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by the NWR Staff - December 1, 2001, 5:21 am PST

Mailbag returns! Answers to questions about Resident Evil, Flight Sims, 2D games, game length, and NGC's disc capacity.

Ryan asks, do you guys know if the Resident Evil:

Code Veronica port for the GameCube will be the original Dreamcast edition or the

PlayStation 2 "X" edition? I'm guessing it'll be the "X" edition but

just called Code Veronica (like how Phantasy Star Online will be Version 2, but not called

Version 2).

Andres Says: I would say that Capcom is smart

enough to put out the X edition at the very least. In fact, I'd be surprised if they

didn't add at least a little something extra on top of the X enhancements to entice

those who bought X for the PS2.

Jonathan Says: I think it'll have everything from

the PS2's X version, plus slightly improved graphics and maybe a new mode. Capcom rarely

ports its games without adding at least something for people who've seen it before, and

with RE's fanatical following, even new costumes or something similarly trivial would be

enough to make some hardcore fans buy the GameCube version even if they've already got the

same game on other systems. Kinda sad, but true.

Max Says: Yeah, with Capcom being Capcom, I'm

pretty sure Veronica will at least be X. Capcom has said aside from the remake of the

first game, its Resident Evil games for GameCube will be mainly ports.  These should

all be ports of the latest versions and feature some kind of improvements, even

minor ones.  I'd think Capcom will also take advantage of revisiting and remaking the

entire RE franchise, to help better weave the games together and tell the stories better

than ever.  Whatever Capcom ends up doing, I'm really looking forward to it.

Dragona Says: It'll be something slightly better

than the X edition. Not exactly sure what, but it won't be a "straight"

port.


Red Dawn asks, Are there was going to be any flight sim games coming out on the Cube? I

know that Harrier 2001 which was planned for the N64 was cancelled, and Microsoft will

probably release flight simulator on its own Xbox.

TYP Says: GameCube's hardware could lend itself

well to lush scenery and awesome audio. I thought I heard about a GameCube flight

simulator a little while back, but it was only for Japan. I'd love to see a Pilotwings

game on the 'Cube: I know many people loved the N64 game for its detail (I have a friend

that can explore the nooks and crannies for hours), and a GCN game could offer so much

more exploration.... If a developer is willing/able to make enough scenic details to push

GameCube's power, I'm all for it. Environments are a strong suit for GameCube (just look

at the real-time parts of Rebirth), and the system could use a air-based nature game to go

along with the ground-a-riffic Pikmin.

Billy Says: Maybe Sega will release their arcade

flight simulator. That stuff was great fun, albeit hard. In the wake of September 11th,

Flight Simulators will be a little tricky I think.

Jonathan Says: True console flight sims are pretty

rare anyway, unless you count stuff like Rogue Leader and Star Fox. Most people would

agree that flight sims tend to be pretty technical and therefore belong on the PC, but

I'll agree that stuff like Pilotwings doesn't come along often enough for the home

systems. Maybe Paradigm and Nintendo will team up again soon.

Max Says: As Paradigm is now owned by Infogrames,

I don't think it will be teaming up with Nintendo or tackling a Pilotwings sequel anytime

soon.  I do expect we will see a Pilotwings for GameCube at some point.  As

Billy pointed out, flight sims are a little controversial at the moment and this may

prevent developers from making any for a while.  At some point down the line things

should cool off, increasing the likelihood of a flight sim of some sort happening on Cube.


Sephroth asks, We all know about the problems of the N64's sprite handling capabilities,

and that's why so many games, almost all, were in 3D. The PSX had many more 2D games made

for it, yet even as a next generation system 5 years ago, these 2D graphics still were

only 320x240 resolution. On GameCube, because of the lightning fast 1T-SRAM, and

sprites/animations being potentially able to swap amazingly fast, can we expect some mega

man, fighting games, and other 2D games on the horizon?

