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Tales of Optimism
October 13th, 2010

10/13 - 12:00PM EST

  Welcome to another week of Ask Wheels. We've got some more great questions this week, from someone probably even more optimistic than me, to some questions about Super Mario RPG, and more! I've just returned from Comic Con this past weekend, where I got to play the new Golden Sun game which was quite good. What's more, there was a lot of buzz about it, and long lines to play it! This is a great thing to see, and I'm glad to see so many people excited for a Camelot Software Planning game. I also picked up Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 from a store selling import games, which turned out to be quite a bit better than the first game. More on those games some other time, for now, on to your questions!

The Letters
You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers

Dearest Wheels

I write you this email today for one specific purpose and that is to have some questions answered. A little bird told me that you do that sort of thing, so I figured I would use today's equivalent to carriers pigeons to relay my query your way. Anyways, I shall commence with my barrage of questions in hopes that you have the answers. Oh dear, I hope you have some answers.


I have been known to answer a question or two....or three! I mean it's not something I do every week or something, but let's see what kind of questions you've got. They better not be about Call of Duty or something.

Question 1: Super Mario RPG was a really interesting game back in the day in that it married the Mario franchise with traditional styled Square RPGs. In this glorious piece of data and plastic, magic was had and the merging of worlds managed to create something beautiful. Do you think any other collaborations could possibly work with RPGs? Are there any non-RPG franchises you would like to see receive the same spin.

Note: I by no means desire to detract from the Paper Mario games here.


Of course you don't mean to detract from Paper Mario, that would be evil. Anyway, this is a fantastic question, and one I've often pondered. The answer is I always wanted a Sonic RPG, which of course, we eventually got. Though it wasn't as good as Super Mario RPG, I think it was a good enough mixing of the Sonic franchise with an RPG. Other than Sonic though, I'm going to throw out the crazy idea for a Donkey Kong Country RPG. I know, it'd basically be the same idea as Super Mario RPG, with a mix of platforming and RPG mechanics, but I think they could get a lot of good humor into that kind of game, and there are certainly enough side characters to fill out a whole party. Also I'd love a Mass Effect style Halo RPG, but I'd want it from Bungie, so that ship has kind of sailed already.

Question 2: One of my biggest gripes in an RPG is when I start out with ridiculous amounts of HP at the start. I know this may seem like an odd thing to complain about, but this is one of the biggest reasons I don't want to give Riviera: The Promised Land another go, despite knowing how good it supposedly gets. Does this make me a bad person? Does it? I need to know.


It doesn't make you a bad person, I couldn't get into Riviera either, though for different reasons. I can't really think of too many RPGs that start you off with insane amounts of HP though. I can think of some that often start you with not enough HP, namely some Dungeons and Dragons based games, where choosing lower-HP based classes like Wizards is harder than it would be in the pen and paper game due to low HP. Honestly though, I really can't think of any RPG like you describe other than Riviera. Write me in again with some more examples. I can see how it could be bad though, especially if you're also starting the game not dishing out or receiving much damage. Sounds like poor game design.

Question 3: I am a fan of Action RPGs and great soundtracks, should I hunt down Nier?


I haven't player Nier, but I've heard some good things, the soundtrack being among them. The game looks too weird for my tastes. I'd imagine it must be much better than Drakengard, which was incredibly bizarre. It's a shame that the developer got broken up after this game, as I've heard it sold well, and certainly found an audience. I'm sure we'll see more good things from the creative minds behind the game though. Anyway, I say go for it.

Thank you for your time my dear anonymous friend. I hope that you will be able to spill some roleplaying revelations my way.



No problem, and please do write in again! Let me know how you enjoy Nier and I'd like to know what franchise you would make into an RPG like Super Mario RPG. That's right, now I'm asking you guys questions!

Never Gonna Give You Up

Hey there, Wheels.

Your hot topic #1 is a flawed question.  I quote:

"Duke Nukem Forever is actually going to come out, does this mean we still have a chance at getting Mother 3? and 7th Dragon? and Secret of Mana 2?"

No, it doesn't mean that Mother 3 has any kind of chance, nor does 7th Dragon or Secret of Mana 2. The way I see it, there's a big difference between the Duke's game, and the other games: the Duke's game is still in development.  Thing is, Mother 3 has been released. No further development is necessary. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.


Oh I agree entirely, I was just using it as kind of a silly way to get people to talk about the chances of these games making it to the US. I mean, Duke Nukem Forever was announced like way back before Panzer Dragoon Saga had even come out I think. It's just silly. Anyway, moving on!

