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LETTERS WITH AEGIS
     Tuesday, July 10, 2001 "she says 'you know that you can go much faster'"     

RELATIVE MINIMA or
MY OWN DANCE PARTY:

Welcome to this week's edition of "Letters with Aegis." I got a ton of great mail... 46 letters, in fact. I've read a lot of opinions about where RPGs are headed in the near future, and in this column you'll get just a small taste of these varied hypotheses. As for my viewpoint, I really don't see the basic format of RPGs changing any time soon. Sure, graphics, sound, etc., will improve, but gameplay will most likely remain fairly constant with only minor tweaks every once in awhile. Or, I could be dead wrong, and a revolution may be only a couple years ahead of us. Who knows?

Noone -- nobody at all -- even tried to guess last week's quote. "I'm not talking about burning down a building" is from the song "Disco Inferno" by the Trampps. This week's quote is a bit easier, so hopefully somebody will get it.

I would like to clear up one thing before moving on with the column. Contrary to what some of you believe, I'm not just a substitute host, a "stand-in-for-the-stand-in," as I was called by one individual. As I thought I made clear earlier, I will be doing this column every Tuesday for the unforeseeable future. I hope you see that as a good thing, or at least not as a bad thing. Anyhow, let's move on to the letters.

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    Guess the Quote Contest
    Try to guess (be specific) the quote towards the top of the page. If you're the first one to email me with the correct answer, I'll mention you in my next column.
     

     
    An action-oriented future
    Almighty Aegis,

    I believe you are right in saying that the RPG's haven't changed during the last 10 years, same basic idea, run around save a villian from taking over the world, I don't think that this idea will ever change, though maybe more games will be focused on action-rpg style play. Most people that i know that don't like RPG's simply don't like them because of their menu-style fighting, maybe a more Secret of Mana and Zelda style will encourage more people to play.

    I don't see many RPG's coming out soon that I think I will like. Grandia 2, Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland, and Final Fantasy X are the only games i think look any good as far as RPG's go. There are other games that look good such as Metal Gear Solid 2, Resident Evil Code Veronica X, Tony Hawk 3, and a few others.

    And lastly, i have a few questions:
    1. In FF6, in the world of Balance, where is the best spot to level up?

    Aegis:
    In the World of Balance? Oh gosh, it's been so long I really can't remember. If the floating continent is, um, floating already, that's probably a good place to level. Other than that, I can give no sage advice.


    2. What games do you plan on getting?

    Aegis:
    The next game I'll most probably buy is Bomberman Tournament for the GBA. I also am looking forward to Klonoa 2, which I'll purchase once I actually get a PS2.


    3. What are your favorite games of the moment?

    Aegis:
    Favorite can mean so many things. So I don't have to make you a massive list, I'm gonna cop out and just give you two games as an answer: Dance Dance Revolution and Samba de Amigo. They're great. Try them, buy them, etc.


    4. Which system do you think is going to win the war and why?

    Aegis:
    As I've said before... in my opinion, it's feasible for ANYONE to dominate the next generation of console wars; it just depends on how the fickle consumer market reacts to the new systems and games. If I had to guess, I'd say Sony is going to stay on top, just because they have a head start. I see Nintendo coming pretty darn close pretty quickly, though. Only time will tell.


    5. Did anyone else think Dark Cloud sucked?

    Aegis:
    I've only played a brief bit of it, and what I played seemed pretty cool, if not a little clunky. But I have heard some legit complaints about it, so I'm sure you're not alone.


    NoFx687


     
    Beef stew
    Hey Aegis!

    Love the way you do your columns, by the way. I plan on purchasing FFC next, primarily because of FFIV. The original FFIIUS is my favorite game of all time, and I've been itching at the chance to play the original Hardtype. Chrono Trigger is a nice bonus, since it's a good game, and the bonuses should be cool. I guess I should add in a few questions to make this interesting.

    1 - What do you make of this whole Tactics rerelease thing? I'm starting to actually find it amusing that people take such strong opinions about it. And on the topic of rereleases, how about Square rereleasing Xenogears?

