Welcome! It's been a pretty odd week in the
game industry. Controversy in the game
journalism realm. A possible third 7th
Dragon game coming soon that will
probably not come out here. What are we to
do amongst all the glitz and glamour and
madness? Why, talk about awesome RPGs of
course! We'll even jam to some Bomb
the Music Industry! while doing so...
I’ve been pondering the concept of
‘sequel-lag’. How does the amount of
time between the release of a game and its direct
sequel/prequel affect its quality, impact,
is actually a very good
question, and quite relevant
given the number of quick direct
sequels these days. Of course we
can also look at the all-time
worst sequel-lag ever given that
Duke Nukem Forever
actually came out not that long
ago. The direct sequels usually
aren't RPGs, but that's what
we'll focus in on.
If it happens too soon, does it not allow
for anticipation to build? Does
releasing a sequel on the same hardware
disappoint those looking for a jump in
performance? Will a quick turnaround
appear more like an attempt to stretch out a
single game over two parts just for profits?
think it all depends on the type
of story resolution and quality
of characters. For example, if
your game ends like Mass
Effect 2 does, setting up
for an epic final encounter,
you're going to want to cash in
on that as soon as possible. If
the ending is more ambiguous
like the different ways that Dragon
Age Origins ends, you can
probably take a longer time to
do a sequel (not really counting
Dragon Age 2 as a direct
sequel since it doesn't really
involve the same characters).
Something like Final Fantasy
VII is an example of
something that could have used a
sequel much sooner since it has
a pretty ambiguous ending.
On the other hand, if it happens too late,
does it lose momentum and fan support?
Does a 23 year old still care about a series
that came out when he/she was 16? Will
changes in available writers, voice actors,
or designers prevent it from capturing its
the eternal question. It
certainly seemed to work well,
sales wise, for the Final
Fantasy VII sequel
games, but I don't think it's
going to work like that for
everything. Waiting too long is
certainly a risk. I think it
works for something like Final
Fantasy VII because there
are other Final Fantasy games
in-between. Though they don't
relate to each other, it keeps
the brand going and people are
more likely to go back and play
the older games, and then
perhaps find an interest in
direct sequels. On the other
hand, something like Duke
Nukem Forever there was
nothing new for a long time,
other than new jokes about the
length of the development time
for the game. It was doomed to
failure. In the age of voice
actors, waiting on a direct
sequel is much more dangerous.
Heck, even the Assassin's
Creed series couldn't get
the voice actor for the original
hero back for the most recent
Should the amount of anticipated lag be
dependent on whether the previous game
pointed towards a sequel (e.g., KH2,
FF-XIII-2), or if it wrapped most
things up but some players still hoped for
more (e.g., Chrono, ToS)?
Does the expected lag depend on the number
of countless ‘mini-sequels’ or re-launches
in the interim (<ahem, KH>)?
Here are just a few lag time examples
(calendar years): Lunar, Lufia,
FFX, FFXIII (2), KH I/II
(3), Chrono (4), ToS (5).
I think these factors certainly
need to be taken into
consideration. At the same time,
developers should also consider
if a story even allows for a
sequel. As much as I love and
enjoy Chrono Cross, I
don't think Chrono Trigger's
story really calls for a sequel.
They would have been better off
just doing another game in the
same style. I think if the story
points to an obvious sequel,
they shouldn't wait too long to
do a sequel, but also shouldn't
just throw it out there. Kingdom
Hearts had a nice break
between the two games, but
they've done a few too many
prequels and such in the interim
after II. Still, at
least two of those (3D
and Birth By Sleep) are
quite good and had decent enough
stories so we basically got
sequels, only none called III
just yet. The 'mini-sequels' can
be quite good to patch the gap
between games but you run the
risk of creating franchise
fatigue. By the time a proper
sequel is out people may not
care anymore. Of course on the
flip side, if you do no games in
that gap it could be just as
worse, lessening the awareness
of the series.
