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The best news last week was that a 65 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as Conan the Barbarian in an upcoming film. The best news this week? Dragon Quest VII, a much debated and eternally long volume in the much-loved RPG series, will be coming to Nintendo 3DS early next year. In Japan.
Even the synopsis, taken from the original Playstation release, is charming:
You play the role of a 16 year old boy who lives in the village of Fishbell and aspires to be a great fisherman, like your father Borkano. Once The Hero and his friends Keifer and Maribell start exploring Estard Island, they discover that there used to be more to the world than just their small piece of land. The trio will have to collect ancient tablet shards and use them to revive the lost continents, uncover why they were lost, and who erased them to begin with.
This immediately leaps to the top of my list of most anticipated games. Based on the above scan, the release appears to be a full-on remake, much needed for one of the ugliest (if charming) games of all time. Though this has only been announced for a Japanese release, the previous Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest‘s 4-5 were well received in North America and sold respectably, suggesting that an announcement of an overseas release is likely an inevitability. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.
EA has announced the next game in the Dragon Age series, and done so in an interesting way. Generally, for announcements of this calibre, EA will wait for one of the several large trade shows that happen throughout North America, Europe and Japan, like, E3, Leipzig Games Convention, or Tokyo Games Show respectively. This time, however, EA, through one of the Dragon Age series’ Executive Producers, Mark Darrah, they announced the game through their website.
The announcement explains why they’ve chosen a non-traditional method for the announcement:
Recently, I said that we didn´t want to talk about Dragon Age III unless we had something to show. I´m trying to stick to that plan and won´t be revealing much today. That said, a lot of information and rumors have surfaced recently and we don´t want to hide from them. There are a BUNCH of things that I really want to share with you but I want to do this right, and doing it right requires some more time.
This decision appears designed to foster goodwill with a fanbase grumbling with discontent at the recent handling of the Dragon Age franchise, including the dramatic changes introduced to the series with its second volume, many of which appear to have been made to speed development of the game, following on the unexpected success of Dragon Age: Origins, rather than to improve the series’ gameplay and storytelling through natural evolution of the game systems. Continue reading
2008 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed., a release that was originally met with some strong vitriol from fans who were bothered by both the relatively small amount of time since the previous major release (3.5, released in 2003) which required a major time/cash investment for core players, and the drastic changes made to the game (ostensibly to make it more welcoming and inviting to new players). As we all know, the Internet has a drastic inability to respond proportionately to issues that bother them and in the four years since its release, fans have cooled down considerably and 4th Ed has fans and detractors in equal proportion.
Now, hoping to head off similar controvery with the next release of the classic Role Playing Game, Wizards of the Coast is looking to its fans for feedback on how they can improve things next time around.
A testing period will be open for a significant amount of time after the new editions is finalized a move the powers at Wizard of the Coast are hoping will assuage any fan fears of over-simplified rules or any other emphasis that might perceive as being wrong. Specifically, this new effort is centered around the notion for face-to-face interaction between gamers in a traditional tabletop play environment. James W. Ward, the former vice president of TSR Inc.
Here’s a suggestion, WoC, how about not asking your fans to spend a few hundred dollars every four years if they want to keep up with your product? How about spending your time and resources on creating great add-on content and adventure modules to keep fans interested in your product? There was 11 years between 2nd Ed. and 3rd Ed., 12 years between AD&D and 2nd Ed. Remember those days? The golden age?
You can find out more information about 5th Ed., along with how you can contribute to the development process, on the official D&D website.