: The RPG Genre Is Flat-Lining

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The RPG Genre Is Flat-Lining

There was a time when I would note the shift in the role-playing genre; i.e., the death of turn-based and the fact that just about any RPG these days can be considered an "action/RPG." But I've just realized something...the RPG genre itself is dying.

Perhaps it's because so many action/adventure games hold role-playing elements and in general, the boundary lines between categories are becoming blurrier and less defined. Or maybe it's simply because the entire world has an ever-decreasing attention span. Then again, maybe it's just because the influx of casual gamers is essentially squeezing out any title that is - for the most part - reserved for the hardcore. It's probably a combination of all these things...but that doesn't make it any less true. I've been playing RPGs for a good 18 years and because I'm so busy with other things these days (like reviewing a ton of stuff, for instance), I didn't notice the fall of the RPG.

This year, for instance, it's all about Mass Effect 2, Fable III and Fallout: New Vegas, as far as I can tell. I can't get into any of them (except for maybe Fable) because in all honesty, I have trouble defining the likes of ME and Fallout as RPGs. Final Fantasy XIII might be role-playing...hard to say, really. Beyond that, what? A bunch of handheld RPGs (I admit the genre seems to be thriving in the portable realm) and that's about it. Look at 5 years ago: in 2005, we got Dragon Quest VIII, Dungeon Siege II, Guild Wars, Jade Empire, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga I and II, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, Champions: Return to Arms, X-Men: Legends, and more. And that's hardly the best year for RPGs; I just chose a 5-year span.

Is anyone going to make an RPG besides BioWare, Obsidian, Atlus Square-Enix and Nippon Ichi? The RPG-dedicated studios are going down and the really talented teams apparently don't want to have anything to do with the genre. I guess it's just because they don't sell well enough unless the name "Final Fantasy" is in the title. At this point, I dare say Dragon Age - and maybe Fable - are the only recognizable RPGs in my eyes. I can look at them and go, "yep, that's role-playing." But how much longer will I be able to do that? At this rate, we'll end up with maybe one or two RPGs in any given year and it's only a matter of time before the entire genre disappears...

10/22/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (123 posts)

laxpro2001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:32:51 PM
Reply

"Perhaps it's because so many action/adventure games hold role-playing elements and in general, the boundary lines between categories are becoming blurrier and less defined."

Exactly the way I've seen this situation over the past year or so. I miss the good ol' fashioned rpgs that weren't as linear and featured vast world maps which you character (who was as big as the town you were traveling to) traversed. I even miss random encounters to a little.

I have no problem with real-time RPG's but I want both :(

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booze925
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:35:40 PM
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its the age of the shooter. simple.

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Scarecrow
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:25:52 AM

In the West.

Sadly it boils down to money since the two continents in the West are a bigger market.

Money killing art. Yup that's how it all begins

*cough* Hollywood *cough*

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eLLeJuss
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:19:55 AM

Not in Japan and other asian countries. They are still rich in RPG's. Only here in the west.

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Jawknee
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 3:27:21 PM

"its the age of the shooter"

Translation: it's the age of mediocrity.

The shooter fanatics who can't sit and think about their strategy for longer than a milisecond have finally managed to take over and ruin it for the rest of us.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:37:44 PM
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Interesting editorial. To be honest, with the difficulty in classifying straight RPGs, it only makes sense that the genre would kill itself as a result of an identity crisis. I've heard people saying that the ME series is actually a TPS with RPG aspects tacked onto it. This I'm not sure of, but I would certainly class Fallout as an RPG, not because of the story, but because of the amount of micromanagement and the way you constantly need to be aware of whether you are using the right thing at the right time.

Just like Final Fantasy XIII. Sure, you're equipment doesn't matter so much, but if you select the wrong attack or Paradigm at the wrong time, you're deader than your average doornail. But yes, I think the genre is dying out because so many other genres use aspects of it, that it is now very much impure.

Then again, we must remember the maxim, 'everything old is new again'. It seems that in all mediums of entertainment there are phases when things just seem to fall off, and then resurge. Maybe this is just another one of those things. Right now, FPSes are surging, and sooner or later people will tire of that, and another genre will take its place. We must surely come back to the RPG at some point. Oh well, I'm hopeful, probably foolishly, but c'est la vie.
Peace.

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laxpro2001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:47:42 PM

Hey sorry I don't know what ME is, can you expand?

Also as far as I know we never didn't have shooters, and its not like they weren't popular. Heck I probably played more shooters in my earlier gaming years than my recent despite there being a bigger emphasis on them now; most likely to avoid boring myself with the over-saturation of the market.

That being said to say that RPG's would just die out is impossible for me to fathom. If anything I think we'll see just more integration with very few strict RPGs released each year. Either that or the term RPG will take on a much less strict definition if it hasn't already.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:51:23 PM

Eh...you don't always need to know what attack or skill you used in FFXIII during battle. In fact, I rarely even looked...which is why I have trouble calling it an RPG.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:53:42 PM

ME is Mass Effect. You may be right for the shooters, but never before have they consistently been the best selling games available. That used to be a far larger range of games, while nowadays, the only real competition to CoD and Halo comes from GTA, and few others.

And yeah, I too believe that RPGs will, and indeed are already, losing the things that make them instantly identifiable from a crowd. Whether this will mean fewer true RPGs, or an influx of semi-RPGs, only the future will tell us.

EDIT: Yeah, well Ben, I think that I was pretty awful at the game. I swear I spent more than half my time with two medics on my team trying to stay alive.
Peace.

Last edited by Lawless SXE on 10/22/2010 9:54:50 PM

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Temjin001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:03:13 PM

I actually paid close attention to what my characters were doing in FF13. As one example, I'd monitor when saboteur de-buffs and synergist effects would go into effect and then make paradigm switches based on that. This was likewise contributed to any of the other roles I had in the mix. My mind was actively calculating the best course of action. Honestly, having played FF7, FF8, and I'm on disc 3 of FF9 recently, of those games I've enjoyed FF13's combat system the most. My complaints against FF13 is more towards the very linearity of the game design. But even as it is, I thought FF13 fit the bill of a jRPG closer than any other kind of genre.

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:11:02 PM

While i can't vouch for ME, because i didn't play it, i did play ME2. And although i didn't play DA:Origins, i figured ME2 to be fairly analogous to Bioware. Am i mistaken?

I played it for the engaging story, wonderfully fleshed out universe (complete with history, culture, anachronisms, allusions, relatables); the characters, exploration and upgrades. And due to the insane amount of plot-hooks/decisions, it felt to me like a medley of Heavy Rain, Gears, and Ratchet.

I'm hardly an RPG aficiondo, but with FF7, ME2, DS, and VC, i think i'm no stranger to the genre.

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laxpro2001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:13:53 PM

Thanks for clarifying, and you bring about a good point. I'm pretty sure everyone knows how I feel towards GTAIV on this site by now (one last time just to clarify: grossly overrated) and for that to be another one of the top selling games annoys me as well. I guess it comes down to the fact that new gamers (for the most part) just play what others play. Thus simple games like these will prevail.

