North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Square Product Development Division 2|
Unlimited Sagais a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation 2 as the ninth game in their SaGa series. It was released in December 2002 in Japan and June 2003 in North America by Square (Released under the Square Enix brand in North America). In Europe, it was released on October 2003 by Atari. The game was designed by series veteran Akitoshi Kawazu who is given a byline on the cover of the game's packaging, with music composed by Masashi Hamauzu who had previously provided the soundtrack for the game's predecessor, SaGa Frontier 2 . A special limited collector's edition was made available exclusively in Japan and was released alongside the regular edition.
A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.
Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".
The PlayStation 2 (PS2) is a home video game console that was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the original PlayStation console and is the second iteration in the PlayStation lineup of consoles. It was released in 2000 and competed with Sega's Dreamcast, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox in the sixth generation of video game consoles.
Set in a fantasy world, the game follows the exploits of seven adventurers as they travel the world in search of the Seven Wonders, mysterious artifacts left behind by an ancient civilization that are said to bring about a new golden age of peace and prosperity when found. Taking a departure from previous games in the series, Unlimited Saga is structured more like a board game than a traditional role-playing endeavor, with heavily randomized features such as the roulette-like "Reel System" and hidden traps to hinder a player's progress.
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.
A board game is a tabletop game that involves counters or moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Some games are based on pure strategy, but many contain an element of chance; and some are purely chance, with no element of skill.
Unlimited Saga was a commercial success, having sold over half a million units worldwide to date. While the game was mostly well received in Japan, it was largely panned by critics in North America and Europe for its unorthodox gameplay and high difficulty.
Players must navigate their characters through a number of environments while completing story-based objectives in order to advance the plot. Players can assume the role of one of seven characters, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and back stories, and become involved in the narrative by interacting with non-player characters and exploring dangerous areas.During the game, players will explore towns which can be used to gather information and purchase goods to aid them on their journey before setting off for the wilds. Unlike previous SaGa series games, rather than freely roaming through dungeons, forests, and other environments, the game is structured like a board game, referred to as the "Map Movement System", where players must move space by space to reach the end. On some spaces, the player may encounter objects such traps or locked doors that can be overcome by using the "Reel System", a device resembling a roulette wheel that may result in a good or bad outcome. While navigating the game board, the player will also encounter enemy monsters that must be defeated in order to advance.
Roulette is a casino game named after the French word meaning little wheel. In the game, players may choose to place bets on either a single number, various groupings of numbers, the colors red or black, whether the number is odd or even, or if the numbers are high (19–36) or low (1–18).
Combat in Unlimited Saga takes place using a turn-based system where the player must input commands for each character individually, which are then carried out in order in accordance with their "speed" statistic. Parties can consist of up to five characters who are recruited either automatically as part of the story, or once a player has completed certain objectives. After selecting a specific attack to use each round, the player must then utilize the Reel System to randomly decide whether the action will take place. Depending on what icon the Reel lands on, an attack may land as intended, deal increased damage, or fail completely. While characters will initially have only a normal attack, they will randomly learn new combat skills based on their equipped weapon by continually attacking enemies, thus adding them to the Reel for a chance to use them in future battles. Any character may equip up to two different kinds of weapons, which have their own set of skills to learn. Players have the option to use multiple Reels instead of just one for a combo attack each round, allowing more than one character to attack an enemy at the same time. By winning battles, characters gain increased statistics that allow them to battle progressively more difficult enemies.
A turn-based strategy (TBS) game is a strategy game where players take turns when playing. This is distinguished from real-time strategy (RTS), in which all players play simultaneously.
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A god has awoken with the power of the "Seven Wonders of Lore", and has proclaimed a new golden age, and seven heroes set out to find out what this will mean.
Unlimited SaGa was developed by Square, which handled development for multiple role-playing series including SaGa and Final Fantasy .directed and produced by Akitoshi Kawazu, the creator of the SaGa series. The character designs and art direction were done by Yusuke Naora, who was the art director of Final Fantasy X . For the graphics, Square partnered with Adobe Systems to create "Sketch Motion" during battles. Using programs such as Photoshop and After Effects, hand-drawn 2D designs were combined with 3D models to create a unique hybrid look. As with other games in the series, director Akitoshi Kawazu chose a non-traditional way of designing the game. He stated, "As far as Unlimited Saga is concerned, we said let's tackle the basics of game design once again. We didn't try to emphasize the realistic details, but rather symbolize, and cut out the parts we didn't need. We thought, let's dare to do a 'not express' thing and we calmly [stuck] to that route."
