Trials of Mana is certainly shaping up to a sublime remake of the original Seiken Densetsu 3, which originally released all the way back in 1995. It's looking like a far cry of the Secret of Mana remake from last year, which was widely panned for the soundtrack, visuals, and gameplay in particular.
At Gamescom 2019 in Germany this week, I had the opportunity to talk with Mana series producers Masaru Oyamada and Shinichi Tatsuke. Here's what they had to say about their time working on the series so far.
Is there anything that you've taken and learned while doing the Secret of Mana remake last year, and applied it to Trials of Mana?
Masaru Oyamada, Producer: Yes and no. Trials of Mana is based on a completely different concept from Secret of Mana, but one of the things that we put a little bit more attention into this time around was that the motions of the lip syncing weren't quite what they should have been. But aside from that, when it comes down to something like the battle system, that's changed quite a lot.
I think you've said previously that there'll be an expansion on the stories told from the original game in the Trials of Mana remake. Can you elaborate on these expansions at all?
Oyamada: So one of our goals was to really strengthen and deepen the characters, but as for how that's happened, you'll have to play the game for yourself to find out.
I remember reading that the development team found a fan translation of the original game before the remake was greenlit. What was the general reaction of the team to the translation?
Oyamada: Well, the localization team took a look at the translation and the first thing they said was, "We're going to show them up." I'm sure that the people that worked on the pirated version worked with the best of what was available to them, but we really wanted to do as good of a job as we possibly could.
We haven't seen a mainline, 3D Mana game since 2007. Why do you think it's been so long, and could you see the series getting a new, original Mana game depending on how this performs?
Oyamada: I think one of the reasons why there were no games for so long was because the original Mana creator left Square Enix. There was a lot of time spent trying to figure out what the next Mana game would be and what it would look like, and nobody could really settle on an answer.
So that's why we've seen a number of remasters and remakes, and finally arrived here with Trials of Mana. Of course I'd really like to see this series continue based off of fan feedback, but when it comes to if any fan out there really passionately wants one of the games from that era to be remade, there's someone in the company that also passionately wants that game to be remade.
We seem to be getting a lot of games remade from this certain era at the moment. What do you think it is about these games that makes them so beloved?
Oyamada: This is mostly just my personal opinion, but I think a big part of it is that the generation that grew up with the game industry, that grew up with these games are now in a position where they remember these things and go "oh wasn't that great," and are now in a position where they can bring them back about.
The Trials of Mana remake will release for the PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch in early 2020. You can read what we made of the recent Trials of Mana gameplay footage for details on the improved battle system, and more.