What's Happened to JRPGs?

"With the impeding release of Final Fantasy XV I think it worth looking at what exactly JRPGs can offer now. I mean, they have long since passed their PlayStation 2 heyday, but does that mean they have nothing left to offer? Recent releases – even Final Fantasy games – have felt lacking that extra jazz of previous generations. Is it that the stories aren’t as engaging? Has the combat been forced to evolve to a point where it’s no longer as enjoyable?"

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RpgSama700d ago

They are still coming, and a lot of them are even really, really good, it's just that companies besides Square Enix don't have the resources to make a big enough game to compete with the likes of Bethesda, Bioware or Even CDPR (I know they are not that big of a company, but they are getting there, specially when all their resources go in making one game at a time).

Persona 5 and FFXV will lead to a comeback of the BIG JRPGS, but even on the Western Rpgs, it's not like there are a lot of BIG games, Technomancer came and went (and it was a lot better that some gave it credit to be), they have those big 3 making games and that's it.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

" Square Enix don't have the resources to make a big enough game to compete with the likes of Bethesda, Bioware or Even CDPR"

Because we got a main Final Fantasy this gen? Buddy, FFXV could move like 12 to 13 million units this fall, it could continue to move huge units when it comes to PC. I see it outselling both Mass Effect and Witcher 3

Consider Witcher 3 moved like 10 million units. The crappiest FF with FFXIII moved close to like 8 million. Seriously think about that lol

I'd say, lets wait til FFXV actually releases as I feel its going to break records.

FullmetalRoyale700d ago

He said companies besides Square, as in the other publishers releasing jrpgs, such as N.I.S. You are always so quick to talk down to someone, that you missed a very important word in that sentence of his. No need to be uncouth, friend.

bouzebbal700d ago

Jrpg are just fine..
Thanks for sounding worried

RpgSama700d ago


As @FullmetalRoyale explained, I said companies BESIDES Square Enix, even Atlus, Level-5 or Namco can't compete with the big ones in the west, Only Sony has the money to make something as big as Square in the JRPG Arena (and I sincerely hope they do, A new Legend of Dragoon would rock).

I have high hopes for FFXV, hope it washes the bad taste that FFXIII left in my mouth, I didn't mind the linearity or gameplay of those games, I just couldn't stand the characters, and for me, In a JRPG one of the most important things is a great and diverse cast of characters I can root for.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

@Fullmetal- You are correct. Agreed. My fault.

@RPG- Fully agree. I think its largely based on how handhelds are doing in Japan, because its so much install base, they must make titles like World Of Final Fantasy where they are still getting some of that install bases sales along with PS4.

I think if NX is a handheld that outs to a TV and Sony doesn't do another handheld, we'll see more JRPGs on console, but the way Vita is still selling in Japan, something tells me Sony is willing to ride it out for a while in that region.

You are correct though, we only have a few publishers that can even make big budget JRPG titles

mikeslemonade700d ago

I can tell you easily why Jrpgs on life support. A combination of lazy and cheap Devs and entitled gamers. Jrpg Devs bending over to make a quick buck for the 3ds and mobile. Gamers not buying Jrpgs on consoles. It's as simple as that. So you can basically blame yourself and others for ruining Jrpgs.

freshslicepizza700d ago

1. japanese rpg's at times don't do well outside of japan which means resources are not there.

2. japan gamers have moved onto mobile and handheld games, which is where a lot of those games ended up.

3. the wii u and xbox one didn't sell very well in japan which means the ps4 will have to take the bulk of software sales and the ps4 isn't really lighting japan on fire in sales either.

4. japanese developers struggled coping with newer hardware and the pc.

indyman7777700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

hmmmm....FFXV is a action RPG and the ones square made sale millions where all TURN BASED or MMO action jrpg's. We will see.

Edito700d ago

I don't think it's about resources, the games SquareEnix produced are simple bad or not good enough.

Unspoken699d ago

They never learned how to evolve and game developement stagnated. Too bad really, wold have liked to see some next level jrpgs.

