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ASK ANDREW
Artist One Title One February 26th, 2005

Andrew Long - 0:00 EST

YET ANOTHER SNOWSTORM IS BLOWING THROUGH HERE, and I can't help but think that hockey is awfully good at distracting me from such unpleasantness. Fortunately, videogames are equally formidable in that regard, and thus it is that I have been able to while away the hours chipping away at my sizeable GBA backlog, as well as the money pile I must amass before getitng a kodo in WoW. I know this will probably be of the profoundest unexcitement to everyone, and so with that in mind, I will press on, however tempted I may be to labour through three paragraphs of rambling nonsense about WoW's in-game economy.



Ramblebox
snow again... that groundhog's days are numbered...

-AL  


L E T T E R S
Now what could possibly have given you that idea?


Hello,

As I understand it you love hockey.. and I thought I'd send you an email, since the best hockey team in the world ( now that the NHL is down ) is in fact in my town "Frölunda Indians" in Gothenburg Sweden, so just tune in your TV and get watching already.

Ooo, and I also had a question about an RPG, am I the only one who thinks that ogre tactics for the playstation is easily the best SRPG ever made?

TheIndiansFan


ANDREW


As it so happens, I've seen a couple Frolunda games on one of the local cable channels here, but regrettably, my ability to cheer for teams that are not the Maple Leafs is limited at best. Add to that the fact that Sportsnet isn't particularly choosy as to which SEL games it shows, and you can see how forming an attachment might become a little difficult.

Nevertheless, should this lockout continue into next season, I would imagine Mats Sundin will end up playing somewhere in Sweden, and since Mats is in fact teh awesome, I will probably make an effort to follow that team, whatsoever it may end up being (I've heard the name mentioned, but I can't remember it at this point.)



TBS? What do you think this is, the Atlanta Braves homepage?


Ok, i'm pretty much a TBS lover, you know, a game where you can actualy take the time to plan your moves, where you have 100% control over all the charaters in your party, and where there is no moving around in battles. I've been pretty lost lately with all the action/tactical rpgs that came out. I just suck at them, i hate feeling it's actualy my fault if the character i'm controlling misses his attack(SO3, ToS), lol. So, what rescently(lets say, in the last year or comming soon) released games do you think would fit my laziness?

-A random button-mashing hater


ANDREW

Unluckily for you, your laziness is currently out of fashion in the RPG world, which has geared itself towards speedier, more instantly gratifying battle systems than the dawdly "Wait" systems of old. You're probably best served by TRPGs, which will continue to be slow-paced and remind us all of a more leisurely time, when men were men, and lemonade came in cardboard cartons and tasted strongly of preservatives.



Scar-t 1


I have to admint, I'm not the biggest MS fan ever, but I can't blame Sakacuchi-cu for taking the bait money chance to develop for an MS console. While I kinda agree that his creatively as of late has consisted of old ramen and broken Pocky, he himself said that it will let him do things he's wanted to do for years but couldn't. Perhaps it's best to leave him for now, and either prove himself right, or when the time comes, we can laugh from our mountaintops.

It seems Mistwalker is going more with the "new" concepts more also. The DS, love it or hate it (I love it) breathes some new life into the portable arena. 2 screens and a touchscreen at that if anything at least adds some new interaction/gameplay ideas, which it has already shown. The XBox Wreckst, who knows? It's hard to point fingers and say things when you don't know the whole story. Of course, that doesn't seem to stop some people.

Once I get my taxes done, be ready, I'm going to crash your party. And I'm very good at those sorts of things. I want to go back to Mel's too, btw. :E

Love,
Scar


ANDREW

As well you should... Why, I went there just yesterday! As to Sakaguchi, I too am willing to take a wait-and-see approach; it's clear his influence within Square diminished after the early PSX titles, so perhaps things will turn out for the best if he has more leeway. Or not...But it's far too early to tell at this point, and making various references to "M$" and "OMG NO" really doesn't serve any other purpose than to make people look stupid, so I think I'll refrain from it for the time being, at least.



