star_ocean_fan: (ocean view)

Yesterday, I asked the question what I believed everyone thought Edge's powers were based upon what they observed in the game. People can look at the in-game dictionary to learn a little bit more - I know I have - but I, personally, am still unclear as to what his genetic alteration's effects are on him. With Reimi, it's quite clear. She can recover from an illness once her body realizes how to combat it when said illness could kill another person.

Edge, we do get clues. When he receives a burst of adrenaline in an intense situation, the crest on his right hand lights up, and he's ready for battle. Really, though, what does that crest do? When looking at the weapons in The Calnus, Edge finds one and laments how he was never able to hit any target with it. The changes Edge undergoes aren't visible to us. We do know that he's quick at calculating what move to do next and when in a battle. This is all great for adapting to a harsh environment, but I feel like there is more to it than just being quicker with a sword and casting symbols in and out of battle.

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The Star Ocean Universe asks - Who do you think would win in this kind of a fight: Edge vs. Fayt using Symbology?

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Game Talk, Part Eight - Revamping Till the End of Time

I love, love, love the game of Till the End of Time. I love it. Please make no mistakes on that. At the same time I love it, I feel that it lacks a very strong tale for the wonderful characters that are presented to us. For this Game Talk, I'm going to break down the game's strong and weak points and what I'd like to see if Square Enix were to ever ask me what they could do to improve it for a re-release.

Note: This is not a game review!

Till the End of Time's Strong Points

1 - Graphics
The graphics are visually stunning. The landscapes are real. The characters are real in appearance. Everything about the graphics can lead a player to believe that such events could eventually play out in that kind of a future.

2 - The playable Characters
Each playable Character has a strength that lends to the battle party's overall ability to defeat an enemy. There's a variety from swords and daggers, to fisticuffs and symbology and guns. It's like Star Wars . . . without some creepy dude in black telling you he's your father.

3 - The battles are challenging.
Yes. The player mashes buttons, so to speak, but that doesn't mean the enemies are pushovers. If one isn't careful, it's game over. The player needs to keep an eye, not only on hit points but magic as well. In most other games I've played, no magic simply means the person with the magic can't cast a spell once it hits zero.

4 - Item Creation
I like creating items so that I can "survive" between save points. I like that I can boost the stats of a weapon or a piece of armor and potentially defeat the enemies at a slightly lower level. I like recruiting the inventors, too.

5 - The overall plot
Saving the universe can be quite a mind bender on the person who finds himself or herself in such a situation. Parents making a difficult decision to do what's right by sacrificing their children's forgiveness presents a very moral quandary. It has a lot of potential to be nerve-wracking, exciting and dangerous, and many of those elements are there.

Till the End of Time Weak Points

1 - The overall plot
Yes. The overall plot makes it into the game's weak points as well as the strong points. Saving the universe from destruction of an angry God bent on destruction is cool. Saving the universe from an angry God-like being because his bottom line is being threatened by anomalies and "viruses" and that everything is just a game? It's very lame. While it doesn't make Luther any less of an interesting villain (for me), it does make him to be a pathetic villain.

2 - Lack of Character growth and development
Let's face it. The only character who gets much in the way of development is Fayt. He's the only one who grows from his experiences. Yes, Maria does a little bit, but she still doesn't get much in the way of development. She, and Sophia, are key players as well. While I'm not going to complain about where they arrive as playable characters in the story, they are still flawed and really unaffected by the events taking shape around them.

3 - It doesn't take enough time
I like a good challenge. However, defeating a game in a grand total of three days' time isn't very challenging. People may think that's a long time for a game, but it really isn't that long.

4 - Not enough areas to explores
I don't know about anyone else, but I find it annoying that I can only leave Peterny in three different directions. I come from the south and need to head north once I reach it. I can also head west but not east out of Peterny.

The same holds true for Gemity. I don't want to head to just Arkives or Sphere 211. There's more to explore. The information technology industry is quite fierce. So what? We have Sophia! She has that amazing ability to "connect" to things! Why is it that we're just limited to Gemity?

I also ask what areas lay beyond the palatial cities of Airyglyph and Aquios. I'm an exploration nut. I want to go to all of these areas.

5 - A pathetic villain.
I know. I've said it in the first reason, but Luther really is a weak point in this game. There has to be more as to why he's trying to eradicate these anomalies when all he needs to do is reboot the system, as it were, and start over to get rid of the "viruses" and "bugs". Maybe Luther isn't the true villain, but he's what we're given.

6 - Unrealistic actions in various environments
Okay, this comes from the fact that, in the mountains, the player can run from the castle to Kirlsa with no effect. However, when the player reaches the Mosel Desert, until a particular item is obtained, we have to hop from water hole to water hole because it's so unbearably hot. Why is the mountain not so unbearably cold that heat pockets need to be found in order to keep from freezing to death?

7 - Lame final boss fight
Luther is a challenge if you aren't aware of what it is you need for that battle, both in terms of items and battle set up for the main party. That said, fighting Luther isn't as challenging as it could be. Luther is the Creator. He should be healing himself when he's dangerously close to dead. He should be summoning up little crystal spheres like we see in the Shrine of Kaddan when we go after the Sacred Orb once more. Nearly everything the playable characters can do (minus the non-MP draining special attacks like Sidekick and Fists of Fury), Luther should be able to do as well and with more damage. He should be able to shoot energy from his spear. Luther could be a Bad-A** fight, but they wimped out on him.

8 - Travel time is boring
By this, I mean that it's just too easy in terms of distance and time to get from one city or village to the next. Geographically speaking, for how short of a distance it is to go from Kirlsa to Arias, Airyglyph should have overrun Aquios before Cliff, Mirage, and Fayt arrived, no matter what kind of weapons they created and used to fight back. They wouldn't have had the time.

With all of this in mind, I would definitely, if given the opportunity to talk to the game's developers, say revamp the game's maps and strengthen the plot. Give it more punch. Show us the changes that are affecting everyone.

One thing I'd also like, in addition to the costume changes, is to see the differences in armor for the playable characters. Not every single time a change is made, but often enough to know that they're equipped with different armor.

Finally, I'd love to see an ending for some of the NPCs and villains. I would love to see what happens to Luther afterwards to answer the question, "Is he really dead?". I'd love to see the alternate universe where he ends up with Fayt as his protege (in the event of the Fayt solo ending, based on affinity from others).

There is so much that could be done with this game, and it would definitely elevate the experience.

