Yesterday during Nintendo’s Treehouse Live E3 presentation, Square Enix shared announcement trailers for two game releases: Collection of Mana and Trials of Mana. Following up on that during today’s Treehouse Live, Square Enix and Nintendo shared gameplay footage from the upcoming Switch version of the complete remake of the third Mana game Trials of Mana, which is slated for release in 2020.
Square Enix’s Collection of Mana game bundle is newly available for the Switch, and includes the first three Mana games just as they were originally. Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy Adventure (Mystic Quest if you’re from Europe), and the unaltered Trials of Mana make up the Collection. What’s special about this and about the remake is that it’s the first time that Trials of Mana, which has the Japanese name Seiken Densetsu 3, has ever been officially available and localized for the West in any form.
Action-JRPG Seiken Densetsu 3 released in Japan in 1995 and is a sequel to Secret of Mana, a game that was localized for the West and popular enough to merit a remake in 2018. Love for Secret of Mana, originally for the Super Nintendo, ran high enough stateside that a popular fan translation of the Japanese-only Seiken Densetsu 3 made its way around the Internet in 2000.
According to an interview Mana Producer Masaru Oyamada gave to Game Informer, the team had no idea that there was a relatively popular unofficial fan translation for the third game in the Mana series. According to the interview write-up, “the developers had no idea there was a cult following in the West thanks to a fan translation at first. After the project was greenlit, the developers began searching on the internet about it and found the fan translation for the first time.”
The interview also reveals that the development team have been working on the remake of Trials of Mana for some time now, and they wanted to share the previously Japan-only complete set of Mana games with fans in the West who want the originals with the Collection for the Switch.
The Secret of Mana remake for PlayStation4 and the Vita wasn’t a great success for the Mana team, and it’s easy to see from the Trials gameplay footage shown during the Treehouse for E3 that Square Enix really wants to share their best version of this game with everyone who missed it the first time around. This time, the Mana remake is shaping up to be a new, modern looking game based on the original Seiken Densetsu 3.
Where the Secret of Mana remake was literal to a fault, with same-looking top-down graphics and antiquated systems, the Trials of Mana is more of a full refresh using the 16-bit source material. Trials of Mana will have a controllable camera that defaults to an over-the-shoulder position, something that’s become indispensable to gamers today. The player can also make the character jump, which was not part of the game’s design originally. The battle system is new too, and will feature special combat challenge that provide bonus experience points. The new map has treasure points and waypoints can be seen on the mini-map, which should make for a much more engaging experience with the game.
This promising modern update to Trials of Mana is releasing early next year in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch as well as the PlayStation 4 and Steam. Collection of Mana, which includes the original game this remake is based on, is available for the Nintendo Switch now on the Nintendo eShop.