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ASK ANDREW
Dos Anos, Mis Amigos! August 12, 2005

Andrew Long - 1:51 EST

YOWZA. Well, I don't usually let my natural laziness get the better of me to the degree that it did this weekend, but I am heartily sorry for skipping out on you, for that's pretty much all I can call it. On the upside, next week should be the last one in which we parade guest hosts before you for your general edification, for the application period ended t-minus 2 hours ago.

In any event, I am back, and with me I bring an impressive backlog of letters my compatriots have allowed to pile up. For shame, compatriots... Don't you know you're supposed to pick up the slack for me when I turn into a sack of crap?

No? FINE. Well, maybe I'll just answer them all then. It is, after all, the second anniversary of my ganking of this column, so I suppose some sort of something or other is in order.




L E T T E R S
These aren't the droids you're looking for


Hey,

Well I am an avid reader of your column, keep up the good work. I have recently taken up a suggestion you have given to a number of people; Play the Wild ARMs series. I just bought 1 and 2 and have to say I am in love with the 1st installment. Thanks are deserved.

Now for my question: Alter Code F is a re-make of the original Wild ARMs. This is the first time in gaming history (that I know of) that an RPG is re-made. In what way do you feel this may affect RPGs? What games, in your opinion, might possibly recieve a re-make?

God Speed,
Jamey

PS: I watched the intro to Alter Code F and found myself liking the original Wild ARMs intro better. What about you?


ANDREW


As I most certainly did not make that recommendation and would never do so if given the opportunity, please allow Heath to answer this question, as I am allergic to undeserved thankses.
HEATH


Dear Jamey,

No son, I'M the guy that always tells people that. If you're gonna say someone always suggests a certain thing, at least make sure you're saying that to the right guy. Now go play some Wild Arms games.
P.S. I hate you.

ANDREW


Forceful words. Forceful, baffling words.


Return of the JoJo


Hey I'm JoJo, have there been any recent details announced about a new release in the Chrono series? Also, what do you think the chances are of Final Fantasy:Advent Children being released in theatres? thanx!

ANDREW

None and none! Seriously, though, if FF:AC was going to show up in theatres, you'd be seeing advance promotions for it. Given the miserable critical reception the last FF movie received, I think Square Enix is wise to try out this particular vehicle in straight-to-DVD fashion. Then if it turns out to be successful, the company can contemplate a return to the silver screen. You have to think about it from Square's perspective; prior to FF:tSW, everything it touched turned to gold. FF:tSW, however, tanked miserably, ruined the Hawaii development house, sank Square into a cesspool of red ink from which it would only emerge with the help of a merger and instigated a massive corporate bloodletting. With that kind of thing in your not-too-distant past, would you be terribly keen on trying out the fickle North American public again? Straight-to-DVD is much lower-risk, and should ensure a more positive reception, simply because it will not garner the mainstream attention that would likely slam AC were it set for wider release.



Where in the World is Googleshng?


Carmen Sandiego jokes aside, I was wondering what happened to Googleshng and the 64 thousand Zenny question. Is he coming back. From his web site last updated on 7/31/05 and past updates and a mention of it in one of his last columns some construction was happening to his house. So that a possibility, but another thing I've noticed is that on the staff page he is not listed. So has he left the site all together or what? I'm sorry if you or another fill in Q&A host have covered this topic but since he left I haven't even come close to reading every day like I use to. Just doesn't seem to hold my interest. Anyways an update on whats happening would be very cool thanks much in advance.

B_Zero


ANDREW

Yes, we've parted ways. A new host will be showing up, hopefully by the next Q&A cycle. Hmm. I guess if you haven't been reading daily, this might miss you, but then again, there's a good reason for not reading daily of late, given that we've had all of one column posted since the fourth. Yes, I am a bad, bad man. In any event, stick around, I don't bite once the flavour wears off <3



And that's when he realized he wasn't wearing any pants


Hello wonderul folks of RPGamer.

I was wondering... Is it just me, or is "Square" really getting off the original theme that kept their fans loving Final Fantasy? I mean... Taking a great series like Final Fantasy and making it more a MMORPG doesn't seem all that wise.
ANDREW

"More?" Umm, by definition anything involving a modem is more, and they broke even on that particular venture a long time ago, suggesting to me that in fact, it was a wise idea, at least as far as Square's bottom line is concerned (and beyond that, the sheer number of FFXI discussions that plague RPGamer's IRC chatrooms are evidence to me that there is a fairly devoted following to FFXI, however mindnumbingly sluggish its level grind might be).

