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ASK WHEELS
Tales of Sequels
February 3rd, 2011

02/03 - 12:00PM EST

  Well Tales of Graces F is now officially confirmed for release in North America. This is just crazy! I mean it wasn't that long ago that Namco-Bandai essentially said there was no chance of it coming out over here. How the times have changed. Now of course there's no release date yet, but I guess I have a head start on you all, seeing as I have the Japanese version!

Enough about that though, let's see what you guys have for me this week.





The Letters
Tales of Sequels

Alright Multi-Wheels, you need content and I had a notion that will fill most of a column very easily.  Let's get to it, especially since some of my proposals represent a welcome infusion of something new into the annals of Square Enix projects instead of endless remakes and re-releases.


Wheels

Hey, I like most of those remakes and re-releases. In fact, I'm still waiting on my Final Fantasy VI remake! Then again, I would like to see more things like 4 Heroes of Light from those who usually work on the remakes. I'm conflicted. That's getting off topic though.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 means, to me, that the gates are open.  Time to gauge the viability of other direct sequels to Square Enix properties!


Wheels

Yes! I like this idea. I'll start with Crystal Bearers 2. As much as I liked the first, there was a lot they could clean up about the first game. Namely tighten up the controls a little bit, and perhaps make battles a more central part of the experience. Also I am excited beyond measure for Final Fantasy XIII-2!
 
Final Fantasy I-2!  What will the Light Warriors do when Garland falls out of the past with all of Chaos's powers intact (or is that not a good idea?)


Wheels

Time travel is a dangerous tool to be playing with. This has potential though. If they make it for PSP, they can allow people to import a save from the PSP version of FFI and start the game with your pimped out party. I think this is a grand idea actually. You could even put in a job system similar to Final Fantasy V. They could create a whole new selection of advanced jobs for your characters to switch to. Get working on it Square Enix!

Final Fantasy II-2?  That's possibly the stupidest title of them all, but at least it might allow people to beat themselves over the head to get stronger once more.


Wheels

Well, perhaps instead of keeping the stupid advancement system of the original, they could put it more in line with the Saga series? It is after-all the game that got that series going. They could even call it Final Fantasy II-2: SaGa or something.

Final Fantasy III-2?  Because the final dungeon of the game wasn't brutal enough, so let's make it just to infuriate those who can't handle rough games.


Wheels

Well, 4 Heroes of Light is close enough to a Final Fantasy III-2, so if they do another game in that style, I'm all for it. FFIII is one of my favorite 8-bit style RPGs, along with Dragon Quest IV. More FFIII is fine by me! Infuriating final dungeon need not apply.

Final Fantasy IV-2?  I guess The After Years is this by another name, but is there another way?


Wheels

No, I think the The After Years are a fine enough sequel. The PSP version looks like it will be a much improved version of the sequel, given the original graphics were a little lacking. I suppose I can forgive that since it was originally a cell phone game. No further sequels need here.

Final Fantasy V-2?  Ignoring the anime, what path would this take, and under what circumstance would the awesome Job system be ditched by some idiot making it?


Wheels

Honestly? I could care less what they did for a sequel as far as story goes. I didn't care for the majority of FFV's tale. Just give me more of that job system. Any sequel without a job system would be an utter disgrace (unless they somehow came up with something better).

Final Fantasy VI-2?  Actually, that has real potential.  I'll let you pick a tangent about which to elaborate.


Wheels

I don't know if I've expressed this in Q&A or not, but I don't want them to do a sequel of Final Fantasy VI. I think it would be a major disservice to the story. The ending to FFVI doesn't leave many stones unturned, so I think I'd prefer a prequel. Final Fantasy VI: War of the Magi anyone?

Final Fantasy VII-2?  Let's ignore the compendium of FFVII, none of it was really designed to further the main game.  Will the environments be intuitive instead of baffling this time?


Wheels

Honestly? I think Final Fantasy VII's narrative is a bit of a mess, so if they could do a sequel that could clarify things, instead of adding more questions (does anyone have any idea what's going on in Dirge of Cerberus?). Since Crisis Core was the most playable of the compendium of FFVII, I'd love to see them do more with that battle system.

Final Fantasy VIII-2?  I loathed VIII, so this is the chance to clear up the many, many insane script notions that game possessed.  Or do you have another aspect that should be used?


