Is Squall Hotter in Kingdom Hearts Than in Final Fantasy VIII?

Decide for yourself with this handy 99 Potions episode transcript.

On this week’s episode of 99 Potions (Fanbyte’s premiere RPG podcast), it’s time for June’s monthly News Quest installment!

Now you should know, full disclosure, the RPG Pals (sans John(?)) spend 30 minutes talking about Kingdom Hearts at the top of this episode thanks to a recent interview with Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether that’s a good thing or not, but the second half of the episode is much more normal, so please do try and power through it.

(You can also listen on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!)

That’s unless you like Kingdom Hearts, of course — in which case, please do try and power through the second half of this episode. Our panel discusses the latest noteworthy developments in the world of RPGs, including:

  • The announcement of Harvestella from Square Enix
  • Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection coming to Nintendo Switch
  • Imran’s hands-on time with Soul Hackers 2
  • The GILF from Star Ocean: The Divine Force that destroys our notes document
  • Dragon Quest X Offline‘s newly announced (Japanese) release date
  • Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal coming to Switch
  • Nier: Automata coming to Switch
  • Quick updates on Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, and Rain World: Downpour
  • And even the words Fallout 5 and The Elder Scrolls VI said in an official capacity by Bethesda Game Studios’ sole employee, Todd Howard

As the headline indicates, the RPG Pals also tackle some broader, more existential questions in this episode. It’s up to you whether you think Squall is hotter in Final Fantasy VIII than in Kingdom Hearts — everyone is entitled to their opinion (unless you’re actually on this podcast because Natalie has some choice words for you). We do think everyone can agree on one thing: Capcom needs to put out a Mega Man Legends Legacy Collection, or something close to it. Mega Man Legends 3 will never exist, so can’t we at least have a way to play The Misadventures of Tron Bonne that doesn’t cost almost $700?

99 Potions Ep. 101: June 2022 News Quest Transcript

Transcribed by E. Powers

Imran: Hello and welcome to 99 Potions, Fanbyte’s premier RPG podcast. I am your host of 99 Potions, John Warren, Head of Media and Head of Large. This is me, John Warren. That’s J.W., John Warren. Don’t listen to anyone else who says they’re John Warren. It is just me. [Natalie laughs] Joining me also here today is little John Warren, Natalie Flores.

Natalie: Hi, I’m little John Warren. I’ve known John for so long now and I’m like trying to think of something that I can use to bully him as I imitate him, and I’m not coming up…

Imran: [laughs] See, it’s not so easy. It has to come naturally.

Natalie: Right. Like, what comes to mind right now is like, “Oh, I have supremely good taste, and my favorite Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy IX,” and that’s not like bullying, you know? [laughter] It comes easier when it’s Imran, who’s missing from this podcast, sadly.

Imran: Mm-hmm. Yeah, no, Imran is not here, ’cause Imran tweeted Yakuza 0 is better than Persona 5– or better written than Persona 5. [laughter]

Steven: Oh.

Imran: And has been just inundated in mentions for the last day.

Natalie: No fucking more.

Steven: We haven’t seen him in days. [laughter] He’s been covered in posts. It’s terrible.

Imran: Uh huh. That other voice you heard–

Natalie: They went from spamming Atlus– oh, I was gonna say they went from spamming Atlus [Imran: “Yes”] about Persona 5 on Switch, and now it’s like, “Kill Imran Khan!” [laughter]

Steven: “Hey, I think this game might be better than this other game.” “Fuck you! I hope you fucking die!”

Imran: What’s funny is I– Imran included the words “I think” in there, [laughter] and yet, still, everyone’s like, “Who the fuck asked?” which is like, it’s my– it’s the Twitter account. I don’t need a fucking reason to say what I think.

Natalie: I can absolutely tell you– yeah, I can tell you that as a woman, before you post an opinion, you will try to like really condition it and be like, “I think, it’s just my opinion, sorry if you disagree,” and people will still be like, “Nah, you’re fucking wrong!” and it’s like, okay, well, I might as well not fucking try with you people.

Imran: It’s that ProZD video where he’s like, “I like that thing! You don’t like that thing? I like that thing, though! I’m gonna fucking kill you!” [Natalie laughs]

Steven: There’s always a ProZD video for any situation on the internet. [laughs]

Natalie: There’s always a dril tweet and always a ProZD video.

Steven: There’s always a lighthouse.

Natalie: Yeah! [laughter]

Imran: I’ve been thinking about some sort of feature to do with dril tweets. I’ve not figured out exactly what I’m going to do with it yet, [Steven: “Ooh”] but there’s something percolating in my head of like Final Fantasy characters with dril tweets or something like that.

Steven: That’s a great idea, John.

Imran: Yeah. Me, John Warren, as Head of Large of Media, has decided this thing.

Natalie: Thanks, Head of Large for giving that idea out to every listener. Jeez.

Imran: Well, they can’t publish it on Fanbyte. Only we can.

Natalie: That’s true.

Imran: But yeah.

Steven: Oh, yeah.

Imran: Speaking of large, the other voice you heard was big John Warren, Managing Editor Steven Strom.

Steven: Yeah, that’s me. Six foot three.

Natalie: Damn!

Imran: [laughs] The big John. Together, we make up the three John Warrens of the apocalypse. [laughter]

Steven: The matryoshka doll of John Warrens. [laughs]

Natalie: The Triforce, in RPG terms. Who’s wisdom, whose power, and whose courage?

Imran: Ooh.

Steven: Out of us three?

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: Out of John, Natalie, and Steven?

Natalie: Yeah. I would say Steven for wisdom.

Imran: Mm.

Steven: Okay. I’ll take it.

Imran: So Steven’s the one who gets captured every time.

Steven: I would’ve given that to Imran.

Natalie: That is true. I mean, we’re all clearly good candidates for it. I would–

Steven: Yeah, that’s true.

Natalie: Okay, personally, I would say Steven wisdom, Natalie for power, [laughter] and Imran is courage for going up against Natalie routinely. Yeah.

Imran: Jordo says Natalie is courage; “John,” quote, unquote—which is me—is wisdom; and Steven is power. I feel like the problem is all of them kind of suck compared to courage, right? ‘Cause courage always wins.

Steven: Mm.

Imran: Power like only kind of sometimes wins temporarily. Like, power in concept is great.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: It turns you into a giant pig monster, but it doesn’t turn you into a–

Natalie: That’s what someone without power would say. [Steven laughs]

Imran: Right, but it doesn’t turn you into a strong enough pig monster, because he always loses eventually. It’s like–

Steven: He always comes back.

Imran: Yeah, it’s a very lopsided Triforce is the problem.

Steven: Mm.

Natalie: Mm.

Steven: You know what, we never got that…

Natalie: Then if courage is the best, then I will accept humbly Jordo’s nomination for Natalie for courage. It has to be done. [laughter]

Steven: We never got that. John, who– or sorry, Imran in the chat from his home in…Tennessee?

Imran: Arkansas. Arkansas, yes.

Steven: Arkansas? [laughter]

Imran: Well, that’s confusing, ’cause I am from Tennessee. So I’m like, wait, what?

Natalie: Tennessee and Arkansas are like the same thing. [laughter]

Steven: They might as– they’re the same, right? Says in the chat, “I’m a fucking Deku Nut, and I’m not part of the Triforce lmao.”

Imran: So, there’s a river in Kansas that is the Arkansas river, ’cause it’s a river like near Arkansas.

Steven: Oh.

Natalie: Oh.

Imran: That they call the Ar-Kansas river. Like, you can’t– if you say Arkansas river, they’ll look at you weird.

Steven: Weird. Ar-Kansas.

Imran: Because they’re like, no, it’s not Arkansas. It’s Ar-Kansas.

Steven: Our Kansas river, dammit.

Imran: Which is like, get the fuck over it. [laughter]

Natalie: That’s so fucking annoying, ’cause I pronounce everything wrong, so I totally grew up thinking it was Arkansas. Or Ar-Kansas, actually.

Steven: It is Arkansas. Oh, oh.

Natalie: Or, yeah, never mind. Ar-Kansas.

Imran: You’re talking about the state. Yes.

Natalie: Yeah. I mean, I said it correctly the first time, ’cause I’ve grown from that, obviously. [laughter] But I used to say Ar-Kansas, and then people were like, “No, it’s fucking Arkansas.” So like, it’s weird. [Steven sighs]

Imran: Further complicating matters is, on the Arkansas/Texas border, there’s Texarkana, [Steven: “Yeah”] which smells like shit. It is–

Steven: Really?

Imran: There’s a ton of paper factories or like paper mills in the area.

Steven: Oh.

Imran: It just smells like garbage when you’re driving through it.

Natalie: Ew.

Steven: Does that– I didn’t even realize that had a smell, but I guess it would.

Imran: Yeah. We used to travel a lot from Tennessee to Texas, so we drove there, and that’s what I remember of Texarkana was that’s the place that smells awful and we just need to drive through it as fast as possible.

Steven: Ah.

Imran: Anyway.

Natalie: Jordo says a lot of Texas smells bad.

Imran: Yeah. As head of Fanbyte, I am declaring today News Quest.

Steven: Oh! Okay. That sounds all right.

Natalie: Oh, that’s never happened before.

Imran: Yeah, no.

Steven: On the last day of a month?

Imran: Yes, it rarely happens. [laughter] But as someone who is empowered to declare that, I am declaring it now and also that we’re packing the Supreme Court.

Steven: Oh, okay.

Imran: Those are the two things I’m declaring, yes.

Steven: This sounds great.

Natalie: Oh, yeah.

Steven: Like, every part of this sounds great. I want to pick who’s on the Supreme Court.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Mega Man.

Imran: Well, we can start with Tetsuya Nomura.

Natalie: Emet-Selch.

Imran: Yeah. [laughter]

Steven: Oh, God, no. I don’t want Tetsuya Nomura’s political beliefs!

Imran: Because Nomura is already handing down edicts that have no actual legal and logical basis, so.

Steven: Ha!

Imran: We’ll start with– Natalie put these notes, so as you can tell, they start very Kingdom Hearts focused. Which, as John Warren, I hate Kingdom Hearts, so I’m going to insist that we talk about this at length.

