|Q&A Ogre - Princes
of the Universe
|February 16th, 2011
02/16 - 12:00PM EST
Yes, as that Queen-themed title suggests, the Ogre Battle series has a new entry
for the first time in years (ok "newish"). We're not concerned with
that right now (I'm loving it so far), we've got a great reader pitch
for an Ogre Battle sequel
this week, and more!
To the letter-mobile!
I am excited about the announcement of Tales of Graces F coming stateside,
but something still aggravates me about how Namco Bandai chooses to not
release Tales of Vesperia for
PS3 over to the states.
Well I can understand your frustration, but let's have a little talk
about this, since I know you aren't the only one complaining about
this. Can I just point out one thing first though? There are many fans
the Destiny-remake battle
system who've been waiting years for one game to make it over here, who
may not look too kindly on this kind of complaining amidst their joy.
Just food for thought.
what I want the most. Since it is a Tales
of game that was built specifically for HD consoles and not a port. I
understand that it is already available here, but its only available to
people who own an Xbox 360. I don’t own an Xbox 360. When I bought a
PS3 it was for franchises like ‘Tales
of’ that pushed me to get it. I can’t warrant getting a new
system for one game. I guess my question is, Why would Namco release Tales of Vesperia on the 360 in
America when almost all of their fanbase in America own a PS3 because
we thought our beloved RPG franchises would continue their trend to be
on Sony platforms.
Well let's get a few misconceptions out of the way first. Having played
Graces F I can tell you that you will not feel like this game
was not made for an HD console. It may not look as good as Vesperia on a technical level, but
thanks to fantastic art direction for the game it has made the
transition over to HD without a hitch. This isn't an issue you should
be worried about.
Now, I have to ask, why would Namco think the fanbase in America all
owned PS3s? The biggest hit for the series here was on Gamecube. I
don't think the PS2 games that followed really lit up the sales charts,
despite a larger userbase. If you're someone who imported lots of Tales games you could make this
argument, but two games aren't exactly a pattern.
Regardless, the lack of a PS3 version in the US is still odd, I will
give you that. I think sales since Vesperia's
release on 360 would show
that there clearly is an audience for JRPGs on the PS3. I think this,
combined with Graces F's
quick success in Japan directly led to the decision to localize it. So
then, why no Vesperia? Microsoft paid for exclusivity in the west?
Something else? Who knows? Given that there are a ton of brilliant
unlocalized-JRPGs, the fact that there is some sort of localized
version of this game makes it hard for me to get all that agitated.
Is it that game developers knew that gamers would realize that and then
decide to release on another platform to just say, “HA HA! We fooled
you.” ? I just can’t understand why Namco did that. They already
apologized to their Japanese fans, but what about us. They blame that
the reason why we didn’t get any new Tales
of games was because Vesperia
didn’t sell to their expectations. Well I wonder why? Because you
released it on a system that has hardly any Tales of fan following. So I am
happy that we are getting Tales of
Graces F, but I don’t think it is enough. I am not going to be
satisfied until I get to play Vesperia
on the PS3 in English.
I'm not sure what you mean by "blame that as the reason why we didn't
get any new Tales games".
Other than the port of Vesperia,
up missing since then,
that being Hearts (which
didn't sell well in Japan). Perhaps it stopped them from bringing over
the PS3 version, but that's about it. Graces
does a lot of new and exciting things
with the series, and I
hope you can get yourself excited for it!
The Mummy 8: Adventures in
Wheels, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what I’d like to see in
a Chrono Trigger sequel, and
the more I think about it the more I believe that Chrono Cross had the right idea. In
you explored the planet several times over and saw its entire history
from earliest days to Armageddon. There’s not a lot of new ground to
cover. Any attempt to set a sequel in the same setting would feel
contrived. In Even Crosses’
El Nino Archipelago isn’t exempt from this feeling. Where was it during
of a sudden there’s this new part of the world (I know I know, it’s
sorta explained that the islands are (spoilers) artificial, but still,
it doesn’t sit easy). But despite requiring a bit of suspension of
disbelief, it’s the right idea. Trigger’s
It’s great in
the game it was designed for, but past that it’s just too flimsy. Cross did it right, it moved the
action to a new location (kinda) and only had a few ties to the
previous title. Trigger is an
amazing game, but the last thing I want from a sequel is a rehash.
