A Dark Dawn, or, Why There Will Never Be a Golden Sun 4

The other day I started replaying Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. The game was released at the end of 2010, eight years after the second game in the franchise, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, was released. I remember buying the game practically the day it was launched, and being really excited for it.

If you’ve never heard of this RPG franchise, and you may not have, given its odd history, it had a very devoted fanbase for a number of years, which slowly dissolved over the years between the second and third games. The original game, Golden Sun was released within the launch window for Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance system. Its release was overshadowed by other GBA launch games (such as Super Mario Advance, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, among others), but Golden Sun was the first GBA game I had. It was a really fun game, had a great story, great music, memorable characters, and a great battle system, what with the Djinn and the elemental summons.

For those who’ve not played the GS games, and don’t know what the Djinn are in this context: the Djinn were Pokemon-esque creatures you could collect through your journeys. The game focused on four elemental types (Earth, fire, water, and wind), and there were Djinn of each type. Djinn could be assigned to characters, and, when active, would boost that characters stats and even give them abilities they couldn’t access otherwise. You could either have Djinn as “set” or “standby”. When you start having Djinn “set”, you gain the ability to cast elemental summons in battle. Obviously, the more Djinn you have on set, the more powerful the summons you can call upon. If you have a Djinni on standby (I clearly remember Nintendo Power magazine indicating that the singular is “Djinni” and the plural is “Djinn”), then you can use them in battle. Each individual Djinni had a different effect when used in battle: some inflicted damage, some boosted your characters’ stats, some revived, things like that. It was a fun battle element that set the games apart. You found Djinn throughout the game, either by solving puzzles to get to them, or just finding them out in the wild. Sometimes they’d join your party willingly, other times you’d have to defeat them in battle.

Golden Sun was a fun game, but it felt rather short. After two main dungeons, the game concluded with a “To Be Continued” screen, and prompted the player to create a “completed game” save file. Obviously this was telling the player that there was a second game in the works. We didn’t have to wait long for details on this, as the sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age was announced. This was back in the day when I didn’t really have access to the Internet, and most of my gaming news came from the pages of Nintendo Power magazine.

Also for those unfamiliar with the games: the basic story for the game was somewhat simple: you start out with two young men from the mountain village of Vale. There is a magic system in the land of Weyard known as Psynergy, which stems from a greater power known as Alchemy. Alchemy itself was sealed off from the world ages ago, in order to prevent the power, and abuse of the power by people, from destroying the world. The village of Vale guards Sol Sanctum, which is home to the four Elemental Stars (Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter, or Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind, respectively). The two young men, Isaac and Garett, are caught up in events when a storm breaks out in Vale, after two strangers try to break into Sol Sanctum. During the storm, a village youth is swept away downriver and thought lost. The story continues a few years later, when Isaac and Garett have been studying Psynergy with the scholar, Kraden. The group travels to Sol Sanctum to try and solve the mystery of the storm, and end up finding the Elemental Stars. While exploring that sanctuary, the villains return, and take part of the group hostage, forcing Isaac and Garrett to hand over three of the four Elemental Stars. The villains’ plan is simple: they will use the Elemental Stars to ignite the four Lighthouses around the world. Doing so will unleash the power of Alchemy, which Isaac and Garrett have been told will destroy the world. The two pursue the villains across the world, always arriving just moments too late to prevent Lighthouses from being ignited. The game ends after the lighting of the second Lighthouse causes earthquakes, and splits the cast to various areas.

It soon became obvious, through Nintendo Power, that the sequel would be a more expansive game than the first. There would be more of a lot of things: more playable characters, a longer, more involved story, more Djinn to collect. I was excited for the game.

Golden Sun: The Lost Age was released two years after the first game, and was also on the Game Boy Advance. The story picked up just where the first left off, and led to, as was promised, a more expansive story. What caught my attention about the sequel was that you played as one of the villains, a character named Felix. This seemed rather odd; why would you be playing as the villains, trying to fulfill their plan to destroy the world? All was explained in a rather nice twist: turns out that having Alchemy sealed away was weakening the world, and causing it to decay and fall apart. Unleashing Alchemy was the only way to save the world. The villains from the first game turned out to be the actual heroes.

What also made Golden Sun: The Lost Age such a great game was how it connected with the first game, beyond just being a sequel. If you had a completed save file from the first game, you could transfer that data to the second game, and carry over your characters, complete with collected items, levels, and Djinn. When those characters joined your party in the second game, they would be just as you left them in the first game. Doing this would allow you to access bonus content in the second game, including a secret dungeon (provided you had collected every Djinn in the first game).

This connection method reminded me of a couple of Game Boy Color games, those being The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Those games boasted a linked mode, where either game could be played as the first, with the other being the sequel. Completing one game would give you a passcode, which would unlock bonus content in the sequel.

Either way, it was not just a really neat feature, but a nice way of connecting the two games. I’ve not played the Mass Effect games, but I’ve heard there was a similar idea between the first and second of those games, if not the third.

In the years since The Lost Age was released, I’ve learned that the first two games were originally developed as just one massive game, but the project proved either too much for a single GBA cartridge, or the developers just didn’t feel like keeping it as one game. Either way, we ended up with two amazing games for the Game Boy Advance.

The Lost Age had a rather solid ending. It completed the story in a satisfactory manner, for the most part. The only problem with the ending was that it hinted at a possible third game: the game’s main villain, Alex, gained the power he sought and a bit of that power was given to the game’s lead protagonist, Isaac. It was strongly hinted that a third game would be released eventually. So the fans waited. And waited. And waited, only to learn nothing of a new game.

The Game Boy Advance era came to an end in 2004 when the Nintendo DS was released. I remember awaiting E3 2005 for news of a new Golden Sun game. The DS would be the logical home to a third game, as the first two were on the GBA. Nothing was said. The franchise developer, Camelot Software, fell into obscurity, after focusing on Mario sports titles.

