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Let's clear up the reason for Squaresoft's "demise" and why Square and Enix merged

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Riffled

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Kingdom Hearts' global impact keeping SquareEnix alive


I still feel like KH is everything wrong with SE today anyway. Since KH2 at least.

Alot of the same people that made FF still do today. Capcom is 10x more damaged with departure of famous creators. It's something else I feel,

People from Mario RPG, Mana and Xenogears are minor
 

Young Magus

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Jun 6, 2012
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Nice read, thread subscribed! Always interesting (and sad) to read up on Square and the transformation to S-E.

Cheerilee seems to know what is up regarding old school Square. Yesterday, he/she corrected me that Sony did not translate FFVII, and it was actually the remnants of Ted Woolsey's team minus Woolsey. I was like "touché".

Interesting, wonder how the translation would have been if Woolsey stay for the game
 

sörine

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Sword of Mana is the only one worth getting and that's also the only one not part of World of Mana mega project too..
They missed the mark so bad on Seiken 4 (Dawn) that it's not a wonder they axed everything after that...
And even that may be laid at the feet of Wada because really that was a godawful idea from the start.
Nintendo should fund a new Mana on 3DS or Wii U with Grezzo at the helm. It's not like SE is really doing anything with IP so it seems like it'd be a good candidate for the dormant 3rd party series/project revivals NCL's been targeting. Same deal with SaGa or Ogre.
 

Mael

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sörine;95590489 said:
Nintendo should fund a new Mana on 3DS or Wii U with Grezzo at the helm. It's not like SE is really doing anything with IP so it seems like it'd be a good candidate for the dormant 3rd party series/project revivals NCL's been targeting. Same deal with SaGa or Ogre.
IDK....I don't think anyone really cares about it after WoM.
they're better off making a new multiplayer ARPG with everything from Seiken Densetsu in it and make a spiritual sequel rather than mangle the world of Mana any more.
 

sörine

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IDK....I don't think anyone really cares about it after WoM.
they're better off making a new multiplayer ARPG with everything from Seiken Densetsu in it and make a spiritual sequel rather than mangle the world of Mana any more.
They could also go the remake route if the SD4 made the possibility of another direct sequel too toxic. I think something like Shinyaku Seiken Densetu 2 on 3DS with local/online multiplayer could turn some heads and revive some interest. The original did move 1.5 million in Japan back in the day, I feel like there's still some value there.
 

Clear

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Square were absolutely atrocious for not releasing stuff overseas, Europe in particular really got overlooked for the longest time.

Its shocking to think that titles like Parasite Eve, Einhander, and Brave Fencer Musashi never saw an EU release. Their output, particularly during the Playstation era, was astonishingly wasteful, as evidenced by this list of releases by territory.

Looking at the amount of money they left on the table is mind-blowing, especially if you consider the quality of many of the titles.
 

Shouta

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Wow, amazing work. This is better than what most gaming sites actually do, lol.

I'm not willing to buy into the model where when an American business fucks up, it's because a specific person was doing something wrong, but when a Japanese company fucks up, it's because of what ethnicity or nationality they are.

I think the fact that the stereotype about Japanese business was about how ruthlessly effective it was before their demographic crunch, and about how incompetent it was after their demographic crunch, points to the real causal factor behind the problems.

But Japanese business culture is/was an issue. It's a deeply ingrained mindset that affects everything they're doing. The one thing I think you're not seeing is that when an American business fucks up because of a certain person, it's because of culture too. The way that individual decides to lead, the decisions they make, and the views of people from the outside on that event will be uniquely American.

Business is not universal and every country handles it differently because of the type of business culture that exists there. Their success in parts of the world are dependent on that. Communication methods alone are totally different between cultures and that's a difficult field to navigate during when working an international setting. That only gets more complex the more you zoom out.

Sword of Mana
Children of Mana
Dawn of Mana
Heroes of Mana

Gave plenty of chances for Mana to make a comeback, but it just didn't work.

Nah, they changed up most of the post Seiken Densetsu 3-Manas so much that it didn't have the appeal to garner fans. Most were just not up to the quality of SD2/SD3. So while they might have had chances, those chances were pretty low quality bait.
 

Nekofrog

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I do agree the brand is too oversaturated at the moment but the sad fact is a lot of their new IPs failed to capture the market share despite good critical responses.

The ones that did catch on (Parasite Eve for example), were mishandled so badly that they never had a chance beyond the second installment.
 

