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Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

by on August 5, 2010 4:47 PM 28

Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

The 1990s seem, to many people’s recollection, to be the hay day of Japanese-style RPGs. During that time we saw the release of many games that gamers today feel are some of the best in the genre. The Final Fantasy franchise in particular moved a lot of units and worked its way into a lot of people’s hearts with the move to 3D visuals in Final Fantasy VII. Even with this graphical change, one thing remained the same – no matter how many Final Fantasies or other JRPGs were released, they were still designed from the ground up with a specific philosophy in mind.

They had pre-defined stories and characters, with the developers asking the player to go on a journey with them, to see these characters interact and tell a story themselves. In very few instances did the genre ever deviate from that design philosophy. But, it got to the point where, apparently, gamers wanted more freedom.

At the time, Japanese developers still held a strong arm around the video game industry, especially with their monstrous and visually appealing RPGs. As far as video game RPGs go, during this time period many Western gamers were introduced to the genre. What used to be a niche before that, with previous Final Fantasy titles, Dragon Warrior and other NES-era games, had now blossomed into the 16-bit and 3D era with such master works as Earthbound, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, VII and so on. If you wanted to play an RPG, you went out and bought one of these, or similar, titles.

Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

While everyone was in this RPG frenzy, unbeknown to most because of their fixation on these Japanese titles, two developers had come onto the scene with a new philosophy in mind for the video game RPG. Both Bethesda and Bioware released the first titles in some of their signature franchises during this time, and they were loved by many, although you could still arguably say that the JRPG was still bigger at this point. In 1994, Bethesda Softworks released The Elder Scrolls: Arena, the first in their long-running and much-loved RPG franchise. Bioware, on the other hand, released the first title in the Baulder’s Gate series a few years later, in 1998. Both of these titles and their subsequent sequels propelled the respective developers into the limelight and ultimately paved the way for a shift in RPG genres early in the 21st century.

These days it seems like Japanese RPGs are criticized for their “traditional” mechanics, laughed at for their anime-style visuals, ripped apart for their complicated stories and often cliché characters and just generally given a hard time all around. They seem to be a punching bag for gamers who dislike the genre’s staples such as character-driven story, cut scenes, linear progression and anime cuteness. Western RPGs came to the forefront with many gamers because of their darker, more classical focus, their creative freedom and their more action-oriented battle philosophy, which stems from that Dungeons & Dragons mindset. So, what changed? Did these two now-giant developers, with their new, different philosophies about what makes a great RPG bring about the downfall of the one-time masters of this domain in video gaming?

Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

Many people who were “born and raised”, so to speak, on JRPGs are now adults with families, jobs and responsibilities. Their children are the ones determining which games are purchased and popular these days. No longer do the parents have time for all their favorite games of the past, if they even still game at all.

Today’s generation of teenagers seem to have the mentality that fits more action-style combat the best – the impatient and “must have now” attitudes permeate the landscape when it comes to those playing the bulk of the games. Japanese RPGs are known for their hefty game play times, their slower, more formulaic and strategic battle systems and tons and tons of dialog through cut scenes. People seem to not want that anymore.

Why is that? We could blame this generation gap, and the change in attitudes of the bulk of gamers. Or, we could blame the shooters, which many of the Western RPGs of today base their game play off of. Someone got it into their minds that they could bring a shooter-style battle system into an RPG and people would come to it in droves. Even before that, generally “all action all the time” in a real-time manner was what drew these “must have it now” players to Western RPGs.

As we moved into the new century, Japanese RPG sales declined overall. As the visual power of consoles improved, Western RPGs with their more realistic, gritty art style prospered. No longer did people want to wait around in a turn-based battle or sit through countless cut scenes, regardless of the fact that it was explaining a story.

Bethesda and Bioware surpassed JRPGs in sales, with their various titles – The Elder Scrolls franchise, Mass Effect, Baulder’s Gate, Fallout 3, Dragon Age: Origins and others. Other developers even hopped on the bandwagon and attempted to repeat the success that these two developers saw in the genre.

