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Extra Credits: Season 4, Episode 5 - Western & Japanese RPGs (Part 3)

Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEENRegistered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
edited March 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Sounds like for diagnosing JRPG's problems they delved into past topics like graphics vs aesthetics and cutscenes. Definitely an interesting conclusion.

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    That was some pretty good insight, this episode. Also liked the message to Square. Mostly because I agree and have been saying that for some time. Minus the part about "WE NEED ANOTHER CHORNO GAME." Do we? I don't think so; I didn't like Chrono Cross. But whatever, maybe they'll decide to make something and it'll be great.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • jackaljackal Registered User regular
    I don't think we need another Chrono game either. When a story spans all of time where do you go for a sequel? A parallel univers.... that don't work so good.

  • agoajagoaj Hey You Pichu I don't like your girlfriendRegistered User regular
    Hasn't menu combat died down in JRPG's since FFXII?

    aqOYSK0.gif
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    agoaj wrote: »
    Hasn't menu combat died down in JRPG's since FFXII?

    I haven't played a Final Fantasy since part 10, but from what I understand part 12 had an auto-combat system you can setup. So technically yes?

    How did Final Fantasy 13 play out?

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X When you speak I hear muffinsRegistered User regular
    As I recall, FFXIII had a lot of dickin' around in menus, as the game forced party changes every hour or so through the story, and as each character plays a different main role, they can't cover your default pack of party lineups very effeciently.

    FFXIII-2 lets you stick with a 'main' pack, only really requiring customizing for specifically hard battles.

    rv0c1titu3ci.pngc0ppr8iiann6.png
  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    XIII and XIV both were menu combat through and through. I expect XIII-2 is the same.

    I dunno if I agree with the way they've defined JRPGs. I think it lay more with that word.. ablefation... or whatever. When I think of JRPGs I think of shameless, merciless grinding-based gameplay. Like Monster Hunter and PSU. If I were in any way partial to JRPGs, I think I'd be mildly offended by the way they characterized it.

  • Aspiring Emperor HopeAspiring Emperor Hope Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I'm sorry, but what?

    Since when has Western RPG's been in dominance? Last I checked, it was extremely rare for a WRPG to sell even close to the amount of the big JRPGs do. Final Fantasy XIII, none of the Mass Effect series haven't even broke half of what that sold. Dragon Age sold even worse, and throw in the more obscure stuff like Kingdoms of Amalur and whatever else is out there, it's not even really a contest. The only WRPG I know that is even notable in terms of sales is Skyrim (Oblivion had horrible sales, though), but if you're really going to tell me that game has a good combat and story narrative, well, I must disagree. Everything else in the video is just opinion. If people are voting with their wallets as the end of the video says, I think they're still favoring JRPGs as a whole. Or really, shooters like Call of Duty which have zero story and people only buy to play multiplayer and do stuff which is probably why Skyrim is so popular compared to story-driven WRPGs like Mass Effect. I don't think western gamers are into story as much as he suggests, they just go for the more 'do stuff' aspect, which Skyrim definitely has over JRPGs and other WRPGs. But I'm confident story isn't part of the equation.

    Aspiring Emperor Hope on
  • Shenl742Shenl742 Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    agoaj wrote: »
    Hasn't menu combat died down in JRPG's since FFXII?

    Menu based gameplay is still in Dragon Quest and the Megami Tensei games. Pretty much always has been except for a few oddities (Devil Summoner was more action based)

    Probably one of the major JRPGs without mainly menu based combat has been the Tales series and Star Ocean (both of which sprouted from the main creative team many years ago). Ys too I believe though I haven't really gotten into it. Odd that none of them got a mention...

    I think another consideration in how JRPGs have been dropping from the limelight in the west is presentation. As graphics improved, the inherant, well I guess will call it "Japan-ness" of JRPGs become much more apparent.

    At first to a lot of people this probably felt really new and interesting, but as time went on I bet it became a bit alienating, and a bit of a barrier to those who aren't already into that kind of stuff.

    Shenl742 on
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  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    This episode was completely off on pretty much everything. The conclusions drawn were all non-sequiturs.

    By what metric are WRPGs more successful than JRPGs, given that there are tons of JRPGs being published constantly while, at best, only a few WRPGs are published each year? By what metric are turn-based menufests lacking when compared to other combat systems?