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Because I ended up procrastinating too much to get this entry done, this will be this week's Game Talk entry.

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Happy belated Birthday, Claude C. Kenny!

Sadly, I don't have any fan art or fanfiction to commemorate the day. If anyone wants to send anything for it, I will gladly post it.

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Birthday Reminders

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler
February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley
March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

More birthdays will be added in, and reminders will be posted.

Upcoming Holidays:

Valentine's Day - February 14
St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

I've added in Earth Day to the list of holidays because of the message that lies behind The Last Hope. I think it's the kind of holiday that Star Ocean fans could have a field day with so I've included it for that purpose alone.

When it comes to the holidays and the birthdays, I am looking for the following: art, stories (one-shots), and poetry. The highest rating I will accept for stories and artwork is R. No explicit material please, and proofread your work. All submissions can be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com and must be submitted no later than midnight the previous day. All genres except for smut accepted.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character For January - Adray Lasbard

There is a slight change for Ask the Star Ocean Character segments. Instead of weekly, the segments will appear once a month on the final day of the month. This will give people time to submit their questions, either here or at fanfiction.net.

The next character in the que is Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time.

As per usual, the rules are as follows:

Limit three questions per person
No profanity.
Keep it clean (no sex talk)
Be nice
Have fun


Questions need to be submitted by midnight, January 28, 2013, and they can be submitted via comments, private message, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com).

One final thing - please let me know if you wish to remain anonymous or have a specific user handle you'd like for me to use. I will gladly keep the question asker anonymous or use the handle s/he has specified. Otherwise, I will use the name I know you by. This is something that I will be very flexible with because this is based on fan interaction as much as it is what I come up with for it.

For those of you wondering about the Roger segment, I have a few things I want to tweak on it, add to it, and I will post it this Saturday.
star_ocean_fan: (Star Ocean 3 game cover)
Okay, so yesterday was a bust on getting the conversation topic and the next segment of Destinies Intertwined by Fate up, but that's just how it goes sometimes. I'm not too entirely thrilled by it, but it's my own fault for not getting everything done, but then it isn't like I won't have ample opportunity to post the next sections throughout the month. I will get the next segments posted! I will finish the story! I promise.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character - Roger S. Huxley

I'm now taking questions for Roger S. Huxley from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. Questions can be submitted between now and midnight, December 11, 2012. Limit three questions per character per person, and keep the questions clean of vulgarity and sex talk. I will not use any questions submitted if the person is swearing at the character. Yes, I do realize that this is a fictional universe. There is swearing and sexual situations implied, but I do not tag very many things as containing adult content for this journal. It means anyone of any age can read it. I hate to sound mean about this, but I want to keep this as clean and inoffensive for everyone as much as possible. I don't care if you dislike the character and the question reflects that, but I do care if you use foul language to demonstrate it. I want this to be fun for everyone, not a select few. I realize that I'm a tad bit behind on making this announcement, but better late than never, right?

Also, please let me know if you wish for me to use a specific user ID or wish to remain anonymous. If you don't, I'll use whatever ID I know you by when posing the questions to the character. Questions can be submitted to me via comments, PM, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com)

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CALL OUT FOR CHRISTMAS/UPCOMING HOLIDAY SEASON

Okay, this is going to very much flow in the same vein as Halloween. For the upcoming holiday season in December, I am seeking out the following:

photos - cosplay, figures, etc . . .
fan art
fan fiction

There are quite a few holidays in December so Star Ocean fans have their pick. There is Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas Eve, Christmas, Yule/the winter solstice, New Year's Eve, and New Year's. If I'm missing anything, please let me know, and I will gladly add it to the list. I would very much like to celebrate Star Ocean style. If anyone has or would like to do anything for the holidays in the month of December in terms of cosplay photography, figure/toy photography, fan art, and fan fiction, I will gladly post it to the journals. Credit will be given to the people who submit something. Please keep stories to one-shots. I'll accept chaptered fiction as long as it's complete. When submitting stories (and poetry - I'll accept poetry, too), please include the following:

Title:
World:
Character/s:
Pairing/s, if applicable:
Rating:
Warnings:
Disclaimer:
Claimer on any OCs:
Summary:
Author's Note/s, if applicable:

Please email all submissions to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com, and they can be sent to me at any time until midnight of the day before the holiday of choice (Christmas isn't the only holiday next month, and I will be all inclusive for the holidays celebrated). Stories, artwork, and photography do not need to be and will not exclusive to the journals so if you want to post them to other sites like fanfiction.net, dA, tumblr, etc . . ., you can. As far as I'm concerned, such works are not mine to say where they can and can't go on the web. I can only say that for my works.

As far as the artwork and stories go, NO EXPLICIT MATERIAL. Please keep the profanity to an acceptable level. My journal entries are public so that means anyone and everyone of all ages can read them so please use discretion should you decide to write something for the blogs.

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Conversation Topic - Bonus Board Comparison: Till the End of Time vs. The Last Hope

The other night, I turned on my PlayStation 2 with the first disk of Till the End of Time in the console. I recruited Roger (which took away affinity points for Fayt from Albel but you get some really nice goodies by recruiting Roger that you wouldn't otherwise), and I switched Cliff out for him. Because of my high levels (in the twenties range for Fayt, Cliff and Nel not too far behind him), bringing Roger out enabled for me to fill up my bonus board that I wouldn't be able to do with Cliff, Nel, and Fayt.

This, naturally, got me to thinking about the similarities and differences between Till the End of Time's and The Last Hope's bonus boards. Both boards have three things in common: increase in experience, increase in gold, and an increase rate of recovery at the end of the battle.  One key difference in what the boards dole out for bonuses is Till the End of Time has an increased chance for an item whereas The Last Hope increases the group's skill points for item creation (and can only be obtained by being ambushed in battle). Players of both games know that, in Till the End of Time, to get all four battle bonuses, the board has to remain intact for up to twenty battles and then some afterwards. In The Last Hope, it's based on whether the player is ambushed (green; increase skill points), lands a critical finish on an enemy (blue; 10% extra experience at the end of the battle), uses skills or magic only on an enemy (pink; 10% hit and magic points recovery at the end of the battle), and killing multiple enemies at once (yellow; 10% fol increase at the end of each battle).

