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Capcom: RPGs Just Don't Sell Very Well Outside Japan

Thankfully, the RPG drought ended at the end of 2008 with Fallout 3, Valkyria Chronicles and Eternal Sonata all releasing within a two-week span, but that doesn't mean role-playing fans are satisfied. No, they still want more; they want a return to the good ol' days of the original PlayStation. But according to Capcom, due to the fact RPGs have extreme difficulty gaining mainstream appeal in North America, you shouldn't hold your breath.

According to a recent interview with 1Up, Capcom's head of Research and Development, Keiji Inafune, argued that RPGs simply don't sell well enough outside Japan for developers to take the chance. His reply came hot on the heels of a question regarding the possible resurrection of Capcom's Breath of Fire franchise, and it won't be encouraging for role-playing aficionados:

"There are currently no plans on making a new Breath of Fire game. Apart from that, regarding RPG titles, they are very popular in Japan, but only certain RPG titles sell so Capcom doesn't really need to even consider making these titles as an option. There's a low possibility that we'll be making one in the near future."

Unfortunately, he's hardly the only industry executive who feels this way, as evidenced by the obvious lack of RPGs this generation. Perhaps everyone just wants more flash and faster action; perhaps they don't want to think nearly as much; perhaps they just want more button-mashing titles. Or, and this is a little less cynical, it might just be that other genres have come a long ways and are now just as deep and involving as many RPGs. Either way, Inafune lessens the blow a little by adding:

"But, I realize that there are fans of the series, and we have staff who are interested so it's not out of the question. We actually have a lot of titles in a similar situation, where there's an interest by users and our staff, but where we just don't have the resources. Square Enix and Namco Bandai have 1,200 development staff but we only have 600. There's a lot more that we want to do, titles that would probably sell well if we made them, but we just don't have enough staff."

So if you're wondering why you don't see many RPGs these days, turn to your fellow gamer and blame him. Ask him why he didn't buy the excellent Valkyria Chronicles when it released and when the answer is, "eh, it just didn't appeal to me," you will have your answer. None of this will stop FFXIII and FF Versus XIII from making a gigantic splash, though; we promise you that.

12/30/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (44 posts)

Veritas Vincit
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 9:54:47 PM
Reply

Blame me :) I never got into those kinda games.

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King James
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 10:31:44 PM
Reply

now all we got is shooters w/ multiplayers with a hint of RPG elements (i.e. R2, CoD).

*sighs* Damn the rules of supply & demand!

Last edited by King James on 12/30/2008 10:32:44 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 10:34:28 PM
Reply

FF is going to have to step up again and make record sales numbers, that always gives other devs a shot in the arm with each new generation.

I hate news like this, it means the fratboy types who just want to shoot at something shiny are winning the war on creativity. It's true that other genres have each become RPG's in their own right, but there's still a place for us RPG gamers in the world. I'll bet you they are including the lousy 360 RPG sales in their calculations and that is just a mistake. A Tales Of game would have sold much more on PS3, and so would a Star Ocean title. What a crock, RPGs are endangered now and the creators are electing to help kill them with their retarded business practices.

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Bardock617
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 11:56:26 PM

i hate to say that FF would boost Western sales. though every RPG player whose played many RPG's knows the best series is Dragon Quest.

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Phoelix
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:57:13 AM

@ffrulez,

You bought yours for the same reason I bought mine.

RPG's are so special because of the story. You create a sort of bond with all of the characters in your party--one that can't be created through, say, a shooter game. Not to say that their stories don't cause a strong emotional response (I mean, in the end of CoD4, I really wanted to shoot a certain person...real bad). But you can't connect with the other characters as much as, say, in Persona 3 (which took me 93 hours). RPG's are just that much more in terms of emotional response. Do any of you guys remember how you felt after you beat any Final Fantasy, Persona, Star Ocean, or other RPG game? Compare that to your feelings at the end of a shooter, and you'll know why RPG's are important to me.

Plus, for $60 you can get a LOT of play time instead of a dinky 15-hour story. That's why I haven't gotten Dead Space or BioShock yet.