Thoughts on the perfect lag time? In
the meantime I’ll be working on a sequel to
this letter, the release date of which will
depend on the success of this one.
don't think there's any perfect
lag time, but we can create some
general guidelines. If the game
leaves story unresolved with
voiced main characters, the
sequel should happen within
around two years to ensure
continuity of cast and
resolution to the story (or at
least the next part of the
story). If the story is resolved
or at least one major chapter of
it is resolved, the lag time can
be much longer. If the lag time
gets too long, then prequels or
other side games or re-releases
are a good way to keep people
thinking about the series (Dragon
Age II kind of does this
since it doesn't really resolve
anything from the first game's
story). Sequels to games from
years ago should be preceded by
a re-release or update of the
original game. Something like Assassin's
Creed that switches
between historical periods while
following an overall narrative
works fine as yearly releases,
but in most cases super quick
sequel releases should be
avoided. Need to build that
hype! I look forward to the
sequel to this letter.
Good evening! After tweeting a couple
questions with extra thoughts following
@robomegaman and his thoughts, I thought of
some other things that have made me curious
Your Monster Hunter questions
were good, but these are so much
better! Monster Hunter
is a franchise that has
struggled to find a hold in the
West. Though the original didn't
do much despite being on the
PS2, I've always thought that a
proper release on the 360 or PS3
would get people interested. Of
course it now looks like the
franchise will stay on Nintendo
consoles, so I think what Capcom
needs to do is get Nintendo's
marketing power behind the
franchise. Hopefully the Wii U
game will be as successful as
the Wii game seemed to be!
If the cost of localizing and supporting an
MMO are SO GREAT as to be a losing prospect
for CAPCOM and the "loyal fanbase" of Monster
Hunter in the West once thought (can't
remember where I read it, I can't find the
posting again) smaller than 100k (which is
still supposedly 5 times the current
subscriber base of The Secret World?) then
why IP block Japan's servers?
doubt the cost of localizing the
Monster Hunter MMO are
that great, I think its more of
an issue of none of the console
MMOs doing all too much. They
would likely have to retool the
game into some kind of
free-to-play model which seems
like a risky venture at best.
The MMO market is too flooded
here and I'm not sure even the
loyal Monster Hunter
fanbase would provide enough
active users to make the game
generate a profit for Capcom. As
for the second question, IP
blocking the Japanese servers
makes no sense to me. They may
not be a huge number, but why
block more potential customers?
I don't get it.
Why not make a single international server
using the resources in Japan and allow
whomever is willing to "put up with"
Japanese menus and limited language support
to connect? Or just remove the IP
blocking? It's extra money in the
coffers to allow more users to subscribe,
innit? Granted, I know nothing about
running a business in the gaming industry...
agree 100%. I can't really think
up a good reason why they would
need to do the IP blocking.
Sometimes companies just do odd
For something not Monster Hunter
related: Shadowrun is being
integrated on 3 fronts into an interactive
world setting where the influence of Shadowrun
Returns and Shadowrun Online
projects are going to contribute to the
ongoing overarching story line for the pen
and paper game, which will provide the rich
background and flavor for the other
two. Is this venture from basically
three separate entities a little
ambitious? Will it be able to pay off
for the fans and the folks running tabletop
campaigns to try out the two PC games?
I read that the companies all meet together
frequently and are very in the loop for each
separate project, but this sort of thing has
to have a metric crap ton of risk associated
with the incredible source material being
there is a ton of risk here and
I'm not sure why they're
bothering with it. Obviously you
do want them all to be in the
same setting with the same back
story and such, but connecting
anything story related more than
that can be tough. I would
expect Shadowrun Returns to
have some element of choice to
its story so how does that
reconcile to the other two
projects where things need to be
set more in stone? How will
events and elements of the
computer games work in the table
top game where people will want
to create their own stories? I
agree they need to work together
on the setting, but they
shouldn't go too far.
You don't have to reply or use any of this
-Monster Hunter Relias
this is good stuff, so please
Now You're Q&Aing
Hey, Mr. Wheels. :)
So, this past weekend, some of my friends
and I got together for a retro party and,
specifically, pooled our N64 resources. We
stayed up till 4 in the morning trying
various games, which mostly resulted in...
wondering how we thought these wonky
controls were enjoyable to us back then. ^^;
we just didn't know any better?
