Legend of Dragoon

I have spent more of my life on this game, than any other. Perhaps not in raw playtime, but in time devoted to its legacy; to the fandom it generated. Legend of Dragoon. It’s.. actually proving difficult writing the text for this page in particular. Let’s start with the game’s original release and impact.

Release (1999-2001)

Legend of Dragoon is a game full of experiments from a game design perspective – some successful, and some not. Sony had made a few games before but nothing so massive or ambitious as this. The project started small, but development and team members ramped up after being inspired by the release of Final Fantasy 7. They wanted to see if they could also make a blockbuster hit in the RPG space. The way I always describe the development context is this: massive ambition coupled with lots of inexperience. It basically means it could go very well or very poorly and the luck factor is pronounced.

LoD opened to lukewarm reception in Japan – it was not the big hit Sony hoped for. An English translation was released in North America with some adjustments to gameplay. This version happened to get many more sales and can be considered a success – it made the Greatest Hits list and most of the remaining fanbase is still NA-based. Another release came out in Europe – sales were about as lukewarm as the original Japanese release, and for whatever reason this version is way harder to come by / costs a lot more on resale markets. There are additional releases but we still haven’t tracked down all the details (Aus, NZ, Hong Kong).

Early Days (2001-2008)

By the turn of the century, the modern internet began taking shape. Websites were a hip new thing (unlike now), and the only way we could practically discuss as a fandom was through web forums. Imagine a bunch of kids doing their best to interact and it all being chaos anyway, haha. I was on one of these forums, and for whatever prophetic reason I settled on the name Ultimate_Dragoon_Fan (*shrug*). It was the same as most forums: random posts about what we liked, various questions, and a dash of caps lock. A typical day on the forums looked like this. At the time, it was the only way we could meaningfully congregate and keep a record of our history as a community.

Fansites were also a thing – here’s a shortlist. Some of them had forums, like this one, which helped us congregate in a dedicated space. General-purpose forums didn’t always have a section for gaming let alone LoD. As for creating our own content, there was a spattering of fanfic, art, and music. Blogs were incredibly rare. By 2005 Youtube launched, and we eventually had various gameplay videos.

Two short years later I started my first big campaign with the fandom via Youtube – the goal being to gather LoD fans and then do.. something? I was a naïve 18-year-old and the rest of us were similarly clueless overall. From September 2007 to ~June 2008, I was making motivational videos and speaking from the heart as I strived to bring us together. We got very excited and tried to figure stuff out but none of us had the experience or expertise to really channel our passion into a well-organized, centralized community. I don’t know if there were other movements before mine, except perhaps the LoD-Squared forum, but I was not aware of that community at the time.

Eventually, one of our community members made a custom Virage model in Maya. It was the coolest thing we’d ever seen, despite being untextured. My brain thought it would be cool to toss the model into a custom map for Unreal Tournament 2004, place it as a large statue, and shoot rockets at it. I guess I was just fascinated with the idea that that was even possible.

Cue the incredibly overzealous cease-and-desist letter from Sony! By today’s standards this would have qualified as a legal mod without question. However, I was sufficiently scared off, and that marked my pivot into game development (not for LoD, just in general).

The “Lull” (2008-2016)

This is a bit of a gap area in my knowledge. Our fandom generally grew over time, but I don’t recall much in the way of significant events. I’ll share what I can.

In 2012, Shuhei Yoshida wrote for the Playstation Blog about Legend of Dragoon. The game was coming to PSN for play via PS3 and PSP. Shuhei shared some background and confirmed a second game was in pre-production, but was canceled for unknown reasons. Our best guess is that LoD’s second game just wasn’t as good of a financial risk as other projects on the table at that time (and was probably decided before NA sales started coming in).

Toward the end of this period, activity in the fandom started growing at a faster rate. More posts, more questions, more hunger for a second game. Remakes and remasters were starting to become a regular thing, therefore most fans wanted LoD to get the same chance. It’s also the time I started getting more involved with the fandom on a deeper level.

Knowledge & Unification (2017-2019)

2017 was the year that I began turning my attention to the fandom in a greater capacity. I had participated as a member of the community in various ways, but nothing serious since the Youtube campaign ten years prior. A lot ended up taking place in a short time. I applied as moderator of the LoD subreddit, which had not been curated in a long time, and I also founded a Discord server so we’d have a place for live conversations. I also began aggregating resources for everyone to use, such as the Resource Archive full of documentation and legacy media. The goal was to aggregate known resources into a single repository and share that with the fandom, while also giving us a global place to call home. Thus, the website legendofdragoon.org was born.

The website was the first time we ever had a unified place to call home.


Our Golden Age (2023 & Beyond)