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Grandia HD Collection E3 2019 gameplay, screenshots, and information

Mista

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RPG Site has posted three minutes of Grandia HD Collection gameplay from E3 2019 alongside a new set of screenshots.

The outlet also spoke to GungHo Online Entertainment America director of game publishing Takeshi Minagawa, who offered the following tidbits of information:
  • Grandia HD Collection will be available “very soon,” but Minagawa would not provide a release date or more specific window.
  • When asked if there are plans for a physical release, Minagawa said, “Not at all.” It will be a digital-only release.
  • When asked if GungHo Online Entertainment would consider releasing a PlayStation 4 version, Minagawa said, “We’ll think about it, but we felt the Switch was the console platform best suited for JRPGs, and we are first focused on release for Nintendo Switch and PC.”
  • The code for Grandia is based on the original PlayStation version.
  • The ports are being handled by Sickhead Games.
  • GungHo Online Entertainment touched up as many art assets as possible. Most of the user interface received a complete overhaul, aside from a few menu digits that could not be replaced. There is no option to use the original sprites.
  • In the E3 2019 show floor demo of Grandia HD Collection, the battle ability voices were in English despite selecting Japanese voice-overs.
  • The audio quality will remain the same as the original PlayStation version, and no additional elements are being added to Grandia.
  • Asked about a potential Grandia III remaster, Minagawa said, “I cannot say. The history with Grandia III is so complicated—who distributed it, who published it, who actually has the rights. If you really want to ask that question, you’d have to go ask [original developer] Game Arts first.”

Grandia I Screenshots:

Grandia II Screenshots:
 
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ethomaz

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Doesn’t look that better than original 🤔

But I can’t complain it is Grandia ;)
 
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LucidFeuer

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A collection with only 2 entries, and not the third one or even the Xtreme?

Gosh have collection and "remasters" become a degenerate money-hungry go-to.
 

shark sandwich

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Looks.... like about the best they could do for what’s essentially an emulated PSX game.

Kinda wish it was more than that but oh well
 

DigitalScrap

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I’ve recently been thinking about playing through Grandia again (no idea why, it just popped into my head a few months ago), so I’ll definitely end up buying this on Switch. Well, that will depend on how they price it. Love the game, but I’m not going to pay full price for it (I’ll go in the attic and get my original copy and play that before I spend $59).
 

Vawn

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I'm definitely excited for these.
 

RPGCrazied

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First one looks good, 2nd one looks like a simple upres. Digital only puts it on the backburner for now. Maybe limitied run could hook us up.
 

JORMBO

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Looks good for a PSX game. I never finished the original so I will be picking this up.
 

JunkerWoland

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Not necessarily surprising, but digital-only and based on the PSX version is disappointing. Otherwise, while some of the 3D assets look decent, the 2D graphics are coated in that unfortunate smear. I'll very likely be passing on this release.
 
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ethomaz

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Why not based on the superior Sega Saturn version?
Quote me wrong on that but the difference were basically Saturn having better framerate and color saturation.

If so then there is no difference choosing one or another for a Remaster that will automatically fix both issues.
 
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JunkerWoland

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Quote me wrong on that but the difference were basically Saturn having better framerate and color saturation.
The Saturn version also at times has more detailed or slightly different graphics. It's not a night and day comparison, but there are differences between the two.
 
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DT MEDIA

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I'm thrilled to see Grandia return with this compilation. I am a little disappointed that the original is taken from the Playstation version and not the superior Saturn version. Part of me wishes that Game Arts would give us a physical release for Saturn Grandia and Grandia Digital Museum, for which I would pay immediately.

There are some issues with the graphics filters, and everything looks a little too clean, which is a common problem when emulating 240/480 videogames in HD resolutions. Personally, I won't mind too much, but I am hoping that "straight" SD versions will also be available.

Note to the fan translators: we really need to get crackin' on the Saturn Grandia titles.
 
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jinnosuke

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I'm thrilled to see Grandia return with this compilation. I am a little disappointed that the original is taken from the Playstation version and not the superior Saturn version. Part of me wishes that Game Arts would give us a physical release for Saturn Grandia and Grandia Digital Museum, for which I would pay immediately.

There are some issues with the graphics filters, and everything looks a little too clean, which is a common problem when emulating 240/480 videogames in HD resolutions. Personally, I won't mind too much, but I am hoping that "straight" SD versions will also be available.

Note to the fan translators: we really need to get crackin' on the Saturn Grandia titles.
 
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sponk

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Grandia 1 is great atmospherical old school jprg with a lot of charm, a good combat system and a nice story. I encourage everyone who is a fan of the genre and hasn't played it yet, to give it a try. I would consider purchasing this collection, but I don't have a switch, unfortunately.
 
