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nice SNES Developer Insights (Secret of Evermore related)

Yoschi

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I just looked up some facts for the Secret of Evermore game and found an interview with the lead programmer of the game. I thought it was pretty good and wanted to share.
Click here for the full interview: http://www.super-nes.com/evermoreinterview.htm

Here's some of the highlights:

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Can you tell us a little about the S.A.G.E. (Square's Amazing Graphical Editor) and the S.I.G.I.L. (Square Interpreted Game Intelligence Language) programs that were used to help create Secret of Evermore?

BF: SAGE was a custom Mac application that allowed you to edit all graphical components of the game, including tiles, maps, characters, animations, effects, that sort of thing. It was also capable of hooking up with some simple SNES test hardware so the artist could run around the map with a real character and test things. That also allowed them to see their work on a real NTSC television, whose colorspace is a strange and wicked thing, quite unlike their computer monitor.

Conceptually, SAGE wasn't terribly complicated. Typically, you'd collect a small palette of tiles on the left from the larger set available to the whole game, and then arrange those somehow in a large work area on the right. On a map, you'd have a palette of 256 16x16 tiles that you could place in various layers of a large gridded map, and have them sort in clever ways to make things like fences or waist-deep water. With a character/animation, you'd instead arrange a set of 8x8 and 16x16 tiles in a totally arbitrary manner, to minimally cover the area of the current frame of animation. Character/sprite tiles are at a premium on a SNES, so you must be very economical.

SIGIL was a simple, high-level scripting language. It could do full mathematical expressions and shuffle variables around as you might expect, but its core functions were higher concepts like WALKTO, TURNLEFT, WAITFOR, (go to) MAP, and tons of similar stuff for controlling scripted scenes, entrances/exits from maps, and game states. These could reference named map locations, triggers, animations, etc. that were set up in SAGE. All of this made it much easier for a novice to work in the language: you didn't need to be a trained programmer, and you usually didn't need numbers. At the same time, the tools were there for programmers to do more complicated things. SIGIL turned out pretty well.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Secret of Evermore has often gotten the incorrect distinction of being the game that US gamers received instead of Seiken Densetsu 3, which would have been the true sequel to our Secret of Mana. Why do you think that is and what do you have to say to those who believe this?

BF: Well, you can't really blame people for thinking that. It was a reasonable guess, it just happened to be incorrect. I was also disappointed when Seiken Densetsu 3 didn't get the US nod, but I had a chance to play the Japanese version, so I know it had some bugs. People who have played Seiken Densetsu 3 via emulation might know what I'm talking about. At the time, Nintendo was extremely strict about its zero-bug policy, and even with Square's history with Nintendo, I think they might have had a difficult time getting it through certification. They also might have had trouble getting the American consumer to accept its flaws without returning it to the store, which was much more common then. Of course, then we went and shipped Evermore with some bugs, so who I am to talk?

Anyway, the common belief is that resources were re-allocated to develop Evermore, rather than to bring Seiken Densetsu 3 to North America. I can assure you that no one was re-allocated. The entire Evermore team was built from the ground up with new hires. None of the people involved in North American localizations were tied up by our game. In fact, if memory serves, Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy 6 were all localized for North America while we were in development.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: It's been stated that although the combat and "Ring" menu systems used in Secret of Evermore are very similar to those found in Secret of Mana, that you guys programmed the system used in Evermore from scratch. Why were these recreated being that they already existed in Secret of Mana, and why was it decided to make them so similar in look and function?

BF: There was some reason why we had to develop from the ground up, but, to be honest, I can't remember what it was. I think it was one of those strange we're-wholly-owned-but-separate-for-tax-purposes sorts of things. Regardless, we did indeed end up writing absolutely everything from scratch, both on the tool side and on the game side.

