|A Sequel Approaches,
|February 23rd, 2011
02/23- 12:00PM EST
Yes, more sequel talk. However, based on all the great sequel ideas
I've received, you're all enjoying this! Just a note, the deadline for
the contest is this upcoming Monday at 11:59 PM (or thereabouts, I'm
not picky!) so get those submissions in. There will also be 3rd and 4th
place prizes, which I'll detail at the end of the column.
On to the letters!
RPG's became my favorite video game genre after I first played Final Fantasy VII. Having moved
forward and played VIII, IX and countless others, I found
over the years that in new RPG's I haven't found anything quite as
good. So I decided to go back in time and play through the classics of
the 16-bit era. It was only then I found a game that gave me the same
feeling as the first time I played FFVII.
game was Chrono Trigger.
I'm glad to hear this. I think a lot of people whose intro to the RPG
genre was Final Fantasy VII
seem to have trouble going back to the classics. I'm glad that you not
only went back and played these games, but also enjoyed the classic Chrono Trigger as much as you did.
Anyway, moving on.
With my love of RPG's restored, I played Chrono Cross and found it just as
amazing. With the great days of inspiration from Squaresoft seemingly
gone I wondered what a
continuation of the Chrono
series would have been like had it been made after Cross.
I don't think the "great days of inspiration," are over, but their
games have changed with the times, and that doesn't go over well with
people. I will say their World of
Mana effort left me cold. I think the best Square-Enix titles
I've played in recent years have been many of the lower budget niche
titles like 4 Heroes of Light.
think Chrono Cross fits
into this category (I don't believe it had much of a budget). I'm
getting way off topic though, Cross was
Firstly, I thought about a more direct sequel to Trigger. The first thing that comes
to mind is Magus and his continuing journey to find Schala. This could
bring a lot of new
travels for Magus, but Schala's ultimate fate is shown through Cross. Next, I
moved on to a story following Crono and Marle straight after the ending
of Trigger leading up to the fall of the Kingdom of Guardia. This could
set up an interesting narrative with an expected tragic ending, but
shows what events are like later in the timeline anyway.
That could still work though! Remember Crisis Core? Everyone knew how the
story would end, but it was still a lot of fun to play through it.
Sometimes the journey is still very enjoyable, even if you know how it
ends. Perhaps you could even bring time travel into play here, where
the fate of Chrono and Marle is somehow changed?
This lead me to think differently about the main story overview of both
Trigger and Cross and look at the bigger
picture. While the personal stories of the main characters are what we
as players are attached to, the games are really telling the life of
another character, The Planet.
This is very true, so I'm just going to shut up and let you get on with
So, like Cross, the third Chrono game must expand on the
story of The Planet and feature a new cast of characters discovering
more of The Planet's life-cycle. A few general ideas connect the games.
Time travel and alternate dimensions are a must, The Planet's life must
be in danger from some form of Lavos and actions of individual's in the
past have consequences in the future.
To put it more simply, Lavos and his effect on the Planet are
essentially what connect the two games, considering he (or it) is the
root cause of everything.
The most interesting idea that Cross
hinted at, is that while the original cast of Trigger saved The Planet, it made
an entire future cease to exist and now people from that reality
never have a chance to be born. A plot could then be constructed, that
the main cast of characters are
originally from that timeline and would find out about Crono's team stopping Lavos from
destroying the world in AD 1999 and formulate a plan to travel back in
time and again rewrite history to preserve that
timeline's existence. I could see it ending up as being a choice of
selfishly wanting to protect their own future, or
once again making sure Lavos is defeated for the greater good of The
You could even have there be more endings than this. Maybe if you screw
things up, the players sacrifice their existence, but it doesn't fix
anything? Perhaps the players could cause a paradox, and with it the
end of everything? Perhaps even you could throw in an ultimate ending,
where the characters are able to stay alive and somehow still make
With that general plotline in place the designers would have plenty of
freedom to have the characters travel to various time periods and
alternate dimensions viewing events from the
other games and discovering new ones; enabling the ability to have old
characters make an appearance, have a
variety of interesting settings and environments (Chrono Tigger's
greatest asset) and make a definitive ending to the series story.
