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February 3rd, 2012

02/03- 12:00PM EST

Welcome to another edition of Q&A. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is out, and as expected it is in many ways just as divisive as its predecessor. Still, what I like about it more than anything else is the fact that Square Enix was able to get the game out without an insanely long development cycle. That shows their development process may be improving. I say may because Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still nowhere to be found. Maybe that will make it out this year?

On to the letters!

The Letters
Breath of Fire Bastion Quarter


I am very happy that you're playing Breath of Fire. Can you be more specific as to which and where you are in it, with a side dish of thoughts/opinions?  I listen to the soundtrack from IV a lot and it makes me wanna replay them all, other than the annoying combo system they instituted in IV, I didn't dig that. The main plot twist (IMHO anyway) makes it worth it though.


I was recently on an episode of the RPG Backtrack about Breath of Fire, so I was playing a tiny bit of the second game to jog my memory. I also recently jumped into Breath of Fire IV which I had previously never played, and plan to play through Dragon Quarter again as well. The series has never really grabbed me outside of the brilliant Dragon Quarter, but we'll see how IV fares. If I enjoy that I'll give III another shot since I can play them both on my PSP.

Have you personally played Bastion? I'd never heard of it (sorry, I'm not really in the indie game scene, and I hate playing multiplayer. I'm old-school in that respect) but after the raves it got from your Best Of feature I downloaded it last night. Then I stayed up way past my bedtime, and was quite cranky at work this morning. So fun so far!


I have actually! I saw it on sale on Xbox live and decided to download it since it had gotten so much praise. Though I don't like it quite as much as others do, there's no denying the quality of the title. The narrator is probably the coolest feature in the game. The actual game mechanics are fun as well. Its just a solid quality title, and I look forward to seeing what that developer does next. I highly recommend people try it out.

I'm also slogging through Final Fantasy X-2, mostly because I feel like I should. I never played it before. I've owned it and just forgot to care. So I'm not really interested in maxing jobs or anything that I normally do, I just want the 100% in one game so I can move on with my (digital) life. Did you ever play this?


I could never maintain my interest in Final Fantasy X-2 for very long. I didn't think it was terrible or anything, and I did think the battle system was quite good. I think maybe the lack of a quality soundtrack and a somewhat uninteresting story just kept me from getting sucked in like Final Fantasy X itself did. Oh well, I'll give it another shot some day.

Should I ask if you're excited for XIII-2? I don't remember where on the FF Fanboy spectrum you fall. Personally, I fight the old-schools stereotype. I played the original when it came out, and I still love all the new ones. They're all different and flawed, but you really can't compare many games to the production quality of the main FFs.

Enjoy the week!



I have a similar opinion. I am a huge fan of the series, and I prefer to look at each title individually, instead of liking or hating them based on how similar they are to other games in the series. Final Fantasy has always been about experimentation, and Final Fantasy XIII was quite the experiment as far as battle systems go. I thought it was one of the best in the series, so I was very excited for the sequel and so far I'm enjoying it quite a lot. Without the long intro section that is the bane of XIII, XIII-2 will likely be the more re-playable of the two. Really, aside from the completely botched Final Fantasy XIV, I think the series is quite healthy, assuming that Square Enix can speed up its HD Development cycles. I don't really get the doom and gloom people are putting on Final Fantasy. As I recall Final Fantasy XIII sold quite well despite all the divisiveness. There are certainly things the series can improve on, but when your last non-mmo entry sold more than five million copies, I think you're still doing quite well.

Anyway, thanks for the letter, look forward to hearing from you again. What's your favorite Final Fantasy?

Legend of  Chrono Soundtracks

Dear Wheels,
Thank you so much for sending me my grand prize!! I already love it, and I haven't even played it yet. I will be sure to start playing it as soon as I get done with Valkyrie Profile 2. Speaking of which...