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dottme

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Grandia 1 was great and it looks quite good here.
But do I have time to play it again.
 

KiteGr

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What a missed opportunity!

1. They port the butchered PS1 and not the Original and vastly superior Saturn version.


In the PS1 port, the ground textures in the cities where out of synch with the 3D environment and nobody bothered to fix them! Also the background textures for combat were of a ridiculously low quality, where in Saturn you wheren't even supposed to notice they where textures.

2. Grandia 3 is missing! THE ONLY MAIN GAME THAT NEVER REACHED EUROPE AND I COULD BE REMOTELY INTERESTED IN!

3. No retail!
 

BONKERS

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"It's an HD remaster, not a port"
So you are calling running all the textures through a filter for Grandia I ,an "HD remaster" ?
Not even the menu portraits are spared from the filter. (With glitches at the edges of those too)
Using an upscaling filter as a basis is fine because it can shave off a lot of work. But it's *never* good enough on it's own to be shippable. You have to actually take the time and put some human work in to clean it up. https://www.fortressofdoors.com/doing-an-hd-remake-the-right-way/

*The dithering used on original textures is still clearly visible.

*The Audio encoding could clearly use work. They have much higher quality versions available to use from soundtrack CDs if they wanted enough to do some work to use them. I don't remember if the sample rate of Grandia I's soundtrack is primarily to blame for the muffled mix on the original release (Probably as it was for every version of II), but just having a 44.1khz source makes a huge difference. The encoding though in Grandia I here sounds better than GII's horrible compression, low sample rate mess as shown.

And just for reference, Grandia II has some of GI's music present in the game files. For shits and giggles when I made my GII PC Music mod I replaced some of those songs too.
Here's the battle theme from my encode https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DCzJmxv49YU-JoQiaqFKFoqY739tgNC5/view?usp=sharing
Compare it to the footage here. Notice how much the high-end of the mix is missing. Listen to the Hi-hats.

*There are audio playback glitches during the intro. Not surprised.
*There is scaling errors on the sprites as the camera pans in and out. (Part of the character sprites clip together)
*The only real tangible hand made upgrades are the perspective correct texturing/depth buffer, higher rendering resolution and the high resolution bitmap font (Which stands out against all the upscaled assets)

If this isn't "Just a port" these things should all be fixed. If all the game data is left out in the open without being encrypted like GII Anniversary Edition was on PC I will be very tempted to work on the textures and music files myself. Much like GIIAE.
________________________________________________________________
On to Grandia II,

*The title screen is stretched. Not native widescreen. Ugh.
There are still alignment glitches with low res UI assets and a crazy mixture of higher res UI assets and low res assets. The exact opposite of Grandia I.

*In the menu the text is low res but the icons are new higher res ones. But during gameplay, Portraits are still the same low res ones used originally. During battle they use ugly smeared upscaled portraits.
But , THEN, during battles some text is a mixture of high res and low res. Consistency? What's that.

*They are still using the ultra low quality audio from the PC AE. And somehow they made it sound worse even.... ok folks. JUST for reference, compare the song played at the beginning of the Grandia II gameplay footage (linked above, the town gameplay) here to this encode I made for the AE PC release. https://instaud.io/3O5e

There's literally no reason for the audio to be even worse than the last version of the game, space can't possibly be a real reason since it's a digital download only. And a max 500Kbs .OGG encode of the music for Grandia II only weighs in at 1.2GB for the entire soundtrack.

For anyone curious, here's how the existing AE on PC looks with a fan mod for higher quality UI assets.
(Notice it's still a mixture of low res and higher res. Something they had a great opportunity to do better here)

It will be interesting to see how they handle spells as they are FMVs and are only 4:3. I'm guessing they will stretch them. I hope there's still a 4:3 option.
It's still not clear as to whether they fixed all of the audio glitches present in the AE port and the screwed up event animation/text/audio sync.

For the unaware, Grandia II has most of it's audio split up in to lots of small little files. And they are supposed to play back sequentially, seamless so the user is never aware. As the audio is often timed to cutscene animation and text. The AE port wasn't able to port this properly, and so events will be out of sync. Animations complete too soon before audio finishes, audio doesn't play seamlessly in some instances, it will cut from one file in an audible 'pop' sound,etc.
The two biggest early examples are the opening cutscene with the music timed precisely to animation. And the church early on when you meet Elena the first time and she is supposed to stop singing before starting to talk.

