Pls buy Baten Kaitos remastered

The games are really good I promise. Nintendo and Bamco appear to be shafting this remaster of a game five people bought the first time very hard, with absolutely zero marketing, no US physical release, and even just ditching English audio from the games. But they are really good - a combination of the creative talents behind Chrono Cross and Tri-Ace games, among the last big console RPGs with meticulously hand-drawn environments, a surreal fantasy world influenced by Arabic, Mesoamerican and Okinawan aesthetics and mythology, a quirky Rummy-like battle system (light deckbuilding + timed command input chains) unlike anything else I’ve ever played, and Motoi Sakuraba’s GOAT soundtracks. I really, really want there to be a market for this game and games like it: lush, neoclassical dreamlike fantasy RPGs that aren’t besotten with moe tropes and the same five or six West European, feudal Japanese and/or blandly glowstick-futuristic aesthetic choices.

Here is the director and background artist having a toast to the remaster’s quiet launch:

Okay shilling time is over

@“2501”#p133089 I bought it just now, in part because I somehow missed both games the first time around! I‘m not even all that worried about performance stuff (which– I mean, the Tales of Symphonia remaster appears to have been really bad in that respect at launch), but I am kinda weirded out that there don’t even seem to be any reviews out in the wild? Still, I‘m sure I’ll have a blast because both of these games are exactly the sort of games that I typically enjoy.

@“Karasu”#p133091 I literally emailed several publications asking - begging - to review the game, and my responses were bupkis!! Bamco doesn’t even seem to have sent out review codes, which is insane. They’re treating the game like this shameful thing to be swept under the rug, which makes no sense - the games absolutely were and are high quality! Really dismal stuff.

I will purchase these games

@“2501”#p133093 That‘s pretty wild! I’m always astonished when companies do this, and I have no idea why they would do it– it‘s like they’re treating the game like a tax write-off or something, and they don't want to call any attention to it.

Either way I'm excited to try it, especially given that the last few new release games I've bought have ended up being not exactly my thing. I don't feel like it should be as though I'm taking a chance by buying it though! The first game at least was super well liked when it came out on GameCube, if I recall correctly.

No pressure or anything, but I would love to know your thoughts on both games beyond just your recommendation. If you're up for it!

I bought it last night as soon as I saw it go up! Got my Switch charged and headphones ready to start today after work. I‘m really excited to finally play them! I just hope the remaster is a good one and that there isn’t some laundry list of horrific problems that some of these have.

@“Karasu”#p133095 A writer friend was encouraging me to pitch a proper writeup on the games to some websites, which I very well might do after I revisit them properly. (I actually never played the second one!) It’s been a while!

They look cool, but I probably have to wait. It's been an expensive year for games and being a person.

bought my copy this morning!! the original baten kaitos is one of my favorite games ever, and i think it does brilliant things wrt the relationship between the player and the game world; it‘s a much, much weirder and more alive game than it lets on at the start. i’ve never played origins because it‘s ridiculously expensive secondhand but i’m really excited to dive into it.

if anyone is interested i [wrote a bit]( about the connection between _baten kaitos_ and _chrono cross_ and the broader creative approach that the team took for both games earlier this year.

I did my part! Disappointed that the digital artbook isn’t translated (well, the EULA is translated, but nothing beyond that).

The game got a launch trailer in Japan yesterday.

@“leah”#p133118 Hell yeah, gonna check out that essay later. Alienation and existential longing are big themes in Masato Kato’s work, for sure. I love BK being the only game to concede the player’s distance from its world and actually incorporate that into the story, instead of pretending we are Cloud or Snake or whomever. We glimpse the game world through a looking glass, as ghosts, able to influence it in certain ways but not to touch - what can be done with that?

@“2501”#p133130 exactly!! it was really interesting playing chrono cross with baten kaitos in my mind, because they‘re so incredibly similar in what i think they’re trying to do - bk is just more explicit about it, where cc relies to a certain extent on the player‘s connection to chrono trigger to achieve its effect. both are really insistent on pushing the player away, or emphasizing the distance, rather than trying to pull you in. i love the final scene of bk - >!where all the characters wave at you through the screen!< - because of that. it feels like such a profound expression of what it means to experience art, it’s the creators waving at you through their work, sharing time with you. the emphasis on distance also makes the connection feel more vital.

