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September 14th, 2020: Mandahrk Interview (Part 1 of 2)
Hello everyone! I am a 25 year old civil engineer from India. I grew up in towns so small they didn't have proper internet connections until the mid 2000s and little me couldn't even have imagined that one day I would be writing for a large international audience like this.
As one of the few, if not only, writers of your nationality and history on NoSleep, are there any distinct challenges you find in your writing and interactions with the subreddit?
The love and support I have received from this community has been nothing short of incredible. I certainly did not expect this. When I first started writing for nosleep I was worried that my stories won't be good enough and that if I write about India people won't easily connect with them, simply because the setting is so unfamiliar to most of the sub. But since I was mostly writing for myself and since I had seen WriteChrisWrite's series based on Hindu mythology do really well I stuck to my guns and lo and behold - my first story to crack 5k upvotes - the first part of a series - was as Indian as it gets, and unlike the aforementioned series that focused on immigrants in the United States, it was set in India, had Indian characters and even referenced Indian TV shows in the first part itself.
The success of that story gave me the confidence to begin carving a niche for myself on the sub. I saw that people were craving for content from other parts of the world, as it keeps horror fresh. It's why Japanese monsters are all the rage right now. And so I began writing about myths and legends I grew up with, about characters based on people I personally knew, and the response was great! To be the first writer from India to get a modicum of popularity on nosleep was (and is) absolutely a big honor for me.
But of course I didn't want to be typecast as just "the Indian guy", so I experimented and the next story that blew up was from the perspective of an American character. This was a whole new challenge for me as I'm not American, and the only knowledge I have of American life is through books and films and TV shows. So I focused on universal themes and that made it much easier for me to connect with people from all around the world - things that scare you, things that you treasure - you can touch the hearts of people from any nationality if you focus on the core human experience. I mean, to my utter surprise, my 'This is why mimes are much more terrifying than clowns' is astonishingly popular in Vietnam of all places. There's even an animated video of it in Vietnamese that's now sitting at over half a million views. Just incredible.
Of course the internet being what it is, I also got some hate. But I just used that hate to fuel my creativity.
When did you first become interested in horror?
I was about 4 years old when 'woh' was airing on TV. It was an Indian adaptation of Stephen King's IT and its opening was scary enough to rival American Horror Story at its best. My father thought it would be a good idea to watch the show with me on his lap. It wasn't. It scared me so bad that I would start bawling at the mere sight of this clown doll that I had. My parents had to throw it away. And I used to love that doll.
But I wasn't just frightened, I was also fascinated. I craved that adrenaline rush that consuming horror fiction gave me. There were other Indian horror shows airing at that time - shhh koi hai, zee horror show, Aahat, Aap Beeti and others that I would try to watch behind my parents' back. Soon I graduated to Hollywood horror with The Descent, the Saw series etc before moving onto Japanese horror. I remember watching the ring on cable TV when my parents weren't home. Gave me nightmares for weeks. I loved it.
Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to write in that genre?
I'd say it was when I got a copy of my high school's magazine and read a horror short story by a senior. I had always been interested in writing fantasy, but I knew that it was a long term goal and that my writing needed to improve in preparation for that. And the best way to do that was by writing short stories. I just didn't know what kind I wanted to write. But after I read my senior's story, I knew what I wanted to do. I read some Stephen King shorts and wrote my first one about a kid who's selling lemonade to his neighbours while his mother's corpse rots in his house. I would write every now and then but didn't really get serious about pursuing writing as a hobby until last year. For nosleep.
That's a very creepy early story! Where else have you found inspiration? Have real life experiences ever made their way into your work?
Inspiration is everywhere. You can find stories hidden in the most mundane of things. You just need an active imagination. I was out on a run the other day and saw this girl taking her pregnant dog out for a walk and I thought wouldn't it be funny if she gave birth to a human baby? And I turned that into a story.
My first story to hit the top spot - Every night for the last 18 years someone has been sneaking into my bedroom and sleeping next to me - is based on my childhood fears. I was terrified of sleeping on my side because I would keep imagining someone lying down behind me and gently caressing my back. The character in the story stacked pillows next to him - something I very much used to do.
Hide'N'Seek is also drawn from experience. I was playing that game at a friend's house, and I did see someone lying down like a corpse on a ledge when it was my turn to search.
See, when you're writing a story you should remember that only if it scares you will it have a shot at scaring others. Not otherwise. That's why it's important to keep it personal.
Every night for the last 18 years someone has been sneaking into my bedroom and sleeping next to me features a pistach, and you mentioned admiring a fellow author's series featuring Hindu myths. Do you have plans to incorporate other myths and creatures from Hindu theology and culture in your future writing?
Absolutely. India is such a mesmerizing country. Culture, language, food - everything changes here every 100 km or so and there is just a treasure trove of myths and legends waiting to be explored. I'm glad that there are finally horror movies like Tumbbad that are starting to dig deep into local mythology and I can't wait to do the same in my stories.
Your story Fake News feels so relevant in our times of technology, social media, and mass panic, often stemming from rumors with no factual support. No matter where in the world one lives it seems people from all cultures have fallen victim to this epidemic. Was this story based on something that actually happened in your area?
Yes. The story is based on an actual spate of lynching that occurred in India in 2017. Dozens of people were killed in separate incidents over baseless child abduction rumors that appeared out of nowhere and spread through whatsapp groups like wildfire. Mob violence isn't anything new in India, there have been numerous riots that have occured since independence in 1947. But in almost all of these incidents, the riots were organised by political parties - fanning flames of hatred with incendiary speeches, spreading fake news, organising mobs and providing weapons to them, deliberately holding back the police or even having them participate in the killings etc. However in the 2017 killings, no political party was overtly involved - they were completely organic, carried out at the grassroots level by common people themselves with no provocation. And that terrifies me - the idea that perfectly normal people can suddenly turn into monsters and kill in broad daylight for absolutely no reason just scares the living hell out of me.
Ever since then I've been interested in the role social media plays in our lives. How can people, even those who are highly educated, fall for just the most unbelievable, fact-free nonsense they read on the internet and turn into blood thirsty monsters?
How did you discover NoSleep? What prompted you to begin writing for it?
It was late 2015 and I was in college. It must have been around 3 am and I was sitting in front of the clock tower with a group of friends around a small bonfire exchanging ghost stories. A friend of mine gave me a list of the scariest horror shorts on YouTube. One of them was an adaptation of the 'smiling man' creepypasta. I discovered nosleep the next day. And I've been hooked ever since.
During this time I came across inaaace's air traffic controller story and it was the scariest thing I had ever read. I knew then that I wanted to write for nosleep and try and scare others as much as this story had scared me. Eventually I graduated college, got over my procrastination and hesitation and finally began writing last year. My 'This is why mines are much more terrifying than clowns' was a homage to him and I think it's why so many people who read that story found it to have a 'classic nosleep' feel to it. Because it was meant to be that way.
