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ASK WHEELS
Q&A, Now in 3D!
March 30th, 2011

03/30- 12:00PM EST

  OK, it's not really in 3D, but given the recent release of the 3DS it seemed like the thing to do. I'm sure we'll see a slew of releases with "3D" in the title in the coming months. Anyway, I've got another Chrono letter this week, along with a few more in the backlog. It continues to be a lot of fun to talk about potential sequels, and like I said previously, everyone is welcome to keep sending them in. Now, on to the letters!





The Letters
Defending SaGa

I can safely say I'm not a fan of the SaGa series. I like the music, and to a lesser extent to graphics, especially in SaGa Frontier 2, but I  don't like using a guide to understand the mechanisms, not to mention the terrible balance at times.

-Jeremy


Wheels

Well, I think you might be going a bit far on the balance part (maybe not for the original games), but that's alright, it's not a series for everyone. As for the difficulty understanding the mechanics, that's often part of the fun. The best part of many of the SaGa games is taking the time to figure things out on your own. Granted this can often time lead to frustration, but it helps give many of the games a much more open feel than most JRPGs. This of course doesn't make them very accessible. So yeah, I can understand why you don't like them, but I think you'd find the rebalanced remakes of SaGa 2 and SaGa 3 to be much better than the originals. Shame we haven't gotten them in English!

I'd like to know what your favorite series are, write back some time!


Someone Topped Us All and Actually Made Their Chrono Sequel

Hello new Q and A person (Wheels, is it?),

Wheels
It is! A silly nickname yes, but that's a whole different story.

With all this talk of Chrono Trigger sequels, why hasn't anyone mentioned Crimson Echoes yet? The game was lost to the ether of cease and desist gag orders, but the story and gameplay have been preserved in glorious "YouTube video" form.


Wheels

I am surprised it hasn't been mentioned until now. I don't have any experience with it, other than a friend telling me it was terrible. However I know it's famous, so it would have been cool to spend some time delving into what it did with story. What else is there to know about it?

For those who don't know, Crimson Echoes was a fan-made hack/game using some of the sprites and shaded cells from the emulated Chrono Trigger rom (hence the DCMA). A preview would be that the story of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross is explained through the game, the literary interpretations of the authors, with a little bit of the narrative from the Radical Dreamers satellite game added in for good measure. Freely traveling through time is discussed and it's implications are examined in what I think is a thoughtful and concise manner.


Wheels

That actually sounds like a very plausible and well thought out way to do a sequel. Granted it doesn't sound like they did anything of note gameplay wise, but that is a straightforward and excellent idea for a sequel. Granted I'd have to see the actual story in the game to see how good it is, but it is a great idea. Not to mention they actually made it happen. That's dedication.

So, when the game was in closed beta, the authors got hit with a cease and desist request from Square Enix and obliged, destroying every single copy. Seriously. It is gone, save these videos. It serves as the most poignant example of the "copyright infringement police" supplanting fan creativity. Just thought I'd make the last few people who have never heard of this cry at its completeness and yet complete unavailability.

-ATG


Wheels

That sucks, but really, Square Enix has every right to stop such things. Also, physical copies? Not a wise thing to do at all. This is always the danger in even starting to make something using an intellectual property that is not your own. I think the only company I've seen that doesn't do much blocking of this kind of thing is Nintendo. They've let things like Zelda Classic and Super Mario Crossover hang out there. I suppose these make for free advertising of sorts for Nintendo. It's awful, but it is what it is. I always wonder what the actual game designers think of fan sequels like this. Perhaps the legal decisions would be different if they were in charge.

Thanks for writing in!

P.S.: It seems Crimson Echoes has been leaked despite my previous understanding that it was not available anymore. </playing with your emotions>

Hey,  if you're 'morally opposed' to playing it, just watch the youtube videos; also, don't watch this video, because it uses the original content of one show to tell a different story in the same medium. Enjoy your literary close-mindedness. ???. Profit.