Now, you’re probably wondering if I have a chip on my shoulder because my beloved genre has been trampled into dust by these Western RPGs. You would be wrong. I love these games, they’re some of my favorite games of all time. I also love these developers, for the most part. Sure, their RPGs – if you can even call them that these days – typically surpass any and all Japanese RPG sales, especially in Western regions. What I don’t understand is why these developers are getting to the point of being arrogant enough to assume that, for some reason, this is the only way to make RPGs and this is what defines the genre.

A few months back, some dude at Bioware got their panties in a twist, whining and moaning about how JRPGs really aren’t RPGs at all, just because they have a different design philosophy. Writing Director for the developer, Daniel Erickson, had this to say, addressing a question in an interview that pertained to the importance of the story in an RPG:

“Before I address the main point I just want to take a slightly more controversial route: You can put a ‘J’ in front of it, but it’s not an RPG. You don’t make any choices, you don’t create a character, you don’t live your character…I don’t know what those are – adventure games maybe? But they’re not RPGs.”

Pardon me, let me translate for those of you who don’t quite understand.

“Wahhh, they have a different design philosophy than us so we’re better, waaahhh, our way is the ONLY way to make RPGs, waahhhh, we hate anything that isn’t the way we want it, wahhh.”

Oh, c’mon people. I wrote a rebuttal to this ignorant line of thinking, and stick by it completely. It is borderline arrogant to think that way. The video game industry is so large these days – people constantly rave about how it is rivaling the movie and music industries combined – yet there isn’t room enough for various game design philosophies? Who does Bioware think they are, RPG gods or something?

What I find ironic about this is that a couple of Bioware’s latest RPGs, especially Mass Effect, seem to

Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

take on more JRPG traits than most others in the genre. The “choices” they are so big on, however, tend to fall flat because the story itself is a linear romp through and through, with the general outcome being the same regardless of what lines of dialog you decide to have your character speak. Sure, bits and pieces change here and there, which molds parts of the story. However, ultimately it starts the same and ends the same.

“Waahhh, but there are multiple endings, wahhh.”

Dude, JRPGs have had multiple endings – many including infinitely more than both Mass Effects and Dragon Age combined – for a very long time. That isn’t something new, it isn’t something just you guys do. Get over yourself.

Note what I mentioned above – I’m a JRPG guy through and through, yet I think titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins are some of the best RPGs around. I guess I’ll take the high road here, since the developers seem content to sit and spat insults at each other like pimply, greasy teenagers who can’t put their differences aside and realize they’re both living on planet Earth and have to deal with each other.

You know what? I can just picture in some crazy alternate universe having Square-Enix and Bioware working on an RPG together. Guys from both sides are sitting around a table in some lavish board room at a neutral location in the middle of the Pacific. Everyone’s pointing a finger at each other.

Bioware: “You’re not an RPG!”

Square-Enix: “F$*k you, you’re not an RPG!!”

I’ll walk right into that room, slam my fist down on the table and go all parental on them: “Either you’re both RPGs, or neither of you are. Choose one!”

I’m sure both the JRPG and WRPG side can agree, hopefully, that neither would like their respective genre stripped out of the definition of an RPG, so they need to just both settle on both being an RPG, otherwise they’ll totally and completely devalue the genre. The definition of “RPG” is loose enough as it is.

Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

Bethesda, the sneaky bastards that they are, aren’t off the hook, either. Just this week they released an ad for Fallout: New Vegas that pokes fun at JRPGs and their philosophy. While I’m all for a little humor these days, this seems to delve deeper than that, almost to the point of being like a political statement against an evil dictator’s regime.

In the poster above, Japanese models are holding up signs that proclaim the likes of, “When did games become something that you watch?”, “I think it would be nice if the main character would have a mission besides wiping out evil.”, and “A game where you just follow the scenario is like living life on rails.”