I like how The Last Hope has set up the battle bonus board. I like that, as the controller of whichever character, I can find the ways to build the battle bonus board up without having to worry if my levels are too high. I also like that, if an enemy lands a critical hit on the controlled character, it doesn't take out the entire board. However, I also dislike it. I don't like that it can be filled up rather easily with the same color tiles.  That's where I like Till the End of Time's bonus board better. The amount of additional experience, fol, and recovery earned are set. You just have to keep the board in one piece.

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Game Talk, Part Seven -  Five to Ten Years After Till the End of Time

Yes, I'm skirting around the sequel I want to see with Fayt, Luther, Albel, and the rest of the original Till the End of Time cast. I'm doing it on purpose. This will follow what I want to see for a direct sequel and is actually sparked from a fan fiction piece I started to read on fanfiction.net. I liked the concept behind this story, but I didn't like the handling of some of the OCs, grammatically issues, and the author's OTP. (That's something that just goes without saying.) I also want to remind people that these Game Talks are nothing more than just wishful thinking on my part. They are not anything official from tri-Ace or Square Enix so please don't get all excited for these "new" games. It's what I'm wishing for; nothing more and nothing less.

For the fan fiction piece itself - it takes place within a year or so of Luther's defeat. The author's OTP is that of Fayt and Maria, but the author included the descendants of the Kenny, Maverick, and Saionji families. (How the Saionji family name lived on directly through Reimi is something I question, but I have a few ideas as to how it can work.) Fayt and Maria are planning a wedding (and Maria wants a fancy affair to remember, something I feel is slightly out of character for her, but that's also my interpretation of her from what I've observed about her) and they're also intergalactic peacekeepers. Quark no longer exists, and they're of high rank on a ship with soldiers. On the ship with them are Albel, Nel, Cliff, and Mirage, and, of course, the descendants of the Kenny family, Edge Maverick, and Reimi Saionji. War is brewing, and Luther has his fingers in the pie, so to speak, still bent on destroying the anamolies.

I like this particular concept. I like that, in the wake of the Creator's defeat, there is chaos and rebuilding. Nothing is stable, nothing is safe. I like that the descendants are struggling to live up to their families' reputations, and I like that Edge and Reimi didn't make it as a viable couple. It adds tension between the crew members and adds to the headache for the leaders on the ship.

Because I like this concept very well, I'd like to see it be applied to a potential Star Ocean game. This is the sequel to my sequel. Pairings could be established through the use of a code, i.e. if you get Fayt/Mirage, Fayt/Cliff, etc . . . in the first sequel, the game would give you a code you enter before starting and playing the next sequel. That way the player can enjoy the pairing s/he worked for in the sequel (and in Till the End of Time). I'd like to see the descendants of Edge and Reimi as separate entities, and the Kenny family having to earn their wings, so to speak, under seasoned fighters like Albel and Fayt in the nitty gritty of battle on various planets, some with technology, others underdeveloped.

Personally, I don't want to see Luther as the main/final boss. It would be too easy to have all of the problems in the Eternal Sphere be blamed on Luther. I think this would actually be a great time to see a resurgence in the Grigori, which I firmly maintain are the reasons why Luther ends going insane in Till the End of Time. As for the Creator's role in this game, I feel that if he and Fayt could establish some kind of an agreement and way to work together, it would give the game play an interesting balance.

No deviations from the kinds of fields for the characters or in the post game dungeons. The tried and true symbologists, swordsmen, martial artists, and archers would be great.
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Halloween Reminder

Less than a week away from Halloween. Still seeking the following from fellow Star Ocean fans:

Photos - carved pumpkins, cosplay done for Halloween
Halloween art
Halloween fanfic

All Star Ocean games welcome. Submissions must be no higher than PG13 in rating. Implied sexual content is okay but nothing explicit. Chaptered fiction will be accepted on the basis that it's complete. Fiction submissions must include the following:

Title
World
Rating
Pairing (if applicable)
Warnings
Disclaimers on the established characters
Claimers on OCs
Summary
Author's Notes (if applicable)

Submissions should be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com

Thanks!

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Ask the Star Ocean Character - Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti

Three more reminders for Ask the Star Ocean Character. Taking questions for the following three characters: Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti. Limit three questions per character per person (meaning three questions for Deputy Director Shimada, three for Bacchus, and three for Peppita). No profanity, no vulgarity, or I won't use the questions, and let me know if you wish to remain anonymous or if there's a user name you'd like for me to use. Questions can be submitted to me via PM, comments, or email.

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Game Talk, Part Six - Seventy Years Before Till the End of Time

I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that this particular segment isn't about anything official from Square Enix or tri-Ace. Last I heard, there are no other Star Ocean games currently in the designing or production phases. This is merely what I'd like to see in more games in the future - wishful thinking at its best. Please don't ask me when such games will be released. Chances are, we will probably never see such games . . . not unless we start a petition going on what we'd like to see in future Star Ocean games. This is just a "for your information". It will also be vague so readers can infer their own ideas into what I'm suggesting. Thanks.

This would be a more difficult game to pull off, in my opinion. If I'm recalling correctly for Till the End of Time, the last "major" event to hit the universe was when the Twelve Wise Men set out to destroy the universe. At least, that's the summary given at Star Ocean wikia and in the strategy guide and game manual for Till the End of Time.

However, I think it could be pulled off if done correctly. The Last Hope was the universal threat never told. The same idea could apply to events taking place seventy-years before Till the End of Time and it could demonstrate whether or not changes should be made to the UP3. The pact has been in place for over seven hundred years. I personally wonder if any changes at all have been made to it or if it's been left in its original form since its inception.

A game like this would definitely give people new planets to explore, which is something Star Ocean fans adore. I know I mentioned it before, returns to Aeos and Lemuris, and, if not utilized in another game concept, the returns could happen here. I'd also like to see a break away from some of the usual cast of fighters. A swordsman is definitely in order - what would Star Ocean be without a swordsman in the group? - but a variety of swordsmen, i.e. ranger or ninja, etc . . ., would be interesting. Summoners would be a nice addition to the symbologists category. (We have Lymle in The Last Hope, but she has only one creature at her disposal.) Thieves and bards would be nice to have in the cast of playable cast. A change in how skills are learned would be unique, I like the Crystarium in Final Fantasy XIII as a new way to attain new skills and cross skill sets. That's just something in my mind, though.

While I didn't mention it in some of my other Game Talks, I'd like to see longer game play and more in-depth look at the characters. I don't like to have completed nearly 100% of my game in under thirty hours. It isn't challenging for me. I realize I'm probably one of a few people who are like that, but, as much as I love Till the End of Time and The Last Hope, a lot of my play time is from me running around, filling side quests (The Last Hope), leveling up my characters, and spending time in the optional dungeons. I don't mind new enemies appearing in the optional dungeons after defeating the game, but I don't think the challenges presented in them should be limited to those areas.