FFT was a great game, but I personal despised what they did to FFT Advance.
ANDREW

Amen, brotha. FFTA doesn't hold a candle to FFT, and the number one reason is story, story, story. I really could care less about a whiny pack of eight-year-olds, and the believability factor was just a tick shy of "I throw you in the ocean now, you stupid game". Moreover, the item system was a poor replacement for the solid, simple JP that was abandoned for no apparent reason, and there is nothing I hate more than holding onto a zillion items just so I can teach new characters spells. In the end, the game rises to mediocrity, but it's a poor excuse for a sequel.

Though I loved almost every Final Fantasy, I've really been seeing the decline in their real playability. FFX was, for better or worse, way below their average.
ANDREW

I disagree, but continue...

And making a sequal to it with little to no actual use, besides three women in skimpy outfits changing while IN battle.
ANDREW

...that's more like it, keep going.

FFXI, though a little more like the originals, pretty much looks like a glorified EverQuest. From what I've seen, FFXII is pretty much a 3D FFT Advance... An offline game that looks like a MMORPG... Do they care about Final Fantasy anymore? Is Fullmetal Alchemist their new whore? Are the only FF's to look forward to the FFVII add-ons? Will Bahamut even BE a dragon in the future, or w ill he transform into a pour soul that lost to Alexander that drinks too much and can't pay alamony? Will Summoners ever retake their position of great and fear inspiring power from Yuna? And most importantly, will FF ever be FF again, with the Crystals shedding their light silently? I miss the pretty Crystals...

Thank you for whatever answers you might have.
Zeikfried


ANDREW

Dude, do you really want them to make another half-assed attempt at bringing crystals back? They tried that crap in FFIX and look what it got us - a flimsy item system and little to no relation to the actual crystals that grounded the series in its heritage. That said, I don't really care one way or another about crystals, to be honest; they were an interesting plot device at first, but they only ever really showed up in three FFs, and those three did a pretty good job of exhausting the narrative possibilities inherent in their use.

So in the end, my advice to you is to stop living in the past, appreciate games for their gameplay and not silly connections to nostalgia, and hope that Square Enix doesn't make a complete botch of FFXII, however madly all signs seem to be pointing to such at the moment (by which I do not mean to suggest it will be bad; it's just that the litany of development issues that have leaked out over the past year or two has been enough to convince me there's trouble a'brewin', and I can only hope that trouble doesn't carry over into the game).



I only wish I did...


Yeah I havent played a rpg in years and when I heard that there was gonna be a new Secrect Of Mana Title I got curious, but was dissapointed about the previous Legend of Mana. So do you have any inside information on all this, gonna be good? bad? Thoughts? Opinions?

ANDREW

As the leading authority on the goodness and badness of things that I have never seen, I can assure you with minimal authority that World of Mana will, in fact, roxxor your boxors. On a whim, I will declare WoM to be nothing like LoM, but I'm afraid it's splitsville for Delta Burke and Major Dad!



Holy noveletter Batman!


Greetings Q&A Host(s),

Wow, been a couple of years since I did this, I wonder if I remember how to be a raving fan boy, obscure gamer, and/or baed spealer.

Or, just realize that we all (well, most) grow up someday and get to the point.

I just want to offer a little tidbit of knowledge; and I might be wrong, so help me out if I am. Yesterday (or, later depending on my time diff with the majority of you all) the host talked briefly about release dates and how EB's and Gameflop's are wrong on their sites. I used to work at an EBGames a while back and yes, their website is jacked up. The host mentioned something about how you shouldn't trust release dates till the company posts it or makes a press release or whatever. Anyways, back in the day at EB we would (or were supposed to, we usually got around to it) print out a release date schedule for everything the company sold in the store (yes, everything) and those sheets of paper were placed inside a little black binder on the countertop with large print on it.

That booklet was never wrong.

This is my understanding of asking the regional manager about the release dates: (here's where I probably need to be corrected, and I'm sure this subject has been brought up many times before in Q&A) The publishers do press releases on their games for release dates and all that, but not every update to the releases are so publicized, and the dates on the printout (which comes directly from corporate) will fluctuate without IGN or Gamespot doing a newsflash on it because the dates are directly from the publishers which coordinate with the shipping companies to get things done. The publishers worry about getting everything squared away with their retailers and vendors first, the public second.

