Summer's at its hottest and we're right in between big RPG releases. That can only mean one thing for the Axe of the Blood God: It's Letter Tiiiime, it's Letter Tiiiiime! This week, Nadia and Kat chip through a very backed-up mailbag (sorry!) and answer some vital questions like:
And most importantly:
The answers to these questions and lots more are in our magic mailbag episode! You don't want to miss it.
Also in this episode: Final Fantasy XIV is being crushed by love, Kat's into Pokemon Unite (FREE HER), and lots of dark, dank, cursed industry discourse thanks to Activision Blizzard.
What do RPGs owe to J.R.R. Tolkien's works? Everything... or something dang near close to it. This week, author David Craddock joins Kat and Nadia to talk about The Lord of the Rings' influence on RPGs old and new, eastern and western. Pull up a stool, fill your tankard with the Green Dragon's finest dark ale, and for God's sake, don't fiddle with the fireworks Gandalf so temptingly left unguarded in his wagon.
Also in this episode: The Steam Deck will mean great things for RPGs (aaaaand they're gone), Kat has a new Super Robot Wars lesson, and Tidus' head just friggin' explodes. RIP in pieces, Blitzball boy. This is what it sounds like when doves cry.
Welcome to our latest project at Axe of the Blood God: Sharlayan Dropouts! In this new monthly podcast, Nadia Oxford and a rotating selection of guests will talk about all things Final Fantasy XIV — a perfect companion for the upcoming Endwalker expansion!
In our first episode, the land of Eorzea fell into fiery ruin when the enraged Primal Bahamut "hatched" from the moon of Dalamud and tore the realm asunder. Then it got better. There's still much work to be done, but Nadia, Mike Williams, and Victor Hunter are content to let Sharlayan's eggheads do the heavy lifting. They're fine with slumming around campus, smoking, and scratching uselessly for the deeper meaning of existence—like all accomplished dropouts.
The newly-formed light party talks about the reasons they got into Final Fantasy XIV, and reminisce over the first races they chose. They also discuss their first Job choices, and wonder why the game doesn't have more hybrid races running around. Well, Nadia wonders, mostly. She wants her Viera/Miqo'te cub, and she wants it right now.
[EPISODE 1 SPOILER ALERT LEVEL: GREEN. Low risk of spoilers. This episode talks about the game and its story in a generalized way. There is some discussion about NPCs that show up in Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers, but there isn't much in-depth discussion about their roles. That said, the nature of spoilers is very subjective, so always listen at your own risk.]
My pet monster! Pet monster, I love you! This week's episode is all about Monster Hunter Stories 2, and how we love Nargacuga so very, very much. Kat and Nadia are joined by a special guest: IGN's Casey DeFreitas. Together, they gear up and evaluate everything that's good about this unusual RPG from Capcom (a Rathalos gets hugged) and everything that's not-so-good (frame rates that chug like slow freight trains).
Also in this episode: Blizzard's latest World of Warcraft storyline deflates like a balloon, farting sound and all. The second season of Netflix's The Witcher is looking good, Baldur's Gate 3 lets you futz with Lady Luck, and the Nintendo Switch Pro is real! Ha ha, sike. You so thought.
2021 is half over. Scream and protest all you want; nothing will change. Instead of mulling over the inexorable march of time, why not think about RPGs instead? This week, Nadia and Kat do a mid-year checkup on the genre and talk about their favorites so far. Ys 9! Bravely Default 2! Monster Hunter Rise! And the rest!
Also in this episode: Nadia previews Monster Hunter Stories 2, Kat turns around on Neo The World Ends With You, Elder Scrolls 6 is a long, long way off, and Bidoof, Bidoof, Bidoof.
Well, the RPG Console Quest is behind us. That can only mean one thing: It's time to make a list. This week, Kat and Nadia rank the consoles according to their contributions to the RPG genre. Which system(s) made it into the "S" tier? Which are condemned to the "LOL" tier? How many consoles did Nadia forget to add to the list until the very last second? (Hint: So many.)