Okay, so all those books and movies that people have loved for who knows how many years just aren’t that great after all, because they all tell you a specific story with specific characters and you’re forced to follow it through. People want this, otherwise “Choose Your Own Adventure” books would be way more popular than they ever got. Instead, they were a fad that died out when I was still in junior high.

Again, why the hate? Bethesda, people love Fallout 3, I loved Oblivion, what the hell are you worried about? Your new game is going to sell boat loads, don’t worry. There’s no need to insult another type of game to make yourselves feel all manly and like the big boys on the block. To me you’re just a bunch of bullies that seem like they’re more scared than proud of their game.

But, enough about these two issues that Western developers need to work out. The point is that, yes, JRPGs in general have seen a decline, and yes, it could be because of the uprising of these Western RPGs. But, you know what? That in no way means one design philosophy is better than the other, it doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for both in this industry that we all know and love. If you don’t like one type of game, here’s a suggestion that might come as a shock to some of you: DON’T PLAY IT.

Oh, wow, I can’t believe I just said that. I must be off my rocker to come up with something totally out of left field like that. I’m sorry guys, my mouth (or hands?) gets away from me sometimes and I type weird things. Yes, instead of sitting here complaining that JRPGs don’t have what you see in WRPGs, or vice versa, go play the genre that you want to play. To Bioware and Bethesda I say – live and let live. Both sides have something to learn from the other and, you know what? In certain instances each side’s games might not be as different as you think.

Did Bioware and Bethesda Kill the JRPG?

Yes, I just said that WRPG developers like the two we’ve been discussing here have something to learn from the genre they apparently despise so much that they have to go out and make themselves look desperate with their crazy statements and ignorant advertising schemes. Don’t think JRPG developers are off the hook, either. There is quite a lot companies like Square-Enix, Namco-Bandai, Nippon Ichi, Atlus and others can learn from WRPG developers, as well. Just for some crazy-weird reason those guys don’t shoot their mouth off like some other developers we know.

Ultimately, this industry should be about moving forward together, creating games that are deep, enjoyable and create lasting impressions on gamers’ minds and hearts. We may not be in the 1990s anymore and we may not have the luxury of sticking to the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While there is nothing wrong with that, instead of criticizing one another, I think everyone should work together, learn from each other and improve the industry and, specifically, the RPG genre, as a whole. Wouldn’t that be the best case scenario? Couldn’t that give us something to strive for? Sure, it isn’t world peace or anything, but every little bit helps.

Join the Discussion

  • http://dualshockers.com Jon Ireson

    This is a great look at the various viewpoints shared by both development styles and the way they have been clashing lately. I also agree that the two should learn from each other more-so than hate on each other and that both have great unique ideas to add to the genre overall.

  • Kenneth

    no they did not. they purveyed the western rpg, but the jrpg is the elder so to speak. It cannot be killed, and thats why we see more jrpgs than western rpgs even here in the west.

  • laharl

    Bioware make some of the poorest “rpgs” around.
    All their games feature what is essentially the same plot, world and characters but with different skins.
    Look at dragon age with its horrific PS1 graphics (i played the PS3 version), endless glitches, terrible level design and generic plot and compare it to Persona 4, FF6, Disgaea or pretty much any jrpg for that matter.
    I’m a big Bethesda fan so i won’t slag them off.
    In my opinion, young kids on the internet posting endless comments about how great FF10 and KH are and how much anything with any depth sucks are what is harming the jrpg since devs appear to listen to what these people say.