Now, of course we all know that the publishers want us all to know when the game comes out, right? Well, it doesn't matter how long a game has left for a fatal glitch to be found, or a unforeseen shipping problem to affect the date, and if the game isn't a widely publicized game, then why waste the time telling everyone it's going to be a few days late? Most people will figure it out when they walk in the store and the games not there, then they'll ask where it is and the clerk will say it got pushed back a few days because of shipping problems.

Or, at least that's how it worked when I was there. We were kept well-informed of what was going on with the merchandise.

End state: Websites have to ask, or find by looking at other websites that are told about release dates. Retailers are told when something changes or when a game gets a release date.

Oh, retailer websites just are not updated that well.

I expect contradictions, additions, and... sigh... flames (gameflop, heh... no, seriously, we egged their store). This is a subject I'm interested in and I believe that all consumers should understand. I assume that at least one of the RPGamer staff works at EBGames or Gameflop and could shed some light on to the matter. It'd be great if we could get a publisher to comment on it, but that's probably not going to happen.

I miss EBGames, I'm currently on tour in Korea, so I get my ass kicked by eight-year-olds... sigh. Seriously, eight-year-olds will kick your ass at any online game; ANY.

I used spell check (f grammar),
-Scull Lead-


ANDREW

Indeed, Paws works at EB, and I have found her access to that little black book to be exceedingly useful at times. That said, I continue to stand by my statement that unless an exact date is publicized it should not be trusted, since that doesn't really have any bearing on anything you've said. From what I understand of what you've said, these dates are printed out regularly and fluctuate, which seems reasonable given how often release dates tend to do just that. And we seem to agree that EB's website is a giant clusterfunk of bad information, so yeah. Carry on, Scull Lead. Carry on. Also, thanks for proofing your letter; believe it or not, I do appreciate not having to puzzle out the meaning of words spelled with numbers.





q u i c k i e s

I have Harvest Moon! It's my life's goal to raise an army of chickens.
I didn't get very far, though, because I got Dark Cloud 2 the same day I got Harvest Moon.

ANDREW:Thanks for sharing, Carabbit. I also have Harvest Moon, or I will as soon as I drag my sorry ass down to the post office.

I was looking at all the code age commanders info there is, and it doesn't say that its coming to europe or not! Do you know whether it is or not? I'm going through an RPG drout at the moment!
Cheers,
Stef

ANDREW:I think your drought will likely continue if you don't look to non-Code Age sources; the game isn't even scheduled for release domestically or in North America until some time next year, and as that release date remains thusly nebulous, I wouldn't be surprised if that manages to slide into '07, at least in North America. As such, a European release date is somewhat questionable.

im jus wondering if there will ever be a breath of fire 6 game

ANDREW:I'm just wondering, where exactly is this magical storehouse of information people think I have access to, because if I'm supposed to then I'd really like to bust in and find the answers to all these burning questions. Then I will charge money for these sort of things.

To whoever's doing the QnA this time:

In yesterday's QnA (the 10th, that is), brooke asked where Chocobos are from. Yes, they are from Final Fantasy, but they were based off of the packbirds (i forget their name) from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
And since it's a letter to QnA, might as well add a question. What are the odds of the PS2 version of Tales of Symphonia being ported over to the US?

Jya,
-desolo

ANDREW:I would love to be polite and pretend this is news to me, but the fact is I've had a link to Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind up in that sidebar under "Mommy, Where do Chocobos Come From?" for over a year, so instead I'll just deplore the miserable failure of you, my beloved readers, to pay attention to the various crap I sprinkle around the page for fun and profit. FOR SHAME!

As for those odds you mentioned, not great; if the port had been coming, I would think it would have done so already, and so I lament to inform you that you'll just have to suck up your dignity and buy a GameCube if you want to play it. Look at the bright side - the GameCube is produced by a company that isn't dedicated to ruining gaming as we know it, and you can get Metroid Prime + 2 as an added bonus!



C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

So anyway, I'll be doing an extended series of columns until we have a new host in place, so you're stuck with me for the nonce. AHAHAHAHA! That's right, I used the word nonce! What are YOU gonna do about it? Write letters, I hope...

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long has an itchy eye.


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