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ASK MATT
Gruesome Prospect March 21, 2006

Matt Demers - 03:15 EST

IF I LEARN ONE THING IN THIS LIFETIME, I'd love to know exactly why showers are never built to be a hot water priority in any house. Yes, I realize that washing machines use it too, but for heaven's sakes, there is nothing more annoying than standing half asleep under a wond'rous steamy blast of hot water only to have it suddenly change into a dreadfully cold lashing of freezing icy needles within a split second. At the very least, there should be some sort of warning beep; some prior indication that the water's temperature is about to change for the worse within the next few seconds, so that you can hurriedly grab the nozzle and aim it away from your poor self in order to avert a terrible catastrophe. Alas, nay, I can only dream.

Hey, though; there's a great patent-idea, for any wannabe inventors who happen to be reading out there. Who knew that reading RPGamer's Q&A could potentially make you a millionaire?




L E T T E R S
Timeless classics other than classic timepieces


Hey Matt,

A while back you cited FF7 as being the most influential game on the RPG genre. I agree with you, as I think most people would. Now, whether or not FF7 should be the most influential RPG is another matter, but it can't be denied that it's a great game. Cliche as it may sound, I have to admit that it's probably my favorite RPG of all time. (Or it's somewhere near the top of the list). The appeal of the game is so long-lasting that it has spawned a movie, three games more games, and most of all, the prospect of a full-fledged remake.

Matt

Indeed. It's not a clichť, either... I've discussed with many people lately that it's become a very popular pastime in recent days to have a negative opinion of Square Enix, Final Fantasy, and its seventh installment. In some ways, people who have always been huge fans of FFVII have quieted down because publicly liking the game seems to often lead to accusations of "fanboyism" or "fangirlism". There's no denying, though, that Final Fantasy VII is a really great game. It had to have been, to be nearly so successful at putting RPGs on the map.

Now, I don't think that there's anything wrong with the sequels and prequels. I loved Advent children, and I can't wait for Dirge of Cerberus. However, the prospect of a remake doesn't sit too well with me. So that's my question for you today, is what are your thoughts on a remake of FF7? Okay, technically it isn't confirmed, but with all this FF7 craze floating around, how long do think it will be before it's official?

Matt

The babble surrounding a Final Fantasy VII remake is certainly just speculation at this point in the game. I wouldn't be surprised at all, though, if something were to be announced around the time of the launch of the PS3. I somehow doubt that Square Enix will unveil it at E3 this year, because they're going to want the media swarm to focus on their next big North American entry: The FFXII giant. I could, of course, be wrong.

Do I like the idea or not? Well, I'll answer this in a second, after you speak your piece on the matter. Some longtime readers might know my opinion already...

Here are my thoughts. At first, I was wildly excited at the thought of seeing Cloud & friends rendered on the PS3. But then I stopped to consider a few things. We all remember the tech demo of FF7 on the PS3 that they showed at E3 2k5. (BTW, three abbreviations in one sentence has to set some sort of record). Anyways, GameSpot gave that little demo it's own page where people could download the movie and read about it, and they classified it under "RPG". Well, that page immediately became the #1 most looked-at RPG page on GameSpot, and remained that way for weeks. (I was there every day, believe me I know.) And for almost a year now, the question of the day has been "When's the game coming out?" Is it just me, or does that say something odd? An unconfirmed remake of a 10 year old game on a non-existant system claiming the #1 spot?

Matt

To me, it just says that no matter what some people might think, Final Fantasy VII is still the most popular RPG that has ever been released to date. Either that, or people are just in-SANE these days... both are viable possibilities, for sure.

Is Square Enix stuck in 1997? A few sequels and prequels for the massive FF7 fanbase is okay, but a full-fledged remake is going too far. Are they unsure of themselves? Are they just out of ideas? Why aren't they focusing on trying to better themselves with new Final Fantasies instead of falling back on the safe house of FF7? I, for one, would much rather see a FF13 than a FF7 remake.

