Announcements of Switch ports come so thick and fast these days that it’s easy to gloss over them. Here’s one no JRPG fan will want to miss, though: Grandia and Grandia II are headed to Nintendo’s hybrid console in HD remastered form, courtesy of GungHo Online Entertainment.
The two games will be bundled together in a package simply called Grandia + Grandia II HD Remaster. At the same time, Grandia HD Remaster will also be released on Steam, where Grandia II Anniversary Edition debuted a few years ago.
This is exciting news indeed. Both games are excellent, but the original Grandia in particular stands out as one of the most memorable JRPGs ever made. Originally released for Sega Saturn in 1997 (but only in Japan), it didn’t reach the West until a 1999 PS1 port (and Europe didn’t see it until 2001). While games like Final Fantasy VIII were pushing for realism and more philosophical storytelling, Grandia was a JRPG-ass JRPG, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. It was characterised by its bright, colourful world, anime characters, goofy humour, and larger-than-life story. But for all its eccentricity, it was grounded in a riveting and heartfelt coming-of-age story to rival the best of them, and a deep combat system that still holds up to this day.
Grandia hasn’t exactly been difficult to get hold of, thanks to digital re-releases for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, but to have it on Switch—and in an HD remastered form, no less—will be a wonderful thing indeed. My PS3 is long since packed away and I rarely pull out my Vita these days, but my Switch goes with me everywhere I go.
For its part, Grandia II never quite broke free of its predecessor’s shadow, but it’s still an excellent game by all accounts. (Though I must admit, I’ve never played it myself, despite buying Anniversary Edition the day it launched. Such is the way of the backlog.) The initial Dreamcast release i 2000 was widely praised, and it’s this version that serves as the basis for Anniversary Edition—and, one would assume, the Switch version as well—rather than the buggy PS2 port that followed a couple of years later.
As well as being an exciting announcement in its own right, this news is a reminder that Game Arts hasn’t forgotten about one of their most iconic franchises, and they’ve got a willing publisher in GungHo. If the Switch release does well enough, could we see similar remasters of Grandia III, Grandia Xtreme, or Grandia: Parallel Trippers, or maybe even a brand new game?
In the meantime, look out for Grandia + Grandia II HD Remaster this (northern hemisphere) winter.