Classic RPG Love: Dragon Fantasy Book II Comes to PS3, PS Vita Next Year

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Classic RPG Love: Dragon Fantasy Book II Comes to PS3, PS Vita Next Year

Building the first Dragon Fantasy was an amazing experience. And after pouring your heart and soul into a project like that, you can only think “Where do I go from here?”. After we’d really pushed the limits of 8-bit gameplay and graphics with the first game, we knew it was time to bump the game a “generation”. This meant being a lot more ambitious with what we wanted to do, and bigger ambitions require bigger support. So with the support of SCEA’s Pub Fund, we’re thrilled to announce Dragon Fantasy Book II is headed for PS3 and PS Vita next year on PSN!

Originally, we had planned to follow the original three chapters of 8-bit style with another three chapters in a more 16-bit style. We planned to do a slow and steady progression, chapter by chapter adding more and more features. But as soon as we started work on the new chapters we quickly found ourselves aiming squarely at the end of that generation immediately. We didn’t want to start out simple again as we had already done that. We wanted to make the best RPG possible. So, we decided instead that we’d combine the three stories into one massive sequel, and add a few scenes here and there to glue things together. It made the story flow more naturally, sure, but more importantly to the player, it let us load this sucker up with hot 16-bit-era eye candy from the get-go!

Dragon Fantasy Book II for PS3 and PS Vita

The first “next-gen” (for the early 90s) feature we threw in was a throwback to what was then known as “Mode7”. For the blast-processing set out there, Mode 7 was a special video mode that let the very 2D hardware make (for the time) eye-popping “3D” effects. We’ve always had an affinity for that look, so it had to be part of Book II. We’re using it for all the traveling scenes in the game,and we’ll be using it for some pretty intense battle scenes later in the game.
After thoroughly stepping up the visuals, it was time to give the audio some love. The 16-bit era of video games are known for some truly amazing music, and we wanted to express that in our sequel as well. And so, our audio director, Morgan Tucker (a.k.a. Crashfaster, and the head of 8-bit SF and Monobomb Records got some very his samples assembled and leaped at the task.

In the original DF game, we used a very static, very traditional battle system that took was very reminiscent of the best 8-bit era RPG battle systems. I thought it turned out very nicely, and it certainly did the trick for the theme we were going for. We even showed an early version of Book II at PAX East. But with all the other new features in the game, the old school battle system just felt out of place. So we built an all-new system from the ground up. Battles now take place in the same world that the player walks around in, and monsters can be seen lurking around every corner. When battles begin, it’s just a matter of a status screen and a menu bar sliding onto screen. The game retains the quirky text descriptions that the first game was known for, but now they’re accompanied by fully animated attacks and highly effect-driven magic spells.

Finally, we added multiplayer support. Up to four players can play together, each acting as one of the four party members in the first player’s party. Each player is free to explore the surrounding areas on their own, and can even engage in separate battles on their own as well. And of course, if they choose to help each other out, any player can just walk right up to another battle in progress and join in on the next round! This works not only in the regular game mode, but we’re planning a coliseum mode where players can form a mixed party of their own party members and those of their friends to fight battles for glorious prizes and honor.

Dragon Fantasy Book II for PS3 and PS Vita

Oh, yeah, we should probably mention the story, eh? I mean, that’s generally the big thing when discussing RPGs, right? As the story begins, the Imperial Armada is closing in on our heroes. It’s not quite clear to them yet why the empire is pursuing them, but they’ll learn soon enough. As they head further and further into the southlands, our heroes will be split up into three teams (representing the original three chapters we’d planned to do episodically), with each discovering important secrets about the war between the Kingdom of Tundaria and the Empire of Sandheim. We’ll see what’s happened in Westeria in our heroes absence! And finally, we’ll learn a little bit about where the Dark Lord came from, how the Woodsman got to be so knowledgeable about things, and just what that purple talisman is all about.

Dragon Fantasy 2 is such a huge, huge departure from the first game stylistically that it’s easy to think that the two games aren’t actually related. But if you spend a little time with both, a lot of the throwaway gags in the first game will turn out to be very serious omens of the things to come in the second. A lot of that is because when Bryan and I first started on this series, we had intended all of this to be one, gigantic game. But we started on the game when we were both 14 years old. And it turns out that making a huge, huge RPG to rival the best contemporary RPGs of the time was a wee bit much for a couple teenagers! After 17 years, we’ve learned to tackle things one step at a time, and Dragon Fantasy Book II is our latest and greatest step towards the completion of our epic story!

Got questions about Dragon Fantasy 2 (or Dragon Fantasy 1?) Want to know what the ultimate fate of Jerald is? Wondering how the biological functions of the Rock Monsters work? Curious where to order Rock Monster plushies? Let us know in the comments!

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16 Author Replies

  • When is this coming out?

  • Looks interesting :] Will definitely try it for my Vita~

  • Will it be a cross-buy title?

  • Very nice! I’ll keep my eye out for it.

  • Is this going to be a PSN Exclusive? and are we going to get Book I?