I spent countless late nights
playing epic games of Goldeneye
with friends but we would all
probably hate the controls for
that game now. The N64 was the
ultimate party game machine, and
its a shame that split screen
gaming has fallen by the wayside
But, some of them were just as enjoyable as
we remembered! And, well, I'd like to know
your opinion on some of them. :)
sure! I played so much N64 back
in the day. Lots of Goldeneye,
Turok, Shadow of the
Empire, Mario Kart,
Perfect Dark, I could go
on and on.
Like... Jet Force Gemini! I don't
know, I seem to remember this being so much
fun, but I couldn't even survive the second
area when I tried this time (through
complete inability to... do anything)? o_o;
actually don't think I ever
played that game shockingly,
whenever I tried to remember
what it was my brain just kept
making me think of that PS1 game
Jet Moto. Based on what
you've said I know that's not
right. Your description of
surviving the second area does
not sound like a jet ski game!
But, Bomberman 64 and Mario
Party are just as great multiplayer as
ever... I even got a new bruise on my palm
from the *single* (yes, only one!) "rotate
the stick" minigame the happened! XD
course those games are still
great. Heck earlier Bomberman
games can still provide some
amazing multiplayer. Mario
Party seemed to be the
ultimate party game, not
requiring much in the way of
skill and just being good goofy
fun. Not the best thing ever but
great at what it does even if it
does cause injuries from
Well, being how disappointing the revisit of
Jet Force Gemini was, I was surprised that Banjo
Kazooie was so easy to pick up and how
well it controlled! I think I beat a fifth
of it in 2 hours... ^^;;;
didn't player Banjo Kazooie
until later when it got a
release on Xbox live but there's
no doubt that is a quality
platformer. The N64 days saw
Rare going out from their
Nintendo development time with a
bang (they didn't do much of
note on the GameCube). It's a
shame Microsoft never managed to
do much with them.
RPG wise, Ogre Battle 64: Crane of
Lordly Calibur still looks great (best
on the system? :) ) and is a blast to play.
And, for how average it is, I think Quest
64 had some interesting ideas that I
still enjoy messing around with.
Battle 64 is an amazing
title, which is good considering
it is one of only a few RPGs on
the system. I'm sad the series
seemed to just stop there
outside of some more tactical
games. I love the tactical RPGs
but the main series' games are
just as good! I never played
much of Quest 64 since
it wasn't all that great, but
you are right that it at least
tried some different things. It
was far from a generic JRPG.
But yeah, were there any other N64 games
that you remember fondly? (Err, hopefully
I hope you've had a good week, Wheels. See
you on Twitter. :)
than the ones I've mentioned, I
enjoyed the Gauntlet games
on N64. They weren't amazing but
provided a good platform for RPG
type co-op. There was also Smash
Bros but that goes without
saying. My favorite games on the
system will always be Ocarina
of Time and Majora's
Mask. I put so many hours
into those two games and would
gladly do so again. People will
grumble at me for saying this
but I say that Zelda is
always better in 3D!
Anyway, thanks for the
nostalgia, see you on twitter!
@AskWheels DEAR WHEELS WHY DOES EVERY GAME
EVER NOW HAVE EXP & LEVELS LOVE BEAT
Well the answer is quite obvious,
isn't it? RPGs are awesome, and
everyone is starting to get this.
Now even games like Call of Duty
are including some kind of EXP and
levels so they can get in on that
sweet tasty RPG action. People love
numbers man. They're addicting. I
mean what do you think would be more
popular, an online shooter where you
just play friends and call it a day,
or a shooter where you play online
and slowly level up and get cooler
stuff? Soon enough real life jobs
will have EXP and levels to get in
on this action. RPGs are the future
of everything Beat.