When designing Unlimited Saga, Kawazu wanted to go back to the mechanical roots of the early portable titles, deciding to create a game that focused almost entirely on its battle system. The "Reel" system was based on rolling a dice in a tabletop role-playing game.The board game-like gameplay and progression was intended by Kawazu as an evolution of his work on Wild Card, a role-playing game for the WonderSwan. The decision made Unlimited Saga stand out from the rest of the SaGa franchise, which were traditional role-playing games. The basic narrative structure of seven major threats facing the world was created by Kawazu based on concepts from his early game development career. The supporting character Iskandar was to have been an eighth main character, confronting all the threats and joining the narrative together, but Kawazu scrapped the character and incorporated existing concepts into Ruby's narrative. Kawazu thought up Ventus's narrative after seeing the narrative and gameplay concepts for The Bouncer . Unlimited Saga was originally connected to the setting of the anime series Final Fantasy: Unlimited , but these plans were shelved during production. Kawazu later stating that many of the similarities were coincidental due to his work on both projects.
The music was composed by Masashi Hamauzu, while synthesizer programming was done by Ryo Yamazaki. The two previously collaborated on the soundtrack for SaGa Frontier 2 after the departure of previous series composer Kenji Ito. Because the game uses streaming audio, it was possible for the sound team to use real acoustic instrument sounds in place of a synthesizer.Three pieces, including "March in C", were written for full orchestra. Live recording of ensembles of tracks such as "Feel Uneasy About the Wonders" and "Battle Theme IV" pitted solo instruments against one another to create what Hamauzu considered a Latin sound. The ending vocal piece "Soaring Wings" was written specifically for singer Mio Kashiwabara. Unlimited Saga features five-channel surround sound support from Dolby's Pro Logic II. The game's soundtrack consists of 58 songs spanning two discs. It was released on January 22, 2003.
The game was going to be part of a world tour by Sony Computer Entertainment to promote the next generation of role-playing games, but the tensions between America and Iraq at the time and the consequent risks of a terrorist attack caused them to cancel the trip.The game released in Japan on December 19, 2002 by Square. Unlimited Saga: Limited Edition was released in Japan on the same day as the regular version of the game. It included a promotional Unlimited SaGa Maxi Single CD, a three-song CD. A number of books were published by DigiCube, including Unlimited Saga: The First Guide Book for Beginners, a strategy guide; Unlimited Saga Material Collection: Lead to the Destiny, an artbook; and Unlimited Saga: Visual Arts Collection, a book containing CG images. Studio Bent Stuff also published a companion book. A set of postcards and posters was released by Square via its DigiCube distribution service.
In North America, the game was published on June 17, 2003 by Square Enix;the company was formed following the 2003 merger of Square and Enix following the completion of Unlimited Saga. To promote Unlimited Saga in North America, Square Enix held the "Hall of Valor" contest beginning on the game's release date, June 17, 2003 and ending on July 27, 2003. It consisted of three challenges where players would have to send in answers to difficult questions related to the game. Prizes included products by electronics manufacturer Denon. The European version was released on October 31, 2003 by Atari Europe. Unlimited Saga Collector's Edition was released in Europe and included a bonus DVD titled Eternal Calm Final Fantasy X-2: Prologue .
Unlimited Saga entered the Japanese sales charts at number 3 behind Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire , selling 196,471 copies, and ended the year with over 270,000 copies sold in Japan.By the end of 2003, Unlimited Saga had sold over 438,000 copies in Japan alone. By the end of Square Enix's fiscal year in May 2003, the game had sold 560,000 copies worldwide. For selling over half a million copies, Sony Computer Entertainment awarded the game a Gold Award during the 9th Annual PlayStation Awards on June 29, 2003. Unlimited Saga was scored a 31 out of 40 by Famitsu magazine, earning the publication's Silver Award. Prior to its release, Unlimited Saga was recognized by the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association in its Game Awards Future category at the organization's annual event.