  • Is there any chance we can get the first game on PS3/Vita? I like to have all games of a series on one platform if I can help it.

    • We don’t have specific details yet, but we’re working on getting the first game out for all of the PS3/PS Vita lovers out there!

  • Your post saddens me that I sold my SNES.

    Any plans to be at PAX Prime?

    Can you disclose a time frame of release? fall 2012?

    • We’ll be there, Booth 870, in the Indie Megabooth. Come check us out if you’ll be there! We’ll have the game playable on both PS3 and PS Vita.

  • Guys, read the post, the game releases NEXT YEAR. As in 2013.

    But a sequel to a great iOS game on Vita with proper controls and trophies?! YES PLEASE!

  • I love this!! A throwback to the classic RPG days!!

    @5 I agree completely. Books I and II need to come out together!!

  • YES! This is the type of games we need more of!

  • I think Dragon Fantasy Book 1 would be an excellent Mini.

    *hint hint, nudge nudge*

    …I honestly won’t play this game without playing the first one, and I don’t like playing games on my phone – that’s why I bought a Vita.

  • Looks like fun.

    Love RPGs, and the classic look is a nice touch. Hopefully we’ll get more story and less flash this way (some recent RPGs are a little heavy on the mechanics/appearance and light on story/fun).

    Cool stuff, keep it coming!

  • RPG + online play = all i needed to hear…. day one purchase!!

    but ummm what if you havent played Book 1.. you know.. like the majority of us PS3/vita players havent… if book 1 isnt included or something then yeah Id lose interest as I dont like playing things out of order.

  • Bastion is coming to iPad WHERE I S MY VITA VERSION pay them millions for it Sony sheesh come on I wanna play it

  • Man, does he really need to be a bald pirate marine? These are sprites! You can do long flowing hair for free!

    • He’s not a bald pirate marine…
      He’s what happens to the typical JRPG hero after all of the evils have been defeated and peace returns to the land. He took his job as the queen’s personal guard, and got old, fat, and bald!

  • Just looked up the first game and it’s on PC/mobile.

    I don’t use those devices to game (no phone or “I” device of any kind either).

    Will the first game every be on consoles?

    I’ll still be interested in this game either way but I wouldn’t mind playing the first too.

  • Hum, interesting! Now we can make RPG games on RPG maker and porte them over
    ths PS3/Vita.

    Kidding aside, looks quite nice, eager to try out.

  • Where is the preOrder page?
    Looks! And sounds veryyyy good! A most have!
    Come on u guys need a preOrder page rush.!! And as rush speaking
    Well SONY for love to nature! I need some music on my ps Vitaaa!
    Unlimited music is just too expensive! PANDORA APP! Please!
    Great title and tricks us right VITA owners and believe me! U will have back up! My wolrd!

  • When can we expect high quality JRPG/WRPG’s for Vita? …. dare I ask…. Mass Effect Trilogy for Vita lol.

  • I can’t wait for this, looks fun. :D I love my old school RPG games.

  • I’m Adam Rippon, one of the creators of the Dragon Fantasy series! To answer some of your questions…

    @TwinDad – yes, we’ll be at PAX Prime in the Indie Megabooth – booth #870!

    @tacotaskforce – Ogden, the bald hero, is actually based on my dad who passed away in 2010, so he’s bald like him. But all the other characters have full heads of hair. Ogden’s story is that a dragon burned off his hair when he was 16 (he’s now 46).

    And as for all the questions about will the first game be on PSN – we’re definitely interested in doing that! We’ll keep you posted on the blog!

  • omg this looks fab. Will buy!

  • Looks interesting. They real test will be the pricing. This would make a great budget title but i get worried by how overpriced games on psn have become recently.

  • Looks good for a $2 game.

  • Will def keep my eye on this, love those retro RPG games!!

  • I’d be more excited for titles like this IF the Vita was also getting some more current releases…

  • I will be getting this game on day 1 and I will also get the first game if it is announced for PS Vita and PS3 as well.

    • Thanks! It’s certainly our plan to get the original game out there for people to enjoy before this drops early next year!

  • This looks pretty sweet, good music too. I laughed when I saw the attacking descriptions, it totally reminded me of Castle Of The Winds.

  • You have my money!

  • Please stop with the retro block look already (ie. minecraft, ect.) its almost 2013 not 1985! Some of us long time gamers who have been gaming since 1985 also like to move on into new and better graphics. Just like every who complains on these forums about not being able to play ALL PS1 games on their Vitas. Give us new and improved games. You want to play your classic games, play them on your classic systems! If you dont own a classic system go buy one their cheap enough.

  • Hey Sony and Square, what about Final Fantasy X and XII remastered? It would be nice! With trophies, of course.

  • @31 i don’t mind retro gaming as long as its priced accordingly.

  • @31, MI Titan, I don’t like to write critical comments in blogs presented by the indie developers since I don’t want to hurt their feelings over something they’ve poured their heart & soul & sweat into. It’s kinda dooshie. I would rather just wait until one of the Sony bloggers post it since they’re used to all the internet bullies.

