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ASK WHEELS
Gotta Angst 'Em All
February 22nd, 2013

02/22- 7:00PM EST

Welcome to another episode of Ask Wheels! It's been a bit of a sad week with the passing of Kenji Eno (designer of such games as Enemy Zero), and the closing of long time game site 1Up. Sad to lose an industry legend and a website that got me interested in writing (and podcasting thanks to Retronauts).

Oh well, I guess the PS4 was announced or something too?

On to the letters!
 





The Letters
No Cloud No Squall Shall Hinder Me

@AskWheels For your column: Make a team of any 10 Final Fantasy characters from any game. Should be a usable team (so make sure you have at least one healer for example).

@kylelitke


Wheels

There are so many different options that it took me a while to come up with a team, but here it is. I've selected ten and given them each a "role". Anyone that wants to take this challenge as well is welcome to send me in their team!

Thief - Locke (FFVI) - The obvious choice for thief. Zidane would be a close second, but I have to go with Locke given his superior pedagree (does Zidane ever really steal much?) and the fact he can learn magic from Magicite.

Black Mage - Vivi (FFIX) - He's got the classic look, he's got the spells, and he's got a fun personality to boot. I think he fits this role perfectly!

Holy Knight - Agrias Oaks (FFT) - Weren't expecting someone from Final Fantasy tactics were you? With a number of devastating sword techniques available she is one of the best damage dealers you'll find in the series.

Superhero - Layle (The Crystal Bearers) - With the ability to manipulate gravity for himself and others, Layle would be quite an awesome force in combat. The combo potential with other members of this group is limitless. Plus, unlike some Final Fantasy characters, he is not full of angst.

Summoner - Yuna (FFX) - There are many Summoner choices in the Final Fantasy series, but I think Yuna would have to be the best. Here summons stick around and fight instead of doing the usual one off attack, and she has a good number of different options as far as summon selection. She also has a great selection of White Magic so she can serve as a backup White Mage as well.

White Mage - Ashe (FFXII) - I know this selection doesn't seem to make sense on face value. However, Final Fantasy XII has the best selection of White Magic in the series, so my designated White Mage will be from that game. Sure, she'll have access to lots of other skills, but the primary focus for her would be to select skills that enhance White Magic.

Sentinel - Fang (FFXIII) - We'll use whom I consider to be the best Sentinel in Final Fantasy XIII for the role of absorbing lots of punishment (just like FFXIII itself absorbed lots of punishment).

Debuff Specialist - Vanille (FFXIII) - Well we've already got her best buddy on defense, so we may as well use Vanille and her debuffing skills.

Buff Specialist - Basch (FFXII) - Similar to White Magic, Final Fantasy XII also featured a fantastic selection of support spells so we'll use another character from it for this role.

The Wild Card - Setzer(FFVI) - Because what would this team be without the man who can use the fixed dice?

Oh Were Oh Were Is My Lunar


  Do you think we'll ever see a true Lunar 3 from GameArts?


Wheels

It's tough to say at this point (I'm assuming you're ignoring the DS game as a Lunar 3). The remake of the first Lunar on PSP was a surprise after a long absence from the series so I wouldn't say another one is out of the question. That was a good opportunity to make a new game so I was a bit confused as to why they needed to redo the first entry yet again. A Lunar 3 would seem like a good project to honor the memory of Takeshi Miyaji (one of the founders of GameArts who worked on the original Sega CD games and created Grandia).

I don't know what kind of budget they have to do such a project, but I could see I nice Vita game with HD 2D artwork. Of course, they may just start remaking Eternal Blue instead of doing something new! For a series with only two popular main entries Lunar remains in the hearts and minds of many gamers, so I would like to see them at least get the PS1 games onto PSN so more people could try the games.

Also will we see a Breath of Fire 6 from Capcom or will they only focus and rely on Dragons Dogma as a their new RPG series?

