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What happened to JRPG genre this gen? And how to fix it ?

Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997. Fans treated the game as if it was sacred, the game was one of the finest Final Fantasy games ever. Back then, Japanese role playing games (JRPG's) was the genre to beat. 15 years on and JRPG's have lost their charm and appeal to so many people, or has it?

Intro's aside, lets get straight to the point…

Developers have made their mistakes, this is the simple reasons the state of the genre is what it is.

To improve or broaden the appeal of the genre I believe the following should happen in the order of least to most importance:

10. More online multiplayer JRPG's: there are some people who play games only for the Multiplayer, and it’s the multiplayer feature which is the main selling point of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft & Fifa, and those games sell a LOT ! Where is the western JRPG equivalent of these games? Nowhere to be found, don’t say Monster Hunter as that isn’t that popular in the west. [This will get the online gamers on board]

9. More turn based battle systems/Traditional JRPG's: the only turn based JRPG I can think of this console gen is Lost Odyssey, I am of the view that there are some people who believe the Genre has strayed from what it was and they just want TRADITIONAL JRPG's back. [This well get the old school JRPG gamers on board]

8. Better & smarter marketing & more marketing: I am yet to see a viral video on the internet to promote a JRPG game, viral videos are a good way to advertise, since there is none for JRPG games (that I can think of) it indicates the marketing is poor. Sony spent $100 million on the marketing and promotion of FF7, the game even appeared in Playboy magazines, look at how popular that game was. [This will get all sorts of people on board, even casual gamers]

7. Loss in popularity of FPS games e.g Call of Duty: too many people are buying FPS games, but it seems now that people are getting tired of FPS games, the future looks brighter. Think about it, if a substitute product/competitor is taken out of the equation, it can only mean that the most likely thing that will happen is your sales will increase. [This will get all sorts of people on board, even casual gamers]

6. More localization i.e release more games in the west: how can consumers buy a game if the game isn’t even available in their language and country, how can that JRPG series broaden its fan base if the game isn't available ? [This will keep existing JRPG fans interested in the genre]

5. More real time action battle systems: 1 of the biggest complaints I here is that the JRPG genre usually has archaic battle system, you will notice I already mentioned "More turn based JRPG's", anyway developers are now making more real time action based battle systems. But why not make both more Turnbased and action based JRPG's? They don't need to oppose each other. [This will appeal to the whiners and haters who complain about traditional "archaic" JRPG's]

4. More western themed games (both in terms of story, and characters) e.g dark souls: "oh, the men all look like girls there all borderline heterosexual", "eww, they all have long hair", "all the characters look like children and cartoons, ewww"….yeh you get the point [This will appeal to those whiners]

3. Just 1 epic JRPG to get people into genre, like how COD got people into FPS: FF7 already did this in the past as mentioned in the intro, and we know the effect, but now that effect has started to wear off, we need another game [This will get all sorts of people on board, even casual gamers]

2. Less cliches, better voice acting: a major complaints, possibly the most major, if their were less clichés and better voice acting, most JRPG's would get higher review ratings as reviewers would have 1 less thing to complain about (the thing they complain about most often when they want to pick on the genre), and reviews directly effect sales. [Better reviews=More sales=more fans]

1. Go back to your roots and think about what made JRPG's so great in the golden age (1990-2006) and try to revive those ideas, the loveable characters, the amazing unique stories, the side quests, mini games, exploration, customization, addicting gameplay that rewards you for: levelling up, collecting items, achieving certians things e.t.c am talking to people like you Square Enix.[If this happened we should be back to how the state of the genre was in the Goldenage (1990-2006)]

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Sephris2171d ago

I really liked reading this and I agree with you on every issue you put up. There are a few reasons for why things are the way they are, such as the economy keeping the industry from wanting to step too far outside of the box and not as much "young blood" being given the freedom to do what they would like to. For example, the creators of FF7 are gods in JRPG companies. They are now the big bosses. They reflect on their own fame to judge what will be put out today. It is human nature. But their moment of fame isn't today. What worked before won't work now. This is why FF10-13/2 were not as popular as they could have been. New designers and storywriters need to have the same freedom of creativity that the big guys had when they were starting out. the "I know better than you" attitude is strangling the industry.

Still, perhaps the slowly approaching demise of big names like Square may be a good thing. Indie groups may not have the budget, but they have the fresh ideas that will lead us into the next few decades of gaming. As the big guys fall, perhaps they will get wise and seek the support of the indie game makers. Hopefully then this cookie cutter style way of making games will take the hit for the big companies and we can all have new and imaginative games back on the market.

Captain Tuttle2171d ago

Aren't there alot of JRPG's on handhelds this gen? handheld gaming is huge in Japan, companies cater to those tastes, the hardware tends to be weaker and easier to develop on and none of those nasty currency fluctuations or localisation issues to worry about,

Godmars2902171d ago

Really don't get why when the argument about the quality and quantity of JRPgs on consoles, may simply don't understand it and bring up handhelds.

Amazingmrbrock2169d ago

Handhelds are consoles and the good captain made a very valid point. Handhelds are much bigger in japan than other consoles are and japan has always been more inclined to develop for themselves and port success' over after we beg them to.