Unlimited Saga was not well-received outside Japan, receiving mostly low to average scores from critics. Electronic Gaming Monthly simply declared: "This game sucks. Unlimited Saga exemplifies everything that's wrong with RPGs today and throws it all together in one deluxe package for all to avoid like the plague."Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine largely agreed, stating that the game "ruined the SaGa franchise" with its "excruciating difficulty, obtuse mechanics, a stifling lack of freedom, and a brutal mission structure that punishes you as often as it rewards you." GameSpot called it "simply unpleasant to play", calling the gameplay "irksome" and remarking that "[t]he reel system is interesting in theory, but in practice it's just an annoyance". The website would additionally pan the game's "incredibly nonsensical" story and voice acting that ranges from "decent to really bad." IGN applauded the game's music and presentation, calling the game's audio "Unlimited Saga's most valuable asset", but found the rest of the game lacking, stating the "production values, character designs, and personable lead protagonists are a plus, but the clunky interface and lack of acceptable functionality hurt it - and hurt it bad." GamePro found the game generally lacking in quality, but declared its biggest hindrance to be its steep learning curve and non-linear story, finding that "[e]ven basic navigation is difficult in this game—it will take you an hour or two before you have any idea how to get anywhere." RPGamer called Unlimited Saga the "biggest letdown" of 2003 in their annual RPGamer Awards. The game maintains a 52% average score from aggregate review website GameRankings, and an average of 45 out of 100 from Metacritic. GamesRadar called it the 25th Worst Game Of All Time.
The Final Fantasy Legend, known in Japan as Makai Toushi Sa·Ga, is a video game released for the Game Boy in December 1989 by Square Co. It is the first game in the SaGa series and the first role-playing video game for the system. Square translated the game into English for worldwide release and renamed it, linking it with the Final Fantasy series to improve marketing. Sunsoft re-released it in North America during 1998; Square followed with a remake released for the WonderSwan Color and mobile phones in 2002 and 2007 respectively.
SaGa (サガ) is a series of science fiction open world role-playing video games formerly developed by Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series originated on the Game Boy in 1989 as the creation of Akitoshi Kawazu. It has since continued across multiple platforms, from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the PlayStation 2. The series is notable for its emphasis on open world exploration, non-linear branching plots, and occasionally unconventional gameplay. This distinguished the series from most of Square's titles. There are currently ten games in the SaGa series, along with several ports and enhanced remakes.
Masashi Hamauzu is a Japanese composer, arranger, pianist, and lyricist. Hamauzu, who was employed at Square Enix from 1996 to 2010, was best known during that time for his work on the Final Fantasy and SaGa video game series. Born into a musical family in Germany, Hamauzu was raised in Japan. He became interested in music while in kindergarten, and took piano lessons from his parents.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action role-playing game developed by The Game Designers Studio and published for the GameCube by Nintendo in 2003 in Japan; and 2004 in North America, Europe and Australia. A remastered version for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 will be released in 2019. A spin-off of the Final Fantasy series, Crystal Chronicles was the first title released for a Nintendo console since Final Fantasy VI in 1994.
Legend of Mana is a 1999 action role-playing game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation. It is the fourth game in the Mana series, following 1995's Seiken Densetsu 3. Set in a high fantasy universe, the game follows an unnamed hero as they restore the land of Fa'Diel by creating the world around them and completing a number of interrelated quests in order to restore the Tree of Mana.
SaGa Frontier 2 is a role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation. It is the eighth original game in their SaGa series. Initially released in Japan in April 1999, an English version was made available in North America in January 2000 by Square Electronic Arts and in PAL regions the following March by Square. Development for the title was headed by series creator Akitoshi Kawazu, with music by Masashi Hamauzu. The game features an art style unique to the series at the time it was released, utilizing hand-painted watercolor backdrops and characters to give the game a storybook feel. Like other SaGa games, gameplay is largely non-linear, giving the player multiple paths to follow in order to complete the game.
SaGa Frontier is a role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation and released in Japan on July 11, 1997. The game was later published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEA) in North America on March 25, 1998. It is the seventh game in the SaGa series, the first to be released on the PlayStation, and the first to be released under the SaGa brand outside Japan.
