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Chrono's the name, Cross' the game
 
Ask JD Saturday July 11 - 7:55 pm EST

Before we start I just wanted to let you readers know I will be handling tomorrow's Q&A.

I'll keep this brief since this is quite a long Q&A today. The way I figure it you guys deserve some interest for the lack of updates during the weekdays this week. Extremes seem to carry the day as of late. First it was the complete one sided attacks on Chrono Cross, then today I received about 95+% of emails on the Chrono Cross topic. Not only was the topic decidedly about Chrono Cross but the amount of it was overwhelming, almost equal to last week's Concerned Parent letter. Another interesting fact was in all this amount of Chrono Cross emails only 3 bashed the game the rest sung its praises or attacked the Chrono Cross bashers.

I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to approach today with all the CC related emails. Quite a dilemma really. So today's Q&A is devoted to Chrono Cross, 5 rather good sized emails on CC alone. You guys asked for it, so here you go.

 
Chrono Cross, revenge of the Supporters?

Personally, I don't really see where all this bad reception to Chrono Cross is coming from. Well I do, but I don't understand it. I don't see the problem with 3-D graphics, most people only say they hate it either to be different, or just so they can be recognized, no one who praises 3-D graphics in RPGs gets any attention. Anyway, CC looks to be fantastic, although Square botched it big time by not signing Akira Toriyama as the character designer. Now the characters have no continuity, it's like if suddenly Capcom decided to give Ryu blue hair and longer arms. Anyway, in an answer to yesterday's question about it being the same world...it HAS TO be, if this is a sequel, then wouldn't Guardia Castle still exist? Wouldn't Truce Canyon still be there? Of course! The only way Square could botch it now, would be too totally change everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Oh! A question? Uh...Oh! If you look at the World Scene Picture 1, that colorful village reminds me of the village that was on the ground, under the floating continent of Zeal, only a little different, perhaps in a different time era that what we saw in Chrono Trigger?
P.S.-Serge is a Suikoden rip-off.

-Arcus Zero

JD:
Can you say RPG gamers are way too fanatical, critical and yes, crazy? Not to mention having nothing better to do than overly bash games. Heeeh.

I wish those people would quit whining about Chrono Cross. It makes me sick. You don't judge a game on some still screens that you can't even see very well. You judge it on how it plays. Once Seiken Densetsu 4 comes out, people will probably see that the game is excellent. Well, those people that bashed Chrono Cross probably won't see that, being they won't get Legend of Mana, and wait for a subquality translation of it a year afterward. People want innovation, but the second innovation comes, people bash it (The Guardian Force system of FF8, and people that have criticized Megaman for being the same for 10 years, but then when the first 3D one that comes out turns out to be an action RPG, they bash that as well). I say, people shouldn't look at ANY screenshots of a game until they play it, then crap like this wouldn't happen.

-Zane Merritt

JD:
Judgementalism is such a trait we gamers have. Even I'm susceptible to it, more than I care to admit. We all are hypocrites sometimes, well maybe I'm excluded. ;)
Good points.

Do you believe that the gaming public ever makes any sense?
Reading Saturday's column, I had to laugh, because we've all fallen prey to this bizarre gaming insanity at one time or another in our lives.
We ask for Chrono Cross. We beg for Chrono Cross. We sign petitions for...you guessed it...Chrono Cross. We actually *get* Chrono Cross. We slam Chrono Cross. Not only do we slam Chrono Cross, we start early - no more then three days after we first hear about it. So when we finally get Chrono Cross, we immediately decide it will be awful. And not because we've got story details that sound atrocious, but because we don't like the graphics. Maybe RPG gamers only like to pretend to they're more sophisticated than twitch gamers, since it basically comes down to graphics no matter who you are. The same thing happened with SaGa Frontier. I love SaGa Frontier. I think SaGa Frontier is a brilliant game. When I heard a bunch of people talking about how they wished there was more non-linearity in videogames, I thought they'd love SaGa Frontier. Nope. It was too hard to figure out what you were supposed to do next, they told me.
So I guess the actual 'Ask JD' portion of my letter would be this: Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we beg for one thing and rip it to shreds when we're given it? Can you honestly look me in the eye and say 'If a game came out for the PSX with the same graphics as FF3e, I'd be ecstatic'? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. Dreaming is still how the strong survive.

