June Mermaid
Monday, March 11, 2002

What an interesting weekend THAT was for RPGs. Little did I know that less than a day after I put up my last update, Square and Nintendo would (technically) get back to together. Happy days. Well, at least it is for me. Lots of people are either angered, annoyed, or otherwise upset over the news, or they simply remain indifferent. I have yet to see how it can be 'bad' news, since all it means is more games for the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. Sounds fine to me.

Of course, it seems the one thing nobody disagrees on, is the prospect of SNES games, like Final Fantasy VI, appearing on the GBA. While it's all guesswork now, if I were to get FFVI, FFIV, and/or Chrono Trigger in a handy portable version, I'd be happier than... than... well, I'd be really happy.

As you may have guessed, I've gotten a few letters about this over the weekend. Kinda makes me wish I had made that the week's topic, but since people are writing about it anyway, I guess it doesn't matter. Look below for a bit of that, a little of the current topic, and an essay or two.

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Seeking: SWF with desire to rule planet

hello chrono,
i happen to be the one that wrote in about a prequl to starcraft. but i'm not witing in about that now....maybe later... well anyway, i have one major gripe with rpgs: there are like no rpgs that let you be the bad guy! i always thought that would be the coolest. just imagine playing as sephiroth, or kuja, or some other bad guys (you know i can't seem to remember any names right now.) tryin to destroy the world would be fun as hell.you could take that even further and go multiple endings! there could be an ending that if you do certain things you could blow up the world and everyone on it (that would be a short ending scene....) or another where the camera focuses on miles of people in chains mining away and a castle in the distance, the camera zooms in and then takes you through a window, where your character sits feasting at a table and order executions! (my friend and i have way too much time on our hands) or maybe there could be a secret ending in which you convert the good guy into your number two man. also it would be just awesome if there was a game where you could be either good or evil. (kinda like that new sonic game) if you were the good guy it'd be the traditional save the would on the brink of destuction. they could do other variations of that too! although to pull that type of game off you'd have to have phenomenal writing skills. hopefully, someone will take up this idea. well anyway, i've ranted enough, (btw, on the prequel thing the only other game i could think of at the time was xenogears...and guess what!?!),

i'll be gone now.

Actually, playing the bad guy has somewhat been done, in the case of, as you said, Sonic Adventure 2. There was Seiken Densetsu 3 as well, allowing you to choose the path your character would follow, light or dark. While nothing that I know of has been done to the extent that you detail it, it does make for an interesting concept though.
Tonight's assignment: A Final Fantasy essay

I am writing today about some of my opinions regarding Square's SNES games, games that defined the 16 bit area of RPGs, Square classics such as Chrono Trigger, FFVI and Secret of Mana. In the SNES days, Square was a different company than it is now. Every game it made had a quality to it, and many depths to be explored. Now Square seems to deliver more quantity than quality, thoguh some games like FFT and Vagrant Story have been simply great.
Actually, look at Square's lineup for this year and last. Last year saw the release of Final Fantasy X and FF Chronicles (which was re-releases anyway), while this year we'll get FFXI, Kingdom Hearts, and POSSIBLY something on a Nintendo console. While they had a great year in 2000 (one game a month from May til August), they don't exactly crank out game after game. And honestly, after FFX, I'd say they're leaning towards 'quality' lately.
In Chrono Trigger's multitude of endings, we had nearly limitless replay value. Chrono Trigger is the reason many games now have new game + type options, ranging from the Square games like Legend of Mana and Vagrant Story, to other games like Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete and even into action and shooters.

In Secret of Mana, we had RPG and adventure fans finally playing together, slaying monsters and working towards one goal, a combo spell that would dazzle all other viewers. Secret of Mana was pretty unique, as it was the first game with a Gauntlet feel to it(Really old 4 person almost a shooter/adventure.) that also had a deep story and hardcore RPG elements. This of course, was a harbringer of things to come like online RPGs, including Square's upcoming FFXI.