Years passed. It wasn’t until E3 of 2009 that something new was announced. It was at Nintendo’s E3 press conference that Reggie Fils-Aime revealed that a new Golden Sun game was in the works for the Nintendo DS. It was a small announcement at that E3, but to me it was huge. They also had a trailer for the new game, and it caught my attention. Turns out that, for this new game, you’d be playing as the children of the first two games’ protagonists, as the story was set 30 years later.

The game was eventually released, in the holiday season of 2010. As mentioned earlier, I bought my copy practically on launch day. It had been eight years since The Lost Age was released, eight long years. And herein lies my argument that we will never see a fourth Golden Sun game.

Dark Dawn, the latest title in the series, told the story of the next generation of characters. Alchemy has been restored to the world, and old villains return. Let’s skip the story and head directly to the game’s ending. Spoiler alert, whatever. Dark Dawn ends much as the first game did: the protagonists are faced with a rather huge dilemma, and the players are faced with a “To Be Continued…” cliffhanger.

That’s a problem. The third game, which was released eight years after the second game, continues the story, roughly, from the first two. It ends with a cliffhanger. It ends with a tease for another game, a fourth game in the series. It’s now May of 2013, and there is no word on a new game. A bit over two years later. And I doubt we will ever see that fourth game.

Let’s look at this. The first two games were released on the Game Boy Advance. The first game was released in 2001, the second in 2002. The third game was released in 2010. That’s eight years. The fanbase of the original games grew older. Time passed. A lot of time passed. Fans waited for news, but after each year’s E3 came and went with nothing said about a new game, interest dwindled. Fans grew up, became interested in other things, lost interest, gave up waiting for a title that looked increasingly unlikely to ever be announced. People moved on.

There was some interest in the third game, from people like me who remembered the originals and were glad that a new one was being developed. But my own life is an interesting look at things: the first two games were released when I was in high school. By the time the third game was released, I was in my last year of University, and already moving on with my life as an adult. And there you go: teenagers when the first two games were released were adults by then. Entirely different circumstances, maybe different tastes in video games. It just felt like something from the past was being revived for no point whatsoever.

I played Dark Dawn. I completed Dark Dawn. It didn’t live up to my expectations, but then again, after waiting so many years, nothing could truly live up to the wait. To the hype, for better or worse. Dark Dawn was far easier than the first two games. None of the bosses were that difficult. The story was interesting, but just didn’t captivate me like the first two games did. Was it because it didn’t focus on the same main characters, but rather their children? Was it because I was older?

As I said, the core fans of the originals had moved on, lost interest, given up hope for a new game, and here we had it. Dark Dawn is the worst selling game of the series. It only sold 46,000 copies its first four days in Japan. As of January of 2012, it has only sold 80,000 copies in Japan. Sales figures through the rest of the world are just as bad. Either the older fans had no interest or the game didn’t appeal to current gamers, but there you have it: the game just didn’t sell well; it sold worse than the original game.

Dark Dawn‘s reviews were not that kind. Just glancing at GameFAQs, I’m seeing the game has a 7.0 reader review average, an 8.1 from GameFAQs ratings, and a 79 from MetaCritic. Those seem like acceptable ratings, actually, but the game wasn’t received that well; the sales numbers should tell you that.

At the end of the day, it’s clear: there won’t be another Golden Sun game. Long-time fans of the series will either just pretend Dark Dawn never happened (accepting it just means we’ll be left with an unresolved cliffhanger) or just put up with that “to be continued”. There’s not enough interest from fans to justify making a fourth game. It all comes down to the question of whether a game project will earn enough in sales to balance out development costs, and what Dark Dawn tells us is that a fourth game will probably not. The third game does not compare that well to the older games, enough that expectations of a fourth game would probably be lowered.

The Golden Sun franchise is a great example of what happens when you have a series of games, especially with a continuing story, and too much time passes between releases of games. A few years are okay, but when you near a decade, the original audience has grown older and likely moved on, losing interest. I would love to see another Golden Sun game, but I’ve already moved on, having realized that game will likely never be made.

Update (21 June, 2014): The first game, Golden Sun is available on the Wii U Virtual Console, in the Game Boy Advance library. Show your support of the game. If you have a Wii U, buy and download the game. Let’s show Nintendo that the series is still popular. Maybe we’ll eventually get Golden Sun: The Lost Age on Wii U Virtual Console, and this might somehow lead to interest in a fourth game.

Update (25 July, 2014): Nintendo Europe has submitted Golden Sun: The Lost Age to PEGI ratings board for the Wii U Virtual Console. Looks like the game is on the way for European Wii U owners, probably Australia, as well. No word yet on an American release on Wii U Virtual Console. (I’m suddenly reminded of how, recently, the Game Boy Advance release of Pokemon: Trading Card Game was released on 3DS Virtual Console in Europe and Australia, but no word on an American release)

Update (31 August, 2016): Both GBA games are now available on Wii U VC and have been for a while. This article continues to get views and replies, and I am glad to see all this discussion in the comments. Wii U does offer DS games in its Virtual Console library (Super Mario 64 DS was released this past week). It’d be great if Nintendo would release Dark Dawn on Wii U VC, but with attention shifting to Nintendo’s mysterious “NX” console, that seems unlikely. Is there still hope for a fourth Golden Sun game? I would love for the answer to be yes, but reality seems to be answering in the negative.

However, there is hope. Here’s a quote from the franchise’s Wikipedia page:

In an interview with Nintendo Gamer in June 2012, series producer Hiroyuki Takahashi spoke about the possibility of a fourth Golden Sun game; “A big reason for us making RPGs comes from the requests from all the people who have enjoyed our RPGs in the past. Perhaps if there are enough Nintendo users asking for another game in the Golden Sun series, then this will naturally lead to the development of such a game.”

I feel like pointing this out, mostly as an update on a changed rating system over on GameFAQs. Back when I wrote this article, I guess they used a 10-point rating scale, but now they use a 5-point rating scale. Dark Dawn currently has a 4.01 out of 5 rating, based on 1,871 total votes. #100 highest rated DS role-playing game (#1247 on DS, #12794 overall). Over on Metacritic, the game has a “metascore” of 79, and a user score of 8.1 based on 85 ratings.