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:32:50 PM

ffrulez and phoelix, well at least u still got versus

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BigBoss4ever
Friday, January 02, 2009 @ 12:24:10 PM

@WorldEnd
--I am with you, and I hate those opinions in the developer's heads, and I am quite extreme on that, -- all holding those ideas, need to be fired, including the top heads in square.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 1/2/2009 12:25:18 PM

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GoldenShadow
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 11:32:42 PM
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I try my best to encourage my friends to buy titles like VC. However, most of my friends won't invest the $60 dollars because they think that it is too much of a risk to buy a game that isn't a sequel. It almost seems that the only reason they bought a PS3 is because of FF13 and FFV13.

I just don't get it, most of my friends were hardcore RPG gamers back in the days of PS1 and PS2. They would buy anything that received moderate reviews, or seemed interesting. But nowadays they won't even try a great game like VC. At what point in time did it become not worth it to invest in a good RPG?

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cadpig
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 11:40:20 PM
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After playing Fallout 3, it's kind of hard to go back to turn based spikey hair guy with sword rpg.
The japanese rpg formula has gone stale. I picked up the The Last Remnant for the Xbox 360. Played it for an hour and went back to fallout 3..

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:38:57 AM

I got to agree with cadpig. RPG makers continue to fall back on the same tired cliches and have had trouble keeping their gameplay fun. I want someone to make an RPG set in the wild west. There are plenty of settings and plots that RPG makers have ignored.

Most of all I just hate that every RPG has those damn anime looking morons. For the love of god make that stop.

Last edited by SHADOW on 12/31/2008 12:39:44 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 4:55:36 AM

War... it never changes.

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cegmp
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:29:04 AM

@shadow

The wild arms series has a western theme and setting.

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:37:14 PM

But the last remnant sucks.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 1:54:36 AM
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False, Inafune's completely wrong.

The big problem with Valkyria Chronicles is that it's a STRATEGY rpg, not a traditional JRPG like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Legend of Dragoon, Tales of, etc.

Traditional JRPGs do sell well in the US, they just need to start releasing them on the ps3.

Sega should've made VC a true rpg.......not a war-based JRPG :( :( :(

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Arvis
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:29:31 PM

Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG!!!

Valkyria Chronicles would NOT HAVE BEEN AS GOOD if it were "more traditional." I'm sorry, but it is true. The game is perfect the way it is.

-Arvis

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:39:34 PM

I disagree with u there Scarecrow. Techically, doesn't all RPG's use strategy?

Last edited by King James on 12/31/2008 12:40:00 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 1:09:20 PM

I know some of you guys love the game and thats good, but scarecrow's point is that strategy RPG's have a smaller fanbase than traditional ones, ergo the sales problem. Yes all RPG's use "strategy", but not in that particular manner. A turn based RPG is closer to the action and much quicker, strategy games give you more of a God type control where you oversee the battle itself almost like a General removed to a safe location.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 1:43:44 PM

Those of us who play games like Final Fantasy, Tales of, Legend of Dragoon, Grandia, etc. we play it for its story, for it's great character development.

Aye that might be one of VC's strong points but judging by it's overall story which is based on a war I really don't see much character development there. It'll all be based on the enemy trying to take over territories. In other words it's STUCK

Traditional rpgs like FF don't limit themselves to just "war," they also explore character issues, relationships, special situations, minigames, world exploration, etc.

Strategy rpgs by nature are straightrorward and just take you through MISSIONS.

That's what I don't like, I want a traditional JRPG.

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Arvis
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 3:37:48 PM

Scarecrow, you seriously have NO CLUE what you are talking about right now. And you know you have know clue, because you've never played the game. You are so completely and utterly off base that I think your post may need to be issued it's own ZIP code. Play it, THEN judge it, and I guarantee you you'll be saying "Please pass me my foot" in no time. And I don't make guarantees lightly.

-Arvis

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Riku994
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 7:42:47 AM
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I agree with you there scarecrow. VC just looks too anime, and it's war-based, I just can't bring myself to play it. But IMO, they should release more turn-based rpg's, go back to the good ol' days where you actually had to think. I mean all these new games are great, and the likes of WKC FF13 and FFv13 are just gunna make me happier to own a PS3, but let say for an example if they ever produced a LoD prequel (better) or sequel (lolfail), and they didn't make it turn based, and if they did, left out the addition system. That's what made LoD what it was, but because of the evolution RPG's are going through, if they were to make such a game, the battle system would be completely thrown off.

