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ASK ANDREW
A Gift Basket of Poisons March 25th, 2005

Andrew Long - 11:44 EST

SO THE PSP HAS LAUNCHED, and I have discovered to my dismay that I have no more valid objections to it, the battery life apparently not being much of a problem. This leaves me with the uncomfortable conclusion that because I have no good reason to dislike it, the only possible explanation for my distaste is that Nintendo's hold on me is stronger than I thought. This can only be viewed as a bad thing, particularly in view of the fact that it is Nintendo's fault that I will have nothing to do on the plane ride to LA(lousy shoulder buttons!).

On the upside, I just drank apple juice that smelled like gasoline, so that's something, anyway. I sure wish I had the presence of mind to detect these smells before I put things in my mouth.



Ramblebox
The extras have their way today, if you get the saying; sometimes things just can't be arrayed in a satisfactory fashion!

-AL  


L E T T E R S
A chord is struck with Paine


Hello again i found what i was asking you about. a fellow nintendo nsider by the name of seiken_densetsu stated this on final fantasy VII

The main reason why I dislike FFVII was because of how rushed it was. It had 60% of the game missing, and it really shows that the game was rushed. how was final fantasy VII rushed? 60% lost i dont get it? like you said 5 years it took to make. why would square-enix cut 60% out. i would like to see if it was cut. the truth and what they cut out as its intresting.
ANDREW


Weeell, as she turns out, I may have erred slightly with that particular timeframe; according to this, which is a significantly more reputable source than half-baked memories, development on FFVII actually began in early 1996, shortly after Nintendo and Square parted ways. The four years I mentioned was actually for Legend of Dragoon, which is a dirty ripoff of FFVII, so I'm sure you can see where my confusion sprung from... Or maybe not. It also notes later on in that article that Square did have to cut some material from the game, though whether or not that was a significant amount is a matter for speculation. It notes, for instance, that the death of Aeris was tacked on almost as an afterthought, and that several glitches arose from having to squeeze the game into its development deadline. It also notes, however, that there is no solid evidence of the latter, and that the North American localization actually ended up being a more complete product because they had time to make the story fit together better. They also lengthened the amount of time it takes for Sephiroth to appear at the end, which I have always thought was pretty much the most awesome dramatic moment I've ever encountered in an RPG.

as for your spinoffs. maybe your right. i mean some of the charectors cant have a spin off. some of the final fantasy games could have spin offs problom is it would have to be like in the begining before the story of the original. i been thinking like Final fantasy IV. cant do much with it for example. unless you want a boring game of cecil and kain training. or edge or yang. most of those spin offs would be boring. same would apply to V. now 1 cant be done as its impossible in my opinion and 2 i have no clue as i never finished it yet. now VI is very limited if there was a spin off. then again most of the storys was tied up like you said. i mean for example a final fantasy VIII spinoff? no dice. was thinking cant be done as all of em was in seed school till they graduated. IX cant think of any. and VII well with cliuds spinoff and vincent. they cant do one of cid because it would be flat out boring. and aeris before this whole mess would be boring as well. now tifa and berrett and the avelanche crew could be possible. but the others like yuffie and red and cat sieth wouldnt be good spinoffs. and final fantasy X-2 dont need a spin off where there is a X-3 as for secret of mana they cant make a spin off as its impossible. or shall i say not worth it. so while you gave me food for thought i wanted to sit down and share what i thought while playing animal crossing on spin offs. as for VI i wish the april fools joke was real. final fantasy VI second chaptor. it would of been a awesome game. i will send you more thoughts later. but you get the idea. most spinoffs cant be done or will be boring. i agree with you there.

Paine


ANDREW


Another satisfied convert... I sure am great!


A heartwarming tale


Okay, because I'm a biased sadist, I'd like to report on the stupidity of Sony for a moment, if only to gloat on their imcompetence to put out a decent product for such an incredible amount of money.

Oh...what? You think I'm talking about the PS2?

You're WRONG.

I work at Wal-Mart (As a previous letter I wrote might have mentioned, but I think I only brought up the information about EB Games), and I work at a small town Wal-Mart, which basically means that everyone comes to the "mall" when their bored.

At our Wal-Mart, like most large, multi-million/billion dollar companies that are in retail, we were well prepared for the onslaught of shoppers waiting to get their grubby little paws on a $250 piece of electronic heaven, complete with movie and $50 games.

Well, that's what was SUPPOSED to happen.

