From The Mana series, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu (聖剣伝説, lit. "Holy Sword Legend"), is a medieval-fantasy action role-playing game series from Square Enix, created by Kōichi Ishii. The series began as a handheld side story to Square's flagship franchise Final Fantasy, although most Final Fantasy-inspired elements were subsequently dropped, starting with the second installment, Secret of Mana. It has since grown to include games of various genres within the fictional world of Mana, with recurring stories involving a world tree, its associated holy sword, and the fight against forces that would steal their power. Several character designs, creatures, and musical themes reappear frequently.
In 2003, the series comprised five games; since 2006, it has experienced a revival through the World of Mana campaign, with five new games released in the span of one year. As of 2008, the Mana series comprises eight console games and two mobile games, in addition to four manga and one novelization. The Mana series reception has been very uneven, with Secret of Mana earning wide acclaim, such as being rated 78th in IGN's yearly "Top 100 Games of All Time", and being highly praised for its musical score, while the games from the World of Mana series have been rated considerably lower.
The franchise consists of, apart from the four games in the main series:
- 1999: Seiken Densetsu Legend of Mana (Legend of Mana) – PSX
- 2006: Seiken Densetsu DS Children of Mana (Children of Mana) – DS
- 2006: Seiken Densetsu Friends of Mana (Friends of Mana) – mobile apps
- 2007: Seiken Densetsu Heroes of Mana (Heroes of Mana) – DS
There are two distinct timelines in the series:
Dawn of Mana --> 10 years --> Children of Mana --> 300 years --> Princess of Mana (original comic book)
Heroes of Mana --> 19 years --> Seiken Densetsu 3"
Source: English Wikipedia, "Mana (series)" and Japanese Wikipedia, "聖剣伝説", available under the CC-BY-SA License.