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Tales of More Stuff
March 16th, 2012

03/16- 12:00PM EST

Happy Tales of Grace F release week! Yes, I've taken a break from playing this great RPG, along with Mass Effect 3, to bring you some more Q&A. If you didn't catch it on twitter, you can have a chance to win a copy of Ys: Oath in Felghana on Steam if you send me in a pitch for a prequel to some RPG. The deadline is Sunday.

On to your letters!





The Letters
Prequel Galaxy

I'd like a Rogue Galaxy prequel, it's high time Level 5 went back to that science-fantasy IP instead of the usual high fantasy fare. I think there's a lot of unexplored storyline in that universe, possibly the story of Dorgengoa and how he became a pirate captain, or the story of Zegram the bounty hunter with the mysterious past. Alternately, I'd like a game that focuses on Kisala's perspective as the protagonist.

-Anonynamja


Wheels

I wasn't the biggest fan of Rogue Galaxy, but there's no doubt it has its charms, and we certainly need moe science-fantasy type IPs to change things up. It sounds like the game has a lot of unexplored territory, and there's no doubt Level 5 could produce some incredible looking HD visuals to go along with it. This could also fix some of the bland dungeons I remember seeing in the game, and make the universe more interesting to explore. Regardless, I think you'd find a lot of fan support for this idea, so here's hoping it comes true! I mean, it couldn't be as bad as Level 5's White Knight Chronicles games, right (sorry that was harsh!)?

Tales of History

Dear Wheels,

The Devil Children games are often regarded as Pokémon clones. While not entirely false, it was MegaTen that invented the monster-catching genre, so who copied who first? These are aimed at children, having less violent and lighter stories and making most demons cutesy and/or cartoony. If you haven’t guessed, DemiKids Light and Dark Version released for the GBA are part of this sub-series. Before them were a number of games for GBC and PSX. They even received GBA sequels, which along with some side games, I’ll go into more briefly.


Wheels

The MegaTen series certainly did monster-catching first, but I think the clone talks come from the fact that these games are all about the monster collecting, instead of it just being the way the game handles battles, like is the case for most of the series. Similar to calling the Dragon Quest Monster games clones, I think it is valid there as well, because though Dragon Quest V did it before Pokémon, it was simply a way the game presented party building, and not the primary focus. Anyway, continue!

The first games were called Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Black Book and Red Book, released for the Gameboy Color in 2000. Much like Pokémon, there was also a  "third version" called White Book released in 2001. Unlike Pokémon, these games starred different characters and had different, though intertwining stories. It would take me too long to go into each one, so I'll just say that the stories center around kids who discover that they are Devil Children, half-demon and half-human (indeed, the protagonist of Black Book, Setsuna Kai is literally the son of Sat--erm, Lucifer), giving them the ability to recruit demons and have a partner demon guide. Much like other early MegaTen games, the demons do not level-up and they must be fused  or new ones recruited by conversing with them to get stronger ones. Devil Children apparently summon demons using a gun-like item called the Devil Riser. Though these children level up, they themselves do not fight, but instead send out two demons at once.  It is also possible to battle and trade human opponents using the link cable. The initial Devil Children games are apparently similar to the more recent DemiKids, except the latter lets you use three demons at a time and has better graphics . Considering what fellow staffer Nyx thought of Demikids, this may not be a good thing. Red and Black Book were ported to the PSX in 2002, bundled together with enhanced graphics, somewhat better sounds, and added an animated opening and voice acting.


Wheels

They sound interesting enough, but I'm guessing based on that last comment, that may not be the case. Anyway, I think the series is best when it focuses on doing combat well, and then integrates the demon collecting/summoning into, so I feel like focusing on the latter may have been bad.

The next set of Devil Children games were released in North America, better known as DemiKids. As mentioned before, these games received direct sequels in 2003 on the GBA: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Fire Book and Ice Book. They star DemiKid's protagonists, Jin for Fire Book and Akira for Ice Book and like the rest of the sub-series, the two games' stories are different, but they intertwine. There is very little information out there on these games from what I could find, so I have no idea if the gameplay has improved in any way. After these games came Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Messiah Riser, released on the GBA in 2004. It's a real-time strategy game for a change of pace. Even so, the story is stock JRPG (stop the evil empire from awakening a massively powerful sealed demon), the interface is clunky, and the unit AI is a bit dumb. Sounds like a real winner. :P


Wheels

I never really heard of them when they came out, but based on the reviews out there I guess I didn't miss much? The real-time strategy one sounds like an interesting idea, even though I can't really picture that kind of game working out too well on the GBA!

Being a series aimed at kids, Devil Children got its own trading card game. There was also a video game titled  Shin Megami Tensei Trading Card: Card Summoner, released for the GBC in 2001 and aimed at kids. I'm actually not certain if this game is directly based on the Devil Children card game since the title doesn't have the "Devil Children" in it, but I'll include it here anyway . Though there are portions of the game were you walk around and talk to people, most of the game involves fighting card battles and getting new cards. Another GBA side game, this time for DemiKids is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Puzzle de Call! The game stars Jin and Akira's partner demons, and they must rescue the boys by navigating through Sokoban box puzzles. Normally I see these puzzles within RPG, but not as entire video games. There are other things added to spice-up the gameplay, like boss battles and having a limited amount of time to get to an egg that hatches into a helper demon, but it still doesn't sound terribly exciting. I'm sure it will also come as no surprise that the first Devil Children games and DemiKids were both adapted into 50/52 episode anime series.