  • http://exsturminator.wordpress.com Justin

    This feels a little out of context to me. Bioware and Bethesda haven’t been hating on JRPG’s, at least not in any statements I’ve seen. Bioware’s comment that you quote, “You can put a J…not an RPG” was specifically aimed at Final Fantasy XIII I believe, not JRPG’s in general, and to be fair, FFXIII was linear in more aspects than usual (remember all the reviews about just holding up to get through levels). I didn’t think it that hateful to say it wasn’t an RPG to them. It wasn’t to me either, and I LOVE linear JRPG romps. Bethesda’s ad doesn’t come across as insulting either. I mean, I guess you could look at it as a poke in the eye at JRPG’s, but isn’t that what marketing is? Saying your product is superior because it does X, Y, and Z? So maybe some people will think New Vegas is superior for the reasons they’re protesting, maybe not. I thought it was pretty funny really, and it’s an Asian ad, so it IS in hostile territory competing with JRPG’s on their home turf. They ARE competing with the reigning king of the RPG playground over there.
    Do both sides need to learn from each other? Yes. Is either side really at war? Um, not that I can see. Both genres have niche markets in their respective regions that their competition can’t touch, and neither really seems to be gunning for the other one any more than usual. I’d say JRPG’s are NOT dead, and that WRPG’s are merely filling a void that couldn’t be filled ten/twenty years ago due to technology constraints. Neither is really king at the moment, and I doubt either truly will be again, so long as they keep moving forward.

    • http://dualshockers.com Chad Awkerman

      I wouldn’t say Mass Effect, Oblivion or Fallout are “niche” RPGs. They sell millions and millions of copies, not thousands like most niche titles.

      If the quote was directed at FFXIII, it really changes nothing. FFXIII is still a JRPG (about as much as Mass Effect 2 is an RPG, but still, if Bioware says it’s an RPG, which they do, than so is FFXIII).

      • Rob

        FF13 is a JRPG only by default due to its heritage. I think SRPG is a more fitting genre for it.

        Hint:
        the second letter is H
        the third letter is I
        the fourth and final letter is…

  • Red

    It’s all about business, and offsetting the ever rising development costs with mainstream appeal. One thing that the mainstream gamer has proven without a doubt is that they require instant gratification, and among the genres that has yet to sell out to the mainstream ideal is the JRPG.

    You only need to look at the industry as a whole to see it happening across the board. Survival horror turned into pure action, or in Dino Crisis’ case, died. Stealth games like Splinter Cell went fully action, and Metal Gear Solid went from the methodical brilliance of Snake Eater to the million gun arsenal, machine gun motorcycle escapes of MGS4. Shooters went from being hugely difficult and lightning fast to painfully slow and filled with metagames. It is all because mainstream gamers buy games that offer instant gratification.

    Even the Western RPGs are guilty of this. The reason that WRPGs are becoming so much more popular than their Japanese counterparts is because WRPGs are becoming more and more action oriented. Fallout is now a full on FPS, Mass Effect 2 has gone full on third person shooter, and they’re even going more mainstream with Dragon Age 2. Today’s WRPG is decidedly less core than it was ten years ago, and because of this shift to the mainstream (WRPGs were even more niche and core than JRPGs were back when, and by a huge margin) has created much larger profits than in the past.

    JRPGs have not gone this same route. Despite a general shift towards the mainstream in the industry, JRPGs continue to operate under niche ideals. The JRPG market in the west is no smaller than it has ever been, the WRPG has simply seen massive growth thanks to its shift to more mainstream ideals. People who supported the WRPG industry back when it was niche hate today’s WRPG, but we can thank high dev costs for the wholesale abandonment of the core player for the mainstream crowd and their mainstream money.

    Development costs are out of control, and the “AAA game” landscape that the industry exploited and rode high on for ten years has created a situation where only “AAA” titles sell enough to recoup dev costs. This means going mainstream or to the poor house, which is why the majority of great JRPGs in the last few years have either been on handhelds or on the PS2.

  • Anthony

    FF XIII outsold ME 2

    This article fails.

    • http://dualshockers.com Chad Awkerman

      That is one game compared to one game. But if you combine the sales of all JRPGs, they don’t amount to much, comparatively speaking. Also, I wouldn’t really count Japanese sales figures, since we’re talking about the Western world here.

