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Author Topic: What will bring RPGs back?  (Read 6156 times)
Lard
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« Reply #75 on: November 20, 2010, 11:00:28 PM »


I don't recall implying that any of you were children.

I sort of did, but I was honestly guessing at people's ages. I didn't mean to say that people on here had changed their tastes, I just meant that people who weren't around during the PS1 years but are gaming now likely haven't had the same level of exposure to them because other genres are more prominent now and that tastes have changed generally toward those other genres. A bit of snake eating its own tail. Also that hopefully younger gamers who play games on the DS/PSP and might be getting exposure to them that way will hopefully will be getting into them and asking for more console RPGs as they grow up.
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PotRoast
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« Reply #76 on: November 21, 2010, 12:21:57 AM »

Oh boy, I guess I'll contribute my 2 cents.

I agree that in some sense the JRPG (God I hate having to call them that) has stagnated on consoles. That's not to say that the formula has stopped working, but I think the execution is sloppy. The idea that is a JRPG I think is still perfectly viable in today's markets. Maybe not as much as it used to be now that more Western focused titles are available. But a good game is a good game. People will play it no matter where it is from if the quality is high enough. In some sense, I think this attempt to figure out what it is exactly Westerners want is hurting many companies. Because it from their sales 10 years ago, they knew exactly what we wanted. I know times change, but I'm not sure if it's really that much. Basically I think they already know what we want and some better introspection would do them a great service.

As for the rise of WRGPs, well, I've been playing them quite some time too. I still think they're just as stagnant. I really think the edge they have right now is that they appeal to Western sensibilities and, because so many people haven't been playing them the last 15 years, seem like a new concept for game design. Really, they feel like the same PC games I played 10 years ago except not as good.
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Vanguard
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« Reply #77 on: November 21, 2010, 12:34:55 AM »

A lot of good posts in this topic. I'll try to address the major points that have come up.

The argument that JRPGs are made for a different audience is only so valid. Of course, they're designed to appeal to a particular market, but that same market exists over here--it's just a bit smaller. The fact that we've been able to play so many niche titles in the last few years is proof of that it does exist. But to say that JRPGs haven't become stagnant is just plain wrong.

The biggest evidence of stagnation has to do with the consoles the majority of JRPGs this generation call home. Why did handhelds, the device least suited to this genre, as Patrick pointed out in one of his editorials, become the primary systems for RPGs this generation? Because the limits of these systems closely resemble those of the 1990s, when the JRPG audience was created in the West and when most of the conventions were established. The fact that most developers aren't creating JRPGs for the non-portable consoles only further reinforces this, as does the abundance of ports for handhelds this generation.

This happens in every cultural movement/development and I challenge anyone who thinks JRPGs haven't become stagnant to show me a single thing movement, artistic, social, or cultural where this hasn't happened. You can't. The reality is, and this applies to much more than just video games, you can only go so far in one direction before you need an infusion of fresh ideas to continue progressing.
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Chronix112
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« Reply #78 on: November 21, 2010, 01:03:17 AM »

Two articles discussing the state of Japanese gaming as a whole. Not really dealing with RPGs, but I still think its relevant to the  current discussion.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/one-on-one-keiji-inafune-game-designer/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/9159905.stm

I do not want western  RPGs .I guess I am a rpg masochist, because I like high, difficult, random encounters, and cheap bosses in my rpgs. All I am asking for is better plots that don't use/rely heavily on the oh so common memes that  we make fun of of.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 01:13:31 AM by Chronix112 » Logged
Alan_01987
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« Reply #79 on: November 21, 2010, 01:14:23 AM »


The biggest evidence of stagnation has to do with the consoles the majority of JRPGs this generation call home. Why did handhelds, the device least suited to this genre, as Patrick pointed out in one of his editorials, become the primary systems for RPGs this generation? Because the limits of these systems closely resemble those of the 1990s, when the JRPG audience was created in the West and when most of the conventions were established. The fact that most developers aren't creating JRPGs for the non-portable consoles only further reinforces this, as does the abundance of ports for handhelds this generation.
Don't see the strength of the argument " JRPGs on handheld = genre stagnation", JRPG makers are shifting towards handheld space because they cost less money, bigger user base and easier to make.
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Vanguard
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« Reply #80 on: November 21, 2010, 01:46:57 AM »

Maybe it wasn't clear in my post, so I'll elaborate. JRPG developers are trying to repeat the success of the 1990s by pumping out games that look, feel, and play like games from that era did. The best place for them to do this is on a handheld system since the expectations aren't as high as they would be for a game on a non-portable console. Nobody expects their PSP or DS to outclass the PS3 or XBox 360. 

