Tales of Destiny 2
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (November 2014)|
|Tales of Destiny 2|
(Team Destiny) / Wolfteam
Alfa System (PSP)
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Tales of Destiny 2 (テイルズ オブ デスティニー 2 Teiruzu Obu Desutinī 2?) is the fourth mothership title in Namco's popular Tales RPG series, a true sequel to Tales of Destiny that takes place in the same fictional world. Tales of Destiny 2 is easily confused with the name of the North American release of Tales of Eternia, Tales of Destiny II, which was renamed since the name "Eternia" is trademarked by Mattel (for the He-Man toys) in North America. Tales of Destiny 2's characteristic genre name is RPG To Release Destiny (運命を解き放つRPG Unmei wo tokihanatsu RPG?). In carrying on the traditions of the Tales series, Tales of Destiny 2 relies on such mainstays as the Linear Motion Battle System and sprite-based characters. Like most games in the series, Tales of Destiny 2 includes an introduction and insert-scenes animated by Production I.G, and a J-pop theme song - in this case, Key to My Heart by Mai Kuraki. Neither versions of the games were released in Western territories.
In a fashion similar to its predecessors in the Tales series, Tales of Destiny 2 has five basic modes of gameplay: the 3D overworld map, 2D town and dungeon maps, the battle screen, the menu screen, and skits. The overworld map is a scaled down representation of the game's fictional world; the player directs characters from one on-map location to another in order to advance the plot and achieve in-game objectives. As in all previous games in the series, the player is given three methods of world map transportation: by foot, ship, and airship. With a few plot-driven exceptions, such as scripted boss encounters, enemies are randomly encountered on field maps and on the overworld when traveling by foot.
The game's plot progresses as the player passes through towns and dungeons in accordance with the scenario scripting of Tales of Destiny 2. Various NPCs, such as town citizens and travelers, will offer information to the player; this dialogue is often helpful to plot advancement, but the majority is simply background material that adds depth to the fictional world. Each town usually provides item and equipment shops; merchants accept the Tales series currency, Gald (ガルド Garudo?), which can be obtained from battle or treasure chests on the dungeon and town maps. Throughout the game, visiting certain individuals in towns will activate optional events and side-quests. Prisons, sewers, forests, and the floating city of Dycroft serve as dungeon locales; these areas are scattered with treasure chests containing rare items, some of which cannot be purchased in stores. Dungeons frequently contain puzzles and mazes, such as boxes that must be reoriented to form a bridge, which must be cleared to advance; the "Sorcerer's Ring", a relic that shoots tiny plumes of fire, often plays a central role in puzzle resolution, along with the "Sorcerer's Scope", a tool that reveals hidden objects.
The menu screen is where the player makes character-oriented decisions: who will be in the traveling party, what equipment will they use, which magic spells will be actively cast, and how battle will be resolved. It is also used to track experience points, levels, Gald, and character statistics. Additionally, the menu screen provides behavioral and tactical options for computer-controlled allies in combat; aggression levels can be altered, along with the AI preference for magical versus physical attack. By default, the single player experience is that of the player controlling one character while the computer uses the remaining three characters, according to player-defined parameters, in a party of four. If the player wishes to have additional control over battle actions and outcomes, commands can be issued manually through the battle menu and shortcuts can be assigned to ally skills or spells. The multiplayer option, which supports up to four humans playing simultaneously using a PlayStation 2 multitap, allows complete human control and the removal of the AI element from battle.
Like the Tales series games preceding it, Tales of Destiny 2 retains the cooking system that was introduced in the PlayStation version of Tales of Phantasia. Basic ingredients, such as vegetables, meat, and bread are common throughout the game, and the player acquires recipes for making those ingredients into dishes, which heal the party. Recipes, although occasionally found in dungeons, are typically learned through interaction with the "Wonder Chef", a recurring character who appears in many towns. This system is offered as an alternative to using ordinary healing items, such as gels, or healing spells outside of battle.
The battle system of Tales of Destiny 2 is a cross between typical role-playing video game offerings and the fighting game genre, so the system is a hybrid that uses both experience points and a hit counter for combos, two typically disparate game elements. If the player does not wish to fight, escape is also a possibility in combat; however, escaping can be risky and the player forfeits all possible rewards from battle.
