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SOA
Earlier installments:
· Skies of Arcadia
Last seen in: 2003 (Legends)
Publisher: Sega








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Skies of Arcadia

Known to some as Mike Moehnke says: The Dreamcast's initial RPG offerings weren't impressive, with titles such as Evolution, Time Stalkers, and Elemental Gimmick Gear achieving, at best, resoundingly subpar execution. Sega knew it wouldn't entice RPGamers to own a Dreamcast with stuff like that, and had something called Project Arcadia in the works to fill the system's gaping RPG void. Skies of Arcadia was created by some of the same people responsible for the original Phantasy Star games (notably Rieko Kodama), and was supposed to marry the strengths of early console RPGs with the enhanced panache the Dreamcast's processing power could facilitate. The consensus view, with which I definitely agree, is that the game succeeded grandly at its aims, and most definitely gave RPGamers a reason to use the Dreamcast.

There are a lot of reasons Skies of Arcadia works: its plot is enjoyable despite not being deep, the characters are entertaining to spend time with, the world exploration is great fun to explore, sky battles are tense and gripping, the graphics still look pretty good in spite of their age, the music was and is excellent, and the length is justified because the game never runs out of steam. It seemed that, despite being hailed appreciatively by almost everyone who played it, this series would die like so many other games stranded on Sega consoles — and then the game was ported to the GameCube. Skies of Arcadia Legends was also able to take advantage of being on a console that lacked much competition, but a director's cut of this game would have garnered attention anywhere. Unfortunately, that was also the last sign of Skies.

Will a Skies of Arcadia 2 happen? This is genuinely difficult to predict, because frequent rumors have circulated from Sega about a sequel, only to subsequently be proven wrong. Fan demand definitely exists, but that has little effect upon Sega. Unlike many other items we're discussing in this feature, however, the frequent attention (plus the fact that the game was re-released) means it hasn't been forgotten. The odds on Skies of Arcadia 2 aren't great after so long without a new game, but they're not infinitesimal either.

Quoth Jon Yearworth: The thing about Skies of Arcadia is that it does have a extensive list of flaws; cliché plot, really high random encounter rate (especially in the original Dreamcast version) and oddly inconsistent difficulty. However, it could still be regarded as a good example of an early 00's JRPG, with likable characters, a good soundtrack, and a world setting that, although it stretches the bounds of believable astrophysics, does manage to do a good job of merging together sky pirates, floating continents and Steampunk elements.

Does this automatically warrant demand for a sequel? Unlike other series cut short before their plots were complete, Skies of Arcadia ends on a triumphant note and the credits tell a story of how pretty much everyone lives happily ever after. Skies of Arcadia doesn't need a sequel per-se, but it did not resolve every single plot thread, the largest of these probably being the missing seventh Black Moon in the setting's bizarre cosmology. If Sega wanted to return to the world of Skies of Arcadia, then there would at least be something to write a story about that fans of the series would be interested in. If Sega listened to the feedback from the original, incorporated the excellent ship battle system, and adjusted the random encounter rate, it could easily create something both new players and old fans could enjoy. Of course, the realities of game development and writing sequels would suggest against this, but long time fans can dream, can't they?

Can a new game happen?

Series Highlights

Outlook murky

Either version is great

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