What you really need to say is this:

"Sakura Wars: So Long My Love for the PS2 was finally localized after five years, does this mean we still have a chance at getting Mother 3? and 7th Dragon? and Secret of Mana 2?"

That is a better question to ask, and in this case, I would have to say that yes, since we finally got Sakura Wars, there's still a chance that we can get Mother 3.  Sure, they're on different systems, from different developers and publishers, but it hasn't been five years since Mother 3 came out.  Nintendo can't pull some "Oh, it's too old a game" crap on us, not after putting the Virtual Console on the Wii or releasing such old school style games like The Dark Spire and Retro Game Challenge on the DS.  I even recently heard about a bar in Gainesville, Florida, where people go just to play old school video games!  They even set aside a day (Monday) for it!  They have Final Fantasy, they have the first three Super Mario Bros., they have Golden Axe, they have the first three Sonic the Hedgehog games, and if you like sports games, they have NHL '96.  Yes, I said '96.  With the new NHL 2011 games out on store shelves right now, that cartridge is now officially 15 years old.  Nintendo can't tell us that a game is too old when it only came out in 2006.


Good point here, there are certainly other examples of games being localized years later as well, such as the upcoming Legend of Heroes games from XSEED. So I don't think the case for them being officially localized is completely lost yet. Mother 3 especially seems like it could be a great downloadable game for Nintendo if they wanted to make it so, and they could license the fantastic fan translation if they needed to. Granted the chances are really slim, but it's good to be optimistic.

About the only thing I can think of that would hinder Mother 3's localization is that it's a GBA game.  At least the PS2 was still kicking when Sakura Wars was localized.  The GBA is long dead, and Nintendo has even gone so far as to abandon it entirely, given the lack of a GBA slot in the two versions of the DSi that have been released.  It seems like it would be too much to ask for people who don't have the original DS or DS lite to buy an older DS just to play the game.  If they have a DSi already, it would be like they were downgrading.

No, what they should probably do is to localize it, but release it in the DSi Shop.  It's evil, but it would cause those who don't already have a DSi to buy one so that they can finally enjoy the game that they've been waiting four years for.  An upgrade would be better, in Nintendo's eyes, than a downgrade.  And it would save money, too, since no one would have to mess around with cartridges, this way.


As I just said, I agree that this is a fantastic idea. It likely wouldn't require a lot of work, it has a localization that could immediately be used, and a fanbase ready to buy the heck out of the thing. I really like the Mother fan base, and I just want them to get some sort of game over here. They deserve it! As for the other games mentioned, it'd probably too much effort to get Secret of Mana 2 properly localized and put on the virtual console or something. 7th Dragon would be a great downloadable title in my book, but it's probably too big a game to be released that way. With the 3DS on the way, the window for it to make it over here may be quickly closing. We can still hope though, we can still hope.

I would also like to quickly tackle hot topic #4.

"If you had to choice for Atlus to release Persona 2 (both parts) on PSP or Persona 4 on PSP (Persona 3 Portable style), which would you choose?"

That's an easy question to answer.  Persona 2, of course.  Thing is, Persona 4 can still be bought easily for the PS2.  Persona 2, though, is either very hard to get (Eternal Punishment) because it's old and rare by now, or damn near impossible to find in the first place (Innocent Sin) due to not being localized.  Persona 1 might not have been the best game in the series, but I'm glad it was released on the PSP. When Persona 3 Portable was announced, I could still acquire both the original and FES releases without breaking the bank.  I felt it was too soon for a PSP version.

Plus, after they finish with Persona 2, they'll do a Persona 4 Portable anyway, and it'll be alright, considering how much time there'd be between the PS2 and PSP versions.  I just know they will. They've gotta do something while we wait for Persona 5.


Well it seems like the team that would work on Persona 5 is busy on something else anyway, so yeah I wouldn't be surprised by more portable releases, especially given that they've all sold well. I agree with you completely, Persona 2 is too damn hard to get in any form, and it is dying for another release, so I really hope they put together a Persona 2 Portable. I can understand them doing yet another version of Persona 3, given its popularity, but it is past time for another release of Persona 2. I just worry about them over-saturating the series, but I suppose after how successful the series has become, the fans deserve more Persona!

Import Corner?

Hi Wheels,
So i finally got a cheap psp (no, i don't care that it's purple). I picked up Jeanne d'arc,Crisis Core and Persona 1. I was wondering you knew about any Japanese or European release that would be worth importing.
Keep on trucking.


