This weeks editions include Questions about our IGN64 Rebuttle, The Next Zelda, and of course...the demise of the D-Pad.
Digital Shadow asks, I
always read everything on Dolphin that's available for me to read,
and dammit, I loved it. The system sounds almost perfect. When IGN
released their news the other week, I was even more excited than I
could ever be. However, I read your "rebuttle" and that
really put a damp cloth on my happiness. The way you guys put it,
you make it sound like Nintendo is again making bad choices. I
will always have great faith in the company. However, I really
can't stand to here that they are, after the release of the 64,
still not getting it. Most of the stuff on the internet are
rumors, but I want to really hear your opinion on Nintendo's
stance. Also, is that Mini DVD a rumor, or an actual fact? Thank
you, and here is to Dolphin.
Mike Says: The
mini DVD stuff, like almost everything, is rumor until Nintendo
says anything either way. So IGN's material has to be taken with a
grain of salt, as do our comments about their comments.
Nintendo is doing a lot of
very right things with the Dolphin, regardless of our IGN replies,
but nobody should expect things to be perfect. People say Dolphin
is nicer to program for, but they can't due to lack of tools.
Nintendo finally drops ROMs, but the system doesn't play DVD
movies. There's a flipside to everything, but they are still going
in a right direction, in my view.
Ed Says: Sorry if
I dampened your enthusiasm at hearing the IGN64 news. I just
didn't want anyone to get too excited one way or another. The
information they released can be taken either positively or
negatively, I think, and none of it is carved in stone...
scratched maybe, but not carved. Still, as I said at the end of my
rebuttle, I thought most of the news was pretty good, with the
controller being the glaring exception.
I believe Nintendo is doing
a good job with Project Dolphin so far. Even if they use a smaller
DVD (still not a concrete fact yet), they should still have plenty
of space for most games. And while the second-party situation (and
third-party situation, for that matter) concerns me, Nintendo's
own software is where it all starts, and we were given no inkling
as to how they stand. Afterall, the "killer apps" are
likely to come from in-house at first... and it's these games upon
which our faith in Nintendo is really based. There's nothing in
the IGN64 story that's made that faith waver... er, well maybe the
controller... but I'll ignore that for now. :>
Billy Says: Yeah, no
one is trying to rain on anyones parade. It was our opinion on
IGN64's speculation. I agree with Ed on this... the surface was
scratched, but I am still weary of what Nintendo will ultimately
unleash at Spaceworld this year. I'm not worried.
The mini DVD is rumor, but
could be true. I don't mind it. I would want them caddied though.
Very little is actual "fact" at this
point and as I dredge myself back into the whole "Dolphin
World" I have to tip my hat to anyone who's dug up ANYTHING
on this elusive console. IGN64's article was really well-done and
provided some great new details, albeit ones comprised of rumors
& speculations (and that includes the "mini"
proprietary DVD format they talked about). So, keep in mind
everything said is possible, even probable-- just don't get too
Well, since I'm a lazy bum and didn't get my comments in during
the last crack on the IGN article I'll say my mini-piece here.
Mini DVD tech-- Generally I'd consider this a good thing as long
as we aren't talking getting below 2 GB or so. Just enough to be
in the healthy middle between Sega and Sony. Look at DC games,
though developers have an extra 200+ MB of space over a
traditional CD many of them are still making CD-sized or smaller
games. With the exception of movie-laden games, you don't need
THAT much space 80% of the time. Still, you have to think 4-5
years ahead and assume that less than, say, 2 GB may not cut the
mustard. I also agree with Billy... they need that sucker to have
a caddy to keep in their kid-safe mode and it could also be useful
to make piracy more difficult depending on the design.
As for all the rest, I
didn't find much of it interesting since it was all smoke and
mirrors and you could tell they were stretching. That's OK, it
makes people think... just don't put much stock in it just yet.
