A tweet made earlier today by the official Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record account said that not only had the game been cancelled by Sega, but that one of the reasons for this cancellation was the death of producer Haruto Watanabe.
As reported by VGC, the tweet — which was made in both Japanese and English — said:
Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record has been cancelled due to the cancellation of the contract by Sega and the death of the producer, Haruto Watanabe, CEO of Wildman Inc. Thank you for your support.
That would be unexpectedly tragic news, except for the fact that replies to the tweet quickly filled up with comments from Watanabe’s own colleagues saying he was in fact alive.
I went to the Wildman office and can confirm he’s safe. A lot of friends are gathering.
We’ve just received confirmation of the safety of our friend and colleague. More information will be tweeted by him as soon as he is settled.
The tweet was then deleted by the account. While it’s great to hear that Watanabe — who is also CEO of the game’s developers, Wildman Inc., named after his own nickname — is not in fact dead, the tweet still throws the future of Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record into doubt since it also mentioned the cancellation of the game’s contract by Sega.
First announced early last year, Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record is supposed to be a re-telling of the story of the first three games in the series, all for the Sega Saturn, only this time from a VR perspective.
According to an interview with Japanese site 4Gamer, Sega’s only involvement with the game was to issue a contract giving Wildman the rights to Panzer Dragoon; Wildman took on the financial burden of both developing and publishing the game themselves, so that Sega wouldn’t lose any money on the project — and grow averse to making any future Panzer Dragoon games — if it failed.