TYP Says: I'd love to see more 2D console games,

especially in the GameCube department. Though sprite capabilities are possible on GCN, I

really think a game would benefit from advanced 3D graphics on a 2-D plane, like Super

Smash Bros. Melee. I don't know much about game programming, but I'm sure it would be much

easier to handle polygons than tons of sprites on the system. And if a 2D background was

implemented, there would be glorious numbers of triangles for characters. These tactics

are used in semi-3D games like Resident Evil, where all backgrounds are pre-rendered....

that would be the way to go. Unless the game is going for an anime look or something,

polygons will be the norm, even for 2.5 D games. Unfortunately, most 2D games will end up

on the GBA, just because that's where they supposedly belong (even if the needed

resolution makes the GBA a questionable choice.)


A possible suggestion, you say? Well, I'd be up for Super Mario Bros. 3 and Zelda 2:

Adventures of Link in "SSBM" 2.5D! Lots of updates would be needed to keep them

fresh, though. More worlds/palaces, perhaps? Though sprites may be passe in this modern

console gaming world, polygons can be used to create the same magic.

Billy Says: ::looking out for Ty, Breaky, and

Dragona to start talking about fighting games::


The N64 had it's share of 2D Games, and obviously the GBA has a ton. But, as far as the

GameCube is considered, we'll see. Personally I don't care either way, or how many

dimensions the field has. If it's fun in 2D or 3D, who cares.

Andres Says: Huh? Whuh? OH!


Well, there have been rumors floating around that Capcom vs. SNK 2 is Capcom's final entry

into the 2D fighting game market for quite some time, thus signaling the death of the

classic 2D Capcom games... My thoughts? Capcom is not dumb enough to kill off their bread

and butter. Their teams may take a break, may try a 3D game or two to change pace, but

they will return and more than likely they will see the GC as a viable home for their

creations.


Also, there are heavy rumors floating around that the 2D sequel to Circle of

the Moon/Symphony of the Night is coming to the GC first, so there you have it.

Jonathan Says: Actually, the N64 was quite good at

handling 2D graphics. The problem was its storage space...hand-drawn or pre-rendered

sprites have to be animated frame by frame, and each frame must be stored separately. I

never heard anything about N64's technical prowess that said it couldn't have handled an

average Capcom 2D fighter (it had twice as much RAM as PSX, and all the usual

scaling/rotation/transparency effects), it's just that good-looking 2D games, especially

fighters, require tons of storage space that just wasn't readily available with the N64's

cartridges.


So anyway, the GameCube should be easily capable of awesome 2D games, especially with the

huge disc capacity. It's just a matter of interest in 2D gaming. With word that Treasure

is interested in GC development, I'd recommend keeping an eye on them for 2D stuff... and

of course Capcom.

Max Says: Yeah, we'll see some kind of 2D games on

GameCube.  Capcom fighters came up recently in mailbag, so without repeating myself

too much; I expect some 2D fighting love from them and Capcom vs SNK2 is a good candidate

for what we'll see first.  Even if it's not that, there should be some 2D fighting of

some sort.  Mega Man?  I dunno about 2D but I think the chances of the blue

bomber showing up sometime is likely too.  He showed up on N64 eventually and there's

already a sequel underway for his first GBA game, Mega Man Battle Network.

Back to 2D.  The new Castlevania game seems sure to

come to Cube and is reportedly in 2D / 2.5D.  Namco's Kloona Lunatea's Vail is 2.5D

and heading to GameCube.  Following Yoshi's Story, Shigeru Miyamoto said he thought

there would probably be another Yoshi game -and those have taken place in 2D / 2.5D.

  And as Jon pointed out, Treasure is another great provider of 2D games, and it's

currently investigating Cube.  As you can see, there is lots of potential for 2D

games appearing on Nintendo GameCube-and I'm sure the hardware will be able to handle it

just fine.

Dragon Says: J00ny, if I recall part of the

problem was the N64's tiny texture cache. After all, sprites are essentially textures.


As for 2D games, I hope they don't die out completely in this new generation of consoles.

Games like Castlevania: Nocturne in the Moonlight show us that 2D still has tons to

offer. Kirby64 sold extremely well for a late-life N64 title.


