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It's Ys Not Y's Dang It
February 1st, 2013

02/01- 12:00PM EST

Well, XSEED decided to announce an RPG filled 2013 lineup and thankfully we're getting two Ys games this year. As with the previous Ys steam releases, I think it's time we do a Q&A contest to give away a code for the upcoming Ys I & II on steam! All you have to do to enter is send me some Q&A questions and include your idea for how to update a classic 8-bit RPG similar to the way Ys I & II Chronicles updates the original games. I'll pick a winner randomly on February 12th.

Now then, on to the letters...

Mass Effect Totoro
 





The Letters
Who's on First?

@AskWheels Which game industry pro is the most fun and insightful to follow on Twitter?

-MHRelias


Wheels

I quite enjoy following the folks from Zeboyd Games. They often have a lot of interesting commentary and they often talk about just games in general as well. I also follow some of the folks from Aksys and XSEED, who often have insightful or just funny things to tweet about. There's also some current and former 1up staffers I follow like Jeremy Parish and Shane Bettenhausen who provide some good commentary.  You can of course follow all the staff of RPGamer! Finally there is PG_Kamiya (Kamiya from Platinum Games) who tweets some pretty funny stuff such as this exchange.

Hot Hot Topics

So I missed this mornings twitter request, and thus I have questions to ask you. A weeks a long time in gaming so first I’ll answer some of yours. Why should you have to do all the work?
 
1. Will Ni No Kuni reignite interest in console JRPGs?
 
When I posed the question last week it was with hope in my heart. This week I have to say no. Namcos Wizard edition pre-order cancellations fiasco has not only highlighted that pre-orders are not contracts (though I would love a class-action suit to contest that) but has also taken some wind from the releases sales. Pre-release reviews having been showering the game with praise, but since release I am hearing more and more of the frustrations of the menu-based battle system, particularly with regards to healing in the time permitted between NPC attacks.
 
Also, this is a (probably) a last hurrah for the current gen consoles. Like Okami, Persona 4 and Rogue Galaxy on the PS2 , Ni No is likely to remain a niche classic (at least until re-released?) PS4/next-box development costs are likely to be higher again then the current gens, and as such harder to justify for niche genres. Therefore it falls to the wii-u with its low spec development as a home for RPGs. Still, Nintendo had to be dragged kicking and screaming to release Project Rainfall titles on the Wii and with no signs of DQX in the west (yet?) My hopes for the are not high.
 
My predictions: S-RPGS will thrive on tablets, traditional RPGS on the handholds and Western RPGs on consoles with, thanks largely to kickstarter & valve greenlight support, PC being the place for all-types of RPGs to find a home.


Wheels

I dunno, I don't think the Wizard's edition pre-orders can speak for the release as a whole because most people seemed to get it elsewhere. There have been frustrations with the game itself since release (and a few so-so reviews) but on the whole I've mostly heard positive things from people playing the game. Sure it's not perfect for the reasons you stated, but I don't think those ruin the battle system or anything. That said, I don't think the game needs to be brilliant to reignite interest. We'll see how well the game sells and if it in turn increases interest in similar games.

On the second point, I'm not so sure this is the last hurrah for current gen consoles. It seems most developers/publishers would have a really tough time if the next generation of consoles were a huge leap over the current ones, so I don't expect the next consoles to be a huge leap and I also don't expect a huge jump away from the large install bases for current consoles. I think we'll still see PS3/360 level games for a few years yet. I think you misunderstand Nintendo's unwillingness to bring over their RPGs to the US though. There were real challenges involved with those games, and with Nintendo at the time losing a lot of money due to dipping Wii sales I can see where they were coming from in not wanting to take the chance. That said I think they were wrong and the sales seem to back up this opinion. Nintendo has stated they will be helping to bring over 3rd party games from Japan, so I would expect to see Dragon Quest X and other big titles in the near future.

I can't really argue with your predictions, other than to say I would expect SRPGs to continue to survive on handholds in addition to traditional JRPGs.

2. Will Dragon Quest VII 3DS fix all the issues of the original?
 
Never played the original. Couldn’t say. But can we have a DQ 8 HD / PSN port please  That and Rogue Galaxy are all that’s keeping my PS2 plugged in.