Mael

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sörine;95592313 said:
They could also go the remake route if the SD4 made the possibility of another direct sequel too toxic. I think something like Shinyaku Seiken Densetu 2 on 3DS with local/online multiplayer could turn some heads and revive some interest. The original did move 1.5 million in Japan back in the day, I feel like there's still some value there.

We still remember it to this day in Europe so yeah it would turn heads that's for sure.
SD4 is ironically a prequel so you can go from whichever Seiken is last (and the only thing we're damn sure is that it's not Dawn or Children).
The games are a little too simplistic to today's audience to try to make something good with a direct sequel (Heroes tried and failed spectacularly) and a remake would need at least the Sword of Mana treatment (which in the end is 2 games merged in 1 : the remake really updated and a another game with the girl as a protag in it).

I'm not saying I don't want it (hell yes I'd want that and make the whole thing on WiiU because 3DS doesn't really needs it per se) but I can see a very good argument being made against doing this.
Especially with the risks involved.
 

Dark_castle

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IDK....I don't think anyone really cares about it after WoM.
they're better off making a new multiplayer ARPG with everything from Seiken Densetsu in it and make a spiritual sequel rather than mangle the world of Mana any more.

Agree.

Do the same thing as SaGa team did with The Last Remnant. A whole new IP with familiar mechanics based on an established franchise, but with whole new slew of gameplay ideas and setting.
 

Mael

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Agree.

Do the same thing as SaGa team did with The Last Remnant. A whole new IP with familiar mechanics based on an established franchise, but with whole new slew of gameplay ideas and setting.

No, don't do that.
I want the games to keep coming thank you very much.
e: the last we heard of Kawazu was a mobile game or something called Emperor Saga.
And before that it was Crystal Bearers the promising but in the end flawed game that he wrote the script for (way better than what the doofuses making FFXIII could ever hope to make).
And before that? the crystal chronicle games?

Nah, they changed up most of the post Seiken Densetsu 3-Manas so much that it didn't have the appeal to garner fans. Most were just not up to the quality of SD2/SD3. So while they might have had chances, those chances were pretty low quality bait.

And on top of the 2 games that were somewhat well received shared the most similarity with the legendary games.
I mean Sword got raked on coals because of its nonexistant difficulty that was borderline insulting, the rest was actually pretty good.
Children was pretty well received.
the rest was...badly made shall we say?
Dawn totally changed how the games are played and the camera was beyond shit.
Heroes is like FFXII Revenant Wings except...well it's shit to play :/
 

Dorygrant

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This topic makes me sad since Square Enix is such a different beast compared to Squaresoft. I miss the constant slew of new IPs. Stuff like Bushido, Vagrant, etc wouldnt see light of day in the current company :s.

Deff keeping this thread in my subs. Thank You for making this op.
 

sörine

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We still remember it to this day in Europe so yeah it would turn heads that's for sure.
SD4 is ironically a prequel so you can go from whichever Seiken is last (and the only thing we're damn sure is that it's not Dawn or Children).
The games are a little too simplistic to today's audience to try to make something good with a direct sequel (Heroes tried and failed spectacularly) and a remake would need at least the Sword of Mana treatment (which in the end is 2 games merged in 1 : the remake really updated and a another game with the girl as a protag in it).

I'm not saying I don't want it (hell yes I'd want that and make the whole thing on WiiU because 3DS doesn't really needs it per se) but I can see a very good argument being made against doing this.
Especially with the risks involved.
Yeah I can see the arguments against as pretty strong. It just seems to me that Nintendo employs or regularly contracts a whole ton of former SE people and since they're in the market for funding dormant Japanese IP revivals there's some opportunity here to do something older Square stuff like Mana, SaGa or Ogre. Something that's not browser based social fare or cheapo hacked iOS ports.
 

Subaru

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This is an AAA thread. So much info, I'm reading all the interviews and stuff for almost 4 hours. Awesome, awesome, good job OP!
 

Tex117

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Wow, to see it laid out there like that.

SquareSoft, back when they were actually "creating" games and not just making them, was unstoppable.

Everything they touched was gold, had heart, had soul, and fun to play.

FF6
Chrono Trigger
Secret of Mana
FFVII
FFIX
Vagrant Story
Final Fantasy Tactics

Just to name a few were all diferent enough from each other, and brought a different idea to the table.

I miss them. They are probably the only reason I stayed in gaming gaming after the initial "kid" push in the early 90s.
 

MechaX

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I do agree the brand is too oversaturated at the moment but the sad fact is a lot of their new IPs failed to capture the market share despite good critical responses.