Natalie: I really hate the idea that I like Kingdom Hearts in 2022. I’m so upset by this. [laughter] I put it because Imran and I are gonna like fight it out, but also Imran isn’t here today, so like. Again, the Triforce of courage. Well, actually, I did say Imran would have courage, so actually it goes against…huh.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Hmm.

Imran: The courage of liking Kingdom Hearts in 2022. [laughter]

Steven: Much like the subject matter of this very show, what this actually means at any given point is very fluid, and we can’t keep it straight.

Imran: “We can’t keep it straight” is kind of the Fanbyte motto anyway.

Steven: That’s true! [laughs]

Imran: In so many ways.

Natalie: Yeah. I was gonna say, we can barely keep many things straight, yeah. [laughs]

Imran: So, this is from a Game Informer article with Kim Wallace, who has now left Game Informer. She is fantastic. Kim is one of my favorite people in the world.

Natalie: Yes!

Imran: Going around with her, like, during GDC and E3 is like some of the most fun I remember ever having at that job.

Steven: Ooh.

Natalie: Oh my gosh.

Imran: Like, we do so much cool– we did so much cool shit with like Square Enix, ’cause Square Enix loved Kim. So we were able to like get into a lot of– kick down a lot of back doors that we would not have been able to kick down otherwise. But this is one of those back doors where Kim got an interview with Tetsuya Nomura who– we wanted to talk about this last week, ’cause it came out two weeks ago. We just didn’t have time ’cause it was like just so much stuff. But basically, Nomura wanted– Kim asked Nomura, “Hey, what’s the deal with the lack of Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts these days?”

Steven: Mm-hmm.

Imran: And Nomura’s quote is, “I understand there weren’t many Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts 3. One thing I want to clear up is that a lot of fans are saying that Kingdom Hearts is this collaboration between Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters, but I really feel like that’s not the basic concept of Kingdom Hearts. That’s not exactly what Kingdom Hearts is.” There’s more to this quote, but like the bolded aspect of it is, “We have a lot of Final Fantasy characters involved to lend a hand for everyone to get to know these original Kingdom Hearts characters better. There’s so many original characters Kingdom Hearts now that are so well loved, and people want to see more of those characters. We’re trying to find a good balance for that. I know that there are fans that are concerned and that weren’t too happy and want to see more Final Fantasy characters. That’s something we’re definitely talking about. It’s hard to say what that exact balance is going to be and how it’ll play out in Kingdom Hearts 4.” Which, one, I kind of feel like you should know that by now, for that game. [Natalie laughs]

Steven: Mm.

Imran: ‘Cause otherwise that game is a long way out.

Steven: Yeah.

Natalie: He’s probably just being very, you know, vague [Steven: “Vague”] and whatnot. I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s saying. He says Final Fantasy characters are dead. [Steven laughs]

Imran: Two, what the hell is he talking about? That like, this was never a thing?

Steven: [laughs] He literally–

Natalie: I mean, was it?

Imran: This was the main pitch!

Steven: The first town that you go to outside of the like main…honestly, even before then, ’cause you meet like Selphie…

Natalie: Wakka, Tidus.

Steven: Tidus, Wakka, all them characters on that first island. And then you meet two Disney characters, Donald and Goofy, and three Disney characters– or three Final Fantasy characters.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Cid, Yuffie, Aerith, and Squall are all in Traverse Town.

Steven: Okay, so four.

Imran: Yes.

Natalie: Leon here, yeah.

Steven: Yeah, Leon. Really great alias there, Squall. Also, why are you using an alias? Nobody knows who you are. [laughs]

Imran: No, no. He’s dark and tortured, so he’s like, “I failed. I didn’t save my world, so I can’t be called Squall anymore. I’m only Leon.”

Steven: This was the fucking… [sighs] This was the turning point of when Squall stopped being a good character, is the– Kingdom Hearts took these characters who are in Final Fantasy VIII and VII, actually really interesting ’cause the whole reveal is that they’re actually deeply insecure wienies who just do their best all the time. And then Kingdom Hearts was like, “No, they have to be brooding.” [laughs] They literally got David Boreanaz to play one of them, so I guess…

Imran: To be fair though, Squall was way hotter in Kingdom Hearts.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: So they clearly made improvements.

Natalie: What?

Steven: That was a PlayStation– like, that’s a fucking home field advantage. They had PlayStation 2 versus PlayStation 1 in tech.

Imran: It is wild how good Kingdom Hearts 1 still looks [Steven: “Mm”] for being a game that came out like months after Luigi’s Mansion.

Natalie: Wait. Okay. I have issues with what you just said. [Steven laughs] Squall is hotter in Kingdom Hearts 1 compared to what exactly?

Imran: To FF8.

Natalie: No!

Imran: Really?

Steven: You say no?

Natalie: No! I think it cut off because my no was so… [laughter] was so incredulous. As Imran or as John Warren, as the token two straights in this podcast.

Imran: Right, these are John Warren’s opinions, not Imran’s, to be clear.

Natalie: Right. You’re both wrong, whoever it is. [laughter]

Steven: John, out there somewhere, just like felt a pain in his chest. Like, “Ugh, what? What did I do?”

Imran: Natalie stabbing her little voodoo doll. [laughter]

Natalie: I do have voodoo dolls for each of us.

Steven: I’m looking at– if we’re talking about like 3D…oh, that’s horrifying. [laughs]

Natalie: Oh. I was like, what’s the pause for? [laughs]

Imran: We’re looking at pictures of Squall, just to…

Natalie: I don’t, but I can make them if you want.

Imran: Okay, so. First of all, [laughter] I think his like fuzzy jacket is better looking, in Kingdom Hearts.

Natalie: Yeah– no.

Steven: In 8. Wait?

Imran: In Kingdom Hearts.

Natalie: Yeah, no.

Steven: Hmm.

Natalie: No! Just, the design is overall not as good in Kingdom Hearts 1. Also, the length of his long hair and just framing is weird.

Imran: The long hair is the best part.

Natalie: But it’s like not cute long hair. And I don’t know, like he could be more brooding.

Steven: Mm, I don’t know, Imran.

Imran: Mm, mm.

Natalie: Like, it’s hard to…

Steven: I might be on… [sighs]

Natalie: It’s hard to compare to Squall’s brooding in Final Fantasy VIII.

Imran: I will say, Squall in Dissidia NT, better looking than all of them.

Natalie: Yes.

Steven: Well, yeah.

Natalie: Okay.

Steven: Again, we’re jumping forward, in terms of technological…

Imran: Right, not even graphically. I mean just like design, all that.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: It’s a small change, but he looks better than all of them.

Steven: And NT looks like the best of both worlds.

Imran: Yes.

Steven: It’s like, they gave him like a fashion upgrade, but also his face is a little bit more…I mean, it’s obviously less cartoonish, ’cause just the Kingdom Hearts version is like fairly cartoony, so it’s even actually kind of hard to compare the two.

Imran: Right. What I like about Squall Kingdom Hearts, and specifically the hair aspect, is that he grew his hair out ’cause he wants to look like Laguna, who is like a rebel.

Steven: Mm.

Natalie: But Laguna isn’t in fucking Kingdom Hearts, isn’t he?

Imran: That’s ’cause he’s dead! That’s why Squall changed his name to Leon! [Imran and Natalie laugh] What the fuck are we talking? Oh right, Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts.

Natalie: This is a lot, but I mean, I– and I know, I know that Imran disagrees. Just hear me out. [Steven and Imran laugh] I really do agree, I hesitate to say, but I do agree with Nomura in this instance, because like, I think [“Mm”] while it was very likely the pitch at the beginning, I think using that as a shorthand made absolute sense at the time, but like he says, Kingdom Hearts has evolved so much and added so many original characters to the franchise that they need to focus on those in comparison to–

Imran: Do they, though?

Natalie: Yeah, ’cause like, Kairi gets nothing.

Imran: ‘Cause like, the end of 3 was a fucking mess.

Steven: Yeah.

Natalie: These characters suck. Like, Sora had maybe three sarcastic lines in Kingdom Hearts 3, and people were like, “Oh my God, character development.” [Steven laughs]

Imran: What they need to do is they need to pare down on the characters that need development. Like, they need to get rid of like most of those people who have keyblades. Like, take it down to the ones people like.

Natalie: Just kill them.

Imran: Like, what…I want you to tell me or define Terra without mentioning his design or his character arc.

Natalie: Okay, the design I get, but the character arc defines the character.

Imran: No, because like…I can tell you a bunch about Darth Vader without saying how he became Anakin to Darth Vader, but can you tell me how Terra didn’t–

Natalie: Ah, okay.

Imran: Like, tell me anything about Terra without saying he turns evil.

Natalie: [hesitates] I mean, we began– [laughter] we introduced this as Natalie likes Kingdom Hearts in 2022. I don’t.

Imran: Right.

Natalie: So, I’m not inclined to try to defend Terra’s lack of character. [laughs]

Imran: Like, what I’m getting at is you need to cut back on most of these characters, ’cause like what happened is you had a very good character in Aqua, who because she had to share the stage with so many fucking other clowns, [Natalie: “Mm-hmm”] like got just fucking screwed out of development in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: I was gonna say, yeah.

Imran: So what I’m saying is you don’t need to develop any of the Final Fantasy characters. We already know who they are. Let’s use them as window dressing for a smaller cast of original characters.

Steven: I was gonna say– oh.

Natalie: I mean, I guess a larger Kingdom Hearts problem is that all these characters feel like they are plot devices for the most part. I think the only character that reasonably got some evolution is Riku.

Steven: Yes. That is true.

Natalie: Sorry, Steven, what were you gonna say?

Steven: No, I was literally gonna– just from the outside looking in, I feel like people care a lot about– like, the character that I always hear about where I’m like, I could basically– despite not really having played Kingdom Hearts since Kingdom Hearts 2, and even that I didn’t beat, I could tell you probably more about Aqua than any of these other characters, because all the other characters are just like vessels for weird magic soul swapping stuff to happen across.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Right.