I like the idea of making a definitive ending to the series. The more
sequels you do in a series involving time travel, the more crazy things
can get. With your idea, the third game can be a culmination of the
other two games, even letting players go back and alter things that
happen. You could even restrict the players from going back that far,
and still have a lot of flexibility as well.
Well thats my "radical dream" for what I think would be an appropriate
conclusion to the Chrono series. What would it be called?...Chrono Shift
I love the name Chrono Shift.
I can't explain why, but it just fits your idea. I think this sounds
like a very plausible and doable Chrono
sequel, so I hope Square Enix is
listening! Thanks for the great entry.
I Hope Y'all Aren't Sick of Sequel
This is my first letter in, so until I come up with something more
original I'll address a few of the hot topics.
Excellent! Always good to hear from
new people. Let's see what you've got...
Does Alpha Protocol deserve a
That's a good question that I can't answer fairly. I'd also put that in
the same category as, "Does Resonance
Fate deserve a sequel?" - For me anyway. Although I'm glad
you enjoyed both games, I'm not willing to take the fiscal risk on two
titles that have received consistently mediocre ratings. I'm assuming
that neither game sold well - though I could be wrong - so does it even
make sense for their to be a follow-up from a business perspective? Do
you have any info on sales?
Well, to be fair, Resonance of Fate
did not receive mediocre ratings. It got mostly good to great ratings,
with a few lower ones. Alpha Protocol
certainly got mostly mediocre reviews though. Anyway, I can't find any
solid sales information on Resonance
of Fate, but I recall seeing numbers that Alpha Protocol had sold somewhere
near a million. Sega wasn't pleased with the sales numbers though, I do
know that. For Resonance of Fate,
most important sales numbers would be Japan, where it debuted at
second with 110,000 sold, behind Dragon
VI on DS.
Speaking of sequels, there's the hot new topic of FFXIII-2. Does that game deserve a
sequel? I'm in the "no" camp. The reasons for this have already been
beaten to death across the interwebs, so I won't go into much detail
other than to list: pacing, character development as it's related to
pacing, and extremely unintuitive and downright silly weapon upgrade
system (Am I upgrading the right weapon? Am I picking the right thingy
to upgrade the right weapon?). It's interesting to me that both the
developers and "the fans" (which fans?) were fond enough of the concept
to take it forward.
I'm not sure what you mean by "right" weapon. There were dozens of
different weapons, with different statistics, each of which (at least
to me) appeared to be a viable option. The rest you can just scrap for
parts. They certainly could have made the upgrade system easier to
figure out though. There were about 8 different shops for parts, and it
wasn't clear how good each item was for upgrading unless you bought it,
or already knew. Overall I couldn't call it bad, as it did work as
intended. It just needed to be made more user friendly.
Do you have any read on Japanese versus American reception of the game?
Beyond that, what about the FFXIII world
think warrants a sequel? FFX
is my favorite RPG - do with
that information what you will - and even then I balked at the idea.
Maybe Square Enix should stay away from them there sequels, unless they
are sure they can be as successful as
Golden Sun 1-2 and Suikoden
1-2 were in their time. Have you played either series?
I asked Gaijin about this recently, and if I remember correctly, the
Japanese complaints with the game were the same as ours, though maybe
not quite as extreme. Anyway, Final
Fantasy XIII had a lot of mythology to it, and I think it really
warrants being explored in another game. I found the cast to be quite
enjoyable, so more of Lightning is not a bad thing in my book.
Square Enix shouldn't shy away from sequels, as fans are always asking
for them. Since you mention Golden
Sun, and Suikoden, I
think they should follow the route of these games, and stick to similar
gameplay styles, and allow for importing of data from the previous
Regardless of iPhone sales, my read is that the Mana series is done with for a good
long time. I doubt Square Enix sees this as more than a quickish
cash-in; I see that the game being in the Mana series is probably incidental,
and more indicative of Secret of Mana's
future plans on the part of Square Enix. There
have been far too many bumps in terms of recent entries - though if
they were to make a direct or near-direct sequel in the form of a "Secret of Mana 2" I would grab it.
