An Adult JRPG

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Usually more recently anyway, JRPGs have been based around angsty teens to mid 20s thrown into a quest to save the world and the only JRPGs that I can remember this gen that deal with adult themes or characters are Lost Odyssey, Tales of Vesperia and Folklore (and FFXIII I suppose), either way all of these (aside from Folklore) deal with a band of not quite warriors defeating increasingly powerful opponents. As much as I love JRPGs, I would like some more adult themes in the genre (no, not just blood, tits and swearing), I want something more personal and grown up.

In steps Nier. Published by Square Enix and developed by Cavia (they made Drakengard, Bulletwitch and some well known anime games), yes this game has blood and swearing but Nier is much more than that. Nier is a story about a father's quest to save his daughter from an incurable illness, that's it. It's an action RPG with tons of side quests, the ability to farm or fish and a great depth of weapon customisation.

The graphics aren't great but maybe FFXIII spoiled me and the music is gorgeous. I've been playing for 15 hours just doing side quests and very little story, I already have a good feel for Nier's character, there are no lengthy cut-scenes...yet, all the main cast has amazing voice acting (Nier is voiced by Jaimeson Price), the characters are great so far and I've a feeling it could be one of my favourite games this year.

I understand this is turning more review than discussion so here is what I ask, do we need more adult JRPGs? For anyone who's played it yet, could Nier be the start of a huge future fanbase for the genre? Is anyone interested in this game? Check it out if you get the chance, I've got a feeling Cavia are on to something big.

Oh...you meant that kind of adult...cause I was going to mention Fate/Stay Night...(i think i remember a screen of that with an RPG style mode)...

Anyways, no I don't really think we need more adult JRPGs. Most of them are fine with their characters as they are. I don't really think it would change that much either. The Japanese enjoy their teenage characters and settings as apposed to more mature characters. I don't know why, but that's how they are, and that is what we get.

It's weird, I wonder how Nier sells in Japan, it was essentially made for a western audience and it's 360 exclusive in Japan but multiplatform everywhere else

Persona 4 - ps2

Such a great game, its probably one of the most adult games I've ever played as well, also no angsty teens! :D Basically a murder mystery set in Japan, but then you get sucked into a t.v. world where you fight monsters. It's like Scooby Doo meets Tron.

It's great to make games with adult themes like Folklore, etc., they are my favorite kinds of plots. The problem is that they trend towards depressing, which is not good for sales.

If by adult you mean good story (and that's what I gather from your post) then yes. Most JRPG stories suck which is a shame since they're supposed to be the point of the genre.

Veldt Falsetto:
It's weird, I wonder how Nier sells in Japan, it was essentially made for a western audience and it's 360 exclusive in Japan but multiplatform everywhere else

there two version 1 for japan only

* Nier Replicant, the PlayStation 3 exclusive Japan-only version of the game.
* Nier Gestalt (to be simply called Nier in North America), the North American version of the game which will be released for both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

I think a decent amount of them can be pretty mature in theme. I mean heck, in Final Fantasy VI, one of the main characters attempts suicide. A similar thing happens in XIII. I think that's a pretty mature story element. The World Ends with You deals with some pretty intense stuff too.

I would not complain about more, but I don't think there's too much of a shortage.

You could say that about most games in general, really.

Hell, books and films, too. The only thing that seems to differentiate between most adult films and a kids film is a badly done sex scene and violence.

XII is more mature than the other games in the series in that respect. Y'know, having to actually use your brain to figure out what's happening because it's not all spelled out for you.

I've heard that Shin Magami Tensei is adult.

But, the medium by which all JRPGs are judged is Final Fantasy, and...
image
So Yeah.

SMT most of the ones i've seen are rated m here

I'm told that in the original Japanese release of Nier the main character is the girl's brother. Your stereotypical angsty teen JRPG protagonist.