-Chris

JD:
No, I've given up trying to analyze the gaming public. It is just too ludicrous sometimes. Luckily it is quite clear now the overwhelming majority is well behind Chrono Cross or at least are waiting to make more of a judgement. We are on the same wavelength on the CC issue. While you certainly make valid points on Saga Frontier, I think the main reason people hated it, at least for me it was the boring story, if no story. Perhaps I didn't give it enough chance. I may give it one more, maybe...

As far as your question. I think it comes down to, people on the net with too much time, and the extreme ease of opportunity to open their mouths, or in this case their keyboards. Although it is also the same harsh criticisms that "supposedly" make RPGs better and better.

JD,

I can't belive some of the stuff I'm looking at in today's column. Square brings out one godamn ad for Chrono Cross and suddenly the entire world is pissed off because it's in 3-D and Crono's not in it. Considering that A)All of Square's recent efforts are 3-D and B)Not once in the entire history of thier company has Square done an RPG sequel with the same chareceters, I don't see what the big fuss is about. Are they surprised or something? While I don't adore Serge's charecter desgin, I find Kid and Yamaneko to be okay. (but yeah, I'm gonna miss Magus too) Reguardless, instantly saying a game will suck based on a few drawings and some pictures months and months before it's even going to be finished is shortsighted and ridiculous. It seems that RPGamers are now divided into three camps: They either adore everything Square brings out uncondintinally ,hate everything that they do ,or they actually wait until a game comes out and judge it on it's own merits, regurdless of who's logo is on it,if you can imagine. The first group will more or less accept anything Square gives them, reguardless of actual quaility,wich cheats themselves and other companies. The second hates Square the company,either because they didn't like FFVII, therefore everything else Square makes must automatically suck,or because they wanted Square to stay with Nintendo and are still bitter over something that happened two years ago. I know that if Chrono Cross were on the N64, at least one of the CC bashers in saturday's column would be singing it's praises. He knows who he is. In any case, God could come desgin things for Square and these people would still hate thier games on principal, not based on actual content. Finally, we have what seems to be getting smaller and smaller,the group of gamers who actually wait until a game comes out, plays it and then once they know whay they're talking about, decides if it's good or not. Am I wrong in thinking that there's no point in complaing about a game that hasen't come out yet? I have my misgivings about CC, but I'm not going to go screaming about how it's crap just because Crono's not the hero. (my biggest concern is that it'll be like Legend of Legaia, a game I'm not too fond of) Imagine how you'd feel if you were making a game, and a bunch of people who'd only seen pictures of it were posting to public discussion forumns how terrible it is. Okay, now *I'm* whining ,so I'll just close with the point I'm trying to get across-don't knock it until you've tried it. Yeah, I coulda said that with alot less text, but I like to rant. Ja Ne.

-Wyvern

JD:
It's the "Bandwagon Phenomena."