Of course, development costs are always a factor, so it only seems natural to go to a platform where they will be lower. However, by going to a platform that, as I said, resembles hardware that is fifteen years old, they're playing by the rules that were established then. What difference is there between a DS RPG and a PSOne RPG? Almost none. My point is today's RPGs are almost identical to those on the PSOne.

Look at how much other genres changed in the same span of time. They've clearly utilized the technology to create a more immersive, interactive experience. Today's adventure, shooting, and platformer games don't look like they did fifteen years ago and the changes are more than cosmetic. Can you make the same argument for JRPGs?
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Lard
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« Reply #81 on: November 21, 2010, 02:24:13 AM »

Maybe it wasn't clear in my post, so I'll elaborate. JRPG developers are trying to repeat the success of the 1990s by pumping out games that look, feel, and play like games from that era did. The best place for them to do this is on a handheld system since the expectations aren't as high as they would be for a game on a non-portable console. Nobody expects their PSP or DS to outclass the PS3 or XBox 360. 

To a certain extent I think you're right, although I think it's also partly Wifi integration in games, at least in Japan with games like DQ9 and Monster Hunter. I've also heard the argument that life in Japan includes much more time spent on transit, rather than in a car, so that's part of why they've shifted, due to the lifestyle.

But who knows.
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« Reply #82 on: November 21, 2010, 03:12:17 AM »

Maybe developers just need to take a break from making JRPGs for a while and to get some new inspiration. Then they can come back and start making new RPGs and series once they're refreshed and have new ideas or at least new inspirations.
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Starmongoose
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« Reply #83 on: November 21, 2010, 03:19:23 AM »

Maybe developers just need to take a break from making JRPGs for a while and to get some new inspiration. Then they can come back and start making new RPGs and series once they're refreshed and have new ideas or at least new inspirations.


Are you suggesting...I wait...no. I have no idea what you are suggesting.

RPG developers should stop working on RPGs and start working on adventure games for a while? Sort of like a palette cleanser?

I don't think inspiration is the problem here. The problem is tired work ethics, corporate suits breathing down their necks, unrealistic expectations and the economy.
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beach1
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« Reply #84 on: November 21, 2010, 03:25:46 AM »

Maybe developers just need to take a break from making JRPGs for a while and to get some new inspiration. Then they can come back and start making new RPGs and series once they're refreshed and have new ideas or at least new inspirations.


Are you suggesting...I wait...no. I have no idea what you are suggesting.

RPG developers should stop working on RPGs and start working on adventure games for a while? Sort of like a palette cleanser?

I don't think inspiration is the problem here. The problem is tired work ethics, corporate suits breathing down their necks, unrealistic expectations and the economy.

Well, kind of. I didn't mean that all JRPG developers take a break at the same time so that there'd be no new rpgs coming out for a while though, lol
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xXMelancholiaXx
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« Reply #85 on: November 21, 2010, 04:25:31 AM »

The argument that JRPGs are made for a different audience is only so valid. Of course, they're designed to appeal to a particular market, but that same market exists over here--it's just a bit smaller. The fact that we've been able to play so many niche titles in the last few years is proof of that it does exist. But to say that JRPGs haven't become stagnant is just plain wrong.
More like a lot smaller. Hence why it's niche. But that's not the point. Frankly I don't see where this whole "stagnation" idea is coming from. If you are talking about the fact that so many are on handheld consoles then I think that can mostly be attributed to increasing console production costs. If you are talking about formulaic nature of JRPGs well I'm sorry to say guys it's probably not going to change. Like I pointed out in the 1up article about the culture clash between Japan and America. There are also some ingrained cultural differences here as well which bring me back to what I was saying about JRPGs being made for a Japanese audience. But this is what I really don't understand why should they change? Because they are old and stale? Maybe Japanese people like the formulaic linear approach to their role playing games did you ever think about that? If this is the case, and I very much assume it is, then your problem is not so much with the games but with the culture that produces them.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 05:05:46 AM by xXMelancholiaXx » Logged

Lord Scottish
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« Reply #86 on: November 21, 2010, 07:49:21 AM »

To me, the shift to handhelds is one of the best things that could have happened to RPGs. The fact that handheld RPGs require less financial investment - and therefore leave developers free to take risks - is why, IMO, the best handheld RPGs this gen are better, fresher. and more interesting than their console counterparts from either the East or the West.

Etrian Odyssey, for example, is the kind of game that would never have seen the light of day without the handheld market, yet I can think of no RPG on consoles this gen that I found more enjoyable or inspiring.
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Mickeymac92
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« Reply #87 on: November 21, 2010, 10:35:00 AM »

To me, the shift to handhelds is one of the best things that could have happened to RPGs. The fact that handheld RPGs require less financial investment - and therefore leave developers free to take risks - is why, IMO, the best handheld RPGs this gen are better, fresher. and more interesting than their console counterparts from either the East or the West.