Wheels

Well  that's not a completely fair comparison. After-all, that's a video using original content to tell a different story, but it's not something people would then go and watch instead of say, a new Star Trek movie. Crimson Echoes on the other hand, is something that fans could conceivably choose to play instead of an official Chrono release. This is not a bashing of the fan sequel itself, as I've said it sounds like a very creative work. However, fans too often can't, or refuse to see things from the other side of the coin. The worst part, is at the end of the day, no one wins.

We still have Super Mario Crossover at least!


King of Content

Mr. Steel Wheels (see, now you're a Rolling Stones album), care for more Q&A content?

Wheels

Of course! Bring it like the Rolling Stones...well...used to bring it!

I have no idea how you missed Warsong. Admittedly, the game was localized by a company that promptly died, and it didn't sell well at the time. That might account for the minimal publicity. Chrono Trigger has sucked up a LOT of the space in your column for awhile with all the proposed sequels. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Still, might it be time to see what happens if you ask about ideas for something from the other console of the time? Say for example, ideas on Phantasy Star V?

Wheels

I got a Genesis late in the life of the system, so it could just be the case of it being too old by the time I had the system. I went back to look for RPGs, but I'm sure I missed a lot, including Warsong.

OK, I love sequel talk. Let's do this.

The ending to Phantasy Star IV was pretty darn conclusive. I'd be hesitant to do a direct sequel to it. It could be done however. The universe is massive, so there could be many threats separate from those that the original four games focused on. Perhaps start a new ongoing story in the same group of planets that relates back to the characters of the original series, but not too much that new players can't figure things out. Regardless I'd rather Sega to do something other than multi-player titles with the series.

Those Square-Enix sequels just keep tantalizing me. Why don't I toss some more out for you to explicate and judge? Front Mission 6. It's extremely unlikely to happen, and if it did would most likely not leave Japan. We can still hope, right?

Wheels

We can, even though I've yet to really play a proper Front Mission title. I know several fans that constantly rave about the series. I find it odd that in an era where SRPGs are thriving (mainly on portables), that the Front Mission series hasn't gained a major following in the US. I think I need to play this series and give it some love.

Something worthy of the Seiken Densetsu series. I have no idea how this would be numbered, since there actually is a Seiken Densetsu 4, but that game was lousy according to every source. Heroes of Mana was exceptionally lousy (read this if you need substantiation), Children of Mana was filled with annoying aspects that made it a chore, Sword of Mana was okay without being great, and I haven't played Legend of Mana. It's been a long time since good games in the series, though.

Wheels

I think we just need to write off the whole World of Mana thing altogether. Dawn of Mana is mostly terrible, with one of the worst cameras I've ever seen in a 3D game. Many of the ideas could have been worthwhile, but at the end of the day it's just a bad game. I shall avoid Heroes of Mana per your recommendation. Children of Mana and Sword of Mana left a lot to be desired. Legend of Mana is of course the last great Mana game. So what happened to the series? It seems like those who were put in charge of the titles simply weren't interested. I can understand doing some spin-off games, but basically changing the genre for the fourth title in the main series? It didn't make any sense. That being said, people still have a lot of fondness for the original games. Put in the hands of a new team with a small budget, I think they could do quite well with a new sequel. Just, no more genre switches please.

What else... how about a sequel to Paladin's Quest? Sure, there's Lennus 2 which I haven't played and it stayed in Japan anyway, but digging up long-dormant series is in vogue lately, right? Keeping with the Enix side, how about E.V.O: The Search for Eden? Just finding the original game is an expensive proposition, so clearly the secondary market has deemed it worth remembering! After all, expensive games are always worth the cost.

Wheels

Paladin's Quest? Now you're really digging into the obscure. I think if they wanted to do another sequel to that, they'd have to remind people that the original existed in the first place. Perhaps a virtual console release?

E.V.O. would be a great title for Square Enix to do a sequel for. It's a very unique concept (seems similar to Spore years before Spore was even a thought) and it's legendary status would certainly get a lot of hardcore gamers interested. Not that it would necessarily sell, but worth a shot I think.

More Enix... Robotrek! I didn't love it like a couple people do around here, but it's definitely unique, and potentially worth a revisit.