Also in this episode: Final Fantasy 9 is getting an animated series, D&D Dark Alliance is uhhhh, and Square Enix hit the Neo The World Ends With You demo button a smidge too early. What does a "World Ends With You" demo button look like, anyway…? We imagine it's a big, shiny, candy-red button.
It is the very end, my friends — the very end of Axe of the Blood God's RPG Console Quest! This week, Kat and Nadia talk about the healthy RPG library that's up for grabs on the Nintendo Switch. From unique exclusives like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Monster Hunter Rise, and Bravely Default 2 to amazing ports like Dragon Quest XI S and the revised Final Fantasy line, the Switch is home to some of the best variety the genre has to offer.
Even better, the Switch isn't done by a long shot. It's still going, and whispers of the Switch Pro means Nintendo will surely be around to serve up RPG greatness for a while to come.
Also in this episode: E3 is finished (maybe in more ways than one; it depends on your outlook), Kat went hands-on with Tales of Arise, and Breath of the Wild 2's weapon degradation discourse will kill us all.
Oh no, it's E3 again. Kat and Nadia talk about the press conferences they've already seen (Square Enix, Microsoft) and speculate on the ones that haven't yet happened (Nintendo). Come for the discussion about Eiyuden Chronicles, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, and Eldin Ring. Stay for the Chaos, Chaos, Chaos.
Also in this episode: Griftlands, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, and did we mention some dude really has a hate-boner for another dude named Chaos?
Kat is away this week, which means it's another golden opportunity for co-host Nadia Oxford to conduct studies on the cleansing properties of fire. Actually, everything goes very well thanks to a very cool guest appearance by music composer/remixer, Alex Moukala! Alex and Nadia talk about the history of Final Fantasy music and its composers, including series veteran Nobuo Uematsu and Final Fantasy XIV's own bard, Masayoshi Soken.
Also in this episode: Nadia is joined by friend and Blood God FF XIV raid organizer, Victor Hunter, to talk about Shin Megami Tensei III, Square Enix's mysterious E3 plans, and...FFXIV.
Finally, please pardon Nadia's rather dismal mic quality this week. Her Yeti's USB cord elected to slowly murder itself ahead of E3 2021's festivities. There but for the grace of God go any of us.
This week on the Axe of the Blood God RPG podcast: Education! Sort of. Esteemed games journalist, writer, and reporter Jason Schreier joins Kat and Nadia to talk about his book, Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry. The conversation veers towards the myriad problems with the games industry, particularly the creative process therein...but rest assured the discourse touches on good, hopeful things going on, too. Once the serious stuff is out of the way, the gang veers towards heavy conversation on--what else?--JRPGs, including the Saga series, Final Fantasy XIV, and Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest.
Speaking of rocking the dragon, Kat and Nadia go over the Dragon Quest XII and Dragon Quest III 2D-HD trailers in excitable detail. Also in this episode: E3 is on the horizon, and Microsoft is getting ready to show off what Bethany Esda has been up to. (e.g. Starfield. Surely.)
The Console RPG Quest is nearing its end, and this week Kat and Nadia look back at a real winner: The Wii U! And in this instance, "winner" actually means "loser," and "loser" actually means "Oh God, why?"
Despite its Gamepad-sized problems, the Wii U still had an RPG legacy worth talking about! After all, the world is still waiting on at least one refugee to make the jump to the Switch. (Cough, Xenoblade Chronicles X, cough.)
Also in this episode: Kat wrote a very, very big feature about Blizzard, Starfield is Xbox-only much to the chagrin of PS5 fanboys, and shucks, maybe Ni No Kuni 2 ain't so bad after all. President Roland still sucks nuclear fallout, though.
This week, Kat and Nadia go massive on Mass Effect! USgamer alumni and absolute Mass Effect sage Eric Van Allen joins the podcast to have a long, involved talk about Mass Effect Legendary Edition. He also lends a sympathetic ear to Nadia's lament over how Wrex is not a romance option.
