|Welcome to the Year of
|June 24th, 2011
06/10- 12:00PM EST
There sure are a lot of third games in series coming out this
year. We've got Battlefield 3,
Deus Ex 3, Modern Warfare 3, F.3.A.R., and I'm probably
a few. With that in mind, are there any series you'd like to see get a
third entry? Personally I'd have to go with Resonance of Fate. Yes, I know
there isn't a second game, but that needs fixing too!
OK, on to your letters/tweets...
Hey Wheels! Sorry it's taken me so long to write in again.
For some reason I was assuming you wouldn't have a Q&A up for E3
week. Dunno why I thought so, since it certainly didn't stop me
from putting anything up.
Certainly not, I even waited and made sure to title it with an
appropriate Wii-U related pun.
First, Avadon. I've got a question about this one, which has
nothing to do with gameplay. I've saturated my brain with far too many
fantasy worlds over the years, and made up quite a few myself, so I'm a
little hesitant on this one. Not because the premise isn't interesting
the graphics are bad (because really, a graphical purist I am not), but
because of the names on the map. Replacing vowels willy-nilly
the letter Y in what would otherwise be a normal English-sounding word,
i.e. Wyldrylm for Wild Realm? Red flag for me. Please tell me the name
schemes got better.
To be honest I didn't even notice that one until you mentioned it, so I
can't really say if the other names in the game will pass your naming
standards. The others certainly aren't as obvious. As far as character
names go, they're pretty standard, but certainly not bad. I've never
been a stickler for names being unique and all, but I'll grant you
names like Wyldrylm certainly could use some work.
Second, there was a Banpresto tactical title called Battle Robot Retsuden that made use
of hexagonal grids, way back in the Super Famicom era. It was a sort of
alternative version of Super Robot
Wars featuring many of the same classic series mecha.
Interesting, I should have figured there would be some kind of
robot/mech type game that used hex grids. I wonder if there's ever been
a similar Mechwarrior title?
Seems like a title like this, will all kinds of variables and different
sorts of weapons would be best suited for a hex grid style setup. Is
there a whole robot/mech tactics game genre in Japan that the West
isn't even aware of with more games like this?
Also... SaGa spin-off? Too easy. Also, I can't win this contest
anyway. So instead I'm going to talk about Kaijuu RamPaGe instead. Remember
that one from back in May? In my regular commuter free time, I've had
far too much fun elaborating on this idea.
Oh man, more Rampage
craziness, I love it. Speaking of which, whatever happened to that
series? I know it hasn't really evolved at all as a series since the
arcade games, but you'd think they'd have Rampage titles all over the
downloadable space, and on iPhones right? Anyway, back to your ideas.
I was imagining a battle system that had four major stats: Bash,
Grapple, Heft, and Action%. That last one is the measure of how
much the character can still do in a turn, and is reduced by moving,
jumping, grabbing, or hitting things, in a set percentage depending on
the type or duration of action. It replenishes at a set (but
adjustable) amount every round, and can be stored up for later use in a
battle. Bash would be the stat governing all direct physical
damage, both to enemies and infrastructure. When hitting an enemy,
there would be a choice of Light, Medium, or Heavy hits, with accuracy
critical hit chance being inversely proportionate. Light blows
hit faster, but rarely hit hard. Heavy hits are powerful, but
likely to miss. Linking a sequence of hits together boosts the
accuracy of all, though. Critical hits include the possibility
that an enemy will be knocked off its feet. If a unit, friendly or
otherwise, is knocked over, it spends the rest of the time till its
next turn in that condition. Any unit that has an action before that
time can walk over, grab it, and throw it into the nearest wall. The
amount of Action% necessary for the throw depends on how high the
thrower's Grapple stat is, versus how hefty the throwee happens to
be. Alternately, the attacker can jump on top of the downed
character, and then proceed to stomp it into the dirt (damage based on
the attacker's Heft). Heftier units can't move as fast or jump as far,
OK you really need to get hired by some game company so these ideas can
get made into games. Seriously, this sounds pretty fantastic to me.
Sounds like it could be similar to a battle system like the one in Xenogears, where combos are a big
focus. That combined with movement and probably various terrain
concerns (such as jumping down on a foe from on top of a building)
could make for quite the fun game.
