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Hey everybody, Drew Cosner here to answer all your questions on this fine, fine day. Just like my thought process, today's column has no real rhyme or reason to it and swings from one completely unrelated topic to the next. Think of it as a rollercoaster ride. Or just think of it as me being some scatter-brained blockhead who's attention span is too short to keep track of a single theme, your choice :D

And now for something completely different: Your letters.

Who's the Cork in the Bottle?

Hey there. Quick question: Why does it take companies (e.g. Square) many months to localize / port games from Japan to the US? It can't just be the translation, since there is a guy that's already translated most if not all of FFVIII from Japanese to English (and the game has only been out a short while?

-Mentat

Drew: You know, that's actually a darn good question. On one hand, I can give you several reasons. First of all, there's the translation time. Translating between two languages with completely different structure isn't the easiest thing in the world. Then there's localization tasks, like removing things Westerners wouldn't appreciate or understand, or changing them around a little, etc. And time also goes into removing little bugs that may have snuck into the Japanese version of the game. finally, there's also the task of creating an effective marketing campaign for the game in time for it's North American launch. Now, all that's fine and good, but in the case of Square, I can easily shoot down most of those reasons. First of all, as you said, if they would just get one translator with a decent grasp of the english language, there's no way it should take several months. And lately the Final Fantasies have been getting more westernized anyway, so I doubt there would be all that many scenes we wouldn't understand. And as for the marketing and localization, now that Square has a partnership with Electronic Arts, EA is more than fit for the task of creating buzz and good advertisements for a North American audience. So, I guess I'll just have to stick with a "I'm sure there's other complications and factors we're unaware of".

Where Have all the Editorials Gone?

What's with the editorial guy? He's head of personnel AND editorials -- yet he's neither able to respond to personnel commentary stuff, or post editorials on time?

-Hoenir Aesir

PS - Yeah, errrrrrrr, this doesn't need a circle of sages response thing, I'm just curious. I like writing editorials, but it's pointless when they get posted once a month...

Drew: Yeah, I can understand your feelings, but rest assured that it's not a matter of slacking off or not caring. Alex has been helping out a lot behind the scenes with the deluge of Final Fantasy VIII media, including those movies you all know and love (judging by the massive number of downloads). Once things calm down a little the editorials section will pick right back up.

Giving the Game Character (Hehe... Bad Puns Rock)

I've been watching this Amano/Nomura character design debate, and its made me wonder about something. Now, personally, I agree with the Wandering Gambler. I think Amano's Goth/Victorian art is wicked cool. I like Nomura, but not as much. However, my question is, what EXACTLY does a character designer do? Do they just design the character's appearance, or do they work on their personality too? Because if they just do the appearance, then Amano is FAR superior. But if they do the personality and characterization too, then its a lot closer of a call. Because despite what everyone says about Tifa's appearance, I think shes a more interesting and human character than Aeris, and she reminds me of myself in a lot of ways. But Aeris is a great character too, and so are most of the characters. I just don't like their appearance. So, please Sages, please tell me what a character designer does.

- Abby, the RPGurl from Boston

Drew: This actually differs depending on the game, the people involved, etc. As far as Nomura's work on the Final Fantasies is concerned, I'd say that he designs the character's looks and even some of the personality traits, coinciding with the character's role in the game as the story is created. As for the whole Nomura verses Amano thing, here's my two cents: Amano's art is very cool and full of personality and works great for sketches and the like. That's all fine and good for a two dimensional game, but when dealing with the tricky thrid dimension, Nomura's more solid and defined designs are more fitting. This is perfectly exemplified by the FMV in the Final Fantasy collection. When trying to make 3D models of Amano's characters, it just doesn't look quite right, which has some fans upset even though Square is trying its best to recreate Amano's characters in 3D.

RPGamer Lessons in Geometry

Since you only have two at a time now... maybe you can have a line segment of sages?