-Warning spoilers ahead-

FFVI, had a cast of 14 playable characters, two or three worlds to explore, cool minigames like the Coliseum, special quests for almost all characters, and the best story of any RPG period. The story of FFVI has at its center, the War of the Magi, a magical war from a thousand years ago with a dark secret. During the War, three goddeses vied for power, eventually creating espers from humans, to act as magic soldiers in their war. Some humans went so far as steal the magical power from espers, this eventually leads to people like Strago and Relm in Thamasa with some traces of magic left in them. In the end, the espers left with the goddeses for another world, once the goddesses realized that their war would eventually destory everything, they sealed each other in a delicate balance. The world has since evolved as mostly magicless for this reason, with man relying on machines and technology. However, an evil empire dares to revive magic and combine it with technology. The Empire then uses this to try to take over the world. The evil Kefka and Gestahl corrupt and use people for their ambitions, greed and power. As a result of this, a rebel group called the Returners works in the shadows to oppose them. The Returners are eventually joined by Terra, whose source of magic is unknown, as well as Celes whose power is gained from the Magitek Research Facility, where Cid drains magic power from Espers from the Esper world. Other such as Kefka and Gestahl earned their powers this way. They have been given the gift of magic, but at what price? Is power worth the price of another's being's life? And when it is revealed that the Espers true power is only gotten from their dead remains, FFVI and Square truly shows a macabre element in the game's magic system. The genious of having the magic system linked to the game's story and the dark origin of it added to my liking of the game tremendously. Only an older gamer would really appreciate this aspect of the game's plot as its involved morality doesn't connect with younger gamers. FFVI is more than a story about magic and technology, it is a moral tale about man's quest for power through many means, superstition, magic, technology, science, and about the cost of that quest. FFVI reinforces this with the eventually destruction and recreation of the world by Kefka, the best FF villain of all(Kuja is a close second for his constant kicking ass of towns, but that is towns not THE world!), a depressing aspect with two character deaths unless you figure out how to save them. The quest in the new world rebegins as you start out anew, trying to bring hope back to the people through heroic acts around the world. Almost every character is forced to confront their emotional or situational problems in the game (Except for Mog, Gogo, and Umaro, who have no personality), many of them worsened by the state of the world. By games end you truly feel a connection to all of the games' characters. One of the things that helps this, is that every character has their own unique command, and even a near fatal 'limit break' in a way. Most of the charm is in the game's depth, as saving the more important characters, trying to get every item possible in the coliseum, all of Gau's Rages, turning the cursed shield or ring? to a paladins, or even beat the game with four characters!(Setzer, Sabin, Edgar, and Celes after getting the airship), seeing all the 'limit breaks'(They are VERY rare), or beating the Brachosaur(9th dragon?!) are all involving quests in themselves. The game's play and replay value is unbelievable. This is why myself and many other gamers tend to see this as one of the best RPGs ever.

Next time: A comparison between this and the three FF PSX games.
-Steven the Old School Gamer

Well that was... long. Though informative. Well, barring the fact I've beaten the game 2-3 times so I knew it, but still. Even so, it does sum up everything that makes FFVI great. Someone wrote in recently asking why people think it's such a great game. I think this should answer that.

For the record (if anyone is keeping one), I never did see any of those 'limit breaks'. Not a one. I've heard they're cool though.

Random FFXII speculation

Hey Chrono,
It pains me to see you getting so few letters so I decided I would write something in. My apologies if it's a weak letter. To tell you the truth there really isn't much I can think of to write about these days aside from pointless ranting which I just don't feel like doing more than a few times a month. Anyway here is what has been going through my mind over the past few weeks.

Final Fantasy XII

Yeah sure it's more than a year away and we know absolutely nothing about it but I have this gut feeling that it's going to be one of the most amazing and revolutionary RPGs ever created even more so than FFX or FFVII. I also believe, wait I know, it will be better than FFX. Don't get me wrong FFX was amazing! But when I look at how much Square did right on there first try on a next-gen system it gets me really excited thinking about what they will be capable of 2 years down the line. I also want to bring up the fact that Square has hired the talents of director Yasumi Matsuno who has also worked on Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. Personally I thought these games were masterfully done and filled with intriguing storylines and interesting characters. Now give that same director a budget of FF's size to work with and you can only imagine what direction the man is going to take the series in. A new director for the series couldn't have come at a better time because it means new ideas, new characters, new story concepts, or at least I hope.