Of course, in the optional, post-game dungeons, fighting Gabriel Celesta and the Ethereal Queen are musts for the games I've mentioned in this little series of mine. I can't imagine post-game dungeons without them. Seeing Lenneth would be fun, too . . .

And that's this week's game talk. I'll try to carry it up to a total of thirteen games, to put it on par with the Final Fantasy series. We'll see what I can come up with in the process.

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Halloween and Halloween-like Holidays on Underdeveloped Planets

Halloween has been around on Earth for many centuries. It hasn't always been referred to as Halloween. When the customs surrounding the holiday began, it was referred to as All Hallow's Eve or Samhain. To this day, it's believed that, at the end of October/beginning of November, the veil between the spirit world and world of the living is at its thinnest. The souls of the dead can cross over to visit loved ones.

It isn't too far of a stretch to believe that, on an underdeveloped planet such as Elicoor II and Roak, a holiday similar to Halloween would exist. Belief in the supernatural and paranormal, especially on planets where symbology is common and used for military and healing applications, would be more than abundant among the population and respected. Even as the use of technology increases and more about the natural world is learned, it would still be hard for someone to denounce the customs that surround the Halloween-like holiday.

What such holidays would be called, I'm not entirely sure. One, it depends on the language of the culture in question and the planet as to what the holiday's name would be. How and when the holiday is observed also plays a factor as well as the beliefs surrounding what the supernatural and paranormal creatures that visit would do with the living. It could be similar to Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, or Samhain, or it could be something completely different. For this, it comes down to what the fan wants to do.

As for customs for the holiday in question, I believe there would be customs similar to carving gourds and wearing costumes in order to "confuse" the spirits of the dead and demons. That's something I feel would be universal, that fear of being snatched away in the night by some dark, evil creature . . .

It would be interesting to see how these holidays would compare, collide, mix, match, and clash with traditions we have on Earth.

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Birthday Reminders

October 27 (assigned by me) - Stephen D. Kenny
October 30 (assigned by me) - Albel Nox
November 5 (official) - Myuria Tionysus

Accepting fan art, fanfiction, and poetry for these characters. Please submit everything to me by midnight the previous nights via email: luthersfayt@gmail.com

And that's all for this Thursday. Until tomorrow . . .
star_ocean_fan: (lutherxfayt)
Ask the Star Ocean Character update:

As of today, I've posted the first four segments to fanfiction.net. It's under my current fanfiction pen name of Dragonfly Moonlight. So don't freak out if you're there and you see it in the Star Ocean fanfiction section. It's done intentionally to try and get more Star Ocean fans to the blogs. Help promoting the blog is greatly appreciated!

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Halloween Reminder

I'm seeking Halloween themed Star Ocean artwork, photography, and fanfiction to celebrate the holiday. Figures next to Halloween decorations, characters in costumes, and people dressed in cosplay with Halloween decorations in the mix are definitely welcome. Fanfiction should be kept to drabbles, short stories, and vignettes. Chaptered fiction will be accepted ONLY if the story is completed. I've failed to mention but everything should be kept at the PG-13 level. No nudity and sexual situations MUST BE IMPLIED.

All submissions can be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com

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The Environmental Clean-up of Earth

Since there are only four games for Star Ocean, the next Halloween costumes discussion will take place next week with the final two taking place the week of Halloween. To keep the Star Ocean conversations going, I'm going to jump to post-game The Last Hope.

Cut for game spoilers )
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Game Talk, Part 5 - Star Ocean War of the Worlds

This is a game that would be set some years after Blue Sphere. I got the idea for this when I wrote about Universal Economics.

I know that there's always some kind of universal threat in the Star Ocean games. That's always the driving force behind each game, and, I know for sure in Till the End of Time there's a conflict between the Pangalactic Federation and the Aldian Empire as well as the Federation and the Vendeen. But why not see a game where many world economies are suffering from a recession, and tensions have risen so high and fierce that war has already erupted.

Imagine it: the intrepid hero is a simple fighter pilot who has to make an emergency landing on some underdeveloped planet or face a fiery, explosive death. Knowing s/he is on an underdeveloped planet, s/he takes great lengths to hide the damaged ship while it emits an emergency beacon and is forced to learn how to wield a sword and survive in a harsh environment.

This would definitely be another opportunity for the Star Ocean creators to come up with new alien races, because we don't get a lot in Till the End of Time (Cliff, MIrage, Albel, Nel, Adray, and Peppita are very decidedly human-looking in appearances) while there are a slightly larger variety of alien species in The Last Hope, First Departure, and Second Story/Second Evolution. Yes, we see the blue Dolphins, some Featherfolk, a two-tailed fox girl, the Menodix and some fairies as well as the Vendeeni, but no one who really becomes a member of the party or remains a long-term threat. (I don't count the 4-D beings as aliens. They, too, are very human in appearance.)

This would also be a great opportunity to increase the symbology arsenal and enemy lists. There were some neat ones that appeared in The Last Hope that we never saw in the other games. Having the same arsenal against the same enemies becomes quite boring after a while.

I'd like to see a five-party fighting system with a ten-slot party. Mix it up with symbologists, martial artists, archers, and swordsmen. Give us a variety of character to play.

And that concludes it for today. Hope everyone's having a good Thursday.
star_ocean_fan: (manga Fayt Leingod)
Music of the Star Ocean Universe

This isn't a review of the soundtracks for the games, though it is something I can do in a later entry. Nope. This isn't a review of the music. This is more of a question about what the music in the Star Ocean universe would sound like.

I bring this up due to the events of The Last Hope, both in the opening sequences and in the game's events itself. World War III has destroyed everything we know, including the music we listened to as children and adults. No more records, CDs, cassette tapes, or MP3s. It's gone. The generations born during and after World War III won't ever know the sounds of the Beatles, Diana Krall, Garth Brooks, B.B. King, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj, Adele, or any other artists we enjoy (or don't enjoy). At least, Edge Maverick doesn't know.

