Twenty years ago, console RPGs were a burgeoning genre with maybe two or three releases a year. Fans eagerly scooped up whatever was localized even if it was Tecmo’s Secret of the Stars. RPGs exploded thanks to a huge marketing campaign for Final Fantasy VII and now RPG-like mechanics appear in every game, even sports titles. And we’re not talking about Hit the Ice.
Now, the RPG genre has fractionated into Western RPGs and Japanese RPGs. Since The Last Story breaks the traditional JRPG mold with a bold, perhaps Western inspired, combat system, I was curious what the developers think will spark more interest into JRPGs.
"Many people can understand the importance of narrative, but I think it’s a shame when games depend too much on cut scenes and pre-rendered movies, creating detachment from the gameplay," Takuya Matsumoto, development lead at Marvelous AQL, answered. "The genre is role-playing-game, but it becomes nothing more than watching a movie. I want to incorporate spectacular JRPG-style characters and story around the axis of a narrative that is directly connected to gameplay, like the kind displayed in recent western games."
The 32-bit era of RPGs has a critical path of grinding from one movie to the next, but exemplary games in the genre tended to have sidequests or diversions to let players move "off rails" so to speak. When players got a chance to explore the world it was kind of like they were in the shoes of the lead character. What do you think can expand the JRPG genre and can you think of any recent JRPGs that have a narrative connected to gameplay? And with spectacular characters too? (I suppose the last part is subjective!)