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BioWare On The Question: "What Is A Role-Playing Game?"

What is an RPG? ...wait, we'll give you a month - or a year - to get back to us.

BioWare, one of the premier role-playing developers, has admitted that the lines are becoming blurred between genres, and the definition of "role-playing game" is...complicated.

In speaking with VG247, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk talked about how the RPG genre continues to blend with other categories of gaming. Unfortunately, he also says the term itself is becoming less relevant as a direct result of this mixing:

"It’s funny because the RPG in the context of the current world is – well, it’s not specifically irrelevant, but it’s becoming less relevant in and of itself. It’s more a function of ‘hey, this game has a great story’. For us having that emotion but also having other great features like combat and persistence of character progression and stuff."

As a frame of reference, BioWare Austin has been cranking on a new MMO called Star Wars: The Old Republic and it's a game that also boasts single-player elements. Oddly enough, Zeschuk says they "work:"

"We were working on [the single-player elements] for a long time. What’s interesting is that it really does work. It was challenging to make it smooth – we went through multiple iterations – there were points when we weren’t sure if we were going to do the voice thing – we were saying well, we’ll see how it goes – but at a point we committed to it and pushed it. Beyond doing it solo there’s also the multiplayer conversations where collectively you’ll be talking to someone. It took a long time."

Oh yes, we can go on and on about how the RPG has changed over the years. And the purists will just keep saying that only D&D actually counts as "role-playing" while Final Fantasy was never an RPG. Then you've got the crowd that wants to turn everything into an RPG; i.e., Zelda. Everyone has their own definition these days and it's becoming harder and harder to point to something and say, "Yep, that's a role-playing game."

Tags: bioware, dragon age, mass effect, rpg, role playing game

8/23/2011 8:48:37 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (99 posts)

LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 9:38:23 PM
Reply

As much as I enjoy ME2 it's not an RPG. It has RPG elements. A majority of games being released this generation that claim to be RPGs are doing the same thing.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:00:17 PM

Nice to see you out and about. I was in Chicago on layover for two hours the other day. Made me think of you. Ha. I'm in France now. Can't sleep. It's like 10pm for me normally. It's about to be 5am here in France.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:04:27 PM

Damn Jawk, what are you doing there? Chicago is the worst place to fly in and out of.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:09:55 PM

It was where we had to connect to our flight to Brussels. O'Hare wasn't too bad. LAX was a nightmare though. Most inefficient and unorganized airport I have ever been too. I hope I never have to use that airport ever again.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:14:49 PM

ME2 is still more RPG than TPS to me. The TPS just serves the purpose of the battles, and since turn based smacking of each other was tossed out it seems any combat mechanic can simply be inserted in there. ME2 just happens to use the TPS mechanic, but as with other RPGs just spending lots of time in battle doesn't make it an action game.

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LegendaryWolfeh
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:28:55 PM

Eh, I dunno. I didn't care for the Phoenix sky w/e airport. Been there twice and it's just annoying, but then again I haven't been to LAX haha

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Fane1024
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 4:38:08 PM

Best airport for layovers: Las Vegas.
Reason: nickel slots.

And I agree with World.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 8/24/2011 4:39:06 PM

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LegendaryWolfeh
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 9:45:27 PM
Reply

A role-playing game is where you take the role of a character, so every game? Haha, broad/vague definitions are the best.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 9:48:28 PM

Ya, I'm going to take a cup of cream, throw it in the freezer and tomorrow eat myself some delicious icecream.

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LegendaryWolfeh
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 9:52:02 PM

I had to read that twice before finally realizing the ice/icecream part. LOL, but sure go ahead, it's the same thing :)

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 9:54:52 PM
Reply

I'm currently listening to "A Secret Sleeping in the Deep Sea"

What RPG soundtrack is this from!?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:17:05 PM

I'm tempted to just google it and seem smart but I'll be honest instead and say I have no idea.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:20:54 PM

That saddens me. I'll give you a hint...



