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Is There Any Room Left For JRPGs?

It's a new generation and while I suppose some are looking forward to Final Fantasy XV (certainly nobody I know, but whatever), it seems like the JRPG is slowly dying out.

Oh, I imagine it'll continue on in the mobile and handheld realm, but the days of big-budget JRPGs may be gone.

I've wondered about this as the new generation has advanced. All the current trends we're seeing in the industry are trends JRPGs have never really embraced. Story-driven adventures are still around, of course, but linearity is widely viewed as a negative thing. That couldn't be further from the truth but it's starting to sound like accepted fact in the gaming industry. Furthermore, with Western developers sort of kicking the crap out of Japanese devs over the past few years, the impact of Japanese culture has started to fade.

I'm just not sure I can envision a scenario where a new JRPG would be considered a "big-budget blockbuster" or a true "AAA" release. Until the designers step up and produce something that doesn't look and feel outdated, I'm afraid there's not much room for the JRPG in today's market. Don't forget that as genres continue to expand and grow, some genres may inevitably get left behind...

Tags: japanese role playing games, jrpgs, japanese games

11/18/2014 10:09:04 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (41 posts)


Corvo
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 10:31:04 PM
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If you mean the old ps2 traditional JRPG of turn based or somewhat strategic gameplay, yeah. I could agree it might be over. Problem is that unlike those of us who got the chance to grow up in the PS2 era the kids of today grew up with Call of Duty.

Final Fantasy was the hype when I was going to school, as was Halo, Super Smash Bros and Jax and Daxter. All anyone talked about. The kids who are now probably all teenagers grew up with Ps3/360 and therefor didn't receive that kind of diversity most of us, especially you older gamers, got to enjoy during your younger days. 6/10 times if your friend buys something and loves it, you will want to participate. JRPGs aren't what everyones going crazy over anymore, sadly, but games developed by Fromsoftware and Platinum will keep Japanese games alive. If it ever makes a comeback, its up to Square and only up to Square to revive that genre.

They were the chosen ones, and only they can bring balance to the force...of JRPGs.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 11:07:23 PM
Reply

I think we will just get the lower budget things from now on, I'm really looking forward to Persona 5. Sadly it takes until the end of a generation to get these games now cuz Japanese devs are super slow.

While it's true that the influence of Japanese games has waned considerably, a great game is always a great game. Final Fantasy was popular and made Japanese RPGs popular because they were good. If someone was crazy enough to make a grand AAA JRPG that updated the old school and got 9-10 scores then it'd do quite well and probably convert people to the style.

Younger gamers don't like it because it's alien to them and in a poor state. Without catnip to bite on of course nobody has the appetite for it in these lower IQ generations.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 11:34:42 PM

Your last paragraph just proves to me that the newer generation is stupid. I may be an older gamer but there are still games that came out before my time and that I thoroughly enjoy.

I'm a huge fan of movies, all movies. When I hear someone is a fan of movies I immediately want to know what they like, what they've seen. If everything they list is recent or within the last few decades I instantly call BS and no longer accept their opinion.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 6:01:37 AM

LV, are there many games from before your time that you enjoy *today*?

I'm an old fart (45), but I seriously do not get the retro-wave that wash over us today via the indie scene. I guess I *should* enjoy a revisit to my childhood, but I really don't see the point in sitting there with a game that could have easily ran on my smartphone (where I think those games belong today), when I got all these glorious, fantastic new games to sink into.

I don't mean this as an insult or anything towards those who see things differently than me, I'm just amazed by it. I don't get it!

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souljah92
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:27:42 AM

Back in my day we had a cup with a ball and string, you youngins don't know real gaming

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souljah92
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:34:17 AM

the newer generation must be stupid to not like the same shit you guys liked, or not have a good opinion if their movies they liked aren't in the " last few decades", getting play must be alien to y'all.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:50:24 AM

@ Souljah well, it's not about being stupid because of taste, its about whether or not we should listen to folks who haven't had any experience with gaming through the decades. It's like would you trust a "film buff"s opinion who had only watched movies that came out in the last 5 years? Or would you trust someone that had seen lots of movies from the 20s up to today?

@LV I like goooood horror and I can't find it very often. I also like Captain America: Winter Soldier. I bought that same coat, BeamBoom can attest to that :)

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:55:13 AM

World is *HOT* in his Cap suit.