Tales of Destiny 2 employs the Tales series' characteristic style of combat, the LMBS (Linear Motion Battle System), in which the player controls the characters in real-time (as opposed to turn-based), and the characters perform actions on a two-dimensional plane. This iteration of the battle system is known as the Trust and Tactical LMBS (TT-LMBS), and is designed to encourage the player to think more about coordinating the characters to make combat more efficient. One of the ways this is achieved is by the introduction of the Spirits System. Characters have a spirit bar, measured in SP, which decreases as they take actions and refills when they defend, or are not executing any commands; more complex commands usually consume greater quantities of SP. When a character has very low spirit, even basic attacks become impossible to execute; the player must consequently let some low spirit characters fall back while other characters with high spirit take the offensive. Tales of Destiny 2 also employs an auto-zoom feature in combat, which became standard in future Tales games. The camera zooms out when there is great distance between characters, making it easier for the player to monitor the whole party; when the characters are grouped together, or if there is particularly intense localized action, the camera zooms in.
In battle, characters are defined by three basic parameters: HP (health points), TP (technical points), and SP (spirit points). Health points, a measure of survivability, are depleted by taking damage from enemy attacks; when a character loses all HP, he or she is no longer usable in battle until resurrected. Technical and spirit points are used primarily to take action; spells and techniques cost SP and TP to perform, while defensive maneuvers, such as back stepping, only consume SP. Various other parameters, like strength and agility, are used to determine battle performance. Tales of Destiny 2 was innovative with respect to the Tales series insofar as TP and SP regenerate over time; although items can restore TP in an emergency, SP can only be regained by defending and waiting.
All six playable characters can use magic, as opposed to the previous Tales formula of providing specialized characters, such as Keele from Tales of Eternia, who can only use magic. The playable females are predominantly magic users while the males are fighters, but the player can choose either path for each character, providing tactical and strategic flexibility.
Experience points, levels, and grade
Victory in battle yields experience points, which are applied to each individual character to determine if he or she gains a level. Raising a level provides many permanent benefits, such as improved combat abilities, new skills, and additional HP. Unique character-based titles can change the bonuses received upon raising a level, so this allows another degree of customization. The player is also awarded grade based on performance in combat on a per-battle basis, where the quantity of grade received increases as battle performance improves. Tales of Destiny 2 introduced the grade system to the Tales series; as such, the TT-LMBS was the first to include grade judgment. Grade is accumulated throughout the game for the purpose of purchasing special bonuses, such as double experience, that apply to the next playthrough.
Skills and combos
Battle skills in Tales of Destiny 2, like many other entries in the series, have three tiers: tier 1 special skills (特技 tokugi?), tier 2 secret arts (奥義 ougi?), and tier 3 hidden secret arts (秘奥義 hi-ougi?). The player is rewarded for longer combos with additional experience, so an incentive exists to chain together the longest combo possible, as an extensive combo also prevents enemy action by definition. Normal physical attacks flow seamlessly into tier 1 skills, tier 1 chains to tier 2, etc.; therefore, the typical attack sequence in Tales of Destiny 2 starts with normal attacks and ends with the use of a hi-ougi skill. The hi-ougi skills, which are enabled through the Enchant system, involve a brief anime cut-in followed by a lengthy independent attack; this is analogous to the Limit Break concept in the Final Fantasy series. The character in question must be in a special state, called "Spirits Blaster Mode", in order to successfully execute the hi-ougi; this temporary state is triggered by total accumulated damage, both inflicted and received, in combat.
Enchant and Refine systems
The Enchant system, which allows battle skill customization, is paired with the Refine system, which lets the player combine and modify weapons and items. As a skill is used with increasing intensity, additional Enchant options are made available; although only one option can be enabled at a time, the possibilities range from increased damage to extensions that are activated after the skill is used. Hi-ougi use, a type of extension, is impossible without the enchant system. Refine enables the transformation of items and weapons by consuming "Rune Bottles"; two weapons may be fused into a stronger weapon, or healing items could be improved.
Tales of Destiny 2, which is centered around Kyle Dunamis and his efforts to restore history as it once was, deals with the events that take place eighteen years after Stahn Aileron's exploits in Tales of Destiny. A new movement led by Elraine seeks to revive the goddess Fortuna and worship her. Aided by Barbatos, an ancient soldier on the losing side of the War of Heaven and Earth who lusts for revenge, Elraine will not permit interference with her plan on the part of Kyle and his allies.