Wheels

The funny thing is, I used to loath VIII as well, but during a replay late 2009/early 2010 I found a new appreciation for the game. Final Fantasy VIII is an odd beast, and I can understand why it turns people off. However, at the end of the day I just have to admire how obtuse the mechanics are. I'd be happy to see a game expand on the guardian force system. Story-wise, without spoilers, a sequel would be very difficult to do. The original plot does need all kinds explaining though, so maybe it could work.

Final Fantasy IX-2?  Kuja lived and reconciles with his spiritual brother... or something like that, you tell me how this would work.


Wheels

It wouldn't really work. Being more of a "fantasy" tale than the two previous titles, FFIX ends with what could only be described as a happily ever after moment. Questions about Kuja aside, I don't think a sequel would work all that well. I'd prefer another unrelated throwback style Final Fantasy in its stead. If you're wondering, yes it does feel strange to be saying I don't want direct sequels to two of my favorite Final Fantasy games (VI and IX). A testament to how great they were I think.

X-2 has been done. XI-2 is impossible so long as the game remains online. XII-2 was sorta done as Revenant Wings, wasn't it?  Gosh, that leaves us bereft of main series games!  So how about Final Fantasy Tactics 2


Wheels

XII had a sequel, but I'd prefer a full fledged console sequel in addition to the DS one. Much of Ivalice is still unexplored and they really need to give us some more games based in it. This of course brings me to Final Fantasy Tactics 2. As we've discussed, the Tactics Advance games are brilliant in their own right, but there's still a place for a sequel closer to the original. Based on how well the PSP version did, there's certainly money for Square Enix to make there.

Enough of that series, what about Dragon Quest VIII-2?  I've ignored the Enix side of the roster, so we have to consider the possibility.


Wheels

I'm up for this, Dragon Quest VIII had a huge world to explore and I'd love to get more of that. I've never actually finished VIII, so no idea how it would work as far as story. If they did this, they'd have to get rid of Dragon Quest VIII's character advancement system. That was the only thing in the game that I didn't care for.

Okay, gear shift.  You haven't played a Langrisser game.  As only the first has been released in English, this becomes a dicey prospect unless you either plumb the world of ROMs or are unafraid of imports.  Giving you the full spiel about this series would take a very long time, so I'll make it simple.  The original game was handily outclassed by its sequels, but is a reasonable tactical game even now, 20 years later (which means it predates Shining Force, though not the earliest Fire Emblem games).  Its localization company, Treco, died long ago, so the rights in English went into limbo and have stayed there.  It's not very expensive on eBay though.  Langrisser 2 is excellent, Der Langrisser on the SNES is mostly the same game, just with opportunities to ally with different factions and thus go down wildly differing paths (complete with new allies and battles).  Langrisser 3 is a mess, but can be fun in spots - definitely do not start with it though.  Langrisser 4  is probably the peak of the series, and you will want to play it on Saturn because the (rare and expensive) PS1 version uses the battle system of Langrisser 5, which is not as honed to high quality. Langrisser 5 is a long way from bad, though, and is a fitting end to one of the best tactical series that is almost unknown outside Japan.


Wheels

Sounds like a series I should be playing. I can't get the only English release though, as I no longer have a Genesis. Are there fan translations of any of these? For that matter, why aren't you writing some import reviews on these? Hop to it!

Langrisser Millennium is a complete failure, one that looks like Dragon Force outside of battle but is a total mess when fighting.  You don't even have a Dreamcast (right?) so just forget it exists, since the best thing I can say is that it's very short and easy.


Wheels

I do have a Dreamcast (which is where I played Grandia 2) but I was never the biggest fan. It had none of the franchises that made me love the Saturn, and I didn't even care for the Sonic games on it. So yes, it will be easy to ignore!

Recently I was reminded that Brain Lord exists.  I've never played this obscure SNES title, do you have any information?


Wheels

I don't think I've played it, but based on the youtube videos I see, it looks terrible!

Connect Sakura Wars to Edward G. Robinson!


Wheels

Easy! Sakura Wars is published by Sega in Japan->Sega developed games based on the Jurassic Park film->Universal Pictures distributed the Jurassic Park film->Universal Pictures distributed Flesh and Fantasy-> Edward G. Robinson was in Flesh and Fantasy

Will Star Trek ever be turned into a worthy RPG?