I'm not sure about that. It's not like some ports, where it's clearly
just emulated with an on-screen gamepad, Secret of Mana on the iPhone had
the whole interface redone to work with touch controls. While the
result isn't perfect, it's clear to me a lot of work went into it. I'd
hardly call that a quick cash in. Granted you're right that it's not an
indication of future plans, but they're considering more modest,
digitally distributed sequels for the series?
In the current developmental environment, do you think it's possible
for Square Enix to make another quality entry in Mana the series? If so, would that
even be desirable in favor of the same man hours making either a new IP
or a sequel to a different series that perhaps deserves revisiting but
also hasn't sold well recently (i.e.
Chrono Trigger DS)?
I think they could, if they keep the budget low, and make it a
retro-effort like 4 Heroes of Light.
you know, World of Mana
didn't work out to well. Despite this, I think an effort to return the
series to its roots could give it a new start. Square Enix is a very
large company, so I doubt man hours is an issue.
Sidenote: as you noted, like most fans, I would make a direct sequel.
It's not based on nostalgia, however - I think Chrono Trigger DS's new content had
a very solid foundation for a follow-up with the same world/characters,
though not much more can be said without venturing into spoiler
territory. Also, the standard for game sequels these days is to provide
such exhaustive introductions that familiarity with characters/setting
is usually handed over. If you played the extra content of CT, did you find it as viable as I
Going on the vague memories of what I can recall of it, yes I
would say it's viable. Time travel allows for all kinds of craziness,
so I think I've come around to the idea of a direct sequel to Chrono Trigger. All these crazy
pitches have really convinced me. At this point, is it too late? It's
been such a long time since Chrono
Trigger first came out, that a direct sequel sounds like a
risky proposition. Perhaps they could just include a recap for those
who didn't play the original?
For me, one of the turnoffs of Western RPGs like Fallout 3 and Mass Effect is what I felt was an
abundance of mythology but a lack of plot. My impression is that these
games do little to enhance their settings within a genre. In other
words, I would feel perfectly comfortable describing the Mass Effect series main storyline
as simply "typical Sci-Fi" without any more detail and will have
captured what occurs; similarly, I would feel perfectly comfortable
describing Fallout 3 as
"post-apocalyptic" and leaving it at that (Yes, I have played and
finished both games and their side quests). The background behind what
occurs is dense, to be sure, but I don't think it aids the main
For Fallout 3 perhaps,
but have you played the original two? Or New Vegas? The world in these
Blackisle/Obsidian developed entries is incredibly dense, with many
different factions and various intrigues that make them incredibly
interesting worlds to explore. Perhaps they don't have a driving plot
like some games, but this is simply because the open nature means the plot needs to react to the
player, instead of the other way around (if that makes sense). In this
way, you can't have as many "exciting" moments, such as some of the
best cut-scenes from Final Fantasy
VII. Totally disagree on Mass
Effect. The first game could be plodding at times, but the plot
in Mass Effect 2 was anything
but generic Sci-Fi. The setting Bioware has created with this series
feels very unique to me, though certainly some of the aspects of it are
Anyway, sometimes a world with a dense back story can be just as
interesting to experience as one with a great central plot. This what
makes many of the Dragon Quest
games great. I can't say I care much for Dragon Quest IX's central plot
(though it is interesting at times), but the stories of each individual
town and country are fantastic. This is what western RPGs usually get
In the most recent Q@A, you mentioned that Western RPGS get story and
depth right. Could you elaborate? What am I missing?
Anyway, thanks for putting up with my shenanigans. Perhaps I will write
PSA: Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.
What I meant was, Western RPGs are generally considered to have more
mature and in-depth stories than their Japanese counterparts. You're
right in that some of these games feel like they flesh out the worlds
very well, but sometimes don't do a great job on the central plot (Morrowind is a fine example). So in
this case, "story" doesn't necessarily refer to central plot.
I'd be happy to discuss this further, so feel free to send me in some
My "To-Import" List Gets Longer
Mr. Rubber Wheels ('cause no lightning strikes you, sir!), shall we do
this Q&A thing again?
Now I have an excuse to use the
classic "I'm rubber and you're glue"!
Anyway, let's do this thing.