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Arvis
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:34:00 PM

If you can't bring yourself to play it, then you are robbing yourself of one of the best gaming experiences of 2008. Serves you right.

-Arvis

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:44:16 PM

Riku, are u implying that games like Valkyria don't require u to think, b/c it's not turn-based (btw it does have turns)? Or are u saying that traditional turn-based rpgs make u think more than any other RPG?

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Riku994
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:51:22 PM

The latter, but yeah... But I really dont mind depriving myself of something great, because it just doesn't appeal to me. I'm not saying VC isn't good, Im just saying it doesnt apply to my tastes.

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Arvis
Thursday, January 01, 2009 @ 11:20:02 AM

You have no idea if it appeals to your taste or not, because you've never played it. I wasn't particularly excited about the game myself until I started playing it.

If you play it and it "doesn't appeal to your tastes" then you probably just don't like video games very much.

-Arvis

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camaro300zx
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:12:05 AM
Reply

For those who need a little wake up and refreshment in the RPG world, may I suggest downloading Suikoden and Wild Arms from PSN. I'm glad I did, brings back memories and good ol' times. If Capcom doesn't want a take a risk devoleping a new Breath of Fire game, at least bring the others to the PSN. For me that is one series I shouldn't have passed up on, and now regret it.

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cegmp
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:31:49 AM

I downloaded suikoden 1, I haven't played much of it though. I'm still playing eternal sonata and then VC.

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Arvis
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 12:31:23 PM

Wow cegmp, it's like we're the same person... that's exsactly what I'm doing. Only I have already beaten VC and am now working on ES with my roommate.

I don't suppose you're hooked on Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix as well?

-Arvis

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shreevin
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:28:04 AM
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Ok, I guess I need some clarification and I guess this is something that has confused me for many years.

You have the FPS - First Person Shooter. CoD, Resistance, Halo.... Looking straight down the barrel of a gun, right?
Then you have RTS - Real Time Strategy. Which there aren't alot of on the consoles. Kind of a gods eye view, set up battlements and armies and such.
Then you have RPG - Role Playing Game. This one seems to have many sub-sets. Like Horror Survival (Resident Evil), Fantasy (Legend of Zelda), Turn based (Final Fantasy)but still 3rd person over the shoulder story driven, right? Is breaking it down into these sub-sets making Japanese publishers believe RPGs don't sell well. Is their definition of RPG a turn based game? Am I wrong about the player perspective being the definition of RPG because it seems to me that RPGs do rather well outside of Japan.

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cegmp
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 10:46:20 AM

I don't think so... I've always thought, correct me if i am wrong, that Survival horrors and games like zelda don't belong to the rpg genre. Aren't the sub-sets of the genre: turn based, action, and strategy?

Anyway, I hope that the rpg genre won't die. I love the genre, it's what got me into gaming. But I do agree with some that the cliche story, and stereotypical Japanese characters and personality has been way over used. Although I still enjoy playing games such as these, I understand why some don't. I would love to see developers try doing something new and re-inventing the genre (like VC). And a more intricate and deeper storyline would be great for me!

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 1:03:46 PM

Zelda is action/adventure. And Resident Evil is Survival Horror genre. Neither RE nor Zelda belong in the RPG genre.

Shreevin, the key to finding out whether or not a game is an RPG is to ask yourself this question:
From point A (the start of the game) to point B (the end of the game), is there more than one way my character(s) can grow (or is there more than one ROLE my character(s) can take)?

If the answer is yes, then you got yourself an RPG, buddy.
If the answer is no, then you probably play a elaborate and pretty non-rpg.

No matter how the gameplay is...
whether it's R2 co-op, or older style turn-based, or the newer active time battle, or the FPS/3rdPS view of Fallout 3 and Oblivion...
if your can grow in different ways (or roles) then its a ROLE-Playing game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 1:14:31 PM

You're insane, Zelda was one of the first RPGs, it qualifies as an Action RPG.

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 3:50:15 PM

No. I'm quite sane, bro. Zelda has inspired many other game developers to combine different genres to make something new and fresh. BUT, Zelda IS an action adventure game with a "touch" of RPG/Puzzle elements in it.

