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Pre-E3 Blather
Monday, May 12, 2003

You know, preparing for E3 is utterly exhausting, at least if you care even a smidgeon how you look - or having all your trip necessities, like batteries for the ever so vital GBA. But overall, preparations have really drained my bank account and time, and now I need to recuperate. Unfortunately, if I took as long of a nap that I wanted... I'd never get anything done. Crap. The past two days I haven't even been thinking of the games I'll see, rather I've been worrying about being totally ready. And wow, it's miraculous that my bank account still has that many digits in it, without a negative sign beside it!

Now comes the easy part: Packing. And thinking about the games I'm going to see, and hopefully see. Rumor has it that Super Mario Advance 4 is ALSO not SMB3, but rather Yoshi's Story. SAY IT AIN'T SO! I think Nintendo is purposely torturing us. Ah well. They can make up for it by announcing a Fire Emblem for us...

Anyway, since I whined about the Canucks losing and dealing with grumpy Vancouverites (actually, I've found that they're being grumpy in kind of amusing ways... my store, however, took down those store banners they had hanging the day after the loss). Since then, I've stumbled upon at least two amusing images here and here. The latter was sent to me by a reader actually... and while some players seem to hate to admit it, it was true. Cloutier had extremely sucky periods in the last three games. That is all. I'm quite partial to the first image though, since it's pretty accurate around here - or would be, if our TV wasn't a beloved 27" Trinitron.

Anyway, time to blab on about E3! Whoo!

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
Hell, going to LA is a long journey.

Dear Mailbag,

What am I looking forward to at E3? To be honest, I've been out of the gaming loop for a while, so there really isn't a lot I'm outright drooling over.

As usual, I'm always interested in what Atlus will be showing, as they are my favorite Japanese developer.

And I also like to know what non-Japanese developers have up their sleeves. I don't know if Norway-based FunCom is going to be at E3, but I was really really excited earlier this year when I read that there is work being done on a sequel to The Longest Journey. As reflected in my reader review of The Longest Journey, I regard that game as one of the best graphic adventures I've played and would be tickled pink to journey in the worlds of Stark and Arcadia once more.

I don't know if Revolution will be at E3 either, but that doesn't diminish my interest in the upcoming Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon any. The original Broken Sword is still my favorite graphic adventure.

And with LucasArts' announcement of a new Full Throttle game, I'm curious if they'll be resurrecting any more of their graphic adventure franchises (i.e. Sam & Max Hit The Road, Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion). (Okay, I know the new Full Throttle game is billed as an action-adventure game, but I'm hopelessly optimistic about the adventure genre).

So that's about it from me. Other than that, I'm interested in the usual suspects (Square, Nintendo) like everyone else.

Cheers, have fun, and party safe.

~Blademaster Dezo

You know, I honestly have no idea what Atlus will be showing us this year, aside from Disgaea and those DemiKids games. It doesn't look like they've released a list of what they'll be showing either. Ah well, we'll be sure to prod them about any actual MegaTen games, even if it seems doubtful.

A lot of not-so-major companies are usually at E3 (Kentia Hall, anyone?), so I'm sure Funcom will be there. No list from them either, but they'll probably show off something or other related to Anarchy Online... again. Actually, not having a public E3 list can be a good thing, since some of us like surprises and there's still the possibility of your dream game being announced.

I CAN tell you about Broken Sword though. A company called - get this - The Adventure Company is bringing The Sleeping Dragon here on.. the PC? Why the hell did I think this was a GBA series? Anyway, apparently the Revolution founder, Charles Cecil will be at the show all week. Oh, and it looks like this game will be out around November.

I love getting press releases.

 
Sniff glue, it's more fun.

I knew I'd think of some more games as soon as I sent that last letter. For some reason, I forgot a large chunk of the Cube games that are going to be there. I get so forgetful after sniffing paint.

