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In an age where publishers are trying to bring back every gaming classic as a remaster or a remake, at least one game is still notable for its absence. Panzer Dragoon Saga, the beloved Sega Saturn role-playing adventure, is still only playable on that old console. But some fans and indie devs are looking to change that with a new Patreon project called Azel R.
This project is the result of a collaboration between the Panzer Dragoon World fan community and developer and artist Black Fenrir. The idea is to start experimenting and prototyping a new Panzer Dragoon Saga-style game that maintains the spirit of the original while also offering up modern visuals and mechanics. But the Patreon is not an explicit promise that Azel R will result in a new Panzer Dragoon game.
Here’s how the Patreon puts it:
What this project is not [is a] promise of a full game — while we are willing to pursue our vision to deliver a demo/build, there is no guarantee that it will be materialized into a finalized game.
The obvious problem is that Sega owns the intellectual property for Panzer Dragoon Saga. That’s a challenge that the Azel R team is interested in overcoming, but it recognizes that might not happen. But the hope is to pull off something similar to Streets of Rage 4, which Sega licensed to a third-party developer.
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I’ve reached out to Sega for comment. I’ll update this post with any new information from the publisher.
Azel R is the result of the long-burning passion of Panzer Dragoon Saga fans
Panzer Dragoon World founder Olivier Haffemayer is helping to oversee the project. And he filled in the history of how all of this got started.
“In March 2020, some unofficial concept art started surfacing that hinted at a potential Panzer Dragoon Saga remake,” Haffemayer said to GamesBeat. “I was personally excited at this prospect — especially as the work was high quality. So I covered the subject in the community, we discussed it on the YouTube channel, and the fans broke a code in an imaginary language. This was engaging for the community which reacted very positively to the art as well.”
Later in 2020, Black Fenrir reached to Haffemayer about getting the community involved in a development project.
“He explained to me a bit more of their vision: how they try to remain faithful and also innovate by offering fresh ideas and new content,” said Haffemayer. “I listened, saw different animations on Unreal 4, and I got convinced that this was a really fantastic direction the Panzer Dragoon series could go.”
The idea now is to bring those fans into the process. Azel R is moving forward and will eventually make a leap to Unreal Engine 5. But during this time, the people working on the game want feedback. They also want help building up excitement and getting the attention of Sega.
“I believe that all Panzer Dragoon fans should be excited at this prospect,” said Haffemayer. “This project is ambitious unlike anything I have seen since the original games. And at the same time, the Patreon campaign ensures we remain realistic. It could lead to a crowdfunding campaign down the line, we don’t know yet. But we certainly don’t want to start like that. We want to earn the support from the fans, the existing ones and those who will be seduced by this modern take on Azel.”
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