    Aegis:
    I just find it odd that there have been so many conflicting reports. Tactics is being rereleased as a greatest hits title (see next letter); why should there by any confusion about this? I think that the redistributing of any older, rarer games is a good thing. Kudos to Square. Let's just hope there won't be any bad burns in these rereleases. :P


    2 - Has there been anything else about the sequel to Skies of Arcadia? Last I heard it was in production, but nothing more, like which console.

    Aegis:
    To be quite honest, I don't remember hearing that a sequel to SoA was in the works. I could have just missed the news; I'd definitely have to do some research before saying you were wrong. But as far as me having any information on that, alas, I have none.


    3 - Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is surprisingly underwhelmed by Dragon Warrior 7? It looks nothing short of fantastic to me.

    Aegis:
    I think you're right, and I'm guilty too. I think part of my problem is that I never played any of the earlier games in the series. Come to think of it, that's probably most people's problem. Hopefully, though, people will realize that DW7 is a quality product. I hope it sells well.


    4 - GameCube, will Nintendo be RPG friendly or not?

    Aegis:
    I think they will be, without a doubt in my mind. Only time can truly tell, but I have a good feeling.


    Thanks for posting this, if you do.

    Aegis:
    You're welcome.


    Ravyn


     
    Yahoo for him
    BWAHAHA!! PROOF THAT SQUARE IS RELEASE FINAL FANTASY TACTICS AS A GREATEST HITS GAME ^_^!!:
    http://www.gamestop.com/product.asp?product%5Fid=260572

    Ikaika the crazed FFT maniacal fan ^_^
    Aegis:
    Yes, you're most obviously crazed... in your stupor you wrote that sentence with a glaring grammatical flaw. We get the point, though, and thanks for the link.

    Seriously, though, this is the first I've seen that truly clears up whether FFT was going to be re-released or not. I'll probably pick it up this time around, as I'm sure will thousands upon thousands of other rabid gamers.


     
    Past issues
    Hiya Aegis,

    How're you?

    Anyways... err, first some comments re: things mentioned in the July 8 letters.

    First, re: Zelda 1 and that guy that was stuck.... if he's in dire need of keys, I just thought I'd give a shout out and tell him that if he's in the first quest (which I'm assuming) that he can go back to level 8 and go to its northeast corner somewhere in the "mane" of the lion to find the skeleton key. And if you really need keys, you can buy them at some shops, including the one that is one north and one west of the game start... though that's a slow, expensive, and one-by-one way to do it. :P

    Re: Ogre Battle battle expiration stuff.... it's wierd, I've never seen save data "decay" over a year or more (I remember putting in my Zelda 1 cartridge after YEARS and finding an old file I'd left behind still quite intact on the NES)... I just thought I'd suggest that exchanging your copy isn't the only way to get new batteries. You can also get Nintendo to replace the batteries for some money if you call them at 1-800-255-3700. Yeah, it costs money and you gotta send it to them and wait to get it back, but it's a way to do it, especially if its an old game that you can't exchange for a copy that'll have batteries that are any healthier :P (i.e. equally old copies of the game) Though I have to say that as of this writing no battery has expired on me yet, including my zelda 1 battery, which is my oldest by far, running on fourteen years now. (Watch it expire now that I've boasted, heh)

    Alright, now a question, because I'm thoroughly confused. I'm LOVING FFC. It rocks. Both discs, the manual, the package, everything about it reeks of.... rockfulness. Yeah. But all these reports of bad copies or something... I heard that some copies were misburnt, then I heard that some systems were not behaving right with perfectly valid discs, then I heard a bunch of other things. Do you know what the deal is? If not, don't sweat it. I'm just wondering. I heard of people that ran FF4 okay the first time, and now they have to hit reset a few times till the game successfully starts up, but I've also heard the same with CT, and I've heard that some people describe the intro movie as choppy in CT. I haven't experienced any problems in FF4 or CT, and they've started every of the (many) times I've used them, and CT's intro isn't choppy for me. I am using a PS2, but I'd heard reports from a PS2 user to the effect of the above too. (And I don't use the disc speed or texture smoothing options for FF4... for CT, I ran it initially without either, but I use disc speed since it helps, but either way the intro isn't choppy for me) So what IS the deal? And if it is misburns, they'll get replaced free right?