What NoSleep stories and/or authors have had the strongest impact on you?
There are so many authors here who've had an impact me and continue to influence my work that I'm afraid I'll end up forgetting about some people. But anyway, here goes nothing.
inaaace - for his absolutely terrifying imagination. WriteChrisWrite - for his all you can eat diner series (which is no longer there on nosleep as it is being adapted into a TV show) where he used monsters from hindu mythology, which gave me the confidence to start writing about things that I'm most familiar with. TheJesseClarke - for expanding my understanding of horror. dopabeane - for her mesmerising prose. verastahl and Mr_outlaw_ - their work helped me create my own extended universe. The_Dalek_Emperor - one of the all time greats of nosleep. Borrasca, room 733, all classics. Max-Voynich - for introducing a surrealist element to horror that was sorely missing on nosleep. Seriously, his writing is a treat for the senses.
Literally everyone over at /thecrypticcompendium. Having the opportunity to pry open their skulls and peer into their imaginations has been a fascinating experience.
There are so many others - u/nslewis, u/fainting--goat, M59gar, headofspectre, samhaysom, Cymoril_Melnibone Elias_witherow, searchandrescuewoods, harrison_prince, TheColdPeople, dariuspilgrim, 1000Vultures, bloodstains, magpie_quill, Coney-IslandQueen.
Some stories on nosleep that etched themselves onto my memory, in no particular order are -
Left/Right game by NeonTempo - imaginative concept executed flawlessly.
What happens when the stars go out by thejesseclarke - makes my bawl every time I read it.
Third Parent by Elias_Witherow - the only story on nosleep that I haven't been able to bring myself to read again.
Uncle Gerry's family Fun zone by red_grin - it is the perfect horror short story and each read reveals something new.
What is the most terrifying thing you have personally experienced?
When I was 12 I had this mole on the small of my back that was gradually increasing in size. Swelling up like a little balloon. I showed it to my parents and they took me to the doctor, who told us that it was a benign tumorous growth that would have to be removed. It was the most scared I've ever been in my life. To stop myself from bursting into tears in the hospital I kept pestering the nursing staff with questions. They were really professional and helped me keep my nerves in check, to the point that I was pretty quiet when they wheeled me into the operating theatre and knocked me out with an anaesthetic. Thankfully the surgery went smoothly and I even got to see the chunk of flesh they cut out of me!
We're so glad you were able to have it taken care of and are okay, that's so frightening! You mention another real-life fear in your story Manpig, where you delve into the topic of bullying, and the horrible results it can have. What prompted the story, and its notably grim ending?
I actually wrote that to subvert what I believe has become a bit of a trope on nosleep. There have been many stories about physically unappealing, almost monstrous people/creatures that seem terrifying on the surface, but are in fact just misunderstood and even end up befriending the protagonist. The only evil that exists in such stories comes from "normal" people. I thought it would be a fun sleight of hand to get everyone to sympathise with Manpig only to reveal him as a monster in the end.
Another reason that it ended on such a dark note is that it was a deliberate choice. I find myself struggling with grim endings, it's hard for me to kill off characters I love. The thing is that horror is at its most memorable when it leaves you feeling hopeless at the end. That's why I've been making a conscious effort to try and make my readers feel despair by the time they finish reading. At least in some of my stories.
What are some of your biggest influences from media?
Stephen King. Because obviously. I don't think there's anyone writing horror today that hasn't been at least somewhat influenced by the man.
I also really love Shirley Jackson. Her prose took some getting used to but once I did, I enjoyed her work immensely. She's great at slowly playing with your mind and her characters are some of the most well fleshed out in horror.
There's also Joe Hill, Thomas Olde Huevelt (HEX was devastating), Adam Nevill, Paul Tremblay, Victor Lavalle, and Mark Danielewski (house of leaves is such an inventive book).
Moving away from horror I'm a huge fan of Arundhati Roy - she cuts through the wilful ignorance and hypocrisy of privileged Indians in a way that is very rare for writers over here. Then of course there is Dr. Ambedkar, whose Annihilation of Caste continues to be the most revolutionary thing I've ever read. Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, Khushwant Singh (his stories on partition of India are awe-inspiring) - all legends. I also devoured Premchand's stories as a child, but his work is a part of the hindi literary tradition.
Now growing up, I loved fantasy. Lord the rings was the first book I ever truly fell in love with. It was a tattered old thing when I bought it, and is still one of my most treasured possessions. I have the fondest memory of searching for old books with my father at Daryaganj in Delhi. (Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Dickens - I was introduced to all the classics because of this street market.)
My mother is a huge book lover as well. She's got trunks and trunks of books - everything from Enid Blyton to Jeffrey Archer and Mario Puzo. Got my love of reading from her.
The series Every year for the last 3 centuries our town has been sacrificing its women to protect the world is an edge-of-your-seat ride documenting a man and his harrowing experience with something...otherwordly that has his town in its grip. Since you mentioned Shirley Jackson, was this story, however much more fleshed out, initially inspired by her classic tale The Lottery?
It absolutely was! I loved the idea of the lottery - generation after generation following a violent ritual that they don't even understand or question anymore. Letting some inexplicable horror become a part of your life - what a fascinating concept. And it is set in a small town too - the most fertile ground for horror. I wanted to do something similar - write about a cold Himalayan town, but didn't want to explore the same themes in the exact same way. So I turned Shirley Jackson's subtle psychological horror about blindly following tradition into a popcorn thriller, wove it into my extended universe and it became my favourite story that I've ever written.
Do you ever plan on revisiting Rocky and the group he works for?
Yes! I have outlines of multiple series planned out in my head already and will be going through them one by one. In fact, I'm current writing a series set in the universe.
Other than writing, what are some of your hobbies? What other creative mediums do you enjoy?
I absolutely love music. I will literally listen to anything. From Rammstein to Frank Ocean to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, my playlist is a hodge podge of genres. Hell I was just listening to Black Pink's latest song a couple of days ago. The tonal shifts in my playlist can be so jarring they can give people whiplash.
But my first love will always be Punjabi music. Give me some Jassi Gill or Sidhu Moosewala and I'm ready to bring the house down.
Apart from music I love acting. I was involved in the theatre scene in high school and college but decided not to pursue it. From improv to street plays to staged productions - I've done it all, in both English and Hindi. I'm a bit of an introvert, but just love being on stage. I was once so into a performance I dislocated my shoulder. Finished my part though, before collapsing in pain when I was alone. Popped that fucker right back in myself. But the damn thing ended my chances at playing for my college's basketball team.
Do you ever explore writing other genres besides horror? If so, what other styles of writing? Which do you prefer?