Wheels

Rogue Galaxy in true HD would be amazing considering how good that game already looks. Plus it's published by Sony so in theory it should be easy for them to do it. Perhaps even port it to Vita? Dragon Quest VIII is a bit more complicated. Because of Square Enix and Nintendo working closely together when it comes to Dragon Quest, I wouldn't expect to see a game from the series on a non-Nintendo platform in the foreseeable future. That said, given the popularity of the series in Japan, an HD port of the game to the Wii U seems like it could be a no-brainer to help the Wii U in the Japanese market. I'd be all over such a port for the potential of off-screen play!

3. Where could Mass Effect's story go next when the series eventually comes back?
 
Haven’t played it enough to comment. As long as its not a Jar-Jar Binks &Trade Federation blockade prequel we should be OK though right?



Wheels

Well, thankfully Mass Effect largely has a well established back story so I don't think they could make a prequel that messed things up royally. The universe would actually allow for a number of really interesting prequels from past civilizations that have since been wiped out. Then again I suppose a Mass Effect staring no humans might be too weird for some people.

4. What is your GotY (or GotY Runner-up) and why?
 
Ah, a question I CAN answer! I’m assuming you want an RPG focus. It has to be Dragons Dogma. This brought Skyrim levels of exploration, Dark Souls mulitplayer integration & challenging (but not decimating like the souls series) combat in a new IP with all the fascination a unknown landscape can provide. Runner up? Borderlands 2. Only loses first place as it a refinement of perfection rather than a whole new experience.


Wheels

Good choice! Dragon's Dogma is an interesting new IP that seems to mix elements of RPG design from the East and West. If it really took inspiration from the Souls series then I hope even more RPGs ape the design of those games! I think it also goes to show how bad the combat in the Elder Scrolls games has gotten. There's a lot to like about those games in terms of world and exploration but due to a lack of innovation in combat and tons of bugs on the PS3 version I just could not get into Skyrim. I hope Bethesda will look at games like Dragon's Dogma and Amalur to see how they can improve combat in their series. For now I'm a having a lot more fun playing Capcom's RPG. Let's also not forget Dragon's Dogma's amazing menu theme.

Borderlands 2 is another fine choice. It has a better story, a better choice of classes, a bigger variety in level designs, more interesting DLC, and much better humor than the first game. In short, it's everything you could dream for in a sequel. I wish each class had more skills to utilize, but that is a small quibble. Two great new RPGs from 2012!

5. Where the heck is Thief 4 and what else could Eidos Montreal be working on?
 
The obvious answer is the upcoming Tomb raider. But celebrate, as this means Thief is likely a next-gen title now with all the Shadowy goodness and extra NPC AI programming the new consoles processing powers will provide.


Wheels

Well, now that I see they are working on the multiplayer portion of the new Tomb Raider, I guess that could be what's eating up a lot of their resources. However, Thief 4 was mentioned ages ago and we haven't seen anything about it in some time. Plus Eidos Montreal was supposedly working on other projects that we haven't heart about. Maybe we'll hear something at E3? Or after Tomb Raider is complete?

My question: WHY WAS MY NI NO KUNI PREORDER CANCELLED AND AN EBAY SELLER GIVEN 200 copies to sell at upto triple the cost? Am I justified in now waiting for a price-drop / buying pre-owned as punishment for this massive screw up? Defend the indefensible: Paid pre-order cancellation is totally OK because......
 
Perhaps I’ll have less antsy questions to tweet to you next week.....
-emechau


Wheels

There's a few things to consider here. For starters remember that Namco contracts another company to run their online store. Now, how some eBay seller was able to pre-order a ton of copies I don't know, but it doesn't automatically mean that this is the reason regular buyers were screwed. Realistically, they needed to be much more careful about the number of accepted pre-orders so they didn't oversell it, and they did no such thing. I won't defend paid pre-order cancellation because I don't think it is OK at all. There was clearly a large demand, so order another batch of the thing to fill those pre-orders and then have a few more to sell at the same time. It's clear to me they would sell! It's just an awful situation and I hope Namco responds by moving their online store to a new company. That said, I don't think you can use this as an excuse to wait for a price drop or buy pre-owned. Remember that the developer and translation team had nothing to do with this, and you'd be effectively punishing them for something they had nothing to do with. Plus I assume you want to support Namco on continuing to bring over JRPGs? The best thing you can do is to buy it from another seller, and never buy anything from Namco's online store again. Not to mention, wouldn't waiting to play a fun game just punish you? I understand your frustration and hope you've called their store support and complained. I can tell you I will be avoiding online stores operated by Digital River as much as I can due to this.