Steven: Like, this character gets cloned and then possessed by this other character, who’s actually a reincarnation of himself before he died or stuff like that.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Steven: But Aqua, at least, I can tell you like, oh yeah, she was one of these like three kind of original keyblade masters. Her two friends either died or got corrupted, and she was the last sort of like bastion standing alone against the darkness, literally in like this other world and stuff like that. And that’s a more compelling arc to me than…because that’s something I can like wrap my mind around and like sink my teeth into, the idea of like, oh yeah, it’s a character who has like literally kind of been the lantern bearer or the torch bearer for this old guard of people who were trying to keep things from going sideways, and a lot of it failed, but she kept in the game up until the very final ending. And then they just seem like they do nothing with that.

Imran: Right. Which is…

Natalie: Yeah, yeah.

Imran: “It seems like they do nothing with that” is the refrain to most Kingdom Hearts characters, so I don’t buy the argument that, “Oh, we have a lot of original characters we have to focus on.” It’s like, you’re not focusing on them. What you’re doing is you’ve–

Natalie: Exactly, but they’re– mm-hmm, sorry.

Imran: Like, the problem is that the dichotomy he is establishing here of…as John, I’m getting very heated. [laughter] The dichotomy Nomura is establishing here–

Steven: [laughs] John has so many opinions about Kingdom Hearts.

Imran: He’s saying, “We can’t do Final Fantasy characters anymore because we have so many original characters,” but like, that’s not a comparison that makes sense, because you can still have those Final Fantasy characters, it’s just you are excusing the lack of attention on your existing characters on a thing that didn’t really affect them in the first place.

Natalie: Right. I mean, like, it’s less it feels like a matter of opposition and more like a matter of correlation. Like, I feel like even just the small window dressing moments for Final Fantasy characters gets in the way of the larger problem that Kingdom Hearts has with just not giving its characters any proper characterization whatsoever beyond being plot devices. So, I mean, like…

Imran: Right.

Natalie: I agree with the move, because it’s like, I don’t wanna see Cloud and Squall like back to back in Hollow Bastion fighting an army of Heartless. I don’t care about that, because it’s not gonna do anything for the actual original Kingdom Hearts characters that should be getting something and they’re not, and this only further exacerbates the problem.

Steven: It’s fanservice.

Imran: It’s like saying, “I can’t go to the garage and change my windshield wipers. I have too many snacks in the fridge.” [Natalie laughs] Like, yes, I could maybe see a logical line through there if you wanted to really twist it, but like, you could still do it. I could still– you can still let me fight Sephiroth at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, instead of…who was the super boss? That like generic Heartless?

Natalie: Yes. Yeah, in the keyblade graveyard.

Imran: Yeah. Like, it was not necessarily to pull Sephiroth out of there. [laughs softly]

Natalie: Right, okay. I agree with you there, because like, I guess it just depends on how we’re defining the inclusion of these characters, because I don’t think…I don’t think the inclusion of Sephiroth as a final boss or like even as a very small antagonist in a subplot of the story does any harm. If anything, I also did find it very weird that in Kingdom Hearts 3 we don’t get a fight with him. It’s just like a series staple at this point, I mean.

Imran: Right.

Natalie: Very specific sort of staple that they did not factor in. But stuff like really focusing the main plot of, say, Hollow Bastion in Kingdom Hearts 2 and tying that to the Final Fantasy characters instead of figuring out things to do with the original Kingdom Hearts characters? That, I think, is the line where I’m like, ah, like…

Imran: I think it would be great if they did that, if they actually did focus and try to do things with the good characters, but essentially what they’re saying is, “I still have no windshield wipers, and I still have plenty of snacks.” Like, there’s no…they’re not doing a good job of focusing on the actual original characters in lieu of the Final Fantasy characters. They’ve just done either.

Natalie: Right. Right. And Nomura, wouldn’t acknowledge that in an interview.

Steven: Right.

Imran: Right.

Natalie: So, that’s also another thing, but I–

Imran: I think–

Natalie: I don’t think we are on opposite sides of this, Imran.

Imran: I think if we’re going to like, you know, kind of meta analyze Nomura a little bit, I think it’s less that he thinks this, that it’s like, “Oh, we have Aqua, what do we need Aerith for?” I think it’s more, “I feel so burned about Versus XIII that I’m not going to include Final Fantasy characters if I don’t have to.”

Natalie: Yes. [laughs] Yes.

Imran: I think, ’cause like Kingdom Hearts now is still just a like therapy session for him about Versus XIII. [Steven laughs]

Natalie: It really does feel that. I entirely agree with this, if we’re going to meta analyze an auteur. Yeah, I do agree with that, I will say!

Imran: [laughs] I’ve never heard Nomura called an auteur before, and it’s very funny to think about.

Steven: It’s weird to call a guy who has released two video games in the last like 50 years an auteur.

Natalie: I read– it’s like, every time his name is associated with something, it’s like, “Ah, Nomura, the madman!” the classic phrase. And I’m like, yeah, really? Like, maybe he didn’t do shit! [laughter]

Steven: Is this your king? [laughter]

Natalie: Is this your king?

Imran: Let’s get a game with, uh…

Natalie: But yeah, I mean, I guess in the end, Imran and I, or at least John and I, are not on opposite sides of the issue as I thought. But it just, yeah, ultimately I think the takeaway is like, this only exacerbates one of the core problems with Kingdom Hearts and why I have really leaned off…or not even leaned off. I just like entirely stopped being invested in this series. Like, I’m interested in the news. That’s why I have it, you know, it was the first thing that I put on News Quest, and I know that Imran really wanted to talk about this, so I’m glad that we got to do it. But in terms of like emotional investment and like that I actually trust that Kingdom Hearts will address these issues, I don’t. I don’t think Kingdom Hearts 4 will address these issues at all. [laughter] I think Kingdom Hearts has done perfectly fine up until now treating all its characters like plot devices and iterating upon like lore at the very last minute, so I don’t think that will change. And I think the loss or the decrease in appearances of Final Fantasy characters is just like a symptom of that.

Imran: Mm.

Steven: I do have one important question, kind of about the lore that I just realize that I don’t actually understand.

Imran: Go for it.

Natalie: [laughs] What is it?

Imran: We are lore experts of Kingdom Hearts here, for sure.

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: Okay. So, in like the current canon that we’re up to right now, [Natalie: “Mm-hmm”] is it that John got Imrorted or that Imran got Jorted? [Imran and Natalie laugh]

Natalie: Actually, John, the one here now, is a Nobody of Imran.

Steven: Oh.

Imran: Wow.

Natalie: Who also has a Heartless called ZOMG, and that Heartless–

Imran: The zah sound is an X, by the way.

Steven: [laughs] You’re right!

Natalie: Right, oh, sorry. That’s–

Steven: Imranxomg.

Natalie: No, ’cause we said that John is a Nobody, so it has to be Xhon.

Imran: Mm.

Natalie: Xhon. [laughter]

Steven: Yeah, Xhon.

Natalie: Noxjh.

Imran: Look, I think everyone should just start calling me JW. That is my new nickname, is JW.

Natalie: Okay.

Steven: Okay.

Natalie: Jwx.

Imran: No, no!

Natalie: JWX! [laughs] You need to have the X.

Imran: Maybe we don’t use that one. We’ll workshop it. We’ll figure something out.

Natalie: We’ll figure something out. If we all had Nobody names, what do you think they would be?

Imran: Oh, we need like paper and like an anagram to figure this out.

Natalie: Right.

Steven: Oh, I bet you if I type in the words “Nobody name generator” right now, it exists.

Imran: A hundred percent.

Natalie: Oh my God, yes.

Steven: Organization 13. Okay. Which one do we want?

Natalie: Okay, Imran?

Imran: What do you mean, which one?

Steven: Whose name?

Natalie: What would Imran be?

Steven: Imran?

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: Imran is joining Organization– that’s actually a pretty good. Nirmax. [Natalie laughs]

Imran: Yeah, that’s fine.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: I sound like a Baymax villain or something.

Steven: Yeah, sure. Natalie? You wanna know yours?

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: You are…I don’t like this name. Try again. [Imran and Natalie laugh] Ooh. Yeah, this one’s also pretty good. It’s also an N name, so maybe that’s tough, but Nitexaal.

Natalie: [laughs] That sounds like a depression drug that you take. [all laugh]

Imran: I was gonna say, like, you’d be wearing a cowboy hat and have a southern accent.

Natalie: [southern accent] Nitexaal.

Imran: Nitexaal.

Natalie: Texas Nitexaal.

Imran: Ask your doctor if you should take Nitexal.

Natalie: [laughs] Yeah, exactly. What’s Steven’s?

Steven: I’m looking for a good one here, ’cause none of these are coming out. I think it’s just totally random, so it’s like [Imran: “Yes”] you just get a bunch of consonants next to each other.

Imran: Which is how they make them in Kingdom Hearts as well.

Natalie: [laughs] Yeah.

Steven: They just keep hitting the button. I don’t like this name. Try again. I don’t like this name. Try again. [laughter] Uh, turns out it really doesn’t like having a name with a V in it. It doesn’t know what to do with this!

Natalie: Oh no. What’s– just give us the next one that you get.

Steven: This is how I’m going to determine my new name.

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: I’m gonna pick it with a Heartless name, or a Nobody name, and that’s what I’ll announce to the world. Okay, I’ll type in Steven, and I’ll just pick the next one. Uh, Vtenesx. [Natalie laughs]

Imran: Yeah, that really does not like that.

Natalie: That looks like a Kingdom Hearts name.

Steven: It doesn’t get better.

Natalie: And what’s Jordan’s? Oh, I do like Sevtnex.

Steven: [laughs] Do you?

Natalie: It also, it sounds also like, I don’t know, like an anxiety attack pill. I need to take Sevtnex, ’cause I’m panicking or something.

Steven: Oh.

Imran: It’s also just not actually that different from Steven with just an X at the end. [laughter]

Steven: Yeah, that’s also true. Jordan, you’re– it’s also having a tough time with yours, Jordan. Sorry about that. I’m trying it. Ooh. No, that almost looked good. Ooh. This one feels like it would be pronounced with like a Marluxia type thing, you know where it’s like the X is a sh sound?

Natalie: Yeah, Rodanjx.

Steven: Rodajxn, maybe?

Imran: Mm.

