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Should the Saturn get more coverage by SEGA?

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by E-122-Psi, Apr 29, 2023.

Would a Saturn Mini sell?

  1. Yes

    25 vote(s)
  2. No

    9 vote(s)
  1. E-122-Psi


    After a discussion on Discord, I took interest in this topic.

    Yeah the Saturn is infamously hard to emulate, and the console wasn't known for its successful lineup, but say M2 or someone finally cracked the code, would a theoretical 'Saturn Mini' or alternatively a compilation of rereleased games do well?

    One thing that garners my interest with new emulation packages is how they often have translated games that didn't make it into the west or other ambitious add ons (eg. Starfox 2 appearing on SNES Classic and NSO, or VS Puyo Puyo Sun on international versions of SEGA Mega Drive Mini 2). A Saturn package could likely bulk up its lineup a good deal just by translating a few of its Japan exclusives that infamously didn't make it into the west, even giving it some retroactive IPs like Puyo Puyo to patch up its lack of brand recognition.

    I know M2 said they wanted to master Saturn emulation in time for the AGES brand. That's no longer a thing now, but maybe it's an investment worth continuing. Would be a change from just Mega Drive rereleases over and over.
  2. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Yes, it would sell. Not as well as the Genesis counterpart. It would be bought mostly by fans.

    They'd need a smaller production run, which would be more costly per unit. So that's a disadvantage. But I believe there are enough fans who would buy it it cover that.
  3. E-122-Psi


    I feel like maybe a slow burner strategy could work.

    Like let's say they worked on a handful of their most popular titles in a similar package as the AGES or Mini 2 lineup did for some obscure platforms. When that was done they then worked on ANOTHER handful, leaving enough to put on the NSO service, with that format also allowing them to add more at a gradual rate. When that deal ends, they could then primarily work on ANOTHER handful for the purpose of a Saturn Mini or Saturn compilation title.
  4. Chimes


    The One SSG-EG Maniac Member
    if it doesn't have cotton 2 i am not buying it
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2023
  5. Azookara


    yup Member
    I'm not fully convinced Sega would want to make a Saturn Mini if they're not sure it'd sell well internationally. That's a lot of work for a system that only left a major imprint in the Japanese market. If it existed at all, it'd probably be costly and in limited supply, maybe even a Japan exclusive release.

    Not to look down upon a Saturn Mini of course, because it'd be really cool. The Saturn has a solid chunk of really good games worth playing.

    But I think they'd have a better chance at getting the west's attention with a Dreamcast Mini. DC's gained respect and notoriety over the years for being revolutionary, mysterious and tragic (at least in America, lol). Meanwhile the Saturn's obscurity hasn't really budged. The way people talk about Sega here, they only ever had two consoles: Genesis and Dreamcast. If they wanted to sell a Saturn Mini here, they'd need a really strong marketing angle to sway people, because otherwise it'd just lead to loads of normies yelling "what's a Sega Saturn?!" or "who asked for this?!".
  6. Jason


    *Results not lab tested. Member
    Are there any hard numbers on the PC-Engine Mini? The Saturn is arguably its spritual successor, being a failure outside Japan, but with a very unique library with a dedicated base.
  7. A Saturn Mini would be very cool, though I don't know if we're at the point yet where it would be economical enough to make given the difficulty of Saturn emulation. I have one of the Anbernic emulation handhelds, and the Saturn performance is playable but still just laggy enough that I don't bother with it, and it probably has a more expensive SoC than they could reasonably put in a hypothetical miniconsole (given licensing and other costs associated with such an endeavor).

    I think there'd be a fair amount of interest in it if they could pull it off, though, given the renewed interest in retro gaming in general and given that the Saturn has several games widely held in high regard in retro gaming communities (even outside of the Sega sphere). The Saturn aftermarket, like the Sega CD, has largely priced out mere mortals who didn’t build their collections back when they were cheap, so I feel like there’s a good opportunity for an official repacking of some of the highlights (of which there are more than enough in the Saturn library to fill a miniconsole, even if you just look at the first-party efforts: Burning Rangers, Dragon Force, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Shining Force III alone are all highly regarded but priced well out of reach for most normal people). I feel like the “32-bit” era is receiving a critical reevaluation right now, with the general perception shifting from seeing the games as disappointing early efforts at 3D that were completely outclassed by the next generation to appreciating the games for what they were (humble as that might be). The 3D games are seen as an ambitious step over the previous 16-bit generation whose reach often exceeded its grasp but which can still be appreciated in retrospect, while the 2D games are seen as kind of capping off and perfecting the 16-bit era.

    I think the most realistic thing is, as you suggest, Sega starting to re-release Saturn games à la carte through digital channels (Steam and all the console services), as they've done for Genesis games. They should really start doing this for more of their arcade catalogue too. I’d love to see more old games translated officially (as Sega did with Monster World IV and Nintendo did with Earthbound Origins) and wish that this was done more since there are a lot of games that weren’t considered suitable for Western tastes contemporaneously that could potentially do well if officially translated and released today (such as Royal Stone for the Game Gear or Princess Crown for the Saturn). This is obviously especially true for the Saturn, which barely got a Western release in hindsight. I’m kind of surprised they haven’t done this more (how hard would it have been to localize Pulseman for the Genesis Mini 2 when the voiced dialogue is already in English), but I obviously don’t know how the numbers break down (it’s equally possible that I’m clueless as to how much demand there is for these games as that Sega is).
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2023
  8. muteKi