Mario Kart: Yeah, baby. I've been looking forward to this game for a while. I think the title's a little misleading, because they don't appear to be driving around in go-karts anymore. Bah, whatever. As long as it has homing shells, then it's good enough for me. I'm also interested in the two-player cooperative aspect, although I'll probably never use it. I'm too competitive to play on the same team with others.

F-Zero: If this game is remotely similar to F-Zero X, then I'll be ecstatic. And from what I've seen, it is. I played the N64 of F-Zero more than any other N64 game except Ocarina. That game is the only game I've gotten motion sickness from. It was awesome.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: It'll be nice to finally get an RPG-like game for The Purple Cube O' Fun. I know there have been some RPGs released, but none of them have interested me at all. This one could break that little streak. I'm no Square whore by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to admit that most of their games are high-quality. This shouldn't be any different.

I'm sure there are a few other Cube games, but I don't remember them. I do remember some PS2 goodies, though:

UNLIMITED SaGa: What the hell? Is that word supposed to be in all caps? I'll trust whoever wrote that headline, but I think it looks a little odd. Anyway, the game looks beautiful, but it's supposed to play like crap. Plz gib impressions, k?

Fallout: Poor me. When I heard there was going to be a new Fallout, I started foaming at the mouth in joy. (I have strange ways of expressing joy, okay? Back off!) Unfortunately, it's not a new RPG, but it's an action RPG. Supposedly it play like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, but set in the post-apocalyptic world of the Fallout universe. If they do that game right, then it should be incredibly awesome. I'll keep looking for a new, TRUE Fallout, because Fallout 2 is the greatest computer RPG ever made. If you think otherwise, then you are wrong. If I'm not mistaken, even you Mac whores have access to that fine piece of gaming. You ought to give it a shot. It's a nice change of pace from all the swords and sorcery garbage that makes up the majority of our favorite genre.

Okay, that's enough. I've got to get back to my baby, Aria of Sorrow. I have a feeling I know what my next letter will be about. :P

Remember, Liz: E3 Castlevania swag + me = love you forever.

I hope you guys have fun at E3. Remember, drunken RPGFan editors are funny. Take lots of pics.

The Darkrider

I think Mario Kart's gonna make me nauseous. No, seriously, with all this motion sickness crap I have to deal with, the SNES one even made me kinda nauseous. Or was that the N64 one? Well, other than the nausea, what few screens I've seen look neat. Plus sickness aside, they're just damn fun games. But what the hell ARE they riding if not go karts?

I've said my piece on F-Zero many times.... drool madness. That game looks hot, and even though I'm not the racing game type, I want to play it. Pleasepleaseplease let it be playable at E3.

The first Square GameCube game has to be exciting. I like how FF:CC sounds and looks, and I can't wait to hopefully demo it. I always love little multiplayer additions to games, because when you (sometimes) live in a house with two, sometimes three other games, one player games aren't always the best route to go.

Yeah, Square decided to change how U:SaGa's title is exactly spelled/typed out. I think it looks stupid, but that's just me. The game does look nice though, but that doesn't mean a damn thing if you hate playing it. Seems to be a common sentiment too - word has it the game only sells for about $8 new in Japan. Guh, if it's that terrible, I still wouldn't import it at that price.

Gee, what Mac whores would you be referring to? Yes, Fallout and its sequel are quite within our reach, but my priority is Ocarina of Time and maybe Wind Waker if given the chance. And a whole lot of other stuff. I liked Dark Alliance though...

Swag, pics, we know the drill. Come on, did you SEE the huge gallery from last year's E3? Yeah. As for the drunken bit... we'll see about that one. I have the feeling I know who'd be best to take a picture of when they're drunk...

 
At least someone agrees with me.