Natalie: Yeah. I feel like that’s the best one. Has a little bit of sh in there.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Okay. I need to drop this one actually, which is Xojdarn. [laughter]

Natalie: Xojdarn.

Imran: Xojdarn actually sounds like a Monster Hunter monster.

Steven: [laughs] Yeah! That’s still under embargo, Imran. You can’t say that. Oh, wait. By the time this episode comes out, it’ll be fine.

Imran: [laughs] What about me, John Warren?

Steven: Oh, John Warren.

Imran: What is John Warren’s Nobody name?

Steven: Do you want the whole John Warren?

Imran: Yes, I want the entirety of John Warren in there. [Natalie laughs]

Steven: Okay. Then I’m gonna do this. Put this here, do this. Oh, Jesus Christ. [laughter] There’s so many letters! It’s just…

Natalie: Just get the first one that you get.

Steven: All right. Gonna drop it.

Imran: Yeah, we’re rolling with the– [laughs] Rojrexawhnn, I think. [Natalie laughs]

Steven: That almost works.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Rojrexawhnn?

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: No, it’s Rojrxawhnne like Araidne.

Imran: The sweetest sensations, Rojrexawhnn.

Steven: Oh.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: Okay, we spent too much time on this. [laughter]

Natalie: Speaking of things that we want to spend a lot of…no, no. I’m trying to think of a good segoe.

Imran: Well, we’re gonna want to spend a lot of time on other things eventually, but first of all, we wanna take a little break before we go in there.

Natalie: Oh, that’s true.

Imran: So, break.

[music]

Natalie: To our wonderful listener. Did you enjoy that extremely chaotic and fun conversation on Kingdom Hearts? Well, you’ll be shocked to know that we are chaotic not just as a unit, but as individuals. And you can find these individuals over on Twitter. You can find me, for example, over at @heartimecia. You can find Imran at…

Imran: Uh, if Imran were here, he would say @imranzomg.

Natalie: Yeah. Right now, John is here.

Steven: Hi, John.

Natalie: John, it’s @imranzomg, right?

Imran: Yeah. I believe that is his Twitter account. I do not have a Twitter account that is funny to say. It is @floppyadult, which is the most serious Twitter account name.

Natalie: Yes, absolutely. Steven, speaking of serious Twitter account names.

Steven: Hi, you find my cohost– oh.

Natalie: Oh.

Steven: [chuckles] Yeah, my very serious Twitter account name on cohost. That was where I was going with that. Never mind!

Natalie: [laughs] Oh, right.

Steven: You can follow me on Twitter at @stevenstrom. It’s fine.

Natalie: I was gonna say, ’cause like, ironically, out of all of us here, your Twitter name is fairly serious in comparison.

Steven: Yeah, it’s just the name.

Natalie: Just the name. You can also find Jordan Mallory, our producer, over at @jordan_mallory on Twitter, and also, if you like the people on this show, may I recommend one of our other shows on the network with completely different people but who are just as chaotic?

Steven: Nope.

Imran: Nope. No.

Steven: Nope.

Imran: The good old JW, the John Warren.

Natalie: Oh, right! Right, right. JW is on there.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Or as we decided earlier, Xjhon? Johnx? The Nobody?

Imran: Are we making him French? [French accent] Jean Warren?

Natalie: Jean, Jean. The Nobody name.

Steven: Captain of the USS Enterprise.

Natalie: For sure. You can find a JW and other wonderful people over at Friends Reunion, a podcast for discerning listeners.

[music ends]

Imran: Welcome back to 99 Potions. We are one potion lower, as we finished our Kingdom Hearts talk and had to get very drunk after that. We have a lot of news to talk about this News Quest, and we have quickly realized that we spent the first half of this podcast talking about Kingdom Hearts and bullshit. [Steven laughs] So, here’s what I’m doing. I have assigned every news story a number. I have, in my virtual hand, dice.

Steven: Ooh.

Natalie: Ohh.

Imran: We are going to roll the dice. Steven will tell me when to start, and Natalie will tell me– or, no, actually we’ll do this. Steven will– I will alternate between each one. Steven, the first one, you’re gonna tell me when to stop and throw the die. All right. So, I’m starting now.

Steven: Okay. Stop.

Imran: All right. Let’s see. Sum seven. So, what do we have as seven? Seven is Harvestella. [Steven and Natalie laugh]

Steven: The game that like, moments ago, Natalie was like, “I don’t think we need to talk about this one.”

Imran: The die have told– the die have chosen for us. [Steven laughs] Dice have chosen for us.

Natalie: All right, y’all, just so you know, like Imran says, we have up to 15 options here. The die decided that the seventh, Harvestella, was gonna be it. So we can assure you that we had a lot of news to cover, but this is what fate has decreed.

Imran: Okay, so here’s the other half of this, is that I’ve set a five minute timer for every single story, and I’m going to hit that timer as soon as I finish the end of this sentence to actually keep us on track.

Natalie: Okay, that’s good! Okay, I can do this one.

Steven: Great.

Imran: Okay, timer on.

Natalie: Okay. Okay.

Imran: All right, so Harvestella is the new game that Square Enix has announced in the Nintendo Direct. Natalie, if you wanna go through it, go for it.

Natalie: Okay, yay! ‘Cause I was gonna be like, oh. This is a game, and I’m on timer. [laughter] All right, so Harvestella. That is where Final Fantasy Versus 13 Stella actually ended up. This is the new life simulation RPG that was announced at the Nintendo Direct Mini that happened earlier this week on June 28. It’s coming to PC and, of course, Nintendo Switch on November 4. It actually made quite a good deal of noise, I would say. It was one of the standouts of the show. We did have, you know, the big announcements, like Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden, Persona 5 coming to Nintendo Switch, and also Nier: Automata coming to Nintendo Switch, which we might get to depending on what the fates decide.

But for now, we’re gonna focus on Harvestella, which was, again, a totally brand new game announced. Harvestella caught my attention, because it’s very Rune Factory-esque. We have, eventually, hopefully later this year, the Island Sanctuary mode coming to Final Fantasy XIV, so I think Square Enix has definitely noticed the enthusiasm for games like this one. In Harvestella, you will be living out a life in the village. You can select the protagonist’s gender, and eventually—I mean, not as a result of selecting their gender—will you raise crops through farming. But you can select their gender. You have two options, unfortunately.

Imran: You only get women crops, if you’re a woman.

Natalie: [laughs] Yeah.

Imran: You only get man crops like carrots, if you’re a guy.

Natalie: Unfortunately, you just have two options, but yeah, you can select the protagonist’s gender. And then, from there, you raise crops through farming. You gather ingredients for livestock, fish for cooking, all of those staple Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons things that you do in a farming simulation game. You’ll get to know the locals and talk to them, get to know their stories. There even seems to be a social link system that is similar to the social link system in Persona. And there will even be a submarine at some point, it seems like? A lot of surprises await, including the fact that you will also be able to partake in dungeon exploring, with a party member of your choice who will join you in battle. You will be able to select from three different jobs: fighter, mage, and shadow walker. Which like, one of those three sounds infinitely cooler than the other two.

Imran: Yeah. I want a shirt that says, “I’m a farmer, but also I’m a shadow walker.”

Natalie: Right. [laughs] Right. As a shadow walker, it’s, as you can imagine, a more DPS oriented job. You get to take up twin blades.

Imran: Three minutes.

Natalie: Okay. You get to take up twin blades to deal big damage numbers. As you can imagine, fighter you fight; mage, you use magic. And the plot of Harvestella is actually quite interesting to me, which is why I am paying attention to it apart from, you know, any other possibility for a simulation farming RPG. I’ve played those and done them, been there. But I am interested in what seems to be a plot driven by an event known as the Quietus. This game obviously has some really good names in there. So, the Quietus is an event that occurs every 30 days, once the seasons change. The season of death known as the Quietus causes crops to wither and people to have to avoid going outside lest they be exposed to this deadly dust. And that dust comes from the Seaslight, which consists of four giant crystals that govern the seasons in Harvestella.

Imran: 30 seconds.

Natalie: And as a protagonist, you’re to find out the mysterious truth about the phenomenon—which actually made you collapse at the start of the game—and just live out your life feeding cows and chickens and stuff. Okay, done.

Imran: We’re gonna kill winter. Great.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: Steven, thoughts? [laughter]

Steven: I’m looking– I love Rune Factory. I’m looking at these two character designs, and I really need the video game industry, AAA industry, to catch up with the like, kind of pick up the game here and kind of understand how things should work. ‘Cause we have the male character and we have the female character, and we have the male character looks like kind of a generic fantasy dude, and then the female character looks like she’s like a Shin Megami Tensei character with like thick thighs and faux holes in her stockings and like short shorts. And they just gotta do that for the male characters.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Yes.

Steven: Like, I’m tired of this like Byleth division of horny for the male characters and the female characters, and I’m not say–

Imran: More bisexual, less Byleth.

Steven: Yeah, exactly.

Natalie: Yes!

Steven: We just need to…I did– well, I’ll get into that later. [laughs] We just need to do it. You know, get with the times, Square Enix.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Also, yeah, I like Rune Factory, so I’m excited about this, but the look of it is a little bit like…bland!

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Yeah. Looks like Rune Factory with a budget, which is cool. I’m eager try that.

Steven: Yeah. Sure.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: The name is sure dumb, but whatever. What Square Enix name isn’t dumb? All right, let’s roll some dice! Natalie, tell me when to stop.

Natalie: Okay. Stop!

Imran: All right. That is 15.

Natalie: What if it’s seven again? Okay. [laughs] It would be funny if it would be seven again.

Imran: But if it’s seven, we’ll just roll again. [Natalie laughs] Like, nothing can stop us. This is a short one. Ys X has been confirmed. It was part of a Famitsu “We’re talking about Ys X now” article. There’s nothing really to it, besides they say Adol is going to be younger, and they’re taking influence from Souls games. So–

Steven: Hey.

Imran: Yeah, what’s up, Steven?

Steven: I’ve not played much of the Ys franchise to speak of, but Adol, I know what Adol looks like. He’s like 19? [laughs]

Imran: Yes.

Steven: Like, how young is he going– is he gonna be 12 years old in this game?