Wheels

I certainly hope so. There's so much potential for a great game there, and I hate to see it wasted on a sub-par effort like Star Trek Online. There have been plenty of "open-space" type games on the PC side of things, so why hasn't someone tried to do a game like that set in the Star Trek universe? It still amazes me that Bethesda published some Star Trek games, and none of them were RPGs.

Pick a Steven Spielberg film to turn into an RPG, and flesh out the scenario.  I'm going to remove Jaws from the equation though, since hunting endless sharks is what the sequels to that movie did - badly.  I would also recommend against Munich, unless you think being a team of Israeli operatives out to assassinate Palestinians could be made in today's world.
There, that's quite enough for one letter. 
JuMeSyn


Wheels

I'm going to go ahead and go with Hook. You play as the adult Peter Pan, who needs to retrain himself for a confrontation with Captain Hook. Instead of following the plot of the movie, it would be non-linear, allowing you to explore Neverland as much as you want to train.The game would incorporate locations in Neverland not included in the original film. I think this would make for a very interesting game!



Tales of More Tales

Hiya Wheels,

I just wanted to write in and discuss some things about Tales games with you, and then maybe segue into the realm of Xenogears/Xenosaga and Final Fantasy a bit.  First off...YAY TALES OF GRACES F! LOCALIZATION, HO!  *ahem*.  Second, I'm replaying Tales of Vesperia right now, and falling in love with it all over again.  The story, the battle system, synthesis, and every one of the characters (okay, maybe not Zagi).  But I do have a conundrum.

Wheels

Yes! I'm so excited for a localization of Tales of Graces F that I could care less that I spent a ton importing it from Japan. I can tell you that Tales fans are going to love this game, and I look forward to another fine localization. It seems like PS3 is going to be the main platform for the series going forward, so this could be a fresh start for the Tales series in the west.

Now as far as Vesperia goes, I think it is a fabulous game. I still haven't played all the way through it but the polish in the game is incredible. Anyway, let's hear your conundrum!


You see, I also happen to have, via Gamefly, a certain game that I have never completed, or even played past the half-way mark.  I'm speaking of the often lauded Tales of the Abyss.  I really like the game, honest I do, but Vesperia is just captivating me.  Can you say something about Tales of the Abyss that will break Vesperia's hold on me so that I can escape this Tales Triangle?  I just got Natalia in my party in Tales of the Abyss and I wanna see what happens next, but then I received a new 360 to replace my old one and Vesperia called to me like a siren to Odesseyus. (sp)  Help me.


Wheels

I'd say just finish Vesperia and then tackle Abyss afterward. In my own experience, its better to play the games you're most interested in, and not to force yourself to finish something else for some other reason. Abyss can wait. It sounds like you're still in the early game of Abyss anyway. Once you finish Vesperia I'm sure you'll be itching to get right into another Tales game.

Now, on to Xeno stuffs.  Yes, Xenogears is a great game, one of my favorites in fact, but I can certainly understand your lack of interest in the game.  The story is quite convoluted in my opinion, and some of the dungeons are arduous endeavors, to put it mildly (I'm looking at you Babel Tower).  And then the huge amount of text going into disc 2, my goodness.  If it weren't for Citan Uzuki being awesome incarnate, I never would have made it.  I just wanted to give you some support.  As a fan of Xenogears, I can still totally get what you mean.


Wheels

That's good to hear! If it means, anything, I plan to give it another try once it's available on PSN. I was rewarded when I gave Final Fantasy VIII a second chance, so perhaps I will be here as well.

As Far as FF XIII goes, I loved the game, linearity and all.  It's just one of those "love it or hate it" deals, I suppose.  In fact, Lightning has taken second place as most beloved FF character in my heart, right after Cecil Harvey.  That's not to say that more evenly spaced side-quests wouldn't be nice.  Hint hint, Squeenix,

Thanks for reading my letter, Wheels-san!  I hope to write in again soon!

Valim   


Wheels

  Thanks for the letter!

Lightning is certainly one of my favorite characters in the series now, and a sequel with her still as the lead is very exciting. Obviously, the linearity didn't bother me either. There's a place for all kinds of RPGs after-all, linear and non-linear.

Look forward to hearing from you again!


Back to Sequels

Hey Wheels,
 
Tell me what you think of this pitch.
 