      • Makidian

        You have to include Japanese sales or the argument doesn’t hold its own weight. If you took the collective sales of both WRPG’s and JRPG’s and put them against each other JRPG’s would win hands down on Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest alone. I love both kinds of RPG’s but I don’t want them to borrow complete concepts from each other. I don’t ever want to create a character in Final Fantasy and I don’t want deep battle systems in Dragon Quest. I must digress though because I am an old school gamer and still love turn based games.

  • George

    OMG, I’ve never seen such a disrespectful and out of context quote outside comment section trolls:

    “A few months back, some dude at Bioware got their panties in a twist, whining and moaning about how JRPGs really aren’t RPGs at all”

    “Wahhh, they have a different design philosophy than us so we’re better, waaahhh, our way is the ONLY way to make RPGs, waahhhh, we hate anything that isn’t the way we want it, wahhh.”

    And then you go on talking shit about Mass Effect…

    Seriously, what the fuck, dude? did you even BOTHER reading the interview from where that quote came from? do you really expect people to take you seriously with that bullshit?

    Let me enlighten you a bit, that quote came from Daniel Erickson, and he didn’t “get his panties in a twist”, he was asked about Final Fantasy XIII IN PARTICULAR.

    You might say, talking shit about THAT game is like spitting all over the WHOLE JRPG GENRE (wich is dumb, in my opinion). But this isn’t just any random JRPG it’s a game with deeply divided opinions between hardcore JRPG fans, some consider it an interactive movie, and some others the next step in the evolution of the genre.

    Erickson just didn’t consider FFXIII a real RPG, and many JRPG fans agree, what’s so fucking bad about it? Are you THAT butthurt just because he answered a question in an interview?

    Did he REALLY say his philosophy is the only one right? Did he say the game was bad?

    Or are you just looking for excuses to trash talk WRPGS?

    After all:

    “Favorite games: Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, Persona 4″

    Have a nice day ;)

    • http://none Tim

      The comment is unprofessional because it implies that the genre of a game is somehow relevant to how good it is…

      In my view that a game “not being an RPG” shouldn’t affect my enjoyment if I already enjoyed similar games in the genre. (for what it’s worth, I am not sure if I like FF13 particularly much on it’s own demerits) Besides that, coming up with a new genre name would be too hard to market, and both genres share common roots at Wizardry anyway. (this is evident in Atlus’s games, and the major WRPG franchises that died completely at the end of the 90′s) Yes, modern WRPGs make a pretense of being like D&D or other board games, but if you want be strict in what an “RPG” is, we might as well expect LARPing or Table top rpgs. (for what it’s worth, I would see a benefit to WRPGs having less role-playing in a video game medium)

      Is liking “Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, Persona 4″ some indicator of trash talking? I would say those are fine games, just as I greatly enjoy Planescape Torment or Might and Magic 6

      Let’s not get carried away with the profanity here…

  • George

    btw you can find said interview here http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/starwarstheoldrepublic/interview.html

    (sorry for the double post)

  • LordCancer

    japan killed the jrpg. bethesda and bioware filled the chasm left in the wake of japanic stagnation.

  • http://myspace David Davidson

    op is a fag

  • rub5670

    Atlus’s last game Demon Souls seemed to have taken a different path. And because of this, it will remain one my favorite games for a very long time.

  • asdf

    Bioware and Bethesda pretty much killed the rpg. Their games are boring and bland, its disgusting. And yeah, can do without :)

    • Ryley

      Killed the RPG?? I have never seen an ending like in mass effect 1 & 2. Everything is breaking down around you at the end of both. How is that boring? If everything was hitting the fan around me I wouldn’t be bored. Now yes some of there games don’t match the hype. I am a loyal FF fan. I have played all of them. 1-13. I will pick the ending to mass effect over any ending of FF. Ff is like reading a book when you play it. The games Bioware and Bethesda make you write the book. You get the plot and then you decide how to create the story.