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souljah92
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:45:48 AM

I dunno might just be me, if i think a movies good ill go out and see it, if a game looks good but i'm not sure i'll grab a used copy then return it if i'm not satisfied, if you're gunna base what you want off of what these "experienced viewers/gamers" think, you might miss out on things you might have otherwise liked

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 1:29:20 PM

"the newer generation must be stupid to not like the same shit you guys liked, or not have a good opinion if their movies they liked aren't in the " last few decades"

No, actually it's you that's stupid. You're not even capable of computing a simple point made by me. Don't bother responding to anything I write since you're a fool.

"getting play must be alien to y'all."

This would be an example of you showing off how stupid you are.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 1:31:17 PM

World,

Check out The Babadook. Slow burn, great acting.

Beam,

Are you two dating?

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 1:51:33 PM

Well, we do have our moments where I am in a situation to enjoy his many attires. To put it that way.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 2:48:34 PM

lol we are on the facebook. I'll check out those flicks thanks.

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souljah92
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:23:00 PM

sounds like i hit the nail on the head with "showing how stupid I am", someone give the 40 year old virgin a buttrub

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:34:56 PM

Beamboom,

Sorry I forgot to respond to your reply. There are a few games that I would still enjoy playing but honestly I don't have the time. I also don't get the whole retro movement. What I see is a vast majority of these "retro" games being anything but retro. It's just an easy way to add a fake level of quality to an inferior product.

I must say though that I don't regard the RPG mechanics from 1998 anywhere close as dated as the older games I'm referring to.

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Underdog15
Thursday, November 20, 2014 @ 12:01:58 PM

LV, that was far too easy. You just pressed a button on Soulja and let him self destruct. Excellent.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 11:29:50 PM
Reply

I don't get the mentality that most developers have now. If SE were to make a new FF with the style of FFIX and the gameplay of FFX it would sell tremendously well. Hell why is it that FFVII is regarded so highly (constantly in the top 10 games of all times lists) yet SE continues to move further away from what made that game so amazing?

I didn't see a downward trend in sales that would have caused SE and other companies to abandon ship. What I've seen is a downward trend in quality that's translated to a identity crisis that it appears none of them can fix.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:52:47 AM

i know, everyone just jumped the ship for no reason but fear that western games were where it's at and no realization that FF and Japanese battle systems weren't being resisted.

Unfortunately we did get some games that challenged that assessment like Resonance of Fate, and then a Tales game that would have exploded on Playstation 3 early in the game was given to Xbox and of course nobody bought it.

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Shauneepeak
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 12:08:08 AM
Reply

I still think a mixed system like FFXII is the way to go mixed action and turn based elements very well. Valkyria was decent too but it was still turn based FFXII allowed you to move at all times while still giving you the option to totally pause combat.

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cLoudou
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 1:36:18 AM
Reply

I'm disappointed, I need more JRPGs in my life. I know I'm in the minority, but I can't get into western rpgs.

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Shauneepeak
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 3:05:48 AM

Don't feel bad I enjoy Western RPGs but I have a really hard time finishing them I think there is such thing as being too open. I still haven't actually "Finished" Skyrim I always end up getting sidetracked.... But I have 100's of hours in it.

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Broady
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 4:41:39 AM

Know what you mean shaunee, started skyrim all over again as hadn't played it in well over a year, plugged in about 150hrs, and still didn't get any further along the main story, but did heaps of side quests

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 5:40:34 AM

One simply do not finish a game like Skyrim. But it's also very wrong to say "western rpgs == Skyrim". The RPGs from Bethesda are exceptionally open, they are found on the very extreme edge of the openness-scale in RPGs today.

A more "typical" exponent of western RPGs would be the BioWare games or the Witcher games, as well as the classic top-down perspective style RPGs like Torchlight, Wasteland or the first Fallouts.

These are all characterized by a certain degree of player freedom/decision making, some smaller side-quests here and there but do follow a fairly linear route story and mapwise.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/19/2014 5:57:23 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 5:12:13 AM
Reply

The thing is Xenoblade Chronicles got just about everything right, but with it's sequel (Xenoblade Chronicles X) They completely shot themselves in the foot with poor creative decisions. The reason I am not buying 'X' is because they remvoed a main character from the game for a player created character - i.e. a mute, who has nothing to contribite to the story of any hint of a personality. When I saw the gameplay demonstration last year I was devastated! So much so that I have now sold my Wii-U, it's probably the biggest gaming disappointment I have felt since Final Fantasy XII - Which to summarize just never felt like a FF game.

