Exploring the Dragon Fantasy series

  • sbester
  • 01/02/2013 01:11 AM
Welcome to the third issue of Series Master!

Today we have what is arguably the most expansive series of RM games on the net. Dragon Fantasy has been around for a few years now, and Ephiam has kept the series very grounded in the oldschool traditional JRPG realm. I’ve only played the first game so far, but it was one of the main sources of inspiration for my own series of games, and I suspect a few others as well.


Sbester: Can you briefly explain the origins of the series, and how a planned trilogy of games turned into the massive franchise of side stories and spin-offs?

Ephiam: Certainly. Though before I start, I would like to say how happy I am that I was chosen to partake in this, so I thank you for giving me this opportunity!

I designed the original Dragon Fantasy in hopes of combining elements of the two highly-popular video-game series' “Final Fantasy,” and “Dragon Warrior,” thus the name I'd chosen. Although some may classify the Dragon Fantasy series (Henceforth referred to as “DF”) as one riddled with fan-games, I don't consider any of them to fall into that category. They do in ways, but for the most part they're mainly an homage rather than an attempt to emulate either Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy completely. This may stem from my opinion on what a “fan-game” is, which to me is an attempt to create a game that would fit into an already existing game series and pass as an official installment IN that series.

At this point I must confess that it was not simply my desire to create a Final Fantasy-Dragon Warrior hybrid that lead to the creation of the DF series. There's a much more “human” origin, and it's something most creators can relate to: ease of use. The NES-styled graphics utilized in DF have been by far the easiest to manipulate that I've ever come across in my 6~ years of fooling around with RPG Maker. It's because of that one simple fact that I began working with them, and why the series has come the way it has. And although that was my INITIAL reason, I quickly fell in love with the style and have yet to part ways with it. There's just something about creating an NES-styled game that compels me to work on it, and always calls me back day-after-day.

An image from DF1.

It was perhaps half-way through completing the original DF that I'd decided that I wanted to make a sequel. So I did! A few months after releasing DF to the public I eagerly started working on DF II, making sure to take into consideration all of the feedback I'd received from the previous game. What resulted was a much more visually appealing and polished game, though nothing ground-breaking.
Then I discovered that I actually had patience. At least for this.

Once I'd completed my SECOND game using RPG Maker, I was sure that I could do anything. I had so many ideas floating around in my head that every other day I had a new story that I just HAD to give life. However, it was because I had all of these ideas that things began to get a little messy, and my game-making spree ran out of control. Even worse was that I'd decided that all of these games had to take place in the same universe! Thus all the games that were to follow.

A Trilogy was what I'd wanted to create, but things just never worked out like that. I could never decide on how to PROPERLY end the series, and so I just beat around the bush and created side-stories and spin-offs that I was somehow able to very loosely tie into the first two games. And I tried hard. The problem? Although in my head the games took place in the same world, because of my lack of planning before-hand and simply rushing in to make things as I went along, nothing really made a whole lot of sense. The world map was ALWAYS different and expanding, the history of the world ever-changing, etc. The series had no coherency, which I'd realized when it was far too late.

An image from DF2.

Sbester: I remember reading that Eternal Paradise is somehow related to DF, more specifically Venaitura. Just how many of your games are there under the DF moniker now?

Ephiam: Currently there are six games in total within the series: DF, DF II, DF: Venaitura, DF: Remade, DF: Heroes of Tsufana, and Eternal Paradise.

I hope to incorporate Eternal Paradise into the series properly in the near future, but currently it is only a distant relative that shares much of the same terminology. I will figure out where exactly I'm going to fit it once I've completed work on the new time-line.

A screen from Eternal Paradise.

Sbester: You recently announced that as of the DF1 remake, all other games in the series will be non-cannon. Was this a difficult decision for you? Do all of these games exist in their own separate universes anyway?

Ephiam: It was a decision that I was more than happy to make.

Prior to Heroes of Tsufana the series was a mess. There was no planning or any real thought put behind any of the games aside from the general plot and gameplay mechanics. I hope to change that with the remake, as well as with any game that should follow afterwards. It's a fresh start! Something the series desperately needs, in my opinion.

In regards to the games taking place within their own universe... Well, let's just say they weren't MEANT to, but they certainly come across that way! The only game that OFFICIALLY takes place in its own universe is the upcoming and previously mentioned “Heroes of Tsufana,” which is a homage to the series as a whole rather than an actual continuation of any previous plot-points.