Volvagia asks, Am I the
only person who feels that Zelda shouldn't be available on the
release on the Dolphin? It took about 4 years for Zelda: Ocarina
of Time to become so great, and in my book, the best video game
ever created. If Zelda is on the starting lineup, what kind of a
rushed job will that be? I, as well as many other fans, would be
deeply dissapointed. So for those who are screaming for a Zelda
release when the Dolphin comes out, think twice... you don't want
Any idea how far Miyamoto
is on Mario? It would be cool for that to be in the starting
Mike Says: Nintendo
knows better than to rush Shiggy, and that is a reason why there
are console delays. I don't think Zelda will be a launch title
because that's shooting your whole wad at once. I believe they'll
go with the primary figure head, Mario, and have solid supporting
cast from Rare and others.
they'll hold on to Zelda since gamers will still be drinking in
Majora's Mask. It will be 5 years since having a Mario sequel, so
we are due for a splash.
I really wouldn't expect a Zelda game at launch either. The only
way it'd be there is if there's no Mario game at launch. I
remember reading a quote in Next-Gen a while back about Miyamoto
saying he was working on a Dolphin game that could be either a
Zelda or a Mario game. So if we do see a Zelda, it'd be that
game... and thus a Mario game would have to wait.
As for how far
along that game is? Based on a launch for the middle of next year,
I'll guess 60%. If it's going to be at Spaceworld, the foundation
is there and the general structure/design of the game is done.
It's a matter of fleshing out levels, detailing, and tweaking
gameplay, which hopefully can be done by next March. Just a guess,
don't quote me on that, unless I'm right. Oh, and whatever game it
ends up being, Mario or Zelda, it won't be rushed because it won't
be released until it's right, which could mean system delays, but
when it's done, it's done right.
Zelda at Launch? It's not going to happen. Granted Miyamoto said
that it would only take 2 years for Nintendo to make another Zelda
title, but I would predict we won't see another Zelda title until
at least 2002.
Nintendo doesn't have to.
Zelda is a
title, like Mario, which should be treated like a fine wine. It
shouldn't be rushed. Zelda is a title that comes out usually two
years after the system. Mario at Launch with a Pokemon title is
the beginning of a wonderful launch. Zelda isn't needed right
away. Hell, you got Majora's Mask in October... that should
satisfy your Zelda cravings for a while.
Max Says: Whenever Zelda
comes out, it will definitely help sell systems. The series has
set such a benchmark in quality, it's no wonder folks are worried
Dolphin's Zelda may come "too soon."
willing to believe that a Zelda game may appear shortly after
launch. If rumors are to be believed, it may be one of Nintendo's
first games with online features (such as head-to-head online
I'd be the last
person to hurry Miyamoto, though by his own admission he seems to
be already working on a new Zelda game for Dolphin (it may be at
Spaceworld). Miyamoto's teams struggled with getting Zelda into 3D
with N64's Ocarina of Time but he seems eager to talk of how new
tools & familiarity with 3D will ensure that development won't
take anywhere near as long as the 1st N64 Zelda, and says it
should be complete within the year.
as conservative with sequels as they once were, which is a good
thing. As great as Zelda is, I'd rather have it sooner into
Dolphin's lifecycle, allowing Miyamoto to devote time to
developing new franchises, bringing back a few more old ones
(please), or even doing a Zelda sequel!
I'd tend to be in the camp that says, without hesitation, that a
straight-up Zelda title at or near launch would be a bad thing.
The Zelda series, since the SNES days, has become the one that
truly benchmarks the power of the console and the programmers at
Nintendo. To have it at launch would be to make it less than the
stellar title people would expect. Now, that doesn't mean that
some sort of Zelda oriented title couldn't appear... some more
watered down, online capable game that uses the world of Hyrule
somehow and doesn't actually utilize the players like Link. I
could see that possibly. But you can't expect a masterpiece at the
system's opening in terms of Zelda. That's a title that requires
asks (says), I personally liked having a D-pad, but I guess it
just isn't needed in the future of gaming. I would much rather
have a pad instead of a camera stick. Even though the whole camera
stick thing might just be some sort of propoganda invented to keep
the truth from surfacing. Anyway, most of that stuff is subject to
change at any time, so I guess you shouldn't believe everything
you read or hear. Nintendo will come through and make a great
system that will bring hours of enjoyment to gamers across the
world regardless of what the controller looks like or how games
and the platform formats have changed over the years.
Regarding the D-pad, I think it's a significant loss. Sure,
Nintendo may be trying to take games to another level by excluding
it, but it could irritate puzzler and fighting gamers/developers,
two genres in which the D-pad tends to be superior to the control
From what I've been told, the D-Pad is gone. This does upset me. I
am a huge fan of Puzzle games. The next version of Tetrisphere,
Bubble bobble (Bust-a-move), Wetrix (make a freakin' sequel!, etc,
will be a BITCH to play with an analog stick.