I am looking forward to Final Fantasy XV, it may not have turn based combat, but that does not dismiss it from being a JRPG. The game seems to offer a huge sense of adventure that I crave from a JRPG. If anything not there is no 'world map. I just want to see how big the world is. If it will just stay to a single continent of if it will feel like a whole world.

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SayWord
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:58:37 AM

Having a silent main character or user created charactersas your main means you can make your own narrative and view the game through your own eyes.

Not liking that means you probably dont have any imagination and you seriously lack in the personality department.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 8:47:11 AM

I understand the concept of having the player step into the characters shoes, but it just doesn't work for me. All I see is a blank avatar with no personality and no purpose of being within the game. I need a character I can properly invest in, one which has personal development written through out the story. This is why a series like Final Fantasy has stood out so well to me, the characters within them games are ever so engaging. With a created character the depth isn't there and I just cannot invest into the story playing as a blank soulless character.

Also, I realise that you were using that snarky comment against me - Which I will ignore as per usual. However, I think this is an important issue within within JRPGs. I feel JRPG's should be beyond that now, Mass Effect is a prime example of having the game offer your a created character but still offering a personality and dialogue from the Shepard but allowing the player to choose his personality. To me a blank/character just seems like a technical limitation, one which we should be beyond now. The only game I think has pulled it off is Persona, but that games was just burst at the seams with style that it could get away with it.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 9:45:40 AM

I agree with Vivi - it's a plus if your character shows some personality and participates verbally, at least in the cutscenes. Just as long as we as players still can shape that character.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:43:08 AM
Reply

Of course there's room for JRPGs. The problem is that the majority of their developers have made them into a niche product. The likes of Hyperdimension Neptunia, Mugen Souls, and Ar Tonelico will only ever appeal to people with particular tastes, and so that type of game will never truly succeed. There's considerably more hope in the more grounded and 'mature' RPGs, such as Tales of, Final Fantasy, and the Souls titles, and those are also examples of the way that the JRPG mentality has to adapt to modern trends.

I suppose an argument could be made that the need to adapt necessarily means that the new JRPGs aren't the same as the old JRPGs, but I don't see why that has to be a bad thing. The encroachment of real-time battle systems or open-world exploration doesn't necessitate a loss of depth, strategy, or narrative quality; the key lies in the implementation of such features. That is ultimately where JRPG developers are falling short. They struggle to find the right balance between the old and the new.

Basically, the gaming industry is marching ever forward, and that means that the games must also. Those that fall into the JRPG genre are no exception to this.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 7:53:49 AM

Ar Tonelico took a serious wrong turn somewhere. Hyper is fun but Fairy Fencer F really is a great niche product. I keep coming back for the characters.

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ZenChichiri
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 11:48:53 PM

I really want to play Fairy Fencer F when I get some time. I'm playing Tears to Tiara 2 and it really is a mature storyline, with little to no fanservice. It surprised me because before purchase I thought it would be ridden with it. It's slowly turning into my favorite SRPG too the more I play it (about halfway).

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godsman
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 8:17:42 AM
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When i play uncharted or even last of us, I always hope I could roam around with that awesome character model in an open world. That is how I got into gta games. Even then the gameplay doesnt feel right. I jumped to a low budget jrpg, leveling up, I feel right at home

Last edited by godsman on 11/19/2014 8:18:23 AM

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Kevin555
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 8:44:39 AM
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Never been big on JRPG's myself but why don't they remake something like FF7 or FF8 and get the hype for them rolling again? I do remember watching my sister play FFX back in the day, although it wasn't my type of game it looked amazing & was quite a joy to watch as well.

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PS3_Wizard
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:05:30 AM
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Many of you have, in the past, touched on why JRPG's will never return to glory. It all boils down to different generations.

Us older gamers from the PS2 days and before grew up with systems with extreme technical limitations. While our love for those early games never suffered because of those limitations, developers always wanted to push the bar. We fell in love with the turn-based elements and endearing characters in jrpg's, and the new prevalence of CGI in cutscenes from all genres.

Now lets be honest...when watching a cutscene from FF7 the first time back then, didn't you secretly wish you could CONTROL them? Didn't you secretly wish for the time when instead of watching, you could play it out like the scene showed? We'll atleast for me back then, a time like that never seemed possible. And it would be years before developers could gain the ability and resources to cut down on cutscenes (thus severely limiting story-telling), and keep the players in the action.

Time goes on, and us once young gamers grow older and have families of our own, jobs that keep us busy or other things that take more and more of our attention away from our gaming. In all honesty, us gaming "dinosaurs" are dropping like flies. I think back to Socom on the ps2. I had many friends who played that game faithfully when i was in high school. Now i think i only have one friend out of dozens who still games at all.

