New game: Shouzou Kaga’s Vestaria Saga Review

Michael Delucia, Staff Writer

Shouzou Kaga is the man to credit for starting one of the longest-running game series in the world, Fire Emblem. During his time at Intelligent Systems, he worked on the first five games in the series. These games being Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Fire Emblem Gaiden, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776. Each of these games revolutionized the series in a significant way. 

The first game, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light was known at the time for its unforgiving feature of permanent death. As the name suggests, if a character dies they are not coming back. This became a staple in the series that it would be known for a long time to come. Fire Emblem Gaiden introduced an open world map that would be used in many games after Kaga left. The mystery of the Emblem was both a remake of the first game and its sequel. Genealogy of the Holy War is to this date, the Fire Emblem game with the largest map design, it also had a child unit function that got brought back in later games. Thracia 776 is known for its wildly different game mechanics, one of which being capturing enemies just like you can pick up allies. While all these games were important in forming the Fire Emblem we know today, none of these games were released in English until several got remade long after Kaga left. 

Little is known about why Kaga left Intelligent Systems, though it may have been with the way the series was heading. After he left following the release of Thracia 776 in 1999, he made the Tirnanog Company which would allow him to work on more tactical RPGs. In 2001 he released Tearring saga on the original PlayStation after much delay. The complications mostly came from the lawsuit he received from Nintendo for making such a similar game for a competitor’s consol. He ended up winning the lawsuit, however, he had to change the name before releasing from Emblem Saga to Tearring Saga. Nintendo appealed and Kaga’s company had to pay a fine of 76 million yen. This case set a new precedent in the game making industry. 

He released a sequel to Tearring Saga on the PlayStation Two in 2005 named Berwick Saga. After its release, Kage went on a decade long hiatus from game making, only to return with the release of Vestaria Saga in 2016. It seemed to be just another Japanese exclusive until an English translated demo came out in August 2018. Come December 27, 2019, and the full game gets released on Steam. 

Vestaria Saga was a game three decades in the making and should be viewed as a treat to all fans of the old school Fire Emblem games. The gameplay is similar to that of Genealogy of the Holy War, with many large maps and multiple map objectives.