However the localisation team decided that westerners wanted grizzled war vet. type heroes, as this is what we see in our movies. So they re-tooled the hero's dad as the main character.

tony2077:

Veldt Falsetto:
It's weird, I wonder how Nier sells in Japan, it was essentially made for a western audience and it's 360 exclusive in Japan but multiplatform everywhere else

there two version 1 for japan only

* Nier Replicant, the PlayStation 3 exclusive Japan-only version of the game.
* Nier Gestalt (to be simply called Nier in North America), the North American version of the game which will be released for both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

So Replicant and Gestalt are the same game?

Catalyst6:
It's great to make games with adult themes like Folklore, etc., they are my favorite kinds of plots. The problem is that they trend towards depressing, which is not good for sales.

I've a feeling Nier will follow suit there, one of the side quests got me really down :(

Thaius:
I think a decent amount of them can be pretty mature in theme. I mean heck, in Final Fantasy VI, one of the main characters attempts suicide. A similar thing happens in XIII. I think that's a pretty mature story element. The World Ends with You deals with some pretty intense stuff too.

I would not complain about more, but I don't think there's too much of a shortage.

Hmm while all this is true, discouting VI, XIII that scene was awesome and I agree both XIII and TWEWY deal with relatively adult themes, there's just this teen vibe flowing off them, you get me?

I've got NIER pre-ordered and I'm super pumped!!!! It comes out in the states on Tuesday. I know I'm gonna like it, glad to hear a positive review.

Veldt Falsetto:

tony2077:

Veldt Falsetto:
It's weird, I wonder how Nier sells in Japan, it was essentially made for a western audience and it's 360 exclusive in Japan but multiplatform everywhere else

there two version 1 for japan only

* Nier Replicant, the PlayStation 3 exclusive Japan-only version of the game.
* Nier Gestalt (to be simply called Nier in North America), the North American version of the game which will be released for both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

So Replicant and Gestalt are the same game?

the replicant one has a few changes done to it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nier_Replicant

Veldt Falsetto:

Thaius:
I think a decent amount of them can be pretty mature in theme. I mean heck, in Final Fantasy VI, one of the main characters attempts suicide. A similar thing happens in XIII. I think that's a pretty mature story element. The World Ends with You deals with some pretty intense stuff too.

I would not complain about more, but I don't think there's too much of a shortage.

Hmm while all this is true, discouting VI, XIII that scene was awesome and I agree both XIII and TWEWY deal with relatively adult themes, there's just this teen vibe flowing off them, you get me?

This is true, but I guess I just don't see how the inclusion of teens makes the themes less mature. It would be interesting to see more characters over 30 or so, I suppose, but regardless of age, mature themes are mature themes. In some cases, it even helps: I mean if an adult were put into the same situation as Hope in XIII, the drama would have been very different. Hope's lack of emotional experience and self-confidence not only made him more confused and conflicted about it all, but it left him open to Lightning's similarly clouded influence. It simply wouldn't have been the same if he was an adult. TWEWY was very, very much the same: the themes would have been much different if the characters were older. But regardless, they were still pretty mature at times.

Holy crap, I need to play TWEWY again... that was one of the best games I've ever played.

Catalyst6:
It's great to make games with adult themes like Folklore, etc., they are my favorite kinds of plots. The problem is that they trend towards depressing, which is not good for sales.

Why do more mature stories go the depressing route?

SMT3:Nocturne.
it doesnt have boobs or anything.
it messes your mental health by dropping you on majorly fucked up world filled with satanic characters and almost zero save points.
Yanks gave it an M rating while japs gave A (all ages).
that's culture difference for you.

Thaius:

Veldt Falsetto:

Thaius:
I think a decent amount of them can be pretty mature in theme. I mean heck, in Final Fantasy VI, one of the main characters attempts suicide. A similar thing happens in XIII. I think that's a pretty mature story element. The World Ends with You deals with some pretty intense stuff too.

I would not complain about more, but I don't think there's too much of a shortage.

Hmm while all this is true, discouting VI, XIII that scene was awesome and I agree both XIII and TWEWY deal with relatively adult themes, there's just this teen vibe flowing off them, you get me?