Once their Krogan thirst is slaked, the crew then moves on to talking about Nier Replicant and Pokemon Snap. You will be shocked, shocked to learn Nadia uploaded a PG-13 picture and promptly received a rebuke email from Nintendo.
Also in this episode: Neo The World Ends With You is making post-hardcore cool again, Skyrim discourse veers into cannibalism and Cinnabon, and congratulations Australia, Hideo Kojima's content is no longer illegal in your fair country!
This week on Axe of the Blood God, Nadia and Kat talk all about ROMs. (To clarify, they have a discussion about modified game files. Rom the Space Knight does not enter into the picture.) Hacked ROMs have played, and continue to play, a major role in RPG accessibility and expression. Hacked ROMs are what gave us valuable fan translations of RPGs that were otherwise untouchable in the West, including Final Fantasy V, Bahamut Lagoon, and Mother 3. Hacked ROMs let us re-balance our favorite RPGs and fix nasty bugs. Hacked ROMs are also the basis of sprawling fan-made RPGs, much to game publishers' chagrin. It's a meaty topic that travels from the '90s all the way up to present day. A special thanks to $50 Patron Drew Waranis for both this great idea and their generous support!
Also in this episode: Nadia has officially PS5, Yakuza is turn-based forever, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake is taking us to Fort Condor so we can play war games with Big Bird.
Today on a very special episode of Axe of the Blood God, we host our very first Patreon-sponsored guest! Giuseppe Spinella joins Kat and Nadia for a very thoughtful conversation about the women of the Final Fantasy series. They delve into how said women have contributed to the series' narrative with their strengths, their flaws, and in Garnet's case, their very, very yellow attire. Please enjoy this spirited exchange, and thanks as always to our Patrons for your invaluable support!
Also in this episode: Nier Replicant's positive reception demonstrates how much the games industry has opened up in the past decade, and Nadia touches all of Loki's stuff and makes him mad in Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster.
Vita means Life — if your definition of “Life” is “Deader than vulture-stripped roadkill.” Yes, Axe of the Blood God pays its dues to the PlayStation Vita this week in the latest RPG Console Quest. Kat and Nadia mourn the powerful handheld’s all-too-early death and its subsequent abandonment by Sony. How did everything go so very wrong? More importantly, which RPGs were left orphaned on the system? Why do retro JRPG fans love the Vita so very, very much?
Also in this episode: Kat and Nadia launch an entirely new segment, Nadia falls on her face while trying to understand SaGa Frontier Remastered, and Square Enix probably isn’t for sale, so put away your piggybank.
A new week, a new milestone! This time Kat and Nadia get to answer a question sent in by a generous Patron: How do we get into new RPGs without becoming so intimidated that we run in the opposite direction and back into the arms of the comforting RPGs we already know and love? It’s a great query that yields some deep discussion about overcoming personal discomforts to enrich our experience with the genre. Oh, and there are also tips galore about how to get into new RPGs. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, you had to send your parents’ phone bill through the roof to get this kind of primo game-playing advice.
Also in this episode: Early Fantasian impressions, E3 will be E-Free (and online), Square Enix gets a bit of Outriders-brand salve to soothe its Avengers boo-boos, and we crown our RPG March Madness champion at last!
Are there monsters under your bed? There are a whole bunch under ours, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Monster Hunter Rise is on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s a monster-whacking gem. Kat and Nadia review the game in-depth with the help of GamesBeat’s review editor, Mike Minotti, and Steven Strom of Fanbyte.
Also in this episode: CD Projekt Red is hard at work trying to salvage Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy alumni revealed a new game called Astria Ascending, and the Bravely Default soundtracks are now on Spotify, so dunk your head in that musical goodness and drink deep.
Finally, a wee bit of news that flew by us as soon as we finished recording: Hironobu Sakaguchi’s new RPG, Fantasian, is out on Apple Arcade! We’ll have more about that next week, so please look forward to it.
It's time for another Pantheon of the Blood God, and this month we're joined by former CGW Editor in Chief Jeff Green to explore System Shock 2! Join us for a special preview as we explore its history and talk about why this classic horror RPG is so significant. To hear the rest of the show as well as the rest of our exclusive content, head over to our Patreon and sign up at the $10 of the show!
