- Golden Sun was initially launched in 2001, receiving a sequel in 2002 on the Game Boy Advance.
- Golden Sun: The Dark Dawn was released in 2010 for the Nintendo DS.
- Ever since then, there has been no official news about the franchise’s future.
Golden Sun, a fantasy turn-based RPG developed by Camelot Software Planning and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance console, deserves a revival or a proper sequel. How can Nintendo let an RPG that inspires many retro-style RPGs to this day die out like this? Is getting mentioned at big events once in a decade the only thing left for this franchise?
It definitely isn’t an obscure title if so many people remember it decades after its launch. One could argue that turn-based games aren’t popular today. But then, look at Baldur’s Gate 3, a turn-based game that is 2023’s Game of the Year winner. Baldur’s Gate 3’s prequel, Baldur’s Gate 2, came out in 2000, while the original Baldur’s Gate was released in 1998.
While Golden Sun 4 can’t exactly be Nintendo’s Baldur’s Gate 3, it can still be a great game. Hopefully, the recent shoutout to Golden Sun at The Game Awards 2023 by Abubakar Salim will be enough to remind Nintendo that this IP exists and has a lot of potential in the right hands. It hasn’t been too late, as many hardcore fans have been hoping for Golden Sun 4 after all these years.
— The Game Awards (@thegameawards) December 8, 2023
The JRPG Trend
Today, many classic turn-based JRPGs of the same era are either getting a remake or are still kept alive via newer entries in their franchise. Let’s take a look at the original Final Fantasy 7. The game first came out in 1997 for the PlayStation. However, Final Fantasy 7 Remake was released in 2020, while Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the second part of the trilogy, is set to launch next year.
There’s also the Dragon Quest franchise, which introduced its latest mainline game, Dragon Quest 11, in 2017. The thing Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy games have in common is that each game offers a unique story, and the player isn’t required to play any of the previous games to know what is going on. Golden Sun is different.
Golden Sun can be called the spiritual successor of Shining Force, an older title by Camelot that was released in 1992. In Golden Sun’s case, the story between each entry is heavily connected. Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a direct sequel to the first entry and lets the player play as the antagonists of the first game. Golden Sun: The Dark Dawn was released in 2010, about a decade after the first two games.
The Problem With Golden Sun: The Dark Dawn
The biggest issue with the franchise’s third entry was that it was released on Nintendo DS in 2010. Only one year later, the Nintendo 3DS made its debut and was able to succeed the previous Nintendo hand-held console in more ways than one. That, and there were several other things, including a weaker plot, that was quite different from the first two entries, which resulted in the game not being as successful as its prequels.
Golden Sun: The Dark Dawn is set thirty long years after the ending of Golden Sun: The Lost Age. The player takes control of Mathew, Son of Isaac, and Jenna, who were the main protagonists of the first two Golden Sun games. Despite getting many positive reviews from critics and being an overall decent game, the arrival of the Nintendo 3DS was one of the reasons why the game wasn’t able to sell well.
Towards the game’s ending, the player is left with a massive cliffhanger as the player’s party realizes that all their efforts during the game might have ended up speeding up the thing they initially set out to stop. We won’t know what happens afterward, and we might never, as Nintendo appears to have forgotten this series even exists.
The Revival And Its Demand
Golden Sun is in quite a similar shape as the other Nintendo IP, Metroid, except for the fact that Metroid finally got a new entry and a remaster. A few years ago, Metroid fans were also hoping for anything new related to the game after decades of no news regarding the franchise. But then, Nintendo revealed Metroid Dread and, later, Metroid Prime Remastered.
There’s hope for Golden Sun as well. Early in 2022, Camelot updated its website with high-quality renders of the game. Fans speculated something might be coming, but so far, it has been all for nothing. There were rumors of Golden Sun: Reignited, a remake of the first two Golden Sun games for Nintendo Switch, expected to be released in late 2022, but all that turned out to be fake as well.
The first two games should be available to play on Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo Switch Online expansion pack and its ability to support GBA games. However, Golden Sun: The Dark Dawn is currently unavailable to play on Switch since it is a Nintendo DS game. This is why a remake of Golden Sun: The Dark Dawn might be just the thing Nintendo should work on if a new game is too much to ask.
E3 wasn't perfect but it gave the community so many awesome reveals and memories.
Golden Sun Dark Dawn being revealed out of the blue at E3 while @Reggie acknowledges the prestige of the original games was something truly magical and will forever be iconic 🌞 https://t.co/rsD2u3sR8j pic.twitter.com/fM5E1C3uy5
— Isaac's Allied Adepts ☀️ #GoldenSunday (@IsaacAdepts) December 12, 2023
This turn-based JRPG franchise has massive potential. The fans can only imagine how a Golden Sun game would look if it were made with modern standards while fixing the issues that were present in the original games. Even if they have to scrap the turn-based mechanics and introduce “more” modern combat gameplay or trim down the dialogues, the game would still likely do extremely well because of its strong story and the nostalgia factor.
It has been over two decades since the first two Golden Sun games came out and over a decade since the third and latest entry was launched. The fans desperately hope for the franchise’s revival, even if nostalgia is at play here. If other JRPGs that came out around the same time can get remakes or sequels, then why can’t Golden Sun as well?
The recent shoutout to the game at The Game Awards 2023 has given the fans a little hope. Nintendo shouldn’t shy away from experimenting and give this series the chance it deserves. The original games were in no way “perfect,” but fixing those few issues will undoubtedly result in great games, at least better than most games we see today.
There’s hope for it. Just like Metroid fans didn’t give up after all this time, Golden Sun fans shouldn’t, as well. Who knows, maybe Nintendo will have a surprise for us in the coming days. But if it doesn’t, we’ll lose a classic to the ravines of time.
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