Matt

Well, that's an easy question! Square Enix is a company, and now that they've finally experienced smashing success, they're simply seeking to make as much of a profit margin as they can. I'm sure that if Final Fantasy VI had experienced the same degree of overwhelming sales, we'd be seeing the same thing happen with that game.

I personally think that it's a shame that any of these games have been "tampered with". Final Fantasy games were always masterpieces from start to finish, and games like Final Fantasy X and VII left you at the "The End" screen with a feeling of satisfaction and an element of wonderment, almost. Sticking in sequels, prequels, and spinoffs everywhere does absolutely nothing for the original plot, "prostituting" the original game, in a sense. While games like these can be fun, they just don't cut it. I want new stories, new characters, new ideas, new areas, and new masterpieces to enjoy! I actually have less problem with remakes than I do with spin-offs for that very reason. At least remakes tend to preserve the essence of the original games. IF they remake FFVII, they had better leave well enough alone, when it comes to the gameplay; specifically, I speak of the incredible battle and Materia systems.

Regardless of our views of remakes versus spinoffs, I agree with you 100%: Final Fantasy XIII is what I'd love to see Square Enix concentrate on in the near future rather than all of this other business. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that it'll be awhile before we hear anything on the subject.

Lastly, isn't a remake of a game like FF7 somewhat blasphemous? Maybe this is just me, but I think Square trying to remake FF7 would be like Francis Ford Coppola remaking The Godfather. FF7 is a TIMELESS classic, and I don't think it needs to be remade, ever. I mean, what would they do with it anyways besides update the graphics? Are they going to try and improve the story? Or the gameplay? No; when they say "remake" they basically mean that they want to go on a PS3 graphics-trip with FF7.

Maybe I'm alone in my opinions, I dunno. But I think I have some valid points here.
Keep up the good work,
Oliver.


Matt

Certainly you have some valid points, and I think that several people feel the same way that you do. I think, though, that games aren't comparable to movies in some ways. Movies haven't really improved technically over the years in areas like graphics and sound, and options like large-scale voice acting in video games have only recently become available. I know several people who already won't consider playing FFVII because of its "terrible" graphics. While that's a shame, and they should be punished for their lack of open-mindedness, perhaps they'd be inclined to experience the game with a remade version. I'm sure that Square Enix would be rather happy about it as well.

Thanks for writing into Q&A, Oliver! A great FFVII discussion is now underway.



OMG KINGDOM HEARTS MOVIEE


Are there making a kingdom hearts movie and where i could listen to all of the kingdom hearts songs without listening to samples of them.


Matt

Ah, I have the perfect solution for you: Play the game, since it comes out in just a few days. If you're hoping for me to provide you with a link to a website hosting free MP3s of questionable legality, you're unhappily out of luck.

Also, I can't find anything concrete out on that amazing information superhighway pertaining to a Kingdom Hearts movie. Yes, there are a few excited musings rustling about on a few forums out there, but beyond that, I really think that if anything official had been announced, there would be a lot more excitement about it. Sorry to burst your bubble, if you don't like it when your bubbles burst!



Trivia Time!


Okay, since everybody's talking about FF stuff again, I thought I'd engage your brain with some mind-bending questions that are all FF related!

Matt

Ah, Blade. An old friend... it has been a few months, hasn't it? What do you have for us today?

1. Every Final Fantasy contains a Prelude Theme, but in which Final Fantasy was the theme put to use in the game's quest and what was it used for?

Matt

I'd guess Final Fantasy III, just before you obtain jobs from crystals. It's been a long time, though, so barring that, I'd say it serves as the Crystal rooms' theme for FFIV.

2. Yoshitaka Amano did some amazing concept art for the Final Fantasy games, particularly the monsters, however, what monster did he draw for a specific Final Fantasy that was not put in the game until later installments?