Goldby699d ago


Probably sell just fine as alot of us want to be able to see the combat in action just like in the movies. Don't Get me wrong, but a turn based combat game after Kingsglaive would be much worse for the series than the evil action combat you see

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Hoffmann700d ago

The games that are getting labelled as jrpgs these days were called action adventures etc in the golden PS2 age.

Adrian_v01700d ago

You mean like star ocean which was one of the more popular, wait for it, JRPGs?

Hotabang700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

thats what ive been saying!

@adrian please explain

never4get700d ago

Persona 5 comes out so close to PS4PRO release date, THE LAST GUARDIAN coming in December after PS4PRO is out. Why can't people Admit that the retarded(slow) PS3 CELL Architecture cause the Mass Extinction of Home Console JRPGs developers?! The only AAA JRPG coming out on PS4 is coming out After PS4PRO release!

Muzikguy700d ago

It really is a bummer because every Squaresoft game that was released on the PS1 were some of my favorite games. I want to get into NIS games, but some of those are a little hard to. Same with Atlus. I'm yet to be sold on any Namco-Bandai games. It seems like since their merger they've gone downhill IMO.

I still say the best JRPGs are turn based. I'm getting more and more turned off by FFXV all the time. Looking forward to Persona 5 next year

Hoffmann700d ago

Yeah. There are almost no truly turn based jrpg's now.

NapalmSanctuary700d ago

JRPGs and western RPGs are not direct competitors. They are two completely different genres serving different fan bases.

rainslacker700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

There are resources, and even big JRPG's, they just don't get the sales to support them anymore. Only the big well known titles tend to sell well. Things like NiNoKuni did well, but not so well that it lit the fires like FFVII did back in the day.

I think Gust and Idea Factory could manage to make some really compelling JRPG's if they got out of their MO of making cutesy fan service games. Hyperdimension could have been taken more seriously if it took itself more seriously....although it's success has grown pretty steadily over the years.

Nowadays, most either low budget or mid-tier, but a lot of the mid-tier ones are quite good.

Segata694d ago (Edited 694d ago )

Doesn't need to be inflated budgets. I prefer they don't spend hundred of millions or even 50 million for a RPG. We go back the golden age of RPGs the 90s Western or Japan there were insane amounts of games. Made on smaller budgets from smaller companies. Sure Square had bigger budget classics but they still didn't blow it all on one game. I would put Shining Force III or the Quintet Trilogy with anything of the era. Hell even Game Arts with Lunar or Grandia. In the modern era Dragon's Crown the most expensive game Vanillaware ever made (and most successful) cost a whopping 1 million dollars.

Xenoblade X which I am sure had a decent budget but still no doubt a country mile smaller than FFXV and after playing 2 demos of XV and putting 785 hours into XCX. I already can get a good guess which one is better crafted as game. One is prettier the other possibly better crafted if the demos give any indication.

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Darkwatchman700d ago

The only thing that happened with JRPG's is they started migrating from console to handhelds. For the past several years, if you've wanted quality JRPG's they were pretty much only available on vita and 3ds which is fine by me. I love those rpg's on the go, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be more big budget JRPG's on consoles too.

PoSTedUP700d ago

Yeah tons on handheld and seems they release every week. I don't mind, but it would be smarter and only fair to have more on consoles.

Darkwatchman700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

I personally think it makes more sense for them to be on handhelds. Think about it logistically. Most Japanese studios are small and have small budgets. They have nowhere near the resources western companies tend to have. Couple that with how popular handheld gaming is in Japan because they're always busy and on the go and it only makes sense that so many JRPG's are on handhelds.

Also, I will be getting persona 5 and final fantasy 15, but for more of the low budget games from smaller studios, it just makes more sense to keep them on handheld. Why would I want a crappy looking ps4 rpg I can only play at home when I could play it anywhere? The genre is such a huge time sink that I don't see how so many people want so many rpg's on consoles. It's too much unless you have all the free time at home in the world. That's why I tend to buy basically every rpg I want on handheld and with console rpg's I'm a lot more selective since I like to finish my games and being relegated to these huge experiences only when I have hours to spend at home with no interruptions is not convenient in the slightest.