Liz,

Long time listener, first time caller and all that. Just wanted to point out some news concerning FF7-2. Tetsuya Nomura had was interviewed in Dorimaga and had this to say about it. (I'm sure this will be posted in news tomorrow)

http://www.gamespot.com/ps/rpg/finalfantasy7/news_6026421.html

"On the possibility of a Final Fantasy VII-2, Nomura said that the chances of it happening are unrealistic. Nomura explained that Final Fantasy X-2 was able to be released since it utilized the Final Fantasy X engine, allowing production of the game in one year at only half the usual development scale of a Final Fantasy title. However to make Final Fantasy VII-2, everything would most likely have to be created from scratch since the data from the original Final Fantasy VII cannot be used. Thus, producing a Final Fantasy VII-2 would require the development scale of a normal final Fantasy title"

Hopefully this will put a stop to all letters from hopeful fanboys. Right...anyway E3 wise, I'm really looking forward to any news concerning FFXII. I think its been in development for a while now, so maybe we'll get somethin'. Not to mention MMX7, the possible Metroid sequel, and anything on the two Metal Gear games among numerous others. I don't understand why Rpgfan doesn't cover MGS, I mean it has character development, a cohesive story and you run around picking up pointless items like an RPG, so why not? Also I'd like Nintendo to hurry up and release the Gameboy Player for the Gamecube. Playing Metroid Fusion on a TV would be sweet...

Mike

You do read this site sometimes too, right? So you are aware that we reported on the same thing a few hours before you letter came in, right? Okay, good, just thought I'd leave you a friendly reminder.

I somehow get the feeling the letters from the FFVII-2 fanboys won't stop. In fact, I bet they'll change their tune to 'OH GOD NO WHY' while I silently rejoice. Or maybe they'll be nice enough to leave me alone, but we all know that's wishful thinking. Now if only the FF VII-IX remakes issue could be resolved...

I also somehow get the feeling Square will decline to comment on FFXII, as much as we'd like to hear about it. They've got a lot of games to showcase and answer questions about already, plus with the development of FFXII being in Japan, Square USA probably can't share any info even if they wanted to since they might not be the most kept up to date themselves.

Eh... I stopped caring about MMX7. It just looks terrible, though i hope it at least plays better than it looks. And you just know that everyone and their mother will have all sorts of things to say about the two MGS titles, myself included. (I'll watch the trailers to both at Konami's booth at least five times each as usual.) I do recall the 'Is MGS an RPG?' debate a few years ago when the first one came out, and while it has RPG elements and no one on this planet can argue that - it doesn't have enough elements. If we covered whatever we wanted, we'd be The GIA part two. (The plus of that, being that we can cover cracked out games like Vib Ribbon! Man, I need to import that sometime.)

I can't wait for the GB player either. Either that, or a GBA SP... maybe I can win one at E3...

 
Game companies piss everyone off.

Hey liz

I havn't moaned about european rpgs for at least a month so here i go again as i saw some people in the last mailbag (mainly the guy from belgium) moaning i thought i'd mention how pissed off i am at konami. I was looking through an english videogame store's website in the rpg section - yeah they now have one!!! - and i guess what game i saw. You doubt you got it right but it was Yu-gi-oh or summin like that published by konami. You can guess just how angry i was, very to put it nicely. How can a company release yu-gi-oh and not suiko3?? has the world gone this crazy. When i went onto the konami europe website to find somewhere to write a letter or even an e-mail there was no address, i guess they saw me comming, (or the droves of other annoyed fans).

Anyways looks like we're getting xenosaga sometime in june so that should make up for some of the disapointment.

Oh yeah and the person asking about ff origins in europe, well i have it and as far as i know the english release was at least two weeks before the american one so it should be in european stores on the continent.

Untill another game company pisses me off

rpgste

I'm starting to think that I have more European readers/writers than North American ones. And my lone Australian reader doesn't write me much, and wasn't there somebody from Singapore? I think you Europeans scared them all off... or maybe I did. Damn.

