E3 2019 Dreams — Square Enix, Please Don’t Screw Up Collection of Mana
I'm hoping for Collection of Mana to be announced at Square Enix's E3 conference, with the first official translation of Seiken Densetsu 3.
This year’s E3 conferences will be starting to hit us this week. It feels like 2019 started just a few days ago, and we’re already in June. To be honest, I can’t say I’m that hyped for E3, nor that I’ve been these last few years. The last time I looked forward to E3 was probably the one before The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s release.
As someone who always channels his limited time toward Japanese games, I’m more of a Tokyo Game Show person (though that event too isn’t what it used to be, but that’s another story). And then there’s how I’m also into niche games. Some of my favorite Japanese game directors, such as Ryukishi07, will never get to walk into Tokyo Game Show, much less an E3 scene à la Kojima or Yoko Taro.
In any case, it doesn’t mean I can’t get hyped during E3 because of new announcements. One announcement I’m looking forward to is Square Enix possibly revealing that the Switch’s Collection of Mana is coming west.
You probably have heard how “Collection of Mana” was recently trademarked in Europe. Everything points to a western release of Seiken Densetsu Collection, which released in Japan on Switch in 2017. The collection has the first three prized games of Square’s Mana series:
- Seiken Densetsu 1, on Game Boy, which was first released in USA as “Final Fantasy Legend.” It had a remake on Game Boy Advance named Sword of Mana, which was pretty good but lacked polishing. I still can’t believe how a game of that era had tons of sidequests and yet no sidequests menu to keep track of them. Another remake was later released on mobiles and PS Vita, this time titled Adventures of Mana.
- Seiken Densetsu 2, on SNES, known outside of Japan as Secret of Mana. This is one of the games that marked the childhood of those who had a SNES. It recently got a remake which I’d rather not mention further.
- Seiken Densetsu 3, also on SNES. That one was never released in the west.
These past years, or rather, for over a decade now, I’ve been very doubtful of Square Enix. Ever since the merge of Square and Enix happened, the Square part has kind of struggled to bring out truly satisfying games on every level. Anyone in the ’90s could see “Square” on a boxart and blindly buy that game, nearly certain to be getting a masterpiece. The same can’t be said anymore, at least in my opinion nowadays.
I can’t rule out the possibility of Collection of Mana only bringing Final Fantasy Legend and Secret of Mana to Switch, leaving Seiken Densetsu 3 on the bench. Square Enix have been on a huge slump lately, and I definitely see that happening. Pretty much only SaGa games and Dragon Quest feel interesting to me these days.
It’s great to see that Square is definitely putting some money on the table for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. I think a remake, by definition, is different from the original, hence why I’m not particularly unhappy about elements such as turn-based battles not coming back. What irks me, however, is how everything we’ve seen of FF7 Remake so far makes it look like just another triple-A action game, but with FF7 character skins. It doesn’t feel like FF7 at all to me.
(On the subject of FF7 Remake, that talk about Japanese fans seemingly not liking Aerith’s new design sure is weird. I don’t know from where it sparked, but anyone with Japanese knowledge can tell the overall fan reception of Japanese FF7 fans when seeing Aerith was overwhelmingly positive. It’s particularly easy to check with “matome” sites which aggregate reactions from social media or message boards. Needless to say though, generalizations are bad, and there’s probably a drunkard or two who for some reason didn’t like her design.)
Going back to my original point: I remember first playing Seiken Densetsu 3 on my last year of grade school, a few years after playing Secret of Mana for the first time. That was in 2002 or so, and back then, Seiken Densetsu 3 already had translation patches, even in French. Anyone who really wants to play that game already did at that point, but Square Enix officially bringing it west with Collection of Mana would be incredibly symbolic for video game history.
Personally, I think Seiken Densetsu 3 is miles ahead of Secret of Mana on every level, so I’d really wish more people could discover it. A Switch version would be perfect to play it in multiplayer too. Playing such a large-scale RPG in multiplayer is perfect for creating great memories, and I hope Square Enix won’t bar us from it.
In any case, after Square Enix revealed Dragon Quest Pokemon Go…Walk, making me lose even more faith in them, while their stocks raised, I hope their E3 2019 won’t be disappointing. Plus, Seiken Densetsu 3 is incredibly beautiful even today, with its amazing 2D and its character designs by Nobuteru Yuki, one of the best illustrators of all time. Coupled with its multiple protagonists to choose from and its storytelling done right, Seiken Densetsu 3 getting an official western release would also be a good lesson for a certain Overhyped Traveler.
As we near E3, what do you want to see the most at this year’s show? What’s your dream scenario? Be sure to let us know in the comments. Lastly, be sure to check out some of the other hopes and dreams for E3 2019 from the rest of the DualShockers writers.