From the calculations that I was given, our store, which had roughly 30 pieces of this glorious "Walk on Water"/"Poop don't Stink" hardware, we only successfully sold...

2

I don't know how well other companies did, but I think it's HILARIOUS! SONY, the all-great and powerful god of the underworld-built PS2, somehow thought that millions of people actually HAD $250 on hand to pay for this thing! And in the middle of MARCH, DAMMIT! FUHGETTABOUTIT!

**Cue megalomanical laughter...now**

**Keep laughing**

**Cough...laugh once or twice more...**

**done**

So the question is: What kinda egotistical company makes an announcement that they will be making an announcement? I've seen the "We have platinum asses" mentality from Squeenix progress into madness, but I mean, c'mon...

Perhaps my question really should be, "Can we have bets to what the announcement is?"

Winner gets creamsicles?

Syshonblast


ANDREW

Now, now. While I may have baffling acrimony towards the PSP, I'm not so foolish as to deny that it's probably going to sell well. The fact that I saw sizeable lineups (or preparations for such) outside any number of big box stores indicates to me that there is a fair-sized market for this sort of thing. I think with the advertising the thing has had, it'd be silly to think it won't sell at least some units, but then again, I guess your store only turned 2, so perhaps things aren't as great as they looked. I guess lining up in anticipation of something doesn't necessarily mean you're going to buy it.

Now, Square Enix's big announcement of doom. We know it's going to be a new game, and we know it's going to be announced soon, and we can probably guess that it's not going to come out this year, since the company has already announced its release schedule for '05. Herego, we can assume that it will probably be set for release next year, which rules out FFXIII, DQIX, and probably anything to do with Front Mission. This leaves a couple of possibilities: an entirely new title, or an extension to an already existing series that hasn't had one in a while. Which such series do we have? Well, the SaGa series, Seiken Densetsu (although there is work on a new NDS SD progressing, so perhaps not) and Chrono, for starters. The Chrono Break trademark remains dead, and no new trademarks have taken its place, so that seems rather unlikely, and Unlimited SaGa didn't exactly shoot the lights out. As such, I will wager that the announcement will either be for a new game entirely or for another expansion to FFXI. They are due for one.



Ys Ys Ys Ys Ys Ys YSSSS!


I've got a question for you, Andrew! I recently played Ys: Ark of Napishtim and loved it. Great game. Anyways, I remember seeing a news article on this site a little while back that talked about the next installment, Ys Oath of Filgana(sp?), but I can't seem to find that article anymore and I can't find the new game in your games section.

I went to Falcom's site which had screenshots, a short description, and scheduled Japanese release date? If it comes out that soon, that would be great! What do you think the chances are of this new Ys game getting to American shores?

I'm hoping for another PS2 port myself.

--The Irken Child


ANDREW

The chances are about as good as they've ever been, given how successful Ys VI has been so far. I think the interest that the Ark of Naphistim has generated so far has to be a fairly good selling point for Falcom, so I'd be very surprised if it doesn't at least consider that possibility now. Still, there's no accounting for Japanese perceptions of American tastes, so we shall have to wait and see, I would imagine.

Incidentally, that story you saw was in the Japandemonium column, so if you're looking to give it another once over, do some digging around in there. Additionally, Oath of Filgana isn't actually a sequel, but a remake of Ys III.



The drinkslinger slings randomblings pretty good too


Andrew W.K.

These days, if some joker is going to save the world, at least the writers are savvy enough to understand that there needs to be some explanation as to why he can do it and no one else can.

How does Crono, who is (let's be honest) a jerkwater, backwater, cat-abusing, retro-cyberpunk, stack up against other heroes in the criterion of poorly rationalized (but rationalized) omnipotence?

Probably better than Butz. I don't remember anything about him other than his stupid name. Also better than Setzer, whose power seems to be that he has better gambling luck than Cecil Fielder. But overall, not well.

Kotors- PC is a jedi.

Fable- there is some sort of thing with blood, but I don't remember anything other than my sister telling me to kill her and that Barbara Streisand-looking chick wanting to get busy.

FFs- The light warriors were prophesied. I couldn't figure out the interface for 2, and the extreme Japaneseness of 3 turned me off. Cecil is the son of some sort of alien/God which is quite a weird plot turn. Terra was another alien thing. Celes had 'implants.' Shadow was clearly the Eastwood character from the Leone westerns wearing a Snake-eyes suit. Some scientist injected Cloud with Wesley Snipes's 'serum,' making him super strong and fast. The American Congress had hearings on this issue a few weeks back. Squall had powerful demons living in his head.