    The one thing this series got right is roleplaying VS narrativism.
    In western RPGs you take on a role of a person other than yourself and act it out. The goal is immersion. The narrative is emergant.
    In japanese RPGs you guide your party in combat, but are otherwise a viewer. The narrative is pre-defined and as a result often has a much more cinematic quality.

    @Aspiring Emperor: I am not sure where you are coming from on the sale numbers. Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Oblivion all sold very well. Perhaps not as much as Generic FPS #351, but then Final Fantasy didn't sell nearly as much either. Perhaps it was not the case in your region, but it is globally.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    By what metric are WRPGs more successful than JRPGs, given that there are tons of JRPGs being published constantly while, at best, only a few WRPGs are published each year?

    Quantity does not equate to performance/success or quality.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    What does equates quality? What makes the western offerings superior, if the jRPG still thrives in the japanese market?
    To me, it seems pretty arbitrary to call one genre better when it just comes down to personal opinions. Oranges don't need to be more like apples if most people prefer apples to oranges. Let those who like apples eat apples and those who like oranges eat oranges. If you try to make the orange be more like an apple you are only losing out on diversity.

    Also, the forums are bugging out so hard for me lately. Half of my previous post was devoured. Hopefuly its fixed now.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    Well, we could look into metacritic scores (*shudder*) to figure out if western RPGs tend to be more critically acclaimed.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    The number of people who like something has no impact on that thing's quality. I think 'quality' is a very nebulous concept, since one man's trash is another's treasure. If you make some niche product that only 100 people like, but those 100 people think its really awesome and what they were waiting for all along, does this makes it bad? Not every game should try to appeal to as many people as possible. Otherwise every game would look alike.

    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Then it should be evident that this video was opinion driven then, an attempt to explain their perspective on why something is more popular and something else is declining in popularity.

    Henroid on
    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I thought that was the case myself, but (at least to me - tell me if I got them wrong here) they seem to have implied that jRPGs should do what wRPGs have done when it comes to gameplay - replace their combat system with a more active, actiony one. It goes beyond explaining the situation and into offering a solution, where it is only a solution in the sense that it will alienate the current fans of the genre while drawing in a wider audience.

    Mind, I am a WRPG man, but I know that back in the day when I still enjoyed jRPGs what drew me was the turn-based combat they condemn.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    What does equates quality? What makes the western offerings superior, if the jRPG still thrives in the japanese market?
    To me, it seems pretty arbitrary to call one genre better when it just comes down to personal opinions. Oranges don't need to be more like apples if most people prefer apples to oranges. Let those who like apples eat apples and those who like oranges eat oranges. If you try to make the orange be more like an apple you are only losing out on diversity.

    Also, the forums are bugging out so hard for me lately. Half of my previous post was devoured. Hopefuly its fixed now.
    I agree with you on the 'WRPG is doing better' thing, it was presented to me as a fact, but I can't seem to understand by what metric. Sure, Witcher 2, Mass Effect and Skyrim are my favourite games in a long time, and they got very high scores across the board, but I don't know how they compare against - say - a game like Nino Kuni which hasn't even been released outside of Asia and Pokemon, which fits the JRPG bill in a quite a few ways and I think that series has been doing pretty well over the past decade.

    I mean, I agree with them on an gut-feeling level and I have read some reviews of console-exclusives that made the games sound disappointing, but for the sake of the argument presented in this Extra Credits it would be better to define the metric.


    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • Aspiring Emperor HopeAspiring Emperor Hope Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    @Aspiring Emperor: I am not sure where you are coming from on the sale numbers. Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Oblivion all sold very well. Perhaps not as much as Generic FPS #351, but then Final Fantasy didn't sell nearly as much either. Perhaps it was not the case in your region, but it is globally.

    I was speaking globally, actually. Googling around it seems ME sold about 2.5 million while ME2 about 4 million as of late 2011.. Assuming the report is trustworthy, of course. ME3 has shipped under 2 million so far.

    And yes, it probably says a lot when generic FPSs outsell them all as well. But I would say you have to look at demographics at that point. People who play CoD and BF don't necessarily have to be gamers, just maybe people who pick the up to play with friends and frag some people for fun. Similar to how "Just Dance" selling over 10 million probably isn't representative of gamers as a whole and attracts the non-gaming parents/grand parents and similar casual Wii games. RPG fans tend to be more niche in both categories of WRPG and JRPG.