Come to think of it, as far as my experience this generation goes so far the five closest PS3 games I have to legit RPGs are
1. Eternal Sonata
2. Elder Scrolls Oblivion
3. Folklore (never did finish cause the tv at the time made it impossible to enjoy :/)
4. Valkyria Chronicles
5. Enchanted Arms

On an ironic side note I couldn't finish Enchanted Arms due to lack of interest in story and this was probably the closest to a legit turn-based rpg this generation.

What a shame :(

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:14:04 PM

Sensei Temjin, didja get the package today?

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Temjin001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:18:03 PM

Yes, indeed, Master Shams. Thank you.

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:18:18 PM

Good to know, Laxpro. Two of those games (VC and Folklore) made it into my collection, last weekend. What did you think of DS (besides it being more along the lines of action/rpg)? The game held my curiosity because of it's reworking of traditional gaming conventions, and waiting what was around every corner, and every nuance and subtle feature.

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:21:56 PM

Excellent. I'll be playing VC and inFamous (again, cuz i love it) to hold me over until Unleashed 2. Played the demo, and i'm impressed. Can't wait. Oh, and again, sorry for the wait.

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:47:09 PM

Turn-based RPGs have pretty much gone the way of Shmups and beat'um ups. And while Fighters and hackn'slash have replaced beat'um ups, and FPS/TPS's have replaced Shmups for the most part, i guess RPG's have been assimilated and replaced by bunch of games...namely action-adventures, action/rpgs, open-world games, and the like.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:55:39 PM

Temjin,
I too paid close attention to what was going on on the game screen, and what each character was up to, but more often than not I would miss something that I shouldn't have and wind up with a dead character. All I can say is thank goodness for the way the Summons restore your team.

I should probably just say this, I'm not the biggest fan of RPGs. The only ones currently in my collection are VC, FFXIII, DS, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and FFX/X-2. I really do intend to expand on that list, but they just take so much time to really get into and complete that playing them exclusively means you've got little time to diversify.

I think that may be another reason for their scarcity. Because they can take such a long time to play, they sort of, squash out, other games, and reduce profits all around. So, developers create shorter games so that there is more incentive to buy them earlier. Maybe I'm just talking s**t here.
Peace.

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laxpro2001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:01:53 PM

@Shams, glad to hear that. I really have to pick folklore up again... the story was really intriguing from what I remember.

Anyway I really enjoyed DS a lot. It was an impulse purchase for me since I was in the mood of something with that atmosphere and I had heard good things about it. Needless to say as soon as I got it, I could not put it down. As far as an RPG goes yea it falls into the action rpg category.

IMO it was kind of an even split from each category. You had your RPG elements like the way you built your character, weapons & equips and the ability to upgrade them, standard HP and MP bar etc. It was also coupled nicely with the action which invoked a wide array of feelings ultimately leading down to just pure excitement.

Aside from that overall I thought the game was fun, novel, refreshing, and provided the feeling of freedom within its boundaries as well as a sense of accomplishment with every obstacle overcome. One of my favorite games of this generation!

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:15:11 PM

Well said, Laxpro. I'd say that would be a complete synopsis of DS's draw.

Bit of trivia: Did you know that the master-mind behind Folklore was none other than the creator of StreetFighter 2? Doesn't help it's case in this article, i know, but surprising info, nonetheless, isn't it?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:18:16 PM

I'm not saying one doesn't watch buffs and what have you because I think we all did that.

My point is, I never really cared what sort of attack they were executing, or what sort of spell was cast. After doing Libra and setting it to Auto, the character would automatically choose the most effective attack and use it. Sure, you had to actually look for tough enemies but it was rare.

I didn't like the FFXIII combat system for a number of reasons. The animation required for the first Paradigm shift allowed enemies to continue to move while you were helpless (a definite flaw), you could never pause the battle and assign orders (the ONE thing I believe an RPG requires), and the Eidolons were borderline useless for too much of the game, in stark contrast to the Summons in other FFs.

FFXIII is a great game. But it's not a great FF.

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Temjin001
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:22:10 AM

Ben, I also think the whole picking spells thing got watered out in FFXIII. But, in its place is the paradigm system which helped add an active-time play dynamic that was rolled in with the staggering system. It was fun optimizing my party's abilities with various match-ups for specific purposes.

To me even though the game appeared to be moving in realtime, it still felt turn based as a player needed only worry about assigning commands before ATB cells were ready (sometimes in dire situations executing commands before all ATB bars were fully charged). Every so often it would've been nice to have the option to pause the battle to make a paradigm call or combat decision, but I'd say for the vast majority of the game that feature would've been hardly used by myself.

Also, the leveling of the characters and weapons were all still very RPG'centric.

I think FFXIII could've been a lot more if they simply didn't streamline the overall format of it's design.
There needed to be a lot more places like Vanelle's abandoned city. And maps that weren't so obviously linear in structure. Quite a few of those earlier locations could've been made into hallway racing tracks.

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johnld
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:03:00 AM

@lawless

actually in final fantasy 13, the equipment matters a whole damn lot, trust me. my entire team is maxed out and they are still getting effed up by enemies. i would farm to get the better equipment items but it just too much damn work especially after grinding for leveling up. i must've fought that damn giant turtle close to 200 times and i dont think i got more than 40 platinum ingots (item with highest sell value at 150000 i think).

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 6:16:30 AM

If you say so, johnld. Just as far as I was concerned it didn't really help me. I was occasionally switching up what the characters had for the equip effects, such as prolonging the stagger, but I just didn't find that the attack and magic strength seemed to make a great deal of difference. Perhaps I just wasn't paying enough attention to that aspect of the game.
Peace.

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Underdog15
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:39:00 AM

@Johnld
If you got 40 ingots out of 200 adamantoise's, you're lucky. The drop rate is only 5%. Statistically, out of 200, you should only get 10.

@Lawless
Upgrades to weapons by one or two levels is insignificant, true, however, upgrades over a long period of time can make a massive difference. For example, with a Belladonna wand maxed out to whatever the max weapon is (can't remember what Vanille's best weapon's called), I can have her Death Spell (when she has necessary buffs and enemy has necessary debuffs) doing 999,999 damage every time. Before I leveled up her wand, she might have done 100,000 to 200,000.

Makes killing adamantoise's really easy. (Under 30 seconds for me)

Either way, I found it extremely simple to exploit the best status effects in this game. It wasn't so much strategy as much as it was manipulating the programming... the battle system in FFXIII was way too simplistic. The weapon upgrade system gives you the impression of complexity without actually having any.

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FxTales
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:41:44 PM
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I find it all surprising considering there's a huge fanbase for the genre.

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frostface
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:46:26 PM
Reply

It bloody well better not disappear. I'll go on a rampage and burn down real towns and villages and get into sword fights with unsuspecting, unarmed passers-by outside me gaff (house)!!!
I'll end up arrested but will be forced to call up my mage friend to bail me out with a violent display of fire and brimstone!
It's much safer that they keep making these games!

