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May 4th, 2012

05/04- 12:00PM EST

Welcome to another episode of Q&A! Your half awake host is here to answer your latest questions and comments. Yes, I did catch a midnight showing of The Avengers last night, but I am still here to answer your burning questions.

On to the letters!

The Letters
Tales of Nintendo

Hey Wheels,
What is your take on Nintendo's net loss that was recently reported?  I feel that Nintendo of Americas's [read: Reggie's] apparent hatred of RPGs isn't helping them.  So many RPGs that could have been localized at a profit...
- Fayted


Well, I do think the RPGs you're referring to would have helped a tad, especially with the way Wii software sales are lagging, but I don't think it would have made any kind of impact in the slightest. The issue here is all about the 3DS combined with declining Wii hardware and software sales (let's call it the double whammy). The price-cut of the 3DS has been a huge success, leading to increased sales, and of course an increase in game sales as well. The problem is, they're currently selling the system at a loss. So, not only are they not making as much on the system as they'd hoped, they're losing money on each system. Is there reason to be a bit worried? Certainly, there always is when a company is losing that much money. Nintendo isn't a tiny company though, and they've definitely got all kinds of money in the bank. A bit too early to be acting like the sky is falling. We'll see how the Wii U does on launch, and hopefully they'll be able to sell the 3DS at a profit sooner rather than later. Let's revisit this question next year if they're still losing the same kind of money.

Going back to the RPG question, I think saying NoA has a hatred for RPGs is pretty silly. You're talking about the same branch of the company that took a chance and finally brought Fire Emblem to the US and even gave that Heracles game a try. Now, we're certainly in agreement that they've bungled Xenoblade and The Last Story, but let's not forget the decent job they've done with the Dragon Quest titles here. I don't think we would have gotten Dragon Quest VI and Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 if not for them. I'm willing to give them a pass as long as that 3DS Fire Emblem makes it over here. I mean we eventually got Xenoblade, so it's all good!

Ultimate Ultima

Heya Wheels,

Yeah, I know, I should give Legend of Heroes another try. However, I will have one thing to say about it, and that is I felt the script was... not too good. During my first two hours, I think I have heard every single variation of “That said” as a start of a sentence, it honestly felt like someone for whom English is a second language translated it. It was very distracting for me.


That's funny, I can't recall seeing that a lot. The European version isn't a different translation is it? Still, I had similar trouble with the start of the game. The story is especially slow, and takes a bit too long setting things up for my taste. Still, once you go out in the world and combat becomes more frequent, things are more enjoyable. Stick with it! Who knows when/if we'll see the second chapter, so there's no rush.

That said, (See? It gets annoying already...) I did like the premise of the game a lot, where you start out as lowly mercs basically, needing to make cash. Also, that one girl the mentor was refreshingly sexistic in her remarks. Too many publishers play it safe when it comes to character development, and her lifestyle was refreshing amongst all the politically correct hipster kids.


If you think she's entertaining, just wait until you meet Olivier! This game is full of fun characters, and I really hope we see the second game in some form,  either on Steam or on PSP. Which reminds me that I'm shocked Final Fantasy Type-0 is not out here...

But I read you haven't played Ultima 7 yet? Tsk tsk. If I am not mistaken you can get it on GOG, but you want to throw the program Exult at it. Google it up. It basically rewires the game to work on modern computers, and if you get stuck there's a built in cheat program in it as well. Why bother? Because the game is awesome!! The game world is HUGE and there are more secrets than you can find. Literally, as I think there are a couple of places you can't even reach through normal means. How sick is that? Sick I tell you. It's a pretty difficult game though, there are times you need to pay CLOSE attention to the storyline as you may miss vital information to continue. But let me tell you this, there is no game where you'll have more fun digging through people's drawers than in this game


I would love to give it a try. I grew up playing many of the earlier Ultima games, so I'm not sure why I never got around to playing the later titles. I actually have a collection containing at least up to the eighth game I believe, so I guess I'll have to dig that up! That or I'll just play more Runes of Virtue.

Anyways, you have more interesting questions.

What HD RPGs do you want to see rendered as 8 or 16 bit RPGs?
HA! So you decided to throw the other way huh? Difficult one, really. I wouldn't really know... I do remember seeing the 8 bit remake of FF7 which looked really nice. Honestly though, I think the 8 bit and 16 bit era doesn't really need additional titles. We cherish the 8 bit and 16 bit era for the titles that were there, instead of those that weren't. Too poetic? Yeah, sorry, I just don't have an answer for you. Haha.


That's OK, it's an odd sort of question. I think the FF7 8-bit remake was just a few screenshots or a video, but not a full remake by any stretch. The only real one I can think of isn't an RPG, Mega Man 7's 8-bit remake which is complete and quite cool. I think the only ones that would be helped by this would be games hurt by a poor visual presentation. One example would be the first Wild Arms. Mostly the game is fine, but the awful 3D battle sequences destroy the charm created by the classic 2D exploration. As for FF7, I think without the visual presentation people would like that game far less. What do you think?

Maybe they should repackage the ENTIRE Fire Emblem saga and redo them all in 16 bit. But with anime cut-scenes. I know, they're not HD... It's all I could think of... Sorry.


That's OK, that's something that could work. I'm picturing something like the Sega CD Shining Force that was just a collection of Game Gear Shining Forces. This would be a cool way for Nintendo to catch up fans to the stories from the older games, but I suppose they've never been big on re-releasing their games in collections.