Jeff,

I was more amused than anything else when reading the reactions to Chrono Cross. Leave it to the people on the Internet to -- within a day or so of the game's announcement -- already be bashing it and joining on the "it sucks!" bandwagon. I'm a long-time gamer and have been playing Square's games since the days of the NES. Even so, I am happy that they are moving to new and different things. I am disgusted at the attitude that seems so rampant today that it is "cool" to dislike all new Square games. When FF7 came out, most people agreed that it was a fun game, had great graphics, and was overall a good game to play. Soon, however, people started bashing it for having "too much" FMV, a confusing ending, etc. etc. etc. And people started jumping on the "FF7 sucks" bandwagon because it was popular to do so. Now, people don't even wait for the game to come out to start bashing it. FF8's already been torn to shreds on the net, and now, so has Chrono Cross. Personally, from what little we've seen so far, I think Chrono Cross looks interesting. I'm definitely looking forwards to seeing more of this title so that I can make a more informed judgement about it. However, from what little I've seen so far, I would definitely get it when/if it comes out in America. But to all the people out there bashing it already: take a step back. Look at it again. If you can really form that strong a dislike for a game from 10 early screenshots, knowing nothing of the gameplay, plot, or any of the other elements we will find out about eventually, I feel truly sorry for you. It's not all about the graphics. I've played Square games on the NES, SNES, Gameboy, and Playstation, and I take many different factors into account before deciding what I think of a game. Graphics is only one part of it. I wish more people would do this, too, but I know it's not going to happen. The truth is that there is not and never will be a "perfect" game. There will always be some little flaw, or a minor element of the game that will be incorrect. I think we are fortunate to have a company like Square that, while flawed, still manages to create some of the best games around. So instead of nit-picking about how they used "off" instead of "of" in one screen, how about sitting back and realizing how much you're enjoying the rest of the game? I mean, games are supposed to be fun, right?

-Brian Sebby

JD:
Yeah, RPG gamers amuse me most of the time. While I remain solid on my disappointment with the character designs of what I have seen so far. I'm extremely jazzed about Chrono Cross. There really seems to be strong potential here, to be Square's best RPG. Really, my main complaint is it was developed for Playstation, when PSX2 is a more viable platform. Just take a look at the blocky polygons. If this was on PSX2 I can only salivate at what it could look like. Before I get complaints from you all calling me "Graphics junkie" whether you like to admit it or not everyone is one. If that wasn't the case why not just keep playing FF 4/6. This is the truth, everyone likes good visuals. Now that I've gone off on a tangent, let me return to my point. Chrono Cross looks like its gonna kick butt and take names. How's that for brevity?

 
Trying to prove JD wrong

I am here to prove you WRONG! Muhahaha..

Okayokayokay..... So you prolly received a ton of messages already, but the release date for FF8 is 9/9/99, at least according to the ad that was just added to the FF8 propaganda section of the site. ;)

-Eric

JD:
When someone says I'm wrong as the Subject Header, that immediately gets my attention. While I often joke at the omnipotence that is me, I really don't know everything. Luckily this wasn't that time. Square's FF8 Recent Press Release says "FINAL FANTASY VIII is scheduled to ship in the U.S. on September 7, 1999." Gamelord.com lists 9/7 and EBworld.com lists it as 9/8. So if there's anyone wrong it is not I. Though the dates have been flip floppy, most likely it'll be between 9/7-9/9.

 
YS 3

Hey JD

I found YS 3 for the genesis at a local store, and after looking at the screen shots on the back of the box, I thought to myself "Is this an RPG? Doesn't look like it, but YS is supposed to be an RPG!?" It looked more like a platformer, what's up with that? Should I spend $40 for a genesis and this game?

JD:

I can't believe I'm being force to be objective about YS. No I wouldn't spend over $20-25 for YS 3 for Snes or Genesis. They were average games, and YS3 is not the typical landmark of greatness that YS 1/2 or 4 were. If you were inquiring about YS3 for the Turbo CD that would be a different story, as YS3 for the Turbo CD had some INCREDIBLE music.

 
Grandia, details please..

Dear JD,

This is the first e-mail I am sending to RPGamer... Please forgive my bad english, since I'm Brazilian... Anyway, I want to know: why is it so difficult to find news about a U.S. release of Grandia/PSX??? Man, I played the japanese Sat. version and I loved it!!! I think the PSX edition will certainly rival FF8 in terms of quality!!! Still, I could find no information about it in playstation.com or some other pages... Very weird! Is the release date REALLY 08/16/99???? I hope so... See ya,

-Kaiser Sigrist

JD:

The last news report on Grandia in the last month was, it is being delayed to October. Strangely enough, EBworld.com still lists it for 8/16/99 release. Normally at Playstation.com Sony would also have a page devoted to an upcoming game, about a month prior to release. Grandia has no such page yet... As soon as any new info is released we'll post it on the news section/archive.