The myth that 2D games don't sell is just that: a lie. Rockman X6 was just released

for the PSOne and it's selling extremely well in Japan. 2D fighters especially. ( GGX +

and CvsSNK2 are still in the top 10.)


While 2.5 D graphics are lovely and all, I'd kill to see a lovingly animated 2D game, or

even better cel-shaded 3D graphics. (Can you tell I'm a sprite whore?)


3D is all well and good-- don't mistake me for some whiny 'hardcore' gamer who wishes for

the 'glory days' of the 16-bit era. However, there are certain genres that just play

better in two dimensions.


And after all, isn't the playing most important...?


Bobthebigfish asks, What games is GameCube going to have that are not only good games, but

will last a long time? On the N64, I beat most of the games very quickly and was then left

to replay the games. I'm excited for Eternal Darkness, but are their any other upcoming

games that will provide 30-50 hours of solid game play?

TYP Says: When you talk about game-time, I assume

you don't include little things like trying to earn all of the Emblems in Sonic Adventure

2, since they add time at the expense of a gamer's patience in many cases. Multiplayer

games also have a very long game time (as long as your friends and the game are fun),

though you seem to be talking about single player adventures. I can recall Dragona

mentioning that RPG support should be quite good for the GCN, and many RPG's last quite a

while. Unfortunately, there are a lot of games developers don't seem to want to reveal

yet. 30-50 hours is a LONG time, and for your sake I hope another Ogre Battle is in the

works for GameCube.

Billy Says: This is a really good question. It's

looking like games are getting shorter and shorter. I think Luigi is a prime example of

that. There haven't been a whole lot of Miyamoto titles that have been below 30-40 hours

long. Japan has already seen 2 with Luigi's Mansion, and Pikmin.


I totally agree with TYP, longevity isn't getting medals, or red coins, or what have you.

In my opinion, that's a weak, crappy cop out. If I wanted a scavenger hunt I'd play Donkey

Kong 64, or Banjo Kazooie. Ooops. Then again, those games without the searching for crap

still lasted longer than 35-30 hours.


This could be an unfortunate shift in gaming. Obviously game companies want you to buy

more games. Making games shorter gets you going back to the store a lot quicker.

TYP Says: I should probably point out that in some

cases, "scavenger hunts" are fine. If they process of obtaining the items is

enjoyable, I'm all for it. I found B-T quite fresh and varied in its Jiggy tasks (DK 64 is

another story). Like Billy said, red coins and the like are cop-outs--unless there is

something more substantial to them (it's fun to explore sometimes!) I don't want all of my

new games to be 10 hours long, but I also believe that a game's true value lies in how

much fun it is to play while it lasts (look at my Luigi's Mansion review)...


Another thing we should keep in mind: games getting shorter, but we're also getting

better. I know some people who are still stuck on Majora's Mask. In fact, when I got my

GameCube, the adult in front of me was still baffled by the Lost Forest in Ocarina of

Time. Just throwing out ideas...

Jonathan Says: I expect Shiggy's 2002 games to be

fairly long. If Mario Sunshine and Zelda are as short as Luigi's Mansion, heads will roll.

Otherwise you've always got multiplayer games like Super Monkey Ball and SSB Melee, and

the RPGs for GameCube should start flowing nicely late next year.

Max Says: I hope that we're not experiencing a new

trend where games are getting shorter, but it almost seems to be the case.  Not only

are there Luigi's Mansion and Pikmin, but Devil May Cry and Ico for PS2 are also very

short, albeit great, games.  Are we exchanging fantastic, next-gen aesthetics for

game length?  In some cases, the answer may be yes.  But take comfort in the

fact that there are longer games coming, and these usually take time to produce, and

perfect.  Along with Eternal Darkness, Mario and Zelda, I'd expect Galleon & Star

Fox: Dinosaur Planet to be pretty lengthy games. Although they are further off, I'd hope

that Metroid Prime and Perfect Dark: Zero also offer lots of game time.