Na, just kidding you're not getting one.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:39:44 PM

Ah I see, well in fairness to me I never know the names of these things, just the tunes.

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Geobaldi
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:41:25 PM

I'm thinking it was from FFVII. I have the full soundtrack but it's been a while since I listened to it. But I think that's what it was from.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:42:40 PM

GEO close doesn't count. This isn't Family Feud.

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Geobaldi
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:02:12 PM

Well just checked the back of the soundtrack case and it's listed as "Secret of the Deep Sea." But it's the same song lol. It's the underwater theme.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:06:52 PM

Yup you're right! Weird that yours is labeled differently than mine.

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Geobaldi
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:12:17 PM

Weird. Guess there was more than one company that made the soundtrack discs. Who knows lol. Now that you have me listening to them again tonight, I have the full orchestra version of Maria & Draco going. That's an easy soundtrack to guess though :)

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:16:59 PM

I'm good at subtraction :)

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Jawknee
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 9:57:19 PM
Reply

When I think RPG I think Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire etc. Not hack n' slash or third person shooters. Not sure why everyone hails this company as a great "RPG" maker.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:00:10 PM

Jawk I just read your message you sent me on the PSN, I'm sorry I failed to respond. Pretty funny and especially given the time. I'm sorry I'm a bad PSN friend :(

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Jawknee
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:01:43 PM

Haha, no worries. I forgot what it pertained too. I'm not even home to check. Have been away from my PS3 for almost two weeks. :(

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:06:17 PM

Your dog was chasing a baby deer while you attempted to get it to $hit. Sucks you're away from your PS3 there is gaming to be had!

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Jawknee
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:13:13 PM

LOL! Oh yea! The mom was not having it. She almost stomped out my dog.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:18:38 PM

Me too Jawkners, that's why I've always had a little beef with the "Tales" series because it's like an RPG but it has a fighting game action mechanic.

However, Star Ocean and Rogue Galaxy have action mechanics too and I think they are RPGs through and through.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:23:30 PM

I didn't like Star Ocean till the end of the time but I LOVE Star Ocean the Last Hope. I played it for months when I had Gamefly and I've been meaning to buy it. In fact I think I'll do that now. I think it's $30 or so on Amazon.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:04:25 AM

Last Hope was definitely better but I had a particular affinity for TEoT. It was damn hard though and there was an enemy encounter every 2 steps.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:06:54 PM
Reply

In my heart it's a Japanese anime-inspired turn based game that lets me level up and learn new techniques as I work toward saving the world.

In reality, who the f*ck knows any more?

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:12:20 PM

I know and I'm willing to inform everyone how wrong they are.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:19:41 PM

I remember when Bioware tried to get a rise out of people by saying RDR was a great RPG. Nobody bit though.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:21:39 PM
Reply

I say an RPG is pretty much any game that has you assume the role, or roles, of characters in a virtual setting who expand in capabilities as the player engages and overcomes obstacles in play. These obstacles may include any combination thereof, but are not limited to, dialogue, combat, puzzles, or actions against time. Attributes are thus enhanced, or strengthened, as a player succeeds in overcoming said obstacles. The player is usually given direct or limited control over the distribution and customization of said attributes.

Well, there's my best in a 5 min nutshell =p


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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:24:33 PM

No, wrong. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

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Temjin001
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:32:06 PM

Okay LV, lets have your version of it then?
=p

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:41:28 PM

-Guys that look like hot girls with awesome hair
-Talking animals
-Magic
-Some form of turn based gameplay
-Multiple people forming a party that you have control over
-Made in Japan
-A dash of grinding, hell let it pour
-World to explore with towns to visit
-Item management
-Leveling up system
-Well over 60hrs of gameplay
-Multiple twists in the storyline
-No Multiplayer PERIOD
-Bigass swords and itty bitty guns
-Preferably Final in the title.

Last edited by LimitedVertigo on 8/23/2011 10:41:44 PM

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Temjin001
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 10:49:35 PM

Dang, owned =p

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Ludakriss
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:43:08 AM

Damn, brother. Just before I red your comment I was contemplating my own version of what are those great three letters and it was real close to what I had in mind.

