The original Skies of Arcadia was released in late 2000 / early 2001 on Dreamcast, and soon became a cult hit among JRPG fans. The game was developed by Overworks, a SEGA team composed of numerous legendary developers and designers, including Rieko Kodama, Shuntarō Tanaka, and Noriyoshi Ohba; who worked on past RPGs, such as the Phantasy Star series, Magic Knight Rayearth, Wonder Boy in Monster Land and the Sakura Taisen series. Hype was high and the final game was really one of the best japanese RPGs released in the ‘00, but unfortunately, it seems that Skies of Arcadia did not sell enough on Dreamcast (does anyone have official sales numbers?), maybe because of the low user base and the console early departure in early 2001.
Sega was still confident about their sky-pirates project: they developed an enchanted PS2 and GameCube ports with added featured, to try to sell more copies and earn back some of the money spent to create the game. The GameCube version was released in December 2002 under the title “Skies of Arcadia Legends” but PS2 port was canned for some reasons, throwing away one of the biggest user base for RPG fanatics. As most Nintendo console, GameCube was not an easy console to sell third parties titles and with a lower percentage of people interested in turn based role playing games, Skies of Arcadia Legend bombed even harder than the Dreamcast version.
Before losing all faith in the game, Sega and Overworks were planning a sequel to Skies of Arcadia, as confirmed by interviews with developers from the original team. In June 2001 IGN asked to Noriyoshi Ohba about Skies of Arcadia 2 and he replied:
We’re considering a sequel to “Eternal Arcadia.” Regarding which platform, we’re still evaluating it.
In September 2002, before Skies of Arcadia Legends was published, Rieko Kodama told to Gamespy that work on the sequel was not yet started, but they really wanted to do it in the future:
I would love to make a sequel, but were really not working on it yet. […] We don’t know what platform we would make a sequel for, but GameCube has priority since Legend is coming out for it.
In march 2004 Ohba announced that they started some planning on the second episode:
The Skies of Arcadia sequel is in the planning stages at the moment.
In late 2004, Rieko talked again about Skies of Arcadia 2 in an interview with german Man!ac magazine (issue 1 / 2005) in which she said:
MAN!AC: There were rumors about a sequel (to Skies of Arcadia) or a “Gaiden” episode. Can you tell us something about that
Rieko : We had plans, but the other team members are currently working on other projects such as “Sakura Taisen” – this means SoA2 is currently on hold. Anyway I would be very glad about a new episode with the sky pirates.
In 2003 Overworks was absorbed into SEGA WOW and only a year later the team was split again because of another Sega company restructure: people that worked on Skies of Arcadia were scattered around on different games. As far as we were able to gather, not much was ever did for Skies of Arcadia 2 but at least a few ideas and concepts seem to have been brainstormed by the team, still hoping to release a sequel on GameCube or Playstation 2. In 2006 Nintendo and Sony released their new consoles (Wii, PS3) and whichever plans Sega had for a new Skies RPG on GameCube or PS2 will never see the light of day.
Even without a sequel, love for Skies of Arcadia is still strong at Sega. Vyse, Aika and Fina, three of the main SoA protagonists, were added as bonus characters in Valkyria Chronicles, released in 2008 on PS3. Vyse is also a playable character in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, released in 2012 for different consoles / PC and one of the game’s tracks, Rogues’ Landing, is based on Skies of Arcadia’s world.
Thanks to Mario for the contribution!