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laxpro2001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:52:28 PM

why not just have your thief friend with great sneaking and lock-picking capabilities sneak you out? You won't have to worry about a chase at that point!

That would be the best route to take unless of course your mage friend has enough potions and ethers for the escape and there is a town (with an inn) within a fairly close proximity which you can use to rest to restore your hp and mp.

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frostface
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:09:26 PM

Yes, you're certainly on the right track. I just have a thing for fire and brimstone. But a skilled rogue would be much better indeed!

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:49:27 PM
Reply

I think the real issue is that in the hey day of the RPG (PS1 and early PS2 era) publishers could make back their money by releasing RPGs they know will appeal to a small niche of gamers. In today's world you can't release a game that people are going to be impressed by without a significantly higher investment for development costs. Thus RPGs need to appeal to larger audiences than they have in the past. That's why you see fewer actual RPG releases but a couple of Major Event-type RPG releases every year. Final Fantasy, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Fallout. This need to capture a larger audience is also what is leading developers to ditch classic RPG elements in favor of less strategy focused battle mechanics.

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Shams
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:30:57 PM

You must've been between 3-5 when the hayday ps1 classics came out. Those games must seem ancient to you. I must've been 6-8 when i got my 2600 along with it's vaporware. Now THAT stuff felt archaic even when it was current.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:18:36 PM

I remember people owning PS1s when I was sevenish. I got my PS2 when I was 12ish. And with only a few exceptions (KoTOR, Zelda, Chrono Trigger) I didn't really play too many RPGs until this most recent generation.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 6:47:18 AM

Really down-voted for spelling out my personal history? (ie: ZERO editorialization). Make one comment someone doesn't like and they start sniping anything with my black and yellow avatar...

On Topic: This thing I mentioned about development costs sky rocketing on consoles can also help explain the shift to handhelds. It takes less financial risk to release a DS or PSP game so you don't need nearly as large an audience. Niche titles like classic-style RPGs can thrive.

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D1g1tal5torm
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 5:41:13 AM

It's the maturity (lack thereof) of the rpg'ers.

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fstop
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 9:54:42 PM
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I couldn't agree more on this subject.
The casual gamers now rule the roost, which leaves the hardcore sitting on a few games that can be considered truly EPIC experiences graphically, emotionally as well as story and how interaction between gamer and characters are played out. The casual gamer cares less about these things yet they eat up games as if they'd cared since the beginning of gaming itself. The real problem lies with developers seeing this as a cash cow. RPG's take too much thinking to get into and most gamers now-a-days can't stand having to learn too much to play anything.
Sorry, I'm ranting.
Anyway, I fear I see the same trend Ben is seeing.

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Slycly
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:12:10 PM
Reply

Seems to me that we got plenty of JRPGS all throughout last gen and when PS3 came out they just stopped even bothering to make any JRPGs on this gen of consoles. It wasn't even a gradual decline it was a sudden drop. They continued to make RPGs on handhelds though. Maybe they think everyone who owns a HD consoles just like shooters so they not even bothering to make many RPGs. I hope someone release a good JRPG and it sells well to jumpstart the genre again.

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shadowscorpio
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:46:39 PM

If a "real" JRPG with traditional RPG elements that utilized the PS3's potential was created, it would blow all of these shooters out of the water. The devs are afraid to take a chance. Shooters have always been around. Think back to the effect that it had on you when the comercials for Final Fantasy 7 aired during the PSone era. That alone got non-RPG lover to start getting interested in the genre. I believe it needs to happen again and its around that time...

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Riku994
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:14:06 PM
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We need: LoD remake or prequel, Elder Scrolls 5, DQ11 on a GOOD system (don't try to tell me 9 on DS and 10 on Wii is a good idea), and Versus 13 to be as epic as it can be, PREFERABLY by staying away from the 360. If Nomura lets it slip to the 360, I hope he at least stands firm and still optimizes it for the PS3 and doesn't dumb it doubt so SE can make a quick buck from Microsoft, only to have the game lack in sales and review scores because of it.

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shadowscorpio
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:56:08 PM

Agreed. They need to think about the wealth they get from loyal fans and cater to that. MS may offer a large sum of money for you to do what they want you to do but what is the true value of what you gain? Is MS going to save you when you're businees goes bankrupt and has to close up shop? The only real "true" support comes from the fans. Without us game devs companies would never have gotten this far where they had the power to betray us. All MS is, is a avenue for a quick buck while degrading oneself. Devs have to realize that they owe Microsoft NOTHING. One of these 3rd party devs has to take a risk and cater exclusively to their core fans to see what actually happens. Square-enix has yet to take that risk. Namco Bandai might be coming around according to what I've read about their "Tales of" series on 1UP and Tales union sites. Namco Bandai may still have hope when it comes to the PS3.

Last edited by shadowscorpio on 10/22/2010 11:58:55 PM

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Temjin001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:14:34 PM
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Bethseda makes Oblivion. I hope that counts as an RPG =p

Perhaps the slumping japanese game market is mostly to blame for the lack of jRPGs.

But even then, Tales of Vesperia has been reviewed well for 360 fans this gen, and so has Lost Odyssey. Too bad White Knight Chronicles missed it's chance. And, of course, we have FF13, the mixed feelings jRPG of the century.

The western-devs are doing fine at delivering their side of the goods.
One can look to Oblivion, Fall-Out, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fable, MMORPG's and more for critically acclaimed and highly respected RPG and or RPG-like hybrids.

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Temjin001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:17:14 PM

Also, there's the whole heap of poorly received jRPG's like Star OCean, Enchanted Arms, and (as I mentioned above) WK:C. It seems the jRPG's are still there. The devs just aren't putting out the quality goods.

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Temjin001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:20:40 PM

oh yeah, and lets not forget Blue Dragon =)

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laxpro2001
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:03:33 PM

Yea it seems like Japanese Developers really need to step up their game.

Then again, so does Bethesda.... I NEED ANOTHER ES

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:02:21 AM

According to some, it was Playstation loyalist that bought a 360 (including myself) to play Tales of Vesperia. Not actually 360 loyalist. That's not to say that there aren't 360 loyalist that that wouldn't be interested in JRPG like TOV.

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kokoro
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:22:19 PM
Reply

God I hate Call of Duty, and its massive fanbase of pre-pubescent teens . Sorry, but that game is so visually barren, and in fact I think I would say the same thing for almost all games which have a war context. I feel like my brain is deteriorating everytime I try to play it. I just despise the whole FPS genre and reading articles like this reminds me of that fact.

Another reason why I loathe the FPS genre is because it has created a cohort of gamers that think "RPG is gay" simply because it does not constantly reward them with the instant gratification that they have been conditioned to expect.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:58:07 PM

He isn't saying that they aren't RPGs, or that they aren't good RPGs. He is simply comparing the number of them. So, if you can name more RPGs that were released this year on the PS3/360, go ahead and try to prove him wrong.

The other thing is that WRPGs seem to be less like Role-Playing Games and more like a medley of other genres with Role Playing aspects.
Peace.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:19:54 PM

No idea what you're talking about. I listed all RPGs in the editorial; there's a drastic decrease in the number of overall RPGs released every year.