You seem to think I did not review any Langrisser games, and I
must say that this misapprehension must be made right! Perhaps it is
because I have not reviewed them recently, and in that case I
shall supply links to the pertinent material. Keep in mind that some of
these I wrote before becoming a staff member of the site, thus the
standard proofreading process was not administered. Anyway... The
ground. Treco folded after its
localization of the game didn't set the charts afire, and it's been
superseded by the other games. It's also damn hard when the Fire
Emblem rule of letting characters die is applied to a game in which
you have just enough people to fill your roster. Test it first
or not, as you will.
Doh, that's what I get for being lazy and not checking to see if you
had reviewed them. Oh well, as punishment, I will read them all!
I think I'll skip the first one. That permanent death thing applied to
such a small roster just sounds terrible. However, if I like the other
games I may go back to it just as a curiosity. I wonder how I never
even heard about the first game. I pretty much ate up any Genesis RPG I
good. Yes, this one has been
translated, and I recommend you investigate it forthwith.
I shall! It's always good to see
people doing fan translations for less known games.
Langrisser is the second game... but different. See, where once
was a single storyline that forced you to kill some really pretty
decent guys in the empire, this game allows you to align with the
imperials (but at the cost of then having to kill most of your former
allies). Or you can betray the imperials and fight to let chaos
overtake the planet, or you can even betray the chaotic faction and
fight to literally conquer the world for yourself. This one is also out
there in unofficial translation land.
That sounds pretty ahead of its time
for a 16-bit game. I suppose branching story-lines is much easier to do
with SRPGs though. Each storyline could simple mean a different set of
battles. I wonder why more of them haven't gone down that route? I'd
love to see an SRPG where the results of a huge war can be completely
different based on the different battles you take place in, and how
well you do.
Edition puts the first two games together on CD with some
voice acting. Getting hold of it could be interesting, since we've
moved into the PS1/Saturn era. I gather the PS1 edition is scarcer. The
mess. The story is interesting, but the
tactical aspects are marred by HIDEOUS load times (turn the animations
off! Save hours!) and the game's propensity to just dump troops
anywhere around the map. (You are reading my reviews, right? Otherwise
what I say here will be devoid of context).
That sounds like the best way to play
the first two games, if there was a way to do so in English anyway. Not
to mention imported PS1/Saturn games are a bit trickier to play. Since
you do say they are import friendly, I may have to track it down
regardless. I think I'll try out the second game before thinking about
doing so though.
Based on your review, Langrisser 3
stuff. You would want to play this on Saturn though,
because its PS1 edition is not only very hard to find, but the battle
system has been changed to that of the fifth game, which isn't quite as
Legend is a worthy sign-off for a great series. Seeing
the path taken by the holy sword Langrisser and the chaotic sword
Alhazard through the years gets a fine wrap-up. The mechanics of the
movement can be a little annoying, that's all.
Interesting, I haven't really dipped
into Saturn imports, despite still having mine, so this seems like a
good excuse to do so. I should probably go about finally getting copies
of Shining Force 3 parts
2&3 while I'm at it. I wonder why Working Designs never took a
crack at this one? Seems right up their alley.
this. I can't bring myself to hate it even though
on an objective level it's atrocious, and manages to demean Dragon
Force along with disparaging the Langrisser name. It's
quite lousy, as the review should make clear.
THERE! Aside from the Wonder Swan title, I played and finished
everything in the series, so I know what I'm talking about.
How can you like something that
demeans Dragon Force?
Anyway, you certainly know your stuff. If I can find the time to play
some of these games, maybe that would even give you the excuse to do a
backtrack (assuming you haven't) on this series. I'll give the second
game a try and see where I go from there!
Connect Ingrid Bergman to Skies of Arcadia!
Why would you do this to me? This is
just evil. Fine I'll play your game. Ingrid Bergman plays the role of
Joan of Arc in the movie by the same name->Level 5 made the game Joanne D'Arc, based on the same
historical figure->Level-5 worked with Microsoft on the canceled
title True Fantasy Live Online->Microsoft
with Sega on the Dreamcast, where some titles used an optimized
version of Windows CE->Sega published Skies of Arcadia
China's economy was officially deemed bigger than Japan's in the past
year, so do you think Chinese-developed games will ever become a
prominent part of the landscape? Show your work.