I do however notice the way those things (which you explained) are performed are delivered in a game in a very particular mannerism. It truly does hold it's own ground, the genre.

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Ludakriss
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 6:51:02 AM

@Limited Vertigo

Yeeees!!!

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:48:16 AM

Thanks, Luda.

I started thinking some more about it and I think y discription allows for games like Infamous to he considered RPG.
Looking at Infamous and Oblivion I see that both games have full realtime action genre components as a basis for the movement and interaction components within the game world. I see the difference being that only one game makes it requisite for the attribute distribution to have a majority factor in determining success against obstacles. It is not inconceivable that a player through their own dexterity and cooridination acould finish Infamous (even God of War) but in Oblivion or any RPG the attribute properties acting against each other determine the majority of your success. You get owned hardcore in Oblivion when facing higher leveled encounters. This, and Oblivion has talking animals and Infamous does not =p

I also see why ME2 is thought of as not so much of an RPG, strictly combat speaking. It's because dexterous or highly coordinated actions can and do play a heavy role in determining the outcome of obstacle encounters.


Related


Last edited by Temjin001 on 8/24/2011 9:49:39 AM

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:52:10 AM

Sorry my post was a mess, my thick thumbs on my phone.

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Fane1024
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 4:52:44 PM

Comments like LV's make me want to argue (out of spite) that JRPGs aren't RPGs at all while WRPGs are at least *trying* to be Role-Playing Games.

But I prefer to be inclusive.

However, it's totally absurd to argue that the turn-based JRPG are the *only* valid kind of RPG, just because *your* first "RPG" experience was a JRPG. History proves otherwise.

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Claire C
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:24:49 PM
Reply

I love action RPGs! Just sayin. ;)

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:28:41 PM

That's like enjoying softcore porn more than hardcore porn....


TSK TSK!

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Claire C
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:33:39 PM

No, it's more like enjoying one type of porn over another. Who are you to say the type I enjoy is worse?

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:41:21 PM

I never used the word "worse", you're putting words on my fingers.

BTW you're counter comment while using different words was pretty much exactly the same example I gave you.

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Claire C
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:47:17 PM

Oh. Aren't you implying it's worse? I should have said, type of "hardcore" porn instead.

PS: I never said I enjoy one more than the other but that I simply enjoy them.



Last edited by Claire C on 8/23/2011 11:49:41 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 @ 11:52:00 PM

Worse is a little harsh. I enjoy action RPGs from time to time but I don't prefer them and I'm glad you're not going that route either.

As far as who I am, I'm just a concerned gamer.

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Claire C
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 12:07:09 AM

Don't go getting too concerned on me, your Avatar is creepy enough. :/

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 12:25:43 AM

Veggie Alien FTW!

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:24:42 AM

Not sure how a creature consisting entirely of vegetables could be considered creepy. You're trying to upset me, I can tell.

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Claire C
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:39:36 AM

Upset as in cry? :_(


I would never. ;)

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 12:30:54 PM

@LV

I got to admit that some of ur comments r strange/weird, past and present. Just leave it to that, don't ask why.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 8/24/2011 12:31:53 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 3:59:42 PM

Give an example!

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:56:22 PM

Not weird. Entertaining.

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Claire C
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:52:53 AM
Reply

Isn't it that first you say whether a game is an RPG or not, then go on to say whether it's turn-based or action or strategy? For instance, I would say both Star Ocean and FFVII are RPGs. Then I would describe Star Ocean as action and FFVII as turn-based, right? Just a thought.

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Warrior Poet
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 2:25:58 AM
Reply

My friends keep telling me infamous was a great RPG because it had experience points.

Man...Maybe the RPG videogame just needs a different label, huh?

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Warrior Poet
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 2:29:32 AM

By the broadest definition, even Monopoly or any sort of game where you control a defined character is an RPG.