    As for the combat, it's up to preference I think. I think a good turn based combat system is more challenge than a game like Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls. ME was stupidly easy since all you had to do was hold down the trigger and pop Immunity and nothing could kill you; and personally I hate shooters so all the WRPG with shooter-type gameplay doesn't appeal to me. Skyrim's combat was boring as well. If I can just stand there tapping the attack button on a dragon and pausing the game and drinking one of my 2000 health potions so I never die, it's not very engrossing or enjoyable to me. Plus I think when you have as much 'variety' as you do in Skyrim, the combat suffers.. magic is horribly useless compared to weapons since it doesn't scale, and any stealth archer can kill mobs in a few hits. Once I focused on archery and stealth I was untouchable. But that's just my opinion, I'm sure someone will say they hate 'taking turns' and like to attack in real time.
    Henroid wrote: »
    Well, we could look into metacritic scores (*shudder*) to figure out if western RPGs tend to be more critically acclaimed.

    We could, but we won't. Even if we ignore metacritic and reviewers in general being bought out by publishers and therefore their opinion is untrustworthy, or review embargos and how they weigh and favor some reviews more than others, you have to factor in bias. Those reviewers are all Westerners, which will more often than not prefer Western sensibilities, given all those reviews which bash Japanese games for having Japanese culture in them (I can think of a few noteworthy examples). Sort of like how WRPGs sell like garbage in Japan, and since they don't like WRPGs very much, to the point they maybe sell 20,000 if they're lucky, you might as well say WRPGs are all garbage which would have just as much merit as the opposite. That's one of the biggest hurdle, culture difference.

    Aspiring Emperor Hope on
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    Those reviewers are all Westerners, which will more often than not prefer Western sensibilities, given all those reviews which bash Japanese games for having Japanese culture in them (I can think of a few noteworthy examples).

    Hey, just because that fucker at GDC said "JAPANESE GAMES ARE SHIT" doesn't mean we all think like him!

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    What weirds me out is that all of the greatest RPGs in the western canon (with the exception of Deus Ex) are turn-based. It is only recently that wRPGs have become so action-focused. Infinity Engine games such as Baldur's Gate are turn-based games disguised as real-time games.
    EDIT:
    @Emperor Hope: Sorry if I was unclear. I meant that the companies that made the games consider them to be huge successes, even though they did not sell as well as certain other games, or sell well worldwide.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    Obviously, like everything in Extra Credits is opinion. But they aren't just random opinions of some-guys, they're literally experts who make their living by knowing about vidya games. I'm not saying that makes their opinions more valuable (well, I would like to avoid saying that), but just saying they're opinions isn't a very effective criticism. I think a lot of people would agree that like anything is more fun than navigating menus to fight.

    Also, and this is my unsupported opinion, but the idea that metacritic is unreliable because its aggregates have been bought out is ridiculous. Whatever you think of their judgement in a general sense, they're all still journalists.

  • Aspiring Emperor HopeAspiring Emperor Hope Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    As shocking at this may sound, journalists and 'professionals' can be wrong, you know. Remember when Roger Ebert said video games will never be art?

    Just because it's their job to talk about video games, doesn't make critics and journalists opinions any more informed or valid. Seen far too many either be ignorant about a feature in a game. You'd think after the Kane and Lynch 2 fiasco with Gamespot people would realize reviews and meta scores are completely bogus and it's just numbers at the end of the day. Especially arbitrary numbers like what makes a 87 different from an 86? Can you actually explain?

    The best reviews I find are ones that don't offer a numerical or letter score, the ones that make you critically think rather than just look at a number. Sadly, fanboys and publishers need those numbers to validate themselves.

    Aspiring Emperor Hope on
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I am not sure I understand you. If their opinions are not more valuable, then what does being an expert constitutes?

    I am not sure one can have an expert opinion when it comes to a field that is based around something that results in differing subjective experiences (like art or music). Opinions are not factual by their very nature. Trying to present them as such is what I view as problematic.

    Reviewers serve a valuable function, but ultimately their role is 'Hey, if you share the same set of tastes as I do, I think you might like/dislike this game I played'. Nothing makes their thoughts more worthwhile than those of, say, your friend.

