Well before we get into the questions, I thought I'd take a moment to
address the sad news this week. As most of you I'm sure
have heard, Steve Jobs, co-founder and until quite recently CEO of
Apple, has passed away. Being a long time Mac user, this news hit
me pretty hard. I've really taken that "Think Different" slogan to
heart my whole life, tinkering with old Macs as a kid, and getting into
the whole "Mac vs. Windows" war. So needless to say, the products he
was involved with had a large impact on my life. Now, there's no doubt
the man wasn't perfect (there are many legendary stories of him firing
people), but clearly creative types gravitated towards him, as he
completely turned around a company that looked to be on the brink of
going under. I mean the man brought us the company that created Toy Story and Monsters Inc, what more is there
to say? Raise your glasses ladies and gentlemen; we've lost a titan of
Now on to happier matters...
Go Crazy? Don't Mind if I do!
Dear Wheels, why are you so awesome and crazy at the same time?
Ahh, well that is a long and complicated story. I suppose it began when
I first got a computer of my own to tinker with. It was a Commodore 64,
and starting programs on that thing wasn't exactly easy. One could go
crazy trying to figure out how to start thing up on such a
computer. Anyway, that just leads me to the more important
computer that came next: an Amiga. With the Amiga my brother and I
ended up primarily playing three games: Christmas Lemmings, Rise of the Dragon, and Conquests of Camelot. Now the only
notable title out of that bunch is Conquests
of Camelot. It was an adventure game from Sierra, and in an age
before GameFAQs, such games were incredibly hard. You had to manually
type in most commands, which means it took my brother and I forever to
figure out how to put on all of Arthur's armor, and then even longer to
figure out you had to donate all kinds of gold in the chapel before
leaving the castle, or the portcullis would fall on your head. Also
there were some very tough riddles you had to solve, such as:
"I go around in circles but always straight ahead, never complain no
matter where I am led. What am I?"
Caption: Remember kids, donate to the
church or portcullises will fall on your head
This game could be quite maddening just trying to figure out what you
were supposed to do, but my brother and I played it for hours on end
trying to figure out what the heck to do. This was pretty much the
theme of the pre-internet gaming days. I often found the best games
were the ones that were tough nuts to crack. I suppose playing many of
these kinds of games (I did play tons of SaGa after all) are what shaped my
craziness, and also shaped whatever awesomeness I do possess. This is
something that games today miss (except forsome
exceptions like Dark Souls
and Resonance of Fate).
Tutorials and ease of access are great, but there's something special
out the ins and outs of a game system on your own.
Anyway, here's to the crazy ones!
This is mr. Daniel Brouwer, and I have been tasked to find someone of
your Soul Calibur whose name
is Wheels to rip money off of, so naturally I have sent this inquiry to
you. Please give me all your money, because this is a totally
legitimate scam... I mean... transaction...
Anyhoo, seeing as you asked for it, I am back once again to talk about Suikoden.
Oh excellent pun! I shall of course
you my monHEY WAIT A MINUTE.
I will let this attempted theft slide and get down to some Suikotalk.
Clephas said everything that I feel as well. He may call himself a
bitter fanboy, but I think it is the exact same sentiment every die
hard Suikoden fan feels, and
let's face it, Suikoden has a
very die hard following. So it strikes me as incredibly odd that Konami
has went the multiverse way with Tierkreis
and totally abandon the whole concept of Suikoden, but instead of listen to
their fans (who have all said the exact same thing : “Fine game, but
not a Suikoden game”, they
just go ahead and do the exact same thing once more. Because that is
what this next installment is going to be, just another jrpg.
Well I think what Konami was trying to
do with Tierkreis was not to
make a game for long time fans, but try to bring in new fans to the
series. I believe V sold
poorer than IV, so it could
be Konami thought it necessary to try and bring in new fans. Now why
they thought it a good idea to abandon everything that makes the series
what it is, I have no idea, but that seems to be the point of these new
games. I haven't seen much of the new game, but hopefully it will be
more similar to the older games in gameplay terms. We'll see though, I
didn't think Tierkreis even
sold well enough for them to try this again. I think I need to do some
research and find out what Japanese Suikoden
fans thought of Tierkreis.
This whole feeling is made even stronger if you consider how much love
and energy Konami used to pour into Suikoden.
side story series in Suikogaiden
so that character development was pushed even farther, with a couple of
mangas (still being) released, they gave it a lot of love. Most
intriguingly of all, how many videogames do you know that have had
their own magazine? Not even the “almighty” Final Fantasy deserved its own
magazine, but Konami saw fit to give Suikoden
one, and rightly so, if you ask me. Few other series have such deep
characters and character development.
