Dark Cloud 3 History and Development Secrets

Dark Cloud 3 Title Dark Chronicle Rogue Galaxy Header DC3Title Featured

Dark Cloud 3 is a highly sought after sequel by many fans of the series that was never released. However, was it actually created? Over time, a lot of new information has been uncovered, and it continues to be asked about to this day. Will the fans ever get their wish? We hope to answer all of you questions here, and in the Dark Cloud 3 documentary!

Since Dark Cloud 1 and 2 had done so well, why didn’t Level-5 decide to go ahead with making another game? They actually had some good reason not to. Their team had actually been tired of using the same ideas, and wanted to try something different. Sony also didn’t see the point of the Georama and didn’t think it would fit in the new game they were developing. They asked for many changes which quickly changed the game’s identity.

Dark Cloud 3 and Rogue Galaxy

After releasing Dark Cloud 2, Level-5’s next big project was Rogue Galaxy. All of the evidence we have available actually shows that Rogue Galaxy was developed as Dark Cloud 3 at first! With files taken from Rogue Galaxy’s Japanese disc, and insider information from Level-5, we’re able to confirm that this is in fact that case.

First, lets talk about the insider source from Level-5. In 2019, hiddencastle released an interview he did with an employee who wished to stay anonymous. They revealed the fact that Sony did green light Dark Cloud 3 in 2003, but it eventually became Rogue Galaxy. This was due to the many changes Sony asked for. This included the removal of the Georama, which was removed very early on. Soon after all of the changes, they also had to change the name.

Dark Cloud 3 - Dark Chronicle Rogue Galaxy DC3Title Image
DC3Title

Level-5 also left behind some files and pictures on the Japanese version of Rogue Galaxy. This includes two images that were labeled ‘DC3Title’. The first image had the title ‘Dark Chronicle Rogue Galaxy’ on it! The other image appears to be a work in progress menu that didn’t make it very far.

Also on the disc are three unused launch files. Two of the launch files from June 6th, and June 24th of 2005 have the game named as ‘DC3-Project’!

However, on November of 28th in 2005, we can see that the name was finally changed to ‘RG-Project’. A lot of the changes the anonymous source was talking about, were probably made during the time in between those months.

Launch Files

launcher_menu.cfg

// デバッグメニュー定義ファイル;
VERSION    "050607";
LASTUPDATEDATETIME    "2005/06/07 15:12";
SYSTEM_TITLE    "DC3-Project";
SYSTEM_VERSION    "Ver0030";

launcher_menu2.cfg

// デバッグメニュー定義ファイル;
VERSION    "051128";
LASTUPDATEDATETIME    "2005/11/28 20:22";
SYSTEM_TITLE    "RG-Project";
SYSTEM_VERSION    "Ver1.10";

launcher_menu3.cfg

// デバッグメニュー定義ファイル;
VERSION    "050624";
LASTUPDATEDATETIME    "2005/06/24 17:49";
SYSTEM_TITLE    "DC3-Project";
SYSTEM_VERSION    "Ver0031a";

Art Books and Characters Revealed!

Dark Chronicle Art Book - Next DC Page 63
Next DC – The Hero and Heroine

The first instance of Dark Cloud 3 being mentioned by Level-5 was in the Dark Chronicle art book that was released in 2003. Page 63 has a short article provided by Akihiro Hino titled “Message for Dark Fans”.

The page is titled “Next DC” and features two shadowed out character designs labeled ‘The Hero?’ and ‘The Heroine?’ They also present you with the question “In Production!?” Most likely because they were still uncertain of it’s name and the fate of the game.

The background image hasn’t been seen anywhere else before. Maybe it turned out to be concept art for one of the locations used in the finished game.

Akihiro’s Art Book Passage

The short passage written by Akihiro at the bottom reads

“It’s already been half a year since Dark Chronicle was released for sale. Up until now, we’ve received a lot of response from the players. Trial and error is an essentials part in game creation, but with “Dark Chronicle”, I think we’ve been able to provide an answer to both the wishes of the users and our own line of thinking.

This is a short message, but SCE and Level 5 are planning a new release. This might be a sequel to “Dark Chronicle”, or a successor. Or it might become an entirely new work.

I can’t tell you anything official yet, but I believe that not long from now, the time will come when we will be able to proudly say:
“This is the next world that Level 5 has created!”

Until that time, please keep supporting us.”

And so it did indeed become an entirely new work. What’s especially interesting in this art book are the characters who were destined to be the “Next DC” heroes. Their identity was actually revealed in a Rogue Galaxy art book that was released in 2005! This was only discovered in 2021 as well, it was a mystery for so long.

