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The Legend of Groose
  December 20th, 2013

12/20- 7:00PM EST

Welcome to another episode of Q&A! Sorry about the lack of a Q&A last week, I needed to get that Guided Fate Paradox review completed. I also of course was distracted by the amazing Link Between Worlds. I've also been digging further into Adventure Time : Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW and of course new Ys so plenty to play this holiday season.

Anyway, let's jump right in! Lot's of questions to catch up on.





The Letters
Getting back to old habits

Hey Wheels,
 
I am at work now, so I figured I'd write in again, teehee.
 
So, I recently installed Steam, after my best friend raved about Starbound. Cool game, but my crappy laptop combined with the game being in Beta stage means I can't fully enjoy it. Still, it's a fun game. Exploration, sandbox and 2D retro graphics? Count me in! Plus I have a huge amount of sympathy for indie developers so love to back them when I can.


Wheels

Sounds like a pretty neat game! I think someone gifted me the beta, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I just don't game on my computer very often! Now I really need to check it out.

Still, I knew installing Steam was going to be a bad idea. They allow me to buy games without Paypal or a credit card. Will it be the end of me (and my bank account)? I hope not.
 
It did shed a very good light on the current state of videogaming. Indies are so taking over the stage, and retro is the new... new... (or something). I love how indies have found a way to incorporate new techniques and things without them feeling like they don't belong in the retro aesthetic of the game... Not sure if I am making sense, but what I mean is, the games FEEL like they are NES or SNES games, but with the frustrating elements being replaced with new things without losing that NES/SNES feel.


Wheels

Retro is very in! I can't tell how that even happened either, because it doesn't appear to be just people with nostalgia for NES/SNES games that are into it. Heck it's even something that's shown up in more main stream games as well thanks to the efforts of Wayforward. Variety is the spice of life and it's nice to see more 2D games showing up and succeeding. As you say many of them are quality games that don't just ape everything NES/SNES games did, but learn from them and often fix some old issues.

What I would love to see is a game where I can really do whatever I want to do in a fantasy world. So that means I can feel like hunting some wolves for food at one point, be a bit bolder when I find a dungeon and raid it for treasure, but then tend to some sheep, get their wool and create a cool looking new outfit for me or my fellow NPC's, chop some wood to build a new house, all that stuff. NPCs I've befriended could be issued these kinds of jobs as well. The game would create a new world for me to enjoy, but I suppose there would also be a selection of online servers for those of the MMO inclination. Offline, I could choose to be a part of a group of NPC's (which I could randomly generate or create myself) and build a village for myself, trying to defend it from the big bad world while my NPC friends do the same.

However, other NPCs would be able do the same. It would be a living world, sort of. This also means that things like wolves could die out or be driven out of a region if I killed too many of them. Money wouldn't be dropped by them either, money would be scarce.  Money would be made by miners and minters, but since they need protection adventurers would get a part of that simply for protecting the prospectors. The economy would be a living thing as well. I'd go for a 3D game preferably.... a bit like Elder Scrolls I suppose... but not too high end because I like my graphics to be a bit vintage.


Wheels

What you describe sounds like a bigger and more expansive Rune Factory mixed with the combat and exploration of the Elder Scrolls games. That could be something truly wonderful! Sign me up.

Obviously we are slowly inching towards hardcore realism and roleplaying, and we still want the game to be fun, so I suppose things like hunger would only have a slight effect, making you weaker but not killing you for not eating or drinking for days. I suppose stamina or somesuch stat would go down, and permantent deaths would be optional. Also, NPCs are blank slates and they don't have preferences, so if you wanted an NPC to be a farmer, he'd be a farmer... Unless his STR was through the roof and you obviously want him by your side when you find a dungeon. This, again, is part of the sandbox feel, make the game what you want it to be.

Basically, I would love a game where we put games like Elder Scrolls, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Mabinogi, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Animal Crossing, Minecraft, Cubeworld and Dwarf Fortress in a blender and bring out this result. And yes, it would be offline as well as online.
 
Go for it indie developers!! Count me in for one of the more premium pledges.


Wheels

That would likely be a pretty massive indie project! I could see perhaps an indie dev doing something like this in more of a 2D setting. Then perhaps someone like Bethesda could try something more extensive. We'll have to see! Open world type games are getting a bit too abundant, so I hope such a game wouldn't just get lost in the shuffle.

Oh, questions... What are your thoughts on these ideas of mine?


Wheels

I kind of fit my main thoughts in there, but basically I'd be all for a more expansive Rune Factory type game that takes the concept and creates a full on "life RPG" with combat and the whole shebang.  There's a lot of complications with such a project, but the end result could be incredible. Come on devs! Make it so!

And to answer the question you gave me after my last letter, I loved Illusion of Time soooo much! It was epic without it being epic for the sake of being epic. The game focused on friendships as much as it focused on issues concerning the bigger picture. It had some surprisingly heartbreaking moments for a game that felt like it was going to be very lighthearted, and the characters were very memorable. It was a small game compared to some of the mammoths of its days, but that's what made it great.
 
Hope my letter wasn't too big.

Cheers,
Daniel


Wheels

You pretty much described my exact feelings for the game, and in fact I think I need to dust it off sometime soon! Illusion of Gaia was one of my all time favorite games as a kid, but I haven't played it in some time. Time to fix this I think!

