I feel like we’ve all been scrolling our social media feed where a friend will share a clip of a PlayStation 2 game that you’ve never seen before. Reading the comments shows that the game was fairly popular, but with the influx in remasters and reboots in the gaming industry, why haven’t we seen a modernized release of this seemingly amazing game.
For me, Xenosaga and .hack are two series that I have much appreciation for. However, as I grow older, it’s become tougher to talk about the games with people who haven’t done more than read the wiki page. While .hack’s GU series received a remastered release, they left out the first four games. It’s sad to know that fans will have a tough time experiencing the complete adventure.
The developer of the .hack series, CyberConnect2, posts a series of videos hosted by the CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama where he speaks candidly about the video game industry and what it takes to get a game published. Many of his interactions have been with their publisher, Bandai Namco, who they work with on the Naruto and Dragon Ball action games. However, his videos seem to feature a recurring theme, “we can’t do X because Bandai Namco owns the IP.” Since most of the questions received are about their portfolio of games.
It’s true, though, the developer is held to the license holder, and when it comes to video games, Bandai Namco holds the keys to start the journey into development on many of CyberConnect2’s potential projects. One of the more upsetting stories Matsuyama-san spoke about was how Bandai Namco didn’t want to hear about Tails Concerto 2. This came as a surprise to the team, considering they proved themselves with the .hack and Naruto series.
The sequel was dismissed due to the first game’s low sales, but they would end being allowed to release a game made in the same universe under a different name, and Solatorobo: Red the Hunter was created. However, Bandai Namco America wouldn’t be the one to publish the North American version. Instead, that was handled by XSEED. Currently, the game is one of the rarest Nintendo DS titles.
In the videos, this comes up a few times for CyberConnect2, and we can only imagine what it’s like for other Japanese developers trying to get games made. It’s probably the reason you see developers like Hidetaka Suehiro (SWERY) and Koji Igarashi turning to crowdfunding for their projects. Many times in the videos, Matsuyama-san says that if fans want a game, they’ll need to let the publisher know, but sometimes this can be like yelling into the air for fans who have been asking for so long without a response.
There’s always going to be a desire for series’ that we are fond of and want to see made, but it all comes down to sales, and these developers know that better than anyone else. I just get a little emotional seeing the developers caring about the projects as much as the fans, and the only thing that stands in front of them is a license holder or funding.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the case of CyberConnect2, though. The team is currently working on their first self-published game, Fuga: Melodies of Steel. We’ll also be hearing a lot from the team as they reveal more about Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s development.
What would really help is if publishers had a better way to gauge fans’ interest in games they want. Quarterly surveys or a request inbox would be a good place to start, but a lot rests on fans’ willingness to vote with their wallets. You may ask why I spent time putting this together. Honestly, I just want a new .hack game on current generation consoles. You can watch a video below where he mentions there might be room for a spiritual successor.
Let us know in the comments if there are any games you’d like to see rebooted or remastered.
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