|And the Winners Are...
|March 2nd, 2011
03/02- 12:00PM EST
Hey All! Sadly, I'm a bit under the weather this week, so today
I've just got the winning contest pitches for you. I'll save my own
pitches for a future Q&A. Anyway, here are the winning pitches!
Complete, and uninterupted by my yammering.
1st Place- Chrono Trigger in Space
with Bonus Mummy Trigger Pitch
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
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.
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 alies and solving galatic intruige, but
always moving twoards the source of the Lavos race.
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.
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!
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
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.
Concerning all these ideas about a Chrono
2 and what the game could be about, well, who says it
has to be a sequel? Just because it has a "2" in the title, that
doesn't necessarily mean that it has to continue the story (case in
point: Street Fighter IV is
actually a prequel to Street Fighter
III), so why not a prequel, or even a retelling of the same
story? I know that the latter idea may seem dumb, but think about it.
This game is all about time travel, which, as was mentioned in the last
column, can get pretty complicated. So maybe they can remake the game
with a Mass Effect level of
freedom and consequence. Just think: what if you had to freedom to
decide on what to do and how to go about doing it, and not only seeing
the immediate consequences of your actions like in Mass Effect, but even the
far-reaching consequences when you travel to the future? And still keep
on playing the game and seeing it progress along the path of your past
(Possible spoiler alert) For
example, let's say you choose NOT to save the queen, Marle's ancestor,
when she is kidnapped towards the beginning of the game, and then
travel to the future. The kingdom could then be under the rule of a
different dynasty, since Marle's came to an end, and maybe your
character will have an entirely different love interest in her place
for the rest of the game as a result. Or going a little more extreme,
let's say you choose NOT to side with the humans in the stone age when
they fight with the lizard people, and as a result, the future will be
ruled by the lizard people, creating an entirely different game
experience! (I realize that this could cause continuity problems with
why your character can continue to even exist, but I'm just throwing
out ideas, not laying the groundwork for a serious game)
Furthermore, maybe instead of retelling the same game with a greater
level of freedom, maybe the game could start as a prequel of sorts,
taking place before the game. Going with nonauno's idea from the last
column about a possible threat that Lavos defeated and took the place
of, maybe the game could take a page from Eternal Darkness's book. In the
beginning of that game, your character had the choice between three
different deities, and his decision would determine which of those
deities would become the "evil" god, and which would become the "good"
god for the rest of the game (well, "good" in the sense that it opposes
the evil one). Melding that with the Mass Effect idea, and you can even
determine who will be the main bad guy in the game, and what the
conflict in the world would be about, thus creating multiple, seemingly
completely different RPG plot lines. Maybe what determines the game's
universe and conflict being about either angels and Derris-Kharlan like
in Tales of Symphonia, or
about fonons and fomicry like in Tales
Abyss could be what junction the universe took at the
beginning of time in those games. Who's to say maybe those two games
weren't once the same universe but took different time lines determined
by different forces of the universe? A game that let's you determine
the forces of the universe like this idea could be like a million
different RPGs rolled into one!
But wait! My crazy mind isn't done brain-storming yet! Since you have
an actual time machine, maybe you can actually travel back in time to
an earlier point in your game, and actually REDO quests differently, so
that you can see all the possible outcomes from all the possible
decisions without needing to play a different game file all over again!
This would actually eliminate the need to save multiple files in case
you regret some decisions early on, because, I mean, you have a
freakin' time machine! You should be able to redo past decisions and
mistakes! Unlike Mass Effect
where you would have to replay the game to try all the different story
progressions (the earlier the branching path, the more of the game you
would have to replay), this game with its time machine should allow you
to potentially see every possible story path and outcome to a decision
all in just one single file! If you want to go nuts with this idea,
maybe you can play all the way until you are about to reach the end of
the game, but then hop in your trusty little time machine, and warp
back all the way to the beginning of the game, and be able to redo the
quests from the game's exposition and play the entire game all over
again! I mean, the NPC's whom you interact with on the beginning quests
would have no way of knowing that all that time has passed for you and
your character (unless they can visibly see that you aged a few years
since they last saw you a couple of hours ago), and would let you
partake in those quests once again, and maybe try different story paths
this time around. And since you would probably be leveled up still,
that should reduce the tedium of repeating the easy parts of the game
and let you power through them to see the different story paths. I
understand that such an idea could take years or even decades of
development time to actually realize, since you'd have to create
thousands upon thousands of possible scenarios that goes even beyond Mass Effect's level of ambition,
but I can still dream, can't I?
Whew, typing that sure was a lot of fun! I hope you enjoy reading it as
much as I enjoyed thinking it up!
3rd Place-Ogre Battle Online
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:
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!"
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.
4th Place-Chrono Destroyer
Tell me what you think of this pitch.
It's an unknown period of time after the events of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. In fact, such an
extended period has passed that both humans and mystics have vanished
from the planet. In their place, a new sentient race has occupied the
planet- the descendants of Lavos. That's right, the Lavos Spawn, the
ones who were prophesied to destroy the planet... are living peacefully
Until, on a random jaunt, a small group stumbles upon a
thousands-year-old pod, a strange device of unknown technology. The
somewhat brash leader of the group presses a prominent red button on
the side, and with a whoosh the pod opens, and out falls out a young,
spiky-haired... human. He slowly opens his eyes, and vanishes. The
Lavos Spawn rush home, only to find that the creature has obliterated
their peaceful hometown, and now they must undertake a journey to
uncover the truth- to their existence, to the actions of the
newly-revived Chrono, and find a way to fix things.
That's all for this week! Thanks for the many great pitches. I really
wish that I could just give all of you prizes, as the response to this
contest was fantastic. I've still got some good ones that haven't been
posted yet, so looks like I'll still be talking about crazy sequel
ideas for awhile yet!
If I'm feeling better this weekend, I'll try and get up a short regular
Q&A up for you all.
'Til next time!
Current Backlog: As large as my
February 3rd: Wheels
February 9th: Wheels
February 16th: 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. Deus Ex
5. Dragon Age 2
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?