All JRPG needs to be liked again is to be gritty.

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Well lets think for a moment why people hates JRPGs? Because it doesn't fit the current standards expected by the current attitude towards the fantasy genre.

But what do people expect from the fantasy genre now? To emulate ASOIAF, the political intrigue, the brutal cynicism and ultimately be as mature as possible. The funny thing is that JRPGs at one point was like that with Ogre Battle, Valkyrie Profile and Xenogears which served as the greats of JRPG. When JRPGs made the shift to making stuff lighter in content, WRPGs picked the ball up, using ASOIAF rather than Tolkien as their inspiration and has sold well compared to JRPGs which is becoming mostly kiddier.

So for JRPGs to be liked again, I recommend tossing in a bit of ASOIAF, some mature content and call us in the morning. We will dismiss the Turn Based stuff as part the genetic makeup of the genre. But the childishness is a disease that needs to be cured

gyrobot:
So for JRPGs to be liked again, I recommend tossing in a bit of ASOIAF, some mature content and call us in the morning. We will dismiss the Turn Based stuff as part the genetic makeup of the genre. But the childishness is a disease that needs to be cured

Bastion was built with next to no political intrigue in mind, and certainly not to the level of ASOIAF. I remember it being pretty successful.

Oblivion's intrigue only went as far as 'evil cult working for demons wants emperor dead'. It was pretty successful, too, and IMHO was better than Skyrim.

Diablo pretty much has no story besides 'click on everything' and it's still a million-seller despite the RMAH and the DRM.

Edit: On top of that, stuff in other genres doesn't always have to be completely hard-boiled either. Why are you singling out JRPGs? And why do you think that 'childishness is a disease that needs to be cured'? It's not a sign of maturity that you dismiss things as 'childish' on a knee-jerk.

Well maybe you want that but I don't.
I will gladly play JRPGs if they just shed the spread sheet mechanics and don't waste my time, but the anime style they should never throw away, just go easy on the emo shit, or give us an option to make those characters explode into gory bits.

In my humble opinion, JRPGs don't need to be grittier, they need to be less like a bad soap opera.

I couldn't stand FF13 for that reason. So goddamn cheesey with no selfawareness of said cheesiness.

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
Go play Persona 4, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Graces, Disgaea, Resonance of Fate, and I dunno, some of the older Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger or something and correct yourself.

Yeah because everyone hates JRPGs clearly. Great sweeping assumptions there friend anyway gritty does not necessarily equal mature content and having zero grit doesn't immediately remove all mature content.

I don't really pay attention to many other JRPGs but I could just point at Persona 4 as a counterpoint to your entire opening post. It's a game about you and your friends solving a series of gruesome and bizarre murder cases, with a huge truth seeking theme and a hell of a lot of analysis of the dark side of people.

You know the primary colour aesthetic of Persona 4? Bright yellow.

The need for everything to be gritty and oh-so-edgy is a phase that should pass once you're out of adolescence. Actually the whole OP reads a little like "angry chess kid". See, I can do categorical dismissal with a dash of veiled insult too! Besdies, "gritty" can come across as so pretentious if forced. (Which was one of the reasons for my dislike of the Witcher series, by the way).

There's nothing wrong with JRPGs. Not my usual go-to genre these days because, ye gods, the day only has 24 hours and I have a lot of stuff to play, but seriously, there's nothing "wrong" with them as a genre, even if I happen to not like most of the prominent ones.

The Wykydtron:
Yeah because everyone hates JRPGs clearly. Great sweeping assumptions there friend anyway gritty does not necessarily equal mature content and having zero grit doesn't immediately remove all mature content.

I don't really pay attention to many other JRPGs but I could just point at Persona 4 as a counterpoint to your entire opening post. It's a game about you and your friends solving a series of gruesome and bizarre murder cases, with a huge truth seeking theme and a hell of a lot of analysis of the dark side of people.

You know the primary colour aesthetic of Persona 4? Bright yellow.

But oddly enough the most escapist of all of the SMT storylines

hazabaza1:
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
Go play Persona 4, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Graces, Disgaea, Resonance of Fate, and I dunno, some of the older Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger or something and correct yourself.

For Tales to be even close to what WRPGs do is to pretty much become dark fantasy as designed by GRRM.

But if that is the case, why do people love to watch HBO? Why are games emulating ASOIAF?

If I'm remembering it right, Xenogears had you take control of a pink fluffy toy called Chu Chu that made a "boing" noise as it bounced around. Is that the one? Decent game, but I wouldn't call it mature.