Hopes and Dreams

About tri-Ace games getting worse as sequels: don't forget that they tend to be iteratively worse.  While Valkyrie Profile 2 was not as good as the first one, Covenant of the Plume was...let's just not talk about it... (except for "Poor Hrist gets no love...")


Wheels

I haven't played it a huge amount but I did enjoy the concept of Covenant of the Plume. The execution is of course far from ideal. I'd love to see tri-Ace take the whole concept of sacrificing characters for super power in a battle and apply it to a much better game.

Let's see, what games am I looking forward to this year...  it's usually pretty difficult to say before E3, as that firms the rest of the year somewhat.  For example, Nintendo just announced two new Zelda games (even though one is just an HD port).  I personally don't think they will come out this year.


Wheels

Oh, I think there's a chance that Windwaker HD could make it out this year, but yeah the brand new Zelda for Wii U is likely a long ways off. At least I hope it is. Skyward Sword just came out a bit over a year ago right? A new Zelda coming out so soon would seem rushed.

Based on the information I have now...  Fire Emblem: Awakening will probably be my GOTY, unless something REALLY surprises me.  SO MUCH CUSTOMIZATION!  Not to mention casual mode for no perma-death and full-saves during battle!  And tons of extra Spotpass quests and battles and DLC... /swoons. Although it probably will be, I really hope the DLC isn't as expensive as it was in Japan (which was about $75 dollars using the old and currently pretty inaccurate 100 yen = 1 dollar estimate).


Wheels

I can't argue the point much as of yet, but of course several Atlus and XSEED RPGs will need to have their say as well (Etrian Odyssey IV also has a lot of customization). That said Awakening has already revitalized interest in the series. Popularity of the venerable strategy series seemed to have been sagging a bit even before Shadow Dragon's less than grand reception.

Next of my radar is South Park: The Stick of Truth.  An RPG with South Park humor!  It could end up being a disaster, if THQ's spontaneous combustion negatively influences the game (or its release date).


Wheels

I haven't watched South Park in ages but I'm interested in this simply because of Obsidian's involvement. I've enjoyed all of their recent games (especially Dungeon Siege III) so I'm curious to see what they do with South Park. Hopefully there aren't any publishing snafus in the wake of THQ's downfall.

In terms of RPG's, next is Pandora's Tower.  Gotta support the Operation Rainfall games til the end :)


Wheels

Well, I think people wont quite enjoy this one as much as the first two games. Pandora's Tower was not met with as much excitement as Last Story or Xenoblade in Europe. I'll buy it anyway out of curiosity and a desire to see XSEED keep taking on "underdog" projects.

If Dragon's Crown or Tales of Xillia really come out this year, I'll pick those up as well (I'm skeptical about both, but at least Xillia is out in Japan already...).


Wheels

I'm fairly confident Tales of Xillia will make it out this year. Namco will want to space it a good distance from Ni No Kuni I'm sure, but with Xillia 2 already out in Japan they can't wait too long. I'm going to predict an early fall launch. As for Dragon's Crown, no one seems to really know what is going on with that game at this point other than the fact it made it them unable to work on the localization of another game. Perhaps we'll hear something at E3?

And of course, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.  I'm not sure how much I trust Square-Enix to deliver a decent game anymore, and I LIKED XIII.  At least I can be fairly certain that it WILL come out this year, barring some big delay announcement at E3 or TGS...


Wheels

Quality aside, Final Fantasy XIII-2 showed they could pump out a game in a pretty quick time frame so I don't foresee much of a delay with it unless a new engine is involved. Square Enix has more studios at their disposal so honestly they should be able to produce games at a faster clip. I'm looking at you Versus XIII. Perhaps will see Lightning again come the holiday season?

I know that I mentioned two of the five you list (I will be picking up Etrian Odyssey 4, but I think it will be a while before I get around to playing it), but what about games below #5 on your list?

Questioningly,
Fayted


Wheels

Well, there are a few games no on the list for various reasons. Shin Megami Tensei IV isn't on there simply for the fact that I'm not sure if it will make it over to the US this year. Atlus already has two big dungeon crawlers coming to the West in 2013, and with no solid Japanese release date I'd imagine 2014 is more likely for that game. The Ys IV remake isn't on the list simply for the fact that I already imported the Japanese version so I can actually play it ahead of its English release. Pandora's Tower would be on there as a curiosity, more than something I'm excited for. There's a few "not sure if it will come to the US games" that would likely fill up the rest of the list, such as Bravery Default and Dragon Quest VII 3DS. I'm interested in the new Atelier as well but still have two others to beat. Finally, my biggest non-RPG release that I didn't have room for is Rayman Legends. I loved Rayman Origins and getting more of that style of game is quite exciting!

