SaGa Emerald Beyond

SaGa Emerald Beyond Interview

Square Enix recently invited Console Creatures to speak with some of the development staff of SaGa Emerald Beyon and ask them questions about their history with the series. We only got a bit of time with them, and we’re thankful to have gotten to pick their brains a bit.

Our review of SaGa Emerald Beyond was positive as Dennis found the newest entry in the SaGa series to be good, but it had some issues that were a sore spot on the series. Being unable to backtrack to revisit places was a bit of a mess, making things more frustrating than necessary. The story was also a bit of a mess, but the characters were charming enough to endure and push through the campaign.

Console Creatures: You’ve had an impressive career spanning decades, working on many series across console generations. What makes the SaGa series so perseverant and what about the series continually pushing you to make bold and ambitious changes to the SaGa series?

Akitoshi Kawazu: A new worldview, the cast of characters, and a new system in which we express those elements –SaGa has always pushed the envelope on those elements, but what makes all that possible is the existence of the fans, who desire new things in the same way we pursue them.

There are plenty of fun and interesting games in the world, so I constantly think about creating games that do not already exist in this world.

Console Creatures: The SaGa series has been around for nearly 30 years, and it continues to grow later in its lifespan. What tenants can the series pull forward as it grows while maintaining its emphasis on nonlinearity? Which game would you suggest newcomers play, and which is your favourite game in the series?

Akitoshi Kawazu: With the SaGa franchise, the player will always face a new world. Whether we lean into the protagonist’s perspective or present the protagonist with a completely different perspective to act on – I would like for the games to consistently maintain a level of freedom for the player to make their own decision.

I believe FINAL FANTASY LEGEND II, while it is an old game, has a high degree of perfection, and can be quickly picked up and played. Also, Romancing Saga (Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, as it was known in Japan) received a remaster treatment which made it more accessible, so I recommend that as well.

My favourite, of course, is the newest title: SaGa Emerald Beyond.

In our review of SaGa Emerald Beyond, Dennis said, “it is a challenging throwback that hardcore veteran players will feel at home with. Casual fans should probably stay clear of it; with a lack of difficulty settings, gameplay can be a wildcard to recommend as an introductory title with an unpredictable range of easy to brutal fights players will surely deal with. What SaGa Emerald Beyond excels well at is its fantastic soundtrack and its approach to gameplay.

The game’s battle system feels unique to the series, and it was truly a fun time to figure out as I delved deeper into which more strategic players would get a lot more out of it. However, its visual novel presentation makes the narrative and characters’ voices feel less impactful to the overarching adventure.”