    However, I have to agree with your sentiment. I don’t like the prevalence of retro. I’m a new gamer so I don’t have the nostalgia for old timey games, I can’t overlook the deliberately bad graphics and text-based only dialogs that remind me of good times when I was 8.

    But, the majority here, judging by the zillions complaining about PS1 on Vita, do wear the nostalgia rose-colored glasses so games like these are for them. I say when it comes to gaming, as in other simple pleasures, variety is better.

    • Well said…not that we’re going to get our feelings hurt here. This is very much a throw-back to the games we played in our formative years and so we naturally have a love for them.

      It’s very fair to say there are a lot of gamers out there who DIDN’T grow up with this style game, and so if the retro style doesn’t appeal to them as much, that’s perfectly fine too. But don’t let that not be a reason to play a game – they’re so much more than the initial presentation.

  • Just curious why are people posting comments aimed towards Sony, SE and the Vita game publishers on this thread?

    You do realize this thread is from a small game company talking about their work, this isn’t the Sony official games update complaint forum (ie Plus/PSN blog posts).

    I like having retro games because it often means more humour/story/fun then the all about look/new mechanics games.

    There are plenty of new games, RPGs included out in the last year or so.

    Great to have games like this too.

  • Looks very good the music is awsome and the graphics are well worth a look some awsome voice overs to got to get to see even what the have to offer in this.

  • Looks good! Can we get a platinum trophy?

  • Can you add an optional visual filter to enhance the graphics please :D

    • We’ve got you covered on that – both the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game have optional filters to up rez the graphics to full resolution on both systems!

  • As an old-school gamer, I prefer to play the classics like Secret of Mana or FFVI rather than faux retro-RPGs like Zenoia, but this one interests me. As a four player game that’s a mix of ChronoTrigger battles and Final Fantasy VI Mode 7 transportation, it sounds like great fun, espeically since each player can explore seperately. Imagine a four-player speed-run, in which each player tackles a different dungeon at the same time (assuming that’s possible). My question is, will there be cross-play multiplayer functionality between the PS3 and Vita versions? Because that would be awesome.

  • Can’t say how much I love this concept. The golden era of RPGs was written in 16bit goodness! Thank you for this. I also would like to vouch for the first game to be released on the Vita (and PS3 as well). Will buy them all, day 1!

  • This is perfect for vita, I will definitely keep my eye on this, would love to see some game play, please have a platinum trophy!

  • Im all for the concept, all im saying is up the textures and remove text, ex. bastion graphics i could deal with, or dungeon defenders, or even torchlight, still use your premise of a game, just update the look and keep original gameplay, make more games look new but have a retro feel.

    • As was mentioned above, the first time you launch the game you’re given the option between “styles” – the pixelated 16-bit style as shown above, or a hi-res mode where the artwork is all smoothed out and clean.

  • I respect that people can’t get into the 16 bit or 8 bit look. There is plenty of room for the 8/16-bit style games and the current generation. I would go to further say based on the sales from the PSN that has Final Fantasy 7 near the top every month that people want great game play, great story and an experience not just great graphics.

    I also like new and improved, part of the issue is it’s been sequel central for the last few years. Hardly innovation. And while there is a great argument that 16-bit is hardy innovation what i see here is somebody reaching out and breaking the mold and trying something different. Even if I did not care for the graphics I have to applaud the developer for their artistry and passion to bring a great experience.

  • This looks like a promising experience , but I don’t game on mobile devices. So if we don’t get number 1(Love the name) will we be left in the dark storywise? Most important , how many hours of gameplay can we expect?

  • Thats interesting. love the retro feeling while watching the video.
    Might get this when this comes out. :D

  • Funny how utter and obvious laziness of the graphics programming team gets passed these days as “TRIBUTE” LMAO this is beyond sad! To give money for this kind of effort. I don’t care how good the gameplay is. Kids who don’t program do not understand the enormous effort and work gap between making a game like this and making something acceptable for the eyes. that games were like this back then not cause they thought it looked cool, but they couldn’t do better. And now… it’s sold as a love story.

    Well I accept the tribute that 3d dot game heroes did cause at least there was shading and lighting, or bionic commando rearmed series or scot pilgrim but this…? i don’t care how good the gameplay is, i also do no care how many ppl tell me graphcis are not everything. They are NOT! They aren’t NOTHING either though! This goes beyond the mere subject of game quality or visuals importance in game or lack of it thereof, it goes into the territory if ethical business practices.

    How can you ask money for a game that the entire code is most likely simpler than a retail game’s menu code alone?

  • @44 Mayb ifu playd mor off theis game u coold spell wurds wright and make reel sentenses insteed off pretendin lik u kno howw.

    Graphic kids these days, please play your new generation games with subtitles.

  • lol.

    They haven’t even announced a price and you’re already giving them heck about money for the game?

    So that would be a ‘troll’ i assume? still getting use to those people.

    If you are a real person/real post, and are getting so severely butt-hurt over this game, then don’t buy it. There are plenty of us who want this kind of game as an option.

  • *@45

  • @Starfox

    Did you really just troll with the term “Ethical Business practices”?

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