    Aegis:
    We really don't know for sure what the "deal" is regarding FFC's problems. Square is scheduled to release an official statement soon, so stay tuned to our front page for that news. If your disc is faulty, I'm sure you can get it replaced free of charge. Don't worry.


    Err, yeah. That's my comments and questions.

    Oh oh! One last question. Okay, two. What other content do you contribute to the site? I admit to only seeing your name on Q&A so far... any other sections? And where does the name Aegis come from? It makes me envision the Aegis shields of the earlier FF games, but somehow I doubt that's where you took it from.

    Aegis:
    I've certainly done more than Q&A at RPGamer. I started here back in March 2000 as a news writer, and I wrote news articles for a good three months or so before taking the position of news director for the summer. Once school hit last fall, I took over updating the then-named Information Station (now RPGuides), which is where I've been up until taking this Q&A position. My final update of RPGuides will go up later today, and after that the section will be run by the capable Rob "Chimerasame" Hamilton.

    As far as where I got "Aegis" from, it's been so long I don't really remember. Most probably it was from the Greek mythology I was going over in high school.


    Okay, now I'm done.

    Ismail


     
    He's right, you know
    i was looking through the artwork section of ffX, there is a moogle in the cliff scene. moogles kick arse.

    ~silent bob
    Aegis:
    Agreed. Moogles do indeed kick a whole lot of arse.


     
    Hesitant
    Hey Aegis, how goes it?

    You were wondering what the next game to buy might be. I am thinking of going for the wonderful Final Fantasy IV that is being included in Final Fantasy Chronicles. I played the heck out of it when I was younger but I am thinking it will be worth playing again with its new script. My questions to you are as follows. Have you heard anything about the new translation? Is it worth playing over again to see the story in all its original glory? Should I even pick up Chronicles yet, or should I wait until this whole disc error thing has passed over? Thanks as always, and great job doing the daily Q&A goodness.

    Lee Babin
    Webmaster of the Heaven's Rogues
    www.psohr.com
    Aegis:
    Other than the bad things that I've heard Googleshng say about FF4's new translation, I've heard nothing but praise about it. I doubt it will disappoint. If you've got the time and the drive, I'd recommend playing it again. I know I want to. I might, however, wait a little bit on buying the package... let Square make their announcement regarding the problem with the game and let stores get newer copies in.


     
    I need convincing
    Okay Aegis, I'm happy to answer one of your questions that you had. The next game I'm going to buy is Gran Turismo 3 A-spec. Actually, within the next few hours. Everyone with a PS2 must OWN this game! I don't think I have to explain why...

    ~Laguna
    Aegis:
    Well, maybe you don't have to explain why, but somebody really should. Hey, wait... how about this next guy?


     
    At least he tried, but I'm still not buyin' it
    ::tilts head back:: S'up Dude,

    What game do I intend to buy next? I will tell you, for the name of this blessed game is Gran Turismo 3. The reason for my purchase of said game? Mainly because I am a massive car freak and this is THE game for people like me. Over 150 licensed cars available along with almost every mod for them you can imagine. Everything from Suspension to Intercoolers to Turbos are in this game. I am still a big RPG fan, so I like to think of this game as kind of a "car RPG." You start with a small and not very powerful car. You enter races and "battle" to win. When you win the race you get both money and sometimes a new car. Through building and "equipping" your car with performance parts you race in harder and harder "battles" to eventually enter the championship. It is a great 1 player game and the 2 player option is also very well done. I am getting a PS2 just for this game. Forget FFX, I will be too busy playing GT3.