    Ultimately, just like with any other artform, I think we need to accept that you can't easily judge how 'good' a game is. Only whether we and people who share our likes and dislikes enjoy it. Analyzing this is what I feel Extra Credits has done best. I'd hate it to drop the clinical approach to the game industry and instead support its own One True Way.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    For one thing, being an expert means their concern is wider than their own personal perspective. You can say that you personally find JRPGs more fun than WRPGs, but you are measurably less qualified to say which is more successful beyond that. Certainly, as a third party, I am much more inclined to trust the folks at Extra Credits than [random forum person]. I don't doubt for a second that either of you enjoy playing JRPGs more, but that information isn't really useful to anyone besides you.

  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Again, based on what? What sells more? because then I can look up the numbers and hey I'm suddenly an expert too. What do you measure success with?

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    You don't have any degrees in game development, you don't have any insight into the development of the games in question, you don't follow the sales figures or review scores of the industry on a professional level, and your opinions on the matter have never been affirmed by anyone except maybe your friends. I assume. I don't really know what the talking guy does, but EC's James is a professional consultant. Companies pay him a lot of money for his opinions on game design. Schools pay him a lot of money to share his opinions with their students. His opinion has measurable financial value (and a tidy one at that).

    I don't think you really need this explained to you. You know you are not an expert.

  • AvrahamAvraham white men holding kittens dot tumblr dot comRegistered User regular
    Art is subjective but that doesn't mean analysis and criticism are futile. Opinions are subjective but not all opinions are created equal. Reviews are usually different from criticism. Like, "if you share my personal tastes, this will entertain you" versus "this fails because it breaks the basic rules of storytelling blah blah blah"

    tumblr_mw0i6gT4l61qgwizbo1_250.png :bzz: :bzz: :bzz:
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    All value we, humanity, attribute to art is based on the personal feelings art invokes in us. A piece of art invokes different responses in different people. The responses are subjective, and the experience unique to each person.

    The quality of an art piece is not something inherent to the universe, but arbitrary meaning invested in it by a human. Were there no humans, notions such as these would be undefined.

    You can say that a game sold well, or that it appeals to a certain set of aesthetics that is common to certain groups, but you cannot objectively state that a game is 'good' or 'bad'. How many people believe something or who believes something has no impact on the weight of the idea if it is not backed by empirical evidence.

    If Extra Credits said that WRPGs sell better and if JRPGs wish to sell better they need to do this and that, then there is some sort of an objective metric to what they mean by 'successful'. I do not get the feeling that was their intention, however.

    EDIT: You posted while I was typing, Avraham. I'll append a response shortly.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    EDIT2: Criticism is not futile, as long as it is not presented as being factual. Analysis is what I think Extra Credits does best, and I'd like them to stick to an impartial tone that picks things apart to see how do they work and what sort of an appeal they hold. Their comment about eliminating turn-based combat was not just opiniated by also baseless unless they were talking economics.

    When it comes to art, I firmly believe all opinions are born equal. As art is a purely human phenomena that does not exists independntly from us we cannot provide external evidence. There is no well-defined goal-post for what makes something objectively 'good', simply because whatever definition we will give shall be arbitrary as well. Your opinion cannot be tested, unlike, say, having an opinion on which horse is going to win the race or what material you should build that bridge from. One can only argue objectively if they can base their words on objective measurements (such as, say, sales. But I am sure many will disagree with this being the proper definition).

    EDIT: Ack. Sorry about the double post.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    This episode, and the ones previous, seem very well thought out and well articulated. The problems with JRPGs as a genre are evident, and I think folks like Grey Paladin are still caught up on the genre problem rather than the actual core problem of engagement. Lets look at Squaresoft: I don't think anyone can argue in their favor that they are going strong. Other mainstays like Suikoden and Tales are also on the decline. Why is this? I'm not sure why there is so much contention here. It's pretty cut and dry and "success" can be viewed as money. Look at the sales numbers (Wikipedia has them for many of the popular games) and be astounded at both the home and international sales numbers and the substantial difference in profits from what is considered "WRPGS" and JRPGs.

