Panzer Dragoon Saga
Panzer Dragoon Saga is a 1998 role-playing video game (RPG) published by Sega and developed by Team Andromeda for the Sega Saturn. It departs from the linear rail shooter gameplay of the Panzer Dragoon series by introducing traditional RPG elements such as random encounters, semi-turn-based battles, and free-roaming exploration. The player controls Edge, a young mercenary who rides a powerful dragon and encounters a mysterious girl from a vanished civilization.
Development began in early 1995 alongside Panzer Dragoon II Zwei (1996). Sega felt an RPG was critical to succeed against the PlayStation, and wanted to compete with Final Fantasy VII. The game underwent an arduous development process. Much of the challenge came from incorporating the series' shooting elements into an RPG with full 3D computer graphics and voice acting; both were unusual features in RPGs at the time, and pushed the Saturn to its technical limits. Two staff members died during development, which director Yukio Futatsugi attributed to the stressful working conditions of the video game industry.
Panzer Dragoon Saga is the most critically acclaimed Saturn game, and is often listed as one of the greatest games of all time; it earned particular praise for its story, graphics and combat. However, the game suffered from a limited release in the west as Sega had shifted focus to its Dreamcast console, and worldwide sales were poor. It has not been rereleased and English copies sell for high prices. After its release, Sega disbanded Team Andromeda; several staff members joined Sega's Smilebit studio and developed the final game in the series, Panzer Dragoon Orta (2002), for Xbox.