There are early party games like Super Monkey Ball and Smash Brothers and these are sure

to be followed by others, including a few with "Mario" in the title (Mario Kart,

Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf)-which consistently have heaps of replay.

Dragona Says: I find it highly ironic that many

people are raving over Sony's masterpiece (which it truly is) ICO, and yet the game

is as short (if not shorter) than Luigi's Mansion. I've never heard of time

complaints from anyone about it. Odd.


As for Billy's "games are getting shorter"... I disagree. I think the problem

lies in the fact that most games have save files now. Back in the Famicom/SFC era, games

were even shorter, but since you often couldn't save between stages it seemed much more

challenging.


Still, I can understand the frustration of spending ~50$ on a game only to beat it in a

couple of days.


This is why I luvs me some Dragon Quest VII. I'm 60-odd hours in and I still

haven't finished the first disc. (The game is supposed to be 150+ hours for normal

players, and around 100 hours for DQ experts.)


On the other hand I imagine that many of the GC's 2002 lineup will have many 20+ hour

games. Star Fox, Eternal Darkness, Mario, Zelda... I could go on.


Qweltol asks, I've been hearing a lot of talk about the GameCube's disc capacity lately.

Some have been directly comparing the capacity to that of the Xbox and PS2, and quickly

writing it off as a bad move by Nintendo. Their main argument is that developers will soon

run out of space and quickly tire of the limited capacity of the GameCube's disc format.

Do you see this as being a possibility? If it does turn out to be an issue, would it be

possible for developers to manufacture their game discs like a single-sided, dual layer

DVD to provide more space?

Mike H. Says: I can only guess

this "talk" has been coming from PS2 and Xbox fans. No developers have

complained about Nintendo's media, except issues about its proprietary nature. Storage

hasn't been an issue with anyone I've heard from, publicly or privately.


If storage is really such a problem, the discs are swappable, at a publishing cost, I'm

sure.

Mike S. Says: I fully don't understand this

argument. These mini DVDs are so cheap to produce. It wouldn't drive the cost of

production up much at all. Making a game that takes up 2 discs is not a problem.

Developers can still sell the game at the same price and make just a slightly smaller

profit than a 1 disc game.

TYP Says: Two of those sweet, little GCN discs

make up roughly same amount of material as a DVD/CD, so the cost of production would go up

very little. Also keep in mind the great compression techniques built into the system (no

wasting disk space on compression algorithms). Most PS2/Xbox games don't use most of a

DVD's space, and if they do it's often because they have no need to streamline the storage

space size. Only super-long games will need multiple discs, and swapping isn't THAT big of

a deal (especially with more linear games). Remember that Square was able to make a profit

on FF VIII, consisting of 4 CDs. Using multiple discs hasn't hindered the PSX, so it

shouldn't for GCN either. In fact, much more money will be lost just because the

non-proprietary DVD disks will lead to bootlegging. Multiple disc games are only a pain to

gamers, and I'd love to hear a PSX RPG-fanboy criticizing the GameCube for having

multi-disc games.

Dragona Says: I really don't get the pissing and

moaning about the smaller sized disc. After all, if a developer *really* needs more data,

just print a second disc.

Billy Says: I don't see where the problem is.

There seems to be tons of games crossing platforms to the GameCube. Hell there weren't

many Dreamcast games that were ever 1 gig. Most were less than 700mb, unless it had gobs

of audio or FMV.


The medium is more than sufficient, and if it's not, drop another disc.

Jonathan Says: I fully agree with Billy. No one

complained about the Dreamcast discs, and the tiny GameCube discs are 50% larger than

those. If EAD put Ocarina of Time into 32 MB...enough said. It's not how much space you

have but rather what you do with it, but regardless, 1.5 GB is more than enough for any

developer. I hope I live to see the day when a developer justifiably fills an entire

DVD-ROM with actual game content and compressed data where it doesn't adversely affect

quality.

Max Says: Because everyone else has covered this

well, all I'll add is that if the GameCube disc wasn't enough, developers would definitely

go the additional game disc route -- it's cheaper than pressing additional layers to the

disc.

 

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