The next thing to consider is what monsters to populate the world with.
need to address something you said in the May 26 Q&A first, though:
That's all well and good (always with the
giant robots), but couldn't you
ditch towns entirely, or at least, make some kind of giant monster town
something? Also, based solely on the characters in Rampage shrinking
to humans, couldn't that be an option as well? Of course towns could
be sequences of destruction, I'd be down for that.
Making a giant monster town would take something away from the overall
story, I believe. Assuming that we have people-turned-kaijuu as
characters, a big theme would be the fact that there's no place for
in the world, and providing such a place (in this scenario, when
appear out of the blue) would cheapen the impact. Same goes for letting
the characters shrink down to normal. There's no pathos if it's
for everyone to suddenly change back to normal.
Now for the monsters. The small fry are easy. There are just tons of
cheesy monster movies to borrow from. How about fire
ants? Tarantulas? Hordes of locusts
attacking Chicago? Killer snails
in SoCal? Giant cockroaches devouring Cincinnati? How about an
extraterrestrial turkey buzzard with an antimatter shield? Nah...
just be too silly. Of course, there's also the matter of local
governments or citizens not knowing (or not caring) if the monsters are
Sounds like going with no towns would be the best option then.
Creating a sense of isolation, even from the people our monster hero is
trying to protect would be quite interesting. Also I absolutely vote
for "The Claw" to be the hero out of the monsters you listed.
Main characters and foes need some extra thought though, so here's what
have so far:
Major William Thom was the first to pilot the XLCR-1, the space-capable
fighter craft intended to take the war to the aliens. However, he was
hit en route by a missile carrying one of the aliens'kaijuu-making energy pods, and
crashed-landed in the
middle of the Great Basin. The pod's energy made him merge with
the high-tech alloys of the XLCR-1, as well as with every other bit of
metal in a 10-mile radius. Thus was born the Magnetic Man, a 18-meter
tall ambulating junkyard in reasonably human form. His special ability
is magnetism. He can forcibly attract all metal within a given radius
of his position, damaging infrastructure and
metallic units (both friend and foe) while adding material to
himself. This increases his Heft considerably, while all his
ranged attacks involve ripping parts of himself off and throwing them
at the enemy, thus reducing
Sybil Hayes was a college junior with a sports scholarship to a state
school. At 6'3" she was used to standing out in a crowd. On an
early morning jog, she came across an alien energy pod, and soon found
herself magnified to ten times her original size. As the 64-Foot
(rounded down) Woman, she's now one of the tallest kaijuu on record. While she doesn't
have any special
attacks like electricity or fire breath, she does have three years of
self-defense judo classes under her belt, and she can lift and throw
things that other party members can't. Her biggest asset is sympathy.
Human, or formerly human, units are less likely to attack her.
Little Gizmo was given to Faye and Raye Vina for their tenth birthday
-- a darling little terrier, happy and energetic. Until the day a
bright green rock fell from the sky and pulverized Gizmo's doghouse,
and suddenly the
little puppy wasn't so little anymore. Now she's Canine Kong --
wild, hairy, and huge. She only listens to the twins, and will do
anything to make them safe and happy. While she's now bipedal,
she still prefers to run on all fours, making her one of the fastest
units available. Pretty much all her attacks are speed-based, though
she does have a mean howl attack.
Now that is a set of interesting monsters, to be sure. I think The 64-Foot
(rounded down) Woman would make a hilarious movie title for the
record. These are a nice change from what people expect, that being
giant lizards or apes etc.
Not long after the monstrous onslaught began, New York City went quiet.