    I also think it's dumb to think there are very few "WRPGS" released as previously said. Open steam and you will find hundreds in RPG, Action, and Adventure (and also under Indy and Casual) that fit into the core engagement desires. There is more to the genre than Fable and Dragon Age, thinking otherwise is rather odd.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
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  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Enc wrote: »
    ...and I think folks like Grey Paladin are still caught up on the genre problem rather than the actual core problem of engagement.
    The reasons they cited for playing the genres are just common, not universal; There are a lot of sub-genres within both types of RPGs in which the primary attractions often shift. For example, I think no one will argue that Demon's Soul doesn't offers abnegation, yet it is recognized as an RPG. Likewise, I think that part of the draw for jRPGs might be the strategic battle system, which satisfies different desires than having a shooter or a match of pong serve as your conflict resolution.
    Lets look at Squaresoft: I don't think anyone can argue in their favor that they are going strong. Other mainstays like Suikoden and Tales are also on the decline. Why is this? I'm not sure why there is so much contention here. It's pretty cut and dry and "success" can be viewed as money. Look at the sales numbers (Wikipedia has them for many of the popular games) and be astounded at both the home and international sales numbers and the substantial difference in profits from what is considered "WRPGS" and JRPGs.
    I don't think every piece of art should try to make as much money as possible. Nothing stifles creativity as financial pressure.
    If you accept this definition, however, then their advise is perfectly valid, if a bit heartless. A bit in the spirit of remaking X-COM as an FPS.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • likalarukulikalaruku Registered User regular
    I highly recommend the Western oldschool 2D JRPG franchise "Aveyond." It just gets better & better, especially if you compare Aveyond 0 (Ahriman's Prophecy, which really needs to be remade), with Aveyon 3 (an RPGMaker Episodic series). AP has a really shitty interface & very dated version of RPGMaker that I'm glad Amaranth Games moved away from. All I can say is that if there were book versions of these games, I would read them...Especially Aveyond 3.

    I also really enjoyed this other 2D western JRPG called "3 Stars of Destiny" by Aldorlea Falls. & RosePortal's "Whisper of a Rose," though it's badly in need of a bugfix.

  • Aspiring Emperor HopeAspiring Emperor Hope Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Enc wrote: »
    The problems with JRPGs as a genre are evident,

    Which is what? All I heard were opinions in the video.

    "Menu-combat" is not a numeric value that can be used to measure quality any more than "cover based shooting" does.

    He should first cite tangible facts like sales and then make an educated opinion guess on why those facts are as they are, but as it stands, he made a sweepling generalizaton on how WRPGs are dominate, with no actual statistics or figures to back it up. It doesn't matter if his opinion is "more valuable because he's a journalist" he is still held to the same standard as anyone else in a debate; that is, to not make logical fallacies or baseless claims. Otherwise, lawyers would not need to present facts in a court hearing because "he's a lawyer, clearly his opinion means more and he doesn't need any factual evidence to back up his statement"

    Aspiring Emperor Hope on
    gldfinch
  • EVOLEVOL Registered User regular
    Can't say I agree with this episode. It's kind of strange to write off an entire system which is actually quite diverse. Writing off all turn-based combat as 'just navigating menus' is pretty much applicable on pretty much every combat system out there. Take FPSs for an example. Half-Life and CoD both use the same camera and involve shooting, but you'd be crazy to suggest that they're the same.

    The part about the over reliance on graphics is kind of a strange thing to say too. How does that apply to any prominent JRPG dev out there excluding Square? I don't recall Atlus, Level-5, Nippon-Ichi, Monolithsoft ect. putting attention to graphics to a fault. And what about the countless great JRPGs on handhelds, which put emphasis on gameplay mechanics, experimenting and narrative to counter the reduced graphic fidelity? Does being on a handheld somehow invalidate it's existence? Honestly, the criticism here seems to be more focused on Square-Einx, not the JRPG genre as a whole.

    And do you want modern Square making a new Chrono game? Cause I sure as hell don't.

  • Aspiring Emperor HopeAspiring Emperor Hope Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    There's only been 1 Chrono Game.

    Cross was a disappointment since it was tangibly related at best to the first game. It didn't even involve time travel for Pete's sake, you only had the 'real world' and 'alternate world'. Remove a few name drops of Lucca and Schala and it could be it's own standalone game, which I wouldn't be surprised if it originally was meant to be it's own thing.