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77 thoughts on “A Dark Dawn, or, Why There Will Never Be a Golden Sun 4

  1. Neotaga July 15, 2013 / 08:57

    I got the Golden Sun games back before I was in high school. I don’t really remember what grade I was in when I got them, but it might of been before middle school too. I was around eleven or twelve. Anyway, I loved them both. And when Dark Dawn came out, I was like woohoo! A new Golden Sun! I got it and just beat it. It took me awhile because I had so many other games to play, and I kind of got stuck. But I loved it! And I was also disappointed by the ending because I knew it was unlikely they would make a fourth. But, I’m not giving up!

  2. Shunski July 25, 2013 / 05:50

    While i admit DD didn’t live up to my expectations the fact remains i love the whole series due to the fact i in a sense am part of a religion based of of Alchemy frank i hope they make GS4 as the series has allot of Potential if they move it to another system say Wii Xbox1 or even PS4

    • Jayray April 16, 2015 / 08:30

      NO. We don’t want it to be in Xbox One or PS4! That’s stupid!

  3. Myles August 26, 2013 / 08:00

    I loved Golden Sun and Lost age, I was obsessed with them. I always will love them, they have a special place in my heart, the music on the title screen still moves me, and the memories of times spent playing are still dear. I played them when they where released, I’m 25 now. 11 years have past, even if I hadn’t played dd (which I did and loved it, but was sad the orig characters where not playable) I would still, and do still love Golden Sun. The same goes for FFVII, wild arms, chrono cross etc. “Growing up” has nothing to do with it. If you truly love something, it cannot be unloved merely by time. If anything,thats a very shallow, narrow minded perspective. So anyone who “grew out” of Golden Sun, never truly loved it in the first place. I still have the game maps pinned to my walls, listen to the music sometimes, and I’m considering a play through of the originals. I will wait for a fourth game, even if I’m old, as long as I can see the game, control it, and stay awake long enough to play it (as an elderly person) then I’ll damn well play it! The Golden Sun will never set for me, and any one truly loved it will feel the same, time does not fade a heart that is true. Long live Golden Sun!

    • Rand al'Thor August 26, 2013 / 16:23

      I do agree with you. I still have the maps that came packaged with the two GBA GS games (and I think Dark Dawn did, too?). I still occasionally replay the games. I still hope for news on a fourth Golden Sun game, but the sales figures for Dark Dawn aren’t good.

    • Chris September 20, 2013 / 09:15

      That’s the spirit! I actually have some of the sound tracks as my ringtone! And just for the nostalgia I play them every so often just to “relive” my childhood. I haven’t completed the third game yet but my cousin said that the third game, while it was good, it felt very lazy. The music wasn’t as epic as the first two and the story was kind of sub par but the graphics were a definite improvement

    • Javier April 7, 2016 / 08:46

      I agree with your comment fully. I purchased my copy of gs around the age of 15, but it caught my attention years back when I was 12. I’m 26 now, played all 3, which I still have, the only games for that system. I even have my old ds lite after having sold my 3DS (lost interest), just to play them whenever. No matter how long it’s been and how disappointing the plot of dark dawn was, my love for the previous characters and the story in general lives on in this game. The mysteries and the past of Alex and his involvement with others are only beginning to unravel. I have mixed thoughts on where the development of the newcomers: Himi Eoleo, Amiti and Sveta will turn out, but we can only further wait it out until the next game comes out. But my love for this game hasn’t been forgotten. They are the only games I haven’t sold in fact as they are dear to me.

  4. Vince September 4, 2013 / 02:32

    Golden Sun was waaaaaaay ahead of its time in terms of gameplay and the most obvious, graphics and detail. I loved the series, especially The Lost Age. *sigh* All good things must come to an end.

  5. Claire September 8, 2013 / 04:36

    I adored the first two games, I played through both of them when I was in middle school, and spent more than a few late nights hidden under the covers with the lights off trying to ‘just get a little farther’ before going to sleep. I was super excited for DD, and got it the moment it came out. It didn’t quite live up to expectations, for the reasons noted above, and the fact it ended in a cliffhanger instead of FINALLY letting us just beat Alex and get it over with. That’s the one reason I really hope you’re wrong, that battle has been a VERY long time in coming.

  6. Vegekuson September 10, 2013 / 22:15

    hmm as much as i like the deductions of each and every game that was made and its release date GS DD was released 2010 so i could be that they may take a few more years to create another i mean surely it can’t be easy coding everything from scratch. Take Fire Emblem for example on the NES, GBA, DS, GC, WII and 3DS they have a long generation of games but at the GBA region they use same sprites cause it is easy to create another FE on GBA if you take out the main sprites and backgrounds and simply code it the current project and then script it. as for a DS i have never seen a fan made version of any game i came across so im presumming it may take a while to make a DS game cause think of it, you need Plot, Story, Items, Misc etc all those things are required to make a simple game and for game like GS a lot of time is required. for now i will wait until they announce it. think about it. im not disagreeing with you its just something to think about.

  7. Crisanto September 11, 2013 / 12:17

    I’m actually making a quite nice plot about golden sun…BIG fan of GD since TLA !
    The huge vortex is the key. I mean they can put a lot of concept to it. I’m looking forward to contact Camelot to submit this story I’ve made :))

  8. Bob October 3, 2013 / 16:57

    The first two were amazing. One thing that really makes a game is the soundtrack, which was phenominal. DD was too easy, too short, the world was tiny, and not nearly as well written. they tried to let the characters ride off their parents success in the originals, and so you have 8 nobody protagonists with hero parents. the villains were uninspired, I just kept hoping alex was actually not there yet or something. he was so unique and subdued in GS 1-2, and you often forgot about him when dealing with the proxians, though this was the games intention

  9. Xavi October 28, 2013 / 23:02

    Well I agree on many of the things you wrote but anyways I will love to play a fourth GS game. Hopefully camelot will do so and make it more challenging, longer and interesting for us the true fans.

  10. Tanya November 20, 2013 / 00:36

    The reason it didn’t sell well is because everyone pirated it instead of buying it, like they did with every other DS game.

    Releasing on the DS was a mistake, it would’ve been better to wait and release on a console, either the PS3 or the PS4.

