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Are RPGs a dying breed?

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Initial post: Oct 26, 2010 4:49:53 PM PDT
J. Cammack says:
After the big changes in ME2 that turned it far from an rpg and more towards a third person shooter comes the change of Fable 3. Is every rpg or rpg element heavy game going to suffer from the growing ADD of gamers today? More games are becoming "accessible" or translation: simple. Don't get me wrong I love me a shooter, but I also want something that is a little more complex. Too many developers are folding to the "This-isn't-like-COD-or-Halo" crowd. And finally, Yes, I want an item list that I can hold 30 suits of armor and 100 swords and have to build experience to advance to the next level. Don't simplify for the gamers that have the attention span of a pineapple. The Fable 3 case brags that "The Action Never Stops: No long item lists or menus to take you out of the action. The options are obvious --the decisions are up to you." Actually I liked the item list. They take the item list out but add Online marriage. Maybe it was just me but the whole marriage thing seemed to get in the way of the action because the spouse would get mad if you went off adventuring too long. Nothing like the ultimate buzz kill you are getting divorced because you didn't spend enough time with your wife. Give me the item list over the marriage ability any day. So again I ask are RPGs going extinct except for the efforts of Bethesda?

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 6:15:33 PM PDT
The Elder Scrolls series is about the only thing that is decent when it comes to RPG's lately. I'm excited to be getting Fable 3, but Oblivion wins over Fable hands down.

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 7:05:01 PM PDT
Joseph says:
Other than Bethesda games and the Dragon age series, witcher series, Gothic, Recettear, and of course New Vegas; there really isn't too many. Demon's souls was great, as was Resonance of Fate on consoles. I miss the days of Baldur's gate 2, Icewind dale, Planescape, Neverwinter, Arcanum, and Betrayal at Krondor etc. If only those type of games would come back, luckly there's Good old games to keep them alive.

I do enjoy the fable games and have all 3; Action Rpgs are fun but barely scratch the surface of their own potential just to appease gamers who want it easy and to rush things. Even when I do everything in a action rpg it still pales in comparison to the length, depth and value of a traditional rpg like those above. I'll still keep buying them, because they are fleetingly entertaining.

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 7:05:41 PM PDT
S. Sigle says:
Dragon Age is still good, if they make a NWN 3 I think it'll be good, it's really just becoming a niche crowd, like RTS's

Posted on Oct 27, 2010 5:33:40 AM PDT
Apollo says:
I think that they are catering to the masses with the stripped down RPGs these days - probably due to the short attention span of the younger and casual gamers...which is a good chunk of the market.

With that said, I do enjoy these action RPGs. I believe that developers out there will see that there is still a good market for true RPGs and will (hopefully) will bring out some awesome titles in the future. However, if these said developers do work on a new RPG - I hope they take their time with it.

Posted on Oct 27, 2010 6:22:58 PM PDT
Yes, they are dying breed.

Search "PC Role Playing Games" on and you get:

1) WoW (2004)
2) ME2 (2010)
3) Civ IV (Not a true RPG IMO)
4) KotOR (2004)
5) Elder Scrolls IV (2004)
6) Guild Wars (2005)
7) Dragon Age (2009)
8) FO3 (2008)
9) NWN2 (2006)

Mass Effect 2 was a sequel to a 2008 game and used the same engine.

This basically means that since 2005, there have been TWO new RPGs. Fallout 3 was a buggy console export and followed an existing franchise. So in essence, Dragon Age is the only quality new RPG in five years.

RPGs are just not money-makers for software developers. To make a product that captures the market, you need a new engine every few years. They require extensive writing and voice acting. In order to satisfy the hardcore RPGers, you need a substantial number of options for PC "builds", but to capture the casual gamers, you cannot require 14 year olds to read and understand a 100 page rulebook. It is hard to generate enough sales to justify the expense.

Contrast this with Madden which is the same game year in and year out with updated rosters, one or two new animations, and a couple of different load screens.

It's a pity, but I don't see this changing any time soon.