Oh yes. I wanted to write my own high fantasy epic after reading the Lord of the Rings. Still do. But it's on the back burner for now. For when I'm a better writer. At the moment I'm content with writing horror and exploring its different facets.
How much time do you spend writing in an average day or week? Do you have any rituals that help you focus?
When I'm not working on a series I generally average around 3-4 hours a week. I don't really have rituals as such. I just write whenever I have some free time and the mood strikes me. Though I do at times listen to music to set the mood. Especially if I'm writing an action sequence. In that case I generally fall back on classical music - like Mozart's Lacrimosa or Handel's Sarabende or even Vivaldi's four seasons. If you're writing violence to thrill, and not to horrify, finding elegance in it is the way to go. And listening to classical music helps me get into that mindset.
When crafting a piece of fiction, do you generally start with an outline or simply begin writing?
It really depends on what I'm writing. Sometimes it'll be an idea that goes off in my head like a lightbulb and I'll write the story down in less than half an hour. No outline, no idea of how it's going to end, I'll just go with the flow and see where the story takes me. 'Every night for the last 18 years someone has been sneaking into my bedroom and sleeping next to me' began as a sentence and I wrote the first part in 16 minutes. I actually saw how much time it took.
On the other hand, some stories will be meticulously planned. Like the 'I just met the lone survivor of a village that disappeared over 200 years ago' series and the 'My Home Owners Association seems to be a little too passionate about enforcing its rules' series were all planned out from start to finish and it took me weeks to write them.
Wow! That's some intensive planning. Your HOA series takes an inventive approach to the common "rules" series we see on NoSleep, with all the rules being fairly typical and benign, but the consequences of breaking them proving fatal. What led you to the concept, and in particular, the revelation that the people behind the rules are white supremacists?
Rules based stories have been doing really well on nosleep for a while now and I knew that I wanted to do my own spin on them. It's certainly not the first such series I had written either. My rule-breaker series was also a subversion of the concept. I love playing around with ideas - to see how I can stand out from the crowd and do my own thing.
After wracking my brain for a while I eventually decided to write about rules that appear perfectly normal at first glance but something sinister is lurking just beneath the surface. It was awesome, because not only was it a novel concept, but having "normal" rules added an extra element of mystery and suspense to the story as well. That's because when you see a rule in a story and it tells the protagonist to ignore the little girl that walks the hallway between 3:03 AM and 3:13 AM, you as a reader are already somewhat aware of what's going to happen. But when there's a rule specifying that trash cans must not be kept outside the allowed hours, you're completely in the dark and are left wondering - what could the possible consequences of that be?
As to why white supremacists? I'll answer that in the next question :)
Have you received any backlash for including racial elements in your stories? How do you approach the topics with the appropriate gravity and awareness?
Funnily enough, I got absolutely zero backlash for the series and the response was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it was the other way around - racial "backlash" was what prompted me to write the story in the first place. When my grandfather, who fought in the second world war once told me a story that has haunted me ever since hit 6k upvotes, I got a slew of racist messages from this one guy who kept creating accounts specifically to hurl racist abuse at me. It incensed him to see an Indian do so well on the subreddit. Bigots just can't handle the fact that the world is rapidly changing around them.
It made me laugh. And I thought okay buddy, now I'm gonna write about a middle aged Muslim man killing a bunch of neo Nazis in suburban America.
But it's not like I wrote that series specifically for that one guy. With so much ethnic strife around the world I had wanted to write about tolerance, and about being intolerant of intolerance, and that is why, to me - the inclusion of David in the HOA series was so important. Here's an old white man, as patriotic as they come, with an American flag fluttering outside his house, who's also lost his son to the endless war on terror, but still refuses to give in to hatred, and actively fights against it. He's the embodiment of my belief that a better world is possible, and his bond with his muslim neighbour becomes the most significant aspect of the series.
Another one of your in-depth series, The Inheritance Game - What exactly would you be willing to do for $300 million?, is incredibly intricate, with the plot relying heavily on the interactions of the characters. How far in advance did you draft out the story, and who the ultimate survivors would be?
Inheritance Game was my own take on the battle royale genre (belko experiment, hunger games etc). I wanted there to be a cerebral element to the old kill everyone else mayhem and so added to the stress that my characters would go through by forcing them to think, to do calculations, to form alliances and more. I planned it out from the start to finish and was so happy that I was able to distract most of my readers from who the mastermind was. It was the first time that I had used red herrings and misdirection and it worked out fabulously.
Planning it was a bitch though - I had to make a chart to keep track of all the characters and how they were related to each others. Thankfully, one of the readers, Reflaxo was kind enough to draw a family tree on paint and it really helped!
We've seen other bizarre will readings in media in the similar (though far less deadly) The Westing Game, and the twisting whodunit Knives Out, among others—if you were to do your personal twist on the idea, what odd stipulations would you place in your own will?
You know what? It would be fun to have some sort of a treasure hunt in my will. Whoever gets to the goal first gets to keep all the money. This would of course be only if I hate my family (which I don't).
Now that I think about it, this would make for a great sequel to the Inheritance game - have people go around some city solving sinister, often fatal puzzles while they plot against each other - a terrifying race! But damn, just thinking about the planning that this would require gives me a headache.
Have any of your stories ever involved research? If so, what was involved?
Almost all of them. When I'm writing from the perspective of an American character I have to do research on the tiniest of things. What kind of architecture is common there, what materials are used to build a house, what do people eat, how are law enforcement departments structured, radio call signs used by the military - things that might be ordinary to you isn't so much for me. Hell, I even made a post on nosleepooc asking about what HOAs are like.
Are there any topics you feel are too controversial for you to address or that you prefer not to explore in your writing?
I think don't think there are any topics that are too controversial to be addressed, as long as they are handled with proper care. Personally, I like to explore anything and everything in my work. I believe that writing and/or reading about the most horrific things can have a cathartic effect and can help us deal with the pain that comes to be associated with these events. But these topics (sexual assault, transphobia, racism etc) must be treated with respect or else it's just exploitative.
What are your feelings toward NoSleep's immersion/plausibility rule? What impact, if any, do you think the suspension of disbelief format may have when transitioning your work toward a mass audience unfamiliar with NoSleep?
I am of two minds when it comes to this rule. On hand it sets this platform apart as its own thing and helps weed out a lot of what would ultimately end up becoming extremely repetitive stuff. It's only because of this that nosleep isn't choked with series after series about the zombie apocalypse. It also forces writers to be a bit creative and does away with the 'I was dead the whole time' cliche to an extent. I also enjoy the role playing aspect of it. Quite a bit actually. Especially when its a long series and everyone is invested in it.