The citizens went about their business in strange, subdued silence.
had taken over the city. This giant, multipart monster had originally
a group of nine alley cats, now grotesque and joined at the tail. The
alien pod had affected not only the cats, however, but also their
parasites. With its very breath, Scourge spread a powerful strain of toxoplasmosis across the city. The parasites
rats into lesser kaijuu and make humans into obedient thralls
defend Scourge even as it devours them. Once defeated, however, three
mutant kittens split off from Scourge to become Trickitty, an ally that
shares the original's ability to strike from multiple angles
The town of Gerania, a few miles east of Binger, OK, was celebrating. A
new oil field had just been discovered beneath the town, and its few
families all had a stake in the action. That night, an unscheduled
shower lit up the sky, and the next day a small, smoking crater was
in the middle of Main Street. From that hole flowed the Ebon Ichor. By
the time the specialists are called in, the entire town has been
in the black sludge, and the few survivors told tales of strange shapes
roaming the streets. In this scenario, the Ichor is both an
factor and the main enemy. All enemy units are actually extensions of
-- they can seemingly teleport to any location covered by the Ichor,
cannot be knocked down or thrown because they're attached to it, and
whenever one is defeated, a new one is spawned to replace it on the
turn. Every time one is spawned, however, its HP are taken directly
the Ichor's. Also, while the Ichor is completely immune to throws, it
not immune to stomping, so a unit can be moved to an ichor-covered hex
simply jump up and down until the sludge retreats a bit. And since it's
technically kaijuu-fied petroleum, it's also highly
that might just put the property damage above acceptable levels.
Two fantastic villains. I'm a big fan of cats, and evil mutant kittens
infecting with some kind of weird scourge sounds fantastic. Combine
that with something that sounds like an extreme version of a certain
black ooze from the Spider-Man
series, and I think we've got a winner here. How about a title though?
I propose Rampage RPG: The Black
Ooze Kitten Conundrum.
Wow, once you think of a good monster, the scenarios just sorta write
themselves, don't they?
To finish this off (because really, it's getting kinda long at this
point), it's time for a challenge. Take something that is not
normally associated with RPGs, and make that one thing the central
point of the entire game. For an example, there's Inazuma Eleven. It's not just an
RPG with a soccer mini-game. It's a game where the battles are soccer
scrimmages, where the enemies try to dominate through sport, and where
all the items and equipment match the theme perfectly. A
different sort of example, though still sports-based, would be Barkley's Shut Up and Jam Gaiden,
which had a gritty post-apocalyptic feel centered entirely on the
mystic and destructive power of the slam dunk. Bonus points if
you can come up with something that doesn't involve sports.
Your fellow columnist,
But...I wanted to make some kind of crazy post-apocalyptic baseball
game! Alright, let me ponder this one for a bit and I will try and come
up with something for next week!
Wheels, the Answerer of All
I met this Japanese chick while playing Red Dead Redemption a while
back. Her PSN avatar is that of Terra from FFVI. I asked her about it
and she told me to go to the Playstation store. I looked around, it
wasn't there, and she really couldn't help me since her english wasn't
very good. Are FF Amano art avatars only available to people with a
Japanese PSN account? Or what?
That would be correct. There's a lot of cool stuff that is sadly only
available on the Japanese PSN store. You can buy Japanese PSN cards
from places such as play-asia
and there are many available guides on the net that can tell you how to
create a Japanese PSN account. The only issue you may run into is I
don't know if PSN avatars are a download available to any PSN account
on your PS3, or tied to whichever PSN account you purchased them with.
I'd test this out by creating a second US account and seeing if any
avatars you've purchased on that PS3 are available to that account. If
that works, go for it. Hope this helped!
Mr. Square Wheels, it seems time to submit some more Q&A
content. Are you ready?
I am as ready as I'll ever be
There actually is a hex grid tactical game, though I'm not surprised
you wouldn't remember it. Dark
Wizard on the Sega CD uses that system, and sometime I'll go
back to it. Of course, Sega has ignored the Sega CD's library
ever since the system died, and it doesn't have the kind of following
consoles that worked without being attached to other consoles do.
Wow, I knew of some RPGs on Sega CD
(for example, there's a Sega CD version of Eye of the Beholder), but I've
never heard of this one. It looks like a neat little tactical game, but
I can't see why it even needed to be on Sega CD. I hope it had some
great music or something.s
Connection game time! Link
Masculine/Feminine to Growlanser
You won't rest until you've broken me,
will you? A 1960s French movie to a game from a smaller Japanese
publisher... let's see what we can do with this. Alright, now try to
keep up with this one:
was directed by Jean-Luc
Godard->Godard directed the 1987 film King Lear->King Lear was released in Italy on
DVD by 20th Century Fox->20th Century Fox produces the Aliens
films->Sega published Aliens vs.