Getting Matsuno also means a medieval direction (I would imagine) for the series which we really haven't seen in quite some time. Sure FFIX had castles, knights, and all that good stuff but were talking Matsuno here and if VS is any indication we're in for quite a treat. It's medieval in full on 128 bit glory and I'm excited! We'll finally be able to see the castles of the 16 bit days fully realized and characters like Cecil or Cyan fully articulated in their intricate armor. Of course this is all the product of my imagination but either way there is definitely something big in the works and I can't wait!

A few things I worry about though is Matsuno keeping the world map out which I'm starting to miss and making the story center too much around the church and religion which I personally have had more than enough of.

So that's what's on my mind Chrono. Sure the game is nearly 2 years away but we should all dream sometime right? Especially after watching LotR I have so many ideas for scenes and story lines that could come out of an RPG like this! I really hope they do a scene like the opening battle from LotR. I'm blabbering now. So anyway what do you think?

One last thing. Xenosaga. Sixty minute cutscenes. Your thoughts?

Tyrone Swanson-GITAROO MAN!!!!

While I've always stuck by the notion that a fantasy setting needn't be medieval as some people state, I must say, a medieval setting and style, done with FFX-caliber imagery, music, and the like, would be great. Vagrant Story in particular has loads of style. I've always thought just the opening of the game, intermixed with credits, backed up by incredible music, was one of the best I've ever seen. If Matsuno can bring that kind of style to FFXII, we'll be in for a definite treat.

Sixty minute cutscenes? I'm told the gameplay to cutscene ratio changes a lot once you've played a bit. Besides, after playing Metal Gear Solid 2, I'm used to endless 'sit and watch' periods. I mean, the 'end' part of the game is about 10% gameplay. While it's all very impressive to watch, with good acting and all, I couldn't help but wonder if they could have put more actual game into the game. Either way, as long as Xenosaga is well done, it doesn't bother me too much. I'll know in less than 2 weeks.

White Night Nocturne in the Moonlight Concerto

what up chrono,
on the topic of game name changes i hate them.why does konami change the castlevania names? i want nocturne in the moonlight! i want white night concerto! i don't want your dummied down names, i want the real name!
While you're at it, you should question why it's even called 'Castlevania', since until the newest GBA one, it's never been called that in Japan. I don't consider that an issue, since I always liked and preferred the CV name over Dracula. I wouldn't say the names were 'dummied down'. They seem, somewhat at least, to be similar titles with a musical reference. Nocturne in the Moonlight became Symphony of the Night, which, when you think about it, are nearly the same meaning. White Night Concerto, for some reason, it Harmony of Dissonance. Oddly, both main words in the US title is music-related. Personally, I think this name change is weird, and I much prefer the original. But I know it'll be a good game, so that's all that matters.
Another Quiz

Hah, I knew you couldn't do it! You missed one of the most important slimes of all time: the RED slime! I knew you'd be a FAILURE! But you DID do a good job on the rest of the slimes, so I guess you're not COMPLETELY worthless afterall! At least, you're worth enough for another of Guy's famous trivia questions, so listen up sprite pusher! This time we move off of Enix and head to the land of Square for another taxonomy question. I'll make it reeeeeal simple for you, CRO-NO: name all the summoned monsters from all the Final Fantasy games INCLUDING Tactics. Oooooh, is dis too hawd for widdle cwono? Well it'd better not be. If you flub this one up, in the words of the Lobotomized DDR Announcer, "Do not make me sad any longer." Good luck, mailbagger! AHAHAHAHAHA!