And Jade Empire and Mass Effect are entirely different; just because they're both WRPGs doesn't mean they're the same.

Please try to read more carefully before commenting.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:44:45 PM

@Lawless: I would make the argument that many old-school JRPGs or "real" RPGs as people on this thread are calling them, play more like spreadsheets than games... So it's really just a matter of taste. I for one, am totally for games playing more like games, and less like spread sheets while many others really like pressing an onscreen button that says "attack" and then watching the internal math play out on screen.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:14:08 AM

@ Shadow (not me obviously ;))

Thats fine and dandy that you feel that way but there was a time when if you mentioned , shooter, action, adventure, fighter, racer, and RPG you knew that each was uniquely different. You prefer your games to play like games? What does that mean exactly? The original formula that RPG used was considered a game. Same with any other genre. Black Jack is different from chess but they are still both games. RPG's used to be a "definite" genre but as Ben states in this article, what we used to consider "RPG" is drifting away...

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:17:22 AM

Shadow,
I can understand that perspective, and I even agree with it. Of course it is more appealing to me to play and be rewarded. But at the same time, there is also the strategy aspect which is almost non-existent in WRPGs. I enjoy outsmarting, or being able to outdo whatever it is I'm facing. Reasons that I love Chess and Scrabble.

I suppose, at the heart of the matter it comes down to what you enjoy. Those clamouring for the old-school style of titles seem to be the ones that enjoy being pitted intellectually against an opponent and overcoming it, while the others are more about skill and timing. As you said, personal preference and taste.
Peace.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:19:27 AM

Wreckless, the number of RPGs made is drastically dwindling. I sort of played RPGs through the PS1 and PS2 generations. I might know what I'm talking about.

You, clearly, do not. I have no idea what point you're even trying to make. You name a few RPGs and try to prove something; dozens upon dozens would come out in that same time frame in previous generations.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/23/2010 12:20:30 AM

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:21:59 AM

I like that the lines between genres are being broken. I like that I can't go into a game look at the genre classification, the developer and then no exactly what I'm going to be spending the next few hours of my life doing. I feel the same way about pretty much all forms of entertainment. Routine is nice. Routine is safe. But routine is... boring. I like to be surprised I like to be challenged. Not necessarily by something that is difficult to do (which is very rewarding when done correctly) but by something that I wasn't expecting. Great works of art were never created by coloring the numbers.

In my opinion the most interesting parts of the RPG genre are the focus on story and character as well as the ability to do things the way you want to, and to explore as you see fit. The least interesting part of RPGs (generally, and of course IMO) is the fighting things. We're seeing the most interesting parts (as defined by me obviously) of this genre make it's way into the rest of our games while the years old button on screen type of gameplay is disappearing. It's not that RPGs are going away, it's evolving, it's traits are being transferred, it's changing, and it's being redefined. And from my vantage point, that's not a bad thing. It's a cycle, one of the most popular genres of game in the Nintendo/Super Nintendo Eras were Side scrolling beat em up games. That genre has all but disappeared today, but in many ways it's evolved into the character action games like God of War, or Bayonetta. The classic RPG may fade away, but who knows what its ancestors will become?

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 6:10:29 AM

I hadn't really contemplated the evolution of genres, but now that you bring it up Shadow, it is certainly very interesting. I mean, we all know that without Mario (as an example, as my gaming knowledge doesn't really go back that far) things would be very different, but let's look at where we went from the platforming of Mario. You jump on the enemies to kill them. So, we need new ways to kill them, thus we now have buttons for attacks, thus evolving into beat-'em-ups. The we go from there until we eventually we get to something of the complexity of what you mentioned. It is interesting. Where would we be I wonder.

So, I suppose we might just be able to look at this degradation of RPGs as an evolution instead. We are being given both more and less freedom, compare FFXIII and Fallout 3. Everything is changing, and they adopting cues from other genres, while passing out their own. What an epiphany. Thanks for that incredible insight Shadow.

Wreckless,
Thanks for listing those. But, I wouldn't really count 3D Dot Game Heroes as an RPG. It's more of an action adventure. Also, perhaps it would serve us well to take a look at the average review scores of what you wrote there to the ones that Ben mentioned in the editorial. It really does serve as a bit of a wake-up call. These RPGs certainly do seem to be on a bit of a downhill slide in quality, if not in quantity as you are saying.
Peace.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 6:40:47 AM

Happy to provide insight. In a lot of ways I feel like the evolution you outlined (i hadn't even thought of the now obvious jump from early platforming to old-school beat'em up) is also precipitated by the evolution of controllers and hardware. I mean in NES days there were the directions and two buttons. You don't have a whole lot of options. Maybe, this is why the on screen button style gameplay ever existed in the first place. Because when that precedent was set controllers only had 2-4 buttons. While, in today's games your seeing companies do there best to make use out of all the input functions current controllers have to offer.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:38:21 AM

Wreckless: Again, you're making no point at all. This isn't just about Sony platforms.

Shadow: You're backwards, here. NOW it seems that RPGs are "routine." They ALL have to have some element of action in them. The thing with RPGs back then - especially JRPGs - was that we almost never faced the same systems of combat, character development, or exploration. Sure, nothing was like Fallout, but the amount of exploration and how the worlds were designed were completely different from one title to the next. And then you have things like the Judgment Ring in Shadow Hearts compared to hybrid combat systems found in the Tales games, or how about the Arts in Legaia, or when Suikoden V instituted movement as a factor even in their turn-based battles.

There was nothing "routine" about any of it. It seems to me that you want to put anything that was turn-based or old-fashioned under the same banner because you didn't quite have the patience to dig beneath the surface and play for more than five minutes. I mean, anyone who thinks all turn-based games were about pressing a button and then watching a character do something...I'm sorry, but that usually proves to me that person never played such games.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 1:37:56 PM

I get what you're saying, but really these vastly different systems (as you called them), from my point of view are really just slightly different systems. And regardless how anyone feels I simply don't think the market will allow too many of those types of games to exist any more.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:48:13 PM

Anything that changes the entire way one plays a game is indeed drastic. Far more different than most WRPGs of the time.

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Rings0fUranus
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 8:34:57 PM

Mass Effect is not a RPG.

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Naztycuts
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:07:42 PM
Reply

Maybe it has something to do with development times and return on investment. It cant be easy to craft the beautiful worlds and environments we're used to seeing in RPG's. I'm going out on a limb here and saying it would take 5 years to make a great RPG with very minor flaws, if the public doesnt eat it up with adoring affection, they may have lost their company.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:23:29 AM

I don't believe that for a second. Why is it that Namco Bandai can construct beautiful worlds with a game with the world "Tales" in front of it but its an issue for "certain" devs? Its harder so its impossible? Developer - stop being seduced by the devil and revert to why you got into this business in the first place. PS2 was a huge leap from PSone and it was still able to be done. PS3 is yet another leap and all we get is excuses. Don't get me wrong, I'm not so naive to think that developing games for this gen's consoles is a cakewalk but when I see devs like Santa Monica, Sony and Naughty Dog pull it off I get really irritated with devs that say its going to take years to do to it being impossible to do. I just don't buy it.