    Especially the PS4, because it’d so new it’s not going to be hacked and pirated for a good several years. Just need to time the release so it doesn’t clash with the big hitters like Final Fantasy XV.

    • Gim95 November 27, 2013 / 23:15

      If this is true, then they have probably been biding there time for 3ds. If you really think about it, the graphics would be perfect for 3ds. Plus no one is going to make an emulator for it for quite some time, allowing nintendo to make good money off it.

  11. Isaac November 25, 2013 / 01:37

    Reading this I had tears in my eyes. I played Dark Dawn in 2012 and the magic I felt playing GSI+II was simply done. After the last fight it felt like numb reconstruction. As for the sheer fanatism I had transferring each digit of code to my newly accquired GS: The Lost Age it was plain disappointment coming up after completing Dark Dawn. Nothing in Dark Dawn forced me to grind hours for another Tisiphone Edge or Lex Lachesis or made me hardreset till I got my wanted item from Sunshine…

  12. DuraBro December 5, 2013 / 18:11

    As must as it pains me to utter these words, but I am in complete agreement with this blog entry.

    Much like the author, I first purchased the original Golden Sun title in 2002 at the tender age of 13. It enthralled me, as did the sequel. Both captivated me for much of my early teenage years. I fondly remember spending days acquiring all the higher-level items (RNG method? The blacksmith? Veterans will know what I’m talking about 🙂 ).

    Then the wait began. Year in, year out, I would search for news on a follow-up to The Lost Age on a monthly basis. Never before had I scoured the Internet so consistently for news on anything, let alone a video game. The mythology and nature of the franchise always resonated quite greatly with me.

    In 2009 I’d learned of a DS sequel through the same means described by Rand here. The fact a sizeable interval had passed since TLA didn’t pass me; I recognised plenty of things had changed since TLA’s launch. I was no longer in secondary school (Brit talking here) and was now studying in university with a stable relationship and financial commitments bearing over me. Yet, I was surprised at the child-like level of enthusiasm and intrigue that came back out. Very much akin to re-acquainting yourself with a dear old friend; you revert to an earlier form of “you” emotionally.

    I received Dark Dawn as a present from my brother (another GS fanatic), played it, completed it, and was thoroughly underwhelmed. The game was far too easy (never died) and the general tone was far too similar to the first GS. After the expansive and intricate design of TLA, returning to a GS original format seemed an awful cheap way of continuing the saga.

    It is now almost 2014. Dark Dawn did what I always thought was impossible – My interest in future developments has become completely dampened. The game felt familiar for all the wrong reasons, as Rand succinctly described, using the example of the “To Be Continued…” cliffhanger.

    The only conceivable way a Dark Dawn sequel will catch my attention is if something significant changes. Otherwise, every title beyond TLA will be automatically and subconsciously compared with the original and/or TLA. And that, my friends, isn’t the sign of a thriving franchise.

  13. ryepower12 January 13, 2014 / 11:05

    Never be surprised if they decide to Zelda-fy it and essentially have an all new game where similar characters are faced with the same dilemma as in the first two games, but as an original story. Then it wouldn’t be bogged down by being an unfinished sequel and could find an all new audience. It’s what they should have done in 2010 to begin with.

  14. Darecrow Avis February 3, 2014 / 22:28

    Golden Sun was literally my first game ever- I was 7 years old. I had no idea how to play it but I rolled with it. Explored everything, didn’t get very far until I made it to middle school and had the lost age. I beat the second one before the first one. That game captivated me so much, I began researching elements from the game (alchemy, elements, etc.). When dark dawn came out while I was in high school, I was dissapointed because the game was about getting a feather and you only saved the world along the way.
    So I played it again. And again and again and again. The more I played it, the more I saw and came to terms that I did actually like the third one- Not as much as the first two, though. And now that it’s 2014 and we still have no sign of the fourth installment, I’m fine if there isn’t. I’ll make up my own ending if I want. But we all expected and wanted a third game, that was prevalent for all those 8 years of waiting. They finally gave it to us. We were excited, ran out and bought it, but it was poorly written. That’s the major problem. But there was no lack of creativity at all. It was still a new world to explore, even if it was just Angara, there were places of Angara we never saw before.
    And how the world changed? Suddenly instead of how it was flat before, it’s got cliffs in the ocean and it’s starting to turn more… spherical? I expect a fourth one eventually. Not for a while, but we’ll see it and it’ll be in a similar fashion to GS and TLA. One first, short, introductory to cliffhanger, and then a large expansive new world with seemingly limitless new places to explore.
    When it comes, I can’t wait.

  15. Blaine February 21, 2014 / 16:30

    It really pains me to read this, because I was only two when the originals came out, but I did get them both and after completing them beat DD which I will say was a HUGE disappointment after the originals. Like not even seeing Ivan or Mia! Which is why a fourth game should be created maybe we will actually see Ivan or Mia or even Piers and Jenna! Maybe we will learn what happen to Sheba and Felix after they disappeared!

  16. maiyli78 February 23, 2014 / 16:26

    I got the first game from a friend in elementary school (the third grade). I loved it so much. Like, it developed almost a religious significance to me (perhaps simply because I was so young). Also, as I side note, I bought my GBA with my own money in grade 2, and I didn’t have allowance. Ha! Take that, five year olds with iPads!
    …Anyways, I, too, got Dark Dawn the day it came out (literally the first thing I’ve ever pre-ordered). It was… alright, but it really didn’t live up to the legacy of the originals. The story was scattered, and what little plot there was sucked. The whole game was unchallenging. There were some nice features, like the encyclopedia thing and weapon proficiencies, but overall… it was a disappointment. :\
    I wondered after playing it through if perhaps it’s because I’m a lot older now (atm I’m 19), but I still occaisionally replay the original Golden Suns from time to time (in fact, I’m listening to the games’ music right now XD ), and they’re still fantastic games; so I guess Dark Dawn really was quite lackluster.
    As a side note, in my most recent playthroughs of the originals, I’ve noticed typos. I guess nothing’s perfect :p

    • Nate February 4, 2015 / 10:21

      I feel your disappointment, I too treated the originals as if they were my religion and DD was far from expectations. I mean they screwed with the game’s history if you paid attention!
      Best soundtrack I’ve ever heard and I continue to listen to it as it makes me feel at “home”.