Xenogears-
Me: Fei -is- the reincarnation of Adam, Jesus, Abraham and Moses and he has some -sort- of God -stuck- in him.

Someone else: So Fei has the god -inside- of him? That -means- Fei has divinity inside his being.

Me: Yes, Fei is the one with the divinity of -God- in him.

Secret of Mana- you have power because all sorts of tree spirits give you their power to use. An obvious nod to Deism, the ridiculous religion of the US founding fathers.

MGS (not RPG)- you are a clone of the greatest soldier

MGS2-don't know which of the 100 explanations for Raiden's skills is the one I'm supposed to believe, but that Vibrosword thing's going up my nose before I'll sort them out.

Chrono Cross- Serge touched the flame and partook of its power (or whatever)

Chrono Trigger- Crono's good at playing Simon says? Seriously, CT doesn't even give the slightest attempt at explaining why Crono's such a badass. At least the designers could have made his mom tell you that Crono's dad was a hell's angel or something.

Even though most of the non-CT explanations are poor, they are, at least attempts at explanation. Maybe it's just that since writers started this 'explaining' trend it (which either still needs some serious work or some serious dejapanimification) has spoiled me for the good old days when a software programmer could get sucked out of Britain and into the completely new and unrelated world of Britannia and immediately slay monsters from the Tolkien books while starting his own dominant line of encyclopedias.

Don't get me wrong, I still had fun playing through Chrono Trigger, but it's made me ask a bunch of questions that I had never thought of before.

As to the comment in yesterday's column that game companies need to start hiring writers to keep up, I'm totally with you on that. It seems like American companies are getting this message a lot quicker than the Japanese ones. Just on the random interviews I'll come across when I'm looking for porn and end up at IGN (aren't I in denial), it seems as if a lot of the plot-carrying American games are written by people who don't know how to boot their own floppies or whether their E drive is operating efficiently, which means they obviously got the job because they can write. Or because of their uncle. Over in Japan, it seems that the company just hires the guy who created Magical-Shopping-Arcade-Ultraman-X-Sutran-Love-Killers to come up with nine archetypal playable characters, then the programmers write the story for them. Disastrous way to work.

This might not apply to the Xenosaga games (it didn't apply to Xenogears whose story was awesomely ambitious and intricate but sloppy as hell) but having not played them I will set them aside.

I also think that Japanese game designers need to look for better inspiration than those stupid cartoons they watch. More on this another time.

-Drinkslinger


ANDREW

Dammit, man... I normally wouldn't post a letter this long, but you're just about the most entertaining letterer I've got, so you win this time. I will never fathom why Japanese developers allow their graphics producer or lead programmer write the story, because imagine what would happen if you put a writer in charge of either of those two departments! I mean, I'm not saying that all writers can't draw and program, but the chances are fairly good it would end up disastrously, like, oh, say... Dual Hearts? Rar. I still don't know what they were thinking when they let that one pass inspection....



Who got what in the where now?


So you got Ys 6? I've been toying with the idea of picking it up, but I'm curious about the battle system. Is it something like Zelda, where you can just swing your sword around whenever you want, and when your sword hits something, it takes damage? Or like Secret of Mana where if your sword hits something, it'll only cause damage most of the time (damn those enemies who know how to block!)? Or Maybe like Seiken Densetsu 3 where you only pull your sword out (you know you're thinking it, dirty-minded person you!) when there's enemies aboot?

-Guy Who Needs a New Handle


ANDREW

Hmm... I don't know exactly what it is you think I'm thinking, but I suppose I probably am thinking it. At any rate, I never said that I have Ys VI, only that I am willing to talk about it. You see, I am currently what is known as "flat broke", which means that things like new games are quite beyond my reach for the time being. Don't think that I wouldn't want to get my grubby mitts on Ys VI, though.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Short column today, but that's just because I'm going to have to throw up another later this evening, so never fear! I shall be back, and soon. In the interim, send me many letters, preferably pertaining to the new guessing game involving Square Enix. What are you hoping for? What do you think it'll end up being? Do you even care about S-E's big announcements anymore, or is the company dead to you? More importantly, do you have the time to trawl through the patent and trademark webpage in search of answers? All this and more... tomorrow!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long's sleuthing abilities are severely curtailed by his vast laziness.


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