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Retrogamer0001
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Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by Retrogamer0001 Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:18 pm

Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties, my first experiences with the RPG were the Final Fantasy series on NES and SNES, along with others like Chrono Trigger and Earthbound. Although the NES is well-known for platformers and side-scrollers, the SNES was the start of a golden era for RPGs, one of my absolute favorite genres. As time went on, the original Playstation became an absolute powerhouse for dozens and dozens of RPGs, and after that, the genre continued to thrive on PS2, resulting in well over two hundred quality titles between the two systems.

After the sixth generation, the RPG genre seemed to begin a decline, at least on the home console market - RPGs are still going strong on the handheld market. Not a complete decline, by any means, but one that has definitely taken a back seat to the FPS genre. It seems more often that "RPG elements" are being incorporated into games of practically every other genre while the idea of the classic RPG is being discarded/ignored by most publishers/developers (NIS America, AKSYS, XSEED, and ATLUS aside, along with a few others).

I find this apparent shift very interesting, though also quite sad. Is the future of the classic RPG on handhelds, or is a return to form on the major home consoles possible? A few recently released games suggest that this is possible (Ni No Kuni, for one, along with Xenoblade Chronicles) though a return to mass popularity may never fully happen.

What do you guys think of this shift and of the future of the classic RPG on home consoles?
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RyaNtheSlayA
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by RyaNtheSlayA Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:37 pm

I think this is partially due to the fact that RPGs were one of the few genres that offered long and compelling narrative in the earlier days of gaming. At this point, we are able to put story into all sorts of different genre pretty easily.

I don't really think there's much of a shortage of RPGs these days though, especially as you said, on handhelds. I think traditional RPGs are definitely have seen a decline though. You tend to see a lot more variety now.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by Opa Opa Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:39 pm

I think the smaller development costs of handhelds (and the larger consumer base) will keep most JRPG's off consoles.

I actually like the console-to-handheld shift. I can play these games anywhere now. I don't have to be glued to a couch for 50+ hours.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by Gamerforlife Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:46 pm

I think the genre has just become very dated, and I say that as a fan. It hasn't really evolved with the times. Only a few I can think of, like Valkyria Chronicles, seem to have modern appeal. For all its flaws, I think the FF series has made some strides towards moving the genre forward. Less emphasis on grinding, making saving and travelling more convenient, and providing a combat system that is not as bland to watch or play as most rpg battles tend to be. The cinematic style combat in recent FFs may be a direction for the rest of the genre to go in. Plus, games like Valkyria Chronicles and The Last Story are bringing in more Western game influences in as well.

As someone who used to be a huge jrpg fan, I haven't really played many this generation. Few of them really excite or interest me.

Japanese gaming has kind of fallen out of fashion this gen too. We've seen western rpgs largely dethrone jrpgs and have replaced them in popularity on console. And of course, they've always been popular on PC. Part of the problem too is just demographics. Western rpgs are providing more adult characters and stories for older gamers, as opposed to spikey haired, ridiculously dressed kids in cliche, overly melodramatic, coming of age stories that all seemed aimed at teenage anime fans.
Last edited by Gamerforlife on Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by Stark Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:49 pm

Yeah I prefer these on handhelds now too. And they really seem suited for the traditional JRPG. I've been playing the heck out of Persona 4 on my Vita, but there is no way I would have been able to put 70+ hours on that game on my home console. I just don't have that much time to devote to it.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:26 pm

I like my JRPGs on handhelds.

The handheld RPGs of old were a pain due to poor battery life and lack of backlight, but those aren't problems anymore.

It's easier to find time to play handheld games vs. console games. I can play my Vita on the couch, in the car, in bed, wherever. I rarely have time these days to sit down in front of a console.

In addition, I prefer how handheld games look vs. console games. Since the handhelds are a "generation behind" so to speak, the games have simpler, cleaner graphics - perfect for the anime aesthetic and exactly how a JRPG should look.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by Hatta Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:41 pm

I'm cautiously optimistic that games are headed that way already. Look at what happened with X-Com. They announced an X-com FPS, gamers flipped the shit out, and then someone else announced an X-com tactical RPG. Now the tactical RPG is out, has been extremely well received, and the FPS is nowhere to be found. Brian Fargo's Wasteland 2 attracted an enormous amount of attention, and is still slated to be turn based, AFAIK. If that's as successful as X-com has been, I can see a lot more interest in quality turn based RPGs for the PC.

Even great games from the recent past like The Witcher, are spoiled by combat systems that amount to nothing more than clicking all over the place. Other titles like Fallout or Skyrim are true FPS hybrids. Before X-com the only decent strategy RPG for years was King's Bounty(2008), which was a fantastic game, with great reviews, but it wasn't marketed very well and ended up in bargain bins really quickly. I had never even heard of it until I saw it for $5 on Amazon. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 2003's Temple of Elemental Evil. It's been very lean times for those of us who like complex PC RPGs.

If strategy RPGs are doing well on handhelds, they should do better on consoles. A good sRPG battle might take half an hour to play out. If you stop every 5 minutes because you're on the go, you'll keep losing your place and have trouble planning well enough. This is why I haven't finished Tactics Ogre PSP, for instance. Wish I could just shove the UMD in my PS2.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by AppleQueso Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:44 pm

^I think it helps that publishers and developers are starting to finally realize that yes, a niche game CAN sell well, provided you actually put the right marketing push behind it and actually give the fans a quality product.

All the misguided attempts in the past at making these sorts of games have mass appeal have pretty much fallen flat. They don't really bring in new players, they just piss off the fanbase that would've eaten the game up otherwise. Pubs and Devs are realizing this too.

Things are lookin' up.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by isiolia Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:35 pm

Retrogamer0001 wrote:It seems more often that "RPG elements" are being incorporated into games of practically every other genre while the idea of the classic RPG is being discarded/ignored by most publishers/developers (NIS America, AKSYS, XSEED, and ATLUS aside, along with a few others).

I find this apparent shift very interesting, though also quite sad.


Not many FPSes are trying to be Wolfenstein 3D either.

That some developers continue to find a niche audience for deliberately anachronistic product is really more a testament to there being a dedicated fanbase, not lack of one. I tend to see a lot of the JRPGs now as being self-indulgent, much like a lot of modern anime. They're making games that pander to the existing fans, if not specific niches in that market.

There's plenty of RPG fandom now. It just looks different, because the games look different. The tens of millions that pour thousands of hours into MMOs, the hardcore Dark Souls players, the Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls players, and so on. Not that you don't see fervor over Japanese games too, like the availability of Xenoblade or Fire Emblem right now. :lol:

Were JRPGs to make a huge comeback - assuming they really went away in the first place - they'd come back looking a lot different.
Though, to me, that's how it should be. Most of the big JRPGs for a given time were ambitious, contemporary projects, not copies of 15-20 year old past successes.
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Re: Anyone else want a genre-shift back to RPGs?

by Hatta Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:51 pm

isiolia wrote:Not many FPSes are trying to be Wolfenstein 3D either.


And we're due for a revival of the key-maze FPS too.
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