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1  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Forgotten Old Square RPGs? on: June 11, 2009, 04:48:24 PM
Well, there was some discussion within the company whether Final Fantasy IX should even become a numbered title and not just a gaiden. Apparently a lack of official printed guides hurt the game's sales in Japan. Initially at least, Square offered hints and tips exclusively through PlayOnline to attract players to the service.
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Forgotten Old Square RPGs? on: June 11, 2009, 04:24:55 PM
Soukaigi and Another Mind come to mind. Admittingly, the former was developed by Yukes and the latter is an adventure, but they were solid games back when they were released in 1998.

And to whoever said Square was never in financial trouble: It depends on what "financial trouble" means to you. Were they ever on the verge of bankruptcy? No. However, there is no denying that they had a lot of serious financial issues a decade ago.Why do you think former executive Hisashi Suzuki (Wada's predecessor as president of Square) approached Sony Computer Entertainment to invest a huge chunk of money in the company? It was SCE's investment that covered Square's development expenses for the following two fiscal years. You don't pull such a move, unless you are desperate. That all those problems were a direct result of Final Fantasy The Movie's mediocre box office performance is indeed a myth, though. In reality, there were several other factors as well, e.g. high development costs of PlayOnline and Final Fantasy XI, lower than expected sales (in particular of Final Fantasy IX, but also of various other titles), etc. Besides, they main reason why the merger with Enix only happened in 2003 and not earlier, was because Enix was concerned about Square's financial health. Hence they decided to wait until Square had recovered, before the merger talks that eventually resulted in the creation of Square Enix were completed. 
3  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Our worst fears are true (PSP Go): on: June 04, 2009, 06:21:49 AM
Was it really necessary to create a new topic? Besides, do you really think that of all Japanese third party publishers, Capcom will ignore all those 10+ million PSP1/2/3000 users in Japan alone, given their successful track record on that particular system? Even if you offer a downloadable version, they still will be able to sell a lot of retail copies. Hence, not making the game available on UMD would be nothing short of bad business.
4  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: E3 - Sony on: June 02, 2009, 04:28:10 PM
I have to admit that this conference was quite a positive surprise, despite what I had said earlier about recent E3 conferences. The only thing that was missing was the confirmation of MGS Raiden being a multiplatform title, but may be Konami are going to announce that at a later point (if it was exclusive, Microsoft would surely have labeled it an exclusive yesterday). But frankly, I didn't expect Sony to show off the new PSP, the new motion controller, Fumito Ueda's new game AND FFXIV at the same time. This probably means the PS3 price cut/redesign will be announced before or at TGS in September. 
5  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: E3 - Microsoft on: June 01, 2009, 05:16:38 PM
I don't see what is the big deal. May be I'm just very jaded, but I can't remember a single E3 conference during the last couple of years that would have left a lasting impression on me. May be all those leaks are to blame, but I haven't seen a (positive) surprise announcement with WOW factor coming out of an E3 conference (by any of the big three) over the last three or so years.
6  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: PSP FAIL on: June 01, 2009, 05:09:23 PM
Glancing over this thread just proves that whatever Sony (or any other company for that matter) do, message board posters (be it here or on other boards) will always find something to complain about. When the PSP launched, people complained about the battery life. Now Sony has eliminated the UMD drive which was the single biggest source of power consumption, and surprise, surprise, this move sucks. And while the system should be lighter and more portable, we please want another analog stick.

Those of you who argue this means (almost) sudden death to the UMD format should be reminded of the fact that digital distribution and retail copies on UMD have co-existed in Japan for quite some time already. That being said, I wonder what effect this will have on the system's success in Japan. For all the (in many ways justified) disappointment towards PSP in the West, it has become very popular in Japan, there is a huge installed hardware base and a lot of games have performed very well in the sales charts.

7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Why (almost) no PS3 RPGs? on: May 15, 2009, 06:22:50 PM
I own _all_ of the systems (sans DSi), so I feel like I can speak with, perhaps, less bias than most.