On the other hand, I hate how almost half the comments end up being deleted because of the immersion rule. Feedback, praise, criticism - these are all important and they all end up being removed. Sometimes I'll scroll past a story with hundreds of comments and it'll just be a sea of [deleted], [deleted]. The comments we get on our stories are little packets of memories for us and it's annoying to see them get deleted.
Do you have any favorite reader reactions to your writing?
I love any and all reader reactions! I am grateful that I have the opportunity to share my imagination with other people. And it's even more special when my stories are able to connect with someone. When they're invested in seeing where a series will go, when they're touched by a story or get shit scared or even repulsed - it really warms my heart. Seeing my name and my stories pop up in recommendation threads makes me ecstatic.
But if I had to pick the most memorable reactions I've seen, I think I would go with the girls sending me links to their onlyfans accounts via dms and comments on my story about the platform ;)
What story or project are you most proud of?
1st November 1984. It was an incredibly personal story and it was very difficult for me to write. But I'm really proud of how it turned out. I'm glad that it ended up being one of my most popular stories and that I could bring the truth of that horrible event to so many people. The heartfelt messages I received from people on the sub and from other Sikhs who found the story really made my eyes water.
It's been 36 years since the anti-sikh genocide and justice has still not been served. And that makes it so important that its history is remembered and passed down from generation to generation. It's extremely satisfying that I could contribute to that in my own small way.
What an amazing way to use NoSleep to shine light on a horrific time in history that took so many lives. 1st November, 1984 brought forth an outpouring of comments from people whose families had been affected, in addition to those who were learning of this tragedy for the first time. You can feel a strong sense of solidarity among your readers and a thankfulness for bringing knowledge about such a dark time. Did you expect to get such a response from this story? You say it was personal—did you have family impacted by this, and if so, was it cathartic to share this story? Is there ongoing turmoil and trauma in your country due to these events?
I didn't think that the story would get this popular. But I'm so glad that it did. Like I said, it's been 36 years since the pogrom and we still haven't seen justice. Court cases are still dragging on and many of the killers have died natural deaths. There's just so much unresolved trauma in the Sikh community. The rot was so systemic back then - everyone from police to politicians to media to bureaucracy - all were involved in spreading hate and organising the genocide. Keeping quiet and bottling it all in became the norm for our families, for fear of state reprisal. It got so bad that many young Sikhs living in the west today are unaware of the extent of the tragedy. I know that just reading that story was cathartic for many older Sikhs and the heartfelt messages I received are a testament to that fact.
I'm so glad that I decided to write it. We need to remember what happened in 1984. If we can't get the victims justice, the least we can do is remember them. Forgetting their suffering might be an even bigger crime than what happened all those years ago. Writing it and spreading awareness about the genocide to so many people was a tremendously gratifying experience.
I must say here that it's only because of TheJesseClarke's As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death that I realised that there was space for stories like this on nosleep.
And yes. My family did suffer in 1984. My dad's family lost their home (which was later taken over by someone else), their business and had to shift to Punjab (a traditionally sikh dominated state in India) with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My Dad was in college back then, and had to make the terrifying journey all alone. My mother's family faced the same. They were boycotted by their neighbours and had to ultimately pack everything and travel over 2200 km to get to safety. Thankfully, no harm came to any of them. But they knew plenty of people who were butchered, especially in Delhi which was the epicenter of the violence.
1984 was the biggest reason why despite being born in a Sikh family I've never had long hair and have never worn a turban. I grew up to be an atheist, but I still feel like what could have been a part of my identity was robbed from me.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learned since you began posting to NoSleep?
I'm sure others have said this, but upvotes don't really say everything there is to say about the quality of a story. There are many factors that decide whether a story becomes popular on nosleep or not, and its quality is just one of them. In fact, one of my favourite series - little house on Briar rose drive - barely cracked 100 upvotes. It really taught me to write for myself first and foremost instead of always worrying about whether other people will like it or not.
Not to mention there is something special about writing a series that hovers around 500 upvotes or so but with the same 15-20 people commenting on each part. It's like telling a campfire story to your friends. That intimacy is somewhat lost when your story hits the top spot and you're more focused on other things instead of just enjoying the ride. (Psst - that doesn't mean I don't feel gutted each time a story of mine fails to hit the #1 spot. But that's fine. Failures help me appreciate successes more).
As a successful author on NoSleep, do you have any advice for new contributors?
Oh gee... Me? Successful? Why, thank you very much!
To anyone considering posting on nosleep or those who already have a couple of stories out on the sub, I would just like to say that practice makes perfect. Keep writing. The only effective way to get better at one's craft is by working on it. Don't worry about writing the perfect story or getting negative reactions, just start writing. And put yourself out there. Get over that hesitation and post you story! Let others see your work. Crossing that hurdle is the first and the most important step in any writer's journey.
One thing I'd like to add here, is that just writing isn't enough. If you keep writing in a vaccum you'll soon end up plateauing and you'll be stuck at a certain skill level. You may even end up developing some bad habits - like repeating words, character arcs etc. To break through you'll need an extra push. What might that be, you ask? Reading. But don't read as a reader, read as a writer. Stories on nosleep, horror books recently published, other books in other genres - read everything that grabs your interest. And see how writers write. Take notes if you have to. Because I do. Sentence construction, character development, use of metaphors, how to build suspense - you can learn a lot, just by changing how you read. Read, till you find your own 'voice'. And then read some more.
Next - Get in touch with other writers. Show them your work. Ask for help. Look for ways to improve your craft. Feedback is important. Feedback from people who know what they're doing is priceless.
Your advice for writers to read more is truly some of the best advice we've heard. To bear the fruit, you must also ingest the fruit. You are what you eat and all that. So, looking forward, what are some of your short-term and long-term writing goals?
I am currently working on a series that I would like to put out as soon as possible. There's also a collaboration with three other authors that's been stuck in development hell for months now. Would like to get that show on the road as soon as possible.
Long term writing goal - I want to get a book published in India in the traditional way. Something to do with magical realism.
A Guide to the Differences Between JRPGs Ports and Enhanced Versions (Part 1).
This is the hardest one of the guides I wanted to make, because the information is never easy to get, which is weird. So please forgive me if I missed some changes, and by all means tell me if I missed any of them or if any of them are incorrect.
Since this list is really long, this guide is going to come in parts, this part covers:
- Valkyrie Profile (PSX) vs Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP vs iOS & Andriod).
- Chrono Trigger (SNES) vs Chrono Trigger (PSX vs NDS vs iOS & Andriod vs PC).
- Star Ocean 2 (PSX) vs Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP) vs PS4 (JP.ver).
- The Last Remnant (Xbox360) vs The Last Remnant Remastered (PC vs PS4 & Switch).
- Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360) vs Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One).
- Tales of Symphonia (GC) vs Tales of Symphonia (PS2 (JP.ver only) vs PS3/PC).
