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ASK WHEELS
A Q&A SaGa
March 9th, 2011

03/09- 12:00PM EST

  After an awesome recording of RPG Backtrack about the SaGa series, so I'm in a SaGa kind of mood this week. I think I'll play some Unlimited Saga, and try and finish up the SaGa 2 remake. How many of you out there are fans of the series? Anyway, I'd like to thank you all for the fantastic contest entries! There's even more that I haven't yet responded to, and you're welcome to keep sending in your crazy ideas






The Letters
Why Is Nintendo Leaving us in the Xeno-Dark?

Dear Wheels,
 
Sorry for not sending a letter in a while. I've been sort of busy, but perhaps you already knew that, heh.


Wheels

Indeed, welcome to the staff! RPGamer is much better with you on board. This also increases the number of Tales fans on-staff.

Anyway, it seems that everywhere I go, people are worrying about whether or not Xenoblade, formerly known as "Monado: The Beginning of the World" will be localized. While I understand the anxiety, I have to wonder if people haven't heard certain bits of information which, I believe, indicate that there is still a decent chance of this game being released in North America (can't say the same for PAL regions, I'm afraid):
 
1) The old "Monado" title was retrademarked last December. It interestingly co-incided with the removal of Monado from NoA's official site.
 
2) The web domain www.xenoblade.com exists, though it relinks to NoA.
 
3) The game was first revealed at E3 2009, under the old Monado title.

Wheels

To provide further evidence, amazon.com has a pre-order page for the game, complete with screen shots and a mock-up box art. This is more than they usually have for announced games with unknown release dates. So that's certainly a good sign. I have a feeling that Nintendo is holding off some Wii releases as not to interfear with the release of the 3DS.
 
As I understand it, trademarking and retrademarking names does not necessarily mean said game will ever come out. However, why go through the trouble of removing the game AND retrademarking its name if Nintendo decided against releasing the game? I believe this may indicate that they will actually be releasing the game as "Xenoblade" rather than "Monado," and kept the Monado trademark for whatever legal reasons they have.  The web domain could support this, though i'm less sure on that. I imagine that, at the soonest, we won't hear about this game until E3 to confirm any localization or name changes. On some level, I'm surprised about people forgetting the game's debut, but I remind myself that not all game shown at E3s get released. I should note that people who have sent emails to Nintendo inquiring about Xenoblade have gotten the basic response of "the game will be called 'Mondo: The Beginning of the World' and is listed as TBD'" I wonder if that response has changed with the recent removal of the game's name.


Wheels

That's a good question, one of which I hope someone will ask of them. I plan on inquiring about the game while I'm at Pax East. I really do think this is all a matter of timing though. Nintendo has been gearing up for the 3DS launch, not to mention a new entry in a certain collecting based RPG. I think the title I'm more worried about is the latest Fire Emblem for DS. We've been getting all the games in the series for awhile now, so it'd be a shame to miss one.

So, what do you think? Do we have a decent shot at getting this game, or is all my optimism misplaced?
 
Well, that's all for now. Until next time, Wheels!
 
-Strawberry Eggs


Wheels

I think your optimism is well placed, and I expect to hear about this, and hopefully The Last Story as well in the near future. The only time I would be worried is if E3 comes and goes without any news. There's still plenty of time before that though!

'Til next time.


Follow-up SaGa

Yo wheels, what's crackin'?
 
You asked which ending would go along with my sequel idea. To that, I point you to a list of endings because it's just way easier this way.

Wheels

Are there really that many endings? I didn't even realize it. I need to pick this game up again some time and try and get all of them. Nice excuse to play Chrono Trigger again!


On that page, 12a or 12b would be the perfect endings. 12a because it gives Crono a reason to keep time traveling, or 12b because in the sequel you obviously wouldn't want the Epoch sitting in Lucca's garage waiting to be exploited. Your idea to choose one and go from there would certainly work with these two endings as well. Even though I don't think Crono would necessarily be the main character of the sequel (though I certainly am not against the idea), it could determine when/how you meet up with him or any of the others throughout your game as well as whether or not you get the old Epoch to fly around in or have to find/rely on some new mode of travel. I love flying...


