Dex: What's your outlook RPG wise for the 64?
Des: There will never be a lot of RPGs for the N64, and possibly will not be any 'traditional'-style RPGs, however some of the RPGs already out or coming out for the N64 are going to be some of the best video games ever made. Ogre Battle 64 has already proven to be a critically praised game by Japanese gamers, and the future Fire Emblem 64 and Mother 3 titles should be stellar. Unfortunately for every platinum-quality title, there is a dud, with Zool and Eletale Monsters being two highly mediocre RPG titles released on the N64. PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64, a RPG-like growth and battle game, was also trashed by reviewers.
Dex: One thing that has been irritating me is the long time its taking to release Mother 3.
Des: Shigesato Itoi is simply notoriously slow with his development. He and Benimaru Itoh are trying to make sure the game is of an extremely high quality calibre - that and they're retooling some of the 64DD-ish features (like real time growth) for a cartridge. Plus, Nintendo needs the game to sell N64s in 2000, so they definitely will release it sometime next year.
Dex: By the way, who's the creator of the Mother games? Benimaru Itoh or Shigesato Itoi. Didn't Shigesato Itoi work on Star Fox 64... Ooops, I meant, Benimaru Itoh... I think he did the Star Fox 64 TV ads. I just can't figure out how he figures into 'Mother' with Shigesato Itoi.
Des: I think he (Itoh) was the story writer or something, and Itoi is the director.
Dex: And Benimaru Itoh drew the original Star Fox comics for Nintendo Power a few years back.
Dex: I've been playing Final Fantasy VII again, and it's very apparent that the game is essentially a 2-D RPG like the ones from the SNES and NES era but with nice rendered graphics and some polygon elements. N64, under the right hands, certainly has a reputation of innovating in the field of 3-D, simply by doing things better than everyone else. Do you know how Mother 3 will work?
Des: Mother 3 is done in real-time, with some rooms that are pre-rendered, like in Zelda 64. So basically everything is composed of polygons except the pre-rendered rooms So far, the game in theory should be the first traditional RPG for the N64 (in style and execution), however I have worries about the gameplay, namely the less emphasis on battles, and the three character party.
Dex: What does the game emphasize on now that its on cartridge? I know that its 64DD writability features were stressed for a long time. Do you think Nintendo will go with a large EEPROM to allow some of these 'artificial life' features to be included in the cartridge format.
Des: I think HAL will just attempt to program most of the logic without rewritability. Basically they want Mother 3 to be a dynamic game, that is, each copy of the game should have enough random variables to make the experience unique for each copy of the game. In order to do that, they will need extensive use of an internal clock to retain game states while the system is off, and they will need some sort of way to keep track of every single step you take, and alter the game accordingly. EEPROM really does not offer enough space. Ogre Battle 64 uses EEPROM and as a result, there are only 2 save slots and 1 in-game save. That's pathetic. I'm hoping Nintendo would at least use huge controller packs or a battery backup for Mother 3.