-webrunner

Drew: Heh, well seeing as usually one person answers at a time, it should probably be called the "Point of Sages" :)

Sweat the Details

Short mandatory greeting: Hewwo, whoever's readin' this!

One little tiny correction 'bout your Barty and Siggy statement, the li'l portraits that show up when they speak DO, in fact, take into account the patch, and they consistently show it on Bart's left eye, and I'm pretty sure they do the same for Sig's right. However, I'm always spening more time paying attention to his midriff, so I never really noticed. They may have slipped up in a few instances, but a friend of mine taped practically every plot point, and checked up on this a few months ago when we noticed so much fan art had Bart's patch on the wrong eye.

I personally think it's reminiscent of Sephy's one wing, which is constantly put on the wrong side in fan art to the point where I can't remember which one is the right side anyway.

Heh, sorry for babbling. I just wanted to feel all smart and stuff for once in my life.

Oh, and there's FINALLY a yaoi story on RPGamer, this must be a first and I, for one, am really really glad to see it. REALLY glad. Heh. Thanks for reading!

- Leareth: AGFF Demented Yaoi Freak

Drew: Well, there you have it. Square did in fact pay attention to detail enough to keep the patch on the correct side. As for your friend that taped every plot point, well, I might reccomend you get him some professional help... ;)

Grow out of Games? Sure, and While I'm at it I'll Give up This Pesky Breathing, Too.

Hihi,

I was just wondering... I don't know the age of everyone on RPGamer, but everyone seems young enough to have grown up with video games and whatnot. My parents "grew out" of games, as they say, when they were out of high school. I was just wondering if you guy think you'd "grow out" of playing games, or if it will be part of your life. Do you see yourselves playing Final Fantasy 2 in your old age just to remember "back in the day?" I guess the real question is, how much has gaming affected your life?

-Ragnarok

Drew: Okay. This letter seems innocent enough, but conjouring up an answer to it has revealed something scary about my life: Pretty much everything I do revolves in some way or another around videogames. I have a car so I can drive to work. I work so I can afford games. My best friend and another good friend of mine both love to play games. I take part in the work at RPGamer, which is a site devoted to games. Yow.

Thoughtlets

Morrigan wants to know where all these gunblades have been appearing if gunblades are so "cliche".... Beats me.

Jared wonders if Nobuo did the music for Final Fantasy 8. You betcha. I hear it's pretty darn good, too.

Yin questions why enemies in RPG's disappear in creative ways upon their defeat instead of flopping over dead. Because all those mangled carcasses lying on the ground would block your view of the summons :D

The general concensus is that Irate Old-School Gamer needs to keep his big mouth shut. Hey, the readers said it, not me :D


Drew Stuff

Well, Thor's taking a little Break from his column next week, so I'll be filling in for him. I think we'll have a good time, and I look forward to reading your letters.

And now for some of my personal thoughts. First off, I'd like to muse over the "old-school gamer" thing. I've been playing games since Nintendo first came out. I still play Mario 3 as much as I play Xenogears. What I don't get are people who seem to feel that any new game is inherintly the work of the Devil and anyone playing it is a Satanic Graphics Tart. Sure, there are a lot of games coming out that suck. But don't try telling me that there weren't a lot of "old-school" games that sucked as well. Does the word "E.T." mean anything to you? I'm definitely into all games old and new. I'm imfamous for loving "dead" systems. Games are games, old and new, open your mind and enjoy the gaming Utopia. Swing your doors of perception wide open. Um, no, I'm not talking about huffing paint. Anyways, I'm slowly working my way through Xenogears despite the fact that, well, I'm not getting into it very much. (My ass is sooo flamed for that comment) I say slowly since Mario 3 and Bonk's Revenge keep calling to me everytime I have a few minutes of freetime :)

Anywho, send your letters to me for now or pay the ultimate price: A column filled with nothing but letters that I make up myself :D

- Drew Cosner

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