There were two fairly simple reasons for swiping some of our systems from Mana. For one, we were supposed to be creating a Mana-like game, so it made sense to retain the interface. For another, those systems were proven to work well, and if you can steal the design for the wheel without getting sued for patent infringement... eh, why not? We also stole a couple of interface ideas from Final Fantasy 6, by the way.

The upside of rewriting their systems from scratch is that we had the option of tweaking or replacing things without having to tear up unfamiliar code and smush something different into it. Putting in alchemy, for instance, might have been difficult, and that would have been a shame. I think our map engine was more flexible as well.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: I read that Secret of Evermore was made a single-player game in order to conserve memory, as the game was originally planned as a 12-megabit game title but ultimately ended up being a 24-megabit game. Was there a growing concern as the game's file size continued to grow, finally ending up being twice as large as originally planned?

BF: The single-player-game choice was actually an attempt to reduce complexity. We were a brand new team, many of us new to the industry, and it just seemed wise to eliminate risks. Having two or more players independently controlling characters on a large scrolling map is a bit of a minefield. Early on, we had experienced a couple of instances where we managed to get our characters stuck in Secret of Mana, and had to reload the last save. That worried us. If an experienced and clever team in Japan hadn't quite gotten it right, it looked bad for us. In retrospect, I really wish we had sucked it up and worked out the kinks. I think that was a real failure on our part.

Size-wise, the game was originally rather different, aimed at a smaller world and a shorter period of gameplay with somewhat simpler graphics. Over time, we came to believe the original game was simply not worthy, and we ended up doing a near-total redesign. I think that eventually bumped us up to 16mbits as we enlarged the world. We did have many instances of "OhCrapWeAreOverAGAIN," but that's normal in games, and we adjusted as necessary. It didn't actually drive the cart size.

As I recall, it was actually more to do with falling manufacturing costs and rising interest in a bigger game. One day, out of the blue, we found out we had been bumped to 24mbits, and I don't think we'd even been asking for it, at least not with any real hope. We were pretty happy, as it allowed us to flesh out some areas, (re)add animations, (re)add more variation, more sound/music, etc. In the end, we still managed to overflow the 24mbit size on a regular basis. I think when we shipped, we had only a handful of free bytes.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Is there one particular aspect of Secret of Evermore that you as a programmer are most proud of?

BF: That's a tough one. We really did everything, absolutely everything, with little or no prior experience and no outside help, and that's something to be proud of, all by itself. I'm also proud of the fact that we managed to mimic the Secret of Mana engine pretty faithfully, to the point that most people think we inherited the code and tweaked it for our own purposes.
...

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Jeremy Soule was a virtual newcomer to the video game music scene when he was hired on by Squaresoft to score Secret of Evermore. Were you impressed with what he was able to create for the game's soundtrack given so little experience at the time?

BF: Oh, hell, yes. Jeremy's a savant. He sent in this amazing orchestral demo music, and he was, what, 19 at the time? Something like that. How could we not hire him? He lived and breathed music, and he was good at it. He actually took the apartment across the hall from me for a while, and I think the ratio of music equipment to furniture in there was something like 20:1. If he couldn't play music on it, or sleep on it, I don't think he needed it.

What was really great about Jeremy was his ability to economize and yet still produce great sound and music. Imagine being a guy who is used to full-featured midi keyboards with huge banks of digital instruments, to the point that you can almost single-handedly produce a vast orchestral piece. Then imagine you get a job writing low-fidelity SNES sound and music, with strange and klunky proprietary software, fitting into memory smaller than a single cluster on a modern PC's hard drive. Most people would sit down and cry, and then go out and find another job. Not Jeremy. He muttered a bit, and then made it work. Every now and then, I'd have to go and tell him his budget was a littler smaller than we'd hoped. He'd mutter a bit, and then make it work. He was a real trooper, and a genius to boot. Jeremy's work in Evermore is one of its primary assets. I'm really glad he's gone on to be a big success. I'm not sure it's my place to say I'm proud of him, but I am.