Last edited by shadowscorpio on 10/23/2010 12:27:11 AM

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A2K78
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:29:30 PM
Reply

Wow, for once I actually agree with Ben one on thing.

As for why the genre is flat-ling, its quite obvious...there is a lack of innovation in the air and its not just limited to RPG's, but goes for the very same for racing, and action. The truth is these days there aren't any innovation, but sequels.

As I have said in another discussion, I would like to see the days in gaming where innovation and creativity were paramount of the industry, but sadly these not.

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Highlander
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:00:10 AM

The reason comes down to two words.

Microsoft

and

Exclusivity

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:30:35 AM

I'm not a person who like to spew excuses or place blame but if Microsoft couldn't afford to throw away money to get things how they wanted, I 100% see this gen going in a massively different direction...

I agree Highlander.

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Highlander
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:59:35 PM
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Sadly I sort of agree with you Ben. I am conscious that with the PS2 the development cycle was shorter and the learning curve was more shallow, and the number of JRPGs release late in the cycle far exceeded the number released in the first few years.

With regard to the current generation of console...we're just now getting into the time when JRPGs should really be hitting their stride, and yet, they're not. Personally, I don't think it's quite as bad as it seems. Atelier Rorona (2010) isn't the strongest JRPG in story or battle terms, but it's undeniably a JRPG game in all important respects. WKC (2010), Star Ocean 4(2010), Valkyria Chronicles (2008), Cross Edge (2009), Enchanted Arms(2007), these are all creditable JRPG games. But notice that not one of those is from Namco, not one of those was developed by Square Enix. Star Ocean 4 was published by SE, but developed by Tri-Ace.

There have been good JRPG games, and some are even turn based. I agree that the genre is going through very tough times, I'm not 100% sure that it's completely flat lining, but it's definitely gone in to v-fib and is in desperate need of a game that is good enough to take the role of a defibrillator.

Namco could so easily have made things better with a few Tales games, but apart from the very belated and begrudging releast of Eternal Sonata, they'd done absolutely sweet FA for us this generation. Of course a lot of that has to do with a certain scum sucking, double dealing, devious software company that has essentially destroyed a game industry with it's extremely negative influence. There are several games from Namco that should by any measure do well on the PS3 that are not on the PS3 thanks to Microsoft and it's interference in the market. Namco is not alone in falling prey to this influence. Thanks to the cowardice of these companies that took the short term gain in favor of the long term benefits of serving the market, the JRPG, and RPG genre in general has suffered.

It's been left to the smaller companies to serve the core audience on the PS3. Atlus, Gust, Level 5, these are the companies that are actually bothering to do something, and PS3 gamers should be rewarding them richly. Sadly we do not.

I lay the majority of the blame for all of this right on the door step of Microsoft and it's utterly reprehensible actions in the game industry over the last 5-6 years. They identified some of the key genre for the Sony market, and targeted them for exclusivity deals. That my friends is not the action of a company that is looking out for the interests of consumers, that is the action of a company trying to destroy the market of another company without regard to the consumer harm done.

BTW, did you know, I hate Microsoft.

Funnily enough, I just went back and added dates to the games I listed, 2010 has more JRPGs released that I bought, than any previous year on the pS3. So by that measure, more JRPGs are being released as we go on. Could this be one of those transition times when companies with a glorious past falter and give way to the new upstarts?

Last edited by Highlander on 10/23/2010 12:09:43 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:26:06 AM

Also, it's the franchises that have been abandoned that has caused the huge fall.

Suikoden, Legaia, Wild ARMs, Breath of Fire, Xenogears/saga, Tales, Shadow Hearts, etc. And on the Western side, how could we not have a Baldurs Gate III? Why is Diablo III taking 20 years? Heroes of Might and Magic is dead, the Icewindale/Neverwinter Nights thing is in the past, etc.

Then you've got the shift to portables; DQVIII was on the PS2 but DQIX was on the DS. That's only one example of dozens. They're just all...going away.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:43:22 AM

I know I say this alot and its not because I have a man crush on you or anything but I absolutely agree with you Highlander.

Concerning Namco bandai, I think you should look up Tales info on 1up and/or Tales Union concerning the direction of the series. From what I read recently its seems that NB is realizing that it was a bad idea to release tales games on every other system expect the PS3 this gen and that they are taking steps to change course. Mainly realizing that its in their best interest to keep tales with the playstation brand while keeping nintendo in mind. The issue of advertising "Tales of" series more also came up.

Last edited by shadowscorpio on 10/23/2010 12:44:35 AM

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:51:11 AM

@ Ben

You're soright. Its like any business. Devs I think are playing it too safe. The Xenosaga series ended prematurely because they didn't feel it was picking up amongst a large amount of fans fast enough. I really wish Dev wouldn't expect massive profits from putting in minimal work. I wish they'd stop crying about sales when they don't even plan for a advertising budget for the product that they've put work into.

TAKE A CHANCE! Advertise. Test your product in the market. The ONLY reason I ever got into the Tales of game was because I stumbled upon Tales of Legendia on youtube. After that I started to seek out as many Tales of game that I could. Sad isn't it. Devs need to advertise.

Last edited by shadowscorpio on 10/23/2010 12:51:53 AM

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Highlander
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 1:11:06 AM

@ShadowScorpio,

I'll stop leaning on Namco when they finally do an international release of Tales of Vesparia on PS3, but I am aware of their shift in focus, I simply have no actual evidence of that shift yet.

Regarding advertising, I think that has a place, but so does distribution strategy. Some games sell so few copies and are projected to sell so few copies that retail outlets actually stock them in ones and twos. The trouble there is that gamers who are looking for the game can be frustrated by a lack of supply. As time passes and more games are available for download, and more people get used to purchasing via retailers like Amazon, that might get better. But the way that retail is right now, niche games are not well served by bricks and mortar retail. That has a negative impact on sales.

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kokoro
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 8:42:24 AM

@highlander I think I hate them more than you.

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shadowscorpio
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 12:49:35 AM

@ highlander

I hear ya. I guess that even though we've been royally screwed by the heavyweight RPG devs, I still want to have some optimism that a turn around is still possible. I can imagine that Namco Bandai would sign a contract where it would give Microsoft unlimited exclusivity to Tales of Vesperia here in America. Or Europe for that matter...

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BTNwarrior
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:27:58 AM
Reply

now if they could make a JRPG with a great compelling story, good turnbased combat, characters we could connect with, and current gen graphics where you don't have to grind for 5 hours just to see 40 seconds of cutscene than I would say the rpg could make a comeback. However we are stuck with games like FF13 where the combat is terrible and you level so damn slow it takes you an entire day of gaming just to see a very tiny bit of story. Making it so that no matter how compelling the story is you are stuck grinding for hours on end whith what seems like no reward at all. The only rpg that I can think of that gives me hope for the jrpg market is persona 4 and thats a ps2 game

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Scarecrow
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:43:51 AM
Reply

I might be wrong but I have a feeling the Japanese will will buy less and less consoles.