They have claimed to be fixing this in a press release but we'll see.
_________________________________


I have tried emailing Sickhead games and previously GungHo.
If anyone has contact with anybody working at either of these companies , please contact me though a PM.
I made a mod for Anniversary Edition (2014) on PC for Grandia II that replaces 90% of the music with higher quality 500Kbs 44.1Khz OGG encodes sourced from the soundtrack CDs. And I would love to give those files to Sickhead/GungHo to use for Grandia II. As it sounds like they have made the audio encoding even worse (Multi generational compression?). If they haven't changed the audio subsystem from that port and it still uses the same assets. It's literally a copy-paste fix.

Example audio files

https://instaud.io/3Ig1
https://instaud.io/3Ig3
(Notice the spectrograph showing the missing information just from the sample rate difference. This is real information lost)
 
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DT MEDIA

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What a missed opportunity!

1. They port the butchered PS1 and not the Original and vastly superior Saturn version.


In the PS1 port, the ground textures in the cities where out of synch with the 3D environment and nobody bothered to fix them! Also the background textures for combat were of a ridiculously low quality, where in Saturn you wheren't even supposed to notice they where textures.

2. Grandia 3 is missing! THE ONLY MAIN GAME THAT NEVER REACHED EUROPE AND I COULD BE REMOTELY INTERESTED IN!

3. No retail!

This certainly explains why the backgrounds on the Grandia 1 "remaster" are so blurry. And as for the Sega Saturn version, let's not forget the wonderful VDP2 rolling water effects, reminiscent of the Panzer Dragoon games.

There were so many great Saturn games that were left in Japan. Grandia has to be near the top of the "What Was Bernie Stolar Thinking" list. There's no excuse why this title was never released in the USA. If it were up to me, I would have published everything Game Arts ever made, including the three Lunar titles, Gungriffon 2 and Dino Island.
 
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cireza

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The first disc of Saturn Grandia is now available in English and has been debugged. I have a playthrough of the game started and it works very well. So we will finally get what we hoped for, thanks to the fans. I need to resume my game one of these days...
 
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JunkerWoland

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GungHo provided the following gobbledygook statement to RPG Site.

- Update: GungHo has sent the following statement regarding the PlayStation/Saturn base.
"We want to be clear, the GRANDIA HD Collection are not ports of the original PlayStation games, they are remasters. We are using the original PlayStation code of GRANDIA, but working with the Sega Saturn version to craft the definitive version of this beloved RPG."

- After we asked if GungHo could offer more clarification, GungHo replied:
The team is primarily using the Saturn version as a reference point, working to match details and effects from that version of the game.

Until they offer some significant evidence on how they're trying to match the Saturn version of the game, I'm going to assume GungHo is merely blowing smoke.
 
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EightBit Man

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Already own the Grandia II Anniversary Edition, and it doesn't seem like the original got the treatment it deserved. A missed opportunity, at least with this impression. Hope to be proven wrong later.
 

KiteGr

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What was different in the Saturn version? Better sprites? Or...
A little history lesson...
The Grandia Franchise was originally designed to be Sega's Answer to Sony's Final Fantasy 7, aka a Killer JRPG for the system, so a lot of great talent was gathered. While it didn't manage to reach FF7's level, it was still a pretty fucking good game on it's own, focusing on a lighter "Grand Adventure" type story.
However the Saturn got discontinued, and they where forced to port the game to the PS1. It was a by all means a butchered port, but fur us westerners it was the only version we could access.
The Sequel Grandia 2 was also designed with extreme love and care to be a killer tittle for the Dreamcast. This time the good version managed to reach the west, but sadly the Dreamcast was discontinued, and shortly after once again it got another butchered port for the other consoles. This, beyond the bad porting, had trouble standing out on the newer consoles as Dreamcast was pretty much a mid generation console.
Grandia 3 was made from the ground up for the PS2, but lacked some key talents from the originals and is considered worse. I wouldn't know if that's true, since it's one of those thausant games that never reached Europe.

As for butchering of ports, see the above posts.
Textures being compressed, Sound being compressed, Textures being out of synch with the 3d models, slowdowns, bigger loading, audio that was meant to follow the cutscenes got out of synch. They seem to knew about that last one, because they replaced the opening in-game cut-scene of the first game with a crappy fmv with in-game graphics... and no, they didn't do that in the later game.

These games deserve better!
 

BONKERS

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Yes they do deserve better. And it's deeply disappointing they keep claiming these are not just ports but clearly show that they are not proving that at all.

How the audio quality alone for Grandia II keeps getting worse with each new port is astounding. Especially considering how easy it is to fix.
 