This is true, but I guess I just don't see how the inclusion of teens makes the themes less mature. It would be interesting to see more characters over 30 or so, I suppose, but regardless of age, mature themes are mature themes. In some cases, it even helps: I mean if an adult were put into the same situation as Hope in XIII, the drama would have been very different. Hope's lack of emotional experience and self-confidence not only made him more confused and conflicted about it all, but it left him open to Lightning's similarly clouded influence. It simply wouldn't have been the same if he was an adult. TWEWY was very, very much the same: the themes would have been much different if the characters were older. But regardless, they were still pretty mature at times.

Holy crap, I need to play TWEWY again... that was one of the best games I've ever played.

The way Hope dealt with things is exactly what I mean, take a look at what Sazh does in a similar situation, Hope spends half the game wanting to kill Snow. Sazh however (I think) is over 30 (they all constantly call him old man) and the way he deals with another characters crystallisation is exactly the same, granted it's not half the game but it is very similar.

With TWEWY....I need to play it through, I only got to Joshuas chapter and while the twist in the first chapter at the end is strange, I think it still deals with teen themes, yes theres a lot of the word death thrown around in the first chapter at least but it never really seems to affect the characters that much until the Rhyme thing happens and even then it just makes Neku more cheery, that's what I got anyway.

Bleh, I've too many games to play.

Cheveyo:

Catalyst6:
It's great to make games with adult themes like Folklore, etc., they are my favorite kinds of plots. The problem is that they trend towards depressing, which is not good for sales.

Why do more mature stories go the depressing route?

Because most adults hate their lives, and it's easier if they can relate.........I don't know.

I want an adult game where you just live life. that'd be fun.

I found that Chrono Cross has some very adult themes in it, especially after the big plot twist in the middle. Choices of life or death, the way they played with the concept of the "another world", and the FUCKING TWIST IN THE MIDDLE.

Soooo...you want JRPG's with Mature characters and Adult themed stories.

...

Is that even possible? Isn't there a "1 minimum emo kid requierment" on all JRPG's? I'm not trolling here, i am seriously wondering!
I'm not an expert in the genre but the few i played always had at least 1 such character and it really put me off. Those overly dramatic or cheerfull ADHD char's really took the fun out of it for me.

RatRace123:
I've heard that Shin Magami Tensei is adult.

But, the medium by which all JRPGs are judged is Final Fantasy, and...
image
So Yeah.

Yeah, but the rest of the FFXIII cast are adults.

EDIT: Well, except Hope.

Jonesy911:
Persona 4 - ps2

Such a great game, its probably one of the most adult games I've ever played as well, also no angsty teens! :D Basically a murder mystery set in Japan, but then you get sucked into a t.v. world where you fight monsters. It's like Scooby Doo meets Tron.

The Persona series, while featuring a cast of teenagers in high school (for the most part), definitely has some mature themes. I'm currently out to save my last teammate from the TV in P4, and I don't want the game to end! D:

9NineBreaker9:

Jonesy911:
Persona 4 - ps2

Such a great game, its probably one of the most adult games I've ever played as well, also no angsty teens! :D Basically a murder mystery set in Japan, but then you get sucked into a t.v. world where you fight monsters. It's like Scooby Doo meets Tron.

The Persona series, while featuring a cast of teenagers in high school (for the most part), definitely has some mature themes. I'm currently out to save my last teammate from the TV in P4, and I don't want the game to end! D:

i beat the game awhile ago even got the true ending boy that was a pain in the ass

Veldt Falsetto:

Thaius:

Veldt Falsetto:

Thaius:
I think a decent amount of them can be pretty mature in theme. I mean heck, in Final Fantasy VI, one of the main characters attempts suicide. A similar thing happens in XIII. I think that's a pretty mature story element. The World Ends with You deals with some pretty intense stuff too.

I would not complain about more, but I don't think there's too much of a shortage.

Hmm while all this is true, discouting VI, XIII that scene was awesome and I agree both XIII and TWEWY deal with relatively adult themes, there's just this teen vibe flowing off them, you get me?