It's obvious Japanese companies are catering HEAVILY to handhelds (a whole lot of jrpgs there) and not really to consoles.

Just look at how the DS sales over there, and the psp does pretty well too.

Sad, if Sega was still around instead of Micorosoft this wouldn't have happened.

Nintendo needed to knock off Microsoft off the table when they had the chance.

Instead they went with those mini-discs for Gamecube -_-

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Highlander
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 1:14:30 AM

Yes, but, with video games the software leads the hardware. If the game makers made JRPGs for the home consoles, they'd sell. If games like thhe Idolmaster games (for example) were produced and released for the PS3 in Japan, they'd sell well, the PS3 would sell better, and we'd see a more vibrant JRPG scene on the main consoles. People really need to stop imagining that software follows hardware, it's never been that way, the software always led the hardware. Microsoft knows this, that's why they paid for exclusivity. Fortunately for Sony and unfortunately for MS, there was sufficient platform loyalty to make that strategy a waste. Unfortunately that strategy stunted the whole JRPG genre, market and development industry. IMHO of course...

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Temjin001
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:40:19 AM

I'm curious. How many JRPG's did MS pay for exclusivity?
Wasn't most of their effort directed towards constructing teams to do Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey under their publishing label?

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CH1N00K
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 1:31:48 AM
Reply

I was going to comment on this about how Twitch gaming and the "mainstream" is ruining the gaming world for those of us who like RPG's, but then I saw something shiny and forgot what I was going to say.


But sad to say, this is where we're going. In a generation of gamer, where nobody cares about anything except for the next great FPS..Where is there room for an RPG....The money is all in games that have 5 hours single player campaigns and focus purely on the multiplayer...Where does and RPG fit into that? RPG's on the PS2 were primarily a solitary gamers game....you would spend 80+ hours by yourself, trying ot unlock the secret weapon and beat the final monster....now? Who has time for 80 hours of single player when their friends want to play online?

RPG's are going to be replaced on consoles with MMORPG's...it happened with PC Gaming, and now that the technology of a console is getting to be on par as you "average" household computer....Console gamers are going to suffer the same fate... Sure it's great to play a game with a great story and 80+ hours of storyline...but when it comes to profit and money...it's cheaper to design and sell a game that has 10 hours of storyline and a story line quest that the whole world can do together online at a fraction of the cost....

Last edited by CH1N00K on 10/23/2010 1:32:35 AM

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Shams
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:48:06 AM

"I was going to comment on this about how Twitch gaming and the "mainstream" is ruining the gaming world for those of us who like RPG's, but then I saw something shiny and forgot what I was going to say."

LOL!^

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Kevadu
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:09:39 AM
Reply

Every single person complaining about a lack of good, original RPGs needs to play Nier. That game blew me away. I had zero anticipation for it prior to its release, but the end product is possibly my favorite game of the year.

Don't discount the handheld titles, either. Ys Seven and Valkyria Chronicles 2 are both fantastic. Ys Oath in Felghana should hopefully continue that trend.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:32:33 AM

I played and liked Nier.

And I AM discounting handhelds.

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Temjin001
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 12:49:17 PM

But Ben, Nintendo's Reggie Aims played the latest DS Dragon Quest game for 150 hours =p

Personally, I love RPG's on handhelds. Granted they don't have all of the amazing tech that powers the latest blockbusters like Uncharted 2 but they still give purists who really care about the spirit of jrpg design above all else their gaming fix.

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___________
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:30:19 AM
Reply

i would not say flat lining, more like changing.
the genre thats flat lining is horror.
we have so few horror games, and whatever there is there not really horror games more like action shooters with supernatural themes.
thats how i describe fear.
the last game i could truly call a horror game is doom 3 which released 5 freaking years ago!!!!!!!

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Highlander
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:38:46 AM

Except that Doom was never supposed to *be* a horror game, it was the archetypal sci-fi shooter.

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:49:36 AM

Catherine looks set to change that.

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___________
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 9:54:36 AM

the series was never suppose to be a horror game, it was a FPS.
but come on you cant say its not scary.
i could not play the game in the early morning without having all the lights in the house on!
than i would not be able to sleep once i turn it off, i would be hearing creeks and such.
its a shame we dont have any games like fatal frame anymore those games were such scary games.
not scary as in boo scary, but physiologically scary like the suffering.
now that game f*cks with your mind!


Catherine does look really good, but one titles not going to revive the series.
developers need to get it out of there head that people wont play scary games its a load of crap!
theres heaps of people who love the old style of scary games.
just because all horror movies have to turn into either torture porn ala saw, hills have eyes ect, or turn to zombies ala RE, dawn of the dead, does not mean games have to follow suit.


Last edited by ___________ on 10/23/2010 9:57:21 AM

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WolfCrimson
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 3:26:55 AM
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Wait, what about Dead Space? That was certainly horror.

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Nerull
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 3:35:25 AM
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I quite agree. The only rpg on my radar atm is dragon age 2 and I'm just hoping the simplicity of ME2 doesn't get transferred over too much.
It has to be a different section of Bioware so perhaps there's even a chance it will bear some new intricacies for those with a mind for stats and roleplaying.
Was happy to hear the choices made in the first will keep the results if not the actual character.
Maybe I'll give WKC 2 a look when it comes stateside.

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johnld
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 3:57:27 AM
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you forgot about level 5 ben. although, white knight chronicles 2 is the ONLY rpg i can think of that i want and am getting day 1. versus 13 kinda dropped off my list a while ago, i dont even know if its still an rpg.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:10:41 AM
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Thanks for depressing me Ben.

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Naga
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:15:36 AM
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IMO it isn't only RPG's its swords and shield, medival settings are long missing and why must every feckin game copy God of War and Gears of war!?!

If they're going to copy God of War at least copy Soul Reaver.... a game that's lost within the hearts of the perfect game...

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Gordo
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:19:15 AM
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Demographics...

The average gamer is 30 now and not 20 like 15 years ago.

Game time and money is limited so game publishers know that the number of people willing and able to invest 100 hours in an old school RPG is dwindling...

RPGs aren't flatlining they are just evolving into the action RPG's that we see now and the gamers tastes are adapting too.

The western RPG companies seem to know this. The Japanese are taking a bit longer to realise!

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:41:16 AM

Your logic is flawed. The best selling games currently are games like Modern Warfare which players invest well more than 100hrs playing. So I really don't think you're correct when you mention the lack of RPGS is a result of gamers growing up and not having enough time to play.

Gamers are showing they have plenty of time to invest in gaming, that's why we're gamers and not the casual crowd (most people that own a Wii).

The slow decline of RPGS has to do with developers not trusting their initial fan base and wanting to branch out and attempt to please everyone so they can earn a few extra bucks.

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Snaaaake
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:23:26 AM
Reply

True enough, WTF happened to Xenosaga?
That was another one of my favorite JRPG franchise including FF. And it's turn-based too.
Hopefully the next Tales(which is PS3 exclusive I heard) will restore my faith in Namco.