Predator using said franchise->Sega published Dragon Force in Japan-> Working
Designs published Dragon Force in
the US-> Working Designs published Growlancer
Generations in the US.
I'll rant a bit more about the fifth Fire
Emblem, just for you. The subject this time is the
game's refusal to guarantee anything when it comes to the chance of an
attack hitting. If you've played a game in this series (and I
think you have), then you know that anything between 0 and 100% is just
a little bit dangerous. Well, in this game, you will never see
either 0 or 100% for the chance an attack will hit. Enemies will
always have at least a 1% chance to hit you (and usually quite a bit
more than that), while your characters will never have more than 99%
accuracy. As someone who has seen attacks with 99% chance to hit
nevertheless miss, this aspect of the game just makes for a bigger
Also, yes, Thracia 776 was
released on the Super Nintendo in 1999. Apparently it was on a
service (in Japan only) whereby customers could write games onto blank
cartridges in game stores. Its retail release was so limited
(again, a 1999 SNES game) as to become very expensive. The N64
could certainly have used something, anything, to expand its RPG
library, but Intelligent Systems was having none of it.
Sounds like it was a pretty
frustrating game, not just because of the aforementioned lack of
guaranteed hits, but also because of the strange refusal to move the
series off the then ancient SNES. I wonder if the series would have
made it overseas earlier had a game shown up on the N64? It's not like
it would have had much competition, with the lack of RPGs on the system.
Oh, and the aforementioned Fatigue system of the game. What
bothers me most about this system is how random it can be, based on
whether a lot of enemies dodged when the RNG decided not to play
ball. If the RNG flipped you the bird enough times, a character
you might actually need in the next battle will be unavailable.
The kicker, of course, is that you won't know which characters you need
for the next battle until that battle has arrived and you've
(presumably) saved over the file for the previous fight. Or you
can just constantly consult a FAQ, but that's not too much fun.
It almost sounds like they
intentionally made this game as frustrating as they possibly could,
which is strange, given how good the other games in the series are. I
just don't get it. I think it's safe to say this is the black sheep of
Wild speculation on your part time! Dragon Quest X is on the horizon,
as it has been for several years now. You are assigned to
prognosticate about what it COULD be, and what you realistically think
it WILL be. Go!
Based on some comments I've seen, I
think it will have more in common with Dragon Quest VIII than it does with
IX. I foresee a greater focus on story, with voice acting, and a
huge world for players to explore. I also predict that there will be no
multiplayer features of any kind. In the near future I also expect to
see Dragon Quest XI on 3DS.
Hopefully we'll actually see Dragon
Quest X some time this year.
If I asked you to come up with a scenario in which all the people who
played Unlimited Saga and
loathed it were somehow made to like it, what kind of frenzied rant
You may be disappointed to find that
there would be no such frenzied rant. As much as I enjoy Unlimited Saga, I must admit that the
game is so obtuse that there is no conceivable scenario where all the
haters could be made to like it. The time investment required to
understand the game is simply far too large. It's a real shame.
Okay, since you didn't remember enough about Shining Force III, I'll have to
talk more about parts of the game you haven't even seen yet, just
Remember the railroad battle with Synbios, in which you have to try to
guide civilians away from some Imperial soldiers who want them
dead? Medion has a battle similar to that, in which a group of
civilians have escaped from the temple of Elbesem, and the Bulzome
masked monks are quite willing to discipline them in the harshest
possible manner. Fortunately you'll have Hera, a monk of Elbesem
with abilities similar to those of Khan, for assistance in this fight,
since she also escaped from the monks.
Oh, and remember that little matter with Fiale dropping a key to a ship
when he tries to trap Synbios after killing Conrad? The lead-in
to that situation occurred on a ship at sea, where Fiale trapped
Medion's friend general Rogan, and since the ship is sinking time is of
I remember that railroad in Shining Force III! That was one of
my favorites in the game. Makes me very interested that there is
another one like that in another part of the series. I don't quite
fully remember this key-dropping situation fully, but it does sounds
After you've uncovered the location of Emperor Domaric and saved him,
he actually accompanies Medion into battle along with Rogan (if you got
that ship's key back, otherwise Rogan drowned) and a few troops.
