games / Columns

Ask 411 Games 02.25.13: Tactics Ogre, Licensed Fighting Games, Final Fantasy, More

February 25, 2013 | Posted by Francisco Ramirez

Not who you were expecting huh? Well, let’s get the intro’s out of the way, I am Francisco Ramirez, filling in for Mathew “the Wonder from Down Under” Sforcina. Unfortunately our good friend broke his Humerus during an independent wrestling match. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I am not a permanent replacement, Sforcina vowed to return, we drew straws, and I am your host for the week.

Now about me, I used to write the News and Views from South of the Border, the weekly lucha column that went on hiatus due to real life issues, I still contribute to the Top 5 on occasion. I’ve also covered Ask 411 Games on few occasions, I’m no Sforcina but at least I’m no stranger to this.

What am I playing, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, have to say it, gotta catch them all, Nintendo take note, a Pokemon RPG on a console, not a portable, and a damn good one at that. That and I’m also finishing up Demons Souls on the side, to be followed up by Dark Souls, and Dark Souls II by then. Enough about me, to the questions but first TO THE BANNER!

411 on Twitter!

We start of with Noob who had summited about two weeks worth of questions.

woohooo glad you are back!!


well since you said you did not know waht happened to the retronomicon my guess is you do not know what happened to “over or under” either but if you have some info please tell me what went wrong

Unfortunately for me, I’m not too much in the know, hell I’m the Lucha guy on a site that is aimed at the WWE and TNA market, I know only what Csonka wants me to know. I asked around though, Lee Price of Retronomicon fame and Jimmy Chavez who authored the Over and Under no longer write for 411mania, unfortunately they had to deal with real life. I reached out to both via email. Jimmy Chavez was kind enough to reply the following.

“There’s a money matter that needs to be cleared up first. You see, Mark Salmela owes the Panel backpay for mentioning him and his favorite game of all time numerous times throughout the column. The game will not be named at this time, but most readers know its title. As soon as Mr. Salmela clears this debt, the Over or Under column will return.”

Oh, Salmela, see what your obsession with Final Fantasy causes? That’s the game he’s referring to right?

It sucks, I was a fan of both columns, but it happens, the birth of my daughter and work is what keeps me from bringing back the Lucha column, luckily I’m still able to contribute to stuff like the Top 5 and WOTW on occasion.

what happened to Tactics Ogre? a recent PSP or vita remake has been done but there’s no news of a new one, square bought quest and they are doing final fantasy tactics every now and then and nintendo continues solid with fire emblem, so tactical rpgs are not dead in my opinion, so theres no excuse for not makin one.

Ah yes, something I do know! I’ll make it simple, in a way it became Final Fantasy Tactics.
Let me dwell a little deeper and explain.

Quest developed the fantastic Ogre Battle which was released in 1993 for the SNES. The game differed in various ways from Tactics Ogre, it felt more like a RTS and JRPG amalgamation. It might be a game that has been lost to time, I don’t understand how, as it has been ported to the PSX and Sega Saturn under the name Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. Damn good game, I highly recommend it.

The followup came in 1995 when Quest developed the sequel, of sorts, Tactics Ogre. Gameplay wise, it was different from its predecessor. It brought out the grid based Strategy RPG we all know and some love. Released in 1995 for the SNES, Tactics Ogre arrived stateside in 96 for the Sega Saturn and 97 for the PSX. 2011 saw the enhanced port for the PSP that I imagine most of us here are familiar with.

Here is where things get a little convoluted. Following the release of Tactics Ogre in 95, Hiroshi Minagawa, Akihiko Yoshida, and more importantly Yasumi Matsuno, the father of sorts for Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre, left Quest and joined up with Square. Yasumi Matsuno’s first game at Square, Final Fantasy Tactics.