I guess a more practical definition is a game that has obvious similarities to DnD, hah.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 3:46:09 AM
Reply

He's saying pretty much the same thing that we have been for so long. It's becoming ever more difficult to ascertain what is an RPG because of genre blending... Too bad, such is life.

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WolfCrimson
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 4:33:54 AM
Reply

A miserable little pile of stats!

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Ludakriss
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:47:41 AM

Yeah, but how great it feels when you arrange that pile in the way that you see fit. Or better yet. I seriously miss having a "Level Up" pup up above my character's head, you know? Good ol' days.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 4:36:10 AM
Reply

Welll before this generation the RPG genre was very well defined. You would follow a character through a story which usually had strong fantasy elements.The character would meet a whole range of cast who would have their own motives to join the lead on their quest. As you progressed, so would your characters skills and abilities, weapons and so on. Generally a good RPG would give you a world to explore and many odd creatures to fight. The combat would usually have statigic strenghts and weakness, like elements, buffs and de-buffs. And it would, usually have a combat system which would be turnbased, but not in all cases (Star Ocean incorporated real-time action pretty well into their combat.)

Bioware, in my opinion with Mass Effect and Fallout have not made RPG'S. The're what I call PAG's - Personal Action Games. Fallout for examples combat rely's too heavily on the gameplay system of a 3rd person shooter, While the enemies have health bars, there is no mathematically figures to pin point strategic elements. As you create your own character, The character has no written part in the story, you just make descisions. While it can make the game more personal, I cannot help but find the character bland due to no script work, unlike Final Fantasy for example where Cloud, Squall, Zidane, Tidus all had stories written for them.

While Fallout has RPG elements, an open world, detailed weapon and equipment system. It's theme of survival was more prominant than being an adventure, which is what RPG's should be at heart. As for Mass Effect, I have not played it due to them not releasing ME 1 on the PS3, It's getting cheaper, so I might pick it up sometime soon if nothing else comes my way that I can afford by Septmeber. Then I might be able to tell exactly what it is.

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Geobaldi
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 4:58:47 AM

Bioware has nothing to do with the Fallout series. Blame, or praise, Bethesda for what that series has turned into from the old days when it was a turn based series.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:10:05 AM

True, both games are so similar I forgot that minor point.

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Crabba
Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 7:28:31 PM

Exactly, RPG has always been a defined genre of game before, now suddenly one of the pioneering companies in the genre is questioning what it is. Pathetic.

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___________
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:10:10 AM
Reply

i hate to use the term RPG because everytime i do i cant help but get the vision of old fantasy styled adventure games, but the genre has gone on so far from there!
to me a RPG is a game where you play a role, but a small role in a much larger universe.
it has to be fully customizable.
it has to let you play the way you want to play.
it has to have multiple ways to solve each situation.
it has to have consequences, make you say thank god i chose that over that, or dam i wish i did not.
but most importantly it must have a big involving universe, with lots of deep interesting yet realistic characters.
it must make you feel like a fish in the sea.
one reason why mass effect is so popular is because it does all of those, and it does the most important part so well, so well in fact it does it allot better then any other game!
the immersion, you really do feel like your a fish in the sea, you really do feel for the characters, you really do feel like one day you could shoot into space and run into a reaper trying to blow shepards head clean off!
thats why i love mass effect so much, simply because of the history.
your constantly having characters walk up to you and say hey your the guy....... and recount some event that happened in the past that you dont get to see.
that really makes it feel real, you have characters that are so emotional, reactive, and you have such amazing deep relationships.
its the history thats built into the series that makes it so amazing!
so i guess you could say the genre has pulled a 180, because really no old school RPG has any of those, but thats the point.
thats why i hate calling them RPGs because were stuck in this stereotype of old fantastical adventure games.
when you say RPG you think of old guys with beards, massive swords, magical spells, dragons, wizards, the whole fantastical world.
where its really not that any more.
sure we still have those things slightly, but the RPG is no longer the total fantastical world it use to be its evolved so much further then that!