      If anything, Camelot needs to re-release the first 2 on the 3ds just like Nintendo does with Pokemon. If they want a bigger audience they need to give the kids today, what we grew up with yesterday then start new GS projects from there.

      IMO, I rather see 3DS versions of the old games than a new one they will most likely screw up.

  17. maiyli78 February 23, 2014 / 16:29

    I got the first game from a friend in elementary school (the third grade). I loved it so much. Like, it developed almost a religious significance to me (perhaps simply because I was so young). Also, as I side note, I bought my GBA with my own money in grade 2, and I didn’t have allowance. Ha! Take that, five year olds with iPads!
    …Anyways, I, too, got Dark Dawn the day it came out (literally the first thing I’ve ever pre-ordered). It was… alright, but it really didn’t live up to the legacy of the originals. The story was scattered, and what little plot there was sucked. The whole game was unchallenging. There were some nice features, like the encyclopedia thing and weapon proficiencies, but overall… it was a disappointment. :\
    I wondered after playing it through if perhaps it’s because I’m a lot older now (atm I’m 19), but I still occaisionally replay the original Golden Suns from time to time (in fact, I’m listening to the games’ music right now XD ), and they’re still fantastic games; so I guess Dark Dawn really was quite lackluster.
    As a side note, in my most recent playthroughs of the originals, I’ve noticed typos. I guess nothing’s perfect :p

  18. Inigo Montoya March 1, 2014 / 21:15

    I am currently working my way through Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, and while I never played rhe prequels, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Dawn. The wait in between the first two and DD is a bit long, that doesn’t mean another game would be recieved well. Just look at Pikmin 3. It took 10 years for that to come out, and people loved it. For all we know, Camelot could be planning to release a game for the 3DS.

    • Robin March 17, 2014 / 18:06

      About two years ago while in college I decided to buy Golden Sun again to try and complete it! Unfortunately during my purchase o the game I didn’t have enough money on me at the time to buy the gameboy so I just bought the game and put it to the side. School and my job got in the way and I forgot all about it.

      Anyway I remember it like I was yesterday my dad bought me the gameboy advance in middle school around 2003/2004 and I ABSOLUTELY loved the game. Ive been watching a playthrough of the game on YouTube and it bought back so many damn memories. It made me tear up. I swear GS was like my best friend growing up.

      Today I YEARN for Camelot or SOMEONE to come out with a modern Golden Sun. This game was so ahead of it’s time and looking at it now the game still shits on a lot of games today. The characters were awesome, the style of the graphics shit on many games today and the storyline made you feel connected.

      Can someone PLEASE email the developer of this game to release a new one. I know GS:DD didn’t do well but with the right creative and graphics time to take the essence of the original GS and modernize it with the right promotion to sell the game I believe it can potential do well

      You guys have to be joking to sat that if the developer released another GS that was just like the first one but better tomorrow you wouldn’t jump on it! Yes I’m all grown up (21 years old) but I’d buy this game in HEARTBEAT if they made a new one on XboxOne PS4, Wii, etc

      Pleaseeeee……

  19. Berry March 28, 2014 / 06:38

    Robin :
    About two years ago while in college I decided to buy Golden Sun again to try and complete it! Unfortunately during my purchase o the game I didn’t have enough money on me at the time to buy the gameboy so I just bought the game and put it to the side. School and my job got in the way and I forgot all about it.
    Anyway I remember it like I was yesterday my dad bought me the gameboy advance in middle school around 2003/2004 and I ABSOLUTELY loved the game. Ive been watching a playthrough of the game on YouTube and it bought back so many damn memories. It made me tear up. I swear GS was like my best friend growing up.
    Today I YEARN for Camelot or SOMEONE to come out with a modern Golden Sun. This game was so ahead of it’s time and looking at it now the game still shits on a lot of games today. The characters were awesome, the style of the graphics shit on many games today and the storyline made you feel connected.
    Can someone PLEASE email the developer of this game to release a new one. I know GS:DD didn’t do well but with the right creative and graphics time to take the essence of the original GS and modernize it with the right promotion to sell the game I believe it can potential do well
    You guys have to be joking to sat that if the developer released another GS that was just like the first one but better tomorrow you wouldn’t jump on it! Yes I’m all grown up (21 years old) but I’d buy this game in HEARTBEAT if they made a new one on XboxOne PS4, Wii, etc
    Pleaseeeee……

    I’d jump on it if they released it on 3DS, and I don’t even have one yet! Not even the recent Pokémon releases have made me get one (…yet. And I’m a huge pokémon fan. Before I lacked the money because I had no job, and now I lack the money because I saved up for and have been travelling. A new Golden Sun game would make me buy one so fast despite them being more expensive over here.).

  20. Nichie April 5, 2014 / 03:16

    Golden sun was my most favorite game ever since I was a child. It left a mark in my heart. It pains me also that there might never be another game. I wish that Golden sun became famous. Or thag they release a sequel that will trigger all our memories of it.
    When they released Dark dark, i was disappointed, it was not that hard. But im still waiting for the next game. Im still 16 but nevertheless, i will always be waiting.

  21. has April 7, 2014 / 23:46

    are u ok? to make dark dawn it takes 8 years so golden sun 4 may be released after another 8 years.

  22. has April 8, 2014 / 00:12

    golden sun 4 WILL BE RELEASED!IT HAS MANY ATTACHMENTS ON US LIKE POKEMON! GS 4 WILL HAVE NEW CHARACTERS,ITEMS,DJJIN,PSYNERGY,MAPS, HARD BATTLES,ETC. Do u know what it takes to build 3D game like GS.WE WILL PLAY EVEN IT TAKES FOREVER! LONG LIVE GOLDEN SUN!