By the way, I've spoken well of our programming staff and Jeremy, but the art and design staff deserve a nod as well. Gameplay and sound are only two thirds of the equation. We had tons of really great content that deserves its own kudos. Our designers, map/script editors, character artists, and background artists were all top-notch, and often remarkably innovative and clever.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Was a sequel to Secret of Evermore ever considered?

BF: Yes, actually. Only briefly, though. We started looking at what we could do, but then the corporate folks decided that the SNES market was on the decline, so we abandoned that. We were all relieved, to be honest, as we had just been on a six month deathmarch to finish Evermore, and we weren't terribly eager to revisit the material at the time. After that, we started looking at doing PC titles instead. That didn't pan out either, as the Seattle office got closed in favor of the L.A. office, and we all got nice little severance packages.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Were there any particular areas of programming Secret of Evermore that proved to be overly difficult or tricky?

BF: Hmm. We spent a lot of time on data compression. The game was probably more like 50-70mbits, uncompressed, maybe more. We had different ways of compressing nearly everything: maps, map tiles, sprite tiles, scripts, dialogue, etc. Some of them had to be decompressed very, very quickly, every frame. That was a real challenge. Beyond that, it's hard to say. An RPG is inherently a tricky thing, and the SNES is a wacky piece of hardware; everything we did was kind of tricky in its own way.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Do you still own a copy of Secret of Evermore and if so, do you ever play it?

BF: I still have a copy. Three, in fact. One pristine, one actually used, and one in German. I last played a few years ago, though honestly I found it more convenient to play it on an emulator on my laptop. The instant total memory save/restore rules all.

For a very long time, I was actually reluctant to go back and play Evermore. I had developed a feeling like the game had turned out poorly, and I didn't want to have to look at it. When people would tell me they'd played it, I would apologize to them. The problem was that, at the time it was released, we had gotten panned by many reviewers, which didn't do much for my ego or my opinion of our game. We'd taken a lot of flack for not being Seiken Densetsu 3, and for being a Square game that wasn't full of Japanese mythology. We'd also made some bad choices (e.g. no multiplayer) and shipped with a few bad scripting bugs in the puzzles. Worst of all, I think, we'd placed the last save point before the first big boss way too far ahead, and so when you inevitably didn't figure out the winning trick fast enough and died, it was very upsetting to go back so far. That even happened to me after I got my freebie retail cartridge. I swore at the game, turned it off, and didn't touch it again for ten years. I'm really self-critical by nature, and the thought that all of our efforts had produced a dud was quite upsetting.

However, when I committed to playing again on the emulator (and quick-saved before that boss!), I found that the game was actually much better than I remembered. Sure, the dialogue's hokey, there are a few glitches, and some of the maps are a bit silly, but overall, the depth, breadth, length, and quality of the gameplay really surprised me. I actually had a lot of fun building up my character, kicking ass, (re)discovering the worlds, and taunting the chickens. These days, I'm a lot more proud, even fond, of Evermore.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: What do you think about Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console service and would you like to see Secret of Evermore released on the Virtual Console so that it might gain a new audience with gamers who might have missed the game the first time around?

BF: I've only had a Wii for a short period and I haven't actually used the Virtual Console yet, but I've looked at the library, and I really like the idea. I don't know exactly what it does under the hood, so I don't know how well it could emulate Evermore. If it's a straight-up emulator like we use on our PC's, then I suppose it would just be a matter of Nintendo striking a deal with Square for the rights. I think Square should get its entire back catalog up there, really. I'm sure many people would gobble it up, even people who've never heard of Square's SNES titles.

I think it's a great idea for people to discover what they missed back in the SNES days. The SNES was the first console that really had the chops to hold up over time. Most NES games are kind of ... meh ... these days, but a lot of the SNES titles are still just as fun and look great. I've enjoyed seeing people discover Evermore via PC emulation, so it would be great if even more could encounter it on their Wii. I'd hope they could make use of some of the patches people have done, e.g. the Silver Sheath fix, maybe the multiplayer patch, etc.