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Ludakriss
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:55:53 AM

Now I truly understand why people long for the "strategy" part in RPGs. It is a rather fundamental element of the genre. But it's more to do with the battle. It did kind of let you see, think over which of the skills to let loose while retaining the ones that don't really fit the situation.

This could also be relevant in Action RPGs. But the things you listed in the "has to have" part some of 'em are a very West take on how you should be finishing a game, if at all. You get me?

I mean I saw absolutely a perfection when it's a book "you're playing"(Final Fantasy games, Legend of Dragoon, Dark Cloud) rather than a form "you're filling out" when it works like - oh, I went that way. "for this reason skip/not experience pages 3 through 7 and go straight to page 8"(Fallout, Oblivion, Mass Effect). I know the analogy might be crap but consider the point mmk?

Last edited by Ludakriss on 8/24/2011 5:58:49 AM

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___________
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:37:25 AM

absolutely its a "western" way of playing it, because we have so few traditional eastern RPGs.
tis why i said i hate using the term RPGs because those requirements i listed certainly would not adhere to a eastern RPG like neir or deamon souls.
like it or not the days of eastern styled RPGs are over!

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Ludakriss
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 12:31:25 PM

Well. There you have it. It's a situation called "it's true, but I'd rather not speak of it out loud". For I truly still await RPGs and the chance of one being produced that delivers to all of the "thinking" audience is slim. However, it's chance. It could go, be, happen anywhere, any time.

I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

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TheOldOne
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 7:28:01 AM
Reply

ME2 had a lot of RPG elements like character and weapon customization and non linear side quests. But that could also be said from games of the Ratchet and Clank franchise. And I consider those as platformers, not RPGs. So maybe ME2 y just a TPS with RPG elements. Still, is a 9+ of 10 score game. RPGs in my book should be games like Fallout 3, Dragon Age:Origins, ES:Oblivion or Witcher 2.

Last edited by TheOldOne on 8/24/2011 7:28:32 AM

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TrophyHunter
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 8:45:56 AM
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I'm not really into RPG games, the only one I really enjoy was Golden Sun in the GBA, thats an RPG right???

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 8:50:07 AM

YES, I love that series.

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TrophyHunter
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:02:18 AM

Yeah, me too.

As i say, thats the only RPG I've enjoyed, spend some hours playing Vagrant Story on PS1 but it just wasn't for me.

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Cole
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:25:41 AM
Reply

I tend to judge whether a game is an rpg or not based on how intricate the character advancement/leveling up system is and how much of an effect it has on the gameplay.

One of the things I loved most about old school rpg's was getting my butt kicked by a tough boss because I was underleveled or ill equiped to handle the fight.

I would then spend hours level grinding, outfitting my party with the right tools for the job and then return to wipe the floor with that very same boss. It was always immensely satisfying.

But that satisfaction just isn't present in most modern rpg's. It used to be that you actually had to work to complete them, but now you can get through most of these games by just doing the minimum.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:30:10 AM
Reply

Every game assumes the role of a character. Most games have a storyline. Most games have character progression.

These aspects are -NOT- what makes an RPG an RPG. Just because you "level up" means nothing. All that implies is that other games are using elements from RPG's and that character progression is present.

To me, because you can't say -everything- is an RPG (I mean, for gosh sakes, CoD levels up in multiplayer...), RPG is defined by it's gameplay.

Furthermore, RPG is the most important genre to include it's own sub genres. sRPG's, wRPG's, jRPG's, actionRPG's, etc. -ALL- give me a completely different idea about what to expect from a particular game.

Action RPG's is sort of the weakest definition of RPG of the entire genre. (No offense to Claire. Just hear me out as to why.) The reason is because you can come dangerously close nowadays of calling any action game an actionRPG. I personally feel actionRPG's shouldn't be called RPG anymore. ActionRPG's used to be identified as things like Baldurs gate or Dragon Age (would have been actionRPG back in the day), but now we identify those as westernRPG's. They are definitely RPG's, but they are also very different from what we think of when someone says "actionRPG".