Now, if this is the case - the ultimate, unintentional mass destruction of musical formats - what happens to the instruments people use to play music? Granted, one doesn't need an instrument to perform music. Singing acappella is considered to be music, but many of us enjoy instruments to accompany singing or to be there without the singing. Many of us enjoy the sounds of guitars and drums, violins and cellos, flutes and clarinets, saxophones and trumpets, and pianos and xylophones, but, really, we can't afford to hire professional musicians to  play for us at our convenience.

I do think that not all musical instruments end up destroyed in the razing of the lands. Many people who own such instruments would do what they could in order to save such beloved possessions (the same way parents and pet parents would try to save their babies) so music would definitely live on, but would it be in the same vein as we know it?

My answer to this is both yes and no.

For yes, here's what I think wouldn't change: The sounds and compositions of composers like Bach and Beethoven, just to name a few, would invariably find a way to survive as well as gospel music (where hymn books are still used in churches over flat-screen TVs). They would especially survive if the sheet music lay tucked in the cases of violins and cellos instead of on a thumb drive or hard drive of a computer. Thumb drives can be lost or damaged and computers can crash. Naturally, how the musician in question reads music for orchestras would depend on the conductor and the teacher who taught him/her to play, but I think the classical sounds would survive. Then again, anything with actual printed sheet music would survive so long as the people who own the music find a way to preserve them in such a violent time.

As for what would change, genres like rock'n roll, country, blues, jazz, and rhythm and blues would be different without some kind of reference for people who want to play that kind of music to listen to . . . they'd be guessing, unless books on music history and appreciation survive. The recordings, though, are gone so they won't know what it truly sounds like.

Would we have what the Beatles gave us? Jangly guitars and four-part harmonies? Would we have the smooth sounds of jazz and the heartbreak of the blues? I think so. I think, once things start to stabilize on Earth, people will find themselves wanting a distraction, a distraction only music can provide. Instruments will find their way back into the hands of musicians. There's just something about music that just resonates within us, that we just have to have it, and it'll find a way back to the masses.

They just don't know the joys of the music from the 50s and upward to the present day.

************************************************************

Ask the Star Ocean Character - Bacchus D-79

Taking questions for Bacchus D-79, from The Last Hope. Anyone wanting to ask him questions have until September 19, 2012, at midnight to submit their questions. Limit three questions per person, keep it clean and friendly, and let me know if you wish to remain anonymous for the segment or if you have a specific name you'd like to go by.

Thanks!

************************************************************

Game Talk, Part Four - Seventy-five Years Before First Departure

This would be trickier to pull off in that we wouldn't, and probably shouldn't, see a return to Roak. That's what, to my understanding, First Departure is for, the kick off for the entire Star Ocean series.

I'd like to find out how come we don't hear about the Morphus. I know from checking over the game manuals in First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution, the Morphus don't play a huge part in the events of Roak and Expel (unless, of course, they're secretly working behind the scenes and indicating to the Terrain Alliance where they need to go in order to prevent total chaos from arising like in The Last Hope). However, it doesn't explain what happened to them by the time Till the End of Time came into play.

Naturally, the Morphus were probably created when they were coming up with ideas for The Last Hope, but it would still be nice to know what happens to them. When we first meet Bacchus on the Cardianon homeworld, he mentions that the Morphus are trying to escape their own destruction. Perhaps in a prequel to First Departure but a sequel to The Last Hope, we can find out if the Morphus continue to exist or if they die out and fade into anonymity.

As for the underdeveloped planets, which seems to be the recurrent theme for the Star Ocean games, I feel that a return to the planets of Aeos and Lemuris are in order. I'd like to see what becomes of the Eldarians and Lemurians, and how they eventually learn to co-exist with each other. I'd like to know if Lymle has any descendants and how, if any, mining operations survive on Aeos. A third,  unknown planet could be tossed in for good measure.

For the party, naturally, there would need to be a swordsman as the hero. No Star Ocean game is complete without a swordsman as the hero. Also a must are an offensive-line symbologist of some kind, an archer, a hand-to-hand combat martial artist, a healer symbologist, and the Star Ocean equivalent to Final Fantasy XIII's Synergist. (I love Hope.)

I realize that this is quite short in terms of what I'd like to see for a First Departure prequel. I feel like I need to play the other games to get a better feel of what's been done in them so as to not repeat what's been done. Of course, doing some of what's already been done before wouldn't be bad, either. :)

**************************************************************
Calling Out For . . .

Star Ocean doujinshi titles
Official Star Ocean merchandise (I have three lists from three different people but more help is appreciated)

HALLOWEEN IS AROUND THE CORNER!!

Yes, I realize that it's only the 13th of September, and Halloween is the 31st of October. That doesn't mean I can't get a head start on the upcoming festivities. (Halloween is tied for first most favorite holiday, along with the Fourth of July.)

So why the announcement about Halloween right now, you ask? Oh, it's quite simple. I WANT PHOTOS!! Yes, yes. I want photos, fan art, fan poetry, and fan fiction. I want photos of your Star Ocean figures in a Halloween setting. I want photos of fellow fans in their Star Ocean costumes. It doesn't have to be too extravagant or anything like that - just something fun and having to do with Halloween. Photos can be submitted between now and October 30 to the above email address. (After Halloween will simply be too late.) The fan art, fan poetry, and fan fiction must deal with the holiday itself.

This isn't a contest. I, unfortunately, can't do contests right this moment, thanks to the lack of funds. (Believe me, if I could run this as a contest this year, I would, but no money makes it hard to give out prizes.)

star_ocean_fan: (Fayt Leingod)
Before I forget, the next birthday for the Star Ocean cast is Lymle. It's June 29. Artwork, poetry, and one-shot submissions will be welcome.

 * * * *
 


The Educational System of the Future - A Look at Till the End of Time and the Last Hope

This particular topic kind of goes to item creation and the one difference I've noticed between the two Star Ocean games I've played in the last few years. Some things about item creation haven't changed between Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. For starters, the common areas of item creation for both games are engineering, crafting, compounding, alchemy, cooking, and smithery. Their differences are artistry and writing.

Now the artistry for item creation in The Last Hope comes more from an underdeveloped planet - Lemuris - than it does from Earth, Eldar, and En II, but I don't think it's all that different in reality. I can't say Roak because it, too, falls under the underdeveloped planet category so artistry would be as commonplace in the form that Lymle uses on Lemuris. It helps my theory that artistry doesn't change all of that much for the Morphus is the ability to buy all painting supplies at one of the stores in the En II mall.