If the metric we're using for market share means "not Final Fantasy numbers," then that is true. But a lot of those newer IPs still managed to push a lot of units and kept Squaresoft's positive name out there. Like, the Mana series was never super big, but even super niche titles like Legend of Mana managed to push pretty close to half-million marks. And games like Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Front Mission 2/3 and even Vagrant Story all managed Greatest Hits status (and games like Bushido Blade and Musashi also sold a lot) where a lot of contemporary RPGs at that time did not. A company being able to put out that many different titles, some new IPs and some more niche IPs, and still have most of them be highly regarded in terms of sales and critical response is a pretty amazing feat.

At that point, it is undeniable that the Squaresoft brand itself had a lot of power and weight behind it.

Of course, SE deserves a lot of the blame for running a lot of these series into the ground in the Wada era (Musashi, Mana, Parasite Eve, Front Mission)
 

Phades

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Awesome OP, it felt like I was reading part of a article within an investigative publication.

I hope threads and posts like this never go away.
 

NightBlade

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Wow that post was amazing. Great job OP.

Anyway, the 1UP interview with Nobuo made me tear up. Both answers truly felt heartbreaking.
 

Angelcurio

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I still can't believe that that SE actually lost his most famous composer because a fortune teller told Wada that they needed to relocate their offices. I mean, what kind of company lets it's CEO take decisions based on the recommendations of a fortune teller?
 

Alec

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Secret of Mana is still my favorite game of all time.

I enjoyed Legend of Mana but, it was just....different.
 
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Square-enix taught me about learning to move on. It was painful, very painful but it's part of life and you just have to find other things which are better, safer and healthier.

Trying really hard to think of anything I really enjoyed by them after the sat/ps1/n64 era and Radiata Stories which was made by tri-ace and Nier which was made by cavia are the only things that come to mind.

(Edit) wait wait I thought of something, that romancing saga remake on ps2 was good. whew.
 

anaron

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Feb 21, 2007
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Excellent thread with a carefully thought out structure, making it easy to follow and consume all the information.

Didn't expect to see such a good investigative thread so early in the year. Tweeted the fuck out of it.
Oh wow, thanks. :)

I'm so happy with the positive response. I was hoping it would go over well and I'm sure glad it has.
 
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Pretty much. It's so disheartening and frankly fucked up to see the disturbing lack of that in this industry.

You're supposed to protect your talent seeing as how they're the reason people are buying your products. Nintendo thankfully has always been amazing in that regard and fellow Japanese companies desperately need to follow suit.

Yeah, Nintendo definitely has its own issues, but I love how they're kinda stubborn and almost insular. They don't seem to run business in an overly reactionary manner to what's going on in the market to the point where it completely compromises their integrity. They have a strong sense of who they are and what they're about, and they stick to it. Not everything they do strikes gold, but they deliver quality 90% of the time, so their name still means something. I really hope WiiU's performance doesn't change this.

I could see that. Toriyama's waifu saga has been pretty mediocre, but even then it has it's own positives like its battle system. SE still has some talent. I guess FF15 will be the deciding factor on whether or not there's enough talent left to develop an outstanding mainline title.

There's absolutely no way they can recapture the magic and chemistry they internally had as a company during the Squaresoft days. But, XV can potentially (and hopefully) mark a new chapter and turning point for SE where they rise from mediocrity and show the world what a AAA, mainline JRPG looks like. (Assuming it all lives to the hype.)

It's really insane that almost a decade's worth of fuck-ups from Toriyama and goddamn Wada all rest on Nomura's shoulders to undo.

And going back to the merger, as a fan back in the day, I was actually sadly (and naively) excited for the two companies to unite. I thought we were actually gonna get games that'd result from collaborations from the talents from the Square and Enix sides. Not just sit here while the two companies now just stagger their releases so they don't cannibalize each other.
 

Shogun1337

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I still can't believe that that SE actually lost his most famous composer because a fortune teller told Wada that they needed to relocate their offices. I mean, what kind of company lets it's CEO take decisions based on the recommendations of a fortune teller?

A Japanese one.
 
Sep 23, 2011
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A Japanese one.

I wonder if he stopped going to that fortune teller now. Or, y'know, fortune tellers in general.

Moral of the story is don't put beancounters in charge of companies. It's a recipe for failure in any industry.

Seriously. The guy clearly was out of his depth, and didn't understand the products that Square was putting out. He was a completely dispensable, generic numbers shark that was completely out of touch. The shareholders that voted him place are just as responsible. So much incompetence all around.
 
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It amazed me to be reminded that they did not share digital game creation assets within their own damn company... thats just stupid. Sure it made everything look vastly different but, also cost them 3x the money and time.
 

anaron

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I wonder if he stopped going to that fortune teller now. Or, y'know, fortune tellers in general.