Rogue Galaxy Jaster Beta Design
Jaster Beta Design Revealed as DC3 Character

The beta design for Jaster was revealed entirely. You can definitely tell that there’s a strong resemblance between the two designs. The book also confirms that the female character was meant to be Kisala, although that design was not fully revealed. We still only ever got to see the shadowed out version of her beta design. Though it probably closely resembles the costume to the right of it.

Rogue Galaxy Kisala Beta Design
Kisala Beta Design

Also in the RG art book, Akihiro Hino and Kentaro Motomura talk quite a bit about Dark Cloud. They talked about how they put the extra effort into this game like they did in the past when making the international versions of DC 1 & 2. When creating those overseas versions, they did not just make a translated version. They went all out and really improved the games as great as they could. Even if they had to remake something from scratch, it was worth it.

Level-5 takes a lot of pride in pursuing the hardware to it’s full extent for their games, and is filled with the uncompromising dedication of their team. The work completed under such an attitude naturally received glowing reviews for Dark Chronicle. They continued on with the same dedication, but with an even bigger team for RG.

Concept Art

Enter The New World Level-5 Promo Graphic
Enter the New World

The now defunct part of Level-5’s website also had this concept art on the front page for a while after Dark Cloud 2’s release. This could have possibly been the very first promotional image for Dark Cloud 3. It was on the site before the game’s name was officially changed to RG-Project.

However, we do know from Rogue Galaxy that this is Zerard, a futuristic city that covers the entire surface of the planet. This promo graphic depicts the many unique buildings and airships of their advanced civilization. ‘Enter the New World’ was an early hint to the games large scale space travel.

They did originally plan for a much larger scale ‘planetary’ georama. Although that would have been eve more difficult to pull off than the same style they used before. Instead, the game was created to be more about exploring these worlds instead. It would have been amazing to see space travel and a larger scale georama where you could even customize the planet.

Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII was actually developed on a modified version of Dark Cloud 2’s engine which is called the ‘Dark Engine’. It was most likely the third upgrade of the engine they used. In fact, there’s one interesting line that was left behind in the .elf file:

/DARK3/DC3_SOUND

So this is even more proof that they were working on it, and that they were using the same engine to create it. This also means that Dark Cloud 3 most likely would have been released on the PS2.

Latest News

Even though it’s been 19 years since the release of Dark Chronicle, Level-5 still hears so many requests about a sequel. Our voices are still being heard!

In an interview done by IGN in 2010, Akihiro Hino said that there is still a lot of interest in Dark Cloud 3 and that people still ask about it. They said it could have been possible after White Knight Chronicles as well. Osmond even got a cameo in the game. However nothing came of his claims afterward.

In 2015, Dark Cloud and then Dark Cloud 2 were added into the PS2 on PS4 games collection! There were only so many games that made it into that library, so doing this attracted many new and old fans. They even added trophy support which was like a dream come true. It made it so much more fun to go back to so I could achieve everything within the game. They’re some of the most satisfying platinum trophies to get.

Interviews

At Gamescom In 2017, Polygon interviewed Akihiro Hino about the difficulties they had in making a sequel. They also acknowledged that there’s still so much support. One of the biggest problems that had was that Sony co-owns the IP. So a lot of it is up to them. There’s a lot of employees at Level-5 that want to make it, but they have to convince Sony and the top people at their company

“There has been a lot of requests and voices to create a Dark Cloud 3 or some form of Dark Cloud,” Hino told Polygon. “That IP is co-owned or managed by Sony Computer Entertainment, so it’s not something that we can do or act upon on our own.”

They say it’s more likely that games such as Professor Layton and newer would get revamps and remasters. Since they fully own those IP’s.

Everything beyond Layton and newer is all controlled by Level-5,” Hino said.

“There’s a higher chance that we’ll see some of that, like older Layton games from when we were less well known. There’s a high chance we might see that on more modern platforms,”

In 2018 he talked about it again in an interview with Famitsu Magazine. It was Level-5’s 20th anniversary so they had a special feature for him in it. He talked about how they improved their overseas version of the first Dark Cloud, and how they did that with their other games. They spent way more time on those versions, even taking an extra year and scraping many parts if they didn’t think it was good enough.

After the first DC, they had over 100 employees to work on their games! It was a massive increase in resources and they could make games much better with all of the new help.

Level-5 Ceases Operations in North America

As you may have heard, Level-5 has ceased their operations in North America. In 2019, they laid off a majority of their employees. They only left a few of their employees at their Abbey location to finish the exiting work. Those who remained said they were given every indication the studio was ceasing operations.

This doesn’t mean we won’t see more games or Dark Cloud 3 from them though! They could always hire a localization company to do it for them though, so don’t give up hope! Hopefully they will make a comeback in the US someday.

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