Sony has _not_ been paying much attention to the US RPG market. They have:
1. Not made deals with publishers to get old-school PS1 RPGs onto PSN. This has _got_ to be possible, given how amazing the selection of PS1 on PSN RPGs is in Japan. They have everything. We have Suikoden. Yay.
2. Totally dragged their feet on localizing and publishing White Knight Chronicles and Demons' Souls - the former of which is even Sony-owned. WTF?
3. Let their relationship with Square Enix deteriorate in an epic way. There is also some reason to think that Atlus has some similar feelings.

Even _Nintendo_ looks good in comparison to Sony when it comes to RPGs.

That said, things are looking up for Sony: they do have a fair number of RPGs coming out, especially now that NIS appears to have chosen the PS3 as their next-gen console platform. In the meantime, they need to work on getting more PS1 RPGs onto PSN.

1. True.

2. Depends on your perspective. As far as I can tell, SCEA has never been very fast when it came to localizing RPGs. White Knight Chronicles will be on display at E3, so it should be coming to the States sooner or later.

3. Not true. What could they have done? SCE is apparently unwilling to throw big bucks at third parties to secure exclusivity and instead invest the money in first party IPs they actually own (like Demons Soul). Unless you threw an insane amount of money at Square Enix to secure Final Fantasy XIII's worldwide exclusivity, there was no way they would simply ignore an installed base of 30 million Xbox 360s. For that reason, it would have been insanely expensive to keep Final Fantasy XIII a PlayStation 3-exclusive, regardless how good the relationship between Hirai and Wada has been. Now, the good folks at SCE headquarters in Aoyama Icchome can only pray that Final Fantasy XIII and Versus XIII remain PS3-exclusive at least in Japan.

Besides, don't expect NIS to focus exclusively on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable. Their president has made it clear that the company will develop more Wii and DS games. Moreover, they probably didn't acquire that 360 SDK/license just for fun.

I still believe SCE would have had far less trouble with PS3, if they hadn't had those insane shortages at lunch. Early on people buying Kutaragi's hype were still willing to spend big bucks on the system, despite the lack of quality software, but they shipped what, 90,000 units on day one in Japan. That was nothing short of a humiliation for a hardware company like Sony. Had they been able to ship 500,000 units on day one and then more in the following weeks, they could have built their installed base more rapidly and more third parties would have been willing to take the gamble of developing for the platform earlier on. 
8  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Why (almost) no PS3 RPGs? on: May 14, 2009, 04:55:16 PM
Worldwide there are four platforms with a (much) larger installed base: DS, PSP, Wii and the 360. Even if you only look at the Japanese market, PlayStation 3 is only No.4 (behind the DS, PSP and Wii) and developing games for the three other platforms is more cost-effective. Hence, as an RPG developer/publisher it makes more sense to develop for the other three platforms. Even if your game bombs on the Wii, the comparatively low development costs won't hurt you as much as an unscuccessful PS3 project would. Also, you could always try to port your Wii game over to PS2 or PSP.

Now, PlayStation 3 sales in Japan have shown signs of improvement during the last couple of months. RPG-wise things have improved a little bit, too, but not much yet. At least Japan should get a few more RPGs (Rorona Atelier, Agarest Senki Zero, Trinity Universe, Last Rebellion, belated ports of Tales of Vesperia and Last Remnant as well as the multiplatform title End of Infinity), before Final Fantasy XIII ships.

However, the next main series installments of Dragon Quest and Tales are already set to appear on the DS (Dragon Quest IX) or Wii (Dragon Quest X, Tales of Graces). Hudson's president told the Japanese press last year that he had no intention to develop anything but PSN games for PlayStation 3, because he considered the risk too high, read no new Tengai Makyou (Far East of Eden) either. Bandai Namco has sold Monolith Soft to Big N, hence a PlayStation 3-based Xenosaga game is very unlikely, too. Parasite Eve 3 is coming to PSP and cellphones. And nobody knows what has become of the handful of PlayStation 3 RPGs announced years back, e.g. the new Shin Megami Tensei and Super Robot Taisen games or that untitled game from Konami.

