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Comeback Special
Monday, February 17, 2003

Nicole: Wow, I've been wanting to do a mailbag for a long time...I think they finally let me do one just to shut me up.

Most of you should know me...for those that don't: Hi, I'm Nicole, resident PR goddess and co-head of news. I've been working at RPGFan for the past 3 1/2 years, in addition to also freelancing for a variety of game magazines. In case you've been wondering where I've been for the past five months, I've been in Texas, financing my return to university. Since the thought of taking off my clothes for greasy, fat, old men didn't really appeal to me (though Eric F's been trying to sell me out for the site for years), so the government recruited me for an extra special assignment: playing games for the next two years in Guam and Japan, where I hope to convince Yoji Shinkawa (character designer for Metal Gear Solid) that I'm the one. If I'm unsuccessful, I'll just be a groupie for all my favorite j-punk bands. Oh yeah, and do my job at the site and stuff. Forgot about that.

If you'd like to read more about me and my crazy hijinks, be sure to read my E3 recaps from 2k1 and 2k2 in Features. Now I guess I should answer your questions or something.

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Why Other Sites Suck

Hey Liz,

I keep seeing March as the release date for Star Ocean 3 america. Is that possible with the Jp release only a month before that? I always thought the march date was the Japanese release date... but clarfication would be great.

Thanks,
Chichiri

Nicole: March is the Japanese release date...whatever site was listing that as the US release date was a bunch of morons. If you read the interview we did with Enix's product manager, he said the earliest we would possibly see SO3 was this summer. Considering Enix Japan dissolved the US office last month (which incidentally put someone very close to me out of work) and Square EA is handling the US release of Star Ocean 3 now...it's going to be quite some time before we ever see the game. Enix titles aren't Square's priority, and there's already some heat going on between the two factions in Japan. Hopefully we'll see Star Ocean 3 sooner rather than later, as it's a really cool game, at least from the beta I played about 8 months ago.
 
Donations Accepted

ok,

i am just going to keep this letter short, because i only have a couple of questions.

so here it goes:

1. how can i find some fire emblem games to play and for what systems?

2. do you know if software etc. will be giving the zelda bonus discs out in feb. or in march like most stores...man, i wish stores weren't smart to people who want the bonus discs and want to cancel their preorders on wind waker.

3. ok, i've been stuck on this battle in xenogears since it came out, it's the only rpg that's ever got me stuck on one battle, it's the battle on the 2nd disc where you fight ramsus and then miang directly afterwards, i can't beat it, i always run out of fuel fighting miang, even when i attack her once and charge, so if someone can help, taht would be much appreciated.

anyways, thanks for any help you can offer me.

Nicole: At least it's not another e-mail about how "gay" Cel-da is.

1. Try ebay, as I don't think most import stores are stocking the games anymore, at least till the new GBA title is out. Or you could try Tear Ring Saga, which has a lot of the same team as the NES and SNES Fire Emblem games.

Fire Emblem is available for NES, SNES, GameBoy, GameBoy Advance. Tear Ring is out for PlayStation. And just between us, it's fairly difficult, especially if your Japanese knowledge isn't all that.

2. Go to http://www.gamestop.com. What do you see on the front page? And if Nintendo's stupid enough to give out the bonus discs before Wind Waker actually comes out...well, we'll see how supportive the retailers will be then.

3. http://www.gamefaqs.com. You're asking me about a game that I dearly love but haven't had time to pick back up and play since I beat it back when I was 18. I'm 22 now. What does that tell you? Other than the fact I spend too much of my mad phat RPGFan paycheck on alcohol. Oh wait, I get no mad phat RPGFan paycheck. Oh well, donations will be accepted...I'll call it "The Get Nicole Drunk Fund." With just $20 a month, you too can keep your favorite belligerent RPGFan editor surly and inebriated.

Will show boobs for beer!