When someone says "actionRPG" I think of things like Crisis Core and Kingdom Hearts now. Or even the dream that is FFversusXIII. But lets be honest here now... those games aren't all that different from games like inFamous or God of War. Not at their core. It's why we so willingly allow Mass Effect to be called an RPG now. We're actually starting to see a -NEW- sub genre: ShooterRPG. Just like when actionRPG split to become action RPG and Western RPG, actionRPG is splitting yet again to yield the Shooter RPG!!

RPG's were king once for a reason. They had key elements that engage the player and place that player into the game's world and makes them an active part of their character's relationships with other characters. How many times in conversation have you said, "I got -MY- character to etc. etc. etc." See? -MY- guy, character, whatever. Other genres have taken aspects of RPG's to make themselves more full and more immersive for players. As a result we're slowly seeing more and more sub-genres added over time. Now we've hit a time when no one even knows what an RPG is anymore. When you and I hear, "new RPG", admit it.... I have no clue what that means. Now I need loads of details to know what the hell they mean by RPG. When someone tells me they made a platformer, a shooter, an adventure, a puzzle, etc. game, I have a pretty clear idea on what direction the game is taking in terms of gameplay.

But RPG? Who flippin' knows.

The industry really needs to do a better job of defining what that means. Even if it means splitting the sub genres. Since every action game could potentially be an actionRPG, actionRPG's should be stripped of the RPG label. It was complicated enough just having jRPG's, wRPG's, and sRPG's. Now we have shooter and action as well. It's over complicated, and dev's take shortcuts to call their game whatever the hell they want to draw in a larger fan base.

The negative part, of course, is that lets say a system like 360 releases an RPG by traditional standards, and they all fail... then someone else like Mass Effect or some "action RPG" comes along and is amazing and calls itself an RPG... and it does well... what sort of "RPG" do you think people are going to make? Ah, but that Microsoft killing the jRPG topic is for another day.

To end off a long post, the industry needs to stop being so whimsical about the RPG label. No one know what the hell anyone means when they say RPG anymore. They really need to get back to basics, and label things, not in a way they want to be understood, but in a way that accurately tells people what to expect. I think that's completely fair to ask.

People should know by know... RPG's have influenced the industry in a huge way. So much so, that elements of RPG's are incorporated into -EVERY OTHER GENRE-. It's tragic that RPG's now are forced to suffer the consequences of the biggest gray area in the industry.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 8/24/2011 9:36:07 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:38:00 AM

Just wanted to add....

No wonder there are "RPG purists".

And sorry for the massive post. I just needed to complete my thoughts.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 8/24/2011 9:41:48 AM

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:20:15 AM

Nothing to be sorry about we love what others have to say. That's one of the reasons that keeps this place alive, we the fans.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 8/24/2011 10:21:07 AM

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Claire C
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 12:22:16 PM

At the end of the day it's just a label as you say. We use it to identify only. It doesn't effect our enjoyment. If you're able to spend five minutes on the Internet you know what you're getting. What's most important is the game is good. I personally hope more games and genres add even more RPG elements. =D

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Fane1024
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:09:07 PM

'dog,
I disagree with your conclusion and agree with Dr. Greg. We need to abandon the labels entirely and stop trying to cram games into (conceptual) boxes (but keep selling them in actual boxes).

Each game should be free to be what it needs to be to be the best *it* it can be. :P

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:35:52 PM

That much is obvious, Fane. Of course each game should have it's own identity and stick to what *it* is. But here's a question... what *it* was FFXIII trying to be? Could not it's greatest downfall be that it did not stick to the requirements of it's genre?

My beef with your conclusion is that there is still no attempt to clearly tell me what I am looking forward to. For as long as people want to describe what a game is like, there will always be labels. Get rid of them now, and more will pop up again in the future.