Where does that leave writing? We know that it's a learned skill. It's how we, as a race, can convey our thoughts, emotions, and to educate others. But I wonder how it's being taught. If I go by item creation and some of the imagery from , people are still learning to read from actual books and writing with pen and paper. It's about the only reason why I can think of for Fayt to be sitting at a desk, writing by hand.

I find it interesting that the game designers would show that for Fayt, Sophia, Maria, Peppita, Cliff, and Mirage, when in the writing inventing mode, they're sitting at a table, writing by hand. While many schools nowadays still teach children to read and write the old-fashioned way, it's fast becoming a lost art, if you will, even by the time Till the End of Time was released in Japan then in the U.S. It makes me wonder why they'd demonstrate the high techno people using some old-fashioned techniques. Is it because computers were useless for a time in a post World War III world?

Anything is possible.

* * * *

Game Talk, Part Three - The Descendants of Edge Maverick and Reimi Saionji

So now I come to an interesting discussion for a potential Star Ocean game, something that's been done already in the Star Ocean universe - the utilization of offspring set twenty years or more after the events of The Last Hope.

In the ways that would count, this idea follows the premise of First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution except that it wouldn't be just about one child (as is the case in Second Story/Second Evolution), but at least two children, a boy and a girl. If I were to write it myself, the girl would be Edge Maverick's daughter and the boy the son of Reimi Saionji. I wouldn't have the two marry each other, which is what I'm surmising has happened for the First Departure cast. The reason for this I'll keep simple: it'd make the game more interesting if Edge and Reimi were to never marry. It'd be the plot twist only those who wouldn't ever root for the Edge/Reimi pairing would anticipate and break from that particular cycle set in First Departure.

With that said, what would I see these particular characters do or endure? Aside from a great, life-changing adventure, that is? There are a couple of different scenarios that could take place, based on some of the various natural disaster movies I've watched. But I think a hostile alien threat would be the better way to go. The threat could be chased from about three different planets . . . or perhaps toss Aeos into the mix since there are no civilizations on that planet. It'd be interesting to see what happens to those huge bugs some time after the Grigori's effect on them. After all, Star Ocean wouldn't be Star Ocean if there weren't some kind of planet-hopping going on . . . or so that's my guess. I still don't have that PSP yet or a copy of Second Story so I don't know with any definitiveness . . . it makes me sad.

This particular game idea, I feel, should include someone with the last name of Leingod. While the last name shouldn't propel the individual into fame, it would help to tie Till the End of Time to the rest of the series a bit stronger than what's already been done. It's been pointed out to me that Till the End of Time has the weakest ties to the series than the other games, and I'm inclined to agree, even though I absolutely adore that game. To have something to tie the games together completely would be very nice.

So who would be the hero/heroine of this particular story? Edge Maverick's daughter, of course. It wouldn't be the first time a woman was written as the lead character in a storyline (think to Final Fantasy XIII), but it would be for the Star Ocean series. Her personal conflict could be that of living up to what her dad has already done. While the rest of the universe may not know what he's done, she would because he'd tell stories of his youth. I would also love to see her be a swordswoman. It isn't something we see very often in video games, unless we're able to create the characters ourselves (but I've only seen that done in the Dragon Quest series).

Where would that leave Reimi's son? Personally, I'd like to see him try and distance himself from the Saionji last name. For as much pressure as Edge's daughter would be under due to her last name, it'd be worse for anyone with the last name of Saionji or related to the Saionjis. He could be out to prove himself as well. The last name of Saionji gets him almost whatever he wants or needs, but, rather than exploit the issue, it disgusts him. There's a number of possibilities with this one. As for his weapon of choice, I'm going to say either whips or a bo/staff. Someone else can be the archer. With him being Reimi's child, to use a bow and arrow would be too obvious. I won't say he won't know, because I'm thinking Reimi would teach her children everything she knows about bow techniques, but it wouldn't be his weapon of choice.

Add in for the rest of the playable party descendants of Bacchus, Myuria, and Arumat with some additional alien race, and the questing party will be complete with those who are strong as fighters alone and in symbology.
 
star_ocean_fan: (lutherxfayt)
Thanks to a series of storms traveling across Michigan and grocery shopping, I wasn't able to log onto the internet yesterday. The power outage was the biggest impediment to posting, but that's quite all right. :) I can play catch up for today.

* * * *

Luther - Was He Projected Into the Eternal Sphere During the Final Battle or Was He Really There?

Ah, yes. Luther. He's one of a few Star Ocean men who is the object of my affection and my obsession. He's a controversy all to himself, and he can be the subject of many a Till the End of Time conversation.

One controversy that I've seen Luther be at the center at is that of the final battle and whether or not he actually survived. This comes about because there is, I believe, some confusion as to whether or not Luther was physically inside the Eternal Sphere during those final moments. Blair comments that his attempt to delete the Eternal Sphere while he's still projected within it suggests that his likeness was there but he wasn't physically. Yet, when the player reaches the top floor of Sphere 211, Luther's nowhere to be found. I'm a little fuzzy as to how this works with the 4-D beings entering the Eternal Sphere. (If anyone has any thoughts - do they sit at terminals? Are they projected in? Do the terminals allow them to "manifest" inside? - please say what you think.)

There are no questions, in my mind, that Luther not only won that final battle - he did, to an extent, succeed in deleting the Eternal Sphere - but he also lost - Fayt managed to keep the Eternal Sphere alive by simply believing. What I find perplexing is what happens to him once the final blow is delivered. Blair says nothing about Luther as everything is "erased" from existence. Heck, quite honestly, I'm not sure if she's even able to be there as the connections between the 4-D realm and the Eternal Sphere are abruptly and violently severed.

Of course, the form of Luther's presence in his WorkSpace is one subject to the opinion of fans and how they want to see the game's ending. If he was physically inside the Eternal Sphere, then it's possible he's dead. If he's projected, it's possible his mind is trapped within the Eternal Sphere or he's dead.

Personally, I don't think Luther's dead from that final encounter. Seriously, if Fayt and his friends couldn't kill Azazer, Berial, and Belzeber in the 4-D realm - they were only hospitalized - I doubt they could kill Luther while projected into the Eternal Sphere. If you've fought any of them, you know that they're strong, but they're not capable of wresting control away from Luther. The Creator is King when it comes to bosses. (No, I'm not tossing in the post-game bosses. For this conversation, the post-game bosses are irrelevant and not applicable.)

That's just my opinion, though. It'd be interesting to find out, if a sequel to Till the End of Time is ever conceived of by Square Enix, if Luther's alive and well. I'm just not willing for him to be the constant bad guy. That's all.