 
Website Editors Gone Wild

First off, I haven't been visiting this site much until recently, and since has been on a daily basis. Good job on having multiple daily updates! Are you guys and RPGamer rivals? You seem to have a similar layout at least. Yours is easier on the eyes, and just more beautiful to look at. :)

So, I'm a huge Castlevania fan. Was wondering if you've heard anything about the recently confirmed PS2 platform title. I just want a damn screen. Is that too much to ask? Well...IS IT??? Don't force me to bear my bloody incisors. Blah! I'm just finding it hard to imagine a title with better graphics than SotN, provided they'll be sprite-based once again *crosses fingers*.

Also, what do you think of Aria of Sorrow? The fluidness is very reminiscent to Symphony of the Night, not to mention the weapons array. The soul capturing ability is definitely awesome, although a bit unholy I would think. Then again, I guess Soma Cruz isn't a holy Belmont anyway. I hope the music fares much better than the other titles in portable format. Do you know the individual(s) responsible for the production of the soundtrack? I believe Michiru Yamane has her work in it, although I'm not sure.

May everyone's nights be safe, and the zombies stay in their graves.

Neo Zeromus

Nicole: Rivals? Oh heavens no! Why at last E3, I bought Mike Tidwell a lapdance at the Spearmint Rhino. And Googleshng...well, what goes on at the Hilton stays at the Hilton. ;) And our layouts are about as similar as Michael Jackson in 1973 and Michael Jackson in 2003. Thanks for the compliments though.

It was confirmed in PSM. That doesn't mean much to me. I didn't really think SotN was all that graphically impressive. Fun game, definitely. Wasn't all that pretty, but I've yet to see a Castlevania game that could be considered pretty.

...every single GBA Castlevania game has been reminiscent of SotN. It's like they keep doing half-assed versions or something. And I don't think Alucard was all that holy, being half vampire. Not to mention he wanted to kill his father. Yeah, that's some bad juju. I imagine Michiru Yamane was involved in the soundtrack, but much like Circle of the Moon, there seems to be a number of composers involved.

 
What do Final Fantasy and Ozzy Have In Common? I Don't Know Either

Hola to whoever's gonna be reading this, be it Liz, or...well, whoever is gonna be doing the mailbag this time around. Anyhoo, let's get busy.

So, for the games of 2003. Well, don't got too much that I'm looking forward to at the moment, aside from the obvious...FF Origins, FF Tactics Advance, Zelda, Xenosaga...ya know. The usual. A few sequels that I'd really like to see that'll probably never happen...namely, a new Chrono game. Preferably one that's better than Chrono Cross. When it happened, everyone hailed it as the greatest game of all time. Gotta love it when games don't live up to their hype, huh? I'll digress though. I could rant for hours on the subject of games that don't live up to their hype.

I'd have to say though, above all, there's one game that I'd like to see released. Final Fantasy 3. Still don't know why the hell the Wonderswan version of that got canned. Heard a rumor about a GBA version of that coming out (from RPGFan, in fact), haven't heard dick since. It's greatly upsetting considering that FF3 was a major trend setter for the series. Debut of the job classes and most of the classes that would become staples in the rest of the series (summoners, dragoons, and all that jazz), just overall a great game that somehow seems to have gotten severely overlooked. Yeah, I'm excited as hell about FF Origins, seeing as how I've had to rely on roms to play the updated Wonderswan versions, but still...why the hell isn't 3 getting the same treatment as the first two?! And is there any hope for it ever happening? Does anybody know?!

Ah well. If there's a kind and just god in the world, it'll happen...oh, wait. If there was a kind and just god in the world, Kelly Osbourne wouldn't have a singing career. Nevermind...

Anyway, Metroid Fusion's dragging me back into its clutches. Ya know, Nintendo should have included a complimentary bottle of Excedrin with this game, because it's caused me some major headaches since I've started playing it...

Ciao for now.

