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Lunar 3? - March 2006 - Post Lunar DS Analysis

There is a lot of things I meant to update with over past year, including comments from developers regarding future Lunar titles. Lunar 3 is still in the same stage it has been for 10 years now. It doesn't exist. Outside of a few times where it's been in early development, there still is no Lunar 3. However, that doesn't mean the series is dead. During the pre and post interviews for Lunar: Dragon Song, many developers made comments about Lunar 3 and a possible Four Heroes game. It was thought that the success or failure of Lunar: Dragon Song would decide the fate of any future Lunar games. However, this may or may not hold true.

One thing we can safely assume is all the rumors of old have faded to dust now. The dates on all the comments Victor Ireland and key Lunar developers made are so old that hardly any of them should be correct anymore. This isn't to say they were lying, as it is true Lunar 3 has made some stage of development at least twice in the past, but for whatever reason, the game was always canned. It is worth looking the older stuff over, as it's always possible some of the story idea's and such that were thrown around could still come into play. However, the notion that Lunar 3 is going to be for the Playstation 2 is completely false. This has been spread on numerous message boards ever since it was said, and considering how long ago this was stated, and the fact that we're now entering a new generation of systems, if a new Lunar were to come out, it would most certainly come on a next generation system or, at the very least, one of the current handhelds (DS or PSP).

The sales of Lunar: Dragon Song and what they mean...

Based on a number of comments, it was thought that the sales of Lunar: Dragon Song (Lunar: Genesis in Japan) would determine if the series would continue after Lunar: Dragon Song. Initial sales figures weren't the greatest, with Lunar: DS pushing just under 20,000 copies in September and October of 2005. The game was released the 27th of September, so almost half of those sales are likely in preorders. Unfortunately we don't have sales figures past that. Japanese figures were as scarce, but we do know it sold 7,705 copies in the first week of release. While these figures aren't as that amazing, they might be enough to keep the series going. We can only hope that GameArts/JAM realize the mediocre sales have a lot more to do with a poor game than a lack of interest in the Lunar series.

Numerous new comments from the developers...

When the news of Lunar: Dragon Song was at it's high point in the summer of 2005, numerous magazines and websites did a few of interviews with key Lunar creators. Specifically, Mitsuru Takahashi (president of Japan Art Media) and Youchi Miyaji (president of GameArts) were involved in these interviews and articles between the summer of 2005 and the release of Lunar: Dragon Song.

Nintendo Power Interviews Mitsuru Takahashi

In the August 2005 issue of Nintendo Power, Mr. Takahashi shed a little more light on future Lunar installments in an exclusive interview.

NP: Was it difficult to jump back into the Lunar universe, or was it something the team had anxiously been awaiting?
MT: Of course. We had some ideas about a new Lunar game, and now we've released our initials idea to make this game. We also already have ideas about the sequel to Lunar: Dragon Song.
NP: The tale of Dragonmaster Dyne and the original Four Heroes seems perfectly suited to a prequel. Why not tell that story?
MT: This game is the genesis of Lunar. The story of the original Four Heroes is between Lunar: Dragon Song and The Silver Star. And to tell you a secret... the next Lunar game will most likely be about the Four Heroes.
NP: Any chances we'll ever see a sequel to either The Silver Star or Eternal Blue?
MT: I believe you will see it in the future. However, we will need huge support from all the fans who have supported the Lunar world.

That concludes the Nintendo Power interview comments regarding future Lunar titles.

Mitsuru Takahashi's blog...

Before the release of Lunar: Dragon Song, UbiSoft and setup a blog for JAM's president Mitsuru Takahashi to update fans on Lunar: Dragon Song. While not much was said, as the blog was short-lived, he did briefly mention ideas for the "next Lunar"...

Since Lunar's world has the same civilization level as our Earth, the temperature of Lunar world would probably go up as well in 1000 years or 2000 years from now.
However...if some Althena magic spell that could cool down temperature is available, we don't have to worry about the future of the Lunar world, right?
I've been thinking of setting the story of the next Lunar in the far future...
So... it would be more realistic for the new Lunar's world to have a desert-like ground surface?
But then it sounds just like "Frontier"!