* * * *

Game Talk, Part Two - Crossover Between Till the End of Time and The Last Hope

This is more for me to toss out and bandy ideas from others on this. However, there is a plausible way to cross Till the End of Time and The Last Hope together and still have a great game to play. The idea stems from what I know about the Eternal Sphere itself and is something I'm exploring in a fanfiction piece titled "Changing the Tides of Fate and Time", with the name being a partial play off of Fayt's name.

First of all, the idea of crossing the two games (and, indeed, tossing in First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution) wouldn't be difficult to pull off. In looking over Till the End of Time's in-game dictionary, the Eternal Sphere itself is a multi-timeline RPG system, or what we would now call an MMORPG. As the events of The Last Hope are playing out, so are the events of First Departure, Second Story/Second Evolution, and Till the End of Time. Luther was genius for setting up an MMORPG like that. If some of the code ends up deleted and needs to be replaced, it's more than entirely possible to screw up the timelines. Edge and Fayt could end up living in the same time, working aboard the same ship . . . anything is possible. 

In my story, that's precisely what happens. During the final battle, while no one's watching, Blair manages to get the backup files for the Eternal Sphere. With Luther "missing", she tries to restore the Eternal Sphere back to what it was, but, for as genius as she is, she doesn't possess the same finesse that her brother does and inadvertently does damage to the Eternal Sphere's timeline. Because of her attempts to restore the Eternal Sphere back to what it was before the release of the Executioners, Fayt and Edge end up living in the same era. Most around them aren't aware that something is wrong, that Fayt shouldn't be aboard the same vessel as Edge. It takes a few events for Edge and Fayt to truly discover the truth, but, when they do, they set out to rectify the situation. The answer lies within finding Luther, as it's obvious that he's not in the 4-D realm. Finding him is an adventure unto itself. When they do find him, the question will be: Will he help them to restore their world to the way it should be or is the Eternal Sphere forever doomed to an altered timeline?

The idea itself would make for a very interesting crossover game. With the accidental altering of the timeline, different planets could open up for exploration. The search for Luther could introduce new monsters, new bosses, and new dungeons for exploration. It'd be far better than the rumored combat fighter style I'd heard about a potential Till the End of Time/The Last Hope crossover game.

Next Game Talk, I want to deal with ideas for descendants for Edge and Reimi for sure. I think it would be interesting to see if they actually marry each other or go their separate ways. I kind of know what I'd like to see for a Till the End of Time sequel, but I'd like to flesh my ideas out a little more on paper before I post them to my journal. Beyond that, well, there are seven hundred years worth of stories to delve into for potential games.

Also, for Game Talk, I'd like to showcase what others would like to see. Email the ideas to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com. As with the game reviews, fanfiction, and fan poetry, please be sure that you've followed proper writing techniques. If you'd like for me to proofread before posting, let me know, and I'll gladly do so. Just please don't assume that I will, 'kay?

* * * *

Ask the Star Ocean Character - Deputy Director Shimada

Ask the Star Ocean Character is back! I'm now taking questions for Deputy Director Shimada. Each person is allowed three questions. I'll be taking questions until midnight Wednesday, May 17, 2012. Leave a comment for me, a PM, with your questions. If you wish to remain "anonymous" or have a specific name for this, please let me know, and I'll accommodate you.

Again, Ask the Star Ocean Character is back, and the next person in the list is Deputy Director Shimada. Questions will be accepted until midnight Wednesday, May 17, 2012.

* * * *

Tomorrow is Bacchus's and Mrs. Nox's birthdays. Pictures and birthday stories to ensue.
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
The Laziness of the 4D People - Bred Into Them or a Simple Acceptance of How Life Has Become For Them?

The Four-Dimensional Realm. A place of idyllic peace. The world is always white and bright, and entertainment is abundant. In order to work, the young take career placement exams, and, if they score high enough, they'll head to the Lost City to begin work. The most work someone can find in Arkives is security and the Spacetime Station. Work is found in places like Gemity and in the companies who call the Lost City home.

Work is for the privileged, like Luther Lansfeld, his sister Blair, Belzeber, Berial, and Azazer. The rest of the population, however large it may be, doesn't work. Most of the people you talk to don't necessarily want to work. They'd rather hang out at Gemity, dressed in costume, watching the bunny races, playing runic chess, competing in the arena, adventuring in the Eternal  Sphere or at their personal terminals in their homes. With the lack of work it makes me wonder a few different things.

1 - How do they pay for their homes, food, rental costumes, and gaming terminals if they're not working? It's obvious that the 4D beings don't live in shelters. Are the homes built by previous generations? Are they on a government stipend? It's always possible. Money is earned in the four-dimensional realm. (You pay for weapon upgrades, restorative items, the hotel in Arkives, etc . . .)

2 - Exactly how deeply is the laziness routed in their culture? Mind you, those who aren't working sit at their terminals all day, are in Gemity all day, having a ball in the Eternal Sphere.

It's this particular question that has me writing this entry. It's obvious that time does pass in the 4D realm. In talking with the NPCs there, you find children, adults, elderly, parents, grandparents, etc. . . In talking with Maria, she'll not only mention how she's noticed that only the privileged work but also voice her thoughts in how the 4D beings are being controlled by people like Luther and his company of Sphere 211. They're not aware that they're being controlled and perhaps don't even want anything to change. Their lives are peaceful, idyllic, and a revolution would disrupt everything.

There are no doubts in my mind that the vast majority of the 4D beings are lazy. The ones who want to work are out finding ways to do so, whether it's the career placement exams mentioned after defeating Belzeber and Berial, and returning to the Eternal Sphere, or imitating the people who are working. The rest, however, aren't interested. The Eternal Sphere has consumed.

Is this laziness bred into them? Or is it simply acceptance on their part that work isn't meant for everyone? I personally feel it's a combination of both. If the government (which one is implied as existing) is handing out some kind of a monetary stipend to keep the masses from revolting against it, it's possible that most in the realm are simply content to stay at home, go to school, and generally have fun. I think it's something that's been going on for some time, too, otherwise there'd be more discontent people to talk to in Arkives than what there really are.

I now ask a couple of questions for my fellow Star Ocean fans. What do you think is the cause of the apparent laziness in the 4D beings and do you think Maria would attempt to start a revolution there? 