- Skies of Arcadia (DC) vs Skies of Arcadia: Legends (GC).
- Person 3 (PS2) vs Persona 3 FES (PS2 (English.ver)) vs Persona 3P (PSP).
- Persona 4 (PS2) vs Persona 4 Golden (Vita vs PC).
- .hack//G.U (PS2) vs .hack//G.U. Last Recode (PS4/PC).
- Final Fantasy 12 (PS2) vs FF 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only) vs FF12 Zodiac Age (PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One).
- Rune Factory 4 (3DS) vs Rune Factory 4 Special (Switch).
- This is made for Ports and Enhanced versions, so No Remakes. So this is about differences between the different versions of Chrono Trigger, and not about the differences between FF7 ps1 and FF7 Remake.
- The differences are taken from all over the internet, either from official sources, wikis, youtube, and even forums.
- I cover all the changes for a game, unless there is too many, in which case I will highlight the ones worth mentioning.
Valkyrie profile PSX:Nearly identical to the Japan version but with minor fixes in the menu screen. In the Japanese version, Characters not in the party were unable to change or learn skills nor were they able change or remove equipment. The US version allowed out of party members to change and learn skills as well as change or remove equipment without being added to the party. Also in the Japanese version, Lenneth would unequip all her skills and equipment when switching between sword and bow. The US version 'remembers' the previous setting when switching weaponry and is automatically equipped with the skills and equip. Another improvement over the Japanese version is an improved item sorting option.
There are a few instances of censoring such as Badrach's smoking.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth PSP:Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth lacks the improvement made in US version. Rather than re-rendering the textures of the dungeon maps, TOSE cropped and upscaled the pre-rendered images to fit the portable console's screen, resulting in severe blurring in some areas. This version also removes the anime opening movie in favor of 3D CGI, animated movie. Certain key story-sequences were animated in the same style as the opening movie and can be viewed at anytime in the Gallery option in the title screen once unlocked in the story. The animated scenes include:
Other big changes are:
- Opening Movie
- Lenneth's Awakening
- Jelanda's Transformation
- Alicia witnesses Barbarossa's execution
- Lenneth's encounter with the Lord of the Undead
- Lenneth and the Homunculi
- A chance encounter between "Meril" and Lucian
- Lenneth in Weeping Lily Meadow
- Lucian's departure to Valhalla
- Hrist's Awakening
- The Sovereign's Rite
- A Ending
- An enhanced version of the original game's localization
- Square Enix cleaned up the original game's English script and additional voice over dialogue for the CG movies was recorded by New Generation Pictures, rather than the original company, TAJ Productions.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth iOS & Andriod:This is the PSP version being ported to iOS & Andriod, with the following changes:
- Enhanced graphics such as character portraits. >* Enhanced Text.
- Enhanced UI.
- The option to skip cut-scenes.
- In-app purchases to unlock collectibles
- Ability to turn on auto-battle.
Chrono Trigger PSX:Anime cut scenes created by original character designer Akira Toriyama's Bird Studio and animated by Toei Animation.
A new Extra Mode Option was added that is divided into different categories of viewable extras, that are unlocked as you finish the game, and just as shown in the picture, they are:
- Art Gallery.
- Music Box.
- Tech Showcase.
- Monster Data.
- Boss Data.
- Treasure Map.
Chrono Trigger NDS:This version includes everything new in the PSX version, and also has big and a long list of changes and additions, which I will try to condense them as much as possible:
- Ability to play using the two screens and the touch screen, or in classic mode through a single screen.
- Added the Arena of Ages: A monster arena where You pick basic monsters and raise them to fight computer and wireless opponents.
- Added the Lost Sanctum: A sidequest during the main game. It consists of two dungeons in two different eras.
- Added the Dimensional Vortex: A extra Dungeon, available after beating the game once and appears in three different eras. Each dungeon is different.
- A lot of New Items.
- New Enemies in the new dungeons, in the form of palette swaps of old enemies.
- One New Ending after finishing the Dimensional Vortex completely.
- New Translation that changes a lot of names form the original version to something more faithful to the Japanese version.
Chrono Trigger iOS & Android:Both versions initially were based on the NDS version, but later on got an update to make them similar to the PC version.
Chrono Trigger PC:Everything on the NDS version is present here except there is No Arena of Ages. What they did add however is:
- Auto-Save feature.
- Higher Resolution Graphics and update UI.
- Support for mouse and keyboard controls.
- Remastered sound and music.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution:
- A New Translation that changes almost everything in the game.
- New voice actors. >* New voiced acted scenes; All major story events now have voice acting.
- New recruitable character: Welch Vineyard.
- New Private Actions and 13 new Endings.
- Unlocking the Galaxy and Universe modes now require defeating a specific number of enemies in a single playthrough rather than unlocking voices in the Voice Collection. >>>* Practically all Combat Skills have been refined, some being removed (such as Cancel, which is now automatically implemented).
- The combat system has been slightly refined, now allowing all melee fighters to perform a 3-hit combo as their normal attack.
- The Super Specialty "Bunny Call" no longer allows the player to "climb" on towns and some terrains. The player now will enter a town upon approaching while in Bunny Form, and can even activate private actions.
- All items in the inventory screen are now depicted as 2D icons instead of the original 3D models.
- Many bugs and glitches have been fixed (most notably the infamous random Cave of Trials screen freeze).
- Ring of Lightspeed (called Slayer Ring in Second Story) now works on Dias Flac.
- New character designs and portraits.
- No magic combo mechanic.
- Crafting animations are now replaced by a still 2D image.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution PS4 JP.ver:This enhanced version was released only in Japan on the PS4, with enhanced graphics and BGM, and a DLC that helps you with the gameplay.
The Last Remnant PC:This version is only available to purchase in the EU SquareEnix online store as of right now:
- Turbo Mode is now available, and can be toggled on or off while giving orders to unions in battle. When on, battles play out at double the speed.
- Crimson Flare, a new Arcana, is now available.
- New formations, such as Eremurus Rain, are now available.
- Enemies hit considerably harder.
- Rare Monsters can have significantly higher HP than their XBOX 360 counterparts.
- Arcana require substantially more AP.
- Unique Arts now require AP.
- Remnant Arts can only be performed by union leader, Weapon Arts now require high union morale.
- Offensive Weapon Arts now increase morale when used.
- Additionally, Arcana and offensive Special Arts now raise morale by a fixed amount.
- Likewise, certain Enemy Arts now lower morale by a fixed amount.
- Wards now affect the entire union.
- Attributes required for formation upgrades are vastly different.
- Healing no longer raises morale, and morale increased by Critical Hits has been dramatically reduced.
