The Legend of Dragoon is on its way to PlayStation Plus, marking the first time the JRPG has been available digitally in Europe.
First released in Japan in 1999 for the PlayStation 1, The Legend of Dragoon was later released in North America (2000) and Europe (2001), followed by a release as a PlayStation Classic on the PlayStation Network for PS3 and PSP in Japan and America – but not Europe.
As a result, the game has taken on cult classic status and is hard to come by, with original physical copies of the game available on eBay for upwards of £150 – £200.
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I for one am very excited about this news from Sony. The Legend of Dragoon is one of those, well, legendary PS1 games that I’ve never been able to play but have heard much about. Now, finally, I will get to experience it.
So why should you care? For starters, The Legend of Dragoon was developed by Japan Studio, headed up by Sony veteran Shuhei Yoshida. In fact, this was one of the last – and biggest – games he produced at the studio.
Other Japan Studio games include Ape Escape, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, LocoRoco, Patapon, Gravity Rush, The Last Guardian, and Knack, so you know this JRPG is in good company.
The game was developed somewhat in the wake of Final Fantasy 7’s success, with Sony spending $16m on its production – a huge amount of money for the time. Its use of realistic CGI cutscenes (something the Final Fantasy series would go on to perfect) was praised, as was its “addition” battle system in which players are required to take a more active role in combat through button prompts.
Most reviews at the time compared the game unfavourably to Square Enix’s behemoth franchise, but the game was still a success – particularly in North America.
It’s now considered a singular cult classic of a kind not seen since. Yoshida stated a sequel was in pre-production after he left Japan Studio, though this was cancelled for unknown reasons. A fan petition requesting a remake has received almost 30,000 signatures.
Now, JRPG fans can finally experience the game on current consoles to see what the fuss is about and judge the game on its own merits away from the fierce competition of Final Fantasy. I can’t wait to jump in.
The Legend of Dragoon will arrive on PlayStation Plus for Premium subscribers on 21st February, enhanced with up-rendering, rewind, quick save, and custom video filters.