Case in point, next month, World of Final Fantasy releases on PS4 and Vita. I've seen comparisons. The ps4 version looks better, but only slightly. The ps4 version is really just a slightly spruced up port of the vita game and it's $20 more and I can only play it at home??? No thanks. I'm getting the vita version.

kalkano700d ago (Edited 700d ago )


You misunderstand. They CAN afford higher budgets; they just don't believe their games will sell enough to justify it. But, here's the extremely circular kicker: their games sell so poorly because they have such a tiny budget (read: bad graphics).

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

"it would be smarter and only fair to have more on consoles"

Based on what evidence?

They are moving respectable units on handheld and I'm pretty sure they know how to run a business.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

@Kal- ". They CAN afford higher budgets; they just don't believe their games will sell enough to justify it. "

LOL! Maybe you should really look up the word "afford" as if they feel its not enough to "justify it" then it means they feel they can't afford it.

You basically ignored completely what the word actually means

PoSTedUP700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

On evidence that their aren't a lot, and a few more would do it justice. Jrpgs still sell well on console; porting the right ones in which would sell would be better for business and the genres diversity on consoles for gamers. Overall, smarter ingeneral for the ones who make the right move. There are too few on consoles as of late while there use to be a ton that sold well. The market didnt die out it just cost more to make for consoles and devs may not want to take the risk or have the budget. But It's an open market atm on consoles, there is room for a couple more businesses to make the right move and take advantage of. Just because they own a business doesn't mean they are always doing the right thing or are always profitable or maximizing profits more than they can. Businesses/devs tank all the time, small and high-profile devs. There were a lot last gen that did well early with not a lot of consoles on the market. It just this gen has been slow with games and is just starting to pick up, imo. There are more then enough ps4s sold to justify the release of a few more jrpgs.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

@Post- "There are more then enough ps4s sold to justify the release of a few more jrpgs" In Japan.......?

"There are too few on consoles as of late" Maybe thats because the ones that did sell last gen, didn't sell enough to continue only making them on console.

Example. Valkria Chronicles, it moved 300k on PS3. When put on PC, it moved literally 700k.

On PSP, VC2 moved 500k. So they have great reason to not only just focus on console, handheld and PC is something they can make money from.

"Just because they own a business doesn't mean they are always doing the right thing" I don't really get what this means...

What do you mean by "right" ? Morally or something incorrect? The are correct to move production to platforms that are making them more money.

Yes, they can make money on console, no doubt about that, but they can't just ignore a shift in install base. Those gamers playing on handheld are still gamers that clearly want those titles.

"There are more then enough ps4s sold to justify the release of a few more jrpgs" Like I said, do you have sales numbers to back this up regarding JRPGs?

Did PS3 not have 85 plus million units last gen? How many JRPGs moved past 1 million units last gen not named Final Fantasy?

Its enough to get some on there yes, I don't think its enough to shift focus on PS4 solely as I don't see any numbers to even slightly support that idea.

Not even a little. PSVita and 3DS are still moving huge units for JRPGs, enough that its a hard gamble to skip out on them.

VC4 and World Of Final Fantasy I feel are making the right call coming to both handheld and console. That imho is the best move right now.

We got Bloodborne at least.

PoSTedUP700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

"Maybe thats because the ones that did sell last gen, didn't sell enough to continue only making them on console."

Or maybe they did sell well but the generation jump got too expensive to develop for and CEOS cut down on the number of games they make, as they have stated a long with many other devs.

I never said to focus solely on consoles, handheld is a must for a jrpg. I actually said "port" from handhelds.. But consoles are profitable that's why the next digimon is coming to ps4 as well, if it didn't do well and they didn't profit they wouldn't be stupid enough to do it again... a game doesnt have to sell millions to be profitable... trails of cold Steel did well on the ps3 and Falcom may even consider ps4 exclusive for TOCSIII.