You want a game story that's mature without being gritty and political? Mother 3. Seriously, that game covers some very heavy themes[1], and it's one of the few games that ever made me cry. On the other hand, it also has several laugh-out-loud moments and an endearing pixel-art style.

And that's the entire point - without the happier parts, the game would have no contrast and therefore no impact.

[1] Dissolution of small communities by consumerism, ethical treatment of animals and the problems of living in the past among them.

gyrobot:
Well lets think for a moment why people hates JRPGs? Because it doesn't fit the current standards expected by the current attitude towards the fantasy genre.

But what do people expect from the fantasy genre now? To emulate ASOIAF, the political intrigue, the brutal cynicism and ultimately be as mature as possible. The funny thing is that JRPGs at one point was like that with Ogre Battle, Valkyrie Profile and Xenogears which served as the greats of JRPG. When JRPGs made the shift to making stuff lighter in content, WRPGs picked the ball up, using ASOIAF rather than Tolkien as their inspiration and has sold well compared to JRPGs which is becoming mostly kiddier.

So for JRPGs to be liked again, I recommend tossing in a bit of ASOIAF, some mature content and call us in the morning. We will dismiss the Turn Based stuff as part the genetic makeup of the genre. But the childishness is a disease that needs to be cured

The problem is, the things you want to change are what fundamentally make them JRPGs. Song of Ice and Fire may be what some people in the realm of Western fantasy realm expect, but Japanese fantasy is a whole other ball game. If you don't like the elements it features, then perhaps JRPGs just aren't for you. I wouldn't go complaining about how an egg salad has too much egg, because without the egg it's just...salad. Well, coleslaw really.

I mean, not only are you generalizing JRPGs but also Western RPGs. I've never read or watched anything involving ASOIAF, and I still enjoy plenty of fantasy stories. There's room for more than one type of fantasy in this big old world of ours. Anytime somebody starts talking about how we need to homogenize a certain genre it makes me cringe, because it's always unnecessary. You enjoy the fantasy you like, I'll enjoy mine. That's the reason fantasy is so great--it can be catered to fit what anybody wants.

I never liked JRPGs, even before this whole gritty gaming was a thing. I do ahve to admit i like my games dark. and no as in poorly lit, but as in deep plots.

Isn't that like saying that racing games need to have more dialogue and stealth sections?

I know next to nothing about the genre, but I'm pretty sure making JRPGs like Song of Ice and Fire would make them not much JRPGs anymore.

Lastly: "Ha ha ha". That is the sound of me laughing at your suggestion that WRPGs are no longer imitating the shit out of ol' Tolkien.

I want less whining. I want subtlety. I want the feeling of being taken serious as the player (hi 17h long tutorials). I want a plot that makes sense. I want characters who don't only exist on one trope. I want characterarcs or even characters to begin with.

Does this mean I want gritty in jRPG? No. I want reason, a clear motivation to why I, as a player character should give a fuck. Lets take Witcher 2 as an example and how I felt about the story.

What is the motivation of, lets say, Lightning? Unless I research it I get no reason to care. Same goes for nearly every FF I played. Crono Trigger... Again, another game where I could not spare a fuck about the plot. The last jRPG that made me care about the plot was FF6.

In the end I don't want to change their stories to appeal more to the western audience. I've seen the Dark Age of comics and after that I take 'gritty' with my fair share of scepticism. I want them to change in terms of how they want to tell the story, how they treat me as a player and how they make me care. And I don't think it'll be bad for jRPGs to pick at least up the pace and the start. They don't need to mimic western games but they should look at some of the best we have to offer to improve them.

This of course goes both ways. I like that many western developers don't see 'gritty' as the only way to go.

Uh no. Certainly some JRPGs can (and do) benefit from darker tones (Shin Migami Tensai), but just as many benefit from the lighter, more whimsical stories (Ni No Kuni). JRPGs are most certainly not universally hated, otherwise we wouldn't have user groups for those people who love them so much.

What I love about JRPGs is the greater focus on story, characters, and the deep immersive worlds, I don't care if that story is rated M or E. What I feel the genre does need is a little variety and some deviation from certain character archetypes (the overly peppy girl), but JRPGs aren't the only genre that could benefit from this.

gyrobot:

hazabaza1:
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
Go play Persona 4, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Graces, Disgaea, Resonance of Fate, and I dunno, some of the older Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger or something and correct yourself.