Play! Magazine interview

In the September issue of Play! Magazine, there was an interview with Mr. Miyaji and Mr. Takahashi regarding Lunar: Dragon Song. It shed a few more hints on a future Lunar title.

What can you tell me about the new villain, Ignatius, and how would you compare him to Ghaleon?
Takahashi: Personally I like him, so much that we may not want to finish with him in this Lunar: Dragon Song story. Circumstances and ideology wise, Ghaleon and Ignatius have so much in common. However, I think Ignatius is crueler than Ghaleon.
Were there any other concepts you had for a new Lunar story that you ended up rejecting for one reason or another?
Takahashi: Yes, but of course, those are secret. If we can make the next Lunar, we'd like to implement those to it.
Do you see Lunar: Dragon Song as re-invigorating the Lunar franchise? What other ideas do you have for the Lunar world, and do you think we might see a new Lunar on console?
Miyaji: I have plans for new games with the next generation consoles (X360, PS3). However, we would experience a lot of difficulties, including graphics, in creating new-gen games. As a producer, I'd like to create a story for adults. So many different things happen in our lives. What's right and what's wrong? What's real and what's imaginary? I think a deep story can naturally reflect those types of life experiences, and let users interpret the story in various ways with their own understanding and approaches. A new Lunar will certainly be born, and until then, please keep the support coming.

As you can see, Mr. Miyaji and Mr. Takahashi have a number of idea's regarding future titles. Mr. Miyaji went so far as to say a "new Lunar will certainly be born".

RPGFan interviews Mr. Miyaji

In January of 2006, RPGFan did an interview with Mr. Miyaji as part of their Exclusive Interview Series. They posed a question regarding the series future after Lunar: Genesis.

Q: Talking about Lunar, you recently released the first installment in a decade with Lunar Genesis (Lunar Dragon Song). However, Lunar Genesis is not Lunar 3, right? Looking at the sales and reviews of Lunar Genesis, where do you think the series is heading in the future?
A: As far as Lunar is concerned, I have produced Lunar 1 and 2, but since then have not been involved in the series. If I have time, it is my dream as a creator to produce [another] Lunar game.

What does the future hold?

What can we gather from what has been said above? Well, for one, Mr. Takahashi seems to mention the idea of doing a game based on the Four Heroes. However, there is also mention of doing a straight sequel to Lunar: Eternal Blue. Both ideas are something fans have long since hoped for ever since the release of Lunar: Eternal Blue back in 1994 on the Mega CD (95 in North America). The most ideal situation is that Four Heroes would follow in the footsteps of Lunar: Dragon Song and be released on the Nintendo DS, while a true sequel (ie. Lunar 3) would be released on a next generation console. That's pure speculation, of course, but would be the likely scenario if both were to be created.

In addition, even with the likely poor sales of Lunar: Genesis in Japan and Lunar: Dragon Song in North America, Mr. Miyaji would probably be the man that would have the ultimate say-so in a future Lunar title. As stated in his interview with RPGFan above, he seems as if he's still quite interested in the series. Hopefully that interest will culminate in a true Lunar 3 someday soon.

Another big question on the minds of many fans is: Who will bring the next game over here? While Working Designs wasn't involved in the last two Lunar titles, many long-time fans had hoped a return of Lunar to Working Designs would be in the cards. However, that will never be the case, as Working Designs closed up shop in November 2005. That still leaves UbiSoft, who published Lunar Legend and Lunar: Dragon Song in North America. With Lunar: Dragon Song's fairly poor sales in North America, it remains to be seen if UbiSoft will opt to do another title in the franchise should the opportunity arise. Even if UbiSoft declines, I'm sure a number of other publishers would be willing to give it a shot, as it is an established series that at one time even outsold a Japanese release.

So again, we Lunar fans will have to look to the Eternal Blue magazine advertisement tag line in regards to Lunar 3:

"In the darkest hour, hope springs eternal."

Until then, we'll continue to update you on any rumors, news and anything else that pertains to future Lunar titles here at LunarNET.

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