By the Dragonlord's pantaloons! Axe of the Blood God has hit episode 300, and we couldn't be prouder to bring it to you! Kat and Nadia hosted a live show, but if you missed out, here's the neat 'n clean audio for you. You can also watch a re-run at Kat's Twitch channel.
This week, Nadia and Kat have a long leisurely talk with the Blood God audience about RPG "firsts." Which game gets the credit as the progenitor of the genre we love so much? Did Dragon Quest III introduce classes, or did Final Fantasy III beat the dragon to the punch? And did you know modern RPGs owe a heck of a lot to Hydlide, that primitive "bump-and-stab" action RPG that has the worst overworld music in gaming history? Life is full of surprises, and we love reminding you all of that fact.
Also in this episode: Monster Hunter Rise is monstrously good, SMT 3 featuring Dante from Devil May Cry is coming to Switch in May, and Square Enix cancels a Final Fantasy XI remake that we had no idea was in the works.
Thanks for your support! Here's to 300 more episodes.
Wowzers! Kat and Nadia are one episode away from the big 3-0-0! Despite being on the cusp of a momentous occasion, they decide to chill out this week and talk about action RPGs. What makes a good action RPG? How has the genre evolved from its earliest and most popular titles? Why are some RPG fans (Kat) a little salty about action RPGs’ very existence? The answers to these mysteries and more lie within.
Also in this episode: There’s a whole lot of news about the state of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Nier: Automata is finally getting fixed on the PC, and the March Madness match-ups are getting real spicy in a real hurry.
Remember when corporations really tried to make 3D media a permanent thing? Axe of the Blood God remembers. In fact, this week our RPG Console Quest takes us back to the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld that projected images in 3D without the need for goofy glasses. The glasses-free 3D gimmick wore out its welcome pretty quickly. In fact, the Nintendo 3DS had an infamously rocky start that led to a massive price cut. Things were looking pretty hairy for a little while, but in the end, the Nintendo 3DS was a strong, quiet triumph that gave us a lot of great RPGs.
Also in this episode: Bethesda has officially merged with Microsoft (resistance is futile), Fantasian might be composer Nobuo Uematsu’s swan song, and Kat has Final Fantasy 14 mount envy.
Two highly-anticipated games, Bravely Default 2 and Persona 5 Strikers, had the gall to come out simultaneously. Kat and Nadia are determined to give both titles equal attention, but that’s a lot of work for just two gals, awesome as they might be. That’s why freelance writer and very special guest Samantha Nelson joins us to gab about braving, defaulting, and why Yusuke is still Persona 5’s best boy.
Also in this episode: Kat gets caught up on all the major Pokemon news, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is in a lot of bloody trouble, and March Madness: RPG Edition (the only edition worth following) kicks off.
With Kat out romping with faeries or whatever people do on vacation, Nadia is left to host an entire episode all by her lonesome. Or is she? This week, Nadia calls on a very old friend, Andrew Vestal, the former proprietor of the very first Final Fantasy site she visited when she connected to the internet in 1995. Nadia and Andrew ramble down memory lane and recall how RPG fandom was so very different in the ‘90s, when sites were hosted on bare motherboards cooled by oscillating fans. And yet, so much was familiar: Arguments over game localization, rampant rumor mongering, and blind character worship. There is truly nothing new under the sun.
Also in this episode: RIP Anthem, Bravely Default 2 is out and about, and holy moly, there is a lot going on with Pokemon in the near future. We’re very excited.
It's once again time for Axe of the Blood God to evaluate a classic RPG for induction into the Pantheon of the Blood God, and this entry is one of the most controversial (and underrated!) games of them all. This month our $10+ Patreon subscribers get to hear us talk about Final Fantasy VIII! In this free preview, Kat, Nadia, and special guest Alex Donaldson talk about the "cloud" hanging over the series in the form of Final Fantasy VII, the subtle storytelling around Laguna, and much more. The full is available now and can be accessed via our Patreon!