Guy Incognito

Actually, and I feel dumb about this, but I caught the Red Slime. I'm not sure how I missed adding it to the list though... guh. As for your new torture, here they are, in no particular order:

Valefor, Ifrit, Shiva, Ixion, Bahamut, Yojimbo, Anima, Magus Sisters (Cindy, Sandy & Mindy), Leviathan, Cerberus, Diablos, Doomtrain, Alexander, Cactaur, Tonberry, Eden, Brothers, Quetzlcoatl (how it SHOULD be spelled), Siren, Pandemonia, Carbuncle, Asura, Chocobo, Mist, Titan, Odin, Ramuh, Imp, Cocat(ris), Bomb, Mage, Sylph, Raiden, Crusader, Atomos, Ark, Fenrir, Phoenix, Madeen, Madiun (unless those are meant to be the same), Moogle, Golem, ZoneSeek, Salamander, Silf (cough), Fairy, Lich, Cyclops, Zodiac, Chupon/Typoon, Neo Bahamut, Bahamut ZERO, Knights of the Round, Choco/Mog, Kjata, Hades, Remora, Shoat, Hydra, Kirin, Stray, Phantom, Bismark, Seraphim, Terrato, Ragnarok, Starlet, Palidor, Unicorn.

See, even got the weird secret FFIV ones. Well, on the list. I never got any in the game except Bomb. If even that. I think that does it. That last paragraph was hell on my spellcheck. :P I didn't think there was really that many of them over the years... hot damn.

Um... yeah.

The era of Nintendo Domination is at hand. Embrace it. Final Fantasy back on Nintendo. Square RPG's back on Nintendo. Square and Nintendo. Nintendo and Square. Say it. Say it. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!!!!!!!!! Eat that, Xbox!

- BostonWhig2

OMFG YES! SQUARE IS TEH BESTEST COMPANIE EVAR!!!11 The gamecube will kill all compitition on the market ahahahahaaa! OMG OMG OMG I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111 WHOOOOO!! Hey blimpo! Too many twinkies, ha ha!

Anyway, domination? If you call them forming a subsidiary to develop GCN and GBA games, while they still make games for the PS2, 'dominating', then yeah. Personally, I wouldn't go that far. It's not like the FF series has moved exclusively to Nintendo systems, so don't get your panties in... well, any MORE of a bunch.

Breaking news

hello mortals
Hey lord of evil.
can you guess what is going on down here? HELL FROZE OVER! my lovely rivers of lava are now red ice! all because of this square nintendo deal.but at least a lot of you foolish mortals have taking my mark,yes it's microsoft not 666!
Microsoft evil? Gee, who would have guessed?
'It's a jump to conclusions mat!'

Ok. I am pissed! Why does Square choose Nintendo now? If I was Square I wouldn't even try to develope games for the Lamecube!!!!! (so original!!!!!)
Ignoring completely the fact that the GameCube is one of the two most technically-inclined consoles available, of course.
Anyways what's the deal? WHY? Not that I hate Nintendo or anything but PLEASE!
...despite just mocking their current system.
What has Sony done wrong? Ok not that Im saying Square will be Nintendo only, but I do have a question, maybe you can help! If any FF game appears on gamecube (like 12 - whatever), will it still be available for ps2? I hope so otherwise I'll be really pissed! God, hell froze over didn't it? i really hope Square doesn't abandon Playstation, that would just suck. Well i'm done venting, but still worried about future FF!!!! I don't know if this will get printed but other sites don't answer my letters and treust me, they're a whole lot better and have more logic to them than this one.
Hopefully you refer to your other letters, and not other sites, because that's just downright mean. All of this is speculation anyway. Square is making games for Nintendo's systems is all that's known. Nowhere was it said they'd move all development to GCN and GBA, or anything like that.
I still dont know whats w/ my ps2 but I guess it'll be a mystery.
So long!!!!

OH! good work on the site too!

Finally, of COURSE games will still appear on the PS2. Sony didn't buy a gigantic chunk of stock in Square for nothing, you know.
Closing Thoughts

Well that was an intelligent column. Mostly. There's at least two movie quotes in the column today. Name the movies, and the character who said them, and a free prize awaits. In the meantime, keep on writing, and I'll keep hoping one of the GameCube games from Square is Chrono Break, however unlikely is may be.


~ Chronologist (chronologist@rpgfan.com)


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