Over 1,000 years prior to Tales of Destiny, a comet collided with the fictional planet on which the game occurs, ushering in a long and enduring winter. The survivors, desperate for the light of the sun, harnessed Lens (レンズ Renzu?), an energy source they found in the remains of the comet, to create Dycroft, a flying city (aeropolis in the North American (NA) localization of Tales of Destiny). Eventually the residents of the flying cities came to dominate those who remained on the surface using a powerful weapon called Belcrant, and the War of Heaven and Earth (天地戦争 Tenchi Sensō?) (NA: Aeth'er Wars) began as a result. The team of scientists who created Belcrant defected to the side of the surface-dwellers and developed powerful Lens-based weapons called Swordians, sentient swords, on their behalf. The Swordian Masters, empowered by the Lens flowing through their Swordians, then destroyed all of the flying cities and sunk Dycroft into the ocean, ending the War of Heaven and Earth.
The Swordians lay dormant for centuries until conflict broke out for possession of an enormous Lens known as the God's Eye (NA: Eye of Atamoni), ultimately orchestrated by the defeated, but never truly killed, ruler of Dycroft. Stahn Aileron, a young man on a journey for fame and fortune, happened to find the Swordian Dymlos, setting him on a course to save the world from impending disaster. Joined by fellow Swordian Masters Rutee, Philia, Woodrow (NA: Garr), and Leon, Stahn prevented the resurrection of Dycroft and restored peace to the world in the original Tales of Destiny. However, the surface world had been extensively damaged by the Belcrant weapon during the recent conflict, leaving a number of cities in ruins.
The game begins with Kyle, son of the hero of the previous game, setting off on a quest to save the orphanage that his parents operate from financial ruin. During his quest, he finds a giant Lens; from the Lens emerges a mysterious girl named Reala, who claims to be in search of a hero. Believing it his duty to become the kind of hero his parents were, he follows Reala to prove himself as the hero she seeks.
Partway through the game, a large quantity of Lens is stolen from the king's treasury by the holy maiden Elraine; throughout the game, Elraine has been accumulating power and influence by claiming to be able to solve the world's problems through magical means, using the Lens. As Kyle pursues Elraine, she captures Reala. After Kyle defeats Elraine and rescues Reala, she realizes that Kyle is the hero that she has been seeking. Kyle proceeds to destroy the Draconis, the war ship used to steal the Lens from the King. However, the Lens was still in the Draconis when it was destroyed; the destruction of the Lens causes a temporal rift to appear, sending Kyle and Reala to an alternate timeline.
In this timeline, the War of Heaven and Earth, a war fought a thousand years ago between the surface dwellers and the people living underground, was won by the subterranean people instead of the surface dwellers. The remnants of humanity live in cities scattered across the world. After a confrontation with Elraine, in which Kyle is forced to flee due to her unmatched power, Reala uses her pendant to help them escape.
The pendant sends them a thousand years in the past, during the War of Heaven and Earth. After helping to end the war with a victory for the surface dwellers, Kyle and Reala travel to various other time periods to correct other disturbances to the timeline. Ultimately, it takes the death of the goddess Fortuna, who is giving Elraine her power, to correct the timeline altogether; upon Fortuna's death, the timeline is restored to normal, but Reala has ceased to exist, as she was a direct product of the goddess. The characters had also lose their memories of the adventures they have gone through like it had never happened (which includes Stahn being still alive in the epilogue because Barbatos never interfered with the original timeline events)
In the epilogue, Kyle visited the location from which Reala first appeared to Kyle. When Kyle tries to leave, Reala emerges from a bright light, with Kyle recalling her name and Reala jumped towards him with joy upon their reunion.
