The TearRing Saga series (ティアリングサーガシリーズ) is a pair of turn-based tactical RPG video games developed by Tirnanog and published by Enterbrain for PlayStation consoles. Originally created and intended by Shouzou Kaga to be a successor to the Fire Emblem series he created at Intelligent Systems, the release of the first TearRing Saga sparked a lengthy battle between Kaga and Tirnanog with Intelligent Systems and Nintendo.
Series History Edit
The first game developed by Tirnanog was originally titled Emblem Saga, which styled itself as a successor to Fire Emblem. Because the game's design, name, and setting bore very strong similarities to (or otherwise outright borrowed from) Fire Emblem, Nintendo sued the game's publisher Enterbrain on grounds of copyright infringement. Emblem Saga was renamed to TearRing Saga: Utna Heroes Saga, and key story elements were changed to distance the game from Fire Emblem.
Nintendo initially had their claim rejected by the courts, TearRing Saga was ultimately ruled to not be in breach of copyright, and sales were allowed to continue. This court ruling set a precedent for numerous Japanese developers to make extremely similar spiritual successors without the consent of their original games' contractors. However, Nintendo did win a financial settlement on appeal.
The court battles with Nintendo lasted for years after the release of Utna Heroes Saga, and were still ongoing while Tirnanog began on a second title in the TearRing Saga series. The initial concept for TearRing Saga 2 was a side-story to Utna Heroes Saga following Richard's or Sennet's journeys. Eventually, however, the idea for TearRing Saga 2 was dropped, and Tirnanog decided to instead focus on an essentially unrelated setting and an entirely new cast of characters for their next game, Berwick Saga.
Berwick Saga was a marked departure in gameplay from both Utna Heroes Saga and Fire Emblem, and Kaga himself was unlisted in the game's credits despite his close involvement; this was perhaps to avoid further legal troubles, as the legal dispute with Nintendo stretched into 2005, the year of Berwick Saga's release. Despite the large shifts in gameplay and Kaga going unlisted in the credits, Berwick Saga shares a large number of similarities in its narrative and lore with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (released one month prior to Berwick Saga) and Radiant Dawn. While there has never been public confirmation, it is speculated that Intelligent Systems developed the Tellius Fire Emblem titles with the aid of documents that Kaga had written while still with the company, and that Kaga incidentally reused many of the same ideas for Berwick Saga.
At least two early ideas for future titles were considered by Shouzou Kaga at some point: Holmes Saga and Vestaria Chronicle. The former was to be a remake of Holmes's route from Utna Heroes Saga in the engine of Berwick Saga, while the latter was a new entry in the series. Neither entry is known to have been in development at any point, and Tirnanog released no further titles after Berwick Saga. In 2012, Kaga announced his retirement on his blog .
Despite his retirement, Kaga later revived the idea for Vestaria Chronicle as a freeware indie game, Vestaria Saga I, the first entry in a planned trilogy unrelated to TearRing Saga.
|Translated Title||Japanese Title||Platforms & Release Dates||Notes|
|TearRing Saga: Utna Heroes Saga||ティアリングサーガ
(Tiaringu Sāga: Yutona Eiyuu Senki)
|PS1: JPMay 24, 2001||Originally titled Emblem Saga (エムブレムサーガ Emuburemu Sāga).|
|TearRing Saga 2||ティアリングサーガ２
(Tiaringu Sāga 2)
|PS1: (cancelled)||Planned to follow Sennet's or Richard's routes from the first game. Cancelled in favor of Berwick Saga.|
|TearRing Saga Series: Berwick Saga||ティアリングサーガシリーズ ベルウィックサーガ
(Tiaringu Sāga Shirīzu: Beruwikku Sāga)
|PS2: JPMay 26, 2005||Takes place roughly 1000 years after Utna Heroes Saga on a separate continent.|
|PS2: (cancelled)||Planned remake Holmes's route of Utna Heroes Saga in the engine of Berwick Saga.|
|Vestaria Chonicle 687-693||--||? (cancelled)||Eventually revived unofficially as Vestaria Saga I.|
According to online sources, Utna Heroes Saga sold 366,164 copies, while Berwick Saga sold 177,101 copies.