-Greg


Wheels

Honestly, I don't think will see any kind of revival of the Breath of Fire series. As far as RPGs go, Capcom has the ever popular Monster Hunter series to focus on in Japan and the new and interesting Dragon's Dogma, which has gained attention in the West. I don't know that there's any big interest in a revival of Breath of Fire on either side of the Pacific. I feel for fans of the series, but it was never that huge and with the cost of development today it would be an unneeded risk to dump a lot of money into a new one. Maybe a lower budget project like a portable game or a downloadable title could happen?

Capcom is a company known for beating IPs into the ground so when they let one vanish it's not usual a good sign for it's popularity. In my personal opinion I'd rather see them explore new IP such as Dragon's Dogma. Breath of Fire was fun while it lasted, but its day has come and gone.

An Awakening

Hi Wheels,

I finally got my hands on Fire Emblem: Awakening and I have to give props to the original writers/localizers/whoever was responsible for the humorous support conversations. Compared to the only other Fire Emblem game I've played, Sacred Stones, the dialogue has taken a major step up. Also I like the addition of the barracks; even more ways to see and hear from all of the lovely characters.


Wheels

I would absolutely agree. Not that the story in previous games was bad by any stretch, but the amount and quality here is beyond what's been done with the series before. In addition, it never feels like it's too long or gets in the way of gameplay. Instead, you're deciding what conversations you want to read and what relationships will expand to get more of the dialogue that you enjoy. The majority of relationships I've seen are very well written and fun, providing a nice relief from the stress of battle. The series now has a clear path on how it can expand and grow in the future. The barracks is nice, but I wish the conversations there had a bit more depth.

Now that I think about it, some of my favorite RPG series have featured some kind of non-plot-related way to learn more about the characters, whether it is through skits in the Tales games, private actions in the Star Ocean games, and of course all the fun letters and investigations in Suikoden games (save for the first one). My questions for you are 1) What RPG series would you like to see add some non-plot-related and optional character scenes? 2) What is your preferred method for learning more about character quirks? 3) Any games/series that should put more of its cutscenes/dialogue/etc as optional/viewable later?

-riulyn


Wheels

1) I'd love to see the Disgaea series add more non-plot-related and optional character scenes. Part of this is because the series can tend to make lots of dialogue of this type non-optional, but also making those types of dialogue optional would allow them to further develop the relationships of characters. Heck, they could even attach some kind of randomized dungeon to optional character dialogue!

2) My preferred method for learning about character quirks would have to be the dialogue trees from many BioWare games. Persona 4 and Awakening do this to an extent, but BioWare games take it a step further by letting you have an actual conversation with the character, broaching different topics and changing their opinion of you depending upon your selections. I actually spent hours in Dragon Age just talking to party members and learning more about them. If more RPGs approached it that way I think we'd all be the better for it.

3) I already mentioned Disgaea, but in addition to that I think the Tales series could serve to make a lot of its dialogue optional. That may sound strange given that the series already has a ton of optional dialogue, but I think too often the games make non-optional cut-scenes that don't have enough to do with the main plot and slow down pacing. The series already has too much dialogue so this would be a good way to reduce it down a bit without actually removing any dialogue that fans are used to having.

What In The Heck

@AskWheels DID YOU KNOW RATCHET IS NOW A SLANG TERM MEANING FILTHY, NASTY, AND GENERALLY UNPLEASANT? JUST LIKE YOU WHEELS BECAUSE I HATE YOU.

-BEAT


Wheels

How dare you slander the good name of Ratchet from the Ratchet and Clank series. That dude is just some kind of animal thing fighting galactic crime or something with nothing but a wrench (and an arsenal of insane weapons that could probably destroy worlds and unravel the very fabric of the universe in the wrong hands). I have no idea what brought this on. You must really hate nice things. Wait, I know you do because you hate RPGs!

clank
IN CLOSING

See you next week!

-Wheels


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