  23. sonizo April 27, 2014 / 11:04

    golden sun is our heart.we all want camelot to release golden sun 4 so that our worries and impatience would go away. GS is attached on us since childhood. I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT OF YOURS! U don’t know how much things are done to learnanynews

  24. Finkel April 29, 2014 / 06:12

    In addition to the low difficulty level, the main problem with Dark Dawn was that they kiddified the entire game, and made the dialogue both boring and childish. The dialogue in the original games was surprisingly smart and sharp, whereas Dark Dawn feels like it was written for 10-year olds; a bad choice of audience considering how much the original fans had grown up by then. The story, similarly, took forever to get anywhere and was simply not worth it.

    • has May 3, 2014 / 09:53

      but still there must be another game after that cliffhanger!

    • Rand al'Thor May 3, 2014 / 12:05

      It would not be the first game to have an unresolved cliffhanger ending.

  25. son May 4, 2014 / 12:10

    are u mad? there is no and will never be a game that have un resolved cliffhanger!

  26. sonizo May 6, 2014 / 04:31

    no!!
    there will be golden sun 4!!

  27. Maximum D May 14, 2014 / 13:54

    Just want to say that the sole reason I bought a 3ds was for Pokemon X and Y (yes it was slightly underwhelming but there are other better games for 3ds). If Golden Sun 4 came out for something like PS4 or xbox I would buy it just for Golden sun 4. I know that Dark Dawn didn’t live up to people’s expectations but I liked it well enough. I played both GS 1 and 2 and loved them as well. The thing is, at 17 years old, I still have hope for a wonderful GS4, whatever happens in the storyline.

    • Jonathan May 5, 2015 / 13:16

      GS is owned by Nintendo I think. Releasing a 3ds remake of the the first 2 games would be a step in the right direction(hopefully with some new content like super bosses and remixed music)
      Then, in a few years they can make a new golden sun game and maybe even retcon dark dawn and replace it in the series.

  28. anonymous May 20, 2014 / 04:01

    to think that my favourite rpg would end with a cliff hanger like this == this is downright cruel, back then, I wasnt expecting any sequel after TLA, seeing the ending was good enough and the villains were dead, the release of darkdawn was really surprising, the good things are, it feels nostalgic to see the warriors of vale again, the new heroes of vale, the coming of dark adepts, and those shiny alchemic machines *_*. the bad things are, the dialogue certainly rubs me off,, even worse than the first two of GS. they got more childish, the battle gameplay.. I mean, it’s 30 years already but nothing grows in military-wise, I just wish someone could just create some tank with alchemy or even a sword with alchemic power,, or even create an enchanting system, where the player could put element to their weapon. the last bad thing?.. the cliff hanger,, it rubs me so bad. so bad that i really wish at least the devs would create an ending to this series, at least be responsible to the story you’ve told to people == you cant just leave those GS fans like this, they are itching for another release, a game that would be an ending to the series, ending the GS series with DD would really ruin the 1st 2 image so at least release the GS4, the Golden Sun series deserve more than this, “You started the Golden Sun in a good way Camelot, you better end it in a good way too.”

  29. taios87 May 28, 2014 / 22:21

    i played the original golden sun up to it’s future decendants. and to be honest, i love the series as a whole. when i first completed TLA i thought to myself, that if their gonna make a sequel, it’s going to take time for them to actually make said game…..i held hope that they’d make it, then when they did make it, i was so happy and satisfied. to be frank here, i really didn’t held high expectations for it. which was really enjoyable. i say to me that if they’re planning a sequel to dark dawn, they’re gonna have to have a complete overhaul of the gaming mechanics, storyline, glitches and bugs

  30. NOT HAS BUT HASNAIN June 2, 2014 / 21:31

    ITS REALLY IS IMPORTANT TO RELEASE GOLDEN SUN 4 BECAUSE AFTER THAT CLIFF HANGER PEOPLE ARE DYING TO FINDING WHAT HAPPENED TO EVERYONE.ITS STILL A MYSTERY ABOUT HIGH EMPEROR,ALEX,UMBRA CLAN,LIGHT PSYNERGY EFFECT IN BELINSK AFTER GRAVE ECLIPSE AND PSYNERGY VORTEXS!SO PLZ PLZ I APPEAL TO CAMELOT TO RELEASE GOLDEN SUN BOOK 4 IN E3 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! :).IT IS BAD TO LEAVE ITS FANS LIKE THIS!

  31. Amon June 28, 2014 / 15:21

    In my personal opinion Dark Dawn was garbage. The game was smaller, had more restrictions as far as exploration AND had a weak story that just didn’t fit. They should have made a spin off and started fresh but they limited themselves and it felt like an obsessed fan wrote the story in tribute to the original games which is cool but it wasn’t effective at all. If they do make another Golden Sun they need to scrap the story of Dark Dawn and start completely fresh with all new characters, places and plots and with an epic story driving you along thirsty for more…otherwise there will never be another one.

    What I think should be done as far as Golden Sun is concerned: They should make an animated series either based in the same world with a completely new story or turn the first two games into a 3 or 4 season long epic series kinda like Avatar. Now THAT would be amazing and I could care less about them continuing Dark Dawn’s story. They took the wrong direction with that game and it shouldn’t be considered Golden Sun canon as I am sure there are fan fictions that blow Dark Dawn’s story out of the water…

    GOLDEN SUN: THE LAST ADEPT!!!!!! lol JK but seriously!!! I would tune into the animated series if I’m freaking 80 years old when this happens. Jump on the band wagon everyone

    • NOT HAS BUT HASNAIN June 30, 2014 / 22:28

      excuse me the game was much longer! 🙂

    • NOT HAS BUT HASNAIN July 6, 2014 / 02:18

      oh come on golden sun 4 was longer than lost age!! but doesn’t have many new things!!like the use of lucky medal , more forgable stuff ,wings of anemos and etc! plus we didn’t get to meet other warriors of vale!!