Oh no doubt, despite not being
mega-hits or anything, the series clearly was a great money maker for
Konami. I've heard there are some pretty crazy collections of
soundtracks out there. Anyway, perhaps this is just a case of
management trying to make a series more popular than it is (and failing
Konami really owes it to their fans, but also to theirselves and to the
WORLD to return to the original Suikoden
series and continue on from there. The story hasn't been completely
finished yet. I could even do with just one last grand story in Suikoden 6 to end it all, but they
need to finish it. If they would just listen to their fans they would
know that we don't want Tierkreis
and multiverse and whatnot, because
that is not what Suikoden is
about... It's fine to release those games,
just don't give them the name Suikoden.
Well we'll see how the Japanese market
reacts to the new game. I'm hoping that fans in Japan are clamoring for
a return to the original story as much as we are. If they want to
continue with some kind of side series, fine, but there have to be some
developers at Konami who'd love taking a crack at making a new entry in
the main Suikoden series.
Anyways, I don't really have any questions regarding Suikoden, other than perhaps a
question to all game developers to ask them why they can't make more
games like Suikoden?
I feel inclined to answer to some of your “hot topics” instead.
Is it time for Tom
Clancy to make an RPG?
No. The RPGs we love are all set in fantastical worlds, not our own
world. And even if they are set in our own world, it's beset by daemons
and whatnot so that doesn't count. If we want realism, we play
different games. We don't call Ghost
Recon an RPG, even though we assume the role of a secret agent.
We don't call Super Mario Bros.
even though we assume the role of Mario. Really, the term RPG
is a misnomer, because in essence every game (bar puzzlers) are Role
Playing Games. So no... Playing a secret agent and having to decide if
we get stronger, gain a higher initiative or get better at using our
gun at regular intervals... Not what I am looking for.
You have a fair point here. I suppose
the issue here would be shoehorning in RPG features that don't really
have a place in a series of games focusing on realism, and real world
type stories. People who play Splinter
Cell probably want to be incredibly powerful right from the
start. Still, I can't help but want some kind of mix of Alpha Protocol and Splinter Cell.
What long dormant
RPG series do you want to see make a return?
I have thought long and hard about this one and the more I thought
about it, the more I had to come to the sad conclusion that most RPG
series that already received sequels, never received true sequels. I am
not going to go back to the Suikoden
discussion, but there were so many stories that I would have loved to
see a continuation for, but which received a sequel that was something
completely different. I recently picked up Breath of Fire again, and it
saddened me that the sequels weren't true sequels. Other great games
were too large in scope... You can't very well save the entire world a
couple of times...
So I was left with a game that I had already mentioned a sequel for a
little while back, which is Azure
Dreams. The world was just a town, so you could easily go for a
different town with a similar tower, so... Azure Dreams would be nice. It's
really the only game I can think of. Is that sad?
Or maybe Ultima. But only if
they do it in the art style of Ultima
That's no sad at all, I think Japan
takes the whole concept of series without direct sequels way too far
sometimes. Finding out that Wild
Arms 2 didn't finish what largely felt like an incomplete tale
in the first game was a huge disappointment for me. It's really not
that hard to continue a story and not alienate people just jumping in
with that entry. Just look at Suikoden
2 and the first three Dragon
Quest games for good examples of this.
Anyway, Ultima is a good
choice as well. That was a hugely popular series back in the day, but
it seemed to slowly fade away as gaming moved more and more to
consoles. Why hasn't EA done anything with it? That just seems like
awful brand management to me. Why not hand the series to BioWare and
see what they can do with it? Such a waste...
Do you prefer
physical releases or digital, and why?
Physical. Not only is there something about a case of your favourite
game that holds something magical, it's also a convenience. Digital
downloads are so easy to mess up, having to start all over. And what if
you want to play your game at someone else's place? You can't, unless
they bought it themselves, in which case you are also left with their
game save instead of your own. No, digital releases are not for me.
Couldn't agree with you more. Though
downloaded games can be convenient, there's also always the worry the
service you get them from will be unavailable sometime in the future,
and you'll have no way to redownload your game. It's nice to have the
option, but I'd prefer if companies keep offering us both physical and
Well... That's about enough nonsense to throw your way, I suppose.
Question to you: What RPG series (dormant or not) would you like to see
a continuation for and how would you want to see it continued (story or
Other than the obvious answer of Suikoden, I'd love to see a
continuation of Resonance of Fate.
I thought the futuristic world they presented was quite interesting,
and I'd love to see it explored further, as many things went
unexplained. It wouldn't need the original cast of characters
necessarily. I think there's a lot of room for further expanding of
both the world and gameplay of the first game. Sadly I don't think it
sold well enough on either side of the pacific to make this happen.
Anyway, good to hear from you, please write in again!
7 times the content
as promised on Twitter, between posting nonsense and my occasional
rants against Apple (I should stop that, it seems to upset quite a lot
of people), a letter. I haven't paid attention to the Q & A column
for a while so I'm not sure if some of the hot topics have already been
discussed but let's tackle some of them anyway :)
(Note from Wheels:
just to make sure no one is offended by his rants against Apple, this
letter was written prior to the passing of Mr. Jobs)
People don't seem to write in about
the hot topics too often so feel free! As far as Apple stuff, I'd be
interested to see what you're complaints are about them, sounds like we
could have a good discussion! Now then, onto the hot topics...