Quest survived, and kept moving forward, their next title was Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber. This was a return to the system of the first Ogre Battle. The game received positive reviews and is easily one of the standouts of the N64. Funny thing though, this would be the first Ogre Battle game without a subtitle inspired by a Queen song, unlike previous games in the series. “Ogre Battle”, “March of the Black Queen”, and “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” all being Queen songs, Ogre Battle 64 breaking from the tradition held with the first 2 entries.

2000 marked the release of Ogre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia Prince. Unfortunately the game was only released in Japan for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. Gameplay was almost identical to the first Ogre Battle, being a side story of sorts.

Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis arrived in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance. Gameplay was Tactics style, similar in style to Let Us Cling Together. The game would be well received on a critical standpoint. It would be the last Ogre game we would see, aside from the port of Tactics Ogre:LUCT.

What happened? Well you said it, Square acquired Quest. While Quest worked on Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and FF Tactics A2, Yasumi Matsuno left Square in 2005 due to health issues. He had delivered Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and was in the middle of development for Final Fantasy XII. He did return on a freelance basis to work with his Quest team on the PSP port for Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. He joined Level-5, then left on November of 2012. As of now he has stated he is working on a secret project and has not announced with what company, so fingers crossed. The future is uncertain for the Ogre series. I’m a firm believer that the success of Let Us Cling Together would determine the future of the series, sales numbers show in the range of 454,794, not exactly setting the world on fire, but then again this was released on the PSP. Not to mention Square-Enix holding quite a few IP’s that are basically collecting dust, if we can’t get a new Chrono game, what are the chances of a new Ogre game?

Strategy RPG’s are not dead by any means. They have just become more of a niche product like the JRPG. To get your fix, you don’t have to look any farther than NIS and Atlus. While Atlus ports quite a few games, they are best known for the Persona series. Growslanser: Wayfarer of Time was released by them for the PSP, good series of SJRPG games. NIS is the king of the niche titles, Disgaea is a good place to start, a new one will be making its way stateside this year for the PS3. Also,handhelds are the place to go for getting these type of games, on the 360 the only thing that springs to mind is Spectral Force 3 and Record of the Agarest Wars. The PS3 has a few more to offer, Disgaea 3, 4, Record of the Agarest War, and the PSN game Rainbow Moon. I know there are a few more, but those come to mind right now.

with the coming release of Gods Among Us I want to know how many fighting games based on non video game characters are there and which has been the most succesful (succesful as in more sales, gameplay and fan acception, or if it made it to the evo or some competitive tournament with prestige)? not including crossovers like marvel vs capcom, or dc x mortal kombat, more like the power rangers and TMNT fighters for snes and the DBZ budokai series, I guess wrestling sort of counts but I’ll leave it to you.

Ok, now I’m starting to miss Sforcina. Let’s do it this way, if we are not counting game characters whatsoever, only licensed characters, I will be excluding Wrestling games, except Simpsons Wrestling and Def Jam Vendetta, they aren’t pure wrestling games, and they have licensed characters from outside of wrestling. Boxing, and MMA games are also excluded. Reason being they damn near all are licensed be it UFC, WWE, WBO, etc. So the list would have been gigantic, besides, that wasn’t the question, the question was fighting games. So let’s see what I came up with.

Games Based on:

Comic Books
Avengers in Galactic Storm, Justice League Task Force, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, X-Men: Mutant Academy, X-Men: Mutant Academy 2, X-Men: Next Dimension

