What Has Happened To JRPGs?

From eGamer:"You know I remember during the PS2 and PS1 eras how popular JRPGs were. There is a host of brilliant JRPGs notably from Squaresoft, Enix, Sega, tri-Ace, Capcom, Nacmo and the likes of Game Arts. Games from the Grandia series, Tales series, Final Fantasy series and Breath of Fire series all furthered my experiences of the genre growing up and into my high school years. I feel that the phase we are now in with JRPGs is turning away from what is perceived as the ‘roots’ of JRPGs where turn based combat and excessively complicated story arcs were common place. With a change now to a much stronger focus on difficult, gameplay mechanics and to a greater extent a lessening on the focus of character development that characterised the initial popularity of console JRPGs. The types of JRPGs that were prevalent on the N64, PS1, PS2 and Gamecube are less pronounced within the genre. These were prime platforms for console RPGs when I was first introduced to them, and I mostly had my addiction to JRPGs satisfied on both the PS1 and PS2".

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bicfitness2833d ago (Edited 2833d ago )

Western media slammed them for the duration of this generation until they realized what their vitriol had done. Now we see a lot of wistful stories, not unlike this one, wondering whatever happened to JRPGs while journalists completely abdicate themselves of their own responsibility in the smear campaign to eliminate the genre. While this was going on, Japanese developers scrambled in an attempt to fix what WASN'T broken and tried to cater their games to the West, instead of just refining what they had (notable series like Tales aside, who stuck to their principles).

Next gen, expect a slow resurgence, not dominance, but a solid market presence as the West remembers why they like JRPGs and the East gets back to making them like they should be made.

Think that about sums it up.

mandf2833d ago

NAILED IT Spot on bubbles for a 100% accurate of what happened.

Megaton2833d ago

You're playing "chicken or the egg". What came first, the decline of the JRPG or gaming media pointing it out?

As an avid JRPG fan of generations past, I'll be the first to say it completely fell off as a genre this generation. SquareEnix has become all but irrelevant as Final Fantasy took its nose dive, while lesser-known developers like Atlus tried to pick up the pieces. It's not as dead as survival horror, but the JRPG definitely isn't anywhere as strong as it used to be.

mandf2833d ago

They declined cause they cared more about profits, sales, and appeasing people who don't play jrpgs. They decided accesiblity was more important than creative vision.

bicfitness2833d ago (Edited 2833d ago )

I disagree, Megaton. The decline occurred because Western outlets were bemoaning the lack of innovation and trite nature of JPRGs while simultaneously, paradoxically, embracing the FPS only because it was new on their platform - console (yet stale to anyone who had owned a PC in the last decade and a half).

The escalating cost of jumping into HD certainly didn't help either. It made JRPG makers less risk averse. So they couldn't just make games anymore, they had to make "hits", and what a "hit" was became a bit of a moving target for them. That said, development costs and tools are pretty established now, and all of the next-gen consoles seem to be using off the shelf components, so we can expect to see more entries into the genre. Not to mention the Western media have eased up on their JRPG witch hunt.

TongkatAli2833d ago

If you don't get a bubble this site BS.

Sexius Maximus2833d ago

I thought the genre was fine this gen, not strong, but fine. Each system had some fantastic exclusives. Lost Odyssey for 360 (my personal fav JRPG this gen) Xenoblade for Wii, Ni no Kuni & Valkyria Chronicles for PS3. There is more to list on all systems too.
For an old gamer like me, it'll be tough to beat the glory days of the 8 & 16 bit era.

I'd argue that it is a surge in awesome WRPG's which has taken focus away from the JRPG's. WRPG's have gotten better, and JRPG's, though great fun, have stagnated.

3-4-52833d ago

spot on bic.

Western Media ignorantly complains about everything and we never hold them accountable for it.

TM3332833d ago

Seriously, you said it! Another possible factor I sometimes wonder about is the big earthquake that devistated Japan a few years back. I know that things were shaky even before that, but I'm sure that tragic event didn't help. Those companies were probably having to really focus on staying in business and were probably not wanting to take risks, and in turn we saw more copying of western game companies' success.

Tapewurm2833d ago (Edited 2833d ago )

Ni No Kuni is a step in the right direction...I am loving that title....the only other that I feel had a true JRPG feel to it was Star Ocean The Last Hope- International this gen...And,even though it was a drastic departure from the original series and JRPG feel, I actually enjoyed FFXIII and FFXIII2. (no booing please!) I am actually Enjoying Ragnarok Odyssey on the Vita too. I need to try White Knight Chronicles as well...that one has just slipped by me, but if Ni No Kuni's quality is a measure of what Level 5 can do then I think I will probably like it as well.