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: In closing, why do you think so many of today's gamers still enjoy these classic 16-bit rpgs, like Secret of Evermore, and do you have anything you'd like to say to the many Secret of Evermore fans out there that still enjoy playing the game, even 14 years later?

BF: It's probably different for everyone. I think it's safe to say that those of us who played the games back then remember them, and that time of our lives, fondly. As I said earlier, I'd played RPGs before, but games like Mana were the first ones where I felt like I was part of the story, rather than simply moving a colored block around a grid of other colored blocks and making numbers go up. It's nice to relive that discovery, a sort of nostalgia thing.

There's also the fact that many of the games really were that good, in today's terms or otherwise. Back then, it just wasn't feasible to make a very pretty game that played like complete crap. In fact, other than your artists' efforts, and some time put into the obligatory Mode 7 flyabout, there wasn't a whole lot you could do to go above and beyond what your competitors were showing. Visual quality sort of leveled off after a while. People simply had to write games that were fun, if they wanted to sell games, not have them returned to the store, and then go on to sell the games' sequels as well. That's why I think a lot of them still hold up so well.

I'd really encourage your readers to check out all the old SNES RPGs. If you liked Evermore, there's still a lot more out there that'll turn your crank. There are so many options available these days, be it carts off of eBay, or emulation on everything from PCs to MP3 players, that there's really no reason why everyone can't experience the full heyday of 16-bit RPGs. In fact, I'm getting the urge myself, as I speak.

To the Evermore fans specifically, I want to close by saying thanks for all the kind words and support. I never would have thought that people would still be playing the game, let alone enjoying it, so many years later. I think I probably speak for the rest of the team when I say we're glad to have been of service. :)

Brian Fehdrau said:
CD: Thanks Brian for taking the time to answer all of the questions for super-nes.com. It's very much appreciated.

BF: I'm happy to oblige. I enjoy talking about Evermore.
I quite like when he talks about the technical aspects of programming for the SNES and the tools that they got from Square.
I also think its funny how he prefers to use emulators for playing the game. I'd be cool if Square could go all the way and add a multiplayer patch for VC on the Wii. But since Nintendo prefers keeping the originals on VC, i'm not so sure if it could happen.

And please, if you hate the game, unless you have something thoughtful and constructive to say, just stay out of this thread. Thanks.
 

JavyOO7

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What Nintendo should do for VC games that have multiplayer like Secret of Mana or any Square RPG that had multiplayer (or any other game in general) should do a port via Wii Ware and add online functionality through there. But nooooooo.
 

carlos

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Well that was an interesting long read; thanks OP

Personally, I bought evermore on release and couldn't forgive the lack of multiplayer and found the game overly difficult as well....I must've played halfway and never touched it again.

I believe it was the first game at the time that I didn't play through till the end :(

I do, however, admire the effort put into it by a group of newcomers to the industry; I feel I should give it another chance via emulation, but there are so many games to play nowadays...
 

Mejilan

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Interesting read, thank you. Though the interview is a bit old, last summer, IIRC. It's funny how he endorses emulation. I think that's kind of rare. Didn't know there was an SoE emulation patch, but Romhacking.net confirms it. Seems surprisingly functional, too, all things considered. I haven't been able to find much about the silver sheath fix he's talking about, though.

Never mind. Found it.
Miscellaneous bugfix patches: http://www14.brinkster.com/assassin17/soe_patches.htm
Multiplayer patch: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/24/
 

Volcynika

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Mejilan said:
Interesting read, thank you. Though the interview is a bit old, last summer, IIRC. It's funny how he endorses emulation. I think that's kind of rare. Didn't know there was an SoE emulation patch, but Romhacking.net confirms it. Seems surprisingly functional, too, all things considered. I haven't been able to find much about the silver sheath fix he's talking about, though.