* * * *

Game Talk, Part One

In the last few weeks, I've written my thoughts on how I'd like more Star Ocean games and I've asked others what their thoughts, including in private conversations elsewhere. I've even suggested a few things I'd like to see, mentioned finding out how to petition Square Enix for more (still haven't found the right email address yet; website for North America is such a pain sometimes).  I'd like to expand on that with Game Talk, starting with ideas for The Last Hope.

Please note - This isn't anything official. These are my thoughts, an in-depth look, on what I'd like to see for a Last Hope sequel. Nothing more. Nothing less.

First of all, there must be a slight reinvention of the characters' costumes. If such a sequel were to come about, to see Edge and Reimi in their original SRF uniforms without some kind of color variation would only make it look like a re-release of The Last Hope. That isn't the goal.
It might have worked with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but there were still some changes made for Tifa. (If you've not seen it, I highly recommend it. Yes, I do. Love that movie!) In FFXIII-2, Lightning isn't wearing the same outfit as in the first game. Snow, from what I've seen of him when my stepdad has played, doesn't look quite the same, either. To have a variant or a complete costume overhaul would help to distinguish between The Last Hope and a sequel.

In addition to the change of costume, I feel that there should be some sort of growth in Edge and Reimi. Reimi is by far my least favorite character in the game. For a woman who acts like a mature sister-type character, she behaves the most irresponsibly at the most inopportune of times. Case in point: Because she couldn't remain calm under pressure after Lymle got away from her on the Alternate Earth, Milla Bachtein knew how to manipulate Edge into giving her what she wanted. A little more maturity on her part would be very nice instead of her acting like a stereotypical whiny, needy female.

Second, a time lapse of some kind is in order. If it's too short of a time lapse (like six months later, after the fall of Nox Obscuris), and people will wonder about the endings already given to them after earning the affinity points that they have for the playable characters (though why Edge wasn't given his own ending is a mystery to me). Too long of a time lapse, and it might as well be a different game. (I'm thinking of the twenty-year gap between Star Ocean: First Departure and Star Ocean: Second Evolution.) If the same characters are to appear, a two to three year gap would be most acceptable. A year set after Reimi's ending would be acceptable, too.

Third, a few questions would have to be answered, like does Crowe ever come back to Earth after siring at least one child with Eleyna, what happens to Bacchus and is Faize still alive? Crowe (though he isn't a playable character) and Faize are very much loved characters. We know Bacchus returns to his body to live out the rest of his days, but does he die due to the severe mutation of the stone sickness virus, the reason for which he built a mechanical body in the first place? It's nice to know that Crowe doesn't actually die, but it's still disappointing he didn't become a playable character. Yes, he's a Captain, just like Edge, but, in Till the End of Time, Fayt is the pen ultimate leader for the group. Maria's the leader of Quark, but she and Fayt aren't interchangeable as leaders when it comes to basic wilderness and dungeon wandering (which can be done on some PS2 games - play Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King to see it in action). She becomes a follower in that sense. Of course, Crowe had a different part to play in the story than playable character, which is still cool. For a sequel, though, I'd love to have him as a playable character. I'd also like to know for certain what really becomes of Faize. Is he appearing as a ghost to Lymle in his ending? Or is he stuck in some kind of dimensional rift? Maybe a rescue would be in order. It'd make for an interesting plot twist to the story.

One other thing that I'd like to see is a more in-depth explanation of/chance to learn how the Muah ultimately connect Earth and Roak. Yes, the ancient alien race lived on Earth. It lived on Roak, but what happened to the ancient race? Did they leave both planets for another world? And why don't we hear of the Muah after First Departure? (Remember, there's a continent on Roak named after the Muah, and that's where the story of First Departure is set or at least begins.) Maybe it's uncovering that secret that could be key to saving a planet (or, if you want to follow the current trend of Star Ocean cliche', the universe). These are all fascinating questions, to me, and I do believe it'd be fun to explore those reasons.

Of course, no Star Ocean game is ever complete with some kind of overall major threat to the hero, heroine, and their questing party. To see a return of the Grigori would be quite lame. The only way I'd accept it is if somehow the 4D realm is tied into this as well as someone from Sphere 211 trying to find the root cause because I still stand by the notion the Grigori are not Luther's creations. (His entire goal was to delete the anomalies creating havoc in the Eternal Sphere, not to create them.) Otherwise, some alien race (not the Vendeeni, since they need to be around for Till the End of Time) bent on conquering planets like Earth would be nice.

I don't know if I'd want to necessarily see all of the playable characters from The Last Hope to return, not unless I could see more character development from the ones already established. I could understand Meracle and Sarah being added into the mix, especially if the adventure brings Edge and Reimi back to Roak to figure out the mystery of the Muah, maybe Myuria and Bacchus, depending on whether or not the Morphus will keep on intervening on behalf of the universe. As for Lymle . . .  I think she should be left alone, since the Muah were never on Lemuris (to our knowledge). I'm sure another fire Symbologist could be created for the purposes of the game. I don't know if Arumat could even factor into the story set-up. About the only way I could think of to integrate the two into the particular storyline is if, thanks to Faize's ending where he appears to Lymle on Lemuris, Faize tells Lymle he's stuck somewhere and she needs to send out word to Edge. That, of course, would lead her to the Eldarians living on Lemuris, telling them, and someone getting a message out to Arumat to get her and take her to Edge. I think some new characters would be more interesting, or expand the number of playable characters from eight to ten or twelve. (And it'd only be a pain if they do the battle trophy system the same way - 100 trophies per character instead of a generalized list, like in Till the End of Time.) New characters are always nice. :)

Naturally, this is what I'd like to see in terms of story and characters for a sequel to The Last Hope. In terms of graphics, I'd like to see something a little smoother, a better flow to movement  . . . While I love the graphics for The Last Hope, Arumat looks more like a ball-jointed doll than a well-created CGI character. A little more time on the graphics would be nice. The game could also be longer, more areas to explore, and more challenges. The sub-quests and store deliveries were cool. I wouldn't mind a revisit to that.

I hope this inspires others to think about what they'd like to see in any potential Star Ocean games, be it sequels to The Last Hope and Till the End of Time. For the next Game Talk, I'll outline ideas on a crossover game between Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. There is actually a way to cross all four games together, but I'd rather not get too many things going on at once. The first two are connected anyway.

* * * *

I forgot to announce it Tuesday but the next Star Ocean birthday is Bacchus, on May 5. I'm accepting submissions for art, one-shots, and poetry for the Morphus scientist.

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