Sunday, October 24, 2010
Level 5’s new RPG, Fantasy Life, has switched from the DS to 3DS, and in the process seemingly undergone a major change in graphical style... Which made me ponder previous such hardware shifts.
When I first started on this blog, one of my intentions had been to repost snippets of interesting forum discussion which would otherwise be lost to a possibly very insular group. I never did mainly due to laziness, and my HDD folder for this blog is replete with 20 unfinished entries. Anyway, the images here and hyperlinks were lifted wholesale from SelectButton’s private forum, the work of Dark Age Iron Saviour. What had the potential to be an enlightening discussion about the nature of new hardware, the abandonment of the old, plus highlighting of many related examples such as Mother 3 and Ico, soon de-evolved into a disturbingly moronic argument about developing countries, white guilt, and New York pizza.
It was all unfortunate, since I find the following comparison screens quite fascinating, and I feel there is tremendous mileage for discussion in this topic.
Taken from Hellforge:
Japanese RPG publisher Level-5 has announced a new game for the Nintendo DS called First Fantasy Life. The game is under development by Mother 3 creators, Brownie Brown; and its soundtrack is being composed by none other than Square Enix alumnus Nobuo Uematsu, who’s providing the game with 21 songs. First Fantasy Life is described as a game made up of many individual vignettes or storylines, all of which contribute to the final ending of the game. Each individual ending is also said to feature an original song by Uematsu.
Fantasy Life, the DS game (beautiful artwork on this link):
Fantasy Life, reborn as a 3DS game:
Personally I like both the original 2D and the remade 3D style, since as one person put it, they transformed charming sprites into equally charming polygon models – some even speculated the 2D images could have been from a non-playable build, and were more like concept work.
What I do not like so much, is the idea that a company, seeing new hardware, will suddenly feel the need to make drastic changes when they don’t add anything worthwhile. In this case it’s not a huge loss (apart from now needing to buy new hardware to play it), but it concerns me to think about all the games where MOVE or KINECT functionality will be shoehorned in. Did Heavy Rain really need another release which included Move control? The original wasn’t exactly fantastic in the way it handled, and Move seems like it will only make things worse. SIXAXIS controls for the majority of PS3 games felt tacked on, and in the case of Heavenly Sword, made the first-person weapon sections unplayable until I disabled it.
What other games will find themselves undergoing major and unnecessary changes now that 3DS, Move and Kinect are with us? Which charming titles will be made less enjoyable as a result?
Back to Fantasy Life...
The above appears to be the opposite of what happened to Mother 3, which started as 3D polygons on the 64DD before shifting to the GBA and sprites (and in the process gained even more charm). In fact it’s perfectly analogous, since the original spritework from FL resembles Mother 3.
This article is one of the most comprehensive I’ve seen regarding Mother 3’s transition – it’s also where I took the imagery.
Other games which I can think of which switched hardware:
The original was entirely different to the Dreamcast release, featuring a boy in a castle. Intended for the ill-fated M2 system. Not so much a redesign as a restart.
This started on the PS1. Lots of imagery at Unseen 64.
Started on the N64 and was even rated by the ESRB, before switching to the Gamecube (I think Rare’s Dinosaur Planet may have been the same?).
LIMBO OF THE LOST
Well, technically this was always on a computer of sorts. But I’ve seen scans of old Amiga magazines which had images of it looking drastically different to its later, ripped-off PC release. Ironically the Amiga screens in the magazines made it appear as if it were ripping off Dragon’s Lair. From random googling.
I was tempted to mention Animal Crossing and Doshin, but these did find release on the N64 and 64DD before later being ported, so technically not the same as a game which wasn’t released on its intended hardware.
I’m sure there are other examples, but I’m already finding myself too distracted to find any more. I have James Clavell’s Noble House on tape, and it won’t watch itself.