    --Shortt "I couldn't get the bi-noc-u-lars out in time" Sirket
    Aegis:
    I never cared for Gran Turismo or any other simulation style racing game. I love stuff like Mario Kart, San Francisco Rush, and F-Zero, but if you make the game too real I lose interest for some reason. Good way of comparing the game to an RPG.


     
    February flashback
    Hello again!

    I thing I'm gonna get PSO next, since I don't have it yet and some of my friends do. Does it have the horrid lag like ChuChu Rocket and NFL 2k does? I hope not...

    -Nysomin

    "My spine!"
    Aegis:
    Although I played PSO with the Broadband Adapter more than I did with my modem, I never noticed any horrible lag. I think it's all gonna depend on the quality of your dialup connection.


     
    Wehrenberg, maybe?
    Hey there, Aegis,

    No, they're staying put. Sure, there's gonna be a few changes here and there, there not being would be impossible. But by and large, anything really radically different will be lumped into a new genre, and RPGs as we know them will remian relatively untouched.

    Next game... Whichever comes out first, Hoshigami or Tales of Eternia (I refuse to call it Destiny 2. ToE is a cooler anagram than ToD2, anyway). Or Arc the Lad Collection. Oh, and there's FFC too... hmm...

    ~TH Cole works at a movie theater, so he gets to see the Final Fantasy movie for free. Ha ha.
    Aegis:
    I think I agree with you as far as future RPGs go. I don't foresee any huge changes, much to my dismay.

    You don't get to see the movie early, do you?


     
    VR missions
    Hello Aegis. Good day to you.

    The future of RPGs looks bleak to we old-schoolers who would prefer the classic "eight-member party fighting to save the world" bit, but alas that is not to be. I forsee that RPGs (and probably most games in general) will take place online in a virtual world made up of simulated and real characters. Real people like you and me would comprise the roles of the warriors and thieves and such, where the townspeople and royalty or whatever will be simulatations created by the software companies. When you want to play, you just log on and put on you VR helmet or whatever and you're playing. Much more interactive, yet I don't know if it'll be as fun. If you want a visual of what I have just described I suggest you watch The Thirteenth Floor.

    The next game I buy will probably be Metal Gear Solid 2. The next RPG? Definitely Final Fantasy X. The reason for both is cuz they look hella beautiful on the PS2 and I already have the preconceived notion that they'll be extremely entertaining.

    That's it from me! Take care now, bye-bye then.

    --C.L.
    Aegis:
    Although I think we will see a lot more online RPGs (and online games just in general), I don't think we're gonna see mainstream virtual reality stuff anytime soon. I may be wrong, but it would have to be good, and it would have to be cheap. Here's to hoping.


     
    Apples and other fruit
    ARRGGHH!!!! I'm still stuck between getting DW3 or L3! I have enough money for both games, but I lose sleep if my bank account ever falls below a certain number. Yeah, I know I'm cheap - sue me. Anyway, I've weighed the pros and cons for both games:

    Dragon Warrior 3:
    Got better ratings than Lufia 3.
    I'm not a big fan of random dungeons (which Lufia 3 has).
    The battle system looks kewl.
    It looks like it could take a long time to finish.

    Lufia 3:
    Finally, a GBC RPG with real characters!
    My DW3 cartridge might get lonely, since I lost my DW1+2 cartridge (stupid reason, I know).
    The Lufia series has the best plot ever.
    Lufia is the only series in existance that has monsters to be collected AND good RPG action.

    So, what do you think, almighty Aegis?

    BL Alien
    Aegis:
    First off, as far as I know, the game isn't Lufia 3. It's Lufia: the Legend Returns, and there's no number to it. But casting that aside, from what I've seen and heard, both are very good games and worth your hard-earned dollars. However, I'd personally go with the new Lufia game. I really liked Lufia 2, and it's a brand new game, not just a remade old one like DW3 is.