Okay, yeah. I can sorta understand Konami releasing a YuGiOh game over Suikoden. Do remember that I loathe YuGiOh, okay? Well... it's easy. It's a hell of a lot more popular (and uh, does it even require reading?) by far, and is far more guaranteed to make Konami a lot more money. Yes, these companies do usually make decisions largely based on profit. Just thought I'd remind you all.

...But you were still robbed of Suikoden III and that bites. I'd rather have seen that get released in Europe and getting some more fame rather than YuGiOh - it has enough fame (and not all of it deserved) as it is.

 
Too bad that's the only piece of art on the site...

Okay, so I sent a huge image from Crossbeam Studios' project X2, apparently they've updated their site recently and the image appeared on it in the design section of X2. Damn, and I almost had an exclusive.

Anyway, I've been exploiting my contacts within the group and X2 and Orb have had some interesting remarks. Specifically Orb. One of my contacts is a programmer working on the gameplay systems. He said, and I quote, "I've actually lost sleep I've been working so much on this project and it's just a great story. The boss recently put the storyline up and it's over 80 pages! 80 damn pages for a storyline, I've never heard of that before from my other teams."

Now that's some cool shit.

Also from my friend, he said X2 has got some of the most amazing looking creatures and character relations. However he also said that they've really cracked down on info leaks recently becasue some big stuff is going down over there. He said to watch out sometime towards the middle of July for some big info, but he didn't say any more.

Anyway, the image I sent to you is on the website @ http://crossbeamstudios.com/projects/bts/x2bts2.jpg now.

Damn, I got this letter just before I was going to post the last one. That was one sweet piece of artwork I have to admit, and it left me wanting to see more.

Now let's just hope the story is good. 80 pages doesn't automatically make it so, but your friend seems to like it a lot, not to mention that 80 pages isn't an easy task to begin with. I wonder, did any info leaks spill anywhere other than this page? This place seems to end up as a little forum for leaked X2 info, which I find slightly amusing. Heck, I'm still impressed that the president wrote me. No doubt that he saw some of the info leaks here and that led to to crack down.

All I (still) ask is that a press release is sent our way.

 
A guinea pig is apparently a follower of mine...

Wazzup liz,

Dear god that line is old. okay E3. I told you erlier im a NINTENDO fanboy. I want to see Warios World new mario cart, new pikmin, hoping PSO 3 dosen't suck as bad as gamecubes version of one and three. I want soul caliber two. Metal gear solid: the twin snakes "suck that sony!" its my birthday its my birthday.kirby racing. why dose GC get all the crappy dreamcast sonic remixes. lokking forward to FFCC of course and that is about it.

If I was compleetly sure what a guine pig was ni think i would be one

Jo Jo

PS: I do not use worn out or made up language often but F-Zero looks like the gamilofical crap hit the gamilofical fan.

You mean the GC versions of PSO 1&2, right? Just checking. I think I'd prefer 1&2 myself, since I'm not very into card RPGs. And wow, I had completely forgot about Pikmin 2 - the first one was just awesome. (And based on Miyamoto's backyard!) And Wario World is STILL not out? I thought it would be by now, since it was sort of announced at the LAST E3.

Hell, we ALL want Soul Calibur II. I haven't played me some good SC in a really long time. Have I ever mentioned (other than those thousand times) how it's my favorite fighter outside of SSBM? Between SCII and F-Zero, August is going to be a long wait... after E3 that is, when I demo them both endlessly.

 
We just want more RPGs... period!

Hey Liz,

This is my seceond time writing in, my first was back last fall sometime. I wanted to give you my thoughts on this week's topic. At E3 I would like to see a few things happen. I know this first one is wishful thinking, but maybe SquareEnix will announce a US translation of Dragon Warrior IV for PS1. After triAce disbanded, Enix cancelled the US version. But maybe with the combined financial might of SquareEnix they could round up the resources to make it happen. I would also like to hear an announcement of FF III for PS1. Hmm.. what else. Here's a hopeless request. A US translation of those 2 Suikoden side stories called Sukogaiden. Something I want to hear announced that is more realistic is Tales of Phantasia, or Tales of Symphonia for GC, and or Tales of Destiny II for PS2. Later and have a fun time at E3.