    Final Fantasy XIII-2 is probably the best choice you have for a new time traveling adventure RPG. I really enjoyed it and it was very fun, going to all the different time eras and trying to find a way to save humanity and changing their fate by altering and discovering the past. Really great.

    Aspiring Emperor Hope on
  • kawaiiamethistkawaiiamethist Registered User new member
    Lost Odyssey was thrown up there as an example of a JRPG that's more about aestetics, which is so far from reality. I'm a great fan of the game and the cutscenes are very subpar. LO is actually an example of an extremely engaging narrative; though in this case, not through the actual story (bad guy wants to take over world, he must be defeated), but the characters we follow.

    JRPGs have been very innovative this gen, they're just not talked about often because it's popular to rag on the genre. Some simple (non Final Fantasy) examples: 'Eternal Sonata' has the light/shade battle system, 'Enchanted Arms' has strategic map placing, White Knight Chronicles is real time, Magna Carta II is real time with a cool down system that encourages you to switch teammates to chain, 'Last Remnant' is turn based however you're controlling squads, 'Infinite Undiscovery' is real time with a huge roster, and 'Blue Dragon' mixes up the classic turn based system multi-class management.

    As for Final Fantasy, each game since VII has been incredibly experimental, none of them play the same, even though they're mostly turn based.

    I agree that FFXIII-2 is a fanastic game, which surprised me, given I didn't enjoy XIII. The classic image of the crazy haired youngster with a big sword and too many buckles is always a callback to Final Fantasy VII. The image doesn't represent modern JRPGs (except, yes, they are usually under 21, which shouldn't surprise anyone, given the gamer demographic in Japan), and I so wish gamers would give them a chance to prove how versatile the genre is.

  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    Dear Squaresoft,

    Make a new Bushido Blade.

    Sincerely,
    The Internet

    ixmnITY.png
  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    ...and I think folks like Grey Paladin are still caught up on the genre problem rather than the actual core problem of engagement.
    The reasons they cited for playing the genres are just common, not universal; There are a lot of sub-genres within both types of RPGs in which the primary attractions often shift. For example, I think no one will argue that Demon's Soul doesn't offers abnegation, yet it is recognized as an RPG. Likewise, I think that part of the draw for jRPGs might be the strategic battle system, which satisfies different desires than having a shooter or a match of pong serve as your conflict resolution.
    Lets look at Squaresoft: I don't think anyone can argue in their favor that they are going strong. Other mainstays like Suikoden and Tales are also on the decline. Why is this? I'm not sure why there is so much contention here. It's pretty cut and dry and "success" can be viewed as money. Look at the sales numbers (Wikipedia has them for many of the popular games) and be astounded at both the home and international sales numbers and the substantial difference in profits from what is considered "WRPGS" and JRPGs.
    I don't think every piece of art should try to make as much money as possible. Nothing stifles creativity as financial pressure.
    If you accept this definition, however, then their advise is perfectly valid, if a bit heartless. A bit in the spirit of remaking X-COM as an FPS.

    Video games are, first and foremost, a money making venture. The companies that produce them are trying to make money, and the studios, even the best and most artistic ones, are trying to support their artists. You can wish this wasn't true, and wish Video Games worked like other art mediums, but the fact is they don't. It's ultimately about selling a product. I would argue that is part of Squarsoft's problem, too much focus upon the visual elements and artistic detail and not enough on engaging the player or presenting a coherent narrative (especially compared to their earlier titles which balanced these two areas substantially better.

    Money is audience and vice versa. Your post implies this is bad somehow, why? Each person buying the product is seeing the product of the artist's work. You can make money with a brilliant concept, cheap cost, and a small niche market (like Minecraft or Bastion), or money with something watered down, expensive, and huge (like most current FPS titles), but both are ultimately successful by how many people they can touch with their message via how many people purchase the ability to play the game.

    Artists with not a lot of capital can still make money and be successful, even without sacrificing their artistic capabilities, even the JRPG. Ico, for example, I would argue fits more in the line of a JRPG as it's core engagement of telling a narrative, and did so in an interesting and fantastic way. Menu based games JRPGs can do so easily also, look at Valkyeria Chronicles or even casual titles like Puzzle Quest. However the mainstays of the genre have not been successful monetarily and are no longer as safe of an investment for their companies as they once were, and I think Extra Credits covered why pretty well.
    Enc wrote: »
    The problems with JRPGs as a genre are evident,
    Which is what? All I heard were opinions in the video.