Yeah, someone posted it around that time, actually: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=317328

(I'm not trying to be mean to the OP, just mentioning)
 

Haunted

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Good stuff (although I do't understand the technical aspects that well), very interesting read.

I really liked Evermore, and when it came out I also thought that it was the successor to Secret of Mana. Didn't learn that it was a completely different project until later.


There's also the fact that many of the games really were that good, in today's terms or otherwise. Back then, it just wasn't feasible to make a very pretty game that played like complete crap. In fact, other than your artists' efforts, and some time put into the obligatory Mode 7 flyabout, there wasn't a whole lot you could do to go above and beyond what your competitors were showing. Visual quality sort of leveled off after a while. People simply had to write games that were fun, if they wanted to sell games, not have them returned to the store, and then go on to sell the games' sequels as well. That's why I think a lot of them still hold up so well.
That's what people who're talking about "limits can help sometimes" mean. Nice insight, also applicable today.
 

Peronthious

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Excellent read, it's a pity that Nintendo is so unlikely to consider anything other than direct emulation if they put SoE on VC. The fixes he mentioned, and of course multiplayer, would be amazing, but then again this is Nintendo.
 

nestea

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I loved Secret of Evermore. It wasn't Secret of Mana, but minor issues aside, it was still a great game in it's own right.
 

pgtl_10

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Secret of Evermore did have multiplayer.

I remember player 2 controlling the dog.
 

Jackson

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Wow I'm surprised that some people here actually really enjoyed that game.

It was the reason Square killed US based development, it really wasn't a good game. Especially compared to Square's other big SNES mega titles.

But differ'n strokes for differ'n folks I suppose.
 

I'm an expert

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Bought the game when it first came out as well. I actually loved the game to death..was such a nice break from all the high-fantasy Square was putting out. It's a very unique game and the world is such a cool mix of different genres.. scifi, fantasy, prehistoric, medieval.. wow I want to play it again now.
 

Justin Bailey

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All I can remember about this game was that I go to a boss (a giant rat or something?) and I wasn't leveled up enough. I think the last save I did had me stuck at that spot, and then I never played it again.
 

polyh3dron

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JavyOO7 said:
What Nintendo should do for VC games that have multiplayer like Secret of Mana or any Square RPG that had multiplayer (or any other game in general) should do a port via Wii Ware and add online functionality through there. But nooooooo.
lol, Square Enix RPGs on the VC? :lol

They'll come out on the DS for 39.99 each. S-E Tax FTL
 

Mejilan

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polyh3dron said:
lol, Square Enix RPGs on the VC? :lol

They'll come out on the DS for 39.99 each. S-E Tax FTL

Joke's on you. Secret of Mana is already on the VC. In the West, even.
 

Yoschi

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Volcynika said:
Yeah, someone posted it around that time, actually: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=317328

(I'm not trying to be mean to the OP, just mentioning)
No that's cool, i didn't know that, sorry. Oh well, at least i highlighted it a bit :)
I think the game's a bit underappreciated, especially since it didn't sell so well.

carlos said:
...
I do, however, admire the effort put into it by a group of newcomers to the industry; I feel I should give it another chance via emulation, but there are so many games to play nowadays...
I found it quite remarkable actually since they had to reprogram everything, eventhough they did have excellent source material! I do hope a few people give the game another chance, because some of the bigger flaws have been corrected after all:

Mejilan said:
Interesting read, thank you. Though the interview is a bit old, last summer, IIRC. It's funny how he endorses emulation. I think that's kind of rare. Didn't know there was an SoE emulation patch, but Romhacking.net confirms it. Seems surprisingly functional, too, all things considered. I haven't been able to find much about the silver sheath fix he's talking about, though.

Never mind. Found it.
Miscellaneous bugfix patches: http://www14.brinkster.com/assassin17/soe_patches.htm
Multiplayer patch: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/24/
Thanks for that, dude! Very useful!

pgtl_10 said:
Secret of Evermore did have multiplayer.