-Kyle

Too bad Square Enix seems to be concentrating on the 'Square' titles first - after all, we're not getting Star Ocean: Til The End of Time until next year. Added to that, everything at E3 is 'Square' outside of SO3 and Drakengard. So maybe once this horde of Square titles is out of the way, maybe they'll concentrate on the Enix side of things. Can't guarantee a DWIV would come out of it though.

As for all your other hopefuls, the only one to come true so far is Takes of Symphonia for the GC. I kinda wanted ToP, but... oh well. I hear there's a translated ROM somewhere. Let's really hope that Namco brings ToDII here someday, since everyone and their mother seems to want it. Uh like... the letter following this one.

 
More game company rage.

NAMCO SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111

Ok. I'm sorry. But I'm just really mad about Tales of Destiny 2 not coming out here. I loved Tales of Destiny and Tales of Eternia. And now I can't play the sequel. Well, I could, but then I'd have to import it and pay a ton of money. What makes no sense to me is the fact that it looks like NAMCO IS BRINGING TALES OF SYMPHONIA TO AMERICA. What the heck?! Why are they bringing Tales of Symphonia to America but not Tales of Destiny II? I really wanted to play Tales of Destiny II... Thanks a lot Namco.

Well, it doesn't necessarily mean ToDII's never coming out here since it wasn't on Namco's E3 list. We can still hope that they'll surprise us at the show, or announce it at a later date. Of course, I fail to see the logic in bringing Tales of Symphonia over that, but perhaps ToS is good enough to tide us over for a while.
 
Everyone's upset today.

I wish I was dreaming, this really can't be happening! I heard that FF:Crystal Chronicles was going to play via levels or stages. Please tell me I'm wrong! I hope they meant chapters(sort of like suikoden or something). I can't take any more Final Fantasy dispointments. Plus no chance of a FF7 sequel just because they can't use the same game engine(well duh!).Clouds story deserves to continue. It frickin put rpg's into the mainstream over here for goodness sakes! Look I don't mean to sound hateful towards square (they've always made my favorite rpgs), but I need some small shread of hope to hold onto. And FFX2 ain't it!

Hope you have fun at E3!

Neither is Unlimited: SaGa. :P FFX-2 is perhaps a better shred of hope than U:Saga is from the sounds of people who've been playing the latter. I don't know, I seem to be one of few people who thinks a FFVII-2 isn't necessary. Not only did the story have real closure but... as Gamespot said, having to do it would cost as much time and money as an all new FF, where as X-2 used X's engine. And while FFVII brought RPGs mainstream, it doesn't really warrant a sequel. Besides, Square didn't stop making FFs after the fact, did they? I've read past stories regarding FFVII-2 as well, and there seems to be too many strikes against such a project. Earlier, it was said that it'd have to have a lot of thought put into, because they know they wouldn't please everyone, plus they wouldn't have been sure on how to go about developing it.

Ah well, that's just me. Maybe I'm just too jaded in the world of RPGs.

Back to FF:CC though, that'll be clarified at E3 with, I'm praying, hands-on impressions.

 
Closing Thoughts

Yeah, I decided to be generous and post a couple of more letters than usual today. Part of it's catching up on letters, and part is because I may not get a chance to update before the show, and I'll be way too tired or busy to update during. So if you still have your E3 expectations, let me know. If not, wait for the E3 coverage to unfold and let us know what you think of some of the surprises and other updates we bring you from the show floor.

Just be sure to see The Matrix this week while we're in LA. Oh, and don't read TIME magazine if you don't want to be spoiled...

~ Liz, who can never be too prepared for e3. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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