Seriously. The guy clearly was out of his depth, and didn't understand the products that Square was putting out. He was a completely dispensable, generic numbers shark that was completely out of touch. The shareholders that voted him place are just as responsible. So much incompetence all around.

It's funny too the way Wada essentially piggybacked off of Sakaguchi and Suzuki's original lineup from late 2001 through 2002 and claims it as his recovery.
 

Hades Hotgun

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This really is a fantastic collection of information and a great example of why NeoGAF makes for a better source of game info than most gaming related websites.

From what I can gather the answer to why and how Square fell from grace is that they valued their must successful IPs over their most successful content creators.

Essentially, they killed the Gooch that laid the golden egg.
 

DiipuSurotu

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Now today, in spite of all of Enix's money, SquareEnix is worth less than Square was when it was supposedly "dying" after The Spirits Within. And Hisashi Suzuki is laughing at SquareEnix over Twitter.
Oh sweet justice.
Well Hisashi Suzuki is not all innocent either:


Damn, Uematsu is greater than what I assumed of him. His views on products not only highlights an issue with Square-Enix, but an issue that literally plagues many games from other companies.

It blows my mind to see a would-be professional wrestler turned self-taught musical composer to be so damn wise. Gets me every time I hear something from him.
It's a shame he refused to do the main theme song for The Spirits Within though, despite Sakaguchi asking him. That could only have helped the movie IMO.


They killed Seiken Densetsu for good I think.
They fired Ishii after the whole World of Mana debacle.
Then again they never managed to make Seiken Densetsu make the move to 3D like everything else (and Legend of Mana really didn't help either)
Koichi Ishii left Square Enix before the release of Heroes of Mana. Anyway, there is a new Mana game in development. The only thing we know about it for now is that Yoko Shimomura is composing.


Fantastic writeup, Anaron! It's great to have all this info, in English, in one place.

Something I didn't notice before:



Romancing Saga and its sequel got SNES releases overseas? (Did RS3 not sell enough to make this listing?)
Yeah, what's up with that? :s
 

anaron

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It's a shame he refused to do the main theme song for The Spirits Within though, despite Sakaguchi asking him. That could only have helped the movie IMO.
Agreed, though "The Dream Within" is a beautiful theme itself. The rest of the score could've benefited from Uematsu greatly however. It desperately needed something with its own identity and flavour while maintaining the series'.
 
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From what I can gather the answer to why and how Square fell from grace is that they valued their must successful IPs over their most successful content creators.

Essentially, they killed the Gooch that laid the golden egg.

Well Hisashi Suzuki is not all innocent either:

Urgh. So upsetting as a fan to hear the company treat its content like this. I mean, ok, you decide to milk your cash-cow for all it's fucking worth. Dilute its name, run it to the ground, rake in the $$$ until the name is dead through and through. What then? How goddamn short-sighted can you be? The CEO won't give a shit I guess. He'll make his money, take his severance package and leave. What about the rest of the company though? The shareholders? Why would people with power in the company who aren't looking to cash-in and jump ship agree to something so stupid?
 

GreenMonkey

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I dunno. I haven't played a FF game since FFX which I thought was very good (although way too easy, and I did zero grinding, as I am NOT a fan of level grinding). When they moved to FF12's MMO-style battle system I tuned out (although I hear the game is really good anyway). FF13's full on most-characters-on-autopilot seemed even worse to me.

Last traditional Square RPGs I played were Dragon Quest 8 (now that was a fantastic, solid game) on the PS3 a couple of years back, and right before that, Lost Odyssey. Oops, wait, that wasn't Square, it just felt like it. :p

I'd love a release at the quality of DQ8 on the 3DS or a console from Squenix as a huge DQ fan, but I don't expect to see it any time soon. They're busy making a Wii MMO with DQ instead (WTF....sigh).

I don't even look at FF games any more. There doesn't seem to be much fantasy nor much strategy (the FF15 footage looks more like a Devil May Cry style action game than an RPG - don't get me wrong - I like this style of game - but it's not what I crave in a FF title).

I really need to track down a copy of Xenoblade instead, that at least looked like a good JRPG, even if a bit actiony for my tastes.
 

Mandoric

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I still can't believe that that SE actually lost his most famous composer because a fortune teller told Wada that they needed to relocate their offices. I mean, what kind of company lets it's CEO take decisions based on the recommendations of a fortune teller?

A Japanese one.

Or the US government, at least during the Reagan administration. People are wacky no matter where they're from.