I remember player 2 controlling the dog.
I think you probably played a patched Rom..

JavyOO7 said:
What Nintendo should do for VC games that have multiplayer like Secret of Mana or any Square RPG that had multiplayer (or any other game in general) should do a port via Wii Ware and add online functionality through there. But nooooooo.
Oh how i wish they would online multiplayer for every multiplayer game on VC!!!

Jackson said:
Wow I'm surprised that some people here actually really enjoyed that game.

It was the reason Square killed US based development, it really wasn't a good game. Especially compared to Square's other big SNES mega titles.

But differ'n strokes for differ'n folks I suppose.
I don't know the exact details about that, but if that's true i think Square is the one to blame and not the game. As a company you cannot just release one single game by a new development team and think it's going to be a magical huge success.
I think if it wouldn't have been made by Square it might've gotten better reviews and even more sales. Being a Square game is not an easy life when you're on the shelf. The game was targeted to a different audience but was under the hood of a JRPG company, that's why some of the people simply dismiss it instantly, because it's not a typical JRPG. Of course if it wasn't for Square the game would have never happened...


And for all the downscrollers-lessreaders, here's some pics from the game:





 

Galactic Fork

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There were complaints about it not being full of Japanese Mythology? Huh. I don't even remember it having all that bad of a reception. I've always thought it was pretty popular.
 

Metal Gear?!

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JavyOO7 said:
What Nintendo should do for VC games that have multiplayer like Secret of Mana or any Square RPG that had multiplayer (or any other game in general) should do a port via Wii Ware and add online functionality through there. But nooooooo.
Well it's not out of the question but honestly Nintendo added functionality to Pokemon Snap on VC, they should just do the same to more VC games.
 

tokkun

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I find it interesting that he said that we didn't get SD3 because Square had a 'no bugs' policy, when both Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore were buggy as fuck.
 

charlequin

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Jackson said:
Wow I'm surprised that some people here actually really enjoyed that game.

It was the reason Square killed US based development, it really wasn't a good game. Especially compared to Square's other big SNES mega titles.

But differ'n strokes for differ'n folks I suppose.

Squaresoft killed US development because they're a Japanese company and it didn't actually prove to be as monetarily efficient or whatever as they hoped it would be. Square put out games for the Super Famicom that were crappier than Evermore.

tokkun said:
I find it interesting that he said that we didn't get SD3 because Square had a 'no bugs' policy, when both Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore were buggy as fuck.

He's gotta be misremembering something. Secret of Mana is the glitchiest SNES game and there's no way it could have gotten through any kind of strict bug-elimination check at NoA.
 

octopusman

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I'm glad we got Evermore and didn't decide to localize it in japan :lol If we don't get awesome games we'll just make our own and won't share with you japan!
 

freddy

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Visual quality sort of leveled off after a while. People simply had to write games that were fun, if they wanted to sell games, not have them returned to the store.
Yep.
 

Mejilan

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There is NO chance in hell that Secret of Evermore is going to get remade and/or priced at $40. When/if it does get re-released, it'll be on the VC, at $8. So you're still powerfully losing this one, dude.
 

Dreamwriter

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Yoschi said:
I don't know the exact details about that, but if that's true i think Square is the one to blame and not the game. As a company you cannot just release one single game by a new development team and think it's going to be a magical huge success.

The game wasn't up to the quality of Square's games at that point, and most reviews specifically mentioned that. As well, the entire idea behind the development team was to try and make Squaresoft RPG's/adventures that the western audience would like (thus the game's stupid quotes about fake B-movies). The game failed in that respect, it sold horribly in the west, far worse than Square's Japan-developed games, so why would Square keep doing it when they had more Japanese titles than they could bring over?

They would have made more money bringing over Seiken Densetsu 3. And while yes, this game's development resources weren't taking up the development resources SD3 would have, Square wouldn't release Secret of Mana 2 and Secret of Evermore at the same time, and they had much bigger games waiting in the wings for after Evermore's release, so one *could* say that Evermore killed SD3's US release.
 