1. Is it time for
Tom Clancy to make an RPG?
Yes, definitely! I haven't played Alpha
Protocol but good friends of mine have, and although they
acknowledged the game really lacked the polish to stand out, it did the
espionage RPG-thing kind of right. It does at least touch upon a genre
(is the espionage RPG a genre? I'm not sure...) that is not popular RPG
material. Instead, we get flooded with fantasy/medieval themes games,
of futuristic/cyberpunk themed games in the realm of RPG's. There are
exceptions of course (Persona's high school theme and Pokemon come to
mind for example), but I see huge potential in a collaboration of
material which is based upon the stories of Tom Clancy, mixed with an
RPG gamesystem. How that should look like, I have no idea.... I would
love the game to focus more on strategy. Think Valkyria Chronicles, but maybe with
a more open world with quests as missions, integrated within the story.
Speaking of which, the story might be a bit troublesome... I cannot see
how to keep an RPG game interesting with stories as those written by
Tom Clancy.. What is your opinion on stories of Tom Clancy? Do they fit
the genre of the RPG? And what challenges are there according to you
with a Clancy RPG? (That sounds cool by the way, A 'Clancy RPG'.... :) )
You bring up a good idea that I didn't
think of when discussing this topic previously. A strategy RPG could
fit Tom Clancy material perfectly (assuming it is more complex than Shadow Wars). Now as far as his
stories go, I think a lot of times they tend to be typical
military/espionage type stuff. For an RPG they would need to go with a
story more akin to the Splinter Cell
games, with plenty of strong characters to drive the story. I'm not
sure it would work well, but I'd love to see them give it a try with a Valkyria Chronicles type game
(minus the anime stylings of course). I think the series are too
popular to move to a more niche genre however. I don't think anyone
wants to play a level one Sam Fisher!
2. Why do you think
Nintendo suddenly decided to add region protection to the 3DS when they
hadn't done so for previous portables?
I'm not sure but I think there is one main reason for that, which is to
maybe stabilize the price of the 3DS across regions in such a way that
Nintendo has a more firm grip on pricing of the 3DS worldwide, although
I don't know in what way that would benefit Nintendo.
Another reason could be that Nintendo might gain a better insight in
what kind of software is popular across regions, since people are not
able to import titles from everywhere anymore. Again, I can't think of
huge benefits for Nintendo in this area.
I do know however, that I am really annoyed by this. I used to import
every DS title, simply because I live in the Netherlands, and most
interesting titles take a long time to be localized for the EU market,
that is, IF they get localized. Also, a lot of interesting pre-order
bonusses like Atlus, Nippon Ichi and Xseed often offer are a reason for
me to import.
Interesting points, but still, it
seems like in a global age this kind of thing needs to stop being an
issue. Like you, I import a fair number of titles, and the thought of
missing out on a cool title because it doesn't come out in my region is
very annoying. Whatever Nintendo's reasons (you make some good cases as
to what those could be), I think we can both agree the ones who suffer
because of it are the customers. Not only that, but it just gives
hackers more motivation to try and break the system.
3. What long dormant
RPG series do you want to see make a return?
the first two games in the series! If a revival takes
place, I would love to have Camelot do it, since they are more or less
responsible for the first two games in the series. Now, I know the Shining-series have been alive and
kicking, but the interesting strategy element of the first two Force-games have never really been
utilized in later Shining-games.
Then again, the problem of course is that it is nostalgia speaking
here, and most of the times the wish for something like this is better
than to actually have something like this happen.
Here in Q&A you will find nothing
but complete agreement with such thoughts. Now, it is highly unlikely
that Camelot will ever work with Sega again, so this is mostly pie in
the sky talk of course. Still, it would be nice if they made something
in the Shining series that
vaguely resembled the original games. The name of the series has pretty
much lost all meaning. Not sure why Sega even bothers using it. The
very least Sega could do is to re-release Shining Force III in a form more
people can play. That might be just as good as a new game!
A shorter letter than I originally planned but it'll have to do for now
I'll try to send a letter more regularly from now on :)
Please do! I'm always in need of
The Connection Gauntlet
Connection time! Link Tengai
Makyou III: Namida to Topper
Takes a Trip!
III was published by Hudson -> Konami owns Hudson ->
Hudson produced the Silent Hill film
-> The Silent Hill film
was distributed by TriStar pictures -> TriStar is part of Columbia
TriStar group owned by Sony -> Columbia and MGM collaborated on the
latest James Bond film -> MGM owns United Artists -> United
Artists distributed Topper Takes a
Trip in theaters.
Connect Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
to You and Me (1938)!
Oh Jumes, you should stop using Square Enix games for these. Too easy
to link back to the movie industry!
Mystic Quest published by then Squaresoft -> Squaresoft
worked on the film Final Fantasy
Spirits Within -> That film was distributed by Sony ->
Sony and Paramount are co-financing the upcoming Tintin movie -> Paramount
distributed You and Me in