Is there anything left for PlayStation 3? Sure. New main series installments of many high profile series, such as Persona, Suikoden, Sakura Taisen and Phantasy Star have not been announced for any platform yet, so you can hope that one or the other will find its way to PlayStation 3, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 
9  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Sakura Wars 5 to be released in the US by NISA on: May 08, 2009, 11:40:14 AM
In case you are interested in more details, you could always read the review on you know, this website called RPGFan :P.
10  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Grandia online is apparently real. on: April 24, 2009, 11:29:05 AM
The good news: There is a website linked to these boards where you could read about this stuff as well.
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: NIS America Announces Event, Teases New PS3 RPG Title on: April 23, 2009, 03:25:09 PM
Agarest Senki only got a C (15+) rating from CERO in Japan. Hence I doubt, it's too perverted. Apparently, Compile Hearts wants to a delivered a more perverted game in the upcoming sequel Agarest Senki ZERO.
12  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: NIS America Announces Event, Teases New PS3 RPG Title on: April 23, 2009, 02:34:38 PM
Given that they have already announced Cross Edge last month, there are not a lot of possibilities left. Apart from Rorona (which of course has yet to released in Japan), you have IF's Mist of Chaos, Compile Heart's Agarest Senki, Aquaplus' Tears to Tiara and (provided SCEA hasn't picked the publishing rights for the US) FromSoft's Demon's Soul.
13  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ys 7 and another Ys I & II remake announced... for consoles? on: March 19, 2009, 03:27:24 PM
The two chapters of Legend of Heroes VI Sora no Kiseki are among the most popular RPGs on PlayStation Portable in Japan. I reviewed the second chapter for the site some time ago and I didn't think load time were a major issue back then. 
14  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Will we ever see a new Seiken Densetsu game? on: March 11, 2009, 03:41:55 PM
That's the thing though, have the recent games actually done well? The other games you cited had been doing just fine before their creators left, so logically they get someone else who worked on them to take over and continue, but Mana might just be something they'd rather drop before they move on to something else. Alternatively, they're going to wait quite awhile before they make any attempt to drag it back up.

You certainly do have a point there, Eusis. Seiken Densetsu 4's sales in Japan reached only 40% of Seiken Densetsu 3 and Seiken Densetsu Legend of Mana's sales performance (340,000 copies versus ~800,000 copies for each of the latter two; needless to say that market conditions had changed by the time SM4 was released; other franchises like SaGa or FFT are not selling as well as they used to). That being said, Seiken Densetsu 4 and Children of Mana still performed reasonably well, I'd say. I don't know, how the cellphone-based Friends of Mana fared, but Heroes of Mana was anything but popular in Japan. I wouldn't be surprised, if Square Enix employed a Hanjuku Eiyuu-type of strategy here. They waited a decade, until they revived that franchise with a Wonderswan Color remake back in 2002.
15  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Will we ever see a new Seiken Densetsu game? on: March 11, 2009, 10:51:16 AM
Series mastermind Kouichi Ishii may be gone, having since founded a new development studio known as Grezzo (which supposedly is working on a game for Big N). However, I don't think that Square Enix will all of the sudden stop using an established, proven IP.

By that logic, the departures of Sakaguchi and Matsuno would have translated into no more Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle as well.  However, ultimately there are very few, if any creators that are as big or bigger than their own creations. People can be replaced. Aonuma took over from Miyamoto as Zelda series producer, Kitase and Toriyama took over from Sakaguchi, etc. Granted you never know, whether the people tapped as replacement get the job done, but as those two examples show, it is very well possible for a franchise to survive the reassignment/departure of its mastermind.

The Seiken Densetsu series has been quite a successful brand. Hence, I don't see, why they would stop creating new games all of the sudden, especially with recently introduced original IPs not living up to internal expectations. Same goes for the Final Fantasy Tactics series, by the way.
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