For Tales to be even close to what WRPGs do is to pretty much become dark fantasy as designed by GRRM.

But if that is the case, why do people love to watch HBO? Why are games emulating ASOIAF?

And why should JRPGs try to do what (apparently) all WRPGs are succeeding in?
Lots of JRPGs have their own identities that they pull off well and not all of them need political content or "mature" presentation.
Hell, even Tales of Symphonia had a hell of a lot of political and religious implications and still managed to keep and teen friendly aesthetic. Why is that a bad thing?

Hmm, gritty JRPGs... Dark souls and Persona 3 came to mind.

I don't really mind either way, people should do whatever they're best at. I love the fantasy worlds JRPGs tend to create. Despite being colourful, they are not angst-free. The stories often have dramatic plots and twists that suit their style.

gyrobot:
Well lets think for a moment why people hates JRPGs? Because it doesn't fit the current standards expected by the current attitude towards the fantasy genre.

But what do people expect from the fantasy genre now? To emulate ASOIAF, the political intrigue, the brutal cynicism and ultimately be as mature as possible. The funny thing is that JRPGs at one point was like that with Ogre Battle, Valkyrie Profile and Xenogears which served as the greats of JRPG. When JRPGs made the shift to making stuff lighter in content, WRPGs picked the ball up, using ASOIAF rather than Tolkien as their inspiration and has sold well compared to JRPGs which is becoming mostly kiddier.

So for JRPGs to be liked again, I recommend tossing in a bit of ASOIAF, some mature content and call us in the morning. We will dismiss the Turn Based stuff as part the genetic makeup of the genre. But the childishness is a disease that needs to be cured

I don't know how old you are, obviously, but something tells me you haven't been around to see the evolution of western RPGs if this is what you think. Ultima? Lands of Lore? Betrayal at Krondor? Daggerfall? Ultima Underworld? System Shock?

That's hardly western games picking up the slack. That's western rpgs going through their own evolution and focusing on different aspects that the Japanese variants. This has nothing to do with gritty or mature.

Now I've only played FF7, FF8 and FF10 and they were all pretty shit as far as I am concerned. I can't really critique the entire genre very well, but I posit that the problem with JRPGs is that they love the smell of their own farts too much. They're incredibly self absorbed and takes themselves so damn serious. On the gameplay side, JRPGs tend to be dreadfully dull (at least the FF games) and the amount of piss poor exposition is baffling. It's simply not fun to play and it seems that this is only getting worse as time passes.

That said, current western RPGs as evidenced by anything Bioware touches is shite as well. I posit that you have go to CDPR, Larian or Obsidian to play good rpgs these days. The rest is simply not very good.

hazabaza1:
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

What this guy said. I play JRPGs whenever I want to get away from the self-important pretense of many WRPGs.

I play JRPG's because they are not gritty and are far from it. The only problem I have with JRPG's is the characters. Keep in mind that all this is really my opinion. Take Chie from Persona 4. At the moment I cannot stand her, she is one of the most annoying characters I have ever come across. I hope she gets better, I'm only a few hours in, just started playing yesterday. Another set of annoying characters would be the two kids in Lost Odyssey. Yes they come from a tragic moment and all that jazz but they were still highly annoying. The same with Final Fantasy games; Vaan in Final Fantasy 12, many of the characters in FF13. And a lot of the time I do not enjoy the whole "strong and silent and broody type" hero's. JRPG's don't need to be grittier, the reason I play them is because they are not gritty. I didn't even know that they weren't liked, I thought they were loved just as much as any other type of game.

Edit: Hold the phone. Go and play Lost Odyssey, OP. Go and play that and come back to me and tell me it was childish. Oh and Bastion. Go and give that a whirl too. And a load of others I can list that don't have much political intrigue and yet are still part of my list of favourite games

"Gritty" does not equal mature. Obligatory:

image

Because that whole era of media is what happened when people started thinking that way. A better standard for maturity would be intellectual and emotional range. You need to have moments of levity to complement the grave ones, and you need to have whimsy to complement highmindedness. (Persona does well and FF13 does poorly on this front imo.)

I'd pick Dragon Age: Origins and FF6 as a WRPG and a JRPG that did this splendidly. Both feature an interesting, diverse cast of characters that all have their highs and lows and all have complex, multi-faceted personalities. Leliana's romanticism and apparent girlishness underscore her checkered past and make her reaction to the Sacred Urn thing far more compelling. Same with Oghren's boisterous oafishness and the meeting with Branka. Locke's whole roguish treasure hunter shtick does the same for his relationship with Rachel. Celes's personal growth and passion makes her suicide attempt far more tragic than if she'd been moping around the whole game.