Glazeglazeglaze...THIS is a little on the short side? I guess this is a Xenosaga fan talking


This is going to have to be a little on the short side since I only have a few minutes before my next class, but I wanted to get on and write this while I had the opportunity.

I'm going to start this off with story.
ANDREW

No, no you're not. I don't know how you think what you wrote was short, but if you're looking to review Xenosaga II, submit it to Points of View; they could use some fresh content. We try and keep the letters here to a reasonably short length, because for some reason, my column seems to attract people with a short attention span. I wonder how that could have come about...Oooh! A dog! With a puffy tail! Heeheheehehehee!

What are the thoughts of the RPGamer.com staff? Are you all enjoying this game as much as the first or do you find it lacking in a few too many areas? I loved XenoGears and XenoSaga. I've played XenoGears more times than I have fingers, but I've found that there's a lot in this new game that grates on me.

That's about all. I eagerly await your comments

-Eli


ANDREW

Google seems to be enjoying XSII so far, and if what his columns during the week are any indication, it sounds as though some elements of the sequel are improvements over the original. Of course, that's like saying that a heart attack is an improvement over rectal cancer, so in the end, I'm still boycotting the whole lot.



Multipartmobob


Hey there Cast

First off a question: Whould you mind if my girlfriend made your comment to my Fullmetal Alchemist question into a comic, she thought it was hillarious so yeah, and if you are infact going to allow her to use you're infamous line in the comic then uh can you describe yourself so she can scribble you into the comic?
ANDREW

I have no idea which comment you're talking about, but assuming I did actually make it and can therefore magnaminously authorize its cartoonification because I'm so super great, go crazy! Just make sure you send me a copy if it turns out to your liking.

And another question: Is it true the reason aside from censoring that Sakaguchi stopped producing stuff for Nintendo is because they used 3D models of Locke, Celes and Shadow to show what the N64 could do with getting Square's ok on it, I remember reading that on some message board awhile back and wanted to assure it was in fact true
ANDREW

Oh, dear... Never, ever ever believe anything you hear on a message board. They lie like dirty liars. Square ditched out on Nintendo simply because cartridge media was woefully insufficient for what they had in mind for Final Fantasy VII, and to release it on anything but a CD would have drastically altered the game, presumably to its detriment. Had the scenario you've described actually occurred, I would assume Square would have taken the Big N to court, because that's rights infringement (after all, Squaresoft published FFIII, not Nintendo, so Yamauchi and co. really didn't have any claim to those characters, unless there's some arcane clause under SNES licensing agreements that I'm not aware of, which wouldn't really surprise me given Nintendo's ferociously litigious history.)

Now a desent into rambling:

A raincoat huh... I always thought it was a haz-mat suit cause magicite is green and glowing and might be radioactive... though does Cid really count cause you never control him and he serves no real purpose in the game aside from keeping Celes alive from the time Kefka messes up most of the world til she wakes up and stops him and stuff
ANDREW

"Raincoat" is a nicer word than the more commonly applied term, "Overinflated condom." I do it for the children, because in this crazy mixed-up world, somebody has to think about the children. WON'T YOU PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!?!?

Also I don't have an Ether usage problem, I generally horde every item I find and never sell anything, so therefore i rarely use magic and take naps at inns, that guy that wrote 1337 about FF13 was obvisously hopped up on Ethers though

And so this will be on topic, Sakaguchi transferring over to Microsoft might get me to by the Xbox 2/Whatever it will be called, though I hope he doesn't cancel both the projects the moment I buy the over grown peice of ----... even then I'll have to hope the games don't suck... then again I was tricked into buying a Dreamcast by the same strategy... so I'm a sucker for the something I might like might be on this new system which might suck scam

Arros Raikou
The longwinded rambling bastard


ANDREW

Ooh.. Buying a system for a game before that game arrives? Not the brightest move you could conceive of, my friend, although I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if Microsoft is being this aggressive in landing developers, there'll probably be any number of reasons to go green next time around.



