Vestaria Saga II started as a free hobby project
If you wish modern Fire Emblem was more focused on strategy RPG battles and less focused on perfect teatimes, then Vestaria Saga 2: The Sacred Sword Of Silvanister might be for you. It’s a fantasy turn-based strategy game designed by original Fire Emblem creator Shouzou Kaga with a team of volunteers, and it was released on Steam today with a full English translation.
Here’s the release date trailer from last month:
“New game from Fire Emblem creator” is an accurate description of Vestaria Saga, but there are a number of extra clauses that should follow in order to set expectations. The Vestaria Saga games were developed as hobby projects using free software called SRPG Studio and a team of volunteers, and were originally released for free in Japan.
Publisher Dangen Entertainment have then taken that free game, translated it into English, and are selling it on Steam for £15.50/€16.80/$20. Still, the underlying game remains a free hobby project, and despite the professional pedigree of its designer and many of its volunteers, it has the production values of a free project. Creator Shouzou Kaga wrote about his intent to keep the series a hobby project in a blog post last year (in Japanese).
Vestaria Saga 2 continues the story from the first game, with the same main character, Zade. It’s a strategy RPG, which means you’ll be moving units around a grid-based map and making decisions about weapons, armour and attack moves, but also that chats with allies confer “stat boosts and other advantages” that help you out during battles.
In her Vestaria Saga 1 review back in 2020, Giada Zavarise found it “merciless” as a game that didn’t explain itself but which, she felt, would be loved by hardcore Fire Emblem and turn-based strategy fans. From looking at the trailer, Vestaria Saga 2 looks like much the same.
It’s also worth noting that in 2019, the CEO of publisher Dangen Entertainment resigned amid allegations from people connected with the Japanese gaming industry of inappropriate behaviour, harassment and bad business practices.
Vestaria Saga 2 is out now on Steam. I don’t think I’ve got the patience for it, but it’s cool that this old, influential game designer is still making games now just for the fun of it.