01/19 - 12:00PM EST
So we got all kinds of crazy announcements from Square-Enix
yesterday, everything from Final
Fantasy XIII-2 being confirmed, to a new name for Agito, Final Fantasy Type-0 (which will be
on two umds!). I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on these
announcements (yes even if you hate Final
XIII). Anyway, to the letter-mobile!
(If this letter doesn't make sense, see the special
reader column from last month )
Your Hot Topics are so awesome, I'm gonna address them all right now.
1. Wheels never
talks about things that aren't JRPGs. Send more questions in about
You're completely right, but I think there's a legitimate reason for
the discrepancy. JRPGs and WRPGs are so completely different that
I don't really even consider them to be in the same genre. Play
an Elder Scrolls and Final Fantasy Game back to back to
see what I mean.
First of all dude, the reader column was a one time thing! I'm
back now. I'll answer these crazy hot topics anyway. I do talk
about Western RPGs, it's just that I answer what the readers demand
send in, and it just so happens that more of the questions have been
about JRPGs. I mean I do love me some Mass
Effect and Fallout.
2. Can we get
through a column without mentioning Tales? Doh, I just ruined it,
We can't and you did. The Tales
game I played (Symphonia)
wasn't bad or anything, but I don't understand the fanatical devotion
so many seem to have for the franchise. Especially considering
that looking back, I can on barely remember either the characters or
It was something about Radworld and Suckworld right? And a really
huge tree, and one dude's dad was immortal or something. I could
look it up on Wikipedia or TVtropes or whatever and refresh my memory,
but honestly, I think I can label it as an example of horrible writing
in video games without doing so. A good story should leave some
sort of impression on you, and clearly this game didn't.
See, I have an issue with people using TVtropes as a basis to complain
about games. I mean, you can break just about any story, not just video games, but any story
into a bunch of rehashed ideas. It's all about the execution. I'm not
going to say to say that the Tales series
amazing story wise or anything, but what the games do best is
provide fun characters in plots that are generally interesting. Your
like/dislike of anime may alter opinions of the series given how
closely it sticks to the usual anime formulas. I guess not being a fan
of anime shows, all the typical anime nonsense is still fresh to me?
3. JRPGs are not
currently more creative than WRPGs
Thank you. Finally someone said it. JRPGs are among the
most completely uncreative games on the market.
OK, seriously people completely missed the original point of my hot
topic on this. I was trying to create a discussion about how Western
RPGs get story and depth correct, but seem to stick too closely to
classic PC ideals when it comes to combat. We all know the issues
Japanese RPGs sometimes face with linearity, and cliched story, but
what they often get right is fantastic creativity in the actual game
mechanics. So what I'm trying to say is I want Mass Effect with Resonance of Fate's battle system
compare Final Fantasy to
fruit? Who comes up with this stuff?
Dude that was brilliant. You're crazy man. You're stone
Really that was fantastic. Not that I agree with the fruit picks that
were used, but it was still absolutely brilliant. No really though, why
the Crystal Chronicles hate?
I thought the first game was well liked. Whatever, it was a great
5. Is this the best
column ever? Yes.
That column was so great. There's nothing I enjoy more than the
idea of Wheels, standing there helpless as a bunch of dudes he knows
from the internet turn his column into a vehicle for their own depraved
Well, my depraved agenda, anyways. Yours seemed pretty benign.
Your agenda Beat? Your agenda?
Who's writing in to whom?
While I really don't have much to say about your hot topics other than
"Yes, please!" to a new Mana
game or "Sounds good" to the idea of more
in-series homages, I feel like supporting the column with another
letter. I'll even do my own encoding for you.
Thank you sir. Making my HTML work
easier is always a great help.
Now, I'm hoping that the Secret of Mana iPhone port is more
than just a cash in. I really think the best hope for future games is
either downloadable titles, or some more portable titles. Legend of Mana 2 on PSP anyone?
Since we seem to be on the topic of sequels, here's a friendly
challenge. I name one series or standalone game, and you tell us
what you would do if given the opportunity to make a sequel for
it. Then name a different series or standalone, and I'll try and
do you one better. How does that sound?
That sounds fantastic. In fact, now it will look like I stole the idea
of my contest from you (I did not)! It's always fun to theorize about
sequels for games though. Especially ones with complicated unresolved
plots like the Suikoden series.
So, to pick a title off your staff bio, what would you do if given the
chance to make a Chrono Trigger
Write me back some time!