Nicole: It be me yo, Nicole the poisonus cu....well, that's one organization's nickname for me. :)

Um, maybe because with the advent of the GBA, Wonderswan is totally dead. And considering all the financial strife in Japan and the game industry in the past few years, why should Square continue developing for a dead in the water system when there's more lucrative options out there. Square seems really interested in exploiting their brand names lately, which explains why we're getting FF 1 & 2 on PSX and an actual sequel to FFX. Hopefully we will get a remake of FF 3, because I have far more interest in playing something like that than the classically shallow FF 1. I mean, God, that game is so BORING. I've been playing Phantasy Star Collection on my GBA lately and I'm just amazed by how cool and well developed that game was...and it was released at the same time as Final Fantasy in Japan. How does one actually get real characters and a plot, and in Final Fantasy you were lucky to even have named characters?

Seriously, Ozzy is cool. I love Black Sabbath, I like Ozzy's older stuff (not that "I'm a Dreamer" song...what the hell is that shit?!) and I think Sharon is really nice and funny. But how the hell did they have two of the ugliest, most annoying kids ever? Jack bothers me much more than Kelly though...Kelly can kinda sing and has some fashion sense..for a bag lady.

I keep trying to find Metroid Prime and no one around me is stocking it. I'll have to pick it up when I go to Guam.

 
Xenogears Newbie

I would just like to know about Xenogears and Xenosaga. I hadn't really heard about it that much, until reading about Xenosaga in the OPM. So naturally this got my interest up. Xenosaga isn't out yet but Xenogears is and I can't seem to find it at blockbuster. I'll find it though...I also read somewhere about this whole religious thing in it. But it didn't really tell me what it was was, very vague. So I wanted to know if you could maybe tell me about the religious thing?
Nicole: There's previews and reviews for both games on the site. I suggest reading them. Religious thing? Yeah, there's plenty of religion in Xenogears...it's a central theme actually. I could tell you all about it, but it's a lot more fun for you if you find out on your own. Search the net for a copy of the game to buy, since the story is totally worth it, despite the less than stellar gameplay.
 
I Know Something You Don't Know!

Are there any possibilities of La Pucelle, Venus and Braves or Makai Senki Disgaia, coming over here in english? and if not what sprite based Rpgs are?

Nicole: Heh heh, I love knowing stuff before anyone else. I will say that I know for a fact that one of these three games has been picked up for US release...not going to say which though. You should know by E3. :)

*note to other sites: I want that sourced from Nicole Kirk, not RPGFan. kthxbye*
 
Hi, My Name's Mark. I Like to Wear Women's Panty Hose

Moo. Yeah, that's what you get from me, a freakin' "Moo". Anyway, I've been considering this for awhile and y'know what would be cool to see in character creation? Temperments. This is something unheard of as far as I know when it comes to character creation, but it could add so much to how the game unfolds. If anyone ever actually MAKES a non-linear RPG that has an ending, doesn't totally blow, etc, temperments would be a great thing to have in it. Y'know... Is your guy more aggressive and prone to anger, or does he have crybaby fits? Or for that matter, is your girl character a lech or a heavy drinker? Etc...

Yeah, granted this stuff can be rp'd out in an MMORPG and such, BUT in an off-line setting, how would that work? I mean if a dev team decided to be so detailed, they could map out a certain number of answers and reactions with your character and other characters based on your temperments. Not only that, but it would bring character development to a whole new level. You could work out your character's flaws over the course of the game and receive a personality-specific ending. Say you're a nice guy, do the right thing, etc... You get ending A because your 'nice' factor was over 70%. Or you're dark and depressed, so you get ending B, because your depression level was over 85%. Ending A, you get the girl (or boy if you're playing a girl, etc...), save the world, ta dah. Ending B, the girl/boy rejects you, you save the world, and then go off to kill some more zombies. Etc...

Interesting idea no?

-Hidoshi Nobunaga

Nicole: Why can't they be a lech AND a heavy drinker? Actually when I was stuck in God's Wasteland, otherwise known as Texas, they were talking about some wrestling game featuring rappers, and one of the Wu Tang guys was talking about how he's a big Final Fantasy fan and he thought there should be a rap/hip-hop RPG. Okay, the idea is totally ridiculous and I can see how all the hardcore RPGers absolutely hating it, but c'mon, blunts could heal you and "dope rhymes" could be your special attack. I'm sure bitches and ho's would figure into the equation somewhere. *sigh* Too bad we live in such a non-stereotypical world...