    "Menu-combat" is not a numeric value that can be used to measure quality any more than "cover based shooting" does.

    He should first cite tangible facts like sales and then make an educated opinion guess on why those facts are as they are, but as it stands, he made a sweepling generalizaton on how WRPGs are dominate, with no actual statistics or figures to back it up. It doesn't matter if his opinion is "more valuable because he's a journalist" he is still held to the same standard as anyone else in a debate; that is, to not make logical fallacies or baseless claims. Otherwise, lawyers would not need to present facts in a court hearing because "he's a lawyer, clearly his opinion means more and he doesn't need any factual evidence to back up his statement"

    First off, this is their soapbox you are watching. People sent them a question, and they answered why from their perspective as game developers. If you disagree with their opinion, or mine, that's fine. Don't watch the videos if they make you this upset?

    Second, the problem with JRPGS right as a whole (though, again, not individually) is that the majority are not making the money they historically did. Menu systems and such are not necessarily the problem, they say as such in the video, but the lack of focus on the core engagement of the game in favor of things that just don't sell as well. I think the guy who brought up Pokemon in this thread hit the nail on the head that menu-systems can still be fantastically profitable if the core engagement is there. That's the purpose of Pokemon, the menu based combat and the collecting and playing with the stats of the various critters. The core engagement is tied to the menu system, so even when they do an overhaul of the secondary things (visuals, narratives, etc) it ultimately still leaves the player with the purpose they are playing the game for: fighting and collecting pokemon.

    Whereas the latest FF titles have been more about flash and spectacle than telling a meaningful or coherent story, at least in comparison to their previous titles. Are the games still interesting and did I buy them anyway? Sure. But did they make the money for the studio in relation to their operational costs like FFX and previous did? Certainly not.

    I'm a huge fan of JRPGs in many of their forms. The trend to shift to mobile gaming as the primary platform recently and the summary retirement of many flagship series (for example, Sukidoen and Tales) as being exported to an international market greatly saddens me, but I'm honestly not surprised. There is probably a lot more to it than this episode, and the previous three, could cover but I think for having the short windows of these episodes they pretty much hit the topic head on.

    Just remember, it's not a personal attack on you the JRPG enthusiast. It's a diagnosis of a common problem that is slowly causing the games we love to be shgelved for more popular genres like dance/family games and FPS titles.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
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  • Zachary AmaranthZachary Amaranth Registered User regular
    So...What did we learn today?

    Turn Based Combat is bad.

    If you want to get good RPGs, you should vote with your wallet. Thankfully, voting with your wallet has led to the current scenario of "Final Fantasy outsells pretty much everything else day one." So we should totally keep doing what we've been doing and maybe things will turn out differently. What's another word for trying the same thing over and over and expecting the same results?

    Insanity.

    Yeah, let me go sound the "everything's fine" alarm.

  • Aspiring Emperor HopeAspiring Emperor Hope Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Enc wrote: »
    First off, this is their soapbox you are watching. People sent them a question, and they answered why from their perspective as game developers. If you disagree with their opinion, or mine, that's fine. Don't watch the videos if they make you this upset?

    I'm not upset, I'm merely correcting people and pointing out all the fallacies and misinformation on the subject.
    Whereas the latest FF titles have been more about flash and spectacle than telling a meaningful or coherent story

    Funny, I thought FFXIII had too much story from what haters said. Not enough freedom, too much story and narrative.
    Just remember, it's not a personal attack on you the JRPG enthusiast. It's a diagnosis of a common problem that is slowly causing the games we love to be shgelved for more popular genres like dance/family games and FPS titles.

    That might have more validity if the comparison actually was to FPS and Dance games, and not WRPGs which suffer from the said problem even more than JRPGs do. If it really is about 'narrative' and 'coherent story' then the fact you have no main character in a game like Fallout and can miss tons of stuff should be even worse than 'pretty graphics'. In Fallout 3 you can go straight from exiting the vault to your dad in 3 minutes; bypassing hours of junk quests in Megaton and Rivet City since all you need is to know to go to the vault he's in. Some narrative if you can skip all that, let alone the ending people hated so much and they needed Broken Steel to fix.

    Aspiring Emperor Hope on
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