This is true, but I guess I just don't see how the inclusion of teens makes the themes less mature. It would be interesting to see more characters over 30 or so, I suppose, but regardless of age, mature themes are mature themes. In some cases, it even helps: I mean if an adult were put into the same situation as Hope in XIII, the drama would have been very different. Hope's lack of emotional experience and self-confidence not only made him more confused and conflicted about it all, but it left him open to Lightning's similarly clouded influence. It simply wouldn't have been the same if he was an adult. TWEWY was very, very much the same: the themes would have been much different if the characters were older. But regardless, they were still pretty mature at times.

Holy crap, I need to play TWEWY again... that was one of the best games I've ever played.

The way Hope dealt with things is exactly what I mean, take a look at what Sazh does in a similar situation, Hope spends half the game wanting to kill Snow. Sazh however (I think) is over 30 (they all constantly call him old man) and the way he deals with another characters crystallisation is exactly the same, granted it's not half the game but it is very similar.

With TWEWY....I need to play it through, I only got to Joshuas chapter and while the twist in the first chapter at the end is strange, I think it still deals with teen themes, yes theres a lot of the word death thrown around in the first chapter at least but it never really seems to affect the characters that much until the Rhyme thing happens and even then it just makes Neku more cheery, that's what I got anyway.

Bleh, I've too many games to play.

So, from what I'm gathering you just want a game with adults that doesnt show a constant struggle for advancement in understanding?I'm not a developer but I think that part of why teens are used more often is because its seems morte exceptable in genres for them to fall apart or be conflicted. Inexperience gives them this innocence and ignorence that writers can play with. Now I'm not saying you can do that with an adult themed game but I really dont grasp what you mean. Nier didnt seem THAT different to me, I'm not dissing the game, i think its good but not all teen jrpgs are shallow or angsty they use teens or twentysomethings because it covers a more popular fanbase of active gamers, but I hope you find a game out there thats what your looking for.

I'm guessing because a lot of kids are in the JRPG character age group and don't want to play as adults.

WiccaVamp:

Veldt Falsetto:

Thaius:

Veldt Falsetto:

Thaius:
I think a decent amount of them can be pretty mature in theme. I mean heck, in Final Fantasy VI, one of the main characters attempts suicide. A similar thing happens in XIII. I think that's a pretty mature story element. The World Ends with You deals with some pretty intense stuff too.

I would not complain about more, but I don't think there's too much of a shortage.

Hmm while all this is true, discouting VI, XIII that scene was awesome and I agree both XIII and TWEWY deal with relatively adult themes, there's just this teen vibe flowing off them, you get me?

This is true, but I guess I just don't see how the inclusion of teens makes the themes less mature. It would be interesting to see more characters over 30 or so, I suppose, but regardless of age, mature themes are mature themes. In some cases, it even helps: I mean if an adult were put into the same situation as Hope in XIII, the drama would have been very different. Hope's lack of emotional experience and self-confidence not only made him more confused and conflicted about it all, but it left him open to Lightning's similarly clouded influence. It simply wouldn't have been the same if he was an adult. TWEWY was very, very much the same: the themes would have been much different if the characters were older. But regardless, they were still pretty mature at times.

Holy crap, I need to play TWEWY again... that was one of the best games I've ever played.

The way Hope dealt with things is exactly what I mean, take a look at what Sazh does in a similar situation, Hope spends half the game wanting to kill Snow. Sazh however (I think) is over 30 (they all constantly call him old man) and the way he deals with another characters crystallisation is exactly the same, granted it's not half the game but it is very similar.

With TWEWY....I need to play it through, I only got to Joshuas chapter and while the twist in the first chapter at the end is strange, I think it still deals with teen themes, yes theres a lot of the word death thrown around in the first chapter at least but it never really seems to affect the characters that much until the Rhyme thing happens and even then it just makes Neku more cheery, that's what I got anyway.

Bleh, I've too many games to play.