Now take into account the blockbuster that was COD:MW. That was the sole game that changed the tide on what gaming was/is. It brought in an ASS LOAD of "casual" gamers and younger, "dumber" gamers. JRPG's where already barely a glimmer of their former selves, but our beloved storytelling and turn-based strategy died a quick death that day. For some reason, Japanese developers felt like they needed to try to change to a twitch, action heavy style in order to compete with the western developers who they shouldn't have been trying to imitate anyway.

Basically, these new gamers brought up with the new style of gaming featuring lightning reflexes and dumbed down stories sacrificed for more open-world freedom is why JRPG's will never return to form. Couple that with the very real fact that a lot of us older gamers are either quiting our hobby, or are so selective in what we play, we barely can find what interests us anymore.

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PS3_Wizard
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:14:17 AM

Like Jay Z said.

"N****z want my old s***, buy my old albums."

As much as anyone and myself want the old days, artists must change with the times in order to succeed. They are all in it to make money, and with the rising costs of game development, I can't see an old school jrpg selling grand numbers. Not enough of us old heads for them to turn a major profit.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 2:49:15 PM

what if ni**as have played those out and want new old sh*t?

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telly
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:55:53 AM
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It's an argument that makes a lot of sense, and I agree that it's entirely possible big budget JRPGs are going, or perhaps have already gone, the way of the dodo.

Still, there is a possibility this situation seems particularly exacerbated by the fact that Japanese developers, by and large, really fell flat last gen. Compared to previous generations, Japanese developers just seemed clueless and incapable of delivering much of anything, let alone a signature genre of theirs like JRPGs. There are reasons to be hopeful that many Japanese developers have turned the corner and are ready to really deliver this gen, and have learned from their mistakes. If that's the case, it's possible true, big budget JRPGs will return to form (and existence!) as well.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 2:50:27 PM
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I put big blame on MS purchasing the JRPG market early on in the generation because they knew it dominated on PS2. Then their fan base didn't want it, so the pubs/devs decided the west was done with them without ever realizing they had to be on Playstation to sell.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 5:57:22 PM
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Support Aksys and their games. They're the only real old-school jrpg devs left. They expand into many genres though (Fighting games mostly).

Tales of series gives jrpgs a bad image imo because of many of them seem to come out.

The sad thing is that no Japanese dev has tried a high budget turn-based jrpg. The first one that does WILL get a lot of sales if the story is good to go with it.

I assure you that if FFXV was turned based it would sell more. Sword swinging like Devil May Cry isn't what FF was built on. Make a new high budget series if that's what you want Squeenix.

I want FFXV to do really well though and I will most likely buy it but there's a disconnect gameplaywise that just shouldn't exist.

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PSDreaM
Friday, November 21, 2014 @ 2:45:54 AM
Reply

Dp not be bounded to what is catered to the western market. Look at Japanese, Korean, China and Asian gaming industries. There are no lack of RPG games or other story driven games. Either get more English translators or learn Asian languages and it would be heaven for you guys who love RPG games. RPG genre is not dying but is just not as popular in the west as compared with the Asian market.

Psxe blog should outsource gaming news and new game titles from the Japanese and Korean gaming market instead of limiting yourselves to the major western gaming news sites for goodness sake.

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PSDreaM
Friday, November 21, 2014 @ 2:46:15 AM
Reply

Dp not be bounded to what is catered to the western market. Look at Japanese, Korean, China and Asian gaming industries. There are no lack of RPG games or other story driven games. Either get more English translators or learn Asian languages and it would be heaven for you guys who love RPG games. RPG genre is not dying but is just not as popular in the west as compared with the Asian market.

Psxe blog should outsource gaming news and new game titles from the Japanese and Korean gaming market instead of limiting yourselves to the major western gaming news sites for goodness sake.

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PSDreaM
Friday, November 21, 2014 @ 2:46:32 AM
Reply

Do not be bounded to what is catered to the western market. Look at Japanese, Korean, China and Asian gaming industries. There are no lack of RPG games or other story driven games. Either get more English translators or learn Asian languages and it would be heaven for you guys who love RPG games. RPG genre is not dying but is just not as popular in the west as compared with the Asian market.

Psxe blog should outsource gaming news and new game titles from the Japanese and Korean gaming market instead of limiting yourselves to the major western gaming news sites for goodness sake.

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