No problem! I am always happy to see people picking Falcom games as a prize, so I hope you enjoy Trails in the Sky once you finally have a PSP.  Your mention of Valkyrie Profile 2 reminds me that I really need to get around to playing the first game...

Question #1
Does RPGamer accept reader retroviews? Not looking to find a way into journalism or anything, but as you may have guessed by now, I do enjoy writing, so I figured I might as well give my opinion on games I manage to finish. Maybe it'll even spur me on to actually finish games for a change... (I WILL ONE DAY SEE THE ENDING SCENE OF FF6!!! I SWEAR!)


We used to, but we no longer do. I still encourage you to write up a review, and maybe start a new thread about the game to post it in. You never know, you may find out you really enjoy writing reviews! I certainly would be interested in reading it. We are looking for new reviewers! Also, please, PLEASE go finish FFVI as soon as possible!

Question #2
So apparently we have now decided to just take along the entire OST of Chrono Cross on that space ship of ours. Why not just upload the entire database of every RPG tune ever made, along with any other material any of the composers might have made? (Yasunori Mitsuda has some cool non-videogame music)


Well I think the point was we only want to send the very best into space! Still, with storage being relatively cheap, we could probably load up a huge hard drive with tons of the very best video game music, and that would eliminate all the arguing over what is the best. Still, I suppose that's not as fun as arguing is it?

Question #3 (aka The Most Important Question)
Will this aforementioned spaceship include a holo deck? Because in that case, I am so going to insert that Chrono OST playlist and immerse myself into an RPG like never before, you know what I'm saying?
Also, I noticed some new hot topics, and man are they hot this time!!


I didn't even think of that. You know what? Yes, this ship will include a holodeck where you can play all the games we've included music from. The aliens who discover this ship will just have more awesome than they know what to do with.

Anyway, let's see what hot topics have caught your eye!

3. What franchise needs an RPG?
Tough one... Which franchise would you like to see turned into one? Not sure if this one counts as a franchise, but I could see Dark Crystal being turned into an excellent RPG, or perhaps a kind of Zelda type RPG (Adventure game, whatever, I really don't care). Yes, that would make a great action RPG. Labyrinth as well. David Bowie would make an excellent Kefka-like bad guy... A re-make RPG of Dune would be cool too. Sting would also make a cool bad guy. (Right? Or am I mixing singer/actors up here?)


I don't recall Sting being in that movie, but he would be cool in a Dune game regardless. I think any of those movies would make great RPGs. They all have good followings, so why not? Nothing has really come of these properties of late, so maybe someone will try a video game. I'd certainly love to play a Dune RPG.

4. What RPGs do you NOT want to see get an HD update?
I want to see no HD update AT ALL. HD updates suck out the life and soul of the old school games. I once heard someone say that the FF6 sprites (paraphrasing here) "conveyed an emotion they shouldn't be able to", meaning that even with the limited amount of pixels, they just oozed character. There's a reason for that. HD updates are just lazy "hey let's polish the sprites so we don't see any pixels because that's what we think people want" affairs. I LIKE PIXELS!!!
I'd rather they go the opposite route and make 16-bit or even 8-bit remakes of new games. Go search Youtube for Final Fantasy 7 8-bit version. It's awesome!!
Well, that's it for this week. I am working on a little present from me to you, but it's not done yet. I think you will like it though.
Best wishes,
Daniel B.


Well I think that's a bit unfair. Listen, I love a good classic pixel game as much as the next person, and there are many HD updates that are lazy. However, when you look at games like Odin Sphere and see what can be done with 2D graphics, I think there are many RPGs that could get a whole new life with completely redone 2D visuals. Just look at the update to Final Fantasy IV on PSP. It's just all about doing the update right.

Despite this I think that 8-bit demake of Final Fantasy VII is amazing!

Anyway, make sure you write back in and tell us how you're liking Trails in the Sky!

Bamboo is grass?!?!?