So, from what I'm gathering you just want a game with adults that doesnt show a constant struggle for advancement in understanding?I'm not a developer but I think that part of why teens are used more often is because its seems morte exceptable in genres for them to fall apart or be conflicted. Inexperience gives them this innocence and ignorence that writers can play with. Now I'm not saying you can do that with an adult themed game but I really dont grasp what you mean. Nier didnt seem THAT different to me, I'm not dissing the game, i think its good but not all teen jrpgs are shallow or angsty they use teens or twentysomethings because it covers a more popular fanbase of active gamers, but I hope you find a game out there thats what your looking for.

I get what you're saying, what I mean is the character of Nier is really refreshing because he's older, it just has a new feel to me, most men over 30 are refered to as old man and it's nice that we have a lead who is old enough to have experience and a bit more of a thought out character. I understand that this means development is very little but that allows the story to develop instead of the character plus I think Nier in particular has just as much of a reason to fall apart or be conflicted in the right situation. I've nothing against teen characters but in my opinion Nier is just a different style of character that I see to be new and quite interesting for a genre more or less run by young characters.

I don't really mind the age of the characters, personally (I'm 26, btw) as long as the themes/story are interesting, and, if possible, as far away from clichés as possible (although the typical OMG WE HAS 2 SAIV DA WURLD!!11!! is kind of unavoidable).

One, any game compared to Lost Odyssey especially in this generation deserves it's own circle of hell, and thanks for just about literally quoting Yahtzee on his view on JRPGS word for word. On topic, Wiccavamp just about covered why Teens are used in RPGS more often then not, if it wasn't already blatantly obvious, but Lost Odyssey was terrible. I don't think age really matters too damn much, I judged 13, Final Fantasy Tactics, and plenty of other titles on the same standards as games with 12 year olds running around.

If you can make a compelling narrative you can make me think a 2 year old has the complexity of an old man, and to quote Yathzee in his favor, "IMMERSION" plays a huge role in that.I digress If current gen RPGS are your standard then it can't be helped however. I don't usually refer back generations as a means for improvement, but seriously this generation has been the worst for RPGS, especially JRPGS. There has been so little innovation since the 7th generation, and games like Eternal Sonata, Lost Odyssey, the ENTIRE TALES series, etc, are just about killing the genre. How about instead of more adult characters, you actually just add some good ones? Because I hate to say it, but even though FF13 could have been shits better, it was still the best JRPG of this generation and that is pathetic.

RadicalDreamer90:
One, any game compared to Lost Odyssey especially in this generation deserves it's own circle of hell, and thanks for just about literally quoting Yahtzee on his view on JRPGS word for word. On topic, Wiccavamp just about covered why Teens are used in RPGS more often then not, if it wasn't already blatantly obvious, but Lost Odyssey was terrible. I don't think age really matters too damn much, I judged 13, Final Fantasy Tactics, and plenty of other titles on the same standards as games with 12 year olds running around.

If you can make a compelling narrative you can make me think a 2 year old has the complexity of an old man, and to quote Yathzee in his favor, "IMMERSION" plays a huge role in that.I digress If current gen RPGS are your standard then it can't be helped however. I don't usually refer back generations as a means for improvement, but seriously this generation has been the worst for RPGS, especially JRPGS. There has been so little innovation since the 7th generation, and games like Eternal Sonata, Lost Odyssey, the ENTIRE TALES series, etc, are just about killing the genre. How about instead of more adult characters, you actually just add some good ones? Because I hate to say it, but even though FF13 could have been shits better, it was still the best JRPG of this generation and that is pathetic.

I'm not going to argue with you because I can't be assed feeding the flames and turning this thread into how I can say gaming as a whole is dead and all genres are now just shallow generic clones of something that once did well and how at least I can name inventive JRPGs and WRPGs but just about everything else that had a genre last gen is exactly the same.

I'm not going to do that, I'm just gonna ask...how the hell have I quoted Yahtzee?

I think your best bet is to check out the rpg's with adult themes and wave to the jrpgs cause if they do make older themed games they'll prob be few and far between. Heavy rain, metal gear,etc.those are some not too bad adult themed games.