@AskWheels DEAR WHEELS WHAT'S WRONG WITH
YOUR FACE I MEAN WOW I DON'T KNOW IF YOU
SHOULD SEE A DOCTOR OR WHAT LOVE BEAT
My doctor says it's just a pimple
and I'll thank you very much not to
stare at it because that is
@AskWheels DEAR WHEELS HOW DO I GET THE
SECRET ENDING OF THE NY TIMES I BACKTRACKED
FROM ANNE LANDERS AND USED THE LAMP ON
GARFIELD WHAT NOW
You have to backtrack and complete
all the crossword puzzles, every
last one! Just avoid the editorials
and the world jumble. God help you
if you go anywhere near the word
@AskWheels DEAR WHEELS I'M LOST AND SCARED
AND THERE IS A SHADOW CREEPING TOWARDS ME
Don't worry it's just pyramid head.
He wants to say hello! How could you
be scared of him? He looks like a
@AskWheels DEAR WHEELS WHICH CANDIDATE
SHOULD I VOTE FOR TO GET ENOUGH PARAGON
POINTS TO ROMANCE JOKER.
Clearly the only option to vote for
is Zoidberg. How could you even
consider anyone else? You monster.
@AskWheels BOW TIES YES OR NO.
The answer to this quest is always
yes. I mean I even rocked bow tie at
my wedding. Bow ties are just so
@AskWheels RAILGUNS YES OR NO.
Rocket launchers are always the
better choice. As a random funny
aside, a Google image search for
railgun brought me to this:
@AskWheels YOU SHOULD DEDICATE A WHOLE
COLUMN TO ANSWERING THESE DUMB THINGS.
I would but I don't think there's
quite enough of them. I mean they're
great and insane and all, but I
think I'd need at least thirty to
forty of them to fill up a whole
column! Not that I'm suggesting you
do this or anything.
@AskWheels IF I GOT @McRapperson TO
AUTOGRAPH A COPY OF LIVE AT AMWAY ARENA,
WOULD THAT KEEP YOU FROM FORGETTING ABOUT
I never forget about Rappy but I
doubt all my readers know who he is!
I think this
link should enlighten them.
(Warning: click that link at your
own risk. Seriously your brain may
never be the same).
BEAT_TWITTAR: @AskWheels THEN I HAVE NOT
Such a thing is impossible.
BEAT_TWITTAR: @AskWheels HOW MUCH WOULD 20
BUCKS COST ME.
Clearly it would cost you 1,771.41
in Serbian Dinar, how can you not
calculate this in your head?
@AskWheels IF I SET YOUR FACE ON FIRE, WOULD
YOU CONSIDER THAT A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE?
So long as it didn't roast the
memory centers in my brain I can't
imagine it wouldn't be.
@AskWheels WHAT IS THE WORST THING I COULD
POSSIBLY DO WITH A FORKLIFT, A FRANK SINATRA
BOX SET, AND AN AQUARIUM FULL OF GOLDFISH?
Run over a collection of a thousand
unopened copies of Panzer Dragoon
Saga while using the Frank
Sinatra CDs as frisbees to fling at
and break open the aquarium full of
goldfish spilling the poor creatures
on the shattered remains of the Panzer
Dragoon Saga discs.
@AskWheels WHAT IS THE BEST THING I
COULD DO WITH A RAILGUN A BIRTHDAY CAKE AND
A BAG OF DOLLAR STORE GREEN ARMY MEN.
Arrange the army men on a birthday
cake and then use the railgun to
blast the cake into a million pieces
sending the army men flying in all
directions in a hilarious fashion.
@AskWheels WHAT EVEN ARE THESE QUESTIONS
THIS IS MADNESS AM I DRUNK
I guess you just answered this ad?
@AskWheels HALP MY BRAIN
You need to feed it some more RPGs.
I recommend 10ccs of Disgaea 4
stat followed by a daily intake of Fire
Emblem and SaGa. Come
back in a week for a checkup.
Emergency Shin Megami Tensei may
See you all next week!
Possibly with more drunken madness...
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
On my Playlist:
1. Reel Big Fish
2. Green Day
3. Bomb the Music Industry!
1. What is the best Final Fantasy
2. Did Sega blow it in not taking a risk and
trying Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 again?
3. What is the best Dragon Quest?
4. Will Gust's game output be hurt by the
purchase by Tecmo-Koei?
5. What PS2 RPG series other than Final Fantasy
would you like to see an HD collection of?