Marvie_3

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Secret of Evermore is one of my favorite SNES games. I love the story and all the stupid movie references the main character makes.
 

Cheerilee

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tokkun said:
I find it interesting that he said that we didn't get SD3 because Square had a 'no bugs' policy, when both Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore were buggy as fuck.
From the OP.
Brian Fehdrau said:
Of course, then we went and shipped Evermore with some bugs, so who I am to talk?
 
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charlequin said:
Squaresoft killed US development because they're a Japanese company and it didn't actually prove to be as monetarily efficient or whatever as they hoped it would be. Square put out games for the Super Famicom that were crappier than Evermore.



He's gotta be misremembering something. Secret of Mana is the glitchiest SNES game and there's no way it could have gotten through any kind of strict bug-elimination check at NoA.

That was probably before they started that policy (Maybe partially as a result of SOM's glitchyness!)
 

Yoschi

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Dreamwriter said:
The game wasn't up to the quality of Square's games at that point, and most reviews specifically mentioned that. As well, the entire idea behind the development team was to try and make Squaresoft RPG's/adventures that the western audience would like (thus the game's stupid quotes about fake B-movies). The game failed in that respect, it sold horribly in the west, far worse than Square's Japan-developed games, so why would Square keep doing it when they had more Japanese titles than they could bring over?

They would have made more money bringing over Seiken Densetsu 3. And while yes, this game's development resources weren't taking up the development resources SD3 would have, Square wouldn't release Secret of Mana 2 and Secret of Evermore at the same time, and they had much bigger games waiting in the wings for after Evermore's release, so one *could* say that Evermore killed SD3's US release.
If you want to prove yourself in a different market and under different circumstances, you have to try more than once.
Kinda like.. ..cooking! :D

And they haven't cooked in a long time.

soul creator said:
Peter Molyneux totally stole the dog concept from this game!
:lol I never thought of that!

charlequin said:
...
He's gotta be misremembering something. Secret of Mana is the glitchiest SNES game and there's no way it could have gotten through any kind of strict bug-elimination check at NoA.
I wonder how long and intensively they bug-checked those games.
Not saying that you're wrong, but maybe they had a different kind of bug-checking or like Nuclear Muffin said, they might've started the policy after SoM was released.

octopusman said:
I'm glad we got Evermore and didn't decide to localize it in japan :lol If we don't get awesome games we'll just make our own and won't share with you japan!
For them it's different, they can import a game from the US and still read it (they do learn english!), while non-japanese readers can import SD3 for instance, but won't understand a word! Not even the title! (Unless they know it beforehand)

 

le.phat

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I can't think back of 2D rpgs or snes without SoE coming to mind. Loved that game to death!
 

Cheerilee

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Nuclear Muffin said:
That was probably before they started that policy (Maybe partially as a result of SOM's glitchyness!)
I think that "rule" was around since the NES days. It was most likely an unwritten part of Nintendo of America's "seal of approval" back when that actually meant something. Basically, NOA felt that the delay in getting English versions of games could double as an extensive testing period of the game by the Japanese fanbase. If bugs became apparent after the game shipped once (in Japan), NOA obviously expected someone to step up and fix them before shipping the game a second time (in America).

But like all of Nintendo's strict rules, they were loose and could be bent if you knew how to play ball. As Brian suggested, "even someone with Square's relationship" would've had "trouble" getting NOA to look the other way. Secret of Evermore was probably exempt from this policy because there was no real-world testing period in Japan for an American game.

