Shining Force
Earlier installments:
· Shining Force
· Shining Force 2
· Shining Force CD
· Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict
· Shining Force 3 Scenario 1
· Shining Force 3 Scenario 2
· Shining Force 3 Scenario 3
· Shining Force Feather
Last seen in: 2009 (Only in Japan)
Publisher: Sega

Shining Force

Shining Force

Long ago, Sega consoles boasted of what Genesis had that Nintendon't. Little boasting of that sort could be made with regard to RPGs, but when it came to the tactical type, Sega legitimately had what Nintendidn't (though not in Japan). Shining Force and Shining Force II certainly weren't the deepest of tactical games, but they were accessible, fast, and fun to play. Shining Force CD, while not the only game of worth on the ill-fated Sega CD, certainly offered a reason to own that device. Other than Shining Force, the options for console tactical games that actually crossed the Pacific were almost nonexistent in the 16-bit era, but even if real competition in the genre had existed, the series would have garnered a lot of fans.

Then came the three Scenarios of Shining Force III, the series' finest hour — and also its time of trial. Camelot crafted a genuinely interesting story from three viewpoints, told over three discs, in a combined adventure that dwarfed the size of the previous games. Sega of America responded by localizing only the first of the discs, while Sega of Japan cut the Saturn's life short just as developers were finally learning how to coax the best possible results from the machine. Sega of America's moronic decision left English-speakers forced to import the remaining two-thirds of Shining Force III in order to experience the whole, and Sega of Japan's decision alienated Camelot. Prior to the Saturn's termination Camelot had almost exclusively produced its products for Sega, but afterward Nintendo became the primary beneficiary of its games.

Sega's ownership of the Shining Force trademark meant that it could push the series forward even without Camelot, which is what it proceeded to do. A remake of the original game surfaced on the Game Boy Advance, but it sadly did not sell enough copies to goad more tactical action out of Sega. Instead the company proceeded to foist multiple action-RPGs with the Shining name upon the world, something undesired by fans of the series in its glory days. So many action-RPGs were produced that fans had almost given up hope of ever seeing a new tactical title, yet Flight-Plan was given the go-ahead to create one in the form of Shining Force Feather. Its not being from the original development team was a comparatively light offense, for here was a genuine tactical game in a series that unquestionably was at its best in that genre — and then Sega of America passed on localizing the game. The company has made many decisions that defy logic, and while this may not have been the most painful to behold after its unforgivable treatment of Shining Force III, it still hurt.

Shining Force I and II continue to be experienced by new gamers, mostly via their inclusion in numerous compilations. Simplicity is the name of these games: no complex stratagems are usually necessary, no complicated class structures will be found, and their challenge is certainly not tear-inducing. Their seemingly straightforward surfaces hide a fair amount of depth, however, and at any rate the games are a lot of fun to play. Certain elements, particularly in the first game, have become archaic, but the success of Shining Force at snaring new fans in the present speaks well to how strong its core remains.

Shining Force III's unique status means it is held up more often as a Holy Grail, gazed upon with longing by most. Where I and II can be included on Genesis compilations, III requires Camelot's participation before it can be touched again, and reconciling that company with Sega is a hard sell indeed. Even if Camelot was willing, Sega would have to display a heretofore-unseen desire to reintroduce the Saturn's exclusive library of games to the modern public. The treatment of Shining Force Feather illustrates how little faith Sega of America puts in the series now, making the chance of any reconciliation with Camelot for the creation of a Shining Force IV infinitesimal. Don't take my word for it, take Hiroyuki Takahashi's word:

"And it wasnít just Shining Force III that was mistreated. For example, at one point Sega was refusing to even release Shining The Holy Ark. We had hoped that all three Shining Force III scenarios would be released internationally, but our hopes werenít fulfilled. Regardless, we made Shining Force III in order to give something back to the fans who had supported the series up to that point. Of course itís a shame that the game wasnít a big hit, but even though itís been more than ten years since the release of Shining Force III, people still love the game. And because of that, itís a game that has made me genuinely happy... Even though we produced all of the plans, graphics, did all of the programming, and produced all of the music for the Shining series, Sega maintains the rights. Thatís why we can have no say in the matter."Source.
The gospel according to Mike Moehnke.

Can a new game happen?

Series Highlights

Not a real one

Shining Force 2, Shining Force 3

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