I mostly agree. Though I think the
best route is still a new game that doesn't connect to the world of
the first. If you're going to a direct sequel, it does makes it
re-use the time travel mechanic. You either have to wave a white flag,
and not care about destroying the original timeline (see some of the
previous entries), or try something completely different. Let's see
what you have in mind.
explored time; Cross,
alternate dimensions. What’s left? Why, the vastness of space! My Chrono Trigger sequel would take
things intergalactic. The premise is that in the peaceful years in
which Lavos didn’t blow up all of everything an advanced space program
has formed (started by Lucca of course,). The game be with the first
manned faster-than-light expedition. Our hero is the pilot of this
experimental ship. Of course things go wrong and he finds himself
stranded far from his home. Eventually it’s revealed that the whole
space program was devised by Lucca to end the threat of Lavos once and
for all. I’ve always felt that it’s implied that the Lavos spawn on
Death Mountain will eventually grow to leave earth and feed off the
energy of new planets, and that Chrono
Trigger’s Lavos similarly came from somewhere else. This game’s
true purpose is to discover the source of this parasitic alien race and
end its destruction of a thousand worlds. The hero would move from
system to system, finding allies and solving galatic intruige, but
always moving twoards the source of the Lavos race.
I ... really love this idea. It feels like a true continuation of the
story of Lavos, and would serve to answer many of the questions that
the series didn't really answer. As long as you don't find out that the
universe is a giant MMO and Lavos is a virus or something stupid
like that. When your series is based around a giant parasitic space
creature, maybe the only way to go with the story is space?
Time travel has to come into play somehow. Space travel offers plenty
of time-bending shenanigans, what with relativity and all. Return trips
between long distances means the hero arrives years or decades after he
left where he gets to see how his actions have shaped the future. This
is taken to its extreme when the hero finally returns to his home
planet and finds that centuries have passed and, yep, the world is a
lifeless wasteland. The secret of true time travel is discovered again
and the hero must right what went wrong, etc, etc. You know the deal.
You know, it's odd that you don't see something like this (meaning
relativity) in more science fiction. About the only major example I can
think of is the classic Ender's Game
(which makes awesome use of it). This could lead to many different
branching paths, as you have to decide where to travel to next, needing
to complete the overall mission before time runs out. I'm sure fans
would be angry about the massive shift to sci-fi, but it would make for
amazing story telling. I want to play this game.
That’s what I’d like to see in a Chrono
Trigger sequel, but who are we kidding? The fans would never go
for something like that. And you gotta keep the fans happy. What do
they like... Let’s see, that Kingdom
Hearts version of Cloud all wrapped up in bandages is quite
popular in the fandom. It’s clear what they love: mummies!
Fans will never be happy with any sequel to a cherished game. I say
they should just make an awesome game and then...what? Mummies?
1: Mummies of Future
Crono and his friends are enjoying the peaceful life (before they all
get killed by that stuff in Chrono
Cross) when the kingdom is invaded by The Mummy Emperor
(actually Magus in disguise; the whole invasion is a clever plot to
find Schala). Chrono & Co. rush to defeat the Emperor but he turns
them into Mummies and time travels them back to Ancient Egypt! Except
for Lucca. She gets bitten by a Twilight and turns into Draclucca. In
Egypt they get caught up in the mummy rebellion against the Real Mummy
Emperor (actually Robo in disguise). So they have to find a way home,
turn back to normal, end the Real Mummy Emperor’s evil rule (actually a
clever plot to find Magus), while manipulating the past so the Mummy
Virus doesn’t infect all future life on the planet. At the end it turns
out Lavos was behind the whole thing, thus setting up the sequel “Chrono Trigger 3: Mummy
vs. Mummy: The Mummy Wars: Vol 2: Mummies Only Die Twice!” The
battle system would be exactly like Chrono
Trigger’s but way cooler. Like, there would be a combo tech
where Crono spins Marle around and all her mummy bandages fly off and
she’s totally naked. Except that would only be in the Japanese version.