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BONKERS

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Looks a little too clean anyway, PSone games really don't upres well.
This really isn't true though IMO.
There are a lot of PS1 games that look great in high resolution with modern features like perspective correct texturing and better color depth.
Games like this with a mixture of 2D and 3D can look great too in higher resolution if done well with a little creativity. You can run at a higher res, but disable texture filtering. Which will scale sprites perfect and keep the textures sharp but pixellated. You can even do this with a hybrid CRT shader setup that gives the impression of 240p for the sprites but the 3D rendering is still high resolution.


Examples:

Arc The Lad III , no texture filtering, 4k rendering, with a tweaked CRT shader to have the scanlines line up properly with the edges of the textures/sprites to give a psuedo 240p high-res impression.
Played through the whole game like this, it looked great.
http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/78bCDROM2180627162052.jpg http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/CDROM2180627224414.jpg
Ehrgiez, no texture filtering 4k rendering vs original res. (This game looks so good in motion at higher res. Played through it like this a few months ago)
http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/dd2EhrgeizGodBlesstheRi.jpg http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/EhrgeizGodBlesstheRi.jpg
They still look sharp, accurate representations of the original, while being super clean and having none of the janky shimmering and warping the original hardware had.



The problem comes really when they try to upscale textures or use texture filtering. Which leads to a lot of blurry ugly stuff because the assets are just too low of a resolution to make them look better with an automated approach. You have to do it by hand.
 
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Oemenia

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This really isn't true though IMO.
There are a lot of PS1 games that look great in high resolution with modern features like perspective correct texturing and better color depth.
Games like this with a mixture of 2D and 3D can look great too in higher resolution if done well with a little creativity. You can run at a higher res, but disable texture filtering. Which will scale sprites perfect and keep the textures sharp but pixellated. You can even do this with a hybrid CRT shader setup that gives the impression of 240p for the sprites but the 3D rendering is still high resolution.


Examples:

Arc The Lad III , no texture filtering, 4k rendering, with a tweaked CRT shader to have the scanlines line up properly with the edges of the textures/sprites to give a psuedo 240p high-res impression.
Played through the whole game like this, it looked great.
http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/78bCDROM2180627162052.jpg http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/CDROM2180627224414.jpg
Ehrgiez, no texture filtering 4k rendering vs original res. (This game looks so good in motion at higher res. Played through it like this a few months ago)
http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/dd2EhrgeizGodBlesstheRi.jpg http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/EhrgeizGodBlesstheRi.jpg
They still look sharp, accurate representations of the original, while being super clean and having none of the janky shimmering and warping the original hardware had.



The problem comes really when they try to upscale textures or use texture filtering. Which leads to a lot of blurry ugly stuff because the assets are just too low of a resolution to make them look better with an automated approach. You have to do it by hand.
The geometry and texture corrections make a huge difference but if there is an equivalent PC port (that isn't missing any graphical features) it will look better as PSone games looked 'stitched' together at higher resolutions.

Personally I use SSAA on Retroarch will all PSone games, sure they look a little blurry but 3D stuff looks way less angular and more 'natural' as a result. Even games with pre-rendered backgrounds massively benefit. Stuff like Wipeout 3 can pass off as early PS2 games.
 
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BONKERS

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I'm sure a native port would look better if it was done right. But BeetlePSXHW is so feature rich now that differences would not be huge I would think if they don't do a whole lot to add anything. (Other than upscaling the textures, adding mipmaps,adding widescreen,etc)
 

jshackles

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Still no release date?
 

DT MEDIA

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GungHo provided the following gobbledygook statement to RPG Site.




Until they offer some significant evidence on how they're trying to match the Saturn version of the game, I'm going to assume GungHo is merely blowing smoke.

Now that is unexpected. They really did catch a lot of flak for (reportedly) using the PSX Grandia as the source instead of the Saturn version. I'm glad to see that they're listening and I hope the final release shows some improvements.

As for the ongoing Saturn Grandia translation project, it's fantastic that the first disc is now available. I'm very excited to see the second disc completed as well, but recognize that it's going to take time. These programmers aren't getting paid for any of this, ya know. I think we are deeply blessed to have any translation work made at all. That said, I would definitely like to see Grandia Digital Museum translated after this, just so we can have the entire Saturn saga available for English-reading fans. But I recognize that I'm just asking Santa for extra presents.

There really ought to be a crowd funding option for these translation projects (pretty much all the major RPGs, and some of the minor ones as well). I have my list of Saturn games that ought to have English language versions, and I'm sure you do as well. We need to start funding some projects and move forward on preserving videogame history.
 

Boss Mog

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Why the fuck is the UI so low res in Grandia II. That's lazy and unacceptable.