Posted on Oct 27, 2010 8:48:47 PM PDT
K. Wendt says:
They're still doing pretty well on the DS...but that's a different system.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 6:33:56 AM PDT
zx2781 says:
I think that Two Worlds II will be a pleasant suprise for all RPG fans.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 10:28:11 AM PDT
What are you guys talking about, Tales of Vesperia is probably on of the best newer RPGs and came out in 08...Personally, I didn't think I was gonna like games like Borderlands and Fallout 3, even Mass Effect, as I was almost always an RPGer. I think mixing FPS with RPGs is a fantastic idea as it it appeals to both genres in some ways and can make an RPG more engaging and fun. But the old turned based style of RPGs does seem to be transforming.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 11:56:21 AM PDT
Correct the heading of this thread. *PC RPGS* have been a dying breed since like 2001. Pc gaming as a whole is dying because of all the DRM issues and bad ports.

Rpgs on the consoles are just as prevelant as they were 10 years ago, except they're spread over 4-5 systems; 3 consoles and 2 handhelds. There is no shortage of rpgs anywhere but the pc and a very short search on IGN/Gamespot will show you this. People have been asking this question forever anyhow because rpgs(my favirote genre since the NES as well) will always be a niche market anyways. FPSs rule this gen, that's the bottomline.

Posted on Nov 19, 2010 2:42:47 PM PST
Chewd says:
I think a large part of the issue is that the gaming industry doesnt really realize that there is a hidden dichotomy in the gamer market.

From what I've seen is there's basically two approaches to gaming. People seem to use gaming to fill in the part of their lives that is missing. The two categories are this.

1. People who sit at a desk all day at work. These people tax their brains all day, & if they game, they want something that does not tax their brain. They want something visceral, twitchy, something that rewards them immediately.

This is why kids & college students (who sit all day in classrooms) all go for the first-person-shooters. Their brain is tired after a days study & they just want something mindless.

2. People who work hard or are outside all day at work. These people tax their bodies all day & their brains are more or less idle. These people want something that exercises their brains, something that makes them think, something that rewards them over time.

Many of us 30-somethings who grew up gaming & still do, but find ourselves in blue-collar work during the weekdays prefer something that encourages creativity and careful planning.

The issue is that 100% of game programmers at the big coding houses all live in category 1. Theyre ALL people who spend all day at a desk. The ONLY coders that seem to be still writing games for the category 2 crowd are the indie developers. Roguelikes like ADOM Unreal World and Dwarf Fortress have the kind of depth and replayability that Molyneux doesnt even have the capacity to dream of.

But unfortunately the small-time indie developers cannot accomplish this without also eschewing the pretty graphics & such that makes games jump off of the store shelves.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2010 12:03:31 PM PST
B. McLain says:
Wow, you've put some thought into this. Well said.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2010 9:21:31 PM PST
Kryloc says:
I assume those praising Bethesda and Oblivion never played any previous ES game...

Posted on Nov 22, 2010 8:00:29 PM PST
J. Cammack says:
Chewd, I think you are definitely on to something. While I do enjoy shooters and mindless action sometimes, I want a game that is going to require a little more effort. I remember playing the original final fantasy and dragon warrior and it just seemed more engrossing than any mario game. I absolutely agree that many gamers don't want to use a lot of brain power. I feel Fable 3 is the epitome of the current RPGs that aren't. I don't need absolute faithful RPGs but what they are becoming is a joke. Too many games sell out. I want more games where I am afraid that once I start playing I will be putting 200+ hours into them. It's sad where in even the gaming world we are getting lazy.

Posted on Nov 25, 2010 7:46:29 AM PST
"Are RPGs a dying breed?"

No. Next question!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2010 2:02:08 PM PST
Paul Mosier says:
@Sweden is God - I'd definitely agree. PC gaming is dying because it's expensive - plain and simple. Could you even get a decent gaming computer for under $1000 that won't be obsolete by next year? It always has been and personally who wouldn't switch over or at least consider console gaming. The current gen systems are over five years old and as cheap as $200-300 for the console.