Wheels

I hadn't really heard of this one, but a quick look at the wikipedia page tells me it's similar to Pokemon in that the main character sends out robots to fight instead of himself, but doesn't have the collection aspect of Pokemon. Instead, you create your party of robots. Sounds like a really cool idea, but sadly it was originally developed by Quintet (with Ancient), a company that seems to be in limbo. Not sure if there would be licensing issues there, but if they work that out I could use some Illusion of Gaia and Soul Blazer sequels.

Hm. Is Brave Fencer Musashi worth remembering? Haven't played it, don't know, but some say unequivocally yes. I'm running out of things I've experienced, as is now evident. That should be enough Square-Enix fodder for one day anyway.

Wheels


It's a fun little action RPG. It did get a sequel in Samurai Legend Musashi for the PS2, so that's not as much in need of a sequel as other Square Enix titles. How about a sequel to Crystal Bearers?

Connect Ginger Rogers to Guardian Heroes!

Wheels

You seem to be picking older and more obscure actor/actresses for these little connection things as time goes on. I admire your conviction in trying to stump me! Let's see here, Ginger Rogers starred in Teenage Rebel in 1956-> 20th Century Fox distributed the film->Sega acquired the Aliens game license from 20th Century Fox (2006)->Sega published Guardian Heroes 

Alright, that one wasn't so bad!

I'd comment upon the Suikoden topic if only I'd played more than the DS game. It wouldn't be fair to pontificate on something I'm poorly versed in.

Wheels

If you take any of  my recommendations to heart, let it be this one: Play Suikoden I, II, III, and V, as soon as possible. Ignore the fourth one, and check out Suikoden Tactics only as time allows.

So now that five Ys games are on PSP (even if the sixth game reputedly is a lousy port), speculate on the possibility of the fourth game (which is actually two distinct titles, remember) and the fifth coming to that platform after not being touched in over 15 years. I don't really have any more today, since I'm out the door to see Rango in hopes of a good film. This should be enough content though.

JuMeSyn

Wheels

Before the announcement of the NGP by Sony I would have said that the chances were very good. With Falcom already announcing support for the NGP, and already being busy with Legend of Heroes titles, I think the chances are pretty much nil. I had thought that Ys Origins for PSP would have been a shoe-in given Oath in Falghana had been ported, and seemed to use the exact same engine. Now even that looks to be in doubt. Perhaps the market in Japan for PSP games will last longer than I think, but even then it could be tough to get that type of title released in the west after the NGP launch. Perhaps we'll have to wait for remakes on that system?

As always, thank you for the fantastic questions!

Sunset of Mana

Hey Wheels! I heard a terrifying rumor that you may have recently come into possession of a copy of the game Dawn of Mana. My question is, have you had time to play it yet and, if so, how long do you think you've got to live, what with the better part of your soul no doubt having been consumed by the treacherous disk?

May your suffering be minimal and your demise mercifully swift,
Kayma


Wheels

You'll be pleased to know that I have survived, and I'm already rid of my copy of the offending game. It nearly got me, but not quite! The worst part wasn't even the many problems the game has, such as the overuse of havok physics, or the uninteresting story. No, the thing that nearly destroyed me was the camera. How in the heck, in modern game design, can they make a camera this terrible? Maybe on a system like the PSP with only one analog stick, but on the PS2, with camera control assigned to one of the analog sticks? It's just inexcusable. I have no idea what happened to this game. I think the lead designer hates the series and just wanted to toy with the havoks physics engine. All I know is that I want to try and forget that it exists.

I think this game will haunt me for a long time. It is a thing of pure evil!

IN CLOSING

That's all for this episode! People don't seem to be using the hot topics that often, so feel free to send me in suggestions to replace them. Don't forget you can also tweet me questions. I'm now much more active with that, so I won't miss any of those questions.

'Til next time

-Wheels

Current Backlog: Need Legend of Heroes Please

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What I can't wait for:

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2. Disgaea 4

3. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky!

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1. Ys Seven Soundtrack

2. Various Suikoden Music

3. Radiant Historia Soundtrack



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