FFXIII was good but linearity caught me and I got bored with it, but being an FF fan, somewhere inside is telling me to finish the game.
And with the Persona team doing Catherine, my guess for the earliest date for Persona 5 would be 2013.(Hope we're still alive by then)

But all hope is not lost as Hironobu Sakaguchi is still developing games!!

Still, the one company that's capable of reigniting the genre is still Square Enix, they have the resources to do it.
I know this doesn't sound right but they're the only JRPG biggies that's capable of competing with the west.
They could have done it a long time ago if they didn't kept on catering to the west.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:40:58 AM
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I have to be honest, i have never really been into RPGs outside Square, they just all lack charisma, I tried Deamon Souls, found it so boring. Oblivion i stopped playing after i bought a house. I just don't like storys set in medival times, they're all so simular to each other.

I think possibly the only RPG i have enjoyed outside Square is Rouge Galaxy.

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slimey
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:57:41 AM
Reply

johnld
"you forgot about level 5 ben. although, white knight chronicles 2 is the ONLY rpg i can think of that i want and am getting day 1"

Don't forget The Another World.
That game looks really special, and could be a watershed moment for JRPG's on home consoles this gen. If it turns out to be really good, AND if it sales well enough, then that could give the genre a shot in the arm.

I think we need to accept that JRPG's aren't dead. Almost as an after thought it is noted that they are thriving on hand helds. In other words, they are thriving, but not where we want them.

I think this trend will be set to continue with the 3DS. That little machine will take the industry by storm. So many people I know are looking at the list of games being announced for that machine and have decided it is a day 1 purchase for them. Like the PSP and DS before it, I suspect it will become the home of JRPG's.

Then again, I bought my PS3 at launch assuming it would be flooded with my favourite gaming genre, just like the PS1 and PS2 before it, and look how wrong that turned out to be....

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DeusExMachina
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 8:13:46 AM
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My big question is: Why cant they give us a choice between active (a psuedo-active gameplay style, but an actively different gameplay perspective none the less) and full on turn based like they used to (Chrono trigger, a lot of the older FFs etc), yet now its just upgraded. If you choose active you get a more FFXIII'esque battle system and then there would be turn based. Also as for the gameplay length and peoples attention span decreasing problem I think they should employ a 'how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?' aspect to the storyline, character development and plot decisions. This way everyones happy the twitchers can get a short action packed thrill ride and the trueblue RPG playuers can get a long engrossing and strategic experience.

Maybe Im asking too much though, but its just natural for an industry to evolve on its original aspects, not to cut off its roots and try to waddle over to another pasture *cough*west*cough* and try to regrow its roots. I just feel like they taking the quick and easy way out.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:31:11 AM

Wish I could answer that.

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Nerull
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:26:28 PM

It doesn't really have a story element to speak of but that's the approach of the only fantasy-football game I ever played, Bloodbowl.
I have yet to try the real-time option since I knew of the game from its table-top roots but that's the point, the option is there.
I think it came out within the last year.

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JackC8
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 8:20:07 AM
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It seems to me that a lot of JRPG's never progressed beyond the PS1 era. When you've got that sort of stagnation in a genre, people are eventually going to lose interest in it. I'm looking forward to the day that happens with the online FPS genre.

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Temjin001
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:28:05 AM
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I decided to look at some RPG data from Metacritic.

I prompt anyone interested in this topic to go there and sort games by RPG and date, rating etc. I was surprised to see such a huge selection of games classified as "RPG." Granted, many of those were duplicate multi-plats and expansions. Regardless, there appears to be a whole lot going on. And going off of the Metacritic rankings alone, it would appear the highest rated RPG-type games are from this generation. I think it's important to recognize that there are a lot of gaming platforms on the market today. PC, PSP, DS, PS3, and 360 are five active platforms that garner their share of RPG's. I think it's also important to realize that Sony doesn't have the same kind of market dominance they had during the PS2 and PSX era. It didn't make sense to publish games outside of a PS platform. Today? Not the case.

I think something important to understand about this article is that it's highly personalized to Ben's preferences. Basically, what he identifies an RPG and what is not.

It really isn't that so-called RPG's are flat-lining, because there are plenty of games out there to suggest that there's still a lot of activity for the genre. Whether there were more RPG's in the past than now, I dunno but I'll take Ben's word for it, but when I look at Metacritic there's still a lot out there. Not to mention that many of video-gamings best rated RPG's have happened within the last few years.




Last edited by Temjin001 on 10/23/2010 10:30:47 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:30:37 AM

I looked at Metacritic. I'm not counting handhelds because those aren't full-budget games on the same level of console games. They never have been; they're not comparable and they're not in the same category.

The number of RPGs - however you wish to classify them - have gone way down on consoles AND PC. They're also calling more games RPGs now because so few of what we KNOW as RPGs actually exist.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/23/2010 10:31:30 AM

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Underdog15
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:44:18 AM

@Temjin
One interesting fact about metacritic and Final Fantasy I've noticed...

FFVI-91
FFVII- 92
FFVIII-89
FFIX-93
FFX-91
FFXII-90
FFXIII-83
The latest entry is 10% lower than the norm. And RPG's that are PLATFORM RPG's are few and far between. Nothing this generation has had an incredible wow factor in RPG's. PSX and PS2 had TONNES.

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Temjin001
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:13:30 AM

Ben, yeah, the label RPG just doesn't seem to appropriate any clear meaning in design like it used to.

I'm not certain if I follow you, Underdog. First, are you pointing out that FF13 wasn't rated as well as past FF's? I may have been born at night, but not last night =p
Who don't know that? ;)

What's a platform RPG? Is that like Symphony of the Night?

Nothing this gen had an incredible wow factor? I also don't really know what's meant by that. Unless you mean "wow, look at all of these RPG's during the PSX-PS2 era."
Otherwise, many critics who classify a game in the RPG category this gen have praised games like Oblivion and Dragon Age.



Last edited by Temjin001 on 10/23/2010 11:15:32 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:40:11 AM

I think he means that RPG fans during the PS1 and PS2 era (whether they played only on PlayStation or also included PC), could usually find new RPGs almost every month. I remember I never ran out. That's the "wow" factor; although it wasn't "wow" then; it was just the way things were.

It'd be "wow" if it ever came BACK.

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Lotusflow3r
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:30:02 AM
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Just as Ben repeats himself over and over....I could too with a comment i think some would know i could say right now

:)

Nonetheless...

Declining, yes

Gonna die? Absolutely not. Infact, there has been a surge as of late in both regions and a huge saviour for one region on the horizon.

As an RPG addict, sure, not as much as i'd like, but that's in all departments! And i have more RPGs to be excited for than ever before this gen.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:06:39 AM

I don't repeat myself over and over. I've never done this article before. I've also done editorials and other personal pieces on a weekly basis for almost four years. ...I'd be interested to see the person who could show LESS repetition with that many articles.

