to the skies

Panzer Dragoon VR announcement elicits mixed responses from fans

Panzer Dragoon is coming back in more than one way in 2020, but fans are still nervous about the series' return.

The Panzer Dragoon series laid dormant for many years, much to the ire of Sega fans and those who grew up with the series on the Sega Saturn in the '90s, but the series will make a comeback in 2020 with a remake and a newly announced VR title incorporating missions from previous games. Surprisingly, fans seem skeptical about such a drastic new look for the franchise.

March 10, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Panzer Dragoon's launch in Japan, and to celebrate, a relatively unknown game developer called Wildman announced development for Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record, a VR entry for the rail shooter franchise that's unlike anything that's come before it.

The ambitious title is said to recreate several missions from the original Panzer Dragoon, Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and Panzer Dragoon Saga fully in VR. "This work is a completely new work to play the episodes of the series trilogy by a new graphics that the first person view optimized for VR headsets and a new input method that likens the VR controller to the handgun of the dragon rider," reads a translation of the official release.

The first official screenshot from Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record.

The game will play out from the first-person VR perspective with players riding and shooting their gun from the back of a Dragoon. Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record isn't actually developed by the original franchise owner, Sega. Instead, Wildman is licensing the property to develop this new game. Wildman previously made a Panzer Dragoon-inspired VR game already called The Gunner of Dragoon, but this new game will be more official. Sega has been more open to licensing out their classic franchises lately, also doing so for Streets of Rage, Space Channel 5, and The House of the Dead.

While a VR Panzer Dragoon game feels interesting on many levels, there are mixed reactions to the news that make it seem like this isn't really the direction fans want for the franchise.

"I have always loved the original games," @GameNAffection tweeted, "and while I love the idea of the games being remade, VR was not what I had in mind." Meanwhile, other users are lamenting that this is a game that nobody really asked for.

There is a portion of the community, however, that seems genuinely excited for this as an exciting new development. "This kind of game lends itself really well to VR, as Rez Infinite demonstrated," said Twitter user @Korly.

Even if this VR recreation of select missions from the Panzer Dragoon games isn't your cup of tea, there's also the upcoming remake of the first game coming from Forever Entertainment. Also developed with a license from Sega, Panzer Dragoon Remake was unveiled during Nintendo's E3 2019 presentation and is poised to launch for PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One before the end of 2020.

Forever Entertainment has been fairly quiet in regards to the Remake project in recent months, and there's no confirmed release date just yet beyond "winter 2020". The game did re-emerge in celebration of the series' 25th anniversary on March 10. Forever Entertainment has confirmed that feedback from previous demos of the game will be taken into consideration moving forward and that Panzer Dragoon Zwei is also poised to get a remake, but there's no further word on development for the game.

The Inverse Analysis

On-rails shooters like Panzer Dragoon, which feel a bit outdated in 2020, can transition really well into VR, so this is a sensible evolution for the series. The developers have also created similar VR games before too, so it seems like Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record is in good hands. It already looks more interesting and better than Panzer Dragoon Remake too, so it's definitely a VR title to keep an eye when it releases sometime this year.

Panzer Dragoon Remake and Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record should be released by the end of 2020.