I will also pick this up, thanks for the prompt. Weird though, we do seem to be getting a physical in Australia.

remind me to do this next time I‘m like "ready to start my next rpg that isn’t by squaresoft or enixu"

I think I'll play on hardware instead of the remake though.

Been staring hard at this remaster for a long time. Never played the BK games, but I'm a huge Chrono Cross fan, and enjoy a lot about Xenogears and the Xenoblade games.

I watched an interesting video about it yesterday - five reasons you MUST play Baten Kaitos. One of the five reasons was its camp value, which I found intriguing. Can anyone comment on that?

@“leah”#p133118 Hey wow I love this essay, I agree with almost every word and especially like how you lay out the value of the game’s (literal and figurative) forced perspective and the strange heuristics of a “modern” JRPG battle system with its multiple layers of systemic abstractions that defy real-world metaphor.

Though I would disagree _mildly_ with one part - I think the inverse relationship between attack tier power and accuracy in _Chrono Cross_ is a _little_ intuitive, at least in video game logic terms. Think of it like a fighting game: you have light/medium/heavy attacks, each with its own attack speed and therefore vulnerability to blocks/counterattacks. You usually start up a combo with a light attack, then lead into medium and heavy followups. Once you’ve pulled off some combo hits, your meter will charge and you can unleash a special. This all _loosely_ mimics a general notion of fighting the audience might have from watching martial arts movies or anime: the hero starts out with light attacks to soften the opponent, then the pummeling begins, and eventually the fight climaxes with a dramatic special attack. Or, maybe the hero charges headfirst with a risky but devastating move.

I think the fighting game metaphor is made a lot more obvious in _Xenogears_, another proto-Monolith Soft game with Honne and Kato on staff. The battle system is simpler and the characters are depicted as large sprites on the left and right sides of the screen. The heroes are even martial artists! But _Cross_’s battle system is directly descended from that. (_Xenosaga Episode I_ also evolves the general concept in a different direction.)

But yeah, I love and agree with the thesis of both these games putting extra effort into evoking the sense of the screen as interdimensional portal, creating a dreamlike diorama world that feels like it exists beyond what you can see on the screen, and beyond what you _could_ see even if you explored every inch. Which ironically makes these games’ worlds feel as vast and complex and lived-in as the background art, while 3D open-world megagames often end up feeling small!

@"whatsarobot"#p133172 I’m guessing by “camp value” they’re probably referring to the first game’s English voice acting, which is of the “we grabbed the first five Americans we could find off the streets of Tokyo” variety. It’s also not included in the remaster at all: Japanese audio only. Which is kind of lame, because I’ve heard people heap superlatives on the _second_ game’s (properly localized, professionally staffed and recorded by native speakers) English VO. But anyway, that’s probably out of date unfortunately(?).

These games are honestly worth is just for the music.

I haven‘t bought it yet on switch, and I struggle with it because I just have them on my Wii U, but I would love to support this release.

These games are absolutely beautiful and unless you absolutely despise a card-based battle system they’re completely worth it.

Got about half way through Baten Kaitos about a year ago on the GameCube and I really enjoyed what I played, put it down and when I went back I couldn‘t remember at all what I was doing. Thinking about picking these up as a way to restart the games, but I’m kind of sad they removed the original English voices for this release. I know it's probably a contract thing with the original actors, but I loved the corny vibe that the original voices gave off.

All that said I'll probably pick it up sometime soon. Maybe we'll also get a Lost Kingdoms 1 and 2 collection for the Switch, bring back all of the GameCube card-based RPGs!

@“mtvcribs”#p133231 I’m curious to get a closer look at how the background art is adapted (or not) for HD. The first game’s opening FMV looks amusingly SD and easily pinpointable as a 2003 Namco game dragged onto modern hardware, in the way FMVs often do for these HD rereleases unless they’re rebuilt from the ground up. The backgrounds for the Chrono Cross remaster were (I believe) AI upscaled because Square lost the original assets. This is hopefully better off than that.

Early on but I think the backgrounds look quite good so far and don’t really give that AI-upscaled look that is becoming more and more common now.

The opening cutscene being in English and the rest being in Japanese definitely was a lil weird