Fellow columnist, Gaijin
Again, I really didn't steal my contest idea from this letter! Anyway,
if I were to make a Chrono Trigger sequel,
I would take a route most fans would probably not enjoy. That is to
say, I would make it a non-direct sequel in a completely different
world with a new cast. There would just be too much, especially with
the existing sequel, to properly do a new game that could be completely
understand by anyone playing it. Chrono
Trigger was great for its gameplay, characters, and story, and
there's just no way you can produce something classic again by just
reusing the same characters. It would be best to start with a clean
And I will write back at some point! Honest!
Thanks for answering my letter in your Q and A! I was SOOO excited, as
I have never been "published" before in any kind of print. I told my
wife that my letter was published on RPGamer.com in your Q and A column
that she asked ask me, and I quote: "What magazine was your letter
published in again?" (Hilarious stuff).
That's funny (do magazines still
exist?)! Anyway, glad to serve. I'm hear to answer reader questions ,
no matter what you write in about. Especially classic Sega RPGs!
Anywho, my question to you is this:
I know the sega ages collection of phantasy
was also supposed to come to America at one point. Why do you think
Sega passed on these versions? They look awesome and I love Phantasy star 1-4. Also, another
interesting tidbit pertaining to your backlog (or lack thereof) is I
have 125 Jrpg's in my collection for various systems of which I have
completed maybe 20 of them, LOL Here is a pic and list of my games for
your entertainment (Wheels note: didn't include pic as it wouldn't fit,
but was full of awesome)
I'm not sure what ever happened to
those Phantasy Star remakes
coming out in the US. The most I can find is that someone else had the
publishing rights (Conspiracy Entertainment) and then they were somehow
reclaimed by Sega. However, clearly Sega never did anything with them.
It's a shame too, as the first two Phantasy
Star games really need an upgrade. Not that they've aged
horribly, but in terms of gameplay they feel very out of date.
The picture is too big to fit here, but that is a fine collection! I
see a lot of classic games in there. Don't worry about not finishing
them all, that will just give you a long term goal! Anyway, I have to
ask, why did you get Final Fantasy
XIII for 360, when you have a PS3? Unless that was a purchase
after it came out. I'm glad to see Wild
Arms among your PS1 games. Still one of my favorite classic
P.S. I did enter your contest for what Ys VIII etc. would be like (crosses
fingers) as I would love those prizes you mentioned (i.e.) Radiant Historia, Tactics Ogre.
Excellent! I was worried I would only
get an inbox full of Chrono Trigger
sequel pitches, but you readers have really come through (even the Chrono pitches I've received have
Wheels, what's the most fun you've ever had cheating in an RPG?
This is a fantastic question, considering cheats aren't used as often
in RPGs. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to use cheats in
the original Diablo. I was
never really able to finish it on my own (I was young, give me a
break), so it was fun to just absolutely destroy everything in the
game. On that same note, the cheat (OK it was more of a secret) in Diablo II to unlock the cow level
was hilarious. Fighting off hordes of evil cows was a hilarious
challenge. For Blizzard to actually take a crazy fan theory about there
being a cow level in the first Diablo,
and actually make it a reality in the sequel is not something you see
too often. Blizzard has always been good about that kind of thing (I
believe there was a "there is no cow level" cheat in Starcraft). There's a good reason
Blizzard became so popular!
That's it for this week folks. Thanks for all the contest entries so
far, I'll start responding (i.e. critiquing) them next week. Remember
you guys have until the end of February to get an entry in! You're
welcome to write in about anything else as well. Plenty of RPGs
upcoming in the early part of this year! I mean, when was the last time
we got a new game in the Ogre Battle
franchise, even if it is just a remake?
'Til next time!
Current Backlog: Click Me If you Dare!
December 22nd: Wheels
December 29th: Wheels
January 5th: Wheels
January 12th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Ys: I&II PSP
2. Lord of Arcana (Yeah I'm shocked this is here too, some please write
in and let me know I'm not alone?)
3. Tactics Ogre
4. Disgaea 4
5. Radiant Historia
On my Playlist:
1. Resonance of Fate Soundtrack
2. The World Ends With You Soundtrack
3. Donkey Kong Country Returns soundtrack
1. Does Alpha Protocol deserve a sequel?
2. Dragon Age 2 on PC looks to provide a system to switch between
classic Baldur's Gate Style combat, and Action RPG combat, can this
3. Does the crazy complexity of the Armored Core series qualify any of
the games as RPGs?
4. If Secret of Mana on the iPhone is a success, will Square-Enix
revisit the Mana series?
5. Should Camelot do a new SRPG franchise, since it's unlikely they'd
work with Sega again?