The Legend of Dragoon was one of the last projects I worked on as a producer in Japan Studio and by far the biggest team I managed hands-on. We started the project in 1996 with only a handful of people, hired one by one as we were building up teams for Ape Escape, The Legend of Dragoon, and Ico simultaneously. During the peak of the game’s development, we had well over 100 people working internally in the studio on The Legend of Dragoon — for a PSone game! We had roughly 10 artists dedicated just to drawing concept art for this gigantic RPG. As the game contained lots of pre-rendered maps and full-motion videos, we were forced to spread the content over four CDs, which was the maximum number of discs that the fattest PSone game case could hold.
It took nearly three years to build the team and develop the game, which was released in December 1999 in Japan and June 2000 in the US. As I moved from Japan to the US in March 2000, I was able to personally handle the game’s release in both Japan and the US. Following the game’s launch in Japan, we learned from players that certain parts of the game were too difficult. The team re-balanced the gameplay for the release outside of Japan, so the US version was the complete version of the game that we were all proud of.
I still occasionally hear from fans of The Legend of Dragoon, and many want to know if there is a sequel. LOD2 was put into preproduction after I left the Japan Studio, but was eventually cancelled for some unknown reason, and the team members moved on to different projects. Some people still work in the Japan Studio, so we talk about the memories of developing LOD when we see each other at company functions.
It’s great to see the game being prepared for release as a PSone Classic on PSN, which means that fans can revisit the world whenever they want. Maybe it’ll make a new fans, too. Long live LOD!