Telling your friends you just bought an Xbox 360 wouldn't exactly indicate you'd just bought a machine with an RPG rich catalogue. As of right now, there's only one RPG available on the system, Bethesda's excellent The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and one MMORPG, Square's Final Fantasy XI. However, over the next few years the perception of the Xbox 360 is certain to change. Though not all are high-profile titles such as Final Fantasy, Valkyrie Profile, or Dragon Quest, there are a surprising number of role-playing titles in development for Microsoft's sleek white machine.
RPGs can arguably be described as the most vital genre for a console. Years after release, it's generally the RPGs that are remembered the fondest. After all, they've got detailed characters, intricate storylines, generally 20 or more hours of gameplay, and generally involve much more player emotional involvement and investment than other genres. One thing we're seeing on the Xbox 360 that wasn't evident on the Xbox is the support of Japanese RPGs. Microsoft and Mistwalker are teaming up to bring Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey to Japan, a territory where Xbox 360 sales are as impressive as a slice of bread. Thankfully, Blue Dragon is also being brought West next year, giving American Xbox 360 gamers a chance to experience a big-budget JRPG on their next generation console.
Moving past Blue Dragon, BioWare is bringing its next big title to Xbox 360 as well. Mass Effect has been nothing but impressive so far. Since the franchise is planned as a trilogy across the Xbox 360's lifespan, we're hoping for great things. RPG fans will also get BioShock, a title from Irrational Games that looks so good it won our Overall Game of the Show award for E3 2006. A number of online multiplayer games are being developed for Microsoft's console as well, including EA's Project Gray Company, Sega's Phantasy Star Universe, an upcoming Marvel MMO, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Other games such as Elveon and Two Worlds are incorporating online modes as well, though specifics have yet to be released.
Whether a fan of on- or offline RPG gameplay, JRPG or Western RPG, menu-driven or action-RPG hybrid, there's something on its way to the Xbox 360 to suit your taste. IGN has listed all the titles they know about in an easy to digest format.