Romancing SaGa is a role-playing video game originally developed and published by Square as the fourth game of their SaGa series. The game was designed by Akitoshi Kawazu who had served as head developer for the previous SaGa titles, with fellow series veteran Kenji Ito providing the game's soundtrack. Set in the fictional world of Mardias, Romancing SaGa allows players to assume the role of one of eight main characters who must journey across the world to prevent the resurrection of an evil god named Saruin who was sealed away a millennium previous.
Final Fantasy Legend II, originally released in Japan as Sa・Ga2: Hihō Densetsu, is a role-playing video game developed by Square Co. for the Game Boy handheld console as the second game of their SaGa series. Initially released in December 1990 for Japanese audiences, the game was translated and released in North America in November 1991 by Square America Co, and again in 1998 by Sunsoft. Like its predecessor, the English version was re-branded as a Final Fantasy title due to the series' popularity in the Western territories. The game's development was headed by lead designer Akitoshi Kawazu, who had worked on the previous title, with a music staff consisting of Kenji Ito and Nobuo Uematsu. In 2009, an enhanced remake of the game was announced for the Nintendo DS titled SaGa 2 Hihō Densetsu: Goddess of Destiny, featuring three-dimensional graphics, new story elements, and an arranged soundtrack.
Final Fantasy Legend III is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square Co. for the Game Boy handheld system as the third game of their SaGa series. Initially released for Japanese audiences in December 1991, the game was made available in North America nearly two years later in August 1993. While the title retains many similarities to its predecessors in terms of style and gameplay, the game's development was headed by series newcomer Chihiro Fujioka, who also served as composer alongside Ryuji Sasai. The North American version of the game saw a re-release alongside the two other Final Fantasy Legend titles in July 1998 courtesy of Sunsoft. In 2010, an enhanced remake of the game was announced for the Nintendo DS titled SaGa 3 Jikū no Hasha: Shadow or Light, featuring three-dimensional graphics, new story elements, and an arranged soundtrack.
Akitoshi Kawazu is a Japanese game producer and game designer. He is best known for his work on Final Fantasy and SaGa franchise of role-playing video games. He was the majority shareholder for The Game Designers Studio, a shell corporation founded in June 1999 by Square and re-purposed in 2002 to exploit a loophole with the company's exclusivity deal to develop for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation consoles.
Romancing SaGa 2 is a role-playing video game developed by Square and released for the Super Famicom in Japan on December 10, 1993. It is the fifth title in the SaGa series.
SaGa is a series of science fiction role-playing video games produced by Square, now Square Enix. The series originated on the Game Boy in 1989 as the creation of Akitoshi Kawazu. It has since continued across multiple platforms, from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the PlayStation 2, and like the Final Fantasy series, the story in each SaGa game is independent of its counterparts. The music of the SaGa series consists of musical scores and arranged albums from various composers. Some of these composers have created soundtracks and pieces for other Square Enix franchises including the Final Fantasy series and Mana series. The SaGa series is divided up between the original series, released as the Final Fantasy Legend series in North America, the Romancing SaGa series, the SaGa Frontier series, and Unlimited SaGa.
Emperors SaGa is a downloadable social game in the SaGa series from Square Enix. The game was released on the GREE platform on September 18, 2012. In Emperors SaGa, players take the role of the emperor of a nation, and guide the country as its ruler.
Imperial SaGa is a role-playing browser game developed by Think & Feel for web browsers. The eleventh installment in the SaGa series, the game was published by Square Enix in 2015. Designed as part of the series' 25th anniversary celebrations, it was developed with the supervision of series creator Akitoshi Kawazu.
Valkyrie Profile is a Norse mythology-based role-playing game series developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix, created by Yoshiharu Gotanda.
Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.
SaGa: Scarlet Grace is a role-playing video game co-developed by Square Enix and Studio Reel. The twelfth entry in the SaGa series and celebrating the series' 25th anniversary, the game was published by Square Enix in 2016 for the PlayStation Vita. An expanded port subtitled Hiiro no Yabou is scheduled for release in 2018 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS. A Western localization is in production.