Imran: So, there’s a, like, these games are all like a story. Like, they all take place [Steven: “Right”] not sequentially, but like sometimes they go back and forth through the timeline. This one, I guess by a younger Adol they mean like they’re taking him earlier into this timeline versus later.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: So like, closer to 18 than 22, I guess is the logic there? But yeah.

Steven: Even– I’m looking at Ys IX I guess it would be, Monstrum Nox. I’m looking at his character design in there, and he looks like slightly more, you know… [sighs] Mature is maybe not the word, but he looks, I don’t know, maybe slightly older? Even there, though, he looks young. I’m just like…

Imran: Yes.

Steven: The phrasing on this is such a strange way to present this when you have so little information about the game.

Imran: Right, yeah. I think they’re just, they just want to go with, “Yeah, we’re not gonna answer questions from whatever the last thing was. We’re just gonna go back in time a little bit.”

Steven: Okay. Yeah. I don’t know how that game ended, so.

Imran: Nor do I. I don’t remember. I don’t know what the most recent one is. The only Ys games I’ve played have been– I’ve dabbled in a couple. The only ones I’ve really played have been VIII and IX. And VIII I think is like fucking fantastic. I have not played enough of IX to really say, but–

Steven: I’ve heard people fucking love VIII.

Imran: Yes. VIII I think is just genuinely great and kind of a classic that a lot of people are sleeping on. But yeah, I am interested in whatever the hell this– whatever they’re talking about. I suppose by the time you get the 10th game, you’re like, we need to change some stuff up. What if we do a soulslike kind of game? So, we’ll see.

Steven: Yeah. That part is, sure, why not?

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: ‘Cause I think all of these games kind of have like a core, like you said, they’re kind of generally [Imran: “Yeah”] set in the same timeline, but each has like a core gimmick. Like, I know IX, or VIII rather, was like almost semi Dark Cloud in some places, where you were like rebuilding a settlement [Imran: “Right”] and like rescuing people from a big jungle, and then they would set up shop in a town. And then IX I think was like more them attempting to do kind of like an open world city thing?

Imran: Yes. And like you had transformations in battle and stuff like that. Like, it was, they definitely tried to do different things, but like, they kind of set around an idea of there’s a sword character, a poky character, and a heavy character.

Steven: Mm, mm.

Imran: And you can switch between them as need be or as enemies have that like kind of weaknesses.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: I’m guessing from the soulslike tone– or not tone, soulslike heading they’re going for, they’re doing away with that.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: So, should be interesting, ’cause those battle systems at the very least are pretty good, and the music is always pretty good, so I’m eager to see what the hell they do with that.

Steven: I just thought to myself, “You know what? I’ve got that Steam Deck. I’ve got a trip coming up. Now sounds like a great time to maybe get into the Ys franchise while I’m on the airplane.”

Imran: Honestly, Ys VIII on a Steam Deck sounds great, ’cause it doesn’t run great on Switch.

Steven: Right. Yeah, exactly. That was 1000% my thinking, Imran. So I was like, “Okay, I’ll go over here. Like, I’ll pick that one up. And you know what? That Steam sale is going on. I’ll pick up Ys IX as well at the same time. I don’t think it’s as beloved, but you know, I’m sure there’s a bundle.” So I clicked on the bundle, the Nihon Falcom bundle, which it turns out it doesn’t just include the Ys games but all of the Trails of Cold Steel III and IV content, but not one, two, and– not one and two, I guess?

Natalie: Hmm.

Steven: Or no, not Trails in the Sky?

Imran: Mm.

Steven: So, even on sale right now for 54% off, it is $256.15.

Natalie: Oh my goodness.

Imran: Funny. [Imran and Natalie laugh] I know that the PC version of IX is actually currently the best running one, [Steven: “Mm”] because Durante of Dark Souls fame fixed something in like another game that somehow made this one run way better.

Steven: Oh.

Imran: For whatever reason.

Steven: Interesting. Is that like a thing I have to download separately if I was to like, be on Steam Deck? Would I have to mod that?

Imran: I think that’s…I don’t know about the Steam Deck specifically. I know the Steam version has it built in.

Steven: Built in. Okay. Okay.

Imran: Right. But again, who knows? I don’t know how Proton functions with it. But we’re coming up on time on this story, so stopping here, resetting that clock. All right. Who was last? Who told me to stop last? Was it Natalie?

Natalie: Oh, me.

Steven: Oh, um, Natalie was.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: All right. So, Steven, tell me when to stop. Oh, Jordan, tell me to stop.

Steven: I think Jordan’s turn. Yeah.

Natalie: Jordan’s turn.

Imran: Go for it. Okay. 10 is what it says. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection coming to Switch. Hitting timer.

Steven: So, Imran– you can go to Fanbyte.com right now, and you can read Imran’s excellent story about Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection coming to the Switch, PS4 and PC next year. This is the first time that they have released those games in any capacity, post the Game Boy Advance and DS games. I don’t know if the DS games are included in that. Imran, can you tell me?

Imran: They’re not.

Steven: They’re not. Okay, so.

Imran: When they initially said the thing, like, so, we didn’t get pre-briefed on this, but I found out a lot of it. And when I heard like, oh, they’re including 10 games. That has to include the DS games. No, they’re including just different versions of the same games too, to get that number 10.

Steven: Weird.

Imran: So it is just the GBA slash I think maybe like the DS version of a GBA game?

Steven: Oh, okay. Yeah. ’cause like, there was…those games also had like Red and Blue, Gold and Silver variations.

Imran: Towards the end, they did. Yes.

Steven: Yeah, okay. So yeah, that’s all great news. I think the biggest story of the day on this one, though, is that in that piece that Imran wrote, he said that every major Mega Man spinoff up to this point had been released except for Mega Man Battle Network, which was now getting the legacy collection, obviously and egregiously omitting the Mega Man Legends PlayStation 1 franchise, the greatest Mega Man game series released to date! Not included in what Imran constitutes as a, quote, unquote, “major Mega Man spinoff.”

Imran: I would argue more people are probably more enthused about Battle Network than Legends.

Steven: A lot of people are wrong about a lot of things, Imran! [Imran and Natalie laugh] Look at the state of this country!

Imran: Battle Network has, I think, one of the most unique RPG systems that like, you mentioned in, like, when you added some stuff to that story, One Step to Eden. One Step to Eden is fine, but it’s just the battle system. It’s not enough of what I want from that, like…

Steven: Right.

Imran: So, it’s cool that they’re bringing these games back, but yeah, they should bring Legends. What is it that’s holding up Legends? It’s like a vending machine, right? Like, they don’t wanna change that one texture or something?

Steven: Oh. Interesting. I have no idea. I assume, in all seriousness, I assume—despite the fact that I am incensed about your sort of egregious insult to the Volnutt family—I assume at some point they will just get around to re-releasing that, [Imran: “Yeah”] ’cause Capcom is running out of things to rerelease, and they sure love rereleasing things.

Imran: I would play that. So, the reason I’ve played those games, I didn’t like them as much because of the tank controls. They just…

Steven: Mm.

Imran: It felt bad to me at the time. Like, you put those in like a Resident Evil, fine, whatever. It’s just from a horror game. You put those in like a Tomb Raider, and I’m like, mm, not feeling this. You put those in a Mega Man, and I’m just fully off board.

Steven: I feel like the first one was worse about that. The second one might have had more control options in it as well. ‘Cause I know what you’re talking about, but I think it’s more of a thing in the first one.

Imran: That said, fucking love Tron Bonne. If they, when they–

Steven: Tron Bonne’s great!

Imran: When they do bring those games back, if they don’t bring back Tron Bonne along with them, then what’s the point?

Steven: Yep. They should make it– it’s the Mega Man Legends– people out there talking about Mega Man Legends 3. We’ve had a third Mega Man Legends game. It’s called The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, and it’s great, and it should be included in any Mega Man Legends Legacy Collection, which is a very funny name for a product. [laughs]

Imran: Yes.

Steven: Legends of legacy.

Imran: Legends of legacy. What is the word– Legacy of Legaia? What the fuck was that game’s name? Something that just sounded like that

Steven: Something like that.

Imran: Yes.

Steven: Legend of Legaia something?

Imran: Yes.

Steven: I will say also, again, not to just completely sweep Mega Man Battle Network under the rug. Mega Man Battle Network, awesome games.

Imran: Yes.

Steven: Really cool.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Really interesting battle system.

Imran: They’re splitting this one across two different games, which I think is…a choice.

Steven: Dumb.

Imran: Yeah. They did that with Mega Man X, but they did it in a way that’s like, oh, you put the first four Mega Man X games on one collection and the rest on another. No one’s gonna buy the second collection.

Steven: Right.

Imran: Like, everyone’s just gonna want the first– like, convenient for me, who only wants those first four games, but like…

Steven: Right. The four good ones.

Imran: Yeah. This one’s a bit more–

Steven: 5 is interesting.

Imran: Five is garbage? But it’s interesting garbage. [laughter]

Steven: 5 is better than 6, 7, and 8.

Imran: I liked 8 fine.

Steven: Mm.

Imran: 5 is like, what if we just put spikes everywhere? Oops, we put too many spikes. What if we gave you a spike armor?

Steven: [laughs] 5 has those like weird, interesting ideas about like the– not the order necessarily that you fight the robot masters—or in that one like the Mavericks—matters, but like, because you’re racing against the clock to like, rebuild that like anti-satellite cannon.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: But then it’s like, it does the…was it Samurai Shodown that does that famous thing where it’s like, has the button mashing like, ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch, like, oh, who’s gonna win this clash of swords?

Imran: Yes. Doesn’t matter.

Steven: And it doesn’t matter. It’s just random.

Imran: Yes.

Steven: And then the game just says, puts up a thing that makes you think it matters. That’s what happens in Mega Man Legends 5, I think is what I learned recently, ’cause merritt was explaining this to me.

Imran: Mega Man X5. Yes.

Steven: Yeah, Mega Man Legends– or, fuck. Mega Man X5 is like, you collect a bunch of pieces of like an anti– there’s like a spaceship that’s about to crash into the planet, like in Mobile Suit Gundam Universal Century. They’re gonna like drop a colony on earth, and it’s gonna kill a bunch of people, so you have to like assemble the pieces of a big gun to like shoot it out of the sky. But like doing that, in the actual code, only– all it does is like raise it up to like a 70% chance of success. So there’s just like a 30% chance, even if you do everything right, there’s just a 30% chance that you get the bad ending in that game, which is stupid.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: It’s weird.