     
    Melody and rhythm
    First off, I think RPG's are going to make a rather large leap in the next 10 years, probably sooner, like 5 years. At the rate we're going now, with all these companies struggling to make something new, and these MMORPG's being thrown out, I think the RPG genre could totally change. Then again, it may stay exactly as it is; who knows?

    As for the second question, I'm getting Castlevania: Circle of the Moon this Friday or Saturday. I, personally, take a liking to Castlevania's platform style, which is rather unique if I do say so myself. I also LOVE the music; I have taken a major obsession over CV music in general as of late. Aside from that, I simply need a new game, not to mention it's a perfect excuse to get the GBA. I also plan to get Sonic Adventure 2 after that, when I can anyway.

    Speaking of music, could I get your opinion on VGmusic as a whole? I have run across many people with different opinions, but the prevailant one is that they're not really music. I consider Castlevania music, among other (such as FF, Grandia, Lunar, Xenogears) to be very much so "music." Much more so than some of this pop stuff we have going around now. Take Sonic Adventure 2 for example, it has rap, rock, hard rock, techno, industrial, and jazz. Also, what's your take on Uematsu's recent works? Bad? Good? I just wanna know.
    Thanks

    Dn (Darknil)
    Aegis:
    I hope you enjoy CotM. I absolutely loved it. As for video game music, I've always been a big fan of it. Back in the 70's, when all you had were blips and bleeps, yeah, I can understand the viewpoint that game music wasn't really music. But as technology increased to allow for it, we got really good music in even early games, like Out Run. As far as Uematsu's recent stuff goes, I liked FF9's music, and I certainly don't think he's lost his edge, but I just wasn't grabbed by it like I was back with FF4 or FF6. Maybe that's just me changing, though...


     
    Interactive mail
    Yo Aegis!

    What is up? Hmmm, what do I think RPG's are gonna be like in 10 years? Well, Final Fantasy will be up to number 15, of course. After experimenting with real-time computer-rendered worlds and introducing unto RPG's new innovations such as "Virtua Sniff" (which is exactly what it sounds like), online banking, and Mystery Science Theater 3K style commentary by hypersaccharine ex J-Pop stars, Square will return to basics... that's right, the good ol' days of prerendered Polys like the (by then) legendary FF8!

    All kidding aside, I can't really think that far into the future. I just hope that series such as Suikoden, Phantasy Star, Shining Force, and a few others are still around. I also hope that Final Fantasy spins off into something else, even if its basic premises survive the transfer. There is something fundamentally wrong with anything "Final" having 15 installments. But that's immaterial as long as the games don't suck. And as long as there is a good variety of stuff out there that bends the traditional genre conventions, like Castlevania: SotN.

    I am also hoping that the online RPG craze that has swept the PC world steers clear of consoles as much as possible. But then again, by then someone will probably have done it right and change my mind. The concept of an online Final Fantasy Tactics world is an interesting one, I think...

    As far as the next RPG I wanna get... I'd have to say Hoshigami. It looks really tight. And it's "Tactics 2" for Smurf's sake! I just hope the gameplay is up to snuff...

    A few quickies:

    1- Are you gonna go see Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within? It looks pretty decent, from the previews I have seen.

    Aegis:
    But of course! Some friends and I already have our tickets for 7:40 Wednesday night.


    2- What are your thoughts on FF10? Do you think it will live up to the hype?

    Aegis:
    Probably. However, I'm not seeing a whole lot of hype lately, so that's probably gonna be an easy task. I do think it will turn out to be a good game, all smarminess aside.


    3- The Spork... Why?

    Aegis:
    Because it's ingenious, duh. It's like the action-RPG, combining two good things.


    4- What next gen system do you think will have the widest variety of RPG support?

    Aegis:
    Probably the PS2, with the GameCube close behind once it builds up speed.


    Thanks!

    -Nan



    End of the Road:

    I'm tired. Really tired. And the sun's gonna rise on me soon. I've gotta hit the sack. Hope you all enjoyed the column, and I'll see you again in a week's time.


    Andrew P. Bilyk plans to sleep way, way past noon.

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