Hey Wheels, First, a point of order. Bamboo is not a tree. It's a type of grass. To slightly change the topic, what trees do you think would make good villains? My vote is either for the manchineel or one of the acacia variants with the really nasty symbiotic ant colonies.


Really? Bamboo is a type of grass? That I did not realize. Damn crazy biological classifications! There are bamboo forests, how can they not be trees!

Now, on to the challenge! I called for a holiday-centric RPG, and since it was just after Christmas at the time I will go with that holiday.

If there's one game style that I think would suit a Christmas RPG, it would be the meister-RPG, a.k.a. Atelier. Since there is no Christmas in the Atelier gameworld (canonically, as stated in the Saturn version of Atelier Marie), we'll just pull a Nora on them and call this game Studio Lucia.


I like this idea already. The gameplay style of the Atelier series is a perfect match for making a game about what I assume is toy making.

The cute teenage protagonist this time around is Lucia (pronounced loo-CHEE-a because I like that pronunciation better), who is the youngest member of the Claus clan. The Clauses have been charged with overseeing the Winter Festival since time immemorial, with each member of the clan watching over a different region. They promote love and friendship while subtly punishing bad behavior in children, all on the down-low. Lucia's cover story is that she's taking over her grandfather's toyshop and studio in the town of Spielstadt.


Isn't a cute teenage protagonist a bit...cliché? I hate talking about clichés, but its a bit hard to look over this time. Why not just let people play as the Claus man himself?

For the most part, she does as any meister-RPG heroine does, collecting raw materials and filling out orders. A new mechanic would involve her ability to experiment and improve on existing recipes. This option would kick in whenever her ability level is a certain amount above the difficulty level of the item she wants to make. So if Lucia is at level 15 and she's making level 3 teddy bears, she can either choose to go with the basic bear or add new items to the mix to see what happens. Success means that she has a new toy design. This can be useful for weaponizing toys to help her out in battle as well.


Sounds like this would allow for a lot of customization, let players make a variety of different toys and experiment instead of just having to create a set recipe. This means I could recreate that Santa in a tank ad from The Santa Clause.

As part of her secret job, Lucia has to design the official toys that good children will receive on the night of the Winter Festival. She will have to submit her five best toy designs every year, one every two months. The sixth and final design of the year is what the bad children will get, and may be poorly made, disgusting, or even dangerous to bratty kids.


Oh man that would be fun. I'd design a coal monster toy that talks in an annoying voice and throws coal pellets at the bad kids!

Of course there's the usual amount of friend-making and all the other social aspects associated with a meister-RPG, and I would like to see a game of this type showing actual changes in the landscape according to the time of year. Not even the PS3 Atelier games give us snow in the winter, after all. Well, that's all I have for now. Hurry up and write me back, okay?

Your fellow columnist,


That would be cool. It's a shame the Atelier games don't do that. A game about day to day life really needs to show all the changing seasons! Anyway its a neat idea, and is something I would certainly like to play. I'll get my idea to you asap. Here's a sneak peak: it will be based on Monster Hunter.

With the revivals of Fallout, Xcom and Syndicate as shooters, do you think this is a good trend for the industry? what older franchises would look to see get cross-genre revival.



I absolutely think it's a good thing. Fans of the older games may not care much for the changing of genres, but as long as they stay in the spirit of the originals I think it's perfectly fine. I have no problem with people buying the new Fallouts in droves. They may not be perfect, but they do tap into what made the originals great, and may even make people go take a look at the older games! There's nothing wrong with that. In most of these cases, the revivals are moving away from turn-based systems, which just don't sell these days except for some notable exceptions. I don't see an issue with trying something else with a franchise instead of just letting it die. As for what franchise I'd like to see come back with a cross-genre revival, I'd love to see Quest for Glory return in some form. They could make it an action RPG, with the adventure elements coming in the form of more Zelda style puzzles. What about you?

That's it for this week, I'm off to play more Final Fantasy XIII-2.

See you next week!


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