It's nice but the game would probably have to be really short to accomodate... and the endings would be really short and kinda sucky. An interesting idea for sure, but it'd be lame as hell unless it was well done. If you want multiple ending madness though, dating sims are your best bet...but you already knew that. Keep fapping Mark, keep fapping.

 
BLAH BLAH BLAH

RPGFan,f all, I would like to officially open this letter as i do the others, by complimeting you on a job well done with the site. I greatly appreciate the fact that no matter what questions I may have about RPGs, your site can deliver the answers.

OK here we go. Over the course of the previous year, RPG gamers have been blessed with a large variety of RPG gems. One of my favorites, was the ever awsome Suikoden III. Thankfully, I had the pleasure of playing its predecessor(although I have yet to play Suikoden 1), and I must say that i was thrilled with the direction that this new installment took. I had never imagined that the world of Suikoden could be brought to life in such a glorious 3D fashion. The story, the characters, the depth, it all came together quite nicely in the end. That's not to say that Suikoden III was without its flaws, for it had a few. But everyone knows that a true RPG gamer looks past minor flaws and embraces an RPG for its overall quality. Another fantastic game which i had the pleasure of playing, was Kingdom Hearts. Now i had heard some thought the game too childish, but how can you reisist fighting your favorite Disney villians and also Sephiroth in an Action Oriented Battle System?!

The real point of this letter however, is to point out that we have a lot more to look forward to. With the releases of Xenosaga, Breath of Fire V, the new Zelda, .Hack, Star Ocean 3, and many others, RPG gamers have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year in terms of gaming. There is no doubt in my mind that this past year has set the tone for a new breed of RPG gamers, as well as fueled the anticipation of veterans with the upcoming releases of some very high quality RPGs. So, until next time, remember one undeniable fact. RPGs rule!

Sincerely,
ExpertGamer30134@bellsouth.net

P.S. I wrote a Final Fantasy fanfic but i do not know the guidelines for submission. If you could provide me with a link that would be great. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Nicole: I can't really talk about Suikoden III, as I've only played it for a few minutes at E3. I'm kinda curious to pick it up. I hated the first two Suikoden games (and here comes the hate mail from the fanboys), so I don't have high expectations, but I've heard some good things. Now Kingdom Hearts I can talk about, since Square sent me the game about 2 months before it came out in the US. I adore the game other than the camera and I'm hoping it's the start of an on-going series for Square (at least with a sequel). It was the first time I'd thought Disney characters were interesting in years.

Do you do independent PR work for these publishers or something?

I miss Expert Gamer...GameNow blows. My first guide was in Expert Gamer...they took 6 months to pay me for it. Memories...

There's this link on the front page that's titled Submissions...and there's a link further down the page after you click it that leads to a FanFic FAQ.
 
Closing Thoughts

Nicole: Wow, the mailbag gets some dumbass questions...I mean, wow, thanks for the thought-provoking discussions everyone! I guess I should end this edition of the RPGFan Mailbag on the same high note where it started. If you guys send me enough e-mails and some bribes maybe I'll do this again...oh, who am I kidding, you guys want some giggly fangirl who posts semi-naked pics. Well it won't happen, dammit! I have my dignity and integrity as a journalist.

*Editor's note from Eric Farand*: And for $20 a month you too can have live Nicole webcam footage available for your perusal! All major credit cards and PayPal accepted. Special requests are open to negotiation.

Nicole: ...where does it say I signed my soul over to the site?

Eric F: It's in the new employment contract, under section XVI. You signed it after the Microsoft party at E3.

Nicole: That party sucked so bad, the only thing that made it entertaining was the tequila. C'mon guys, don't sell me out for the site! Well, on the bright side, maybe I can not just be in "random men's magazine," but review games for them as well. Exploitation as a positive thing. Sweet! (letters@rpgfan.com)



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