Matt

Random guess: Pugs/Tonberry, since they're FF regulars now that didn't exist back in the day. Oh, the day~

3. In Final Fantasy X, Kimahri's Celestial Weapon, Spirit Lance, had an alternate name in the Japanese release, what was it called?

Matt

Bah, "Lion's Lightning". I have absolutely no idea.

4. In Final Fantasy VI, Terra's father Maduin, appeared in a later installment of Final Fantasy, what was it and where did he appear?

Matt

Could it be Eiko's moogle friend, the great summon named Madeen, perhaps through a different translation? Other than that, I have nothing to say on the matter.

5. What's the name of the Moogle you encounter in FFIX that gives you rare and useful items if you financially contribute to his travel expenses?

Matt

Add "Rumple" to his name, and I might just have to steal your first-born son.

6. Red chocobos cross mountains, Blue chocobos cross oceans, Gold chocobos can fly long distances, what can White chocobos do?

Matt

Run around Chocobo forests happily until you press A, whereupon the screen will flash about four times in a bright, brilliant white radiance. Once that happens, the power of the White Chocobo is surely made known, as the MP of the party is restored to its very maximum!

8. Sabotenders are sometimes found in the desert regions, and often drop luck or speed related items, what is this monster also known as?

Matt

Based on the luck and speed bit, I'd guess Cactrots/Cactuars. I can't, though, for the life of me, remember any Final Fantasy in which they're named as such, so I'm guessing I'm wrong. Where on earth, by the way, did #7 go?

9. What culture is said to have invented the first airships?


Matt

Ye olde one in Final Fantasy I, I suspect you're talking about? I can't remember the name of those people, but I do remember the ones from Final Fantasy V, and I think they also invented airships, except in that game's world. The Lonka, they were called, if I'm not mistaken.

10. According to Final Fantasy II, what is the name of the first historically known Dragoon?

Cheers,
~Blade


Matt

Damn... it's been too long since I've played through my copy of Final Fantasy Origins, but I can almost picture it in my mind. I'd cheaply look online to find the answers to this and all of the other ones I'm stumped on, but that seems cheap and dishonest; I don't want to make it look like I'm some infallible god of roleplaying memory, after all. Does anybody else have anything to say on these questionies?



What a dream: Matt Demers, Teen Hero!


Hey Matt,

Whats your take on the constant appearance of male youths, aged 14-19, taking the stage in god knows how many RPGs? Its really started to tick me off. After playing Digital Devil Saga and Persona, I hate going to a game with real cheese for dialogue.

I'm talking cheese as in "friendship" saving the day by some miracle, or the main characters talking about growing up and their destinies. And, although I loved the game, Wild ARMs 4's struggles between being a child and an adult. I dont mind the morals, but the cheese becomes boring and embarassing, as well as unrealistic.

Matt

Yes, sometimes the messages or underlying messages of a game can become a little overly sappy at times. Cheese is often difficult to avoid, I think, and requires an RPG to be constructed with much hard-to-find grace. Anyway, continue.

Earlier I pointed out the Persona series, they had more muture, and more interesting dialogue, they talked like actual people. They would cuss whent hey were hurt, and mention a party happening later in the evening. Yeah, I realise its just a game, and a hero should be a tad idealized, but I hate having 16 year old heroes voice and yell out their convictions to "see the bright future" alongside their soft-voiced heroine. The mickey mouse dialogue paired with a young teenage hero is too formula lately, boring and predictable (in terms of what they're fighting for and all that BS).

Matt

Well, I'd say that often times, we see the similar personality stamped on different character designs and put into different games along with different storylines. There are an uncountable number of games with an optimistic hero featuring lots of ambition, zero brains of his own (and I say his, since the current typical hero DOES have testicles), the random ability to swing a sword with ease, and the desire to help absolutely anyone out with any problem, no matter how trivial.

For me, heroes like Squall and Shion are a refreshing change of pace, and they are a good example of why "idealized" heroes are not a requirement in any RPG.

