"We also didn’t have anyone on Team Andromeda who had RPG experience, so we brought people from outside the team to help create the RPG. The meshing of the two genres caused a lot of friction."
- Manabu Kusunoki on working with a much larger team during development of Panzer Dragoon Saga.
Team Andromeda's first two titles Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei are both on-rails shooters which task the player with shooting down as many enemies or projectiles that flew on the screen.
However the team's follow up game, Panzer Dragoon Saga, was ambitious and different in ways that weren't expected.
In an interview with Polygon, 13 former Team Andromeda members (originally comprised from Sega's Consumer Software R&D Department) spoke about their experiences during various stages of Panzer Dragoon Saga's development, providing details about the initial difficulties behind designing a 3D RPG with little experience working in that genre.
Development on Panzer Dragoon Saga began alongside Panzer Dragoon Zwei, with Team Andromeda hiring on more people to help bring the ambitious project to life.
It was their first RPG, after all. This change took the small dev team behind Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei up to over 50 people, which affected members differently.
"It was a very difficult project. It was probably the hardest project that I’ve ever worked on," admits producer Yukio Futatsugi. "It’s been so long that only the good memories remain, but when I stop to think about it, I remember there were so many challenges."
But Satoshi Sakai, who designed Panzer Dragoon's dragons, felt differently. "The release date was pushed back a few times. With each delay, more staff were brought onto the team to help complete the game, so there was an impression that the project was struggling," he recalls.
"However, we were young and weren’t in management positions, so we didn’t feel as much of the pressure as those who were higher up. We were just having a blast making the game."
Bringing in more help meant clashing ideas, which director and chief designer Manabu Kusunoki lamented at first. "We struggled a lot because of the size of the team. It was not always an optimum situation, and there were endless disputes between members within the team," he explains.
"During development, we did not get along. It took a long time to get the team to work together. That wasn’t the case for the first two titles."
Aside from integrating new members into the fold, Team Andromeda faced more problems. They took on too many challenges all at once.
Head over to Polygon for the entire oral history of Panzer Dragoon Saga, which provides more detail about the RPG's development.