Dragonball series: Ultimate Battle 22,Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, Budokai 1,2,3, Tenkaichi 1,2,3, Super DBZ, Burst Limit, Infinite World, Raging Blast 1,2, Ultimate Tenkaichi, Budokai HD Collection, Supersonic Warriors 1,2, Tenkaichi Tag-Team, Dragonball Z (Arcade), Dragon Ball Z 2: Super Battle, V.R.V.S., Fist of the North Star, Gundam series: The Battle Master, Battle Assault 1, 2, Seed: Assualt, Battle Assault 3, Inuyasha series: A Feudal Fairy Tale, Feudal Combat, Jo Jo’s Bizzare Adventure, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Yu Yu Hakusho series: Dark Tournament, Digimon RumbleArena, Digimon Rumble Arena 2, Naruto series: Clash of Ninja 1, 2, Revolution 1,2, 3, Ninja Destiny 1, 2, Ultimate Ninja 1,2,3,4, Ultimate Ninja Storm 1, 2, Generations, Ultimate Ninja Heroes 1,2,3, Ultimate Ninja Impact, One Piece series: Grand Battle!, Grand Adventure, Ultraman: Nexus, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Battle Orchestra, Zatch Bell: Electric Arena, Mamodo Battles, , Bleach series: Blade of Fate, Dark Souls

Miscellanious, TV, Movies, Celebrity, Music, etc.
Dragonball Evolution, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Kung Fu Master: Jackie Chan, TNMT: Tournament Fighters, TMNT: Smash Up, Street Fighter: The Movie, Shaq Fu, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion, Celebrity Deathmatch, Def Jam: Vendetta, Def Jam: Fight for NY, Def Jam: Icon, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi,The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Tom and Jerry: War of the Whiskers, Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals, Warpath: Jurassic Park, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, Xena: Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate, Highlander, Deadliest Warrior: The Game, Fight Club, Simpson’s Wrestling.

That is what I came up with it after the research. NOW, I’m certain there is some obscure anime or something that slipped through the cracks, comments section, have at it! Hell, Wikipedia doesn’t even list Simpsons Wrestling or Fight Club in their Fighting Games section.

Now the easy part, none of these games have made it to EVO, the closest would be Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and 3, but it was stated crossovers did not count.

If we look at sales alone, my pick was Def Jam Vendetta, or Fight For NY, boy was I wrong! The actual top sell, breaking 3 million globally is…….

That’s right, DBZ Budokai broke three million globally, that’s two million more than the Def Jam games. Now here is where it gets complicated, Dragonball Budokai Tenkaichi 3 broke three million on the PS2, and was later ported to the Wii where it made a number of about 900,000. So if we are looking at single releases, Budokai, multiple ports, Budokai Tenkaichi 3

Critically, X-Men: Children of the Atom holds a Gamesrankings score of 85%, but based on one review, my pick is Def Jam: Fight For NY, which is at about 84% on both Metacritic and Gamerankings. I also feel the need to point out a huge fan favorite, TMNT: Tournament Fighters that stands at a 71%.

2. which video game was the first to release an original soundtrack? I was also wondering how that happened, was it fan pressure, and agreement with the composer, a sudden realization by the company of an unexplored market..

 photo DQsymphcoverresize_zps0c357e6b.jpg

Dragon Quest I Symphonic Suite is credited as the first Soundtrack CD available, in Japan of course. Koichi Sugiyama already had worked composing and assisting with various other projects including Godzilla Vs. Hedorah. His work on the original Dragon Quest was considered revolutionary at the time. He recorded his Dragon Quest music with a live orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra to be exact. He was the first to do this and this led to the said CD. No reason has been given as to why he did this, but hey, he’s a musician, don’t all musicians want to put out their music out in some way? He was also the first to hold a concert showcasing video game music. Family Classic Concert was held in Tokyo Japan in 1987 after the release of Dragon Quest II, Sugiyama arranged and conducted.

Now, word is video game music was released in vinyl before that in Japan, if it was official or not I cannot confirm. As far as releases in the U.S., I found nothing as far as first official release. In the mid to late 90’s fans starting importing soundtracks, usually Final Fantasy or other Square RPG’s. Companies saw the demand and starting releasing soundtracks, usually for only AAA titles though. So since I could not track down what was the first, Comments section any clue?

Brian Figueroa comes at us with a Final Fantasy related question.