But are RPGs dead? No. Some gaming franchises should be killed - *cough* Fable *cough* But if you look at Bethesda's success with Oblivion and Fallout I doubt they are going away. They may have to continue to re-invent themselves, but they provide a much deeper gaming experience and will always have a market I think. Now JRPGs, those most likely are dying or dead. The ones that are still around exist in some sort of combination of an interactive movie and a type of street fighter where you can level up. I played through FF13 and that ruined it for me. I'll likely not buy another Final Fantasy game. The issue with the JRPGs is also a problem of patience. You HAVE to grind and it wasn't fun, at all.

Posted on Nov 29, 2010 8:43:15 AM PST
Chewd says:
I have spent some time on both sides of that fence. When i had a indoor sales job, sitting at a desk all day running numbers through my head, I always wanted to get some frags on quake once i got home. Run, chase, blow up, giggle.... thats what i was looking for.

Now that i have a more physically exerting job, out in the weather & often lifting heavy things, when i get home i invariably crank up Dwarf Fortress & work on building my complex megastructure or something. Oblivion, Fallout, & Fable II to some extent also appeal to this side of me due to the exploration & collection of goodies & the morality plays.

The games that appeal to me most on this side of the fence are the ones which allow for emergent gameplay. Games that dont force me to play the way they think i should, games which allow a certain amount of creativity and encourage ingenuity.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2010 12:08:03 PM PST
at least you know why u got divorced. I've had 2 families just disappear and some bug prevents me from divorcing them--they just reappear in the magnifying glass. One kid has got stuck on a park bench in brightwall and Ive entirely lost the ability to interact with another as he deteriorates from love to fear and loathing--which spreads among the townsfolk turning the game into fetch quest to repair the relationships. For a game which is based on decisions and relationships these have fatally ended THREE playthoughs. Lionhead should be ashamed of releasing such a flawed buggy game. PS repairing every damn house in albion over and over is tiring--yet I have virtually no choice as to expression or gift choices. In the late stages the game should be entitled fetchquest or furniture quest. What a buggy piece of CRAP.....and this game could have been sooooooo good. I'm po'd at the time I've wasted on it--not to mention 60 bucks! I'll take Oblivion any day

Posted on Nov 29, 2010 2:46:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2010 2:48:52 PM PST
J. Herrion says:
Roleplaying Games are disappearing for the quick and easy action games you see coming out, Mass Effect 2 as we all know did just that. Now I'm not hating on action rpg's, but ME 2 kinda dumbed it down and fluffed it up with all of the cinema makeover. Still I find myself playing it and broke the veil by starting up a new character on ME 1, it wasn't as linear or dynamic but I missed the ammo and armor customizing with a passion.

Even before Fable 3 came out I was messing around with the second one, it is repetitive but I get a warm fuzzy when my little girl run's up to greet me, but the UI and menu made me grit my teeth in frustration. I haven't read one review that has changed my mind about Fable 3, many gamers are saying to wait for it to hit the bargain bin. I just want a really good fantasy RPG, on the same par of Fallout 3, with the fluidity and entertaining action of ME 2 with a decent custimazation and leveling system. I was hoping Dragon Age was the one but alas . . . . .

Posted on Nov 29, 2010 5:22:05 PM PST
J. Sherman says:
No, they are just evolving.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2010 12:11:15 PM PST
J. Cammack says:
J. Sherman,
They are evolving right into a third person shooter genre. When the evolutionary cycle takes them so far from their original form, they become a new animal altogether. That is my point. They are changing from an RPG to something else entirely. J. Herrion's post is right, they are dumbing down and fluffing up even those games that aren't entirely RPG. I suppose my question should be revised to ask, "Are gamers too dumb to handle solid RPGs?" Don't get me wrong I appreciate developers trying new things, my problem is when that new thing is to simplify a game so kids with ADD will play it. I have a friend who gets bored of COD multiplayer after about 30 minutes. Trust me it doesn't matter what a developer does my friend is not going to stick with any game. I suppose if developers tell all the up and coming gamers that what they are playing is an RPG they will believe them. I mean how many people today know or played Dragon Warrior on the Nintendo?

