Devolver Digital and Vagrant Story don’t seem like a logical pairing do they? For those who know of the beloved year 2000, PlayStation One JRPG from Square then you’ll likely agree that the franchise and the publisher don’t really fit together, but for those unaware of the IP you’re likely all at sea right about now. Vagrant Story did some fascinating things in its day in that it features no shops and no player interaction with other characters, it included a first-person, 360-degree view. It did some incredibly inventive things for its time, and was critically acclaimed for it, but sadly we’ve never seen any more of it; enter Graeme Struthers and Devolver Digital, who want to find a way to revive the long-lost IP.
It turns out that Graeme Struthers is a big fan of what 1990’s and early 2000’s Square was working on, Vagrant Story, the company’s second last original title on the PlayStation. Speaking to Australian publication Well-Played, and their interviewer Adam Ryan at PAX Australia 2022, Graeme, one of Devolver Digital’s co-founders, was asked about what pre-existing franchises he’d love for Devolver to be involved with, considering the recent success that they’d had with the revival of the Monkey Island IP by pairing with Ron Gilbert and Disney to bring the franchise back in the form of Return To Monkey Island. To this, Struthers revealed his great love of Vagrant Story and desire to see it return, saying
I have tried twice, to no avail, with Vagrant Story, which was a game released by Square at the very end of PlayStation One era. In fact, I think I’m right in saying that it’s a game that got ten out of tens through quite a number of sites. I absolutely love that game. And yeah, I’ve tried a couple of times with Square, now Square Enix, saying, “you’re not doing anything with it; we’d love to have a go at that one.” Yeah, that’s a personal favourite, so I’ll keep trying.
When asked further about this revelation, and how as a large publisher themselves they might be in a position to approach other publishers sitting on dormant IP, Struthers said,
I mean Nigel and Andrew, you know, those kids, when they were 12/13 years of age, Monkey Island one and two were their favourite games, right? That’s what led Nigel to try and find a way to do Monkey Islands, and he did it. How did he manage to convince Disney? I think the team didn’t have the ambition to do another Monkey game, perhaps, I mean, I don’t want to speak on their behalf, but Nigel just said, “Well, let’s see how we can convince Disney.”
Maybe we should get him to try to do Vagrant Story rather than me. He’s more persuasive than I am.
I think I speak on behalf of many JRPG fans of the era who sincerely hope that Graeme is successful, should he approach Square-Enix proposing to do some work with Vagrant Story in the future.