I understand it would also be wise to keep a wide demographic, so Final Fantasy VII's Barret's @*^#-en cussing (again, realistic when trouble strikes) is probably not in the cards. But, still, I can't help but feel the gaming market needs a bit more mature-rated games available.

I dunno... Maybe its just me growing up, it has been harder for me to get interest in an RPG lately, maybe this is just a way of limiting the ones I become interested in.
Thoughts?

ciao,
Dice


Matt

There's nothing wrong with having the desire for a change of pace every now and then! Young heroes are, of course, the norm, but that's because the biggest video game demographic is young as well. Perhaps as the adult-player demographic grows, we'll see more in the way of "mature" heroes. That's not to say that they don't exist at all; try playing Xenosaga or maybe even Shadow Hearts. I'd argue that Final Fantasy VII/VIII/X also have a "non-kiddie" feel to them, if you know what I mean.



Welcome aboard... this is the train that takes passengers TO THE OTHER SIDE!


Wow! Iíve been reading your Q&A since late summer and this is my first time to write in. It seems in every column you ask more and more people to write in, so I did, it took 9 months but I did it. That just goes to show you that if you keep asking youíll get more writer-inners. You know I could have had at least 1000 SOCK points by nowÖAND A TILDE! Well thatís what I get for being lazy, now for questions.

Matt

Yeah, sorry. I know it doesn't sound like much, but I work with what I've got! One of these days, I should get out my glitter glue and cut out some big construction paper tildes to send through the mail to surprise you one day. What a strange delivery that would be...

What do you think about the use of strategy guides? If I think a game is going to be great then I always buy the strategy guide with it because I like to see my library of strategy guides grow with my library of games. I mainly use guides just for the maps, treasure chest locations, and side quests because I want to do every thing there possibly is to do and open every treasure chest. I donít look at boss strategies though because I think that is cheap and takes away from the difficulty.

Matt

I actually never use strategy guides on my first run through every game. I hate having secrets spoiled unless I have absolutely given up on finding anything else; the sense of great discovery in an RPG is incredibly important to me, and having someone or something take that away from me is a very dismaying notion.

I know this isn't exactly an RPG but, have you played Shadow of the Colossus? Itís a pretty cool game with awesome graphics but it only lasts about 10 hours the first time through. Iíd suggest a quick rent.

Matt

It was pretty popular there for awhile, wasn't it? Half the RPGamer staff was playing it last fall, and while I was tempted to pick it up myself, I foolishly wasted my money on Atelier Iris instead. You live, you learn, I guess.

Also if you are thinking about playing Grandia III here are my opinions. The battles system is as fun and intricate as itís always been, voice acting - pretty good, characters Ė The good guys are too kidish and the villains arenít evil enough, plot Ė Itís a good thing the plot isnít too important to you because that is exactly what GIII lacks. It is a clichť payday with more than your average dose of thumbs up gestures.

Matt

That sounds about right. I certainly have received a lot of mini-reviews about this game by this point; perhaps more people bought it than I originally thought would.

What do you think of that perfect Famitsu score FFXII got? It got my hopes up until I found out that Famitsu also gave Nintendogs a perfect score. I donít know what Nintendogs is like but I am assuming that it is one of those games that shouldnít really be a video game like Barbie, or maybe itís a game a parent buys their kid because they are not responsible enough for a real pet, or maybe itís just one of those games your relatives get you for your birthday when they donít know what you want, like your Home Alone 2 experience.

Matt

Well, Famitsu scores are kind of like the Fantastic Four of video game judging, and they seem to be held with fairly high regard, all-in-all. As for your question about that game, Nintendogs is a DS game that's actually supposed to be pretty neat. Sure, it's not really my cup of tea, but it has to be better than just a souped-up Tamagotchi, doesn't it?

I think that Final Fantasy XII is a very exciting-looking game that could very well get the series back on track, as far as I'm concerned. I, like many (or most!) of you, have been waiting for FIVE years to have a "real" Final Fantasy. If this game has been done right, it holds a lot of promise for North American gamers!! I just hope that these amazing scores are an indication that indeed, we're in for a treat.