- Kyle Dunamis (カイル・デュナミス Kairu Dyunamisu?) (Age: 15. Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama). The main character of the game, Kyle is very much like his father, Stahn; Kyle's straightforward, simplistic personality is similar to Stahn's as well. However, Kyle remembers little of his father, as the famous hero left on a journey when Kyle was very young; this is what Kyle has been told by Rutee, his mother, and Loni, his closest friend. In actuality, Stahn was killed by Barbatos when Kyle was a child. Rutee runs the Dunamis Orphanage based in the town of Cresta, so the other children there are akin to family. Kyle is especially close to Loni, who treats him like a little brother; their relationship has been forged over more than ten years. Kyle has absolute faith that he will become a hero someday due to the heroic bloodline of his parents; Stahn and Rutee were members of the group (in the original Tales of Destiny) that dealt with the dangerous Eye of Atamoni some eighteen years prior to the initial events of Tales of Destiny 2. In battle, Kyle is a powerful physical attacker who uses swords, and his magic is relatively weak and underdeveloped; these traits form yet another parallel with Stahn. Kyle eventually realises the hardship of becoming a hero and concentrates on helping the people around him. He eventually was officially recognised by Reala as the hero she was searching for. Although he hardly showed any affection towards Reala, he deeply cares for her and was devastated upon learning that saving the world means ending Reala's existence. In the ending, Kyle hesitated upon saving the world or Reala, but ultimately through Reala's support and encouragement, he had put an end to Elraine's existence permanently, at the expense of Reala's life. In the epilogue when timeline was back to normal, Kyle was able to be reunited with Reala at the location where they first met, being able to remember her name despite having no memories of the events that happened throughout the game.
- Reala (リアラ Riara?) (Age: 16. Voiced by: Ryoka Yuzuki). A girl who suddenly appears from within a gigantic lens found in the Laguna Ruins; Reala has an ethereal quality about her, and she is surrounded by mystery. Her presence is the catalyst for Kyle's adventure; Kyle chases after Reala in order to become the hero that she is searching for. Reala's personality is generally cheerful and inquisitive, but she also displays an overdeveloped sense of responsibility at times and tends to strike out on her own, trying to take matters into her own hands. Possessing the power of the goddess Fortuna, Reala is able to perform the same Lens-based miracles as Elraine. Both of them are direct creations of the goddess Fortuna, and their existence is undone when Kyle is forced to destroy the Lens manifesting Fortuna. However, unlike Elraine, Reala is reborn after the destruction of the goddess due to her emotional link with Kyle. While Reala is physically weak, she wields strong elemental spells in battle.
- Loni Dunamis (ロニ・デュナミス Roni Dyunamisu?) (Age: 23. Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki). Loni was raised in the Dunamis Orphanage, but left to join the Order of Atamoni; he is like an older brother to Kyle. Thanks to his rather frivolous manner he gives the impression of being irresponsible, but in fact Loni is resourceful and has a strong sense of justice. He acts as a voice of reason to Kyle, keeping the boy's overeagerness in check. Over the course of the story, Loni develops a romantic interest in Nanaly that is ambiguously reciprocated and abruptly terminated near the end of the game. Loni is tough and can deal large amounts of physical of damage, but his attacks are relatively slow; he prefers to fight with polearms.
- Judas (ジューダス Jūdasu?) (Age: 16 (Initially perceived to be 34). Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa): A masked swordsman who helps Kyle out of difficult situations, Judas is slight in stature but has a commanding presence. The name "Judas" was assigned to him by Kyle during their first encounter in Darillshade Prison, where Judas enables their escape. Though his attitude is often jaded and nihilistic, he has an essentially practical personality. This often makes him seem impatient and demanding, but he almost seems to enjoy acting put-upon. Because he always wears a mask, his true identity is unknown for the first half of the game. Judas is actually Lion/Leon Magnus, who was killed during the events of Tales of Destiny, and because Leon was essentially a traitor, he wore a mask to hide his identity; therefore, the name "Judas", although arbitrarily assigned by Kyle, is clearly a reference to the biblical traitor Judas Iscariot. Judas was brought back to life by Elraine for an unknown reason; she probably tried to convince him to fight against Stahn and his allies. Although his reasons for helping Kyle are initially a mystery, Judas appears compelled by the debt he owes to the previous group led by Stahn; as Leon accompanied and betrayed Stahn, Judas wishes to protect Kyle, Stahn's son, who is also his nephew, to atone for his previous sins. A quick and agile swordsman, Judas uses rapiers and daggers. In combat, he is a faster, more fragile, and magically superior version of Kyle. His real name, according to his links with the original Tales of Destiny, is Emilio Katrea/Kartret. His helmet design resembles Femto from the Berserk series.
- Nanaly Fletch (ナナリー・フレッチ Nanarī Furetchi?) (Age: 19. Voiced by: Tomoko Kawakami, Yumi Kakazu (Tales of VS. onward)). This beautiful warrior woman takes pride in her skill with bows, which puts most men to shame; Nanaly is also adept with magic, wielding spells overshadowed only by Reala and Harold. Outwardly stout-hearted and self-assured, Nanaly often seems tomboyish, but she is also deeply empathetic and, in fact, very refined. Her hobbies are cooking and sewing, and she cares for orphaned children in her home of Hope Town. The death of her younger brother Lou was caused by an incurable illness that she was unwilling to have treated; treatment would involve permanent residence in the Fortuna-dominated city of Aigrette, and Nanaly has a fierce dislike of surrendering her own freedom for salvation. She also repeatedly rebuffs the romantic overtures of Loni, insulting and physically pummeling him, but she does humor him on occasion; nevertheless, they are forcefully separated after the destruction of Fortuna, although Kyle and Loni are still able to visit her younger self in the repaired timeline and help her brother to recover instead of dying.
- Harold Belselius (ハロルド・ベルセリオス Harorudo Beruseriosu?) (Age: 23. Voiced by: Akiko Hiramatsu). Harold is the creator of the Swordians, and because of her name and accomplishments she is often believed to be a man, but this does not bother her in the least. The classic eccentric genius, Harold thinks of everything in terms of her research, and is all but helpless in non-academic affairs. While she often seems childish and unpredictable as a result, she is also very perceptive. As part of the surface-based army in the War of Heaven and Earth (NA: Aeth'er Wars), which takes place 1,000 years before the timeline of Kyle, Harold is responsible for weapons development and has an acute interest in robotics along with her mastery of magical forces. Harold is an offense-oriented spellcaster who makes use of magical rods and knives in battle. Due to her superior intelligence, she can cast some of the most powerful spells late in the game, while being significantly less potent in close-range combat. Her North American name is Harold Berselius, as she is also referenced in the NA version of Tales of Destiny as the progenitor of the Swordians.
- Elraine (エルレイン Erurein?) (Age: 27 (approximate). Voiced by: Yoshiko Sakakibara). The Holy Maiden of the Order of Atamoni, Elraine is worshipped as a living manifestation of the goddess Fortuna. She takes joy in granting happiness to people, and she is able to create miracles at will by drawing power out of Lens in a fashion similar to Reala. For that reason, people flock to her with offerings of Lens in order to receive her blessing. However, underneath her benevolent appearance lies a cruel fanatic who won't stop at nothing to accomplish her objectives. She wishes to create a world where everyone lives to serve Fortuna alone. Elraine serves as the primary antagonist against Kyle and the others who wish to stop her from interfering with the fate and history of the human race. She even tries to change the outcome of the War of Heaven and Earth in order to give the power of Lens to all people using Dycroft as a distribution system. She also sees herself as an extension to Fortuna, so her only responsibility is to aid in the ascendancy of the goddess with the assistance of Barbatos. Elraine is a powerful spellcaster who specializes in offensive holy magic, while her physical skills are mostly defensive in nature.
- Barbatos Goetia (バルバトス・ゲーティア Barubatosu Gētia?) (Age: 32. Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto). Barbatos is a warrior who fought in the War of Heaven and Earth; he was killed by Dymlos. His own power was equal to that of the Swordian Dymlos, but due to his own selfish behavior, he was written out of history. Now, Barbatos fights in order to validate his existence; he is motivated primarily by negative emotions: his lust for revenge against Dymlos, his desire to seek out worthy opponents in battle, and his selfish demand for recognition as a powerful warrior in the War of Heaven and Earth. Barbatos has been resurrected by Elraine to kill Stahn and his allies, to ensure that they will not interfere in her plans to make everyone worship Fortuna. Not only does he wield a large axe with proficiency, he also has an array of devastating techniques and powerful spells to aid him in battle.
Tales of Destiny 2 was developed by "Team Wolf", soon renamed Namco Tales Studio. Development began after work had finished on Tales of Eternia, taking roughly two years to complete. After Eternia was completed, the development team considered what to do next, whether a new standalone game or a sequel. As Destiny had a large amount of lore created for it and there were story possibilities for a next generation of characters, it was decided to make a sequel to Destiny. This would be the first direct sequel in the Tales series. Because of the state of the world as it would have evolved after the events of Destiny, it was decided to set the events eighteen years after them and focus on the son of Destiny 's protagonist. The key theme for the story was "fate". For the story, the team wanted to effectively portray Kyle's journey to becoming a hero. For this, they drew on themes of "learning from the teacher" as seen in films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Character designs were done by Mutsumi Inomata. To make the character sprites as close as possible to the original artwork, the team took Inomata's artwork and turned them into 2D "dot-by-dot" sprite pictures. This gave the sprites roughly four times the detail of most environments. They then built the world around the sprites. The sprite details sometimes caused problems, as they would appear larger than the environments when the camera zoomed in. The animated cutscenes were created by anime company Production I.G. The game's opening was the longest ever created for a Tales game up to that point.
As with previous games, a theme song was created by a Japanese artist for the game's opening. For Destiny 2 song was "Key to My Heart" from the album Fairy Tale, by Japanese singer-songwriter Mai Kuraki. Its lyrics were designed to "express the world" of Destiny 2. Destiny 2 was announced in February 2002 at a special conference about future developments and games for the platform. The game was going to be part of a world tour by Sony Computer Entertainment to promote the next generation of role-playing games, but the tensions between America and Iraq at the time and the consequent risks of a terrorist attack caused them to cancel the trip. Asked at the launch event whether an overseas version of the game was being developed, producer Makoto Yoshizumi said he was "not certain".
Destiny 2 was later ported to the PlayStation Portable. Development began in 2005, after the commercial success of Eternia 's PSP port. The port was developed by Alfa System, a frequent collaborator with the Tales team on spin-off titles. The project was directed by Yoshito Higuchi, who had worked on Destiny 2 and became the director of the GameCube port of Tales of Symphonia. While the earlier port of Destiny made significant changes, the Destiny 2 port was meant to preserve and add onto the content of the original. Some of the adjustments included minor tweaks to gameplay, adjustments to fit the PSP's control layout, and adjusting the graphics from 4:3 to 16:9 screen ratio. Neither the original nor the port has been released in the west, making it one of three mainline Tales titles to remain exclusive to Japan.
By January 2003, the game had sold 702,416 units since its release. The PlayStation 2 version of Tales of Destiny 2 sold 977,000 copies worldwide, being the second most successful title in the series, behind the first Tales of Destiny. The PSP version sold sold 73,000 copies in its first week, ranking second in weekly video games sales. By the following week, it had dropped to #25. By the end of 2007, the game had sold 114,757 units, reached 146th place in the five hundred top-selling games of the year. Sales of the port as recorded by Namco have reached 129,000 units.
Famitsu Weekly found the story enjoyable, though noted that those who had played Destiny would get more enjoyment out of it, and praised the voice acting. They also found the gameplay and pacing suitable. The game ranked as the 89th all-time favorite game in a 2006 Famitsu readers poll. Japanese website Game Impress Watch found the story impressive, citing its use of time travel and the continued use of Destiny 's world and lore. The gameplay, mini-games and customization options was also generally praised, with the reviewer recommending the title to players of the series. RPGFan's Woojin Lee was also positive, praising the gameplay despite the very high encounter rate, and was pleased that an auto-battle option was included. One point that received a more mixed response was the game's music, with the exception of the opening song.
- Namco, ed. (2002). Tales of Destiny 2 instruction manual (in Japanese). NBGI. pp. 12–14, 18, 36. SLPS 73219.
- Namco, ed. (2002). Tales of Destiny 2 instruction manual (in Japanese). NBGI. pp. 16–17. SLPS 73219.
- Namco, ed. (2002). Tales of Destiny 2 instruction manual (in Japanese). NBGI. pp. 14–15. SLPS 73219.
- Namco, ed. (2002). Tales of Destiny 2 instruction manual (in Japanese). NBGI. pp. 18–35. SLPS 73219.
- Namco, ed. (2002). Tales of Destiny 2 instruction manual (in Japanese). NBGI. p. 53. SLPS 73219.
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