In the USA Nintendo would censor the nakedness so that it was tea
I'm just going to let me people enjoy this without comment, as that was
absolutely hilarious (amazing picture!)
So yeah, it would have all the best stuff from Chrono Trigger except its way dark
and mature. Like Crono totally kills this dude and you’re all like
“wooooah!” Also, Serge shows up, trips over a bug, and lands on a knife.
Well that would certainly make the Chrono
Cross haters happy. I think
you forgot to mention that Crono would have to talk now, and be a
whiney dude with spikier hair with a dark past. That'll make the kids
Anyway, thank you for two fantastic pitches!
Ogre Battle: Don't Stop Me Now
Hi there, Wheels. I want to enter the contest for a chance to win some
cool RPGs. Here is my idea for an Ogre Battle game. I actually wrote
this in 2006 for Ten Ton Hammer. I will include a link to the feature
page, but the relevant text is below:
Excellent! I was wondering when the Ogre Battle fans would show up with
some lengthy sequel ideas. Let's see what you've got.
The Ogre Battle series has
been confined to consoles, and its fan base may be a bit small...The
great thing Ogre Battle Online
(OBO) would bring is some
innovation to the genre of MMOGs. Hailing from turn-based strategy
roots, OBO would introduce a
new type of MMOG to the market. And if you're wondering about my
subtitle for OBO, previous Ogre Battle games have incorporated
Queen songs as subtitle. I thought no Queen song fit better than "Play
games have a tested core system for those who are familiar with it. It
would take some nifty marketing to get the rest of the gaming world
interested in the concept. Griefing would be less of a problem than
normal becuase of the juxtapostion of the Imperial and rebel forces;
players are suppoed to fight each other frequently. The bigger issue
would be preventing exploits in the battle mechanic that would make
gaining experience too easy. In Ogre
Battle games, certain classes mow down other specific classes
with ease (Knight vs. Mage or Exorcist vs. undead).
I love the Queen song sub-title.
Sounds like you have a good starting point as well. World of Warcraft showed how well
two warring factions can work out in a MMO type game. Obviously your
idea is much different, but conflict makes for an interesting world,
especially one involving strategy. MMOSRPG? Sign me up.
its predecessors, would feature an imperialistic government oppressing
the working-class. Players would be able to choose to become part of
the rebellion or enforce the law for the Empire. Though that story
breaks no new ground, OBO
would present a MMOG with world with complex political strife.
Decisions would be less black and white.
I'm not sure how that would work for
an online game though. Are we talking decisions that players on each
side ultimately would make as a group, that would change the current
state of the online world? Or would it be static for each player, where
each user experienced the story in their own way. The former would be
the most interesting of the two, though difficult to implement.
games have never really featured an overworld. Instead, players
navigate from plotpoint to plotpoint on a map. Along the way, players
encounter random enemies or major attacks. For OBO to work as an MMOG, players
need some sort of environment, though. Thus, I see OBO having a full overworld
teeming with enemy forces. Near the starting cities, players would
encounter very few enemies. NPCs tend to sympathize with others in
their region. As players move farther from their starting points,
they'd encounter cities that are torn between loyalty to the Empire and
a desire to see political change. OBO
players could influence the political landscape of the realm through
Thus, in addition to overworld locations such as the Tenne Plains and
Pogrom Forest, OBO would
largely feature cities as battle landscapes. But the world wouldn't be
all war all the time. See my ideas for diversions below.
What would such a world map look like
though? How would moving work? Your description isn't 100% clear on
this. I like the basic idea though. Try and create a living and
breathing world that really feels like it's at war, and really have
change driven by the players.
MMOGs [have] not [mixed] well with turn-based combat [in the past].