Wheels

That's kind of a goofy ending to go with (mom wandering into a time portal) but that would give you an excuse to keep the sequel more light-hearted. That's a great starting point to work from anyway, perhaps some new threat shows up in the wake of Lavos? 

As for the way fighting is handled, the more I think about Rogue Galaxy and FFXII having super amazing battle systems, the more I realize that a combination of those two systems would work best. Have the RPG/turn-based style refelect FFXII (possibly even have the gambit system return in some form) while the character cooperation and teamwork acts more like Rogue Galaxy.


Wheels

Sounds good by me! Since the original involved combo and tri-attacks, this would make perfect sense for the series. Include all new kinds of combination attacks, and of course recreate some of the old ones in glorious 3D. Considering how much I love Final Fantasy XII, anything similar to that would be good by me.

To back up my desire of having the game on a console, I would like to add that having more time-lines as DLC would probably be about the best thing ever. Along with that each DLC could offer more endings to unlock as well. As a bit of a stretch, maybe the DLC could offer new characters to play. If he wasn't already in the game, I'd certainly be willing to pay a couple bucks to have Frog journey with me through CT2. Or as a super stretch, Sora. Because why hasn't that been an option for RPGs yet? Downloadable characters with new builds, weapons, etc... Maybe people would've liked FFXIII more if they could've downloaded Serah to replace Vanille or Fang. Or Sazh. Or anyone else... Sorry. Just really hated FFXIII. SPOILER (Anyone else think Hope should totally've iced Snow when he had the chance? It would've made the game so much more epic as far as the storyline was concerned.) Anyway!


Wheels

Hey, I actually liked Snow, in battle anyway. Anyway, downloadable characters would have been a cool idea, but based on the story of Final Fantasy XIII, it would have been hard to have them make sense in the larger story. That's the major problem with doing downloadable characters. Unless your game is something like Mass Effect 2, or even Disgaea 3, where characters can easily be excluded from the plot, it's difficult to throw in new characters. Of course, if this sequel is more like Chrono Cross, with many characters that often just add some comments here and there, it could work. Regardless, downloadable Frog would be the best thing ever.

My friends have been trying to get me to pick up New Vegas. I am still unsure. One of them (a very tactical, number-crunching gamer) says that pretty much any build you make ends up being way overpowered (Seriously, one-shotting the Legendary Death Claw on Very Hard? Why is that possible?). Another complains about it as much as he praises it, and I have yet to see any videos or read any opinions that would sway me otherwise. Am I missing something?
 
Thanks for your time,
Kain Vinosec (whom is now totally an author by the way)
www.EmbracingFate.com


Wheels

You are missing something. While the game doesn't change much from Fallout 3 in terms of gameplay, it's world is a vast improvement over that game. That's Obsidian's specialty, and considering some that worked there helped create the Fallout series, it is very interesting to see them working on it again. All and all, it is more than worthy of your time, especially considering it has dropped in price.

Look forward to hearing from you again!


Mirror Mirror, Who's the biggest Chrono fan of them All?

It would be bold and foolish of me to say that I am the biggest Chrono fan. So I won't. Having said that, however, I am indeed the biggest Chrono fan.

Wheels

You think that do you? I still use an AOL instant messanger name I created 15 years ago based on my love for the game, can you top that?