- Union morale now fluctuates based on more conditions (IE: taking an action, successfully landing a hit, receiving damage, etc.). In the X360 version, union morale stayed somewhat static, usually changing when being healed, being KO'd/terminated, executing a successful Critical Trigger. It also did not drop to 0 whenever an offensive Special Art was executed, whereas it will do so on the PC.
- Linking additional enemies together does not increase your Battle Rank further than having fought them separately.
- Special commands, such as the use of David's Gae Bolg, are no longer interrupted by being raidlocked by a different union or having targeted enemy union defeated by an ally.
- Allies now have the option to cure a friendly union's Curse status ailment via "Cure them even if it kills them!" command. This command is in the XBOX 360 version as well, but is only available when the union is Enthralled; it will not be available when the union is cursed.
- Items are color-coded in the PC version, and a new preview feature lets you see what the item looks like in battle.
- You can now toggle between viewing the stats of a weapon or shield and viewing a preview of what it looks like in battle.
- Components and consumables are now categorized.
- Items are now color-coded based on their rarity.
- Creation or customization of some items require fewer components.
- New items available via Blueprint 4.
- Various weapon stats have changed.
- Some very rare monster-specific drops can now be split from monsters (e.g., Godwood Timber, Spiritwood Timber).
- The leader limit is no longer imposed. Unions can be composed entirely of leader units if the player desires.
- Likewise, soldiers can now be set as union leaders.
- The stat cap has been lifted for all characters to allow a maximum of 255 for each stat.
- The Seven are now recruitable after completing Union of the Golden Chalice Task #70: For Our Lord.
- Rush can now be removed from the active party.
- Khrynia can learn the new Unique Art Dual Snowpetal.
- Arts can be disabled, filtering which skills a unit may use in combat.
- Leaders' requested components are displayed when viewing their stats.
- Leaders' wield style can be changed depending on their equipped weapon.
- Shields now prevent style changes mid-battle.
- The following classes now prevent style changes: Guardian, Scout, Hunter, Wanderer, Thief, Alchemist, all Mystic classes, Vagrant, Mercenary, Aristocrat, Djin, Fortuneteller, Sage and General.
- The experience required to advance Wield Style skills has been reduced, and the experience required to advance Weapon Type skills has been increased.
- Three new classes are now available: Ataraxian, Cleric, and Ninja.
- The Guardian, Fencer, and Warrior classes now require non-sovani wield styles, and are thus not available to Sovani.
- The Gladiator class now requires Power Grip and Wards.
- Hybrid classes (Item+Combat and Mystic+Combat) can now be achieved by units who do not start in one.
- Some leaders now have a different weapon upgrade path, which caused some units to learn new Weapon Arts while others lost theirs.
- Leaders can request weapons that do not coincide with their weapon upgrade path as long as they match their equipped weapon type and size.
- Soldiers can now request weapon drops.
- Some units have had their starting Unit BR level, stats, class, equipment, arts, and hiring wage changed.
New Game Plus and Hard Mode: After the epilogue and credits, you can now save your game. When you're taken back to the main menu, you can load this save to begin a new playthrough that carries over certain elements from your previous playthrough. You will also be given the option to start the new game in Hard Mode.
- The completion of At Hatred's End is no longer required in order to activate Things Unchangeable.
- Duke of Ghor now has a … icon when you speak with him between the first, third, and fifth base battles.
- The component requirements in The Assistant have lowered.
- The DLC content is now unlocked differently; the majority of the extra content now requires the completion of certain guild tasks.
- The Leader Extraordinaire guild tasks which required three units of a single class now only require one.
- The Monsterslayer guild tasks require different enemies to be defeated.
- The PC version will warn you if you cannot leave an area without a fight.
- Auto Save is now available, which automatically saves after having changed zones or having won a battle.
- Battle Rank is now viewable outside of combat, in the party menu.
- Battle Rank progression has been slowed considerably; it takes more encounters/enemy unions terminated to increase in rank.
- Characters with … icons are now identified with markers on the map.
- Enemies can no longer be respawned by saving and reloading an adjacent area.
- New saving opportunities are now available, such as before the base's boss.
- A warning message is now displayed if you attempt to save your game in an area which you cannot leave until you defeat a boss.
- Mr Diggs's digging animations are now much quicker.
- The loading screens that explained some of the game's mechanics have been disabled.
- Many areas of the game have had their spawn tables altered or repopulated.
- Starting battle music now coincides with starting morale in most battles.
- "Turn the Tide" and "Beat the Odds" now play during the second half instead of after entering Elysion.
- Union highlighting during the selection phase has been toned down (ie: ally unions don't look quite as blue).
- Leaders in reserve no longer gain skills via the Rush only skill grind trick.
- Soldiers now slowly improve their stats in reserves.
- Camera in battle doesn't swing around as wildly anymore.
- Mitra soldiers' idle stances now come in 2 varieties: the one shared by both male and female units and the one exclusive to larger male units, rather than just the "large male mitra" stance.
The Last Remnant Remastered PS4 & Switch:Based on the PC version, also added:
Yes I am salty about this if you can't tell, since they removed the PC version from steam.
- Graphics now are in Unreal Engine 4
- A new function to run faster on the overworld.
- Extra save slots.
~ Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360): vs PS3 vs Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition vs PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One. ~
Tales of Vesperia PS3:
- Features full voice acting, nearly twice as much voice work as the original.
- New Characters, including 2 new playable characters: Flynn (permanantly playable now), and Patty Fleur.
- New subplots, skits, and main game quests, and sidequests.
- New mini-games
- New songs
- Remodeled towns and new towns and dungeons.
- New bosses.
- The ability to replay boss fights.
- New 8 Mystic Arts.
- New artes, skills, and equipment.
- New item: the "Artes Ball", which allows an additional eight artes shortcuts to be assigned to the previous eight slots combined with the L1 button, which allows for a maximum of 16 artes
- New character costumes
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive editionvs PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:Based on the PS3 version, it has everything from it and all the DLC included for free, with higher resolution graphics depending on the system.
Tales of Symphonia PS2 JP.ver only:
- New animated sequences.
- New Mystic Arts.
- New Unison Arts.
- New Arts for playable characters and enemies.
- New Techniques.
- The frame rate was lowered from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second.
- New customs.
- The "Synopsis" option in the menu displays newer entries at the top
- The Casino in the game is now actually fully playable with it's own mini-games, and chips to collecet and exchange for items.
- The skits are graphically more dynamic. Portraits get larger or smaller quickly, swing from side to side, shake, and so on.
- New Titles
- More post-battle animations.
- Niflheim dungeon extended and 6 new boss characters, fought in 2 new boss battles.
- Bug Fixes
- New events to help raise affection.
- Includes new side quests, new camera angles on some cutscenes, new animated cutscenes not featured in the GameCube version
Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC:
- More customs.
- Improved character textures and improved some environments.
