As anyone involved in the remakes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Wicker Man or The Karate Kid will tell you, bringing back a cult classic can be a dangerous game, but French studio Dotemu has made it its mission to revive beloved retro titles. It's next project is a reboot of 2006 Japanese RPG Ys Origin (opens in new tab), bringing the project to Xbox for the first time.
The Xbox One version of YS Origin will be released on April 11 2018, and will feature Xbox exclusive goodies in the shape of an all-new speedrun mode and a "blood option." While that sounds like a special vampire menu, it actually lets players set the blood quantity they want to see in the game.
We spoke to to Cyrille Imbert, CEO of Dotemu, about why the Ys series was ripe for a remake, what newcomers to the Ys party could expect, and why we were all suddenly all gooey for nostalgia. (I'm looking at you, Ready Player One (opens in new tab).)
GamesRadar+: What made Ys Origin the choice for your next project?
Cyrille Imbert: In 2017 we released Ys Origin on PS4 and PS Vita, and going further there was one thing that we wanted to do: bring this great JRPG license to Xbox.
Being an Xbox owner and a JRPG fan, I thought there was a lack of titles from the genre on Xbox, and that Ys Origin could be a very good addition. The Ys series is absent on Xbox One, but the license is as famous and recognized as Final Fantasy in Japan, so we thought it was an unmissable opportunity. Last year we had the game translated in French, Spanish, Italian and German for the first time and bringing it to Xbox players was something that we thought would help to make this incredible game even more recognized in Europe.
What should Xbox gamers, who might not be familiar with the series, expect from the game?
Cyrille Imbert: If you're interested in JRPGs, the Ys series is definitely something you have to try. Ys Origin is the story of how the whole series started and it makes just sense to start with this opus. Ys Origin is a great mix of action RPG and fabulous storyline in the purest Japanese style. The Falcom teams did an outstanding job when they worked on the game back in 2006.
You can play the story choosing between two very different yet iconic characters: a mighty warrior and a cunning mage, and you'll encounter engaging characters, intrigues, secrets and passions. The gameplay of Ys Origin is very action-oriented and you'll have to battle your way in the Darn tower, where you will try to understand the sudden disappearance of the goddesses of Ys.
With the Xbox One version we also pushed the experience further, by adding two unique features: the speedrun mode, that will enable you to measure your skills with the timer and compete through leaderboards and the blood option, requested by part of the Ys community.
Basically, if you like epic stories, big boss battles, RPG mechanics and challenge, Ys Origin is a game that you need to try.
Is now a golden age for retro remakes?
Cyrille Imbert: I wouldn't say that we're in the golden age of retro remakes. I would say that it just began and will get even bigger in the following years.
Our industry, compared to others like movies or music, is very young. We're just starting to have our own History with capital "H". So instead of always looking to the future, we now also take time to look into our past. By doing that we not only enjoy genius creations of the pioneers of this young industry but we also learn about what made the industry the way it is today. The players that started to enjoy gaming when it began a mass market are now adults and have the means and will to get back to the experiences that they lived as younger gamers.
But, as we have seen with the remake of Wonder Boy: the Dragon's Trap, originally from 1989, or Windjammers from 1994, we've also seen that the younger crowd of today is interested and attracted to older games. A good game will always be a good game, and sometimes it just needs a graphical rework done with love to put it back in the light.
For a look at how not to reboot a classic, check out our list of the 50 worst movie remakes.