Imran: Whole game’s stupid. All right. We’re dropping off Mega Man.

Steven: Have fun at daycare.

Imran: We’re back to Steven now. Tell me when to stop with the dice.

Steven: Mmmmmmmm…stop!

Imran: Okay. Uh, what is this? This is 12. I played Soul Hackers at play days. It was neat.

Natalie: Nice.

Imran: Like, main selling point that they like reiterated over and over was like, hey– or Soul Hackers 2, I should say, ’cause Jordan corrected me. Not the original Soul Hackers, Soul Hackers 2.

Steven: Imran broke out his Saturn and sat down with the original Soul Hackers. [Natalie laughs]

Imran: So, they really wanted me to know in this demo, this is not like a Persona, but if one of your problems with Persona was “Why the fuck am I playing as all these stupid high schoolers?” Soul Hackers is not that.

Steven: Mm.

Imran: Soul Hackers is adults who go– like when you do your social links, you do them at a bar, and you get to know your friends through like drinking together, and you don’t have curfews.

Steven: Oh.

Imran: That was the main thing they wanted me to take away from that.

Natalie: Hell yeah.

Steven: Sure. Okay.

Natalie: No curfews and bars. That’s adulthood.

Imran: That is adulthood.

Steven: I mean, it does sidestep some of the biggest, longest discourse that Persona 5 has suffered around things of like being able to date an adult as a 15 year old or whatever.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: They said there’s no romance in this as far as I, like– well, okay. I asked, and they’re like, “We’re not talking about romance,” so I don’t know if there is any romance.

Steven: Okay.

Natalie: Mm.

Imran: Which could also mean just that there’s not. But, yeah. Yeah, that game was okay. It looked nice. I think I will play that game when it comes out. I’m excited.

Natalie: I have a crush on the main character, and I just see a lot of women in that game, so it’s fine if there’s no romance. I’m in love with them all by myself.

Imran: Yeah. You don’t need romance to romance at someone.

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: Wait, that sounds creepy.

Natalie: Yeah. [laughs]

Imran: You don’t need romance– you don’t need romance mechanics to romance at a fictional character.

Natalie: Yes. Exactly. I’m glad that you played it.

Steven: Yeah. These fictional characters will become vessels for your feelings, no matter what.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: They’ll always be there for you.

Imran: Yeah, they’re on the Emet-Selch scale of you don’t have a choice in this. [laughter] You don’t get to decide whether or not I love you.

Steven: Emet-Selch, one of the rare instances where that actually goes backwards, where he doesn’t leave you a choice. [laughter]

Natalie: Ah, I miss him. No, but…

Steven: Ringo though, yeah.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Yeah. I’m glad that you played this and that you enjoyed it. It is absolutely on my radar. Like, I really want to get around to playing this game, so I’m glad that those first impressions that you got at play days was actually quite neat.

Imran: Yeah. There’s a cool thing where like the demons you capture, at the beginning of every dungeon, you can just let them out and like say like, “Hey, go look for stuff in this dungeon for me.”

Steven: Oh.

Imran: And as you’re going through the dungeon, you’ll find the demons like hanging around, being like, “Hey, I found this item for you,” or “I found this other demon. We started talking. They want to join you too.” [Natalie gasps] Or sometimes it’s like, “I didn’t do shit. I’ve just been sitting here.”

Natalie: Oh my God. That’s so cute.

Steven: [laughs] See, that’s…

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Like, that’s really one of the big things is just like, Shin Megami Tensei games have great mechanics and great comment and stuff like that, and if they happen to have a really interesting like character design on the side, hell yeah.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: And they’ve been kind of doing a much better job of blending those two things together. I think it’s actually one of the things that Persona has gotten progressively worse at in a lot of ways.

Natalie: Yes.

Steven: Like 5 has a lot of stuff, but when you play it for long enough, you realize that a lot of it is not actually that deep.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: I agree.

Imran: There’s– one other thing they pointed out to me was that they know how difficult demon negotiation was in Shin Megami Tensei 5.

Steven: Mm.

Imran: Not that difficult this time.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: You’re not gonna go like, “I don’t have a good beat on this demon’s personality. I hope this works.” You will have a better idea of how negotiation works.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: So, less random. I don’t know. Most people I think are going to enjoy that, and I think there are gonna be some Grognards that are like, “I like it when it’s random.” But that is a thing they are changing for this one.

Natalie: So is–

Steven: Honestly, the best stuff about demon negotiation in 5 wasn’t even the randomness, ’cause they’ve gotten so much better at like other stuff around the edges of that, that are way more interesting to me, where demons will like start to remember conversations that you have had with them in the past and the specifics of those conversations and then reference them in the future.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Ooh.

Steven: There’s like the famous image that has gone around of like somebody who was like trying to recruit Jack Frost, and Jack Frost was like, “I can’t join you. Your roster is full. Bye.” Which is just a thing that happens in those games.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: And then that same person running into Jack Frost later on and trying to negotiate him onto their team, and Jack Frost says, “Oh, if it isn’t the dumbass with too many friends!” [Natalie laughs] Oh, it’s Mothman is what it is. [laughs] Jordan just dropped a picture of it in the chat here. It’s great. “If it isn’t the dumbass with too many friends.”

Natalie: God, that’s so good.

Steven: That stuff is so good!

Imran: All right. Done Soul Hackers. Natalie, you’re next. Tell me when stop.

Natalie: Stop!

Imran: Oh, fast.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: We’re talking about Star Ocean!

Natalie: Yay! Imran wanted to get to this one.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Imran, take it away.

Imran: In the process of doing that, I moved that picture of that man into somewhere else in this document.

Natalie: Yeah, there’s two of them now!

Imran: Star Ocean: The Divine Force, a game that–

Steven: There’s three of them! [laughter]

Natalie: Ah, there’s three or four!

Steven: They’re everywhere!

Imran: I don’t know how I did that.

Steven: What the fuck did you do? There’s… [laughter]

Natalie: Seven, eight.

Steven: He’s on every page of our entire notes document, going back to 2018! [laughter]

Imran: Did it really?

Steven: There are 123 repeating images of this man! [laughter]

Natalie: Imran! How are you able to do this and also talk about Soul Hackers at the same time?

Imran: I don’t know what I did, but I think it’s great. I think this is how it should be. [laughter]

Natalie: Wait, did you not do this on purpose?

Imran: No. I don’t know what the fuck I did. [laughter]

Steven: For listeners at home, we have a notes document for most of our podcasts actually, but 99 Potions is the one that we actually use most of the time. [laughs] And it’s just a rolling Google doc that is just like, we just add a new page to the top and move the old stuff down over and over and over again. So we have like show notes going all the way back to like episode one or something like that. Yeah, like literally June 30 2020.

Natalie: Yeah, 123 pages. [laughter]

Steven: 123 pages. June 30 2020: pilot, 99 Potions? ‘Cause we still hadn’t decided on the name yet. The notes just say, “Topics: difficulty in RPGs, starting RPGs over, Original Sin 2 in all caps, Final Fantasy XIV,” and then a picture of this fucking steampunk key party wizard pointing at the camera. [laughter]

Imran: So…

Steven: [laughing] He’s in all 123 pages of the document.

Natalie: I started counting them, because I thought you did this on purpose. And then I reached like– I reached the 13th one, and I was like, Imran, when did you…like, did you multitask talking about Soul Hackers 2 and copy paste 123 of these?

Imran: This is me unleashing my power as John. [laughter]

Natalie: I’ve never seen this happen. Imran, tell us about this man that is littering literally our entire show notes. [laughter]

Imran: I don’t even know, really. [laughter] So, they put on a trailer for Star Ocean: The Divine Force, a game they have not shown since its announcement last year, late last year?

Steven: Yeah, that sounds right.

Imran: That game’s coming out October 27th. Which, fast, I feel like.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: It is coming out on PS4, PC, PS5.

Steven: [laughs] Sorry, I just can’t stop looking at it.

Imran: And the Xboxs. But as part of this like press release, they also sent a picture of this guy whose name I don’t remember. And just, I just wanted to put his picture in here, ’cause he is the funniest looking guy in the world.

Steven: We need to get his name so people can find a picture of this man, otherwise we gotta like put him in the show notes or something available for people to see somewhere, because…

Imran: Natalie, start describing this guy while I find the name. [Steven laughs]

Natalie: I was gonna say let’s describe him at least for people. So, he’s kind of a daddy.

Steven: Gotta rate his fit.

Natalie: Yeah, he’s a daddy, but he’s also like granddaddy, ’cause he’s like old.

Steven: Yeah.

Natalie: Yeah, grandaddy.

Steven: He’s a GILF.

Natalie: Yeah, he’s a GILF! He has long white hair. He has a pink hat, a pink coat on, very steampunky design. He’s pointing at the camera with like his beefy fingers, belonging to his–

Steven: He’s very muscular.

Natalie: Yeah. Beefy hands, which then are extended into beefy arms.

Steven: He’s just, he’s covered in gears all over, like these big sort of [Natalie: “Yes”] football shoulder pads? that aren’t attached to anything, crucially. It’s just gears like that have been Elmer glued onto the side. [laughs] He looks like he’s cosplaying at– he looks like a person cosplaying as this character.

Natalie: Yeah. He has like a wheel on his belt that like does–

Steven: Yeah!

Natalie: Serves no function?

Steven: It’s like a pressure valve, but it’s just attached to his crotch.

Imran: The PR says his name is Midas Felgreed. The only description for him is “ornery hermit and brilliant semiomancer.” [laughter]

Steven: Okay, sure.

Natalie: Sure. I got that from the design, sure. [laughter]

Steven: Natalie.

Natalie: Like, what is it? Hermit?

Imran: Ornery hermit, yes.

Natalie: Ornery hermit.

Imran: Yeah, Midas Felgreed. And what’s weird, the full picture in my email has like his legs and everything.

Steven: Uh huh.