Final Fantasy QTE

Hey Wheels, I've got a couple of questions for you.
I have fond memories of FF X and I've been looking forward to playing it on my Vita (hopefully Square Enix gives us some details on the western release soon). However I remember the limit breaks in that game requiring you to madly bash buttons and spin the analog sticks around. Am I remembering that right?


Wheels

I don't believe so. I think Final Fantasy X managed to avoid all that sort of nonsense in the summons and just stick to turn based stuff. Perhaps you're thinking of XII or XIII? My memory could be really bad, but I recall summons providing the same kind of turn based combat as the main battles.

Did the button mashing really make that big of a difference?
I'm thinking I might be better off with the PS3 version where at least I could replace a broken controller and protect my precious Vita.


Wheels

Well as you've surmised the only worry you'll have would be if blitzball makes you chuck your Vita at the wall or something. Nothing in game will directly make you overwork the controls. Just sit back and enjoy!

Shifting gears, are there any games you have wanted to play this year but have not gotten to touch?

Josh


Wheels

There's a few. Primarily is Mario and Luigi Dream Team which I haven't even started yet because the right time just hasn't come up yet. On the same note, I still have some unfinished business in Luigi's Mansion 2. Tales of Xillia I need to get back to as a few review games on the system kept me from it. The final one would just be Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Not that I didn't play that game enough, more that I haven't completed the upper levels of multiplayer!

Tales of Voices

Hello Wheels!

I've got a half-formed idea in my head here I'd like to run by you. I hope you don't mind if this letter meanders a bit.

I don't know how versed you are in the realm of voice acting. I myself mostly know about actors who work on dubbed anime and admittedly not much else. As you may have noticed, many localized Japanese games use the same pool of several dozen voice actors based in California that many anime series use. I don't really mind this. I am familiar with these actors and adore the work of several of them. I do, however, know people who are tired of hearing the likes of Johnny Yong Bosch, Laura Bailey, Yuri Lowenthal, Michelle Ruff and the single most unbiquitos voice actor in the business (at least as far as dubbing anime and RPGs go) Wendee Lee in both animation and video games.


Wheels

I don't know that I'd call myself well versed or anything but I am familiar with a lot of the big names and have bought games on occasion simply because they had Nolan North, Yuri Lowenthal, and a few others.

While I don't mind if this reliance on the actors, it would be nice to hear more variety in the games localized by Atlus,  XSEED, Namco Bandai and the like. Square Enix is interesting in that they mix these Californian staples with other actors depending on the game's budget.  Even if for some reason they wanted to stick to actors familiar with anime, there's a wide pool of them located in Texas, often employeed by Funimation. I'd love to hear Chris Patton, Luci Christian, Caitlin Glass, and Greg Ayres in RPGs more often. Heck, despite the flack they get from their association with 4KIDS, there are several actors I like based here in New York like Veronica Taylor, Lisa Ortiz, Dan Green, and Jamie Mcgonnigal.


Wheels

As voice acting becomes a bigger part of games variety is certainly something that we're all going to need. It's fine to see some of the better voice actors showing up more often, but more variety wouldn't hurt. Sounds like there's many more good actors in the anime world that would fit video games just fine.

I could be wrong, but if I had to guess why they usually use Californian actors, it's because these publishers are based in California. Even so, variety would be nice, right?  For a time I noticed a few "Texan" actors were being employeed in RPGs such as Laura Bailey, Vic Mignogna, Travis Willingham, and Spike Spencer, but I have since learned that Laura and Travis now live in Los Angeles. The same might apply to the other two, though I'm not sure.


Wheels

I'm sure that's got something to do with it, given those involved in a localization are probably on site during voice recording. I'm sure there's more voice actors in California though, and being directly on site might not always be required. Then again maybe publishers have contracts with certain voice acting agencies? Sounds like a good interview question the next time we're able though.

What are your thoughts? Are you tired of these same actors for RPGs and other localized Japanese games? Perhaps you play enough other games with voice acting not to notice? Are there any actors you'd like to hear more often in RPGs, or just video games in general?

-Strawberry Eggs


Wheels

Honestly I'm really not tired of them! I could use some more Nolan North in my JRPGs since he was so great in Resonance of Fate. I can't disagree of course. Variety is a good thing and who knows what kind of talent is out there that we haven't heard yet. At the very least I'm happy to see a lot of voice actors getting the recognition they deserve.

Tales of Protagonists

Hi, Wheels. It's been a while.

I've been itching with anticipation as the new year, Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, and Tales of Xillia 2 draws ever closer. That being said, who is your favorite Tales protagonist and why? Also, who is your least favorite? Why so?

Sincerely,
Solitas


Wheels

2014 is looking like it will be a good year for Tales fans right? My favorite is absolutely Luke from Tales of the Abyss. I think he's not only a fantastically developed and entertaining character, but everything about the story does a great job playing off his whole secret back story. Of course it helps that his voice actor does a brilliant job in the English version. Perhaps it's just because it was the first game in the series to suck me in, but I've yet to have a protagonist draw me in as much as him.

As for least favorite? That would have to go to Cless (Cress?) from Tales of Phantasia. It's a bit unfair, but it really has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me just disliking that game as a whole and the way he controls. I'm glad they didn't try and remake that game for the latest anniversary (I've jinxed this and it's going to happen now isn't it?) coming up next year.
IN CLOSING

See you all next week!

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