A crystal-ball caterwauler


As long as RPG's are big in Japan, Sony will never be "on its way out" as you said. The dropping of RPG's for "online play and sports titles" on the Xbox may cause the US to enter a dark time like the early 90's, where only 1 or 2 RPG's came over from Japan, but Japan will always have their RPG's on their system. Until Nintendo changes its attitude on 3rd party developers on their console, Sony will be Japan's RPG game system. They loosened up for the GBA, they could stand to bring in some talent if they loosen up on their consoles.
ANDREW

I'm impressed that you can reach into the future and determine these results without really giving any reason why. It's certainly reasonable to assume that Japanese companies would be more comfortable supporting another Japanese company, but as Microsoft has demonstrated with Sakaguchi, even xenophobia can be overcome if the price is right. I wasn't really suggesting that Sony would fall apart overnight, but I don't see its domination of the console market extending as far as it did in this particular generation for the simple fact that RPGs are increasingly moving online and Xbox has a much better online architecture, at least in this generation. Could this change? Certainly, but the way I see it, Sony has grown fairly complacent because nothing has really come along to challenge its position in the past ten years or so, not unlike Nintendo's situation at the end of the 16-bit era. Did you really foresee the PSX coming along to steal all the RPGs from Nintendo? I know I didn't, although admittedly when I was 13, I was a little less conversant in these issues.

At any rate, I think you're right when you say Nintendo won't really pose an RPG threat, at least not as it is currently configured, but it too is showing signs of finally accepting the change that is in the air. Traditional RPGs, while still relatively proliferative, will face a challenge in the next few years because graphical limitations will mean that gameplay will once again become the focus, and at this point, a lot of people seem to be preferring the connectivity that online RPGs brings.

Either way, we're both clutching at straws. We won't know much of anything until E3, and unless Microsoft continues buying up developers, this may just be idle speculation. I still don't think you should be so quick to assume that Sony will maintain its position, though.

As for Sakaguchi moving to Xbox, I have 2 things to say. First off, the last game he had an active hand in was the abomination called FF8, and the even bigger abomination called "Spirits Within". Second; if it sells well on Xbox, there is bound to be a PC version available soon. That's the whole reason I never got an Xbox. I have a perfectly good PC to play those games on.

ANDREW

Really? There's a lot of crossover, undeniably, but that's among North American developers, many of whom are geared towards PC development. Even then, a title such as Fable, which has been the most hyped Xbox RPG to date save possibly for KotOR(or its sequel) is strictly Xbox, so I don't know if that particular theory will continue to hold water either, though it's certainly sensible from a business standpoint, I suppose.



Music Tutorial 101


Just a note concerning the message regarding the Xenosaga engine being slow, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra...

The performance of the orchestra does not hinder the engine's performance. Most of Xenosaga was composed using gigasamples (the Miroslav library, Symphony of Voices, and Garritan Orchestral Strings) -- therefore, it had to be recorded into audio anyway and looped in Redbook.

So, once samples are in an audio format (whether it be from orchestra or synthesized orchestra like that of Gigastudio) performance is not hindered due to the performance method. The Playstation 2 is simply streaming a stereo pair audio stream. The ONLY way performance would be hindered would be if stems of the orchestra were streamed (stereo pair for trumpets, strings, percussion, harp, etc)... and this wouldn't make any sense and there is no reason for it.

So, whether it's orchestra or synth, the speed will be exactly the same.

--Chad Seiter


ANDREW

I guess I should know better than to make smartass comments by now, but even after a year and a half, I still trip over my own fondness for excessive cleverness every so often. I stand corrected, apologize for sowing confusion about the musical capabilities of the PS2, and promise NEVER to use sarcasm, irony, or any form of non-earnest statement again, because that makes for such highly entertaining reading. The PS2 is in fact a tremendous machine, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra our monkey masters. FEAR THEIR POWERS!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

And that's the end of that chapter!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Max Power is dynamic, in-your-face, and a youthful go-getter!


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