      Sorry your intellect isn’t challenged by the action of the WRPGs. I like complex characters, plot twist, and the who sha-bang just like any other gamer. The thing is JRPGs and WRPGs will always be different. That’s the point. It is to break apart the RPGs to fit two different styles. If you like to read then play JRPGs. If you like action with no point sometimes then play WRPGs. I get why everyone is mad over this. You like something and someone called it a bad name. So what do we do?? We take the low road and called their thing a bad name. I’m most likely the youngest gamer to post something on here about this. So it is sad to see a bunch of experienced gamers acting like children.

      You don’t have to like the other guy, but you have to respect them and the numbers they sell by. No matter what anyone says the numbers don’t lie. They make profits. Both of them (JRPGs & WRPGs). There will always be a place for JRPGs just like there will be for WRPGs. They are meant to hit different gamers of the same genre. They are meant to tell a story. One you get more options the other more detail.

  • http://DualShockers Kenneth

    does anyone disagree that jrpgs are top of the market? i mean, yea we see the occasional bethesda or bioware effort, but jRPGs outnumber western rpgs even in the usa.

  • Mieu

    In my opinion, the central conflict lies in the first two letters of the genre name: role-playing.

    I don’t really think the role-playing elements are there. What roles do you play? In many modern JRPGs like Final Fantasy or Tales of series it’s mostly NOT there. Then it’s not really a role playing game.

    Dragon Quest series has a silent main character that do choices sometimes, but you really cannot choose “NO”. It has some role playing elements, but it is more like acting as a character in a stage play.

    MegaTen series, though, is MUCH better. You can make choices that in many cases affect the outcome of the story, yet still has the JRPG flair. It’s like the best of both worlds, and that’s why MegaTen is my favorite JRPG series. :)

    Don’t make me wrong, I generally like JRPGs better cos I really like sitting through many of the good storylines the genre offers, and I especially can’t get into those sandbox RPGs like Oblivion or Fallout 3. Yet what we really should do is have a clearer definition of the terminology we use.

  • sarem

    ba***rd f***er bioware and that bedastha who those mo*** think they they company will get burn and destroyed one. j-rpg rocks and no other games can even come. those mother *** will die one day sooner

  • WeasleX

    I like this article, it points out pro’s and con’s in both industries.

    I think one of the main problems that JRPG’s need to focus on is still a Newtons Law of Physics: For every action there is a equal or greater reaction. They really don’t go into cause and effect that much.

    As for WRPG’s we’re really just at the beginning of what we can do with this cause and effect. Rumor’s are abound that we may see some in-depth story arcs with ME3 in cause and effect from the choices we made in ME2. It seems to be the case considering you have the possibility of dieing at the end of ME2 and that probably will carry over with some type of effect in the next game.

    JRPG’s really don’t touch the non linear style, and that would be okay, but I’m a little worried about how Square may fare with sales if they can’t compete with WRPG’s or even evolve beyond the typical style that is Final Fantasy. I’m not saying the company will fail, but history has alway’s shown that company’s that don’t evolve or ‘think outside the box’ ultimately die.

  • manatee

    Kenneth: JRPG is the elder? Care to explain that?

    WRPG’s have been around since 1979.

    The first JRPG wasn’t launched until 1985.

    And how exactly do we see more JRPG’s then WRPG’s in the west? In case you haven’t noticed the PC gets dozens WRPG’s every year

  • Bignuggins

    I can’t understand why people refer to JRPG’s as “traditional” RPG’s.
    WRPG’s were the original RPG’s which stemmed from the pen and paper RPG’s that people used to play in the 70′s and 80′s.
    Similar to the pen and paper role playing games, western rpg’s give you more freedom and direct involvement in the game by allowing you to make choices that actually decide the outcome of events. Japanese RPG’s push you along a storyline, with the illusion of involvement. You are not actually making any choices in a JRPG, you are following a predetermined outcome.

  • Walter

    Hi. I just wanted to make a comment regarding the “JRPGs are not RPGs” debate.

    It seems like you and a lot of the commentators are missing the point. It seems like you are under the impression that games like Final Fantasy birthed the RPG genre, and are therefore representative of a role-playing game by default. I don’t believe this is the case.