Imran: That is just not in this doc for some reason. For some reason, the doc has change–

Steven: It was there originally. When you spread him out, when you split his essence 123 times, his legs disappeared. [laughter]

Imran: That’s equivalent exchange, baby.

Steven: It looks like he’s like– it looks like we have like a page, like a Google doc of page notes, and he has like risen up from behind it like a Gigantamax Pokemon is like ready to fucking throw down.

Imran: It’s like the world’s worst like flip book, where you’re just like scrolling down and it’s just the same picture the entire time, no animation.

Steven: One of the key details about his facial appearance that I don’t think we have established here is that he has a beard? It’s like sideburns that go all the way down to the middle of his chin and then stop, but also they’re not attached to his actual sideburns. They stop short of his ears.

Imran: Yes.

Steven: And also they– it looks like his beard, like his, detached sideburns–

Imran: He’s got a little circle like shaved into his–

Steven: They’re like braided?

Imran: Mm…kind of, yes.

Natalie: Right, and the center of his chin is shaved.

Steven: Yeah.

Natalie: So nothing is connecting here. I mean, in general, nothing is connecting here.

Imran: Yeah. He has like an arch.

Steven: [laughs] In this entire character!

Natalie: In this man’s design. But it’s just really peculiar. [laughs]

Steven: He looks like a…you know how Capcom will put out like themed costume packs for Street Fighter or whatever.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: This is like, “Hey everybody, it’s our Akuma steampunk pack.” [laughter]

Natalie: I feel like we spent more than five minutes on this, but it had to happen, [laughter] because like, apparently he’s…yeah. We have 123 pages of notes, and now like, he’s at the very top of every page. So like, for example, our second page is first a picture of him, and then it says, in bolded, “It’s hard to say what the exact balance of the Kingdom Hearts characters is going be and how it will play out in Kingdom Hearts 4.”

Imran: What’s funny is I can’t remove him. [laughter] I’ve tried multiple times.

Natalie: Yeah, I lost my train of the quote there, because Imran was trying to delete him, and he can’t! [laughter]

Steven: Listeners at home, please stop praying for our hot grandpa! He’s become too powerful!

Natalie: Wait, did you put him in the header?

Imran: I put him in the header.

Natalie: [laughs] You put him in the header.

Imran: I think that’s what happened. I think we made him the header for every single page. [laughter]

Natalie: Erase the header.

Imran: Ah.

Steven: Anyway.

Imran: Well, now we have to have a whole episode for Star Ocean when it comes out in October. All right.

Steven: Yeah, we have to have a Midas Felgreed minute.

Natalie: I did it!

Steven: Nice job, Natalie.

Imran: Oh, you removed–

Natalie: The evil has been defeated.

Imran: Well, now I feel bad. Now he’s like, it feels like something missing.

Natalie: You feel bad? [laughs]

Steven: Wow. I didn’t expect to feel this empty, you know?

Natalie: Right? A little bit. Okay, I’ll do it.

Imran: All right, Jordo, you’re up. Tell me when to stop the dice. Okay. Uh, what is that? Oh, now, he’s back. Natalie, that’s so confusing.

Natalie: Yeah, I put him back. I don’t want him to feel excluded.

Imran: We’re on 11, which is a very quick news hit, Dragon Quest X offline announced for PS5, PS4, Switch, and PC is coming this September in Japan. Still no American release date. Probably not–

Steven: So weird.

Imran: Like, maybe just won’t come to America, ’cause that’s a lot to localize, so maybe they’re just not doing it.

Steven: Yeah.

Natalie: Dammit.

Steven: I mean, Dragon Quest is great. It’s never been enormous in the west.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: So I get it to a certain degree, and this one is not like a…yeah.

Imran: It just feels like a big budget JRPG. It looks like the older games.

Steven: Right, yeah. If this was like Capcom, I would be like, “Oh, they’ll definitely bring that over here.” But it’s Square Enix, and Square Enix feels like they’re in such a weird– Square Enix feels like a company that’s angling to get bought, to me, [laughter] is what actually Square Enix feels like these days, so I don’t know what they’re up to.

Imran: Last week, we were talking about how good Square Enix has been doing internally. And sometimes it’s just like, wait, you’re also doing what? What’s happening? [Natalie laughs] And I still don’t have good answers to any of those questions.

Steven: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Okay. Let’s see. We’ve got time for a couple more.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: Steven, you’re up again, right? ‘Cause it just went to Jordan.

Steven: Jordan did it, so yes.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Stop.

Imran: All right. We’re on Persona 5– or, Persona 3, 4, and 5 are coming soon to Switch.

Natalie: Yeah!

Steven: Oh, can you imagine if we’d gone this entire episode without mentioning that? [laughter]

Natalie: That’s, yeah, that’s why I was like, “I feel like maybe that’s important to talk about.” [laughter]

Imran: We were gonna get there eventually. It’s fine.

Natalie: Yeah. Wait, we saw it coming.

Imran: We did in in fact see it coming.

Steven: Whoa!

Natalie: Wow!

Steven: Like the game!

Imran: So, speaking of Imran tweets, there was a tweet I made a couple– or Imran made a couple of months ago or weeks ago that like, now that Persona 5 is running at a better frame rate and a better resolution, you can finally see it coming, which goes against the entire like core premise of the game, and it’s sickening that people are celebrating this. Very obviously and clearly a joke.

Natalie: Oh no.

Imran: Some people got very mad of like, “I can’t believe game journalists are trying to– like, are mad Persona 5 is coming out on other systems,” like, motherfucker, do you read what you’re replying to?

Natalie: Imran, I don’t know why you tweet.

Imran: I don’t know why I tweet.

Natalie: Just like, it just causes problems every time. [laughs softly]

Steven: Imran, I’ll get– I’ll talk to some people and try to set you up with a cohost invite. At least nobody will see it there.

Imran: Yes. Cohost is beneficial, ’cause I can at least get the brain vomit out without anyone actually having to clean it up.

Steven: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Mm-hmm. But yeah, Persona

Natalie: Speaking of cleaning up, Persona’s cleaning up the systems, ’cause it’s coming to Switch and PlayStation and Xbox and PC.

Imran: Yeah. We’ve talked about this a little bit, ’cause– I mean, I guess this is News Quest for the month where it was announced to come to Xbox and PC also, but yeah, Persona. Great. It’s great that it’s coming out on more stuff. It’s great that Persona 3 is finally getting a rerelease.

Natalie: Yes.

Imran: I had heard when Persona 4 Golden started doing well, like I talked to an Atlus source, and they were saying like, “Yeah, we’re never getting Persona 3. We do not have the source code for that.” And I’m like, mm, we’ll see. ‘Cause I could see them rebuilding it. Instead of rebuilding it, it seems like they’re just going, “fuck it,” and doing Persona 3 Portable instead.

Steven: Mm.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Steven: Which does– it’s missing some of the anime cutscenes, which I wonder if those are possible to just add back in?

Imran: Insert? Yeah.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: It’s missing that. It doesn’t have a walkable map. Everything is menu-based until– except for Tarturus, except for the dungeons.

Steven: Right.

Imran: I mean, yeah.

Steven: The map was in the…the PS3 version of the map was you moved a little blue dot around.

Imran: PS2.

Steven: Yeah, PS2 version was like you moved a little blue dot around a cityscape. There wasn’t like…

Imran: No, no. You actually walk around as Minato like through the dorms and stuff like that.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: You don’t do that in the PSP version.

Steven: Oh. You don’t walk– okay. I thought you did still walk around inside interiors of buildings.

Imran: Not in PSP.

Steven: Okay.

Imran: Not as far as I remember.

Natalie: No. It’s like a visual novel.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: I played PS Portable in college, so it’s been a while.

Imran: Which actually, one of my favorite parts of that game and one of the reasons I love Persona 3 Portable, or Persona 3, and Michael ??? wrote an article about this that does something– says something very similar. Persona 3 is the darkest game in this series by far.

Steven: Mm.

Natalie: Yes. Yes!

Imran: And there’s a moment in this game where you realize that things are bad and they’re not gonna get better, and you are basically facing either your death or the end of the world, and the music changes. And like there’s a wintery feel, ’cause it happens in winter, a wintery feel like as you’re walking around the world map that Persona 3 Portable just doesn’t replicate well.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: And like, I know that’s one moment in like an 80 hour game, but it was such an impactful moment for me for that game.

Steven: It’s one of the defining moments of that game.

Natalie: Yes.

Imran: And I’m a little disappointed it’s not gonna be able to do that. In other ways though, Persona 3 Portable, only game in the series with a female protagonist.

Natalie: Yes.

Imran: Has many more social links. Like, it’s better in most ways, just not every way.

Steven: So, I take umbrage with two parts of this.

Imran: Go for it.

Steven: We’re falling into the trap that these fly-by-night, less cultured—less educated, let’s say, if we want to be generous—journalists out there at other, lesser sites from Fanbyte.com that they fall into. We don’t fall into those traps. ’cause here we put respect on the name of Persona 1 and Persona 2 and Persona 2 2.

Imran: Mm-hmm.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Steven: Games that have a female protagonist.

Imran: True. Yes. You’re right.

Steven: And also… [laughs] also has a part where the bad guys resurrect Hitler, and one of their main party members gets stabbed through the heart by the spear of longinus and dies, and then the game ends. [laughs]

Imran: Also, the Hitler stuff is great, ’cause the American censorship of like, “Well, we don’t want this to be Hitler,” is to leave it as Hitler but give him sunglasses, and then it’s like a bandaid or something.

Steven: Give him sunglasses. Uh huh. [Natalie laughs]

Imran: But he still has the Hitler mustache.

Steven: Yeah. Yeah, it’s just Hitler with sunglasses on. And then like, time gets…the ending of Persona 2 2 or of Persona 2 1, Innocent Sin, which is then followed by Eternal Punishment. It does like sort of an alternate timeline stuff. You like go back in time and rewrite the events of that first game in the second game, basically, and try to like reunite the two main characters. And instead of playing as the main character or the protagonist character from the first game, you’re trying to find the protagonist character from the first game, and you’re playing as Maya, I think is her name?