A screen from DF: Remake.

Sbester: All of the completed games are quite similar to one another in a lot of respects. What is it that keeps bringing players back to them with each new installment?

Ephiam: I think it has something to do with the old-school charm. Countless indie games use graphics and music ripped out of games made on the SNES onward, whereas comparatively few choose to go earlier than that.

They have an air of uniqueness about them that cannot quite be captured by games other than those of the same style. Because of the relatively low amount of these games floating around out there, people always come back to get their quick NES-fix without having to play an actual NES game that they've probably completed many times in the past.

Admittedly there is a very limited audience, but it's something I can easily deal with. =)

DF: Venaitura.

Sbester: I was anxiously anticipating DF Origins, which was sadly cancelled a while back. Were there any other planned games in the DF series that met a similar fate?

Ephiam: Just two others: DF:Venaitura II and DF: My Hero.

I swore to never make abandoning games something that I'd commonly practice, and that if I were to make any decent progress on any project then I HAD to finish it. That's part of the reason why many of my games aren't that lengthy.

I wouldn't quite say Origins was “Canceled” though. More like UPGRADED. Heroes of Tsufana is the EXACT same game just given a graphical overhaul and a few tweaks here-and-there. I'd attempted working with an original graphical style, but things just didn't work out and so I decided that I'd simply change it up a bit instead of abandoning the project altogether.

From the canceled game, DF: Origins.

Sbester: What advice do you have to others who are trying to create their own series of games?

Ephiam: Before you actually start development on whatever project you have in mind, be sure to PLAN THINGS OUT! I cannot stress that enough. From character dialogue all the way to the layout and design of your world map. It may seem like a hassle or tedious process at first, but you'll be glad you did once progress on your game actually starts. It makes everything so much easier, and cuts down on loads of confusion and frustration in the long-run.

Sbester: What does the future hold for DF?

Ephiam: Heroes of Tsufana is going to be released to the public in the near future, and after that I plan to resume progress on DF: Remade. Once that's done though, I cannot say! I just hope that I'll continue to make games well into the future. It's a great hobby, and I love doing it.

DF: Heroes of Tsufana.

Sbester: Any final thoughts?

Ephiam: This is my second revision of the answers to these questions, so I've concluded that I'm terrible at stuff like this. Hahahaha. I'm never quite sure what to say, and I always get off-topic!

Aside from that I thank whoever has read this for doing just that, and to all my fans who have continued to support me through each new project.
Thanks everyone! Happy game-making. =)


Well, there you have it. The ultimate guide to all things Dragon Fantasy, from the man himself! Now get your butts in gear and go play them all!


Pages: 1
Awesome. I was looking forward to when you finally posted this! Woo-hoo!
Guardian of the Description Thread
If you're trying to taunt me with this series of articles, sbester... it's working!
Haha, don't worry, Marrend, I'm sending one your way soon too ;)
How many series do you got lined up so far to make an article about? =O
Well I have 9 completed interviews so far, and I'm now trying to narrow my list down for a few not so extensive series (ones like Marrend's, where a third entry is being worked on). Everyone's been really quick to get back to me with these, so I'm pretty happy to continue doing them.
Guardian of the Description Thread
Off-hand, I think Deckiller might have a series (Carlsev Saga?), as does Corfaisus (Tales from Zilmurik). There may be more I'm not aware of.

There is, of course, this guy being pretentious with his "Matsumori series"...
If Deckiller ever gets around to finishing Carlsev part ii or Encephalon 2, I'd gladly interview him. I'm pretty much focused on series with 2 or more completed entries.

I've thought about interviewing Corfaisus but his games are updated so much that I'm gonna hafta really think about what questions I wanna ask him. Zilmurik 1 looks to be nothing like the version I played a couple years back, so I'll hafta re-read some of his blogs if I'm gonna be properly prepared.
Wow, this series has one heck of a history. Great work Ephiam:D
Ahm design documents are a very inteligent thing to use. It give you the option to planificate the game in every moment and not only in pc, and also it improves a lot quality, coherence, and global view. They also saves up a lot of time, because you wont be redoing or eliminating nothing.

I have to say that you can start a new series of games from 0 when you end with dragon fatnasy saga, and apply some new style and your knowledges.
Where can I find the Flight Stone? The King gave me the Calling Stone. But they
say I need a Flight Stone??
Guardian of the Description Thread
fharden, it may behoove you to direct your question on the gamepage for the game in question, rather than in this article.
Pages: 1