You'll be surprised to find that there are not that many. We really have lucked out on the PSP in getting most of the great games localized. There are a few import releases you may be interested in as well. For starters, a re-release of Breath of Fire III came out in Europe, but not America, which is worth picking up. It's essentially the original game, but given the difficulty of finding the original release, that's OK. The same can be said for Tales of Eternia, localized only in Europe, which is a straight port of the PS1 game, which released here as Tales of Destiny II. The original PS1 version is very expensive, and this port can be had for relatively cheap. Finally on the Europe front, there's Silverfall, a port of a PC Diablo style game. I didn't care for it much, but your milleage may vary.

On the Japanese side of things, about all I can recommend are some Tales games if you're into the series. There's ports of the PS2 games Tales of Rebirth and Tales of Destiny 2, along with yet another version of Tales of Phantasia, which I would not recommend. I would recommend Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 though, as it gets right what the first game did horribly, and is easy to play if you don't know Japanese. All these games are pretty cheap on ebay as well, so they are not hard to get. It's not an RPG, but if you are a Tales fan, Tales of Vs. is a fun fighting game.

JuMeSyn gave me a few more to add in while proofing this: Suikoden I&II (both great games, and to have them on one umd is awesome), Princess Crown (a Saturn game from the creators of Oden Sphere), Devil Summoner (not an action RPG like the current Devil Summoner games), and Tengai Makyou IV (a series he informs me has never been localized).

That should give you enough to look into!

Wheels' Adventures in Farming

Hello Wheel-io!

I wanna play Gaijin's game!  I loved his PDQ Bach game when he wrote it up, and I sure can't match that, but here's my more serious idea.  If I were making an RPG of a composer, I'd choose Hildegard of Bingen, medieval abbess and crazy-awesome lady.  Not only did she write nifty, haunting music, she was a skilled healer, illuminator, political advisor, and herbalist.  Plus, she had visions!  I've been thinking that a game with graphics in the style of medieval illumination would be amazing, and Hildegard having visions of fighting off freaky-deaky medieval-style monsters with the power of Light (plus medieval monastic soundtrack) would be epic.  Plucky anime castmates would be strictly verboten, instead she'd be accompanied by medieval knights.


This sounds like an absolutely amazing idea! Especially about styling it after medieval illuminations. It would give it a much greater Western-styled feeling, likely allowing it to reach a bigger audience. You could base a lot of the monsters and what not off medieval folklore and legends, maybe mix in a bit of a Celtic feel for good measure. The soundtrack would have to be heavily medieval based, perhaps even a bit of harpsicord for good measure. This game needs to be made!

Anyway, I guess I should ask a question, too.  Hmm.  Okay, have you ever played Harvest Moon?  If so, what did you think?  Did you get addicted to planting veggies and gifting villagers?  If not, what keeps you from giving it a try?



I haven't really played any Harvest Moon, other than to purchase the original game from virtual console, and then play it for about 5 minutes. I did however, play a good amount of Rune Factory. I guess the idea of having combat and dungeons made it easier for me to finally give the farming sim series a try, and I'm glad I did. I think I actually ended up enjoying the farming aspects more than the combat. It's all very well integrated though, selling crops gets you money to buy weapons, unlocking new dungeons opens up new areas to farm that stay at the same season all year, and eventually you get monsters to help run your farm. Though I haven't yet taken the jump to a normal Harvest Moon game, the fact that I enjoyed the non-combat bits of Rune Factory tells me I'll probably get sucked in. Anyway, write in again! I'll probably have tried a Harvest Moon by then, assuming I'm not still addicted to Atelier Rorona.

That's it for this week, and remember, send me a letter or tweet and you get entered to win a copy of Ys: Oath in Felghana for PSP! Please give me an actual question to use in the column though! If you want to send me a letter but aren't interested in the contest, let me know or I'll be entering you in anyway! Anyway, until next time!


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What I can't wait for:

1. Ys: Oath in Felghana for PSP

2. Tales of Graces F

3. Fallout: New Vegas

4. Disgaea 4

5. Z.H.P.

On my Playlist:

1. Oath in Felghana Soundtrack

2. Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack

3. Etrian Odyssey 3 Arranged Soundtrack

Hot Topics:

1. Should Square-Enix take another shot at reviving the Mana series?

2. After the SaGa 3 remake, should Square-Enix make a new SaGa game, or go about remaking Romancing SaGa 2&3?

3. If a Final Fantasy XIII-2 is made, what changes to the battle system should be made?

4. If you had to choice for Atlus to release Persona 2 (both parts) on PSP or Persona 4 on PSP (Persona 3 Portable style), which would you choose?

5. The Tales series seems to be in decline, if you were in charge of the series at Namco, what would you do to get things on the right track?

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