    • iAstro July 31, 2014 / 01:04

      I got my first Golden Sun game when I was about 7 and got The Lost Age when I was 8 shortly after their releases, but didn’t complete either for a while after that. I just recently discovered that they released Golden Sun: Dark Dawn several years ago and immediately purchased it online. I was extremely ecstatic to hear that they released a third (even though I was kicking myself for not knowing about it sooner) and while the game was a minor disappointment, I still thoroughly enjoyed playing it and reminiscing my earlier childhood. After reading your comment Amon, I realized you’re right about it seeming that an obsessed fan wrote the story for Dark Dawn, however, I disagree about scrapping the story from Dark Dawn entirely. The story from DD, while disappointing, also has some potential. With enough effort, I’m sure they could create a way to improve the rest of the story that DD started. Creating an entirely new story would be much harder to do at this point than to develop DD’s story into one that would capture the hearts of players as the first two games did.

      For a fourth Golden Sun to be successful, I feel they would have to make several improvements. These would be improving the storyline and making the game much more challenging. They would also need to gear the game for an older audience because, as stated several times, we have all grown up a lot since the series began, after all, the core fan base that was once a bunch of elementary school children are now college students and adults. They would have to advertise the game very well to ensure that more people would purchase a copy. I fully expect that there will be a fourth game, but I do not expect we’ll see it in this decade. It took them 8 years to create a mediocre Dark Dawn that didn’t do very well, so they would likely make several improvements which would take a good amount of time. I will expect a fourth installment to the Golden Sun series in the future, however, as the series has a lot of potential.

      A television series would be extraordinary! Perhaps if they played their cards right with the fourth game, the series would become popular enough for that to come about. Although I feel a TV series of Golden Sun would have more popularity with actual actors instead of as an animated series, but there’d be so much that could be done with it that it would be impossible to say for certain.

      Whatever happens, my only hope is that I didn’t play one of my favorite game series at 20 years old only to have it all end with a “To be continued…?”

  32. son July 12, 2014 / 23:35

    release gs 4 quick if u can make many pokemon games so why not u make golden sun 4! :/ I …NO, WE ALL WANT AND LOVE TO SEE GOLDEN SUN 4! ^_^

  33. Comi August 6, 2014 / 06:42

    This game will never die on me. I was just 2 when it come out, but since my brother bought it, Golden Sun has been in my house since forever, Every once in a while I still play it on the game boy and then i play the sequel with an emulator (TLA is impossible to find where I live now) and now i think i’m going to play it again soon.
    I found out about DD and i played it. It wasn’t bad itself, just not at the first two level.
    Dark Dawn wasn’t perfect every GS fan thought that, but this doesn’t mean we don’t want a 4th game, I still want to hope that the 4th game will be good.
    If it will ever come out i’ll buy it even if I’m 30 and I’ll have to save a lot of money to buy a new console.
    Maybe i’m still waiting for a sequel because i’m just 16 and I’m not lacking time but I know that Golden Sun is not enough popular to keep going on forever like Mario-Zelda-Pokémon and I at least want a proper finale to this game. We fans deserve it.

  34. HASNAIN August 9, 2014 / 22:36

    News Alert!! Many golden sun fans are planning to create an anime series of GOLDEN SUN!! It will be a blast if an anime series is made which will attract more attention of players,fans and everyone!!! 🙂 😉 visit our group at facebook by the name ” GSFC- Golden Sun Fan Club”!!!

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:15

      That would be a neat idea. I remember the anime adaptation of Tales of Symphonia, and it was rather good.

  35. Charger347 September 8, 2014 / 22:17

    Found this while looking for information on whether there will be a fourth game, and thought I’d share it.
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/operation-sunrise/
    If you want a Golden Sun 4, sign the petition with us. I’m signature 6,499 and we need at least 64,000 more signatures to be taken seriously. If you know anybody who wants this game, tell them about this petition and get them to sign it too.

  36. HASNAIN November 14, 2014 / 08:31

    WE WANT GS 4

  37. Naruto Uzumaki January 8, 2015 / 04:28

    We need a Golden Sun 4 I have all three games I replay them alot I even have the first game on the Wii U virtual console

  38. Nate February 3, 2015 / 15:19

    Dark Dawn rewrote a lot of history in the GS universe and pretended events in the first games didn’t happen and didn’t answer a lot of questions from the first two like the Shaman Rod.

    Dark Dawn was a simple fetch quest for a feather. That’s literally the story.

    They clearly didn’t want to make a third so they made it so bad that they wouldn’t have to do a fourth.

    I cry for all Adepts out there…we deserved much better.

    • son February 24, 2015 / 01:29

      don’t lose hope yet! 😉 THERE IS A CHANCE THEY MIGHT RELEASE GOLDEN SUN 4!! I request u all to PLZ PLZ PLZ SIGN THE PETITION FOR GOLDEN SUN 4 OPERATION SUNRISE! there r still groups and fan pages of gs at fb so plz join us and help us!!

  39. Jaissal S February 25, 2015 / 06:21

    I’d love to see a Golden Sun 3DS title! Imagine summoning Djinn in 3D! Especially on the New 3DS. The thing is…if Camelot release it, will it make enough money to cover the cost of making the game and advertising it. If it would make them a loss, they most likely won’t be much interested in it. Only if enough people would buy the game, would they start development.

  40. Burn peter March 20, 2015 / 02:13

    just recently discovered there was a third part of the golden sun series and bought it instantly, i loved the two games for the gba and still got them and if there would be a fourth game i’d play it for sure
    i’m almost30 years old and im still a big fan and never moved on, or grew up in that way 😉

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:14

      I hear you. I was in high school when the first game was released, and I still love the games.

  41. SinisterTwist July 8, 2015 / 05:44

    Man, I wish that they’d have released the games for the 3DS instead of the Wii U. I’d much rather play them on my 3DS since I have one of those and at present I only have a Wii, which is in my mother’s room. If I get a Wii U, it’s likely going to end up in her room as well since she has a few games she likes to play and she uses it more than I would.

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:13

      I don’t think the 3DS can emulate GBA games. Maybe the New 3DS can, since SNES games are being released on it.

  42. Conrad January 15, 2016 / 20:55

    We can enail Camelot at webmasterx@camelot.co.jp and camelot@nintendo.co.jp

    First, Let’s demand remakes of Golden Sun 1 and 2 for a new console like the Nintendo NX, and not just the 3DS ! This would introduce younger gamers of today to Golden Sun, reinsipire old fans’ interest and make a GS4 more profitable!