- Dual-audio support: Japanese and English voiceovers, which neither the PS2 or GameCube versions had
- Cutscenes support voice acting in both languages, but skits only have voice acting in Japanese. If you select English, you will just see the subtitles during skits. This is not a porting issue, as this is just how the GameCube version was.
- While the original GameCube version ran at 60fps, the Japanese PS2 port which the PS3 Chronicles HD version is based off of ran at 30fps. The Steam version can run at 40FPS.
- HD graphics
Skies of Arcadia: Legends GC:
- New Ranks for the Swashbuckler Rating system.
- Random encounters occur less frequently and load considerably faster than the Dreamcast version, and EXP offered per battle is adjusted to compensate.
- Graphically, the game sports mild improvements to character models, most noticeably adding individual fingers to the designs. The modifier volume shadows and (weirdly enough) point-mipmapping from the original release are still present.
- One of the new sidequests available is Bounty Hunting. Sailor's Guilds offer information about each person on the bounty list as they are unlocked through story progression. After reading about them, they can be found in a constant location.
- There are a number of new discoveries to be found.
- Two linked sidequests
- "Pinta Quest" minigame was removed
- DLC comes with the game.
FES PS2 (English.ver):
- A whole additional epilogue has been added, The Answer. This chapter is only available in one difficulty setting, which is supposed to be on par with Persona 3's Hard mode.
- New Personas have been added
- Secret videos of the protagonist's dorm mates have been added to flesh them out.
- Koromaru can now be taken on walks.
- Several of the Social Links have been modified slightly, such as Tanaka being available at a different time
- Several new Quests have been added.
- New costumes can be worn in battle.
- A new event involving Chidori Yoshino was added.
- Naganaki Shrine was completely overhauled.
- A hard mode was added.
- Save data from Persona 3 can be transferred into the game,
- The Answer is not included in this verion.
- Added a Female Main Character, so now you can choose between the Male and Female MCs.
- The game lacks 3D environments and character models (outside of Tartarus), all anime cutscenes are gone, the graphics and audio quality were compressed,
- The storyline of the female protagonist features many differences from that of the male protagonist, such as new social interactions as well as Social Links.
- New voiced dialogue.
- Players have the choice of selecting Elizabeth or a male-equivalent named Theodore to be Igor's assistant in the Velvet Room.
- The ability to pick who the protagonist spends the last moments of the game with. This feature is only accessible on a New Cycle
- The Desert of Doors from the Abyss of Time seen in The Answer will still appear, however, in an extra feature known as the Vision Quest. In this mode, the party can fight stronger incarnations of the Full Moon shadow bosses — save for Arcana Magician — and partake in special battles that test the party's abilities. When all of the battles have been successfully met, a second optional boss can be fought: Margaret, Igor's assistant in Persona 4 and guardian of the Desert of Doors in P3P.
- There are now two overworld save points; Aside from the log book in the Iwatodai Dormitory, there is also one on the main character's desk at school.
- In Paulownia Mall, the police station is now the only place where the protagonist can buy equipment and sell items. Aohige Pharmacy is now a buy-only store, and Be Blue V is just a part-time work site and hangout to improve the main character's condition
- From previous versions, two difficulty modes have been added: Beginner and Maniac alongside Easy and Normal in Persona 3 and Hard in Persona 3 FES:
- A new tactic, "Direct," has been added to the game, allowing control of the party members, unlike Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES.
- The "Wait" command is replaced with the "Defense" command, and will decrease the damage and any knockdown effects of the next attack the user suffers.
- The game grants "1 More" to a combatant who attacks multiple enemies not knocking all of them down; the original Persona 3 required all hit enemies to be knocked down for a 1 more.
- Party members who have been knocked down no longer spend the turn by getting up and can act as soon as they stand.
- Upon landing a critical hit or striking an enemy's weakness, party members can follow up with a co-op attack.
- Fusion Spells from the original Persona 3 are now activated from items instead of equipping a persona and selecting it like other spells.
- Allies can now take a fatal blow to the protagonist for them if they are able.
- "Dizzy" has been added as a status effect.
- Returning to the main lobby in Tartarus no longer automatically restores the party, and must now be done for a fee via the save point (this cost varies based on the date in-game and status effects currently inflicted on the party)
- Floors can be directly returned to from the entrance of Tartarus instead of being restricted to the restore point like previous versions.
- "Tired" status no longer is inflicted during Tartarus exploration, and is inflicted to all used party members after leaving (this will only drop to "Good" if the character used was at "Great" during exploration).
- Unlike previous versions, money found by party members when split up will now be given to the protagonist.
- Party members' equipment and status can now be accessed at any time from the pause menu, unlike in previous versions, which required the protagonist to speak to them while exploring Tartarus in order to change their equipment or view their status.
- You can now control Party members directly.
- The protagonists only have access to one weapon type (instead of having access to all weapon types like in P3 and FES); the male protagonist wields one-handed swords, and the female protagonist wields naginatas. As a result, the Skills "Fist Master," "Bow Master," "1hdSwdMaster" and similar skills have all been combined into a single skill called "Weapons Master." Its skill card is called "Phys Boost," and all Personas which had learned a "master" ability (like Cybele with Bow Master) now learn "Weapons Master."
- Personas now have the ability to produce a Skill Card when raised to a specific level. Each card can be used on any Persona to teach them a skill.
- The Inari Sushi in Naganaki Shrine no longer grants random bonuses for item gaining and Tartarus explorations. Instead, it offers to duplicate Skill Cards, which will take 5 days to complete
Persona 4 Golden Vita:
- Two new Social Links.
- A New Dungeon.
- A New bad ending.
- New Difficulty levels have been added: Safety/Easy/Normal/Hard/Risky.
- Several new music tracks.
- Additional voice-over dialogue.
- Chie and Teddie have new voice actors in the English version.
- New animated cutscenes.
- More Personas, including new Ultimate Personas for the Investigation Team.
- New areas can be visited.
- New events.
- The protagonist can now explore Inaba in the evening when Dojima is not home.
- The protagonist and his friends now have motorized scooters to explore various areas.
- Costumes are now available to buy at Croco Fur, in Okina City.
- New Garden and Bug Catching features.
- The ability to choose which skills can be inherited by the Persona the protagonist is fusing.
- New scene skipping function
- If the necessary criteria for at least the good ending are fulfilled, daily activities are expanded to February 14, 2012, giving more time for events and social links.
- New epilogue has been added for the True Ending.
- The list of Requests and the Fox' emas have been modified.
- Rise can now assist the Investigation Team in All-Out-Attacks.
- Added Tag Team attacks: two members can team up to perform a united attack.
- Added Cavalry Attacks: Attacks from members of the Investigation Team that are not currently in the party.