So it really comes down to developers having enough to make ps4 games. Development got expensive this gen. But if they have the funds the proof shows that they can make more profit on ps4 (not more than handhelds, but just more profit for them in general).

_-EDMIX-_699d ago

@PoSTedUP- well don't disagree with anything of that Post.

I'm all for them getting ported to console so they can make some more money and gamers can get more games. Its why I like the PS Vita PS4 combo we are seeing. If Sony ever makes another handheld, I hope they make it as easy to develop for as PS Vita so we get those titles on console more likely. I'd like to see them come to PC too so devs and publishers get more funds to keep making games.

Persona 5 coming to PS3 and PS4, World Of Final Fantasy and Valkyria Chronicles 4 coming to PS4 and Vita is something we need. The more, the better. The genre is just too small to keep on console if we want to see more titles come out . Not saying you said that either. I want Yakzua at least to come to PC so Sega at least sees someone outside of PS gamers want Yakuza. It would be cheap to port over, PC is open source, huge install base.

I hope the do it with Persona 1-4 along with 5. It did Valkria Chronicles 1 wonders in sales!

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kalkano700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

People say that as if it's no big deal. It's massive. It's the #1 reason for the drop in popularity. A move to handheld also meant a huge drop in budget.

Basically, we used to have mainline console games, and handheld spinoffs. Then, suddenly, we had nothing but the handheld spinoffs, except the publishers started referring to them as mainline games.

If you went to a restaurant for lunch, but all they had were small bags of chips, would you stay and eat there? I know some people are okay with the move, but it's a tiny fraction of what used to be the fanbase.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

"suddenly, we had nothing but the handheld spinoffs"

Because that is where the install base of JRPG fans is. Look at Japan and console right now buddy.

So spend more on a lessor install base? Doesn't sound like great business to me bud.

Look at Vita and 3DS sales, they literally make up more then HALF of all hardware sales in Japan.

But spend more on console? The best we can get is titles coming from Vita to PS4, like World Of Final Fantasy or Valkria Chronicles 4

kalkano700d ago


You should know that I don't even bother reading your schlock anymore. I just click disagree and move on. It saves time.

jholden3249700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

Dragon Quest VII just released remade and revised on 3DS. Full console game there (heck it originally released on PSone). With DQ VIII coming next year. Trails of Cold Steel 1 and 2 also released on PS3 besides Vita, because they were full console games. Xenoblade Chronicles on 3DS is a Wii game. Persona 4 Golden on Vita is also a full console game. Final Fantasy X on Vita also released on PS3 and PS4, and started on PS2. Definitely a full console game.

I don't think it's fair to label these games as "small bags of chips".

The great thing about handhelds nowadays, is that you get a lot of console-level games on them. Sure, the graphics might not be as pretty but make no mistake, these are not miniature bite-sized side-dishes or appetizers. These are full main course meals.

kalkano699d ago


Don't get me wrong, I bought DQ7 on 3DS, but the PS1 version was severely outdated the day it was released. The thing is, JRPG publishers now use handhelds as a convenient excuse for a small budget. But, when they move to a console, that small budget remains. I also bought Trails of Cold Steel 1 & 2, because at least they're mid-tier. We have seen a slight improvement in this area, with a few mid-tier games finally releasing, but it's still not much. And, because most of those are basically stealth releases that no one knows about (Trails of Cold Steel), or are bizarre games that turn off most of the very audience they're targeted at on a console with a very low install-base (Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE) they don't sell much.

Hopefully Persona 5 will be that one game that shows that mid-tier can be successful for Turn-Based RPGs, if done right, and released right.

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rainslacker700d ago

Kind of makes one wonder if that's not one of the reasons that mobiles do so well in Japan, and home console sales are declining. Whenever a big JRPG releases in Japan, home console sales spike.

