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Evil Devolution
August 29, 2004

It’s almost here, folks. Star Ocean fever is in the air here at the ‘Fan. So, before I lose a big chunk of my life to this game in the days to come, let’s have ourselves a quick update.

Before I do that, though, I’d like to point out a few things. I’ve been personalizing this section a bit over the past week or two. Make sure you read the Mailbag FAQ before sending in a letter. It hasn’t changed much from how it used to be, but give it a read anyway. I have a tendency to change it regularly, so keep an eye out. I think I’ve already written, like, four versions of it. :P

Anyway, onward to the letters.

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You know you love MOMO.

I'm curious what you think will be the next plotline of Xenosaga. I will peel the skin off my bones if I have to play as Shion and the crew for a third bloody time. It would be nice if the development team fast forwarded a couple hundred years (or whatever amount of time it takes to get to the next major event in the Xeno universe) to introduce a whole new era.

It’s hard to say exactly, considering Episode II is still months away. I haven’t been reading a thing about it, because I want the whole experience to be fresh.

I will say, however, that if a third game does involve Shion and the gang, I won’t be too disappointed. If it takes a third game to get their part of the story told, then so be it. There's no point in rushing things, because this is already a long term project. And with a story as convoluted as Xenosaga’s is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does turn out to be necessary.

But yeah, a leap in time is obviously going to happen eventually. We’ve got to get to Deus sooner or later, right?

 
We need more Chrono...and no, I'm not talking about one of our staff members.

Dear RPGFan:

I have been a RPG fan for many years. And I have come across many RPG franchises such as Breath of Fire, Wild Arms, and Star Ocean, but there is a franchise that will always stay close to my heart and for me it is the second best franchise in RPG history (making Final fantasy the best) and that franchise is the Chrono series, but since the second game, Chrono Cross, there have been no more. I don't understand, why did Square Enix stop making Chrono games? They were doing a great job why stop now?

That’s a good question. If you think back to around this same time last year, you might remember that Square registered the name Chrono Break as a trademark. While this in itself doesn’t mean a whole lot, it got everyone talking about a possible sequel. In fact, I remember us denizens of the RPGFan message boards getting a big laugh over a website that had a countdown to “the release” of Chrono Break. Needless to say, it didn’t happen.

I wouldn’t get too worried about it, though. The Chrono series is one of the most popular and respected series in all of gaming. There will undoubtedly be a new Chrono game released in the future…just not soon enough for, oh, every RPG player in the world.

 
Bah, these kids and their "romance". *shakes cane*

Are RPG Relationships forever doomed to be stuck in their teens?

If you've played any RPGs for the past oh, twenty or so years, you'll notice that 90% of the protagonists are age 18 or below. That was all fine and dandy when I was 14, but now that I'm the ripe old age of 19, I've been looking for some more mature RPGs, romance wise, and especially storywise.

In FF7, you have the game ending on the note that Cloud & Tifa realize that they love each other, with little progress in their newfound relationship. Even in Shadow Hearts, the only mature PS2 RPG to hit the states so far, the game ends with Alice and Yuri falling in love. However, relationships are much more than initial love. If that were so, divorces would never be needed.

What I'm asking for is a game that would treat relationships maturely, instead of acting like a fairytale where they fall in love and then live happily ever after. As I grow older, I desire more and more mature stories- I'm looking for an RPG that would what 'Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind' was for movies.

Will it ever be developed? Not in Japan. While some games do deal with 'full length' romances, they're restricted to one US developer, Bioware. And to this date, Bioware has only produced one console RPG, and for the Xbox.

However, with two Shin Megami Tensei games on the horizon, I'm willing to suspend my cynicism for awhile, at least until I get an opportunity to play those two games. But in the meantime, I'll be using my handy Picture-In-Picture function during the immature romances in most of today's RPGs.

-Syn

Being an aging gamer myself, I too am getting sick and tired of teenage protagonists running around saving humanity. Square has been the biggest perpetrator of this nonsense, particularly since the advent of Final Fantasy VII. I think that has a great deal to do with why I think Final Fantasy IV is the peak of the series. The cast as a whole is older and more mature than the casts of the PSX-era entries in the series. Out of the three “love stories” that I recall happening in that game, one of them was a realistic love that had been going on for well before the start of the game, one ended in tragedy, and one was…well, one sided would be a good way to put it. Poor Edge.

I think the main problem is that developers don’t seem to grasp the concept of what mature really means. Mature doesn’t mean having buckets of blood fly out of a wound the size of a paper cut. Mature doesn’t mean having topless polygonal chicks parading around. To me, mature is synonymous with intelligent. Sixteen-year-olds with swords that weigh half their body weight isn’t intelligent.

If a mature RPG comes around anytime soon, I fully expect to see it on the PC. Keep your eyes open.

Closing Thoughts

That went well, I think. I wouldn't have minded a few more letters, but whatever. Make sure you take a look at the new topic of discussion. Don't forget that you can write in about anything you like, though.

~ Daniel Stringer (letters@rpgfan.com)



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