Wait--do they? Aren't the 6 seconds between quads from a skeleton in EverQuest II establishing turns? OBO would incorporate turns based
on initiative. All players with the current highest initiative could
act in one round. Then the next. Then the next. Combat would feature
the full grid-based movement system, and players could choose from
basic actions on their turns: attack, defend, cast, items. Players
would receive damage bonuses for flanking, and resistances and
elemental alignment would play a huge role in any battle.
Grouping in OBO would form
"Units," which could consist of up to 10 players. Whenever a Unit is
short some members, players could hire Imperial soldiers or rebel
vigilantes to fill out the Unit. Battles would be decided by defeating
all enemies on the field. Defeated players would be sent back to the
last headquarters visited, with a loss of all XP above the current
MMOGs have not mixed well with
turn-based combat, and it doesn't sound like your battle system would
fix many of the issues. MMOGs with cooldowns for abilities don't really
function the same as games with "turns" given that most of the time
other abilities can still be used during that period. A game like this
though, you have to wait while players make their move, select an
ability, and hope that no one walks away from their computer for some
reason (ok so clearly you'd have to have a turn time-limit). Even with
a time limit for turns, there will still be way too much down time.
This is the same issue that plagues multi-player in Civilization games. No matter what
kind of wrinkles you throw in it just doesn't work out all that well.
Not that I would care. I love turn-based strategy!
would tend toward things such as "Liberate the trade city of Velnan
from the Empire" and "Crush the rebel resistance at Lake Jansenia."
Even so, OBO would have room
for training exercises that could lead to XP. It is also possible to
envision rescue missions of the type of "Save the Seer's Daughter from
the Gryphons." This would be a great way to incorporate the wild
animals of the Ogre Battle
universe. These wild animals also show up in diversions below.
Counter to the rescurer missions, you
could then have kidnapping missions for the opposite faction, that then
start the rescuer missions when they're complete. Perhaps even have the
ability to use spies to find out that these missions are going to go
down, and lay a trap for the would-be kidnappers. That would really
give the quests a dynamic feel.
would start with a basic character--male or female, Empire or rebel. At
level 5, they would be able to choose a class based on training
completed at each level up. For instance, training at the Imperial
soldier training grounds would yield a Knight or Archer. Training
exclusively in the Arcane College would produce a Wizard or Mage. As
players increase in levels, they would be able to cross-train. Mix
Knight training with Exorcist training to produce of Paladin. Mix
Knight training with Thief training to produce a Ninja...OBO would allow for utility of pure
classes and hybrids alike.
Sounds mostly standard, but that's
perfectly fine. If it isn't broken, no need to fix it, right?
lend itself to a couple of no-brainer diversions: Diplomacy and
Breeding. Because of the politically-charged climate of the OBO, rebels could talk their way
into a major Imperial outpost on the premise of being Imperial spies.
Diplomacy would also help those destitute farmers on the outskirts of
the Empire to remain loyal to the king. In short, the Diplomacy system
would allow players to affect the tide of the civil war. Though the
Empire may have a firm grip on the region known as Zenobia this month,
rebel players working hard through battles and Diplomacy could shift
the balance next month--making Zenobia a dangerous place for
Imperial-aligned players to visit.
The Breeding program would allow players who choose the Beast Tamer and
Dragon Tamer classes to hone their skills in controlling monsters. They
can persuade wild beasts to join them, take the home, and eventually
breed them. The resulting beats could be rented for combat and further
bred to create more powerful creatures. The breeding classes could also
choose to take their beasts into combat with them, though they would be
controlled by the game's A.I.
Of course, OBO players would
be able to craft weapons and armor, convert beast hides into gear, brew
potions, and build boats and fortifications as well. When the whole
land is at war, everyone must chip in!"
Well I think your ideas fit the Ogre
Battle world quite well. I'm not sure how many of your ideas
would be implemented, but that is not a concern of this contest. Raids
and grinding replaced with political drama and a world that actually
changes based on the choices of the players? Yes please.