Domaric is pretty thin-skinned though, so you'd better keep an eye on
him and clear out the enemies first, or else he might get killed and
have the same effect Medion getting killed does. Good thing he
moves after all of your regular Shining Force is done.
Having Domaric along does spawn an interesting battle in which a couple
of people who remember him ruling what's now the Republic become
bosses, though. One of them supplies a plot moment, in which
Domaric orders Medion to kill the opposition, and when Medion hesitates
along comes Yasha to do it. I'll grant that I didn't understand
this scene when I first played the game, thanks to Sega of America's
inexplicable and inexcusable lack of an official translation, but it's
just one of the things that makes this the best example of storytelling
I've seen Camelot do.
I think it's hard to argue against Shining Force III being Camelot's
finest game, even just looking at the first part of the game that we
did get localized. It's clear they love what they do, and I think it's
why they've developed such a loyal fanbase. As good as their sports
games can be, I hope they focus more on RPGs in the near future.
Also I will absolutely have to make sure I get Domaric so I can take
part in that optional battle. That sounds quite good!
For dimortuisunt: the giant turtle would have to be Gamera, friend to
children. Those of you unfamiliar with Gamera (that would
apparently include you, Wheels) - think of a low-rent version of
Godzilla. Most Gamera movies made back in the golden age of kaiju
films are pretty bad, though the horrid English dubbing certainly
doesn't help matters. The 90's revival of Gamera brought three
pretty decent films with it, though I haven't seen the most recent
movie from the 2000s.
I am completely unfamiliar with this
genre of films as a whole really, I don't think I've even seen a
complete Godzilla film!
Hm, another connection game... link The
Monster (also known as The
Strange World of Planet X) to Tengai
This is going to require more research
than I expected, so I'm going to save this one for next week.
Incidentally, Valkyrie Profile
is a great game. I'm not going to say any more than that - my
review and support of Nyx on a recent Backtrack regarding the matter
renders extra material redundant. Go play it sometime, and see
what tri-Ace can do on its best day.
Done... yep, I'm done. For now.
Well if Resonance of Fate is any indication
of how good Valkyrie Profile is,
then I have no doubt of its quality. It is a wonder that the same
company can make such brilliant games, and then turn around and make
some truly horrible games. I don't get it. I'm not going to complain
though, I'll just enjoy the great games they do make, and I'll be sure
to get to VP as soon as I can!
Until next time sir!
@AskWheels ?: Do you think that the 3d will spur gameplay and
design in any meaningful way or is it merely the gimmick it is in movies
This is a fine question. Sadly, I think only a few developers will do
some neat things with the technology. The biggest issue here is that
the systems which play host to 3D essentially require games to be able
to run without the 3D on. I suppose some 3DS games may have features
only available with the 3D on, but I can't see that being a regular
occurrence. After all, why put a 3D slider on your system, if you're
going to allow games that require it on? This isn't getting into the
issues with 3D TVs still being quite expensive, or the issues
some people have with the technology (not being able to see it, or
causing headaches etc). Perhaps it's best left as a gimmick that people
can use if they so choose. What are your thoughts on the matter?
That's it for this week! Keep the crazy sequel ideas for the contest
coming in. Next week we've got some great sequel pitches, including a SaGa one!
See you all next week, and keep an eye out for my review of Avadon!
May 26th: Wheels
June 5th: Rosestorm
June 10th: Wheels
June 17th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Battlefield 3
2. Disgaea 4
3. Deus Ex 3
4. El Shaddai
5. Tales of Graces F in English!
On my Playlist:
1. Lots of 80s Music
2. The Cars
3. Men Without Hats
1. What game do you have a burning desire to see a
2. Which system will replace the PSP as the go-to JRPG platform?
3. What long dormant RPG series do you want to see make a return?
4. Guardian Heroes is finally seeing a re-release, will more Saturn
5. What makes Falcom's games so different than other Japanese games,
and why have they been able to have success on odd platforms for so