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Showing posts from February, 2008

Developer Vents on Making Games for the PC Platform

Here's a post made by Michael Fitch, a producer for the PC game 'Titan Quest':

"Greetings:
So,
ILE shut down. This is tangentially related to that, not why they shut down, but part of why it was such a difficult freaking slog trying not to. It's a rough, rough world out there for independent studios who want to make big games, even worse if you're single-team and don't have a successful franchise to ride or a wealthy benefactor. Trying to make it on PC product is even tougher, and here's why.

Piracy. Yeah, that's right, I said it. No, I don't want to re-hash the endless "piracy spreads awareness", "I only pirate because there's no demo", "people who pirate wouldn't buy the game anyway" round-robin. Been there, done that. I do want to point to a couple of things, though.

One, there are other costs to piracy than just lost sales. For example, with TQ, the game was pirated and released on the nets before it hit st…

The Temple of Enlightenment

Just wanted to blog about this dungeon in Lost Odyssey - the Temple of Enlightenment. It's an optional area that isn't required to beat the game (but it will give you a small background on Mack's newly-found spirit magic powers).

It's a very challenging dungeon. The design of it is very interesting because it feels 'three dimensional'; it's not a simple matter of going north, south, east and west; it also has pathways that go up and down, and that adds to the confusion. The pathways also change depending on how you move certain switches in the game, so it's very, very easy to get lost. Couple that with large mobs of very high level monsters that will attack you at any given opportunity....it's quite a challenge, folks.

As for the boss in the dungeon, he put up a good fight, but because of all the leveling you'll get from playing in this area, it wasn't too difficult. The boss also has a cool spell that I wish I could equip on my party...the &#…

Tales of Vesperia Press Release from Namco Bandai Games

Finished Lost Odyssey? Need another JRPG to look forward to? Tales of Vesperia looks like your best bet:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=246642

http://allrpg.com/site/index.php/news/namco-bandai-officially-announces-two-new-tales-games-for-the-us-02/27/08.html
It's already been reported on the blog before, but it's nice to get an actual press release from Namco Bandai to solidify even further that the game is really coming out for the Xbox 360. For more screenshots, check the AllRPG.com link.
"Namco Bandai Games CELEBRATES 10th ANNIVERSARY OF TALES SERIES WITH TWO NEW GAMES in 2008

Tales of Vesperia™ for Xbox 360® and Tales of Symphonia®: Dawn of the New World™ for Wii™ Highlight Celebrated Role-Playing Series' First Decade

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (February 27, 2008) – NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. today announced Tales of Vesperia™ for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Tales of Symphonia®: Dawn of the New World™ for Wii™. Mark…

Breaking News! MS Xbox Japan Interview Hints at LOST ODYSSEY Sequels!

Based on this article here:
http://trendy.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/special/20080222/1007372/

It's in Japanese....based on a translation from NEOGAF by Agent Icebeezy, it says that the Microsoft Home and Entertainment division in Japan is quite happy with the 100K sales of Lost Odyssey in Japan, and they're growing the series for the long term---in other words, sequels for Lost Odyssey are coming.

I don't know Japanese but a friend of mine gave me a link to a pretty good Japanese/English online translator. I just ran this through those auto translators so this may not be accurate. I hope people here who understand Japanese can verify my interpretation of the translation.
Original Japanese Text: ――『ロストオデッセイ』のセールスは推定で約10万本と、当初の期待値からすると、少し物足りない結果だったでしょうか。
泉水氏:いえ、セールスについては、まだまだこれからだと思っています。RPGシリーズの初回モノはメガヒットにつながらない傾向が過去にもありますからね。『ロストオデッセイ』はユーザーの評判もいいですし、まずはいいスタートが切れたと評価しています。
 マイクロソフトにとって、『ロストオデッセイ』は非常に重要なコンテンツですので、このタイトルを大事に育てていかなければなりません。欧米でのリリースが始まりましたので、そちらで大きな反響となれば、日本でも再度、話題を提供する…

Reading Between the Lines on the Internet

Gamespot's 'Most Popular Xbox 360 games Available Now' section says that Frontlines: Fuel of War is the most popular game today; not surprisingly they've also got this huge ad spread for the same game on the front page of the site.