Chrono Destroyer
 
It's an unknown period of time after the events of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. In fact, such an extended period has passed that both humans and mystics have vanished from the planet. In their place, a new sentient race has occupied the planet- the descendants of Lavos. That's right, the Lavos Spawn, the ones who were prophesied to destroy the planet... are living peacefully on it.
 
Until, on a random jaunt, a small group stumbles upon a thousands-year-old pod, a strange device of unknown technology. The somewhat brash leader of the group presses a prominent red button on the side, and with a whoosh the pod opens, and out falls out a young, spiky-haired... human. He slowly opens his eyes, and vanishes. The Lavos Spawn rush home, only to find that the creature has obliterated their peaceful hometown, and now they must undertake a journey to uncover the truth- to their existence, to the actions of the newly-revived Chrono, and find a way to fix things.
 
-Daniel

Wheels

Man, I really love this idea! It's the kind of unexpected but awesome twist that I think would take many by surprise. Playing as the very creatures that were supposed to destroy the planet? Sign me up! There's just so many different twists and turns that this idea can take. Is Lavos the monster we thought he was? Is this some kind of split timeline that Chrono has somehow ended up in? Are all the possible endings in Chrono Trigger actually a bunch of split timelines? The possibilities are endless, and that's why this is a fantastic pitch!

Portable Sequel

hello wheels
 
   I'm writing in about your contest. a real sequel for Chrono Trigger? i think a real sequel would have to involve time travel like the original. tho if it's set in the same world the new adventure could interfere with the old. i suppose they could use that have the new character's accidentally mess up what the originals did and have to find a way to fix it? tho that would probably be complicated and doesn't sound fun.  i suppose there could be some new threat which was originally destroyed by lavos but now goes unchecked since he's gone? game play wise Chrono Trigger had a great battle system and such so I'd like to see something similar in a new one.


Wheels

It sounds complicated but that sounds good by me! Incorporating the original adventure and the possibility of badly altering events sounds like it makes for a great game. Time travel, by its nature, makes for very complicated stories. So I say why not just give in and make something really complicated and convoluted, and see how it goes. I also like that idea that there's some threat the Lavas stopped that now has to be dealt with. Perhaps some kind of Galactus time threat to the universe. There is certainly a lot of potential with your ideas.

on a side note i think ff-xiii was a good game even tho it was mostly linear, the only real problem i had with it was the lvl cap's restricting how strong you could be before beating a set boss. i tried playing resonance of fate but i just couldn't get into it after 4-5 hour's i just couldn't play it anymore.


Wheels

That's a fair point. There are players who love power-leveling, and for them the level caps must have been a huge issue. I have one such friend who was really bothered by it, but he still liked the game a lot. In theory, I think it's a good idea, to keep the game challenging. Perhaps it would have been better served being an option as part of varying difficulty levels/

Sorry to hear you couldn't get into Resonance of Fate. It's an obtuse game, so it can be a tough nut to crack for some.

what do you think of the fact that alot of rpg's are going to handheld's now day's? i prefer my rpg's on a console. i like to sit and play for long period's of time when I'm playing an rpg and with handheld's that can be a problem. well i think that's all for now.
 
nonauno


Wheels

I play a lot of portable games, so it's fine by me. The fact that portables are huge in Japan is the main reason for the massive amounts of great RPGs on portables. There's plenty of great Western RPGs on consoles, and still a fair number of Japanese RPGs, so I don't think there's a major lack of RPGs on consoles or anything. Don't forget you can hook a PSP up to a TV to play games, so you can always use that as an option!

Anyway, thanks for the letter, please write in again. I'm interested to know what exactly turned you off of Resonance of Fate.

IN CLOSING

I apologize for this Q&A going up a day late. The weather around here has been crazy and I had a lot of extra work to do around the house. Don't forget there's still till the end of February to get in on the contest (March 1st at 12:00 a.m. is the deadline). Feel free to write in about Tales of Graces F or anything else that's on your mind.

-Wheels

Current Backlog: Tales of Grace F!!!!!!!!!!

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What I can't wait for:

1. Ys: I&II PSP SHOULDN'T TALES OF GRACES F BE IN THIS SPOT?

2. Dragon Quest VI

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. Tales of Graces Soundtrack



Hot Topics:

1. Does Resonance of Fate deserve a sequel (spiritual or otherwise)?

2. EA has gotten Bioware to pump out RPGs faster than they did in the past. Is this due to increased resources, or are they are risk of damaging the output of the RPG machine?

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?


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