In all honesty, I don't really know what the PC gaming world has in the way of RPGs anymore. I am one of those that can't afford to keep upgrading my computer to handle the new tech coming out. Plus I have serious problems with the increased use of DRM and Securom. It seems the PC gaming industry is trying to kill itself.

J. Herrion, Having finished Fable 3, I can assure you that waiting for the bargain bin is an excellent idea. It seems the goal of the developers was to make the game tedious instead of entertaining. As just another example, the dumping of the more RPG elements from Fable 3 left it feeling hollow. And just to show I am not demanding absolute RPG orthodoxy, I did love Dragon Age (even with its imperfections).

Posted on Dec 1, 2010 4:19:21 PM PST
J. Panozzo says:
I disagree that RPGs are a dying breed. Yes, they stripped down many of ME2's and Fable III's RPG aspects in efforts to streamline the gameplay, which is disappointing to me. ME2 was critically acclaimed while Fable was seen as a disappointment by many (though I personally enjoyed it). And, yes, many games combine FPS or TPS with RPGs. However, none of this means that RPGs are "dying" in any sense. I assume "dying" is meant to suggest that traditional RPGs are changing into action shooters. There are still many "normal" RPGs that are going strong Dragon Age (and hopefully DA2), Two Worlds II, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the recent buzz about the Elder Scrolls V "confirmation". Furthermore, RPG gamers should be happy, the genre has strong mainstream appeal and that keeps great RPG developers like Bioware and Bethesda going.

Posted on Dec 3, 2010 12:29:57 PM PST
cybertext says:
YES! Companies are greedy. No more building RPG's.

PvP = toon with weapons entertained by taking things from other toons that aren't online as much. PvE = Artists, writers, auction houses, crafting, bosses with minions spewing out over castle walls killing your buddies, dungeons, mystery, intrigue, cinamatics, seasonal events, beer mailed to your house with freak'n girls right in the dam box. <---that's expensive, they can't be doing that stuff anymore. Go pvp yourself silly instead. :( The Worst PvP game is LORTO because Tolken Enterprises has some kind of built in clause that the good guys always win (and Gandolf can have an alternate lifestyle). They let people play monsters of the same level as players, but players will always have access to epic gear from raids while the creatures only get crud weapons/abilities, barely considered greens. Dumb-a-dumb-dumb dumb. But, it's free. Free is free.

Today game companies make pvp arenas, and people make content on YouTube. Go search ninja looter, and ni hao, and all sorts of really cool stuff that companies don't want to make, so we make our own stuff.../whoo-hoo!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2010 12:01:22 PM PST
Teahouse Fox says:
But to be devil's advocate for a second...

Please note that in that list, a chunk of the games are by the same developer: Bioware (KotOR, ME2, Dragon Age, NWN2) or Bethesda (Fallout 3 and ElderScrolls IV). Civ 4 is absolutely not an RPG, but still a great game. The list also lacks ME (the original) which was also excellent.

MMOs (WoW, GuildWars) are not really RPGs, but a class by themselves (MMORPGs) that don't compare once you have a multiplayer element in there.

Posted on Dec 10, 2010 6:29:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2010 6:39:31 PM PST
sunshine says:
The modern RPG is a reanimated corpse. None of the larger publishers/developers have offered a pure RPG in years. Nearly all current offerings are compromised by action-centric gameplay; focusing on player skill, as opposed to character skill (Role Playing!). There still remains a small handful of independent developers who offer pure classic-style RPGs.

Short answer: Action RPGs are very much alive, though they are undergoing constant simplification of gameplay. Classic RPGs are practically dead.
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Total posts:  40
Initial post:  Oct 26, 2010
Latest post:  Jul 6, 2014

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