In other news, Lost Odyssey is still the number one game on Play-Asia; in fact it has taken both the number 1 and number 2 spots (for the Asian version and US version, respectively). No doubt the Asian version is selling very well because it's PAL compatible. I'm also surprised that the US version is selling well on Play-Asia despite the well-known packaging problem.

Scytherage's Review of Lost Odyssey

Rating: GO BUY IT!
When the credits started to roll for Lost Odyssey, I realized one thing: This game was never about advancing the technology. It was never about pushing more polygons than Gears of War or having better anti-aliasing than any other next-generation game currently out in the market. Lost Odyssey is more about advancing the role-playing game genre, in terms of providing a more mature story, game characters that are more 'human', and themes that are more universal and relevant to people's real lives.
I could review Lost Odyssey in one way. I could talk about those moments during a few cutscenes when the framerate is less than ideal. Or I could talk about those areas in the game that are lighted wrongly and seem less aesthetically pleasing compared to the rest of the game.
But personally, I'd rather say my piece on Lost Odyssey based on the whole game and not its parts.
Lost Odyssey stands out among most other games in the role-playing genre because of its cha…

Scytherage: I've finally finished Lost Odyssey

My final impressions for Lost Odyssey, now that I've finished the game.

This is my old "Best RPGs list".

1. Baldur's Gate 2 Shadows of Amn + Throne of Bhaal
2. Final Fantasy 6
3. Final Fantasy 7

This is my new one.

1. Lost Odyssey
2. Baldur's Gate 2 Shadows of Amn + Throne of Bhaal
3. Final Fantasy 6
4. Final Fantasy 7

Total play time: 73 hours
Overall Character Level: 49-50+
Playing style: Mostly completionist; did most of the sidequests except for the Temple of Enlightenment, and the Backyard Battles.

I'm writing a review for this game tomorrow.

Final Fantasy XIII Continues to be Vaporware at GDC

I remember reading last week that Square Enix was going to have a talk about their White Engine and possibly show off Final Fantasy XIII in real-time.

According to this news, however, that didn't happen:
http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/02/finalfantasy.html?cid=103890992#comment-103890992

"'Crystal Tools': Final Fantasy Engine Renamed, Supports Wii
By Chris Kohler February 22, 2008 3:45:11 PM Categories: GDC 2008
SAN FRANCISCO -- 'Crystal Tools' is the new name of Square Enix's company-wide 3-D game development engine, and it'll support Wii.

At Game Developers Conference, Taku Murata, GM of Square Enix's research and development division, announced the new name and more details on the multiplatform development tools, originally called "White Engine."

Although "White Engine" was originally announced in 2006 as a PlayStation 3 game creation platform, it has since become multiplatform, including Xbox 360 and PC capabilities.

"Crysta…

Gamasutra Article on Lost Odyssey

This is a great article which provides some insight on the development of Lost Odyssey. Click the link below to read the whole thing.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=17559
Here's a snippet:
Feelplus president Ray Nakazato was at the 2008 Game Developers Conference to discuss the collaboration between Final Fantasy producer Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker group and Feelplus to develop Lost Odyssey. It originally began as an in-house Microsoft project before Feelplus assumed a role, Nakazato explained, as he showed a trailer of the fantasy RPG.