Compare to Deus Ex: HR or the Witcher, where everyone's varying shades of "smug asshole," or FF13, where everyone's whiny and miserable all the time.

I've never read/seen Game of Thrones, so I can't really comment on whether it fits your criteria for "maturity" or mine. But yeah. A mature work is deep and complex, and works that just go for "gritty" tend to be shallow and immature. (Unless your definition of maturity is the same as the ESRB's...) Gear of War is gritty as hell, but it's one of the most immature games of this console gen.

gyrobot:
Well lets think for a moment why people hates JRPGs? Because it doesn't fit the current standards expected by the current attitude towards the fantasy genre.

Thank you for making me laugh today.

I don't know what generation your living in, but I can name 10 JRPG's right off the bat that are pretty much liked by the majority. Dark Souls, Tales of Symphonia, XenoSaga, Harvest Moon Rune Factory, Kingdom Hearts, Persona, Ni no Kuni, Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest, Etrian Odyssey.......hit me up if you need another 10 more.

Besides that, it sounds like maybe JRPG's aren't your game genre. The sheer absurdity and childishness of these JRPG's in which you describe are the prime reasons why I play JRPG's in the first place, and I sure as hell don't want them changing because people lack the inability to take the game seriously, because the wider audience wants them to be darker. (Personally, I think there about as dark as they can be, in their own special....errr...Japanese way)

Just stick to Western RPG's if your looking for Western RPG elements in JRPG's.

No . That why YOU hate Jrpgs . Japan has a different culture and likes different things . I prefer Jrpgs to Wrpgs . They are more original in setting , more lighthearted in plot ( although sometimes predictable ), have more remakable characters ( in general ) , more fantastic ( as in fantasy ), more creative , less tolkien ( thank god ). All this is in my opinion of course . I like me a good Wrpgs as much as the next guy ( Dragon age :Origins anyone?) . Sure they have their problems , but what genre doesn't?But my heart still belonds with the Jrpgs . I guess i'm just a child at heart.

hazabaza1:
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
Go play Persona 4, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Graces, Disgaea, Resonance of Fate, and I dunno, some of the older Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger or something and correct yourself.

I have to agree with this, Tales of Symphonia was a pretty dark game behind those cutesy cell-shaded graphics, which I think only helps with a sort of juxtaposition. Even Tales of Phantasia got pretty morally gray towards the end there

I would HATE to see a dark and gritty JRPG. Of all the things that are wrong with JRPG's of late I think a lack of grittyness is not among them. I HATE it when things are arbitrarily made dark and gritty.

Padwolf:
I play JRPG's because they are not gritty and are far from it. The only problem I have with JRPG's is the characters. Keep in mind that all this is really my opinion. Take Chie from Persona 4. At the moment I cannot stand her, she is one of the most annoying characters I have ever come across. I hope she gets better, I'm only a few hours in, just started playing yesterday. Another set of annoying characters would be the two kids in Lost Odyssey. Yes they come from a tragic moment and all that jazz but they were still highly annoying. The same with Final Fantasy games; Vaan in Final Fantasy 12, many of the characters in FF13. And a lot of the time I do not enjoy the whole "strong and silent and broody type" hero's. JRPG's don't need to be grittier, the reason I play them is because they are not gritty. I didn't even know that they weren't liked, I thought they were loved just as much as any other type of game.

Edit: Hold the phone. Go and play Lost Odyssey, OP. Go and play that and come back to me and tell me it was childish. Oh and Bastion. Go and give that a whirl too. And a load of others I can list that don't have much political intrigue and yet are still part of my list of favourite games

O MAI GAWD!

Padding! When did you start playing my #1 favourite game of all time?! PS2 or Vita re-release? Have you gotten to the first proper dungeon yet? (because the first 1 and a half/2 hours is literally scrolling text and dialogue choices peppered with save points, it's fucking hype) and goddammit everyone is supposed to love Chie! She's adorable :3

Anyway people typically complain more about Yosuke. He's kind of a dick sometimes.

I didn't even have to nag you into it. I now just need Rookie to stop creating shitty puns and actually play the damn thing.

"Lol Shitsona 4!"