People are more complex than video games. And each person is still their own unique person. (They are their own "it") But people still have labels that describe who they are, despite being a million times more complex than games. For example, if you are Jewish or African, or whatever, there is always an identity and sense of pride about who you are and from whom and where you came. It even becomes a part of your identity.

Like it or not, games will also have labels to describe what they are, quickly, as well. My motion is to clearly label the direction of a game.

The obscene freedom of the RPG label is as atrocious as allowing Eminem to be called an African-American or Mel Gibson a Catholic.

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Fane1024
Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 6:53:16 AM

I would argue that eliminating labels like "RPG" forces developers to provide concrete details rather than marketing buzz words when describing their games, but your point has some validity.

I'm just a big proponent of convergence in game design. I think it makes for richer experiences than rigidly conforming to genre tropes.

I hope for the day when "genre" means "Sci-fi" vs. "Fantasy" (or "Western" or "Romance") rather than "RPG" vs. "Action/Adventure".

I can't speak regarding FFXIII as I've not played a lick of it, but I totally agree that each IP should provide a consistent, but evolving experience. Changes like ME > ME 2 or DA: O > DA 2 are risky at best.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 8/25/2011 6:57:49 AM

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Geobaldi
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:34:43 AM
Reply

Still would like to see a follow up to Super Mario RPG; Bahamut Lagoon; Terranigma; and Vagrant Story, among many other one-shot RPG's that deserved sequels, at some point. Also would like to see The 7th Saga get a new one too. People today say how hard Demon's Souls is. They should try 7th Saga out for a challenge. Gotta be one of the hardest RPG games I've ever played.

Last edited by Geobaldi on 8/24/2011 9:36:22 AM

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TheOldOne
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:43:21 AM

Super Mario RPG 2...that would definitely make my day!

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TrophyHunter
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:34:40 AM

Yeah I need my Super Mario dose too

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SaiyanSempai
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:57:28 AM
Reply

It seems like anything that has a leveling feature is called an RPG these days.

Personally, turned based combat, hit points, and leveling was what defined an RPG for me. I mean, that's D&D style, right? The true definition of RPG! Your turn comes up, you choose what you want to do, then role some dice and hope for the best. Then it's another character's turn. For me, THAT'S what defined the genre.

The term RPG has somehow been associated with "freedom of choice" or some sort of karmic meter. To me, that's just the definition of an action/adventure game. Go where you want, choose your own adventure!

Games like Mass Effect, Fallout, Borderlands, etc want to parade around with the RPG tag? Not acceptable. You might as well call God of War or Infamous an RPG - since you can level up those weapons you acquire after going through various dungeons! They are no more RPGs than Zelda or Darkstalkers - and NO, those aren't RPGs.

What I consider RPGs are now called JRPGs for some reason. Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, Legend of Dragoon, Xenogears, etc. Those are the RPGs I grew up with, what defined the genre for me. Now you want to call them JRPGs? Whatever. I don't know when that started happening, but all of a sudden there was that distinction.

Consequently, I've stopped getting excited when I hear a new RPG is coming out, because most often after I see gameplay I say, "oh...it's a WESTERN RPG. aka action/adventure game.

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Fane1024
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 5:23:16 PM

You've got it backwards. Games like ME allow the player to Play the Role of the character in meaningful ways. Games like JRPGs where you follow a fixed storyline are the Adventure games.

If you had to assign one set of games to one category and the other set to the other category, that is.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:45:26 PM

I know what you mean Fane, but the RPG has been established in the past. What you suggest allows anything with choice or multiple endings to be called a jRPG. guess what? I could argue that anything with multiple endings also follows a set path.

You need to pick an argument. No labels at all, or games like ME are true RPG's. You've said both, and I'm not sure how to discuss the topic with you since you have two very different views.

My issue with the first argument I addressed up a little higher. With the second argument, my problem is that your suggestion only further muddies the definition of what an RPG is, and it inevitably will become a label that tells the gamer -nothing- about it.

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Fane1024
Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 7:17:50 AM

I assume the "j" in your first sentence was accidental.