Link can't level up in the ways you want him to. There's no XP. There's no way to turn link into a certain class of hero (Knight, Mage, etc). Link is Link when the game is all said and done.

Some fans call it an "action RPG". Why? Because the story is off the chain?? Zelda is far from the real action RPGs. Fallout, Oblivion, the later FFs, Kingdom Hearts, et cetera, et cetera...never played like Zelda. Well maybe Kingdom Hearts, but there is no party customization in Zelda, and no robust weapon/ability customization. In other words...There are NO multiple roles Link can take on in the Zelda games. NONE.

IMO, Zelda is the king of the Action/Adventure genre. And in Fact, its not an RPG.

Last edited by King James on 12/31/2008 3:56:37 PM

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QuasarSquirrel
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 1:20:13 PM
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Although I have a Gamefly subscription I go out of my way to purchase RPG's. I like playing them multiple times and want to support developers and publisher's for putting them out. I think part of the problem with sales is that reviewer's have been just skewering RPG's this gen for being what they are. I'm biased though I suppose, I love the genre!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 2:53:44 PM

It's perfectly plausible that the flood of shiny shooters have made reviewers forget why they got into the business. I can see how when you are all grown up and don't have ten hours a day to play an engrossing RPG you might gravitate toward a shooter that you can beat in 6, thereby making longer games seem tedious, but I'll bet if we had a poll it would show that RPG's are responsible for getting a great many gamers into the hobby in the first place.

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ZubraZap
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 3:11:25 PM
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Yeah and the harsh reviews of Dragon Quarter didn't help either people..

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Geobaldi
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 3:41:29 PM
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Zelda never has been considered an RPG in my book. it's a straight up action/adventure title. As was already stated, you can't alter your character other than weapons you pick up. If you had skills and/or attributes then yes. This country is too action oriented these days. Seems the only games people play now are ones that give you high body counts and not much else. No story. No depth. Just action and that's it. I can't wait for the new Baldur's Gate being made for PC. And VC is an awesome game.

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 3:59:28 PM

Thank You, Geobaldi.

The "R" stands for role. Multiple roles.

Last edited by King James on 12/31/2008 4:00:45 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 4:13:11 PM

What about Majora's Mask, Link had many roles in that one, all with different weapons and skills and the ability to switch roles at will with masks.

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King James
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 8:48:27 PM

I won't say that Zelda doesn't have lil' RPG. That's a good example of some simple RPG elements. But do those masks drive the game? or is it Link's sword?

Look because at the end of all the Zelda's, including Majora's Mask (Great Game BTW), Link will have all those abilities at his disposal. So there is still only ONE role. My Link won't any different from your Link...or his Link...or hers.

Sidenote: Were u thinking about Zelda when u wrote that piece in the forums (I recommend everybody to read WorldEndsWithMe's forum...Its Funny!)?

Last edited by King James on 12/31/2008 8:57:29 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, January 01, 2009 @ 4:14:31 AM

A little, alright I'll concede that it is mostly action/adventure, but I normally think of tomb raider and uncharted filling out those categories, back in the day Zelda was always listed as an RPG. Perhaps my nostalgia taints me. Thanks for the props on my recent forum post, I wish more people would leave comments even if its just a complement, I'm going to try to make myself a regular presence there since I've hit some block on my latest novel (Any writer will tell you it's always good to keep writing no matter what it is that hits the page)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 1/1/2009 4:16:36 AM

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bamf
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 7:20:10 PM
Reply

I'm not that big on RPG's and I don't think its down to the genre itself. For me I think there have been too many RPG's that are all similar to each other. Usually you find the characters all look the same from different RPG's. When I play an RPG's, its always the best RPG's out there like Fallout 3 and FF franchise that I bother with. I think that there aren't that many good RPG's.

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ZubraZap
Thursday, January 01, 2009 @ 12:05:16 AM
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You can say the same about shooters Bamf...

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Shatterday
Friday, January 02, 2009 @ 8:14:12 AM
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Maybe they should get off their asses and make decent RPGs?

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Arvis
Friday, January 02, 2009 @ 1:59:23 PM

Why bother since nobody buys the good ones anyways?

-Arvis

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