    Fuck it Member
    I mean, I believe the Astro City mini was developed by a different branch of Sega than the team(s) involved in the mini console series, but it was only designed for release in Japan, and sold well enough for a follow-up to make sense!
  9. It would be nice, but I would rather see SEGA make use the Saturn Virtual Stick Pro Arcade stick mould (like the Neo Geo or Capcom Joystick) and put in a collection of ST-V, Saturn, and System 32 games on it myself
  10. Trippled


    Trouble is, Sega actually never used any kind of emulation for any kind of 3D game as far as I know. The Saturn stuff on PS2 that was Japan only, and then the Dreamcast games we have gotten then...all ports. All the arcade stuff since Model 1 is the same way.
  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I would imagine M2 has toyed with Saturn emulation by now, but I'm going to guess there are hardware restraints that keep such a project from being commercially viable. The audience is totally there, even if they only sell it in Japan, though I wouldn't have high hopes for the four-disc Panzer Dragoon Saga.

    Also you probably can't just load it up with fighting games, so expect the likes of (International) Victory Goal and Gale Racer, and other such titles that'll have the gaming media screaming.
  12. I thought SEGA Japan did buy the rights to use one of the Saturn emu's decades ago?
  13. Battons


    Shining Force Fan Member
    Of course it should, consoles can get a second life even after their discontinuation through secondhand markets, porting the games, or the naughty emulation.
    Saturn would be no different. Not only has it become very hard to find games for but has also become impossibly expensive. Even in Japan, where it did best, prices are skyrocketing for various reasons.
    I think it would definitely do well in the collectors market, and the sega fan market. Outside of that however I bet most people will go “what the hell is a Saturn?” Which could be why sega has yet to actually do it. I also don’t believe the tech is there yet for a Dreamcast mini. I seem to recall an interview during the covid pandemic that the tech to do other systems was simply too expensive.
  14. NiktheGreek


    Grumpy old bastard Oldbie
    Writing for the best video game magazine in the world
    Based on conversations I've had with retro hardware manufacturers for work, this sounds about right. Basically, components are in shorter supply and more expensive than they were pre-pandemic, which has a knock-on effect on price - Sega struggled to keep the Mega Drive Mini 2 around the £100 sweet spot, and people weren't hugely happy with the price of that.

    We know that the Saturn Mini would require more powerful hardware than the Mega Drive Mini did. It would also require more storage capacity even if the number of games was cut to 20 or so, simply because they're all on CD and certain multi-disc games are basically essential inclusions - the Japanese audience would be up in arms if Sakura Taisen didn't feature on the machine, and I genuinely think Panzer Dragoon Saga would be too big of a selling point to exclude from an international release.

    One other factor to consider is that Sega will have more licensing problems with its Saturn games than it did Mega Drive games. Daytona USA needs naming rights negotiated and Sega Rally would need two car manufacturers to sign off on it. The English translation of Dragon Force belongs to Working Designs, and Die Hard Arcade is a fan favourite with obvious problems too. Including Fighting Vipers in Japan would require content cuts or a deal with Pepsi. Based on past form I think the company would make the effort, but it's still extra expenditure and potential roadblocks.

    So yeah, right now I just don't see them being able to hit the right price/profit balance. For what it's worth, if it eventually does go ahead I'd fully expect an international release.

    I'm not sure that level of barrel-scraping would be necessary. Obviously you can quibble over the exact list, but just taking Sega-owned stuff with no notable licensing hurdles or language issues, you could realistically consider the following 20 games as a respectably diverse, notable and high quality basis of an international library:

    Athlete Kings
    Baku Baku Animal
    Burning Rangers
    Clockwork Knight
    Guardian Heroes
    The House Of The Dead
    Last Bronx
    Panzer Dragoon
    Panzer Dragoon Saga
    Shining Force III
    Shinobi X
    Sonic 3D
    Sonic R
    Thunder Force V
    Virtua Cop
    Virtua Fighter 2
    Virtual On

    Obviously the gun games aren't ideal on pad, but this is the same company that supplied three-button pads with a console that included Street Fighter II. Of course, should it ever happen we know that Sega is happy enough to do licensing deals, so some of the weaker games here would probably be cut for better options.
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  15. Forte


    I speak better after three beers Member
    How's Saturn emulation anyways? If I recall correctly, there is a Cotton re-release that uses a very good SS emulator, and it works pretty well even on Switch.

    Perhaps, Sega could license it, brand as Saturn Showcase or something?
  16. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    Saturn emulation is getting to a point where it's commercially viable, though it's still not perfect. The Success Saturn rereleases for Switch (Cotton 2, Cotton Boomerang, and Guardian Force) had a capable emulator, but unfortunately they suffered from a lot of input lag. In terms of PC emulation, there are several options. Mednafen is generally agreed to be the best and is quite accurate, though it's also demanding.
  17. Level Zone Act

    Level Zone Act

    Naka GiriGiri NiGHTS.jpg
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  18. Bobblen


    A lot of first party Saturn stuff was getting ported to PC at that time, it's a shame as I would have liked Nights in my collection (yeah, I know the PS2 version was eventually bought to Steam). You could argue that the PC pad choices of the time didn't really suit the analogue controls of that game, but it didn't stop them bringing Virtua On over.
  19. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Ooh, a Microsoft SideWinder gamepad! I had one of those. It was the most comfortable controller imaginable, and absolutely perfect for a Saturn game.
  20. Bobblen


    Ha, yeah, one of those and a Sidewinder 3d Pro (both connecting to the MIDI port of course :-) ) was my setup in those days.