    The role-playing game is a Western invention, and regardless of whether or not you like it, its roots are in pen and paper games like Dungeons and Dragons. These games coined the term “RPG,” and the freedom of choice, customization and unpredictability of the world and its players are the definition of the genre. Early games like Final Fantasy scapegoated the vocabulary and combat models from these games, with Final Fantasy clearly mimicking Dungeons and Dragons’s algorithms of combat (chance to hit, damage modifiers, etc), even having random number generators working behind the scenes to emulate the dice rolling from the early pen and paper games (http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/522596-final-fantasy-ii/faqs/54945). You cannot make the argument that the RPG began in Japan or with Dragon Quest or anything like that. I know it is inconvenient to your point, but those early games were clearly built on the fundamentals of those original 20-sided dice games, so we would be in error if we were to deny them.

    This being the case, I would argue that JRPGs have never been role-playing games in any real sense. They succeeded in transferring a certain aspect of the traditional RPG to a new medium, sure, but they do not allow for the player to “role-play” any more than a Mario title might. I do not argue that they are bad games, or even that we should start calling them something else. They have been misrepresented for years as role-playing games, and to upend the genre now would just be confusing.

    I wish it wasn’t 8 am and I could belabor this point a little more, because I don’t have time to cover all my bases here. If you never invested yourself into a game like Dungeons & Dragons you will have no concept of what a real role-playing game is, and I imagine you will be quick to dismiss my comment. This is, after all, the same argument Daniel Erickson was making which you were so quick to insist was only so much whining. I disagree. Companies like Bioware and Bethesda are working towards bringing the experience of a game like Dungeons & Dragons to the videogame medium, and have made great strides in doing so. They offer an experience more akin to an actual role-playing game, whereas the JRPGs offer an experience more akin to whatever our definition of JRPG is. To put that concept another way, it seems like the JRPG is disappearing inside its own asshole.

    Sorry to be vulgar. Here is the wikipedia definition of a role-playing game: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_game”

    Mr. Erickson is trying to get closer to role-playing games. Japan is trying to get closer to Final Fantasy VII.

    I hope you’ll at least consider this viewpoint. Cheers!

  • ???

    Unfortunately there is NOT space for both rpgs. Jrpgs sales fell drasticaly and I am super angry at it. I like Jrpgs since ever, and one day appear a bunch of people complaining about it. I generly wouldn’t care about it but now it not only affected the sales but it might, eventually change the way of Jrpgs. And if Jrpgs
    change, I fear of what they might become. Oh and the argument Jrpgs are all the same, they aren’t. And for an istance Wrpgs always have a bad guy and generly for revenge.

  • SkinnyPuppy

    In an rpg videogame the player controls one or more characters who kill enemies and complete quests to become stronger and obtain better equipment till the end of the plot; that’s why FFXIII is as much an rpg as bioware-like games.

    When Erickson will create an rpg that has nothing to do with dungeons and dragons, star wars and lord of the rings (it will be the first time for a Bioware game), in which the behaviour of the main character will completely change the plot, and with npcs’ reactions that are always realistic and adequate to main character’s actions(in Bioware-like games the character can usually choose to behave like a boyscout or like a d..k who cheats on his girlfriend, but the main plot remains the same, and sometimes npcs’ reactions appear bugged), he will have all the right to say his game is “more an rpg” than games like FFXIII, but right now he can’t.

    The overall quality of jrpgs and wrpgs is equal (their qualities just have some differences), and both -not only the jrpgs- offer mechanics and plots a little repetitive when compared to previous titles of the same kind.

    But in my opinion, in terms of plot, character design and ending sequences some jrpgs (in particular the Shin Megami Tensei series) are still quite better than any wrpg produced so far.

  • http://twitter.com/MelficeSilesius Bjorn van Rijszen

    “Waah! Bioware was mean to my favourite genre! I’m going to be mean to them too!”
    See, I just did the same thing you did. Pay attention to the next line: This kind of writing does NOT garner support. You just look like a petty fanboy.

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