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highteckRN
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:36:29 AM
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they want good rpg game they need to forget final fantasy i play 13 could't finish the game i got bored i want a new kingdom heart for ps3 the one for psp was the best one yet and they also need to come out with a ps3 pack of the old game to they were the top selling games for the ps2 why wait on it

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Jotun
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:44:15 AM
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We've heard this before. I don't mean from you Ben, but from game journalists and devs. The RPG genre is a much needed remedy to the genre's such as the shooter.

We're in a time where the generation that grew up playing the N64 or the PS2 are driving the market more than the old fogies like us who started with the NES Mario when we were 4. They didn't grow up with these types of games and don't have much interest in them. Until they mature, get out of high school, and possbly become bored with the same old style of gameplay almost every FPS, TPS, or Music title offers, they simply won't care. They don't know enough about the genre to give it a chance and I blame companies like Squenix, Bioware, etc. for not including them in their marketing strategies. People just see them as lame, boring games and yet they have neevr even played any of the classics that made the genre popular. If they played games like Lufia, Secret of Mana, FFVI, Chrono Trigger, etc etc etc first, perhaps they'd have the hunger we do for more of them.

Gamers who grew up in the 80's were exposed to a much more difficult breed of videogame. From the platformers of the NES, to the text-based RPGs of the early pc gen, to the adventure series like Roberta Williams' classic King's Quest, almost everything was much more intensive and required actual thought to play. The generation that started with my brother(he's 7 years my junior) simply want more accessable and less difficult games. They want games they can just pop in and play and(god forbid) not have to read or watch long story scenes all day.

And yet we have a game like Demon's Souls. That title defied all the odds and became a greatest hit title. Now it obviously didn't sell as well as a game like Red Dead Redemption or Halo Reach, but it held it's own and proved that an original, fresh idea could beat the odds and be successful thanks to the level of inginuity and quality in the title.

This genre is and has been in decline for this entire generation, but you know what? The gaming industry, in many ways, is quite cyclical. The entirety of the DLC library on the 360 and PS3 proves this. Games like 3d Dot Game Heroes are simple games that call back to a time when gaming meant something different and they work *and* sell. Mega Man 9 and 10 top the charts for purchases, as do titles like Braid, Deathspank, and Precipice of Darkness. I'm not really worried about it. These gamers will eventually grow up and become interested in more diverse gaming experiences. RPGs are as everlasting as Mario.

Last edited by Jotun on 10/23/2010 11:51:44 AM

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DemonNeno
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 1:39:49 PM
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You know, 3d gaming has put the hurt on RPG games as well. Back when everything was 2d, the distinction was immense. The urge for wandering planted you right in the middle of rpgs. Today, with games taking on vast environments, the ADD/ADHD herd has pushed the adage less is more to the extreme. No one wants a long, drawn out game with a realm that doesn't tell you what to do every step of the way.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:20:31 PM
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In Level 5 we trust.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 7:19:45 PM

Frankly, I'm tired of devs taking the "safe" route. It's said that if you never take risks, you'll never be able to progress toward true success.

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shadowscorpio
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 12:58:55 AM

I can actually agree with your point of view here. No where did anyone say that a good quality RPG had to have top life like visuals all around. Its great if a dev can pull it off and still have it be a well rounded RPG but with the technology of the PS3 , you can even make sprite-like characters look phenomenal. Namco Bandai does a decent job on the Tales games and even level 5 is showing it can be done with Another World.

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wizzardofozzy
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 3:52:52 PM
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Yeah games just arent what they used to be and personally,i feel that the online fps,or more precisely,the younger generation had a part in it.

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hehateme
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 4:48:37 PM
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i love this article, and it has been a sad reality for me, I consider myself a hardcore FF fan.... but the old school kind... that means turn based battle system, for me i love it and simply cant get enough,.... i remember when i started gaming I would level up for hours just to level up.. other games with RPG features are cool, but for the ONE company who made part 1 through 10 x 2 gave me the best sit down gaming no multiplayer distractions, just PURE gaming I'm thankful but I want more... lost oddessy is all i have this gen... its safe to say they sold out SE

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berserk
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:07:57 PM
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I stopped buying rpg because they feel more like action/adventure game then anything else .

The only type a care to bother buying now are turn based one .Sadly they are pretty much instinct now .

I m so dessperate for one that i started considering buying a 360 only so i could play Lost Odyssey .

Maybe if they stop trying to change them so much people will start to care again .

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Nerull
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:38:16 PM
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I'm sick of this, " the RPG is thriving on the handhelds jibba-jabba."

I don't want to be forced to squint at a screen half the size of my johnson again just to get some decent narrative and character development.
I grew up on the genesis and consoles are still where it's at.
Plus most of us didn't have the size of TV we have now back in ps1 days.
I say FORWARD, not BACKWARD! UPWARD, not FORWARD! And always twirling,twirling, TWIRLING twards freedom.

Last edited by Nerull on 10/23/2010 5:44:15 PM

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Rings0fUranus
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 8:36:09 PM

At least we always have DnD, right?

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Alienange
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 6:31:13 PM
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If you look at the fact that there's never really been an enormous amount of "western" RPGs, I'd say it's the jrpg that is dead. They're almost never successful and the Japanese devs are not turning a profit with this current gen of consoles. They've turned to the DS because production is cheap and the user base is huge.

It's not gamers that have killed the RPG, it's this gen of home consoles.

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Rings0fUranus
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 8:39:46 PM
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Mantle of Sadness +10

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Yogi
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:43:52 PM
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We need another Demon's Souls and something in the caliber of Xenogears.

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Underdog15
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 9:20:09 AM

@Yogi
Xenogears was so awesome that it is impossible to ever make a game as awesome as that.

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bleach630
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 2:27:28 AM
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well the only good traditional JRPG i played on ps3 this gen is WKC damn what a shame
all my games were JRPG last gen on ps2 and now i look at the market and i cant find any and the one thats available sucks

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GamerO1
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 11:19:30 AM
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Here are a couple of RPG's that just came out and "they" totally ruined them:
1) Final Fantasy - The 4 Heroes of Light
Turn Based, where you "Can Not" select your enemies - Great, Huh?
2) Remake of Lufia - Curse of the Sinistrals
Yeah, doesn't look like it to me, they decided it should be an "Action" game now?
Haven't got a clue why these company's think they need to change something that's "Not Broke" !!!

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Drodin
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 @ 1:31:11 AM
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I don't think the JRPG will ever totally die out, and if we are lucky a few of the big name developers will follow the increasingly popular route of establishing true 'old-school' sequels to popular franchises.

Sonic 4, MegaMan 9-10, Donkey Kong, all are taking a step back from the next gen standard and going with what made those franchises so great.

So now we just need for Square-Enix, Konami, Sony, Atlus and the like to go back and do their part for games like Vagrant Story, Legend of Dragoon, Suikoden, the Chrono Series, etc and RPGs will be in great shape as long as they stay true to the formulas used generations ago.

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 @ 8:13:36 PM
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Mass Effect 2, Fable III and Fallout: New Vegas, i have no interest in any of them wutsoever, any JRPGs on PS2 are waaaaaay better than any of the above title, and waaaay more rpg-ish imo.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 10/26/2010 8:14:14 PM

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