Anyway, I will leave you with a question (to try and get you to write back in). What games are you curious about trying, but would fall short of being excited about?

Final Fantasy x Apple

Hey Wheels!
 
I’ve been playing Ni no Kuni since I got it Monday and I gotta say it is Soooooo (capital S) Goooooooooood (capital G).  I love the art, the music, the gameplay, it’s awesome.  Any personal thoughts on it yet?


Wheels

I have been having an absolute blast with the game. The artstyle and world are leagues better than I thought they would be. The localization is spot on with some fantastic voice acting and tons of great humor. I got a kick out of the cat king (your meowjesty!). The combat isn't perfect but neither is it bad and I have no major complaints in the regard. I will continue playing it (along with some Devil May Cry) and I don't expect it to stay out of my PS3 for long periods of time. I hope this isn't the last collaboration between Level-5 and Ghibli.

A week or so ago (right before the Fire Emblem X SMT crossover announcement), I started thinking of crossovers I’d like to see.  I came up with an interesting one. What if we crossed Tales of Vesperia with Persona 4? What if the Midnight Channel came back, but instead of showing people from this world, it showed the heroes from Tales of Vesperia?  What if the Inaba Murder Investigation Team went into the TV and ended up in Vesperia’s world? The gameplay could be centered on Tales’ battle system but instead of using Artes, the Inaba teens would use Personas, and there could be all kinds of awesome Arte/Persona skill combos that could do massive damage (Like Yuri’s Ghost Wolf and Youske’s Brave Blade for Brave Wolf?  Or how about Raven’s Serpent Arte with Chie’s Black Spot for Black Serpent?  You could even go so far as to give the Tales cast their own Arcanum (though not Personas), and then when a matching Inaba party member is in a group with them they can do more damage, or team up for a hyper Mystic Arte.


Wheels

This is an interesting idea for sure, I would rather see it centered around Persona 4's fantastically balanced turn-based battle system though. You could mix in some kind of real-time element on a Tales character's turn. Then again, why not go a completely insane route for such an insane crossover? Give the player the option on what battle system to use! Both systems are well developed and could easily be added to the game. You could still do skill combos in both systems. Heck, you could even give the player the choice of which system to use on a per-battle basis. How cool would that be?

The story could revolve around aer leaking from Vesperia’s world into the TV world somehow, and the Inaba team has to find the cause and stop it before the aer causes shadows to reform in that world and in turn break into the “real world”.

Granted this story is slipshod at best, but I think with some fleshing out and fine tuning it could work!  Let me know what you think!  I’m looking forward to your opinion.
 
Valim


Wheels

The story is slipshod, but crossovers always present tremendous challenges in that regard so it is hard to do much better. It's all about the fan service so whatever you have to do to get the two teams together. Another idea would be to have the Vesperia world be a creation within the TV world created by Tales fans with active imaginations. Then a lot of the story could be about Vesperia characters coming to grips with the fact that they, and their whole world, are just Shadows. I think there's some real potential here, so why don't we hash out some more weird ideas. I'm not familiar with Vesperia's story so are there any elements to it that would fit with Persona 4's universe? Let me know!
IN CLOSING

That's it for this week! Next week we discuss a large variety of topics with the King of Content himself, Mike Moehnke. We'll also be exploring the topic of vaporware!

-Wheels


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What I Can't Wait For:

1. Etrian Odyssey IV

2. Soul Hackers

3. Fire Emblem 3DS

4. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

5. Tales of Xillia

On my Playlist:

1. Green Day

2. Persona live

3. Less Than Jake

4. Queen

5. Reel Big Fish

Hot Topics:

1. Will Ni No Kuni reignite interest in console JRPGs?

2. Will Dragon Quest VII 3DS fix all the issues of the original?

3. Where could Mass Effect's story go next when the series eventually comes back?

4. What is your GotY (or GotY Runner-up) and why?

5. Where the heck is Thief 4 and what else could Eidos Montreal be working on?
 
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