It looks like a Sega Saturn Mini console will happen eventually, but the Japanese publisher is running into difficulties developing one.
After the launch of the Sega Genesis Mini 2 last year, and the surprise success of the original Sega Genesis Mini, the company appears to be looking towards the following generation for its next pint-sized hardware release. However, Sega president Yukio Sugino has elected to keep our expectations in check.
Speaking to the Japanese publication Famitsu (translated by VGC), Sugino stated that the "Sega Saturn is surprisingly high performance," admitting that "the difficulty of miniaturisation is also high."
Sugino added that it may take a while for a Sega Saturn Mini to hit store shelves, but he seems keen to collaborate with teams who know the hardware inside and out: "I’d like to think about it when we’re in a situation where we can openly develop it together with people who have always loved the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast."
That last quote is particularly eye-catching; if a Sega Saturn Mini is successfully developed, the publisher may gaze towards a potential Sega Dreamcast Mini. Though admittedly, that's just my wistful love for Sega's swansong hardware talking.
It's worth noting that Sugino is absolutely right about a Saturn Mini being tough to create. The console was infamously challenging to develop for, as it featured a bespoke dual-core setup, two separate GPUs and, crucially, no dedicated 3D hardware on a console that was unapologetically early 3D.
The Sega Saturn wasn't the most successful fifth-generation console, largely being overshadowed by the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. But it still packed plenty of fondly-remembered exclusives and arcade ports. It's where the Panzer Dragoon series debuted and cult-hit Nights into Dreams. Excellent ports of Virtua Fighter 2 and Sega Rally Championship (which I'd argue to be one of the best racing games of all time) helped to round out Sega's first-party offerings on the console, too.
There are plenty of reasons for a Sega Saturn Mini to exist. Still, as Sugino admits, it will take a lot more time and effort than the relatively straightforward Genesis / Mega Drive Mini systems.
While being a cult-favorite all these years later, the Sega's hedgehog mascot was suspiciously absent on the Saturn. However, our best Sonic games list shows that Sonic Team was able to bounce back with plenty of bangers from the Dreamcast era onwards.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.