Tuesday, 15 June 2010

J's Chimes: The Downfall Of RPGs?

With the latest installment of the Final Fantasy Series hitting into an all time low price of just 500 yen = SGD$7.60 in Japan now, there are talks about whether the genre of RPGs will continue to sustain with its stagnant works and stuffs to awe and attract fans. RPG or Role Playing Games are commonly seen as games that have long storyline and battle modes in which players would need to choose between turns and act as directed. Such has been rather similar in almost all of the RPGs that we've seen today, in future or the past which people would grew tired of because it takes really a long number of hours to complete it.

With the popularity of first person shooter and action and adventure games on the rise, such games are often a more viable option for serious gamers like me and you because the action is continuous and fun instead of leveling up in RPGs. Plus,with the rise of MMO games, more gamers are lured towards such real time games to play with the vast network of other players together... However, it is still surprising to me that Final Fantasy 13 is still selling at the normal price of $70 and above in Singapore. Indeed there are still fans of Final Fantasy around because of its seemingly beautiful graphics and style the game has to offer. Perhaps time could tell whether Square Enix or other RPG companies could come out with something unique to attract people back to this genre of games once again...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The downfall of RPGs has nothing to do with the FPS or MMO genres. Comparing FPS's to RPGs is like saying people won't watch Casa Blanca because they'd rather watch Monday Night Football. Both my require a game system and play on the television, but they are completely different. FPS's are seen as more for the competitive player whereas RPGs are for those that prefer story and drama. And I know many many people who love to play both as someone who likes their competitive play isn't necessarily NoT going to like good story-telling and character development. No, the downfall of RPGs has nothing to do with any other genre.

The downfall comes from within. For years, have been neglecting rpgs of the very aspects that made them worth playing. The Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Cronocross, and Persona all had excellent plots, clearly defined themes, decent pacing, and likeable, believeable, relatable characters. In the early years, serieses like these were treasured for those qualities. Later years have seen the production of rpgs with poorly written plots, annoying and unrelatable characters, no theme, boring gameplay, and bad pacing that only serves to drag an already mediocre or boring game longer. Unlike early years where adults could even play and enjoy a game's story, recent games have been very obviously geared toward less mature audiences that for the most part are more concerned with competitive gameplay rather than good characters and story. With this marketing to a niche of early teenage gamers that are already torn between competitve and story-based games and the issolation of more matured audiences, it's no wonder the rpg genre as a whole is failing.

Games like Mass Effect have been doing successfully due to appealing more towards mature audiences while still attracting younger ones as well. But many companies still keep producing RPGs that simply do not respect their audiences or appeal to a wide group. Play and compare if you will the classics like Final Fantasy IV or VI, Suikoden II, or Cronocross with their more modern counterparts such as anything Final Fantasy VIII onward, or Enchanted Arms, or Tales of Vesperia, or Suikoden IV or V, or Star Ocean IV, or such. There's a noticeable breakdown in quality of characters and plot. And even the best ones we have in recent years are only 'passable' to be honest. The characters are often boring, unlikeable, immatyre, and two dimensional. The antagonists are often stupid with overly simple or no motivation for their actions. The developers are often more concerned with forcing their characters to fit specific, predictable, and overly used architypes. The plots rarely make sense or seem to support a central idea. Settings are often dull, unexplorable, overly linear, technologically wildly anachronistic and/or strangely underpopulated. The gameplay is often repetitve, unchallenging, drawn out, needlessly complicated, and metaphysical. And the overall stories are often unimaginative and trend-based. It's no wonder people look at RPGs and roll their eyes.

How does a company fix this? In short, by making an RPG that DOESN'T SUCK. Stop following these ridiculous anime trends (no I'm not bashing ALL anime), stop giving us overly simplistic and stereotypical plots that serve only to insult our intellgience, stop giving us characters that are annoying, unredeemable, and that make us want to blow our brains out or repeatably knuckle ourselves in the face, TEACH or express a god damn viewpoint through the plot rather than giving us something unmeaningful with no theme-- basically, GIVE US A FRIGGIN STORY. Only then will the days of RPGs make a comeback.