As I said in our rebuttle, I hope a 3rd party makes a stick with a
D-Pad. Granted, I'm not a huge fan of third party controllers, but
it's better than nothing.
And fighting games? I'm not the biggest fighting game fan, but
when played, I use a D-pad. It will be interesting to say the
least. Nintendo take note... People still want a D-Pad.
The lack of a D-pad to me is a little upsetting, but strikes me as
bold too. Nintendo practically invented the D-pad on the NES
controller; every system since it has followed suit.
are uncerstandable, D-Pads ARE better for fighters &
puzzlers--primarily those in 2D. Not including a D-pad makes me
think Nintendo's confident they don't need one. Maybe they've got
something better, perhaps analog buttons?
Nintendo-made controllers have yet to let me down in regard
durability or comfort, so I'm not losing sleep over it.
Erf, having been playing all of the Capcom
fighters all weekend on Dreamcast, I can say without a doubt that
playing these with an analog stick just doesn't cut it. While you
want a firm-but-losse feeling in a stick for your standard gaming
fare, for fighters you simply need that tight control that only a
D-Pad or digital and firm joystick provide. Lets hope Nintendo
doesn't get themselves into the same trap that Sega did where you
end up with reviews calling fighting game X (or any other game for
that matter) almost unplayable with the standard console
controller. Nintendo is usually smart enough to know that there is
money to be made in hardware sales too, so hopefully they'll have
a plan that may not involve the default controller, but at least
in a quality fighting style controller.
Loved the review on IGN's comments on Dolphin; but there is one
case where I disagree with you. While, at first, I was thinking,
what the Hell is this two gigabyte DVD crap, I have to admit upon
futher thinking I've changed my mind. Yes it can be a small pain
in the ass, but like any other CD/DVD media they can simply add
more discs. Plus, even if they don't want to, they could possibly
have a double sided disk, like any other DVD movie. Therefore, I
say that the discs won't hurt them that much.
We run a fine line when we do a lot of speculating on speculation,
mixing the two and confusing the hell out of everybody, so we
dodged a lot of questions regarding the IGN article for this
edition of the Mailbag. Our official comments speak for
In a general
sense, the discs can theoretically be both double-sided AND
double-layered. I imagine that's where IGN got their "up to 2
gigs" from, accounting for the layering. If they go
double-sided, then that could cancel out the locked-in caddy
theory, which in and of itself is more speculation. I say our
speculation about the system surely seems to suggest we need to
seek some sort of psychological support.
Bah, Let's wait
for Spaceworld to get these answers. If 1-2 gigs were all we got,
I'd be ok with it. Most 32-bit games didn't fill out CDs, so I
don't think most 128-bit games will fill out DVDs either anyway.
You know, part of me hopes the IGN64 info was almost 100%
accurate, as I think we'll all look a bit silly if the facts
surface and show us that we've been speculating about fiction.
However, seeing as I'm supposed to be some sort of Project Dolphin
journalist, I'd better comment, even though Billy still hasn't
given me back my llama.
Yes, things can
be done with the disc to put in more info, or as you mentioned you
can use more discs. Either way seems like a viable solution. Even
if Nintendo's disc has 1/2 the space of Sony's, it's still much
better than the 1/10th (at best) of the space that Nintendo carts
had vs. Sony CD's, and if the Nintendo discs are significantly
more secure than Sony's, the size difference will be even less of
line, heed Master Merrick's words, "Size matters not... judge
me by my size, do you? And well you should not, for my ally is the
Miyamoto, and a powerful ally He is!"
I don't feel all that silly speculating on Dolphin matters, seeing
as there are so many folks out there dying to know. The trick is
to speculate responsibly (and with all the pre-Spaceworld
excitement, we may be getting out of control.)
"mini-DVD" pan out, 1-2 gigs is still lotsa room to work
with. Ed's right about size difference being negligible if the
format complicates piracy.
idea w/multiple discs! As is the dual-layered, dual-sided discs.