Best jokes EU

Vegosiux:
The need for everything to be gritty and oh-so-edgy is a phase that should pass once you're out of adolescence. Actually the whole OP reads a little like "angry chess kid". See, I can do categorical dismissal with a dash of veiled insult too! Besdies, "gritty" can come across as so pretentious if forced. (Which was one of the reasons for my dislike of the Witcher series, by the way).

There's nothing wrong with JRPGs. Not my usual go-to genre these days because, ye gods, the day only has 24 hours and I have a lot of stuff to play, but seriously, there's nothing "wrong" with them as a genre, even if I happen to not like most of the prominent ones.

I feel like people shun grittiness and dark storytelling a bit too much. Perhaps its just me, but I never was into games and comics when the whole gritty 90's era was happening. Being dark and gritty is fine, it just can't be the main driving force and shouldn't saturate the entire plot of a story. Not every character needs to have a gritty emo backstory etc.

Most westerners don't like JRPG's because the recent ones seem to be drowning in Japanese anime culture where every single character is a metrosexual jonas brother. Take those out, stop putting in characters that are just there to make me notice how "cool" they are, and cut the overly convoluted stories and we're getting somewhere. Oh yeah, you had a point with the menus and combat system, it takes way too long to do anything.

Nothing wrong with JRPGs. Stick strictly to Atlus releases and the Souls games like I do and you'll be just fine.

No, we don't need more westernisation of the JRPG. What we need is more quality JRPGs, Square seem to be under the impression that if they keep westerning their games they'll sell better, but that's the thing, they're two different genres and while there is a cross over, to some degree they have different audiences. I don't expect my western RPGs to be more like JRPGs, even though I "prefer" JRPGs, because they're different genres.

JRPGs are generally characterized by turn based combat, more stat sheets and a linear narrative based around experiencing a rigid narrative. They're more about the gameplay being light enough to serve the story that someone wanted to tell in a constructed manner. Until you reach the end game, there's unlikely to be many points where you can just bugger off and do what you want. JRPGs tend to be very cleverly disguised corridors, with the occasional forks that have stuff in then, but eventually you'll have to return to the path and carry on. (Well except for FF13, that didn't have a pretense of being anything else than a very long, very pretty, very boring corridor, with any attempts to veer off the beaten path guarded by mechanized tigers.)

WRPGs while having a narrative, and in the case of the greats, (Baldurs Gate, Fallout 1/2, Planescape Torment, etc etc) have a fantastic story, but are more about the player character being a conduit to /explore/ a more loose setting and world. Generally you don't /have/ to follow the story, side-quests are abundant and you're quite free to wonder the world seeing whats up and leave the main story for ages, they're far more sandbox in nature and always have been.

In terms of themes, that's why some people like JRPGs, and they can be serious (or at least not whimsical), as is the case with FF6-8, or serious and light hearted at the same time (FF9, the Persona games). Yet they tend to have more diverse worlds, with all kinds of crazy shit going on as a result of not having ASOIAF or Tolkein as their main influences. I mean lets be honest here, most WRPGs using the fantasy setting are all pretty similar to each other on the surface.

Yeah I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, someone take this and make a more succinct point out of it ><

In summary, JRPGs aint for everyone, just like every other genre, their culture is different to our, and appeals to different people, it doesn't need westernisation.

Err... no.

Tons of people still love JRPGs.

And one of the main reasons I love JRPGs is because they are usually the opposite of dark and gritty.

Strongly Disagree...

All JRPG's need to be popular again are some NEW FRIGGING IDEAS! Hell the only studio I can think of that keeps innovating on their JRPG systems (Atlus) is doing VERY WELL and lots of folks love their games. But they seem to be the only ones who are really trying something new. For the most part the whole JRPG industry seems to be suffering from a "Good Enough" attitude, making games with boring dungeons, long cutscenes, no character customization, annoying anime cliches... things that they KNOW will sell a game in Japan but practically cripple them everywhere else.

You don't even need to change that much... The Witcher Series provides a great example of how you can have a carefully designed character who is still highly under the control of the player.

It's infuriating, it doesn't seem that hard to me "how" JRPG's can be redeemed, it's just nobody in Japan seems to be interested in making these games.

Though perhaps the character design could use a little work, The Last Story is great but I threw up a little in my mouth every time I looked at the characters. It's not even the "effeminate" look of some of the main characters that really throws me its that... they looks stupid... giant ridiculous hair, belly shirts on Male Characters... Butt Capes... what the hell art directors? