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Author Topic: What makes RPGs [an] Epic?  (Read 5128 times)
Wild Armor
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« on: April 20, 2009, 10:15:42 PM »

What characteristic of an RPG dignifies if it is an epic or not? This crossed my mind when I was reading an article linked over in the Xseed Lost Muramasa Publishing Rights Thread. I'll just post it below so you don't have to go to the site. It's from IGN if you haven't read the other thread.

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April 20, 2009 - Fans eagerly awaiting the American release of Muramasa: The Demon Blade should keep their eyes peeled for some new publishing news in the near future. First, IGN has learned that XSEED Games, formerly set to debut the title stateside, will no longer be handling distribution. The company released a statement to IGN confirming this news this morning.

      XSEED Games confirms that it is no longer involved with the North American release of Muramasa: The Demon Blade. XSEED Games and Marvelous had previously announced the game as part of the initial line up between the two publishing partners. We firmly believe in the product and will look forward to seeing it release in North America. We enjoy and respect our relationship with Marvelous, and are committed to working together to deliver an amazing line up of games in the US including the highly anticipated Little King's Story, the epic RPG Arc Rise Fantasia and Suda51's intriguing mystery adventure Flower, Sun, Rain.

I'm not so much questioning the game's status of being "Epic" or IGN's choice of word there, rather I just want to know what you think makes a game an "Epic"? I see the word "Epic" everywhere way too much and I'm beginning to lose respect for the word.
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2009, 10:21:04 PM »

i've lost respect for the word years ago.  every game is "epic" nowadays.  just another term used in trying to sell their product.
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2009, 10:28:15 PM »

Well, I don't know what it means in the advertising lingo (which is just about as useful as a restaurant saying their food is the best in town), but epic for me means there's some enduring quality or qualities of an RPG that makes or make it quite dear to me personally.
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2009, 10:34:39 PM »

Honestly, most games ARE epic. They're about a world threatening disaster or something similarly huge in scope. If you want a non-epic game, you'll have to go to Harvest Moon.
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2009, 11:26:06 PM »

From Wikipedia:

High fantasy or epic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that is set in invented or parallel worlds. These stories are generally serious in tone and often epic in scope, dealing with themes of grand struggle against supernatural, evil forces. It is one of the most popular subgenres of fantasy fiction. Some typical characteristics of high fantasy include fantastical elements such as elves, fairies, dwarves, magic or sorcery, wizards or magicians, invented languages, quests, coming-of-age themes, and multi-volume narratives.

OR

An epic (from Greek: έπος or επικό "word, story, poem") is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation.
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2009, 12:09:41 AM »

Yeah, it's just sales lingo in that example.  If you notice, that's a letter from XSEED, not IGN's own words.
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Wild Armor
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2009, 12:12:44 AM »

Yeah, it's just sales lingo in that example.  If you notice, that's a letter from XSEED, not IGN's own words.

Yeah I noticed when I went to go through it, my mistake. I'm just curious what world they are going to spam next, "timeless" is already out of the picture.
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2009, 01:19:14 AM »

Epic to me is about the scope of the situation and whether the story can live up to it.
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2009, 03:03:30 AM »

RPGs in general tend towards epicness.

I think something like saga frontier, where you've got what amount to being individual epics per character, but only epics in miniature in relation to the game-world as a whole, is kind of an interesting idea.

Or something like The UnReal world where the only goal is survival.
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2009, 03:57:24 AM »

For me... Usually if the story is great (adapted or original) it becomes epic. It makes it more epic if there is nice (and possibly original) sceneries. Add it with good music makes it even more epic.

Personally, I find FFX epic. XD
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2009, 06:19:49 AM »

It doesn't have to be epic as long as I enjoyed the story.
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2009, 12:07:59 PM »

I think that interesting approach to this debate would be the persona games. I've seen a lot of people write stuff like: "I like P3's story more than P4's because it's more epic".

This happens because in P3 you are trying to save the world, culminating in a massive final battle. When you see that fight and the respective cutscenes the word epic immediately comes to mind.
In P4 the story is about a group of students who are trying to solve a murder case.

Anyone will say that P3's story is more epic.


For me a game is epic when you explore a ton of different places all around the world, interact with a huge cast of characters and the story is about something huge in terms of scale, something that will profoundly affect the lives of all the inhabitants in the game world.

I think FFVIII is one of the best examples. There's just so much going on in that game. You participate in full scale wars, you travel to outer space, you travel in time, you play 2 different stories that happen in different time periods but are profoundly related, you have epic setpieces like Edea's ceremony, you witness mindblowing events like the friggin' moon dropping millions of monsters onto your planet, in the end the existence of the entire universe is at stake and the final battle is the very definition of the word epic.
This is an epic game in my book.

On the other hand a game like Baroque were you basically spend the whole time confined to a dungeon fighting monsters is probably not considered an epic game.
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 12:20:23 PM »

Pretty much any FF is epic considering they all deal with end of the world stuff and have good stories.
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2009, 12:39:39 PM »

I like simpler stories and smaller settings myself. I just like the idea of a group of people pouring all their ideas into a smaller area and making it special. Too many games try to outdo one another in terms of scale. It doesn’t have to be that way.
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2009, 02:27:23 PM »

Honestly, most games ARE epic. They're about a world threatening disaster or something similarly huge in scope. If you want a non-epic game, you'll have to go to Harvest Moon.

This is the definition I basically go with.  Epic simply designates the scope of the conflict the player character is thrust into.  Epic story doesn't mean good story, it just means it has an epic scope.  Using the Baldur's Gate series as an example, I'd say BG1 was not epic, BG2 was borderline, and Throne of Bhaal was epic; yet I'd say all 3 games had good or great story.  Typically, epic stories are harder to write than non-epic stories, because they require better justification of the conflict, the player's role in the conflict, and why the player can make a difference in a conflict of such scale despite the efforts of everyone else involved.  Many games stumble with that last criterium. 

Leveling, representing character growth through trial and experience, is a supposed justification for characters having an increasingly greater impact on the world as the story progresses.  However, JRPGs in general don't deal with the concept of "leveling" very well--it's almost never explained why "random" enemies from one area to the next get increasingly tougher, and how these progressively tougher enemies and resident (peaceful) population meaningfully interact and compete.  In the end, these games tend to be overly player-character-centric, focusing all their attention on direct interactions of the PC with NPC's, and neglecting the extensive NPC-NPC interactions that must occur "in the background" in a fully realized world that shape it far more than the PC ever could.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 02:30:19 PM by magusgs » Logged

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