When I first played Chrono Cross, I had been aching for seven years to find out what was next. What could possibly come after the greatest game of all time? I was incredibly disappointed at first because Cross was nothing at all like Trigger, and any references made to the first instalment seemed somewhat forced. Except the music--the way they remixed the Trigger tunes was absolutely brilliant.
However, after I finished the game and set it aside for a while I dared to give it a second chance and I realised something: Chrono Cross is a good game. My mistake was to compare it to the first. Despite the connections, Cross is really not a continuation of Trigger. As a stand-alone game, Cross does quite well for itself--and I think that's the key for creating a new instalment in the Chrono series. Thus far, the Chrono series, in terms of commonality between games lies somewhere between Final Fantasy and Mana.
See, when you create something great, it's sometimes a mistake to attempt to expand on or continue what you have. Chrono Trigger's story has been told, so Chrono Cross didn't need to say that much more about it. And, as someone else commented,  since time travel had already been covered, it was necessary to examine inter-dimensional travel.
Wheels

Man, I can't really add much because you pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'll just mainly add that Chrono Cross was also developed by a different team. I'm sure they wanted to make something of their own, not just an easy follow up. I commend them for being that bold and doing something different. I'll bet the reason many dislike the game is simply because it isn't a carbon copy of Chrono Trigger, which is a shame.

So, where do I want to see the next Chrono instalment go? I want it to have as much to do with Trigger or Cross, as CC had to do with CT. Let's tell a new story. From what we understand, Lavos has been doing more than wreaking havoc on this world. Where else has it laid waste? I'd like to see its effects on another world. Perhaps in another world where its inhabitants are not so lucky as to have the secrets of time/dimensional travel available. Naturally, some element of time must be incorporated to make it a Chrono game. But what if it examined the unyielding effects time has on people? It could be a kind of survival-esque game that shows how time trudges on, and sometimes no matter how hard you fight, you just don't have enough time and are helpless to change what could have been. I know that sounds kind of dark, but "good guys" don't always win--or its effects are not necessarily immediately evident. Imagine a game with 12 different endings that always showed you losing. Depressing? Realistic? Refreshing? Sometimes, the future refuses to change.

~Simon

Wheels

Wow, that is pretty dark. Maybe throw in one really hard to get ending that's somewhat happy? I like the idea though. They can't beat Lavos, and the game is more about the journy they take trying to do so, and the personal story of the people involved. I think this could make for a really touching and mature game if done right. What would you call it though? Great idea though! I'd like you to write back and expand on it some more, if you would!

Look forward to hearing more of your ideas!

A Shining Question

Hidei ho good virtual neighbor!!

I was sitting @home one day thinking of all the Q and A's I have read of @Wheels columns I don't know if there was a question asked or answered about the Shing Force series. So here goes: "Wheels, I enjoyed Shining Force 1-3 for the genesis and saturn as well as the sega cd version. I even played the remake of the first one on GBA. Why do you think they haven't packaged them together for nostalgia's sake? I would buy them. I know they have 1 and 2 for the genesis collection. I wish they would bring out Shining Force Feather for the ds, instead they make Shining Force spin-offs like neo, exa and tears ( I like tears though)" what are your thoughts on this o great Wheels of the Q and A column?

til next time

Gamer emporium


Wheels

Well I'm sure I've talked about Shining Force at some point, as it's one of my favorite series of all time. I'd love to see a Shining Force collection, but I don't get the feeling that Sega thinks there's a big enough audience to release something like that. I mean, there hasn't even been one in Japan! I'm sure the difficulties of Saturn emulation would make including Shining Force 3 difficult, but I don't believe there's been a collection of the other games. The worst part about the games you mention, is I can't even blame Sega all that much for trying to reinvent the series in different ways. With the original developer, Camelot, no longer working with Sega, it seems they've just struggled finding any kind of direction for the series. It was nice to see Shining Force Feather take the series back to its SRPG roots, however I don't think it did much in the Japanese market, and thus never made its way here. My current hope is not even for the Shining series. At this point I'd settle for Camelot to just make more SRPGs, perhaps based on the world of Golden Sun. You can always check out Shining Force Central's campaign to save the series. It's nothing if not an admirable effort.

We all miss Shining Force Sega!

IN CLOSING

That's all for this week! Next week I'm not sure when I'll be able to get Q&A up, as I'll have some Pax East writeups to do. However, there will be a column! Keep the great questions coming.

-Wheels

Current Backlog: Need more Shining Force

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