  43. Conrad January 15, 2016 / 21:00

    We can email Camelot at webmasterx@camelot.co.jp and camelot@nintendo.co.jp (or maybe it’s nintendo@camelot.co.jp). Firstly, let’s demand remakes of GS1 and 2 for the WiiU, 3DS, New 3DS and Nintendo NX. This would introduce younger gamers to GS and reinspire older fans’ interest, and make a GS4 more profitable abd publicised!

    Let’s do it! Spam thise email adresses. Dark Dawn had flaws, but let’s use them as inspiration for improvement!

    One idea for GS4 and remakes is that Djiin do not INCREASE your stats, but merely swap them around, increasing some stats at the expense of others.

    So, come one #Nintendo and #Camelot, we need a #GoldenSun4. And let’s get these hashtags trending. Use them in every comment you make online about #GoldenSun.

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:11

      The creators of the series have said that attention and positive feedback led to the creation of the fourth game and would spur development of a fourth.

  44. xinaiDav July 7, 2016 / 04:19

    Too bad would’ve loved a sequel. Hope Final fantasy 15 will be great this fall

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:10

      Looking forward to FFXV.

  45. GB August 13, 2016 / 14:58

    My first video game ever was Golden Sun, loved everything about the game so much! Didnt get to play The Lost Age or Dark Dawn until 2011 when I finally had money to start getting video games. Its 2016 and I still wish they would do something with the Golden Sun series…

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:10

      It’s been a while since I’ve replayed the games, but I remember so many details, from the story to the characters to where Djinn are found, major treasure chests, etc.

  46. cm August 31, 2016 / 11:06

    I just want to say that I have played the original Golden Sun in the past year, and it is just as good as you all (who haven’t played it recently) remember.

    • Rand al'Thor August 31, 2016 / 17:09

      First game was great, but The Lost Age is my favorite of the three. It took the formula established in the first, added a lot to it, improved it, and made a better, longer game. I think that the first two games were originally in development as one single game, but Camelot realized it was too big a game for a single cartridge release, thus the split.

  47. Kyle September 17, 2016 / 23:27

    I appreciate the update. Honestly just biding my time until they decide to release a new one.

  48. Cassandra Cole September 18, 2016 / 23:38

    Golden Sun – 2001
    Golden Sun: The Last Age – 2002
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn – 2010

    If we consider 1 and 2 as a single game split onto two cartridges (which honestly, is what it feels like) then we have a gap of around 8 years between games.

    Considering Nintendo doesn’t really seem to care that much about GS. All they want is Tennis currently. And so all Camelot can do is tennis. And that wouldn’t be so bad if it was GOOD tennis games, but from reviewer scores, they’re lame tennis games.

    So, my predictions.

    If anything is going to happen, it’ll be

    – For the new “NX” console.
    – In 2018

    Otherwise, I’d say this franchise is good and dead. What a waste!

  49. Bladestorm47 November 2, 2016 / 17:42

    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is what got me into the Golden Sun series

  50. Zeke Fredrick November 4, 2016 / 07:03

    Thank you for this article, I truly mean it. I like many Golden sun players are stuck in nostalgia. In the past these games were a true lore to indulge upon when the internet was still a baby and Nintendo power was going through its final golden years on paper back. I’m pushing 28 years old now and for some reason still want this game to be re-birthed again, after all Fire Emblem managed to escape its handle held onto a console but like the Tales series its only fan base with be the older generations of gamers from the early 2000’s GB/GBA Era since the youth would look at this story as boring.

    Back to why I am leaving a comment, I was at a split decision on whether to get a DS or Wii U since they added the games to their online Library and from what I have seen I have made me decision on not playing the Dark Dawn game and just getting a Wii U for the first two games.

    Hope for a future for this franchise but in reality we all know this lore will be left up to our own imaginations.

    -Zeke

  51. John January 4, 2017 / 17:35

    I read your article I enjoyed it! I like yourself was a teenager whenever the first two were released! I’m now 30 and I just finished dark dawn. It honestly could have been better but it was overall ok. I loved the series and it was fun all in all however I’m disappointed that it wasn’t a bit more challenging as far as the end boss…i didn’t even heal when kraden asked if i was ready and I barreled through the final boss…if you remember the lost age final boss was a three headed dragon TOUGH battle not impossible but far more challenging than the dark dawn boss. Still holding out hope they’ll make a final one! Also the same thing happened with Starcraft and Starcraft 2 LOOONG WAIT! 2001-2012?! Crazy!

    • Jaissal January 11, 2017 / 17:43

      I think that a sequel on Nintendo Switch would really suite Golden Sun. Being a core console experience and an on the go experience would be amazing! I just believe that there needs to be enough demand and excitement for the game. If Dark Dawn didn’t sell that much, the developers must be taking extra time when thinking about developing a new game. I’m 27 and played all the games when they released and thoroughly enjoyed both GBA titles. It would be great to have a RPG game with Amiibo support and more!

    • Burn January 12, 2017 / 04:52

      i think they should start with a remake to get the new generations excited

  52. Christeen January 21, 2017 / 10:50

    The Golden Sun franchise is what first peeked my interest in RPGs. I remember playing both games for hours and being extremely excited when the third came out. I was happy with the new puzzles and the game play so I’m lad to see the critic scores have gone up. It would be awesome to see a fourth as its been almost 8 years again…

  53. marijn drenth January 26, 2017 / 16:17

    The golden sun world and games are fantastic. The story and fantasy really made me feel and exp like it was my own journey. This is one of my favourite games together with baldurs gate for pc. I hope they will make at least one last awsome amazing part 4 in wich we finally beat alex. No matter how old i am i never stopped wondering what will happen now in that world. So please dont leave dark dawn with this cliffhanger. Gives us an ending to what is and will stay one of the most amazing story and game. Someone should make a movie or anime about this game already!

  54. Manny February 18, 2017 / 21:42

    Best childhood game, right next to Zelda. I really hope they make a 4th while keeping the standards from the 1st and 2nd

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