My answer is no, because they're too
busy pirating games, and selling them in various places such as ebay.
Didn't expect that answer, did you?
I really didn't gravitate toward Sonic
Brotherhood, but it's been awhile since
that was released, and nary a sign of a sequel. Has Sonic the
Hedgehog's one RPG attempt been a failure?
I think it has. Not that it was a bad
game or anything, but if the Bioware name doesn't draw people to the
title, how is any other Sonic
RPG going to fair? Of course I could be completely wrong. Perhaps it
sold just fine, and the purchase of Bioware by EA put a monkey wrench
into them doing a sequel?
Predict! Will the remake of the second (then-new) half of Fire Emblem 3 (Monshou no Nazo) be localized by a
Nintendo that rarely deems knowledge of its upcoming releases vital to
I think it will (did we discuss this
already?). Nintendo has been good with the Fire Emblem series since the GBA
days, so I can't see why they would skip this one. My guess is they're
just waiting for the right time to release it. Perhaps sometime soon
now that they have Dragon Quest VI
out of the way?
What RPG would you most enjoy giving the MST3K treatment?
Absolutely that would have to be
something terrible, so I'm going to go with Cross Edge. It'd be great to watch
someone else play that stinker and get to make fun of the awful story
and (for some character) terrible voice acting.
Random thought: would any John Grisham book make an RPG? Except Phoenix Wright, video games stay
away from legal shenanigans, after all....
I don't think any of them would, but
I'm going to go with The Pelican
Brief since it has a bit of suspense in it. I don't want to
spoil the story for anyone that doesn't know it, so all I'll say is
this would provide for a nice adventure game, perhaps with some action
segments where you need to escape people trying to kill you. Perhaps
there could even be a mode where you play the other side, trying to
stop the evidence from getting out there?
All that Langrisser material
sucked most of the letter, but I think you have enough content now.
I certainly do!
'Til next time
Hark! A Twitter Question!
@AskWheels Whatever happened to the Breath
Fire games? They were always some of my fav RPGs(with the
exception of Dragon Quarter).
You didn't like Dragon Quarter?
thought that was the best game in the series. That is probably what
did in the series though. Dragon
Quarter was such a huge departure from the other games in the
series, that I'm not quite sure how Capcom could have expected it to do
any better. It sold decently enough in Japan. Regardless of how it
sold, it was well liked by critics, and I don't exactly understand why
Capcom seems to have just abandoned the series. They've continued to
try with Okami despite
lackluster sales for example. I wish I had a better answer for
you. At the very least, the release of Breath of Fire III for PSP in
Japan/Europe, along with the virtual console release of Breath of Fire II suggest that
Capcom hasn't completely forgotten about the series.
That's all for this week! Next week will be short, as I'll post the
winning pitches in their entirety (without my comments), along with my
own pitch for some sequels. Here's how the prize pool will work:
1st Place: Your choice of Ys 1&2 Chronicles, Radiant Historia, or
Tactics Ogre PSP
2nd Place: Your choice of Chrono Cross, Tactics Ogre tarot cards, or
Shining Force 2 on Steam
3rd Place: Your choice of the remainder of the above 2nd place prizes
4th Place: Whatever is left of the 2nd place prizes
'Til next time!
Current Backlog: A backlog
January 26th: Wheels
February 3rd: Wheels
February 9th: Wheels
February 16th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Tales of Graces F in English!
2. Disgaea 4
3. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
4. Ys 1+2
5. Radiant Historia
On my Playlist:
2. Various Suikoden Music
3. Tales of Graces Soundtrack
1. Does Resonance of Fate deserve a sequel
(spiritual or otherwise)?
2. Should Konami continue the main series storyline of Suikoden, or
start fresh (if they make another Suikoden game)?
3. What character are you angry about not being in Dissidia 2?
4. Golden Sun Dark Dawn appears to be a success. Is it time for a
console entry in the series?
5. Should Camelot do a new SRPG franchise, since it's unlikely they'd
work with Sega again?