But I don't think that Brian knows exactly why SD3 was passed over. Just that it had bugs, and that NOA would've complained had Square tried to release the game as-is, and that even without NOA, Square might have been fearful of releasing it as-is, considering that gamers felt that bugs were a good enough reason to return games back in those days. I remember I successfully returned a few early PSX games, and put down "loading times" as my excuse. People returned Capcom's Demon's Crest on the SNES in droves simply because it "wasn't fun" (second day on the market, it had more first-day returns than second-day sales). Can you imagine that? Man, we had it really good. Except for the whole... no SD3, no FFV, no Dragon Quest V&VI, no Star Ocean, no Tales of, no MegaTen, no Fire Emblem, etc. thing.
 

charlequin

Banned
Oct 19, 2005
26,635
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ruby_onix said:
But I don't think that Brian knows exactly why SD3 was passed over.

Probably not, since he would have just been hearing about it through the grapevine anyway. Most of what I've seen about the SNES-era localization decisions at Square suggest that the Japanese higher-ups were making them without necessarily having any real grounding in the US market (see: FFV is "too hard" for US gamers), so there isn't necessarily even a real, sensible reason that SD3 didn't make it.
 

Ledsen

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ruby_onix said:
I think that "rule" was around since the NES days. It was most likely an unwritten part of Nintendo of America's "seal of approval" back when that actually meant something. Basically, NOA felt that the delay in getting English versions of games could double as an extensive testing period of the game by the Japanese fanbase. If bugs became apparent after the game shipped once (in Japan), NOA obviously expected someone to step up and fix them before shipping the game a second time (in America).

But like all of Nintendo's strict rules, they were loose and could be bent if you knew how to play ball. As Brian suggested, "even someone with Square's relationship" would've had "trouble" getting NOA to look the other way. Secret of Evermore was probably exempt from this policy because there was no real-world testing period in Japan for an American game.

But I don't think that Brian knows exactly why SD3 was passed over. Just that it had bugs, and that NOA would've complained had Square tried to release the game as-is, and that even without NOA, Square might have been fearful of releasing it as-is, considering that gamers felt that bugs were a good enough reason to return games back in those days. I remember I successfully returned a few early PSX games, and put down "loading times" as my excuse. People returned Capcom's Demon's Crest on the SNES in droves simply because it "wasn't fun" (second day on the market, it had more first-day returns than second-day sales). Can you imagine that? Man, we had it really good. Except for the whole... no SD3, no FFV, no Dragon Quest V&VI, no Star Ocean, no Tales of, no MegaTen, no Fire Emblem, etc. thing.

Well GameStop does have a 10-day no questions asked return policy (with "It wasn't fun" being the most common reason I guess), at least here.
 

djtiesto

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Jul 26, 2004
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Ledsen said:
Well GameStop does have a 10-day no questions asked return policy (with "It wasn't fun" being the most common reason I guess), at least here.

Hmm, I don't think we have that... else I would take back Gears of War 2 in a heartbaet.
 

Man God

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Honestly I think the title of glitchiest Square release of the SNES gen has to go to FFVI.
 

CamHostage

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charlequin said:
He's gotta be misremembering something. Secret of Mana is the glitchiest SNES game and there's no way it could have gotten through any kind of strict bug-elimination check at NoA.

That might be why NoA got so hard-up on bug checking, maybe they were weak with Mana1 but by the time "Mana 2" came along, NoA was swamped with crappy games and had to tighten up its rules; meanwhile, stores were were still taking back opened game product and were probably freaking out about cartridge returns on these high-priced games that were coming along at the end of the 16-bit era and so were putting pressure on Nintendo to keep up standards. (And also the cart prices and other funky relationship problems with Square and Nintendo.)
 

jarrod

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Jun 6, 2004
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SD3 actually started localization iirc (as did Romacing SaGa 3 btw, which was going to be retitled FF4 or FF Legend 4). I think the chief reason we didn't see either was that Square killed their US publishing and distribution infrastructure shortly after Evermore and Chrono Trigger were out the door. They maintained a localization group and started up the LA R&D studio, but by this point (1996) we'd already had the FF7 betrayalaton, so I doubt there was much interest in maybe striking a deal with NOA to get the last few SNES games out either.