I still stand by most of what I wrote back then. It would be fun to
have some PvP action in the Ogre
Good luck with the contest.
Thanks for the pitch! I can say I did
not expect anyone to come up with the idea for a MMO Ogre Battle game.
The SaGa of Answering Letters Out of
While you haven't seen fit to put my Chrono
Trigger pitch into the column (yet), I saw something in the
latest column (Feb. 3rd, 2011) that I needed to reply to. It was
the bit about sequels to Final
Fantasy titles. To quote:
II-2? That's possibly the stupidest title of them all, but
at least it might allow people to beat themselves over the head to get
stronger once more.
Well first of all, I seem to be answering your letter out of order! As
you saw last week I did quite enjoy your Chrono pitch. Now, let's what
you've got to say about Jume's bashing of Final Fantasy II.
Sorry, Jumes, but I fail to see how this would be a stupid idea from a
story point of view. FF2
had a pretty decent world set up for an NES title. From this
comment, I'd guess it's all about the battle system though.
I would say so. Final Fantasy II's
battle system, as you know feels underdeveloped. You're right though,
it has a well-developed world for an 8-bit game, and I found its
location much more interesting than Final
Fantasy III's. All it would need is nice, updated battle system.
I'm surprised they haven't done that yet in one of the game's many
So I spent some time before classes started thinking, "Just what could
one do to improve Final Fantasy II?"
would be nice, perhaps clearly marking
different armor types or instituting
an equipment weight system (like in Unlimited
Saga) that affected spells. Removing the ability to hit yourself
would be good too, though some might not like the loss of a cheese
leveling method. Adding in weapon-related skills and combos would
be welcome as well.
So, if I am reading this correctly, essentially make it a SaGa game? Yes I think I would like
that very much. Maybe we'll see something like this the next time
Square Enix refreshes the first two Final
Fantasy games. The biggest issue I had was the increasing mp
costs of spells as they level up. It'd be nice if there was an option
to spend less mp for a lower level version when needed.
Then it hit me. I already knew a game like this. It has FF2's weapon leveling system,
combos, stat-leveling on the fly, and a complete inability to hit your
own guys intentionally. I'm playing it now, in fact.
<insert drum roll>
Which leads me to this question: How's SaGa 3
going for you? How close are
you to finishing? I've already beaten it once, and I'm doing an
all-Esper run now. Should I hold of on the review for a little while
longer so we can do a dual review combo? And do you agree that a
Racjin-developed, full-contact remake of Final Fantasy II à la SaGa
would be pure awesomeness?
Your fellow columnist,
I'm still not that far in, though I'm making progress when I can. It's
a bit harder to play when you don't know the language at all, sir. I'm
completely down with your idea though. SaGa 3's battle system is
fantastic. Considering how generic the original game's systems were, it
was complete surprise to see what they did with it. Final Fantasy II with that battle
system would be an amazing game. I mean, Final Fantasy II is basically a SaGa game anyway, right?
'Til next time Gaijin!
That's all for this week! Thanks for all the fantastic pitches so far.
It's going to be difficult to pick the eventual winner. More than that
though, theorizing about sequels like this is a lot of fun. Perhaps we
should do this again prior to the release of Mass Effect 3?
'Til next time!
Current Backlog: Metal Slime
January 19th: Wheels
January 26th: Wheels
February 3rd: Wheels
February 9th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Tales of Graces F in English!
2. Disgaea 4
3. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
4. Ys 1+2
5. Radiant Historia
On my Playlist:
2. Various Suikoden Music
3. Tales of Graces Soundtrack
1. Does Resonance of Fate deserve a sequel
(spiritual or otherwise)?
2. Should Konami continue the main series storyline of Suikoden, or
start fresh (if they make another Suikoden game)?
3. What character are you angry about not being in Dissidia 2?
4. Golden Sun Dark Dawn appears to be a success. Is it time for a
console entry in the series?
5. Should Camelot do a new SRPG franchise, since it's unlikely they'd
work with Sega again?