microsoft’s Crimson Dragon (Xbox One) and meeting Brave Wave’s president Mohammed Taher, Kobayashi decided to revive AKANE in the form of a second album titled Journey. “Before encountering the series, I didn’t focus on a specific type of music, but composing for Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta and experiencing these games made me interested in working with similar musical elements. A big part of AKANE is inspired by the Panzer Dragoon series.”

The inspiration is evident and that’s certainly a good thing. In the album’s description, Saori Kobayashi and Yumiko Takahashi also leave a personal thank you message to fans of the Panzer Dragoon and Crimson Dragon games:

“We’re also very grateful to the people who learned of our music through games like Panzer Dragoon and Crimson Dragon. AKANE takes a different approach from the music of those games, mixing Japanese folklore with new, more modern sounds. As the title of the album suggests, AKANE is a band on a constant journey. We hope you will enjoy this new, mysterious journey with us!”

I’ve certainly enjoyed going on another Saori Kobayashi journey. If you liked the music of the Panzer Dragoon and Crimson Dragon games I think you will too.

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Pirika, a Candidate Theme Song for Panzer Dragoon Saga

Published by Solo Wing .

Alex Aniel from Brave Wave tweeted the following trivia about Panzer Dragoon Saga’s theme song:

Trivia: “Pirika” from AKANE’s upcoming album “Journey” was a candidate main theme track for Panzer Dragoon Saga.

As we all know, A Premonition of War became the theme for Panzer Dragoon Saga. But from a historical perspective it’s great that Pirika is also now being released to be public.

Pirika is the sixth track on Saori Kobayashi’s latest album, Journey. You can listen to the track on Bandcamp and preorder the album if you wish.

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An Early Cover of Journey

Published by Solo Wing .

Natalie Hanke, who designed Journey’s album art, has tweeted a picture of an earlier cover. It looks nice, although I prefer the final design.

Journey is a new album from Panzer Dragoon Saga artist Saori Kobayashi. You can Pre-Order Journey on Bandcamp.

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Saori Kobayashi's "Journey" Now Available to Pre-Order

Published by Solo Wing .

Akane, the ensemble comprised of Saori Kobayashi (Panzer Dragoon, Crimson Dragon) and Yumiko Takahashi (Suikoden) have revealed the name of their new album: Journey. Saori Kobayashi writes:

Before encountering the series, I didn’t focus on a specific type of music, but composing for Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta and experiencing these games made me interested in working with similar musical elements. A big part of AKANE is inspired by the Panzer Dragoon series.

Pre-Order Journey

Featuring three Crimson Dragon tracks, and a number of others with similar sounds, Journey is a must purchase for fans of Saori Kobayashi’s work.

The full album will be available 29 September 2014 as a limited edition CD (US$16) and as a digital download (US$10).

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The Successor of the Azure

Published by Exu .

Some more time-sensitive challenges recently became available for Crimson Dragon, including one that would unlock a new dragon just for loading up the game. This new dragon is called the “Blackbone Lazward”, aka “Successor of the Azure”. It is light element, it cannot change attribute and it does not evolve. It starts out fairly weak but the level caps out at 20 like the Void dragons and it has quite respectable stats by that point.

Successor of the Azure Photo

It’s a recolour of the first stage Blackbone and, as you may have noticed, it bears a passing resemblance to the Solo Wing dragon from the Panzer Dragoon series. The horned crested head, blue skin with orange wings and the silver scales down the back. It’s no coincidence. For some reason it has no entry in the database, in fact in unlocks the entry for the Blackbone Eclipse which was available via a challenge a while back.

The video I’ve included above shows you the dragon, compares it to the Blackbone Radiance, and demonstrates the dragon via a play through of the Thinning the Herd level. You have until the 3rd of December to load the game up to get this dragon. Makes me wonder if any other dragons have third variants hidden away.

Note: There are also challenges rerunning for two Void dragons giving you another shot at the Darkshoulder Chaos and Silvertail Nightmare. You need to get five S ranks with the Darkshoulder and ten S ranks with the Silvertail.

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Xbox One to Launch in 28 New Countries in September

Published by Solo Wing .

Although Xbox One was released in the US, some European countries, Australia, and New Zealand during 2013, many countries still have not had the opportunity to play Crimson Dragon.

This is about to change. Gamespot have posted a list of Xbox One release dates for the month of September.

  • September 2 - Chile and Colombia
  • September 4 - Japan
  • September 5 - Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
  • September 15 - Israel
  • September 23 - Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, China
  • September 26 - Russia

Microsoft said it plans to launch Xbox One in Argentina soon afterwards.

I see no reason why Crimson Dragon will not be available in all of these countries. It would pay to check before purchasing an Xbox One though, just in case.

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How the Panzer Dragoon Saga Theme Song Was Made

Published by Solo Wing .

A story was posted earlier this year (in April) on Siliconera that we overlooked, but remains just as relevant, especially with Saori Kobayashi’s new album arriving soon.

The article discusses how Panzer Dragoon Saga’s theme song was made, presumably referring to A Premonition of War, a theme reused in several parts of the game including the end credits song Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu. Spencer at Siliconera explains the story:

Saori Kobayashi experimented with several songs as the main theme of Panzer Dragoon Saga. One day, she had spent so much time thinking about it when a coworker invited her to go out drinking. The coworker advised her to be ready to leave in 30 minutes, and the song had to be done that day, so she ended up rushing through and writing it within those 30 minutes. And in that short time an icon song was made.