Wheels

Sounds like Atlus went pretty hard for the kids market for awhile there. I mean a Trading Card game? Anime?

I assume that Devil Children must have had some success in Japan to get this many games and other media tie-ins. Even so, it seem to have finally petered out after 2004, as there hasn't been anything for the sub-series since then.  This is probably another branch of the franchise most of us wouldn't miss (though it is getting more votes in this month's poll than Majin Tensei, oddly). But hey, even Atlus is allowed to tap into the kids' games market  once, right? It's not like it lasted anyway, heh.  On a related note and in regards to your response to my last letter, you are right in surmising that the Shin Megami Tensei label didn't start being used in North America until Nocturne. However, DemiKids Light/Dark actually have the Japanese Shin Megami Tensei logo on the boxes despite not having SMT in their English titles, and those games came out about a year before Nocturne. Go figure.

My Megami Tensei history lessons are nearly finished! Next time, I'll discuss some stand-alone games. Until next time, Wheels!

Strawberry Eggs



Wheels

Sounds like things petered out around the same time many other Pokémon clones did. I'm not really surprised they gave it a try, since so many other companies did at the same time. It's too bad the games weren't more interesting. Oh well, at least we didn't miss much?

Looking forward to hearing about the stand-alone games! Does this mean we finally get to hear about that Virtual Boy game?

P.S. The two games I've played in the franchise are Devil Survivor and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. I've played both the original Devil Survivor and Overclocked for the 3DS, so you could consider that three games, or two-and-a-half or something.


Wheels

That's interesting, as Strange Journey is what got me into the series! Oddly it wasn't actually playing Strange Journey. I had loved Etrian Odyssey (playing it several years late) so Strange Journey looked very interesting after enjoying EO so much. I actually picked up some other SMT games beforehand however, so it wasn't the first one I played.

Prequel Trigger

Hi, my name is Wes Falls.  I am an aspiring indie-game maker with Secret-Arts Games.  The following is just an idea I had, not anything I have any immediate plans on pursuing development for.


Wheels

Very cool, let's see what you've got!

I am going to take the easy route and hit on Chrono Trigger.  Fan-sequels and prequels to this game have been churned out wholesale since the game first came out.  I choose not to incorporate characters from either Chrono game, rather I choose to try and grasp for a thematic similarity--which is what I believe made Chrono Trigger such a great game in the first place.


Wheels

I don't know if I'd call that the easy route, but that's OK. I'm all for more Chrono type games.

Canon Arch - A Chrono Trigger Prequel

Once upon a time, there was a village in the Kingdom. Then, one day, the village, and its people,
vanished without a trace; the Kingdom went on as if they village had never been. All, it would seem, had forgotten the village, save for one person—a young boy.

The Boy lived on in other places, ridiculed for his memory by those who had forgotten. Until the day came when he met a Girl who, too, remembered.

The Girl told him that he was living in a Deluded Timeline. A nefarious, but unknown, agency had hewed whole great spans from the Deluded Timeline, causing those left after to lose memory of what had been altered. The Girl showed him the way to another world, to the Anomalous Timeline.


Wheels

I like it already! I really enjoyed the split timeline idea explored in Chrono Cross, so it sounds like this is more along the same line. Am I to guess the eventual Chrono Trigger timeline is the correct one?

The Anomalous Timeline was an amalgam of all the spans of time stripped from the Deluded Timeline. All stolen time-spans existed concurrently with one-another. Prehistoric dinosaurs were ridden by medieval knights who tilted their lances against futuristic robots. She told the Boy that in order to restore the Concordant Timeline, the Boy must traverse the chaotic Anomalous Timeline and find a way to restore each stolen time-span.

As the Boy's quest took him back and forth between the Timelines, his effort in the Anomalous Timeline caused changes to the Deluded Timeline. Slowly the people regained their memories, as if they'd always had them. When finally the Concordant Timeline again came to be, the cause for its prior alteration became evident. Only by hiding its Fate from it, could the Planet have been saved from destruction.
 
 
"Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death."


Wheels

Very interest, sounds like a good start to me. I'd be very interested to hear more though. Care to expand on it at all? I look forward to hearing more!


Blizzard goes non-global
 
Why does Blizzard not acknowledge that we all live on the same planet but try to segregate us instead?

-Whaleman


Wheels

I really have no idea. I mean, was it always like this? I recall that it once possible somehow, to have some Americans, an Australian, and someone from Sweden all playing Warcraft III together online. Granted it was incredible to begin with that they were all online at the same time, but I don't get the move to restrict servers by region. Didn't they eventually move World of Warcraft away from that? This is a new global age, where online communities are often spread out across the globe. Whatever the reason for segregating regions, it simply is not a good enough excuse. Thankfully, importing is also very easy to do in the modern age, so at least there's a way around it!
IN CLOSING

That's it for this week!

I'm headed back to play some more Tales of Graces F...

-Wheels


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