Tapewurm2833d ago

Ahhh, I forgot to mention Valkyria Chronicles and Valkyria Chonicles 2...both excellent games...was so happy to find out that I could download Valkyria Chronicles 2 on my PS3 and port it over to my Vita and still play it. Just wish they would do that with Phantasy Star Portable and Phantasy Star Portable 2 :(

360ICE2833d ago (Edited 2833d ago )

Fixing what isn't broken =/= changing something every now and then.

I think western RPGs have been far more innovative this generation, and worked hard to expand the genre. They've taken a much more serious look at open world games, as well as real time battle systems and mixing roleplaying games with other genres.

Games like Demon's Souls would be examples of games that have innovated and brought new stuff to the table, and they've rightfully gotten a fair share of attention, together with all the major JRPG franchises. You're not given attention in this world, you grab it.

A huge bboom in independent western studios would be another reason to the proliferation of western RPGs.

TheDivine2833d ago

Amen brother. Look at Lost Odyssey, one of the best traditional jrpgs ever made. It got bashed for being too traditional and old school. Reviewers expected FF to reinvent the jrpg which didn't happen. Same with Blue Dragon which was an amazing DQ type game. It didn't help that mediocre titles like Last Remnant and WKC dropped early on but reviewers seemed to expect something new and were in love with wrpgs which were new to consoles at least being big and mainstream. Now after the hole from big jrpgs not being there people realized what they missed. Along came Xenoblade, TLS, and Ni No Kuni to show people why we fell in love with the genre.

Still for us fans of the genre we had amazing titles like Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Tales of Vesperia, Magna Carta 2, Xenoblade, TLS, Graces F, Nier, Fire Emblem, Resonace of Fate, Valkyria Chronicles, and now the amazing Ni No Kuni. That's not even counting the handheld titles like Radiant Historia, TWEWY, Devil Survivor, Stange Journey, Crisis Core, exc. it's mainly that Square didn't have many good games which is who really sets the standard at least until this gen. Couple that with lack of console SMT/Persona titles and there was a void. It's looking up now though and I did enjoy FF13 myself. There was a distinct lack of AAA big budget FF like games. The only one this gen was Lost Odyssey. I miss the long epic sagas with turn based and the huge world with hidden towns, bosses to find, and top of the line graphics with 20 hours of prerendered cutscenes. Those are what is lacking IMO.

Can't wait for Fire Emblem and SMT4 on 3ds. Bright days ahead!

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Seraphemz2833d ago

Hopefully Ni no kuni shows others how to do it..

ApolloTheBoss2833d ago (Edited 2833d ago )

And what a way to end the generation with an epic game like that. ^_^

kma2k2833d ago

People got tired of level grinding!

joab7772833d ago

Really? No, they just moved to mmo's. Thats where many jrpg fans went. And creators felt the need to evolve a genre so it could be more popular. I cant fault capcom and square enix for attempting to change the genre and try to continue to be at the forefront. I actually think dragons dogma was a better western rpg than most western rpgs.

On the contrary, there is still a need for traditional jrpgs. I love ni no kuni and i hope it sells well and gives publishers the confidence to use better tech to emphasize the strengths instead of altering them. Maybe square enix can release final fantasy titles that are both traditional and evolving. Make FF15 a traditional rpg that looks gorgeous etc, and then release other FF games like versus that try something new. Right now, its a mess for them.

But, if i were to b angry at companies for do anything different, they may never have made dragons dogma, which i loved. There must be a happy medium. But it all comes down to money so we have to support the games we love.

kma2k2833d ago

i dont mean all people. I was hardcore & i mean stupid hardcore JRPG fan when i was younger, now that im older i still game 2 to 3 hours every day but i just dont have the will to spend a night or two level grinding. In the past i would spend a day or two level grinding & not think twice of it, i just dont have the patience any more.

bicfitness2833d ago (Edited 2833d ago )

Dragon's Dogma was my kind of Elder Scrolls. I always liked the aforementioned series (ES), but the art direction (bleh) and meandering nature of the game never won me over. I've played every ES game, but never finished any of them, strange as that might sound. In comparison I adored how DD looked, sounded and played (a bit more guided, very slick combat for an open-world RPG). Can't wait for a sequel. I also completed it, twice.

I do sort of agree that MMORPGs, especially in the East, are taking a sizeable chunk of the RPG audience. Some of them are pretty spectacular too. Arch Age and Black Desert come to mind. Check out BD:

abzdine2833d ago

one thing comes to my mind: Ni No Kuni!

RogueStatus282833d ago

MonoSoft's new game will do the trick.

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