RPGs were established in the past, but (contrary to the beliefs of many here) not just or even primarily in the form of JRPGs. Western RPGs come from a longer tradition than does FF and they generally strive (but fail) to replicate the core RPG experience, which is a group of people working together to create a story by *Playing Roles*.

IMO any game which attempts to give the player power to create his or her own story better deserves the label "RPG" than one which doesn't. Words have meaning. If labels are to be used, they should likewise have meaning. Usage does not trump meaning. "I could care less" is still wrong regardless of how many people say it. RPG = Role-Playing Game.

But you are absolutely right that no "computer" game can possibly provide a truly flexible narrative...not without a reactive, inventive human mind controlling it.

PS3 browser won't let me add more text.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 8/25/2011 7:32:23 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 11:54:04 AM
Reply

I am so not getting involved in this. ;)

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 12:50:33 PM

No need. I already provided the ultimate truth.

HA!

lol, kidding of course.

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:38:03 PM

That's why I've yet to comment....but...

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Cole
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:47:53 PM

@Underdog.

Heh heh..not sure if it was the ultimate truth, but it was certainly the longest.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 2:04:04 PM

Can't cover a complex issue in a 3 sentence paragraph!

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 1:48:36 PM
Reply

I think this kind of discussion is part of the reason for the demise of the RPG and in particular the JRPG. We've seen a progressive redefinition of what is considered an RPG over the last 10 years. That trend has accelerated in the last 5-6 years in particular.

It's almost as if games from other genre were trying to steal some of the shine than RPGs once had. But as time has passed it's changed to the point where people now quite aggressively argue that what were once action games are now somehow RPGs, and the traditional genre standard bearers for the RPG, especially the JRPG are termed old fashioned, cliched, technically inferior, and any number of other disparaging comments. Each time it happens, each action game that claims a little more RPG status, shifts the definition of RPG further away from the original genre. Each disparaging comment or review cuts at the old RPG genre a little more.

Traditional RPGs, and JRPGs in particular are thus enduring death by a thousand cuts, and the genre's fans are similarly suffering. You don't see other game genre literally being redefined out of existence, so I can't help wondering why the RPG is. Perhaps it's a lingering prejudice against the geeks that played the original RPGs like D&D? perhaps it's the style of play, or the pace, or the deeper story, or the difficulty of the puzzles, or the art style, or perhaps it's all of these things. Perhaps it's just that many of the newer gamers see the sexy, glossy action graphics and the acronym RPG and associate RPGs with that style of presentation?

Whatever the reasons, I hate it. It's like revisionist history, I find it abhorrent. Action games are action games, they are *not* RPGs. End. Of. Story.

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Ludakriss
Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 4:29:43 AM

Amen brotha!!!! Yes!

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nogoat23
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 4:03:29 PM
Reply

Does someone need to do a comparative analysis between Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest in order to answer the question of what an rpg is or isn't?

Last edited by nogoat23 on 8/24/2011 4:25:49 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 10:38:31 PM

Tactics falls under "sRPG". Mystic Quest is something everyone should just forget about regardless of it's genre.

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Warrior Poet
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 11:57:15 PM
Reply

When someone asks me what I mean by an RPG, I tell them I mean the kind of RPGs you'll find on SNES and PS1. Then they know instantly what I'm talking about :P

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Ludakriss
Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 4:34:15 AM

Wow. Can you imagine, oh and by the way I agree with your response to those who ask wholeheartedly. Can you imagine though if all the gamers who truly appreciate the old RPGs would keep referring to the PS1 SNES era as an example.

Can you see that by this, well, word of mouth maybe even the outlook of some articles would change. It's like the positively instigated "definition revolution" by the gamers for the sake of gamers xD Maybe then, the action games would just be action games and the good ol' 3 letters would be left alone. Shining, creative, different. It'd be nice.

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Crabba
Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 7:21:48 PM
Reply

Mass Effect 2 certainly isn't one, that's for damn sure!

The fact that Bioware is questioning what an RPG is is just one more nail in the coffin for that company, sigh.

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