- Spell buffs and debuffs can now be used on the same character to prolong the effect
- A new gallery menu has been added: "TV Listings." It displays bonus content unlocked through the main game at any time.
- Floors and chests in dungeons can now reset by changing floors instead of leaving the dungeon and TV world, or visiting another dungeon.
Persona 4 Golden PC:
- Bug fixes
- The game will run at up to 4K resolution with 60FPS+ as opposed to the Vita's 476p resolution and 30FPS target
- Includes dual audio language and multiple text language. The anime cutscenes now also include subtitles
- In the Steam version, the player may customize their difficulty setting at any time, in contrast to the Vita version only letting you do so on New Game Plus.The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters
- The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters.
.hack//G.U. Last Recode PS4/PC:
- A brand new episode titled Vol.4//Reconnection, which takes place a year and three months after the events of Redemption
- HD graphical update for the whole game.
- Ability to restart the battle from the beginning if Haseo dies.
- Movement speed on foot has somewhat increased.
- The item stack size has increased from 50 to 99. The maximum number of item stacks in the inventory has increased from 30 to 90
- Item menu shortcuts and sort features
- When using an item in the field, pressing the X button repeatedly will cause the item to be used again without navigating the menu a second time.
- The maximum number of Chim Spheres and Virus Cores the player can possess has increased from 99 to 999
- Platforms now include the Platform Recovery feature, recovering a large portion of the party's HP and SP. It can only be used once per visit to a field.
- Saku and Bo no longer switch the active player based on their level being even or odd. They can instead be selected as separate options in the Party screen.
- Decreased the probability of allies selling the items the player give them.
- Voice clips for returning characters and NPCs between games have been updated to use the Volume 3 clips from the beginning, except where said clips are unavailable.
- Attack power has been increased and hit stops during attacks have been reduced to speed up the battle tempo.
- Learning weapons proficiency increased and acquired experience points increased.
- Awakening scenes can be skipped using the Option/Start button.
- Some of the really tough enemies have been made a bit easier
- Skeith’s general shot bullet speed has increased during Avatar Battles.
- Enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience.
- Avatar battles now show a stun gauge over the enemy's head. Red diamonds have been added around attacks meant to be deflected using scythe slashes that are in range.
- Added suspend feature during Avatar battle gameplay.
- In Volume 3, the player is given 22 "Promise" greeting cards, meaning it is possible to do the "Forever in Love" / "Best Wishes" events with all party members in a single playthrough.
- A new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with a large amount of items, best equipment, maximum money and chim spheres, and maximum level and affection for the respective volume.
- Save files from Cheat Mode plays can be converted to the next volumes.
- The videos from “The End of the World” Terminal Disc included with the limited edition PS2 release of Volume 1 are included in the collection
- A New Job Form for Haseo with a new weapon.
- A New Form for Skeith.
- Ovan joins the party.
~ Final Fantasy 12 (PS2): vs FF 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only) vs FF12 Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One. ~
Final Fantasy 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only):
- Addition of a "Zodiac Job System" featuring twelve jobs with individual License Boards corresponding to twelve zodiac signs
- Addition of a 16:9 widescreen mode with menus and HUD at 4:3.
- Addition of three new game modes: Trial Mode/New Game+ Strong Mode/New Game+ Weak Mode.
- Pressing L1 will speed up gameplay. Conversations and events continue to play at normal speed.
- Quickening doesn't consume MP. Now they use their own Mist gauge similarly to Limit Breaks from previous Final Fantasy titles.
- UI Changes.
- Playable characters' starting LP, consumables, gil, gambits, equipment, licenses, and base stats have been modified.
- You have more control over Guests now, they also gain EXP/Item/Gold.
- Many magick spells and technicks have been tweaked, renamed and recategorized.
- Obtaining Quickenings no longer affects max MP and Mist charges do not diminish when MP is consumed (unless the player is affected by a reversed Elixir or Megalixir). The player's MP is also unaffected by the depletion of Mist charges. However, effects that recover the player's MP will also restore Mist charges. One Mist charge is granted each time the amount recovered totals the player's maximum MP. Effects that fully restore a player's MP recover all Mist charges.
- You can now fully control Espers, they also require MP to cast magicks
- Almost all attacks now break the 9999 damage limit from the original by default.
- New items have been added, such as Cura Mote, Bubble Mote, Domaine Calvados, Baltoro Seed, Dark Energy and various Meteorites.
- Bacchus's Wine now has 100% chance of inflicting Berserk (previously it was 50%).
- Several equipment pieces were added, while some available in the original release were removed or tweaked.
- New Weapons added.
- Most shops had their assortments changed. Many weapons are now available from shops earlier because of the job system, and were thus made weaker.
- Treasures respawn by moving just one area away as opposed to two. Treasures were moved around, changed the items they can give, or were removed altogether. The "forbidden chest" concept was removed, that in the original prevented the player from obtaining the Zodiac Spear in Necrohol of Nabudis if they opened a wrong treasure.
- Dark Matter can no longer be acquired from the bazaar, and selling the ingredients needed to make it in the original will result in making the Dark Energy instead. The Dark Energy is an item that does not charge up with Knot of Rust or Devour Soul and always deals 50,000 damage to each enemy in range.
- Treasure chests are now in different locations and contain different items.
- There are more traps throughout the map.
Final Fantasy 12: Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:
- Remastered HD graphical upgrade.
- English and Japanese voices (switch between them in the game configuration).
- Original and newly re-recorded background music (switch between them in the game configuration).
- Auto-save functionality added (game saves automatically when moving to each new screen, excepting boss arenas)
- Improved high-speed mode and improved play time operability during high-speed mode
- Ability to invert both the X and Y camera axes
- The game balance has been overhauled to make it easier.
- Each playable character can have two jobs at once.
- Job Reset function added; talk to Montblanc in the Clan Hall to use.
- The Effect Capacity system that limited spell-casting in the PlayStation 2 versions has been removed.
- Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Cure only affect a single target again.
- Espers' HP values have been doubled, but other stats kept the same as in Zodiac Job System.
- The animation for summoning Espers is removed.
- A glitch concerning Dyce's character model has been fixed.
- New Game Plus and New Game Minus are now accessible from the beginning of the game.
Rune Factory 4 Special Switch:
- HD Graphics.
- Newlywed Mode.
- Hell Difficulty.
- Additional Movies.
- Another Episode DLC.
- Swimsuit Day DLC.
- Many Town Events are now prioritized if requirements have been met. This includes Memories, which unlocks the last story arc and the events required for marriage.
- The map has been moved to the main screen and can be removed and resized with the press of a button (the Switch has only one screen) or by using the touch screen icon.
- The teleport spell has been mapped to a dedicated button. It can still be used from the touch screen.
- You can now change the voice acting language between English and Japanese.
- Many bug fixes.