Clinging together

It’s a good week for people who like RPGs. Not one but two excellent Super Famicom RPGs that never made it to the U.S. in their time arrived yesterday, and while the impact of Tactics Ogre‘s release was slightly dulled by the fact that we got a really crappy version for PlayStation more than a decade ago, don’t let that deter you. Both TO and Dragon Quest VI are must-haves if you’re the sort of person who reads this site regularly. Or so I’d assume, since I can’t imagine why you’d bother reading this site for so long if your taste in games didn’t overlap significantly with my own. Masochism, I suppose, in which case I’d still recommend the games, as you clearly revel in inflicting things you don’t enjoy upon yourself.

A significant facet of Tactics Ogre’s (re-)creation, I think, is that Yasumi Matsuno isn’t listed as director. Rather, art director Hiroshi Minagawa was promoted to that position. But I suspect very much that Matsuno was still calling the shots. There are two prevailing theories as to why Matsuno bailed on Final Fantasy XII‘s development and disappeared from sight for several years; one is that he suffered a breakdown under the stress of managing such a big project, while the other is that he chafed at the executive interference that forced him to recast a snot-nosed twerp as the game’s lead rather than the grizzled and betrayed war veteran he had developed into the star and abandoned ship when the project strayed too far from his vision. Either way, I suspect Minagawa’s elevation was intended to create a buffer between Matsuno and management… which means it’s a miracle the dude hasn’t had his own breakdown yet. I can’t imagine being caught between a reputedly temperamental genius and… whatever it is that Square has become these days.

Speaking of Matsuno, I’ve begun layouts for GameSpite Quarterly 8. Yeah, I know, GSQ7 has only been on sale for two weeks, but I wanted an early start for the next issue, because (1) it’s going to be a huge issue (as in GSQ5 huge) and (2) I’m continuing to move away from templates and bitmap fonts and need more time to experiment in InDesign. Fortunately, I think I found the groove with the splash page for the Vagrant Story article:

(Hooray for the magic of free clip art websites, home to countless royalty-free blood spatters.) I’m pretty excited about seeing this one come to fruition. Only ten more weeks ’til it ships. A quantity of time which, for someone of my vintage, flies by in no time at all. Sigh.

27 thoughts on “Clinging together

  1. I had the opportunity to talk to Minagawa and ask him, how Matsuno was involved in the creation of the TO-Remake.
    He explained, it was different than back in the day: When they worked on the SFC-game, they were sitting in a small office back to back – when there was a question, Minagawa just turned around, tapped Matsunos shoulder and asked. For the remake, Matsuno worked only from home, he and Minagawa were communicating all the time via skype and Minagawa was irritated by the noises, Matsunos cat made.
    But in the end, Matsuno was calling the shots in all important decisions.
    That´s at least, what Minagawa said.
    The good news is, he didn´t look too breakdowney to me – actually, of all the developers present at this event, he might have been the most relaxed of them all. Of course, this might simlpy be the way I saw it…
    Ask Kat Bailey what she thought, she was there as well.

  2. Finally picked up Dragon Quest VI. Gonna really enjoy playing through again. First time through was the mostly-translated SNES version.

    Also, Tactics Ogre is pretty rockin’, even if I rarely have the patience to push all the way through SRPGs. Some of the systems that you described sound like they might take some of that edge off and give me the patience to finish it off, once I finally buy it (which may be right after I finish DQVI, who knows).

    And I have that PSX port of Tactics Ogre. It’s not great, but it’s not awful, either. I’ve probably been conditioned to put up with load times from PSX games at this point, so it really doesn’t bother me that much. But the improvements to the level-up systems and what looks to be a vastly improved translation make the PSP version look to be far superior, regardless.

  3. I’m broke and have to choose between two out of radiant historia, DQ6 and Tactics Ogre :( I’m going to have to go for Radiant Historia and TO and hope that DQ6 isn’t out of print when I finally get money like what happened with DQ4 and 5 :'(

    • In that case, I’d say go with the DS games for now. TO is available on PSN, so it should be around for a while and you can grab it later. No guarantee of that with the other two.

      • I know but that TO premium edition looks nice. I might just go two weeks with beans on toast and get DQ the next week. I need a job!

  4. Gonna have to wait for TO because the guide I initially preordered with it is on backorder at the moment. And this is even cancelling the guide for that order. * shakes fist at Amazon * I’m going to be cross if I don’t get those Tarot Cards, because they’re the only reason I ordered so early.

    Meanwhile, I did pick up DQVI yesterday, along with the free blue slime plushie, so I do have that to keep me occupied.

    A shame Tactics Ogre couldn’t be a little more highly publicized, or advertised, because it seems like it would be of interest for anyone who liked FFT to check out.

  5. Actually, I’m surprised that I have such different tastes than you and continue to read this site. For example: I don’t like Mega Man (except Legends), Metroid, Zelda, or Dragon Quest all that much.

    Am I a masochist? Or could it be the common ground of…. FFXII being the best FF ever?

  6. TO, Radiant Historia and DQ6 have satiated my appetite for games for 2011.
    I’m scared! Will I ever take an interest in other new games the way I do for these portables?

  7. Alas, all I have done with LUCT is install the data. I made a promise with my SO to do things in P3P. So I shall not touch it otherwise until I am done!

    Also, I never did finish Persona 3 to begin with.

    • Interesting, I made a similar promise to myself. I won’t open TO until I finish P3P. I’m on the last floors of Tartarus, so maybe I will get to start TO tonight. I’m tired of reading the unopened TO box…

  8. I think it’s quite a thing FFXII still turned out to be pretty damn great, despite Matsuno’s departure. It felt like the team carried his torch somewhat.

    I never hear about the International Zodiac System version, though. That sounds like quite a different game. I know some TT’ers had some experience with it, but I haven’t seen a GameSpitey-style article for it yet. To my knowledge.

    And a Vagrant Story article? Finalllyyy~ A time when amnesiac family-murders coming to terms with that they did was all the rage (Memento, Silent Hill 2).

  9. Heck. Clinging Together? I’m barely holding it together, yeesh. For the first time in my life I have no time for games and the darn things just keep stock piling.

    Oh. Well. It’s supposed to rain sunday so I can put a couple to rest this weekend. Still have to grind on three stack slimes in DQIX, get out of Monstro in FF4Heroes, and show that dick Xenahort the power of Light:)

  10. Seeing as though I only just put DQIX down 100% complete would you recommend I start Radiant Historia before DQVI?

    I’ll be dividing my time between Tactics Ogre and one of those DS games if that makes any difference?

    • Man, I wouldn’t even presume to tell someone how to spend their free time. Are you tired of DQ or not? If you need a break, Radiant Historia is a definite change of pace.

      • i could do with a break from DQ for a month or so. Radiant Historia it is. Cheers man.

        Although being in England means I have to wait a couple of weeks before the games arrive anyway.

        So many great RPGs coming.

    • Unfortunately, it’s not particularly high-resolution; what you see here is about actual rez. It should still look OK in print, though, since it’s a B&W process and I used a few tricks to make it expand more gracefully than just doing a straightforward Photoshop resize.

  11. Nice, good to see the publication crossing over to In-design. A great program, especially for doing interesting things with typography and the grid. We use it all the time at university, that its almost become an essential cog in the working of making books.

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