However, these measures will probably be reserved for more
"epic games" in order to keep things economical. Still,
both techniques would be viable options for developers seeking to
push the envelope.
Well, with the dual-layered theory I see one potential problem...
having played movies on my DVD player I can attest that there is
always a 2-3 second pause when the laser has to switch layers and
continue, this may make dual-layered discs somewhat tough to deal
with. Just one more access hoop a developer would have to jump
through. Could be weird, trying to segregate their data so that
the game won't have those stutters you see when the game isn't
loading texture info fast enough. Dunno.
dual-sided discs, I'd say there are two downsides. One, you lose
your pretty disc labelling, and two if the general lack of
dual-sided discs in the DVD movie territory is an indicator I
don't believe there are actually that many shops that are able to
produce dual-sided, dual-layered disks that reliably... making it
more likely to just opt for more discs instead. You'd have to
manually flip over the disk anyway, why not just make you put in a
different one and save some trouble?
Butros asks, I
have heard talks about Squaresoft making games for the console,
but most seems speculation. I want to know if Nintendo or
Squaresoft has made announcements or told the media about there
plans on the games?
I think everything you've heard about Squaresoft making games for
Project Dolphin is speculation. The only thing that's been said
was a comment at a shareholder meeting or something saying that
the console seemed interesting. That's it. Until there's a formal
announcement, and you'll know when you see one because it'll be
all over every game site, consider all talk about Square and
Nintendo getting together as speculation at best.
I'd only want
to see Square working with Nintendo for the business aspects, i.e.
their games sell (especially in Japan) and making non-PS2
exclusive games would hurt Sony. As a gamer, I'm fairly
indifferent about Square. I acknowledge their technical prowess
and their skill at crafting RPG's but I don't see them as being
terribly innovative. Yes they do RPG's well, but their other games
are a mixed bag. Still, they'd be a nice third-party pick-up for
Nintendo, purely from a business stand point, though I doubt it'll
Billy Says: As far as we know, Square hasn't announced
anything for Dolphin or GBA. I'll be totally honest with you, I
could care less either way. It's been quite a while since Square
did anything that was innovative, or blew me away.
I like watching
movies at the Movie Theater, and I like playing games on my
console. Those are two separate entities.
Well, I had an interesting conversation with Stephen earlier. If
Square is planning to make FF XI an online game, and Sony doesn't
have their online plans together, I'm guessing we'll see it on
Dolphin/Star Cube or even the Dreamcast. PC sales aren't enough
The thing that
stumps me is, er, why aren't they making GameBoy games? I mean,
it's got a user base equal to at least several Mongol hordes...
Sony must be cutting them an awfully sweet deal, or they've lost
As for what I
think of Square, well, I like them well enough. But they hit their
prime with the 16-bit games...
Max Says: I
have to agree that all of my favorite Square games are from the
16-bit era (FF3/6, Chrono Trigger) though I'm encouraged by
everything I've heard about FFIX. If only we had some equally
cheering word about Nintendo/Square relations.
The good news
is that Square seems to have an open mind about Nintendo again,
though there's been no announcements of them signing as a Dolphin
developer. Of course, most developers are being courted secretly
and binded by NDA (non-disclosure agreements) so there's a chance
something's happened that we don't know about. Considering
Square's partnership with Electronic Arts, the reports that
Nintendo has been negotiating with EA is certainly a good sign
The climate is
good for a reunion, though don't get your hopes up just yet...
Square and Sony still seem awfully chummy.
Bleh, honestly, screw Square. They don't live up to their own
incredible hype anymore. Even the most diehard Sony/Square fans
have begun to question their sudden attempts to break out of the
RPG biz into everything else they can find. Ultimately one phrase
comes to mind to epitomize the predominant Square philosophy
anymore, and that is 'style over substance'. Yes it is pretty, yes
it makes your eyes pop out the first time, but ultimately the
experience is flawed and hollow when you've seen the great things
they did before they went hog-wild for FMV sequences. Hell, in
terms of movies they're being upstaged by other sectors as well,
some of the cinematics even Blizzard has created recently are
right up there. In the end the gameplay has to shine or all the
pomp and circumstance is crap. Since Nintendo hasn't shied away
from saying as much in the past few years, I'm not so sure even
Nintendo cares anymore aside from the economic factor the Square
sheep with money bring along for the ride.