News game Panzer Dragoon Orta: Xbox celebrates 20 years of its exclusive dragon shooter!
Published on 19/12/2022 at 16:47
The flagship trilogy of SEGA’s Saturn, Panzer Dragoon was born at a time when 3D was still in its infancy. Imagined and created on workstations worth tens of thousands of dollars, the franchise has established itself thanks to its rhythm, its universe and its artistic direction inspired by the works of the late Moebius. After three marvelous episodes on Saturn, the saga offered itself a final journey with Panzer Dragoon Orta on Xbox. This nugget, which remained exclusive to the Microsoft console, is blowing its twentieth candle!
Taking the clichés of the first episodes of the Panzer Dragoon series, Orta tells the adventures of a heroine with the eponymous name ready to do anything to stop the Empire and its devastating weapon, the Cradle. The game takes on the appearance of a shoot on rails, in the sense that the progression is done in a “remotely guided” way. The player has a complete field of vision, 360°, and must eradicate the enemies using the radar indicating the various threats.
Released in 2001 and released in Japan on December 19, 2002, Panzer Dragoon Orta is one of those games that never left its original medium, the Xbox. The work has never known the slightest adaptation, but nevertheless remains a nugget of old-fashioned shooting. Although having had a moderate commercial success on Saturn, the Panzer Dragoon series made a considerable impression and the Japanese publisher wanted to offer fans a final episode. Although the original team was disbanded after the development of Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Saga (the two episodes having been designed in parallel), there was talk of offering a new episode on the Dreamcast. After consideration, the developers decided that the console did not meet the technical requirements of the moment, and SEGA transferred the project to Xbox, Microsoft’s very first console. At the time, the most powerful on the market.
A cult and unique episode reserved for the Xbox
The development of Panzer Dragoon began at the beginning of the year 2001. Supervised by Akihiko Mukaiyama within the new studio Smilebit, it was the subject of a very thorough follow-up by SEGA. To carry out the project, the company called on several developers who had worked on previous episodes, but the staff did everything to ensure that this episode was not just a more beautiful Saturn episode. More dense in the script and much more detailed visually, Panzer Dragoon Orta also has a richer gameplay for him (you can change the type of dragon in real time to adapt to the surrounding dangers). Considered a must in the Xbox toy library, it would have deserved an adaptation on other media.
Steeped in 1980s science fiction (Dune, Mad Max…) and the works of Moebius, Panzer Dragoon Orta is a game that has caused quite a bit of internal disagreement. Some wanted a freer game while others wanted to retain the “on-rails” feel of the originals. There was so much friction that Mukaiyama decided to call back the members from previous episodes. The tasks were better distributed and Panzer Dragoon Orta finally found a healthy direction. A great game, still exciting to discover today. But it’s crazy to think that there is, twenty years later, no adaptation of the exclusive Xbox.