But it does cost a lot more to make a big budget AAA JRPG on the home console compared to a mobile platform, so even if they did make them, it may not sell well enough to sustain the genre on consoles.

stalepie700d ago

*"pizzazz," not "jazz"

They went to handhelds. There's been lots of good ones on DS, 3DS, PSP, Vita and smartphones/tablets.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

I recommend the Persona 1 remake on PSP (Not sure if it can be played on PSVita as not aware if it was made as a download on PSN)

Parasite Eve Third Birthday, KH Birth By Sleep (pretty sure its in a collection for PS3), of course the Paper Mario Paper jam game on 3DS (fun fact, my good friend now owns the world record speed run for that game lol) and of the Mario Bros Super Star games. Lots of great JRPGs on handheld.

The best thing I've seen has been the ports from PS Vita to PS4 or PS3. The simple design of PSVita allows for very low cost ports to PS3 or PS4.

stalepie700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

I was thinking of getting Persona 1... never did get that far in it on PS1, but still have my copy (which I guess is semi-expensive on the used market now, but I doodled a lot in the instruction manual as a teenager, which probably reduces its price considerably, heh). I'd probably prefer the original, and not like the changes (like the music), but not sure. I know most say the update is better. It'd be more convenient to play on Vita, sure...

Toukiden: Kiwami also looks pretty good on PS4. They ought to put Soul Sacrifice on there if they got some of those others.

chobit_A5HL3Y700d ago

there are actually a lot of great jrpg's, they just don't have the marketing that the ff series gets. i actually prefer most of the smaller dev's games because they stick to the simple combat system that i grew up playing. i'm not a big fan of the active battle system, tbh. i liked the old, simple, turn-based combat that the older jrpg's had. one of the reasons why i started to lose interest after ffx.

Darkwatchman700d ago

That's too bad for you :(
I like all the battle systems in rpg's I've played over the years. Only more games for me to play and enjoy :)

chobit_A5HL3Y700d ago

it's not like me not playing them frees up a spot for someone else to play lol you make it sound as if i was taking up a spot, and now that i don't play, it's free for someone else to take lol

BlahBlahWhatever700d ago (Edited 700d ago )

Same I can't stand the hack n slash/action combat most of the new JRPG have were you control 1 char at a time & the rest party members are controlled by some stupid AI, one of the reasons I lost interest & also stop care about any new FF after FFX, any game that I might be interested to play is either on 3DS or PSVITA & I don't play games on handhelds, so ye I'm out of options pretty much, for someone like me who miss the good old times back in PS1 era were there was so many options, the console was packed with traditional turn based JRPGs, the situation feel so disappointed that I can't describe...

kevnb700d ago

Japanese gamers have mostly switched to handheld, jrpgs have followed.

_-EDMIX-_700d ago

lol, you seriously can't take reality can you?

Buddy.....the install base is on handheld and the market needs to follow or they risk losing sales. I love how your on this conspiracy that it must have to do with them all seeking to spend less money lol. Japan was going handheld before many of those publishers even started focusing more on handheld ie many jumped on ios and android gaming...BEFORE huge publishers started making titles on ios and android.

They started to make more mobile games based on the rise in popularity, they are still a business and need to compete. They can't FORCE fans to buy console. If fans are on mobile, they need to be there too. This is just business bud.

Mobile in turn is where you started to see so much more support on handheld. NX likely being both could mean you being able to play many of those JRPGs on a TV screen if you feel just, I mean....PSP 2000 and 3000 exist if you want to play something on a screen.

The reality is, the genre is too small to SOLELY exist on console where its top sales are coming from a region that isn't even moving console units like that to justify their existence. That is like saying lets make a JRPG exclusive for XONE, never mind its moving like 1k sales a month in Japan....the region they expect the MOST sales.

LMFAO! No, just no buddy. It literally makes no mathematical sense. You are asking a company to do some sorta hail mary and risk there whole company because you want some expensive console exclusive JRPG with pretty graphics.

Make the math make sense bud, then maybe you have a real theory, but thus far it merely sounds like fanboy desperation and wishful thinking. I see no evidence to support that many companies would do well with big budget console exclusive JRPGs. Only 1 JRPG last gen that was on console sold over 1 million that WASN'T Final Fantasy.

It was Ni No Kuni on PS3, has a DS version. Funny right?