Oh, and one last tidbit, do you know about how many people enter the rpgamer contests?

Matt

It depends on the contest, really!! We generally have a few hundred eager participants, but of course, we'd love to have more, so don't be afraid to get involved if you haven't before; there are often fun prizes up for grabs!

Well, I think I shall join you on your adventure of answering questions and questioning answers, if thatís alright with you of course (Sir Browny Bottoms has joined your party).

Oh yeah, I figure I have about a 9/25 probability of getting 1 or more of the SOCK questions right if I guess soÖ 141) c 142) d

Sir Browny Bottoms


Matt

Ooh... that looks like some statistics, there, Mr. Browny Bottoms. By the way, does something smell a bit peculiar around here, or is it just me?

Thanks for writing in, Sir! It's always great to have new writers, and it's fun to answer/pretend to answer your questions, as it is for everyone.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Oog. Walking around Toronto for an entire weekend leaves your legs feeling like they're attached with pegs like a little Lego Man. Someone, snap me into joint!! I need help!

Flashay!


Thinking back to Friday's pair of questions, let's see what was right and what was not so right. Ah. For Question #145, Maggie wanted to know which language out of the list was not a direct descendant of FORTRAN I. According to her textbook, c) Lisp is the correct answer, worth 155 points to your name!

My question regarded Princess Peach and Super Mario RPG. In the opening sequence, of course, there are e) zero birds flying around; there are, however, four butterflies! 145 points for that one.

Question #147:
Which of the following letters will you not find on any non-personalized Ontario license plates under the relatively new 4-letters/3-numbers format? (160 points)

a) C
b) D
c) G
d) H
e) Z

Question #148:
Ask Erika!-->The name of which of these items from Final Fantasy VI is also the name of an ethereal girl from another RPG? (140 points) a) Minerva
b) Aura
c) Genji
d) Epee
e) Ashura


Today, I announce some new, exciting items for the shop, available to up-and-comers! NOW IS THE TIME TO GET INVOLVED, PEOPLE!! Move your way up to the top of the scoreboard, where one day, there may be a great prize, and at the very least, you could get a shot at being a co-host with me (tee-hee)! Here are the new items:

Point Tripler: If you manage to get your hands on this item, you will then have the ability to use it once with the submission of any set of SOCK answers in the future in order to receive triple the points you would receive normally. Just let me know in the body of your e-mail if you would like to use the Tripler if indeed you do!

Auxiliary Point Generator: This exciting item will grant you bonus points equal to the current number of consolation points with every single actual LETTER you write in from that point onward. For instance, if you were the lucky owner of an APG and you wrote me a letter containing yesterday's SOCK answers, and you got both of them right, you'd get 364 points instead of 300! If you wrote me JUST a letter and didn't feel like doing the SOCK for the day, you'd still receive 64 points!

These will make getting to the top of the scoreboard a little bit easier, and are reserved for people who have not yet reached those required point-totals! Expect more announcements of new things to buy from the shop in the days ahead.

Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

500 points: Point Tripler (4 remaining!)

500 points: Auxiliary Point Generator (3 remaining!)

800 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)

2,000 points: Point Tripler (2 remaining!)

2,000 points: Auxiliary Point Generator (2 remaining!)

5,000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #3 (5 remaining!)

5,000 points: Auxiliary Point Generator (1 remaining!)

20,000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #4 (5 remaining!)


Well, that's wrap for today! Tell me what's on your mind for tomorrow, my friends: What are your thoughts of remakes, and in particular, about Final Fantasy VII? Is it a shameless act of profiteering, or a gift to RPGamers worldwide? Would you be happier to see Square Enix work on Final Fantasy XIII? Oh, the months ahead hold all of the answers, but it's fun to wonder in the meantime, isn't it?


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt likes to wonder, too.


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