Extremely impressive if true, although I suspect further refinement would have been made after that. There is also a quote from Saori Kobayashi herself which reveals how she goes about making the music of Panzer Dragoon and Crimson Dragon worlds:

When making music for a game like Panzer Dragoon or Crimson Dragon, the first thing I must think about is the world of the game, which is developed, altered and elaborated on throughout development. I then come up with a few different ideas to match the game, but they are never 100% made to my own liking.

It makes a lot of sense that she would draw on the fictional worlds of these games to come up with final scores that fit very well into those worlds.

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Altercation at Uru

Published by Solo Wing .

A new picture from Michael Gadsby. Panzer Dragoon Saga fans will recognise the scene as based on the second encounter with Atolm from Disc 2.

Altercation at Uru

Except more art from this fantastic artist soon.

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Another Sneak Peek of Saori Kobayashi's New Album

Published by Solo Wing .

From Brave Wave’s Twitter account:

SNEAK PEEK! Saori Kobayashi & @Tainosugatayaki are releasing a new album soon — here’s a sample of AVALON (りんごの島): https://soundcloud.com/bravewavemusic/sneak-peek-akane-avalon

According to the SoundCloud page they’ve just finished mastering the album. The release is still expected next month. I will be receiving an early review copy so expect an opinion of the new album here on The Will of the Ancients soon.

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New Album From Saori Kobayashi Coming Next Month

Published by Solo Wing .

Some of you may have listened to Saori Kobayashi’s “Shattered Moon” on the recently released In Flux album from Brave Wave. Shattered Moon won’t be last project from Kobaysahi and Brave Wave. Brave Wave sent out an email today which included a short update about Saori Kobayashi’s next album:

One more thing. Next month we’re gonna have a special solo release from Saori Kobayashi (of Panzer Dragoon), with music from the new Crimson Dragon game and featuring legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu (of Final Fantasy) on one track. You can listen to a teaser on Soundcloud. You’re getting this news before anyone else out there!

I’m looking forward to it. Panzer Dragoon Saga and Final Fantasy VII’s composers on the same album, who would have thought? ;)

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Reawaken to New Panzer Dragoon Themed Music

Published by Solo Wing .

Artist Formally Known as Lundi has submitted a new music track inspired by the Panzer Dragoon games. It’s called ‘Reawaken’. Check it out:

It does a great job of capturing the Panzer feeling if you ask me. Please do provide him with some feedback, either on our social networks or over on the forums.

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How to Make Edge Super Tiny

Published by Solo Wing .

A new glitch was recently found in Panzer Dragoon Saga which shrinks Edge when inside of Juba’s bar. As far as we know this glitch hasn’t been found before. Panzer Dragoon Saga fans Exodus and Jeremy Prusak have documented the glitch; I’ve added the details to our Panzer Dragoon Saga: The Weird Stuff article. It’s under the subheading “Into the Pit”.

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Shelcoof Constructed in Minecraft

Published by Solo Wing .

Nathaniel Daught has made a construction of Shelcoof - created entirely within Minecraft. Screenshots and a video are available on his Tumblr blog. I’ve uploaded these to our archive:

Shelcoof Minecraft Building (1 of 7)Shelcoof Minecraft Building (2 of 7)Shelcoof Minecraft Building (3 of 7)Shelcoof Minecraft Building (4 of 7)Shelcoof Minecraft Building (5 of 7)Shelcoof Minecraft Building (6 of 7)Shelcoof Minecraft Building (7 of 7)

Really awesome work, Nathaniel. I thought it would only be a matter of time before someone attempted to recreate part of the Panzer Dragoon world in Minecraft. The architecture of the Panzer world is too definitive and unique not to be used.

If any Minecraft players out there can advise us of how to abstract this construction of Shelcoof from Minecraft, we can host it as a downloadable file on The Will of the Ancients. Contact @networkshadow on Twitter if you can help.

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Crimson Dragon Free During August With Xbox Live Gold

Published by Solo Wing .

Major Nelson reports that Crimson Dragon will be free to play during August if you have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Starting on August the 1st, players who have an active Xbox Live Gold subscription will be able to download the game at no additional cost. It appears that this will be the case for the entire month.

GameSpot points out a significant limitation though:

On Xbox 360, once you download a free game, it is yours to keep even if your Xbox Live Gold subscription lapses. But on Xbox One, you’ll need to keep your Xbox Live Gold subscription active to hang on to the free games.

Still, Xbox One owners who have a Live subscription but do not own Crimson Dragon should take advantage of this offer to play Crimson Dragon.

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Six Achievements Added to Crimson Dragon

Published by Solo Wing .

PlayXBLA reports that six new achievements have been added to Crimson Dragon, worth a total of 350 G. The achievements are as follows:

Seeker Legend
Achieve player level 50
Breaking the Bank
Collect over 2,000,000 in credits in your account
Crimsonscale Erradicator
Kill 10000 enemy creatures
Open Season
Defeat bosses 10 times with an “S” rank.
The Finer Things
Loot 50 rare Items
Enhanced Abilities
Use 100 ampoules