Feelplus was established in 2005 to develop Lost Odyssey. Currently, there are 100 developers and artists on staff, many of them Microsoft and Sega veterans, and Feelplus also relied on freelancers to help develop the game. The studio is part of holding company AQ Interactive Group, a larger merger between three development studios: Artoon, Cavia and Feelplus. In addition to supporting Sakaguchi on Blue Dragon, Feelplus …

Lost Odyssey Debuts at #2 on VGChartz.com's US Game Sales Chart

According to the site VGChartz.com, Lost Odyssey sold over101,277 copiesin its first week in the United States. It's a very strong start for Sakaguchi's latest JRPG epic. I hope the game will continue to sell well, and encourage Mistwalker to continue making games like it. Good sales will also discourage them from paying any attention to the largely misinformed/misguided/ignorant reviews that the game has been getting from the general gaming press.
In other news, the Xbox 360 version of Devil May Cry 4 continues to sell very well, and is number 1 on the chart. You may ask, why isn't this the headline? Well, DMC4 is expected to do well; it got great reviews and has quite a large fanbase...so the game selling well isn't really news. Lost Odyssey selling well IS definitely news, because this game had poor reviews from the gaming press, but received great buzz from gamers everywhere, as evidenced by the feedback on most gaming forums out there. I expected Lost Odyssey to on…

Tales of Vesperia coming to Xbox 360 (Now OFFICIAL)

I CALLED IT!

Tales of Vesperia confirmed again for the Xbox 360!

Article also posted on the front page of Pinoyxbox.com

Interview with the developer (Source):

Yosh[ito] Higuchi, Director and Tsutomu Gouda, Producer
Interview by Nick Des Barres & Dai Kohama / Transcribed by Dai Kohama
Translated by Nick Des Barres

play: Thanks for sitting down with us today. Can you first tell us about your role in the Tales series so far?

Yosh[ito] Higuchi: I wasn't an original member of the Tales team. I began in planning on the original Soulcalibur for arcade and Dreamcast, and eventually joined Tales after a number of other projects. My first was Tales of Symphonia on GameCube, followed by the overseas versions, and a PlayStation 2 port which was only released in Japan. Most recently I directed Tales of the Abyss, and now I'm directing Tales of Vesperia.

Is Vesperia being developed by the same team as Symphonia and Abyss?

YH: Mostly, yes. We originally called ourselves "Team Symphonia"…

What I Hate Seeing On Other Gaming Sites or Forums

I love video games and the game industry in general. But sometimes it's disheartening to read on other sites or forums because I can't help but get the vibe of immaturity from other gamers. Here's a short list of some things which I hate seeing sometimes on other forums or even game articles.

1. Excessive swearing. I see swearing on other types of hobbies online but it seems to me that its worse with gaming forums and some gaming related articles (I'm looking at you, 1UP.com). Can't gamers form sentences without adding the 'F' word to every other sentence?

2. The phrase "I'm cautiously optimistic". This phrase doesn't even make sense. How can it be possible for one to be 'cautious' and 'optimistic' at the same time? That's just ridiculous. The two words clearly contradict each other in meaning. Just say that you're 'pessimistic' instead.

You'll commonly find this phrase in threads talking about how game rev…

Things I highly recommend you must do if you're on Disc 4 of Lost Odyssey

1. Don't follow the "!" pointer on your World Map all the time. Try backtracking....explore older areas you've already been to. You'll surely find something useful or entertaining (rings, accessories or even dreams).

2. I highly recommend exploring Gongora's Mansion as early as you can. There's a nice story tidbit in there that you'd miss if you didn't visit otherwise (and the game won't tell you that that story bit is there....)

3. Also, visit Cooke and Mack's house with Sarah when you get the chance. There are some extra scenes in there, too. Granted, it won't get you a bonus item and some might find the scene really simple but it's a nice little touch that develops the characters more.

Disc 4 shines for giving you the chance to explore the game's world more....make the best of it. Of course you could go straight to the final battle at some point if you want a challenge.

That said, this is an expansive JRPG that I won't soon …

Scytherage's Impressions of Lost Odyssey midway through Disc 4

I am thoroughly enjoying this game.