Jonesy911:
Persona 4 - ps2

Such a great game, its probably one of the most adult games I've ever played as well, also no angsty teens! :D Basically a murder mystery set in Japan, but then you get sucked into a t.v. world where you fight monsters. It's like Scooby Doo meets Tron.

Actually, the game has angsty teens, but at least it has a reason to it.

Great game, pretty far away from cliches in characters and some of the most likeable cast I have seen in ages.

It depends on whether we're defining "adult" as:

(a) Centered around adult themes, conflicts, and ideas, independent of the age of the actual characters.

Or

(b) Actually following the exploits of adult characters.

If we're talking about games about adults, it's going to be few and far between. Sorry, most RPGs are fundamentally a coming of age story, and that means late adolescence/early adults. Which, of course, makes sense when we remember most of the audience for games is still young adults (especially in Japan).

That said, I think that the characters do vary in age a lot, especially when you have the sort of ensemble cast of some of the FF games, and some of the Tales games. What I don't get is the claim that all JRPG protagonists are whining, angsty, teens. True, there often are angsting teens, but there are usually mature, older, adult characters. Name any game not specifically about teens, and you'll find (I'd wager) at least one central protagonist who's decidedly over the age of 30.

If we're talking about adult themes, then I think you're giving short shrift to most modern JRPGs. True, the themes don't specifically deal with the issues of age, or make the story specifically about the role of an elder/parent, but if that's your definition of "adult themes", you're being very specific.

Persona 3, Persona 4, Tales of the Abyss, FFXIII (to name the games I can recall easily at the moment) all deal with adult themes: rejection of inevitability, fighting against fate; acceptance of ones darker side, striving to find truth; responsibility, and the evils of religion; and the meaning of existence, rejection of a pampered life in lieu of freedom and free will respectively.

The conflicts of adults in a world-gone-to-hell are the same as the conflicts of kids. The problem is that most of the gaming population, it seems, wouldn't accept a gruff, adult (especially male) breaking down. For better or worse, whenever there's an adult character, he's played straight as a stoic, determinator, type. A no-nonsense mentor, whose full existence is simply to be badassed.

And we love them for it. Developers make Aurons because we've told them "OMG, Auron was such a badass". We've never told them "Auron was okay, but I would have liked to see more depth to his character, more by way of inner-conflict, even self-doubt". We expect drama, and self-doubt, and angst, from teens and young-adults. And the issue is that adults would be just as angsty, just as overwhelmed, if thrust into the same position.

The reason I found Hope to be the best character in FFXIII is because he simply was the most realistic. The only character who responded to the world of "we're fucked" in a way at all reminiscent of how a normal human being would: Depression, fear, anger (directed at the seeming source of his troubles), and all the emotions any one of us would feel in his shoes.

And we all hated him for it. So, I guess this is my point:

If the choice is between Hope, and Auron, I'm sticking with Hope. But I get why most people pick Auron. It's easier for the escapist fantasy to play a badass, a person who takes no shit and dishes out the pain, rather than someone realistic. But teens are popular fodder in these games because it allows the creator to (a) have them develop from whinging teen into badass, and (b) to show the more panicked side of things without having a badass break down. It lets them play both tropes to the hilt.

Because we're still in the nascent period of games as good storytellers. We want our heroes, our badasses, our escapist fantasy. We're not really ready to play fleshed-out characters filled with self-doubt.

Imagine playing The Dresden Files (the books, not the T.V show) as a game. Would we really enjoy the parts where Harry becomes wracked with self-doubt, where he breaks down, where bad things happen and he doesn't just set his jaw and say "let's kick some ass"?

JenXXXJen:

Hell, books and films, too. The only thing that seems to differentiate between most adult films and a kids film is a badly done sex scene and violence.

This, because this is exactly what 90% of gamers mean when they bitch about games not being "adult" enough.

I have an idea on how gamers can make games seem more adult: Don't put the same super-badass hero cliches into the same 30+ FPS games that come out every year.

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