Etrian Odyssey, for example, is the kind of game that would never have seen the light of day without the handheld market, yet I can think of no RPG on consoles this gen that I found more enjoyable or inspiring.

I agree whole-heartedly. Loads of great games on the portables this gen, better than what we've seen on consoles, and I'm honestly not complaining, so long as we get some good games somewhere.
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Vanguard
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« Reply #88 on: November 21, 2010, 10:57:13 AM »


To a certain extent I think you're right, although I think it's also partly Wifi integration in games, at least in Japan with games like DQ9 and Monster Hunter. I've also heard the argument that life in Japan includes much more time spent on transit, rather than in a car, so that's part of why they've shifted, due to the lifestyle.

But who knows.

That's interesting. I live in NYC and spend at least 10 hours a week riding the subway and probably only see a handful of heandhelds each week, the majority of which are PSPs. I'd love to randomly find someone playing DQIX out here though, as I just dove into that game myself and am having a lot of fun with it.


More like a lot smaller. Hence why it's niche. But that's not the point. Frankly I don't see where this whole "stagnation" idea is coming from. If you are talking about the fact that so many are on handheld consoles then I think that can mostly be attributed to increasing console production costs. If you are talking about formulaic nature of JRPGs well I'm sorry to say guys it's probably not going to change. Like I pointed out in the 1up article about the culture clash between Japan and America. There are also some ingrained cultural differences here as well which bring me back to what I was saying about JRPGs being made for a Japanese audience. But this is what I really don't understand why should they change? Because they are old and stale? Maybe Japanese people like the formulaic linear approach to their role playing games did you ever think about that? If this is the case, and I very much assume it is, then your problem is not so much with the games but with the culture that produces them.

It seems, I don't know, kind of condescending to say that the Japanese like "linear, formulaic" RPGs that are "boring and stale." Maybe that's what sells, but as Dincrest mused, is it possible that gamers over on that side of the world are having this exact same conversation? Without a doubt they are.

My problem is not with the stories that are being told, or the graphic presentation of the titles, or the turn-based battle system. These are all mechanics that have come to define the acronym we've been throwing around for half a dozen pages now (JRPG). My accusation that modern JRPGs have become stale is a response to the fact that they haven't evolved all that much. The cut scenes have become more impressive, but today's end-user experience is almost identical to what it was in 1996.

Look at the other games that come from Japan. They look, play, and feel different than they did fifteen years ago. Now why, if there's such a huge cultural gap between Japan and America, have these games not remained linear, formulaic, boring, stale, or whatever?
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xXMelancholiaXx
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« Reply #89 on: November 21, 2010, 11:23:01 AM »

More like a lot smaller. Hence why it's niche. But that's not the point. Frankly I don't see where this whole "stagnation" idea is coming from. If you are talking about the fact that so many are on handheld consoles then I think that can mostly be attributed to increasing console production costs. If you are talking about formulaic nature of JRPGs well I'm sorry to say guys it's probably not going to change. Like I pointed out in the 1up article about the culture clash between Japan and America. There are also some ingrained cultural differences here as well which bring me back to what I was saying about JRPGs being made for a Japanese audience. But this is what I really don't understand why should they change? Because they are old and stale? Maybe Japanese people like the formulaic linear approach to their role playing games did you ever think about that? If this is the case, and I very much assume it is, then your problem is not so much with the games but with the culture that produces them.

It seems, I don't know, kind of condescending to say that the Japanese like "linear, formulaic" RPGs that are "boring and stale."
Well that "boring and stale" nonsense is the attitude that you and your ilk seem to have. It's certainly not mine. JRPGs might be linear and formulaic but I have no problem with it and I can say that overall I still find the genre very enjoyable.

Look at the other games that come from Japan. They look, play, and feel different than they did fifteen years ago. Now why, if there's such a huge cultural gap between Japan and America, have these games not remained linear, formulaic, boring, stale, or whatever?
That's a good question. I suspect that it might have something to do with differing expectations and interpretations of what the other genres should be. But I think one thing probably remains pretty consistent that is the desire to create a world usually a stylized one, to immerse you in. Let's also remember that there are many genres that rarely if ever make it out of Japan "dating sims, visual novels, eroge etc." Maybe the cultural differences are less prominent in action type games and more prominent in other genres mainly the ones that don't make it out of Japan.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 11:51:36 AM by xXMelancholiaXx » Logged

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