The turn-based combat is just perfect. What I like is how every fight lets you feel that you've got a lot of options at your disposal. If you've read any review that says that the game favors magic casters, that review is sorely mistaken and likely didn't play far enough through the game. As it stands, in my view there is an equal footing between casters and fighter classes in this game. In my humble opinion, Seth, Kaim, Mack, Tolten and Sed are all fighters that are meant for the front row. Though some might consider Mack to be a 'spirit magic' character for the back row, I've found him quite useful in situations where I need some physical attacks and better defense on the front row.

Disc 4....where do I begin? The first dungeon in this level is very well designed. It 'feels' complex without making you completely lost. It has simple puzzles but for the most part continued to give me that sensation that I'm embarkin…

Wada: Final Fantasy XIII could be delayed again, because of Dragon Quest IX

I found this on neogaf, an article about Square Enix and their possible plans for Final Fantasy XIII.

Sources: http://trendy.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/special/20080213/1007041/ (in Japanese)
Translated: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=240513
"Wada Debates Releasing FFXIII in 2008

In an interview with Nikkei Torendinetto, Yoichi Wada discussed the release date of Final Fantasy XIII. According to the translation he said he is unsure whether to release Final Fantasy XIII the same year as Dragon Quest IX, since both are high profile games and that might hurt business.

However, the fact Wada said Final Fantasy XIII might be released in 2008 does implies that it is possible to release the game this year, so maybe the game's development is further along than we have previously been told."

This would be unfortunate if true. The Playstation 3 needs a high-profile JRPG to answer the Xbox 360's Lost Odyssey. With the current, overwhelmingly positive user reviews that the ga…

Lost Odyssey Downloadable Content in Xbox Live Japan Marketplace

Some info about the DLC for Lost Odyssey.

DLC#1: gives you the inventory item "Master's Secret Script" with the "Weapon Guard 2" skill and adds the story "Samii the Storyteller" as one of the dreams you can unlock in the game (to find this dream, look around in the pub in Uhra)

DLC#2: Costs 200 Microsoft Points. It comes with the 'Memory Lamp' (accessible in the Nautilus later in the game) which lets you watch previous cutscenes, another Thousand Years of Dreams short story (this one is located outside Uhra Castle, there are 2 soldiers standing near a hole that you have to talk to to activate it), and a ring accessory called the 'Killer Machine'.

Thanks to Dr Flibble from Xbox.com and this link for that information.

1UP Article: A Day in the Life of Nobuo Uematsu

This is a good interview. I took some of the more interesting parts of the interview and posted them below.

The full interview: http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3166165

Here are some parts of it:

1UP: What are your distinct memories of those days, the early 80's or mid-80's? Because when you really look back at it between Amano-san, Sakaguchi-san, and yourself, it was almost like the Beatles of Japanese development. Amano-san already had an established career, but as an individual he was also beginning to take off at that point. So this game really exploded things for you guys. And you even look at the back of this [Blue Dragon] packaging and it says, "Legendary RPG-creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. Renowned character designer" -- well, this is [Dragon Ball creator] Akira Toriyama -- "and famed music composer Nobuo Uematsu." So each core creator -- the three of you -- have gone on to achieve kind of a legendary status, but back then it was much simpler. What were s…

Understanding the plot of Lost Odyssey

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE MASSIVE SPOILERS UP AHEAD. EVERYTHING UP TO THE END OF THE STORY. Please do not read the spoiler unless you have finished the game.

I finished Lost Odysey without completing ANY sidequests. My reasons for that have been a little bit more reactionary due to the lousy reviews the game was getting. By the time I got to the end, certain plot elements about the game was not clear to me. While I understand that the real value of the game is the emotional attachment the gamer will have with the characters, the 'sacrifice' towards the end made me wonder if everything will be ok.
By Disk 2 we realize that the immortals do not belong in the world that they are in. They are immortal because they are not native inhabitants of that world. Throughout the rest of the game, they never tell us what they were doing in the present world but Gongora claims that they were all traitors to their home world. And that's all we know at that point. As you progress, you will s…