- The irresistably enthusiastic James Mielke has apparently sauntered over to 1UP.com's bosses and insisted he do a gigantic, loving Panzer Dragoon series retrospective, and he's done a fine job of it, interviewing series creator Yukio Futatsugi and Panzer Dragoon Orta producer Takayuki Kawagoe in depth on the franchise.

Our very own Jeff Fleming did a neat mini-retrospective of the series a few months back, but this one is a little more lavish - as Mielke explains: "The reason for this unique cover story is to take a look back at this underappreciated, underbought, near-legendary series that climaxed with the release of 1998's Panzer Dragoon Saga, a game that is unlikely to ever see a port to any system, ever. Taking the DNA of Sega stablemate Space Harrier and welding it to an Empire Strikes Back-style plot, developer Team Andromeda created an epic, picturesque showdown between good and evil that would send lasting shockwaves through the fledgling 32-bit era."

The 1UP executive editor continues: "In this exposé, we go behind the scenes of the Panzer series and talk with Futatsugi (also the director of Phantom Dust) and Kawagoe about one of Sega's most beloved properties. Futatsugi, especially, has plenty of surprises to share about the development of the franchise, so dive right in and rediscover the world of Panzer Dragoon."

I particularly enjoyed the discussion of Panzer Dragoon Saga, with some fascinating comments about the issues of stress and Japanese game development 'collective responsibility' compared to discipline-based U.S. game development: "We don't have those clearly defined areas about what we do. The lines blur, so if someone is lacking in a certain area, someone working next to him feels obligated to pick up the slack, or feel obligated to do more, and is more stressed by the overall burden."