TopDudeMan2171d ago

I think number 9 is the main reason.

What happened to turn-based battles? They've all but gone. I like a bit of action in some of my RPGs, but not all of them. Final Fantasy in particular have changed their formula way too much to the point where the games don't even resemble what the genre used to represent.

Why can't we have random battles again? Have the little fade-out and music change and into the screen with the ATB gauges and the "attack, magic, special, item" menus. And the ability to level up our characters the way we used to.

It's not my tastes that are changing. I could go back and play FF 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 and have a blast, so they've obviously done something to them to make me not like their more recent games.

Wintersun6162171d ago

Looking back at FF12 and FF13, it seems like SE somehow got an impression that people don't want turn based games where actions are selected manually from menus and look at the other characters just stand there while only one characters acts.

FF12 was the first in the series to have a battle system where multiple characters were doing something at the same time. The battles felt hectic at times and the presentation did feel somehow more modern than that of previous FF games. They did it right with FF12 though, because you still had control of everything. You could even play the game the traditional way, the gambits weren't forced at all. Also you had absolute control over how each of your characters would develop. I played the game several times with pre-planned teams and I had fun every time.

Then comes along FF13 and BAM, you're hit with a multitude of limitations. You can only truly tell one character what to do during battle and even that is no encouraged because you hardly have time to think what's going on and what will happen without pausing the game. All characters have pre-defined preferred roles, and you must follow them to make the most effective team. All this seems to be because SE thought that too much menus and characters standing around too long is old fashioned and they should move towards a more streamlined presentation of the battles. This was a bad move and something that nobody asked for.

This sort of development is what SE should move away from, take their balls out of their purse, stop taking inspiration from western games and make FF a true turn based JRPG again. We don't care if only one character moves at a time, we want to have control, not watch from the side.

TopDudeMan2171d ago

12 was a good game, but I think the poor story detracted a little from it.

Capt-FuzzyPants2171d ago

You want more turn based games but at the same time you also want more real time action games. So what your really saying is just make more JRPGs with a lot of variety.

Ranma12171d ago

Point 10,9,6,5 can be itnerepted as saying MORE JRPG's of different variety please, but i explained what kind.

Hentai based JRPG's also wouldn't hurt, people who like that would be hooked on JRPG's if they made a game like that

And regarding point "Just 1 epic JRPG to get people into genre", i dont think an FF7 remake or FF vs 13 will do that, because those games made by Square Enix, they may look nice, but they always always have poor stories

Capt-FuzzyPants2171d ago

FF7's story was pretty good. It was at the very least better than most of these WRPGs stories. And I think at is very good on paper even if they didn't execute it very well. FF usually has stories loosely based on problems going on in the world. The writers are very intelligent and use symbolism very well. When FF7 came out there was a lot of talk about natural resources. Mako can be compared to oil. And Barrets organization in the beginning are like the protesters while Shinra is an oil company. FF13 is kind of like the situation in the middle east with the terrorists. It was sai dthat the higher being would come back and save the world again when things got bad enough. Some extremists go around trying to make things as bad as possible to bring the rapture or Jesus or somebody to save us. That's kind of what Barthendelus was trying to do. He wanted to crash Cocoon into Pulse and kill a ton of people to try to bring back the creator or try to get into the other realm where Etro was. On paper the stories have literary value and sometimes they don't execute the stories well enough or they don't make the meaning clear enough. I think those stories are better than Uncharted or Mass Effect and definitely Skyrim.

Godmars2902171d ago

There's been no significant change or advancement in story presentation, mature themes, or character development since the change over from the SNES to the PS1. And where things coasted and fell into a rut with the PS2, they've largely gone backwards while also ignoring/forgetting aspects like towns and turn based combat in favor of resource heavy graphics.

While FF7 got points for looks, it was the overall influence and death of a central/main character that's made it so memorable. As many will point out, other party members died in other games before then, even Square titles, but those were only ever events within the game. Aeris' became pivotal to the main plot. Then there's the theological and psychological things Xenogears tried to do. The first Wild Arms integrating mini-games into the game world, as well as giving rival NPCs real active roles.

@Captain Tuttle:
My point is that you may as well be complaining how there are more JRPGs on the PS3 than the 360 at this point. Saying that checkers is as complex as chess.

Though the PSP and 3DS are on par with the PS2, current handhelds vs current consoles are apples and oranges.

Captain Tuttle2171d ago

That's not true though, resources are finite and obviously JRPG developers have chosen to spend their resources on handheld games, not console ones.

And I'm not complaining, I couldn't care less about JRPG's although I do find them an interesting topic of discussion vis a vis the gaming industry. It's a good blog starting from a valid question.

Godmars2902169d ago

And you're not comprehending the point that some basic play mechanics on handhelds aren't even being attempted on HD consoles. That for all of the graphic upgrades the PS3 and 360 offer, the PSP and 3DS often do games better. Especially JRPGs.

As for you Tuttle, since you could not care less about JRPGs, it just means that you don't understand the problem. HD consoles created a resource drain which not didn't allow development in the genre, it plus the relative stagnation period of the PS2 retarded JRPGs.

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