My question is regarding the release of Final Fantasy “N-2’s”, If you look at the release of these games, they coincide with the release of the latest FF MMO that is listed as a numbered entry. To me it feels like they were released to fill in the gap for the FF fans that think a MMO shouldn’t be a numbered entry in the main series. A MMO doesn’t have an ending, thus it lacks finality.

Coincidence? How else can you explain the fact that Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII-3 is being released a quarter apart from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

It would make sense that the sequel’s would be set in place to tide over the non-MMO players, but let’s look at the dates. Final Fantasy XI was released in Japan on March 13, 2002. March 23, 2004 for the U.S. release. Final Fantasy X-2 would be released in Japan on March 13, 2003. The U.S. release date would be November 18, 2003. If we crunch the numbers and do the math, Japan would have a gap of about a year, while the U.S. would see them four months apart with X-2 dropping first.

Final Fantasy XIV was released on September 22, 2010, unfortunately it was unfinished. Final Fantasy XIII-2 saw a Japanese release of December 15, 2011, and January 31, 2012 for the U.S. That’s a huge gap of about a year either way you look at it.

Here is where the coincidence theory gets even better. No way anyone could predict Final Fantasy XIV was going to have to be basically rebuilt as A Realm Reborn, and the 3rd Final Fantasy XIII sequel would arrive a quarter away.

So in essence, I doubt Square would release two Final Fantasy games so close to each other, basically they’d be competing with themselves, and no way is that smart business.

Cactus has an opinion based question.

It was claimed in the comments section of an article of this website that “another game crash is imminent”, referring to a repeat of what happened in the age before NES. I refuted it, but I figured I would ask you, Matthew Sforcina, your damm opinion on if the market is going to bust, or is it more of a creative crash we’re sort of going through at the moment, similar to Hollywood’s reliance on big spectacle movies and sequels to rake in the cash?

Crash? Come on, we just stopped drooling over the PS4 and you’re asking about a crash? Unfortunately you’re getting my opinion, not Sforcina’s, maybe when he returns he can share his thoughts as well.

The video game crash in the 80’s occurred due to various factors, what I believe to be the main two would be over-saturation and lack of quality control. Too many consoles, too many games being released, and 98% of those games being crap.

Today, we have the big 3, PS3, 360, and Wii U. Add a couple of handhelds and the PC as well. Quality control is no longer an issue, thank Nintendo and the Nintendo Seal of Approval that was implemented in the 80’s. Games aren’t released in an overabundant amount leaving stores without any room to store or display them. So the game industry has learned their lesson from the looks of it.

I think the Hollywood comparison is accurate. We are seeing a heavy reliance on big budget sequels. Those are the big money makers right now.The top 3 selling games in 2012 were Halo 4, Madden 2013, and Black Ops II, that says alot. Developers will take less risks unfortunately, and understandably so, big budget titles are getting more and more expensive and longer to develop. We shall see how much this increases on the next console generation. While many will frown upon the Hollywoodesque status of gaming, you do have an alternative. Indy gaming, just like indy films will be where the risks and hidden gems will be found. Journey, Braid, Telltales the Walking Dead are good examples of this. Less of a budget, but creatively better, and downloadable.

The wildcard in this is mobile and casual gaming. Angry Birds has become a phenom, and games aimed at the casual market have proven successful. Anyone remember the monster that was Farmville? How much this will continue to affect console gaming is up in the air. 2012 wasn’t exactly a great year for gaming, sales were down, with numbers for 2012 being 13.26 billion, a 22% decline from 2011’s 16.99 billion. That’s quite a bit, then again you have to remember that 2012 saw less titles released compared to 2011, and also, numbers are still in the billions.

So to reiterate, I don’t see a crash in a similar way to the 80’s were retail stores no longer carry video games, I see it more of a creative crash with companies taking less risks and Indy games picking up that slack. At least that’s the way I see it.

So that’s it for this week, get well Sforcina. Remember, questions can go in the comment section, or, better yet, to [email protected]

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Francisco Ramirez
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