 
Blocky Graphics

Dear JD the Omnipotent Answer Guy,

I was wondering...
1. Why are all the 3D grafix for PSX and N64 (amoung others) sooooooooooo blocky!? Give me good ol' 2D anyday.
2. On the PS2 will the grafix be better? All I want is a little smoothness! Is that too much to ask?
3. Who do you think would win in a fight Kefka or Sephiroth?

-Quickbeam the Quickest of all the Beams

JD:

1/2. PSX can't handle enough polygons that create objects. N64 can do about double the amount the PSX can do. The more polygons a system can handle the smoother objects are. NURBS would also further the smoothness of curvy objects. Supposedly Project Dolphin/Nintendo 2000 might have this.
3. Sephiroth would destroy Kefka. Big time whooping.

 
Comical Comic


Comic Masterpiece?

(Excerpt)

Hope those amused you (and that you e-mail program can show pictures mid-letter, because otherwise you're probably really confused). I've been sticking up new ones daily at Googles' Comic

-Googleshng

JD:
HAHAAAA. That is hilarious, check it out people. After reading the column of course. ;)
 
DW Fact or Fiction revisited
FF 1
Sigh what fond memories...

Open letter to the guy who wrote in last week defending the Dragon Warrior 3 screenshot: Dragon Warrior 3 screenshot real? Not! (my first clue was the oversized text of "Here lies Cid") As for 'jabs' between the two companies, I can't think of one earlier or more obvious that this one from FF1 If you're going to lecture us about RPG history, at least have your facts straight >:(

-Gares

JD:
That certainly is one viewpoint.
 
I knew it, Square conspiracy

Help!!! I just bought this game I keep hearing about called Xenogears. I started playing it and it looked pretty cool, with the cartoon at the beginning and a nice ass(!!!)shot, and then some kewl scifi robot stuff. But then I started playing and they told me to climb the mountain and I did, but all of a sudden MY TV SHATTERED!!! Xenogears ruined my tv. Help me, who should I sue, Sony or Square??? I really like Square, so I don't want to take their money, but my $5000 TV is in pieces after playing this game! You'd think that a Sony tv would work with a Sony PSX????

-Rich Green

JD:
I knew it. Didn't I tell you folks last week Square is up to some hidden agenda? Square is out to get us, especially those with expensive TVs.
 
 
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"I always screw up Q&A :D"
-Alex Kimbel
Yes this is really from RPGamer staffer Alex. Aww :( any females want to help comfort Alex?
In response to the thing you said about no one writing in praising Square for Crono Cross I have decide to do the honours. Wait maybe I won't... Ok never mind. Lazy lazy...
I actually suggested to Square that they release The Rad Racer Anthology. That would kick arse. They would make it with Kefka driving one of the cars. That would rock.
Dreamcast will suck. Who says RPG gamers can't argue well?
Don't look out your window. It might be *muffled scream and gurggling sound*
-IDDY
What the hell is going on out there?
Lalalalala lalala lalal alala lalala lalaPrejudice.lalalala alalal alala lalaReligeon lalalal alalalal alalala lalalalal alala laRacismlala lalal alalalala Take it outta games! =P
-Alpha
Are you singing the smurfs theme song?
If I offer to date or marry you will you print this (so to speak)? You better be female or I'll have to get Ms Snope to talk to you.
 

Many of you have been emailing me why " I keep talking about the greatness of Satoshi Urushihara" or "who is he exactly?" Satoshi just plain rocks. So to the right are two images of his works from the Strategy/RPG Langrisser. Check them out and the urls below for more Satoshi info.

Special thanks to both sites for the images.

Satoshi page #1
Satoshi page #2

Satoshi Artwork
Satoshi Artwork
Click Image for Larger version
 

Questions? Comments? Praises or Flames?
Jeff Davis aka the Satoshi fan
You can be a winner in the game of LIFE

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