Will Western developers ever return to expand beyond typical fantasy and sci-fi settings?
Yes. But not the big developers. They are too scared to invest large amounts of money in a product they are not sure will sell. No, the future in game design (and originality) is in the Kickstarter program, as well as the online stuff like PSN and X-Box live. Indies is where it's at! Honestly, I've already seen so much originality and fun titles coming from that route. I am also very interested in the new old school Shadowrun title, which I suppose can be labeled as “beyond typical”. What do you think?


I think this is accurate. Big budget RPGs are pretty much stuck in the types of settings that work, so I suppose it would take a indie mega-hit to change people's ways. Speaking of which, I'm really excited for the Shadowrun game. That is such a cool setting, and I'm really hoping they do some good things with it. Are there any indie RPGs out there I may have missed with cool settings?

Question to you, why do you think there hasn't been a new Castle Crashers title? Or at least a rip-off. One of the funnest games I've played the past few years.
All the best,
Chronicler Dan


That is a really good question, and one that I don't really have a good answer for. You could always just play Guardian Heroes. Has that developer been busy with something else? Oh well, another game I still need to play!


Greetings Wheelsenheim Reinbach III,

This is Grand Master Spruce from the Secret Society of Kawazu Faithful. We have received your application for admission into the SSKF. After careful review from myself and the council, it is with great pleasure that I announce your induction into the premier fanclub of Akitoshi Kawazu, the creator and mastermind behind all that is SaGa.


Wait a second, I'm the Master of that Secret Society! In fact, I founded it! Is this some kind of joke? Clearly it is, but I'm just going to play along.

You will be mailed your official SSKF sash and mouse pad upon successful completion of the entrance exam below. Draw upon your vast knowledge of SaGa and Kawazu game design to complete this final test.


Mouse pad? Really? Such a prize is much too straightforward and non-complex to be a Kawazu prize. For shame!

1) Suppose you are developing a new RPG. Your best course of action is to…

a) Make something that will appeal to new and casual players alike.

b) Make something off the wall and overly complicated.

c) Make something that will sell a lot of copies.


Well this of course is easy, this should always be B. What's the fun in making a game if you can't go crazy and make a bunch of complicated game systems?

2) Suppose you are chopping down a tree. All of a sudden…

a) Your arms tire and you run to get a chainsaw.

b) The tree comes to life and bites off your hand.

c) A light bulb appears over your head and you knock the tree down with your bare fists.


Well clearly the answer is D) one of the above at random. All of these things are possible SaGa happenings. I notice you don't even have a D)! That's coming off your final score.

3) Your arch nemesis has taken the life of your canine companion. You…

a) Set out for revenge.

b) Get a new dog.

c) Relax knowing that your dog has plenty of LP left.


Well considering the loss of LP is what leads to death, the "taken the life" phrasing suggests the poor beast's LP has been depleted. Therefore the answer is A).

4) What makes the red phoenix the most dangerous avian species?

a) Their force field

b) Their deadly talons

c) Their powerful magics


C) Obviously. This is the universal answer when discussing phoenixes of any kind.

5) Suppose your mother knits you a RED sweater. You…

a) Thank her.

b) Hug her.

c) Rebuke her for making such a vile thing.


What kind of question is this? MY mother only knits scarves.

And finally:


Your first-born child will be named:

a) Will

b) Rich

c) Ginny


Grand Master Spruce



The answer is D) Whatever the heck I want. In the SaGa games, when you make a character in those that allow it, you name them.  Therefore, when naming my first-born I am free to name them whatever I wish. In conclusion this test was terrible. I give it an F and do not permit you entrance to the Kawazy society. Not even a single mention of Final Fantasy 2, Legend of Mana, or Crystal Chronicles? Just awful sir. I am ashamed on behalf of all Kawazu fans.

History Final

Hey Wheels!

If you want some supporting evidence for the "dolphins are jerks" hypothesis, do a google search for dolphin-on-porpoise gang violence.  As for the Soul Hackers boss, I seem to have made a slight error.  It's SNAPPY the Dolphin, not Skippy.  That death-by-overload method though?  It works.  And it works a lot faster than doing 5-10 HP in damage per hit for forty minutes.



That would explain why my searches went for naught! Anyway, I think it's crazy that after having this discussion Atlus went and announced a remake of Soul Hackers for 3DS. Perhaps Western gamers will finally get to experience the horror that is Snappy.

I'm trying to recall which scenario comes next though, the House of Horrors based on a close friend's personal traumas or the cryogenics experiment gone wrong that reduces a whole mall of shoppers to drooling maniacs.  This game has a crazy storyline, if you haven't figured it out yet.


It really sounds like it. Not that the Shin Megami Tensei series was exactly short on such story-lines. Strange Journey for example fits its title like a glove. Is this one particularly crazy for the series? I can't think of anything quite as off the wall as Snappy in other games.

So, Pokémon Conquest.  Get, or not?  What other major games on the horizon have your interest piqued?  I'm looking forward to Time & Eternity and Atelier Ayesha, though I have to worry that my usual HD issues will cause playing problems yet again.  Hard to play when you can't read the small print!


I'm thinking Conquest will be a must get. This sounds vaguely similar to the Pokémon prequel someone proposed in an earlier Q&A even. A more strategy focused entry in the series sounds like something right up my alley. As for other things I'm waiting for, I'm looking forward to Ys Origins on Steam. It plays a lot like Oath in Felghana, which I loved, so I'm really looking forward to playing more of it (I imported it). I'm also looking forward to the Game of Thrones game even though it will probably be terrible. Still, it's based on my favorite book series so I'm hoping to glean some enjoyment out of it.

Finally, still waiting to hear your villain concept.  Mail it to me soon!

Your fellow columnist,


Doh, I will get on that as soon as possible good sir!

That's it for this week!

See you all next week.


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