Imran: Mm-hmm.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Steven: Who’s like one of the central characters from the first one, in terms of like, other stuff. Very different in terms of style of video game. It’s like more traditional top down Final Fantasy, like PlayStation one era Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX kind of RPG, turn-based RPG, not really social linky or anything like that. But those games are great, and they remade them for the PSP, and we never got the remake of the second game or third game technically in the United States.

Imran: Yeah. ‘Cause of Hitler.

Steven: I think there’s a fan project that brought that stuff over, that did localize that, but.

Imran: Yeah, I think so.

Steven: But yeah, but those are great, and they should bring those back too.

Imran: Yeah. They’re never going to, because Persona means a very specific thing to them now, and they don’t wanna rock that boat, but they should. They should do all that stuff.

Steven: They should release it as like Persona: Origins or something.

Imran: [laughs] All right.

Steven: People would– I think people would like that. I think people would…whatever.

Imran: I think a small…

Steven: They’re bringing back Soul Hackers, Imran. Anything is possible.

Imran: Yeah. But they’re bring back Soul Hackers in a way that’s like more Persona-like.

Steven: Right, for sure. But like, nobody held a gun to their head. Nobody held an evoker to their head and said, “You have to bring back the brand of Soul Hackers from the Sega Saturn.” [laughs]

Imran: Yeah. Anyway, Persona 5 is coming in October for everything, and then other stuff coming eventually? Like, sometime within the next year?

Steven: Oh, okay.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Yeah. They’re releasing it as Persona 5 first and then the other two at some point.

Steven: Weird.

Imran: It’s weird that Nintendo waited for like three weeks to just announce it themselves.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: Like, why not just have it with everyone else? Whatever.

Steven: Mm-hmm.

Natalie: Yeah, I guess you can’t beat the publicity of the Directive, I guess.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: But yeah, like, bar Persona 3 Portable, and I guess you would count Persona 3 FES with Answers in there, but like, ’cause I didn’t finish Answers, and I actually never played–

Imran: Yeah, I think it’s just ’cause it sucks.

Natalie: Yeah. I never played Golden or Royal.

Steven: Oh.

Natalie: Like, I’ve played all these games, but I’ve just played like the original version, so I’m wondering if I should like really do that, ’cause I know that Golden and Royal really do add a lot to Persona 4 and 5 respectively.

Steven: Yeah.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Those are the definitive versions of those games.

Natalie: Yeah.

Imran: I think Golden adds a lot mechanically to that game and like some good story stuff. I think it adds an extra ending that I fucking hate.

Natalie: Ooh.

Imran: That I think is like, what? So…

Steven: It adds like an epilogue stuff, right?

Imran: Yes.

Natalie: We should probably just make a full episode for Persona 4 Golden sometime soon, or all of these.

Steven: We should.

Imran: Right. Yeah.

Natalie: As we lead up to release.

Imran: ‘Cause like, Golden– Persona 4, already kind of like on the fence of “is this character gay or are they trans or are they going through a phase?”

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: And kinda leaves it at “It doesn’t really matter.” But then Golden’s epilogue goes, “No, it was a phase.” And like, that sucks. That was like, you guys had the chance to do something really cool with this and just fucked it up, huh? But yeah.

Steven: I feel like…

Natalie: I do remember Naoto and Kanji just being like one of those first introductions to possibly like exploring queerness in the JRPGs that I played, and it was just generally like upsetting to see where it kind of like ultimately goes.

Imran: It’s upsetting to find out that people who make things that you find really revolutionary did not think it was as revolutionary as you did.

Natalie: Yeah.

Steven: I think they should make a– this is a bigger conversation that we should have elsewhere, but they should make a Persona 4 2. They should make an actual sequel to some of these games. Like, they’ve done that kind of, like the…

Imran: Arena.

Steven: Arena games technically take place after it, but those are fighting games, and it’s just like a different thing for most people and not as interesting from a gameplay standpoint to me personally. [laughs] Jordan in the chat says, “Yeah, they’re better.” But they should do a follow up 4, ’cause like the arena games basically take place like five– I think they take place before that epilogue even. So they should go back and circle back on those characters, ’cause I feel like Atlus and Sega as a company are in such deeply different places than they were in that era, that if they were to like refocus on those characters, they would…new people who have grown up with those games working on those games now would have much more interesting way to carry those stories forward. Also, I’m just kind of…I want to see some of these characters that you get to experience in these games. I want to see what they are up to now. Like, I want to see progress and like forward momentum in their story and their lives and stuff like that and not just hit the reset button every single time one of these games comes out.

Imran: Mm.

Natalie: Mm-hmm.

Imran: Yeah. Yeah, I’d be down to see some more. I have decided while you were talking, Steven, that I, John Warren, head of Fanbyte Media, am making Miles Felgreed the mascot of 99 Potions.

Steven: Oh, okay.

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: [unimpressed] Okay.

Imran: So he is our new logo.

Steven: [laughs] Natalie sounds so thrilled about that!

Imran: Yeah.

Natalie: Eh. [Steven laughs]

Imran: All right. We’re gonna wrap this up soon, so I’m gonna very quickly hit these main things, and I’m gonna hit each of you to give me one thought on these remaining stories. Rain World: Downpour, new expansion for old weird game. Natalie.

Natalie: What? I don’t…

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: She doesn’t know what this is, I don’t think.

Imran: Steven.

Steven: [laughs] Rain World was a really weird game from five or six years ago? It’s been a while. That did not find an audience– or it found an audience eventually, but at the time, people were like, “What the fuck is this? This looked like a– I thought this was a Metroidvania,” and it was very much not a–

Imran: It was a slugcat.

Steven: [laughs] Yeah, it was a slugcat.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: And it wasn’t a Metroidvania. It was a– it’s kind of like a weird sort of exploration-focused sort of ecosystem game, where you’re gathering food and like developing, like learning things over time and exploring. Very cool, very interesting. Found an audience over time. Some of that audience went off to go make a big fan expansion for the game. The developers went to them and said, “Hey, this looks incredible. What if we just released this as an expansion to this game that came out like six years ago?” and they were like, “Sure.” And now that’s coming out as Rain World: Downpour with five new playable characters.

Imran: Cool. Nier Automata Switch. Natalie.

Natalie: Yay.

Imran: Yeah. Stephen.

Steven: Uh, it looks like shit.

Imran: Yeah. It has a kimono outfit, though.

Natalie: It’s gonna look like, you know, those like eight bit sections in the game, except visually. [laughs]

Steven: It makes sense that they would do this, but also, that game…

Natalie: It’s meta. Yoko Taro slay.

Steven: It runs at 30 frames per second, 720P I think, and the textures look bad.

Imran: Cool. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope coming October 20. Music’s a collaboration between Grant Kirkhope, Gareth Coker—who does the two Ori games and Halo Infinite—and Yoko Shimomura. Stephen, what’s up?

Steven: Cool.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: Uh, I liked that first game a lot. This second game seems like it’s very different. The first game was like, cutesy XCOM. This seems more like cutesy Valkyrie Chronicles but with Mario jumping?

Imran: Yeah. It’s very funny that the goth character is named Edge. [Natalie laughs]

Steven: Yes.

Imran: Natalie, what do you think?

Natalie: I think that’s really good.

Imran: Yeah. [Steven laughs]

Natalie: I never played the first one, but I know that Imran really likes it, so I’m happy for Imran who is not here.

Imran: You should play it. It’s very good. Granblue Fantasy Relink officially delayed to 2023. I forgot that game was supposed to come out this year.

Steven: Is that the turn-based RPG?

Imran: That’s the action game that used to be developed by Platinum.

Steven: Oh.

Imran: Then some stuff happened that I’ll tell you about it off air at some point.

Steven: [intrigued] Mm, hmm, hmm.

Imran: And then Cygames took over

Steven: Hmm, interesting. I really like the world of Granblue Fantasy. I don’t love playing that gacha game that much.

Imran: Yes.

Steven: It’s fine, but…

Imran: I love the characters. I wish I could play them in the thing I like, which the fighting game was, and I enjoyed the fighting game, and I wanna play this game when it comes out.

Steven: And I will say, to be clear, actually, I know there are people who really like the actual mechanics of that game as well. Like, the Granblue Fantasy, the gacha game.

Imran: No, we’re saying they’re all terrible. Like, those people–

Steven: They’re all fucking terrible. [Natalie laughs]

Imran: The games are terrible. Those people are terrible. They should play good games.

Steven: I’ve heard it gets pretty good, but it has the Final Fantasy XIV like base game problem of you need to play through like a decade’s worth of content that is not particularly interesting to get to any of that stuff, and I’ve fallen off doing that like three times.

Imran: Yeah.

Steven: But that world and that art style, I really like that art style and those characters.

Imran: Mm. Natalie, thoughts?

Natalie: No thoughts. [Steven laughs]

Imran: Great. Todd Howard has confirmed Fallout 5 is coming after Elder Scrolls 6.

Steven: Fuck off!

Natalie: Yeah. I mean, after the four comes the five, that’s my thought. [Steven laughs] So, Fallout 4 happened, now Fallout 5. Nice. Also, The Elder Scrolls 6 is never fucking coming out.

Imran: It’ll come out, just, we will long be retired by that point.

Natalie: My children will have children. And I’m 15, so there’s still a while. [Imran laughs]

Steven: Honestly, that timeline is pretty close, probably.

Imran: I wonder, are there like, is that an actual thing that they have decided at Bethesda Games, or is it like Todd Howard just gets asked and says some shit? Like, they’re gonna do it, obviously, ’cause Todd Howard is the one in charge. I don’t think Todd Howard will be working there by that point.

Steven: That’s the thing, is like, I think he can just say whatever he fucking wants about whatever’s going to be happening by then, ’cause by then he will be retired or he will be like running a brewery.

Imran: Yeah. [Natalie laughs]

Steven: And I tweeted something to that effect when this news came out, and then one of the funniest replies I got was like, “I don’t wanna be one of the first people to try one of Todd Howard’s beers.” [laughter]

Imran: But yeah, all right. That’s been your June News Quest. Uh, we’ll…this is Miles Felgreed signing off.

Steven: [laughs] That’s not how we end the show, John!

Imran: Yeah, no. I’m John Warren. I say this is Miles Felgreed signing off. As always, when we’re done here, we sidle up to the bar. We take our potions in hand, and we [in unison] clink!