One thing this thread really drives home is how divorced core-fan reception is from the sales numbers that beancounters use to drive their own agendas. The beginning of the end didn't come on the back of TSW's failure - if anything, the initial basis for Wada's rise was the underperformance of FF9.

I think that the hollowing-out of the midrange market would have at best led to the same talent diaspora on happier terms, as those "big-niche" 1m-2m sellers that were aimed just outside of the mass market while giving players a really memorable experience could never stay afloat today, but it's a real pity that Wada felt the need to completely destroy the old order to secure his own position (even if some of the new order are impressive in their own right).
 

anaron

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Urgh. So upsetting as a fan to hear the company treat its content like this. I mean, ok, you decide to milk your cash-cow for all it's fucking worth. Dilute its name, run it to the ground, rake in the $$$ until the name is dead through and through. What then? How goddamn short-sighted can you be? The CEO won't give a shit I guess. He'll make his money, take his severance package and leave. What about the rest of the company though? The shareholders? Why would people with power in the company who aren't looking to cash-in and jump ship agree to something so stupid?

What's especially alarming is that months before the film and their biggest game even released, shit was hitting the fan and Saksguchi was made into a scapegoat for upper management.
 

Nairume

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Agree.

Do the same thing as SaGa team did with The Last Remnant. A whole new IP with familiar mechanics based on an established franchise, but with whole new slew of gameplay ideas and setting.

So basically what Crystal Chronicles already was to Mana.
 
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What's especially alarming is that months before the film and their biggest game even released, shit was hitting the fan and Saksguchi was made into a scapegoat for upper management.

Yeah who knows what sorts of politics/power-plays were being concocted behind closed doors. I've said it before, but an expose or documentary about Square's downfall and the subsequent decade of SE following it would be so amazingly interesting.

If anyone remembers the Icons show on TechTV/G4. I wish that was still around cause I'd love to see it tackle this topic.
 

anaron

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Yeah who knows what sorts of politics/power-plays were being concocted behind closed doors. I've said it before, but an expose or documentary about Square's downfall and the subsequent decade of SE following it would be so amazingly interesting.

If anyone remembers the Icons show on TechTV/G4. I wish that was still around cause I'd love to see it tackle this topic.

Me too. Just imagine a roundtable with Matsuno, Sakaguchi, Itou, Tanaka, Uematsu and Kitase...

I imagine it playing out with them eventually throwing darts at a printout of Wada.
 

DiipuSurotu

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Thanks for this topic OP. I hope lots of people see and read this so that one of the three big Square urban legends can be put to rest for good (the others being "FF1 was meant to be Square's final game" and "Nomura is responsible for everything wrong with Square since his debut in FF7").
 

KoopaTheCasual

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Thanks for this topic OP. I hope lots of people see and read this so that one of the three big Square urban legends can be put to rest for good (the others being "FF1 was meant to be Square's final game" and "Nomura is responsible for everything wrong with Square since his debut in FF7").
The worst part about this misconception is that, to my knowledge, Nomura's biggest involvement with FF, is actual changing the entire ending of FFV, because of a suggestion he made to Sakaguchi, and Guch liked it. He's been pretty AWOL from the franchise since picking up KH:
It's a quote in the middle of this long post about FF7 and the developement environment at the time.

Regardless, this is a wonderful OP, anaron. I'm glad you decided to make a thread dedicated to it. It was sad watching people ignore your informative posts in that previous SE thread and fall back on the "TSW did it! Let's blame that!" excuse.
 

anaron

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Regardless, this is a wonderful OP, anaron. I'm glad you decided to make a thread dedicated to it. It was sad watching people ignore your informative posts in that previous SE thread and fall back on the "TSW did it! Let's blame that!" excuse.

Thanks, dude. I mean, it's really LevenNth, Drek and Cheerilee who lead the way by providing those details in the first place. It made so much sense but without any sort of firm foundation, it was harder to establish so I just thought I might as well *try* to do that myself and then hopefully, have it clarify certain details and lead to something more.
 

Cheerilee

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Thanks, dude. I mean, it's really LevenNth, Drek and Cheerilee who lead the way by providing those details in the first place. It made so much sense but without any sort of firm foundation, it was harder to establish so I just thought I might as well *try* to do that myself and then hopefully, have it clarify certain details and lead to something more.

You're giving me too much credit, since I was just rephrasing what others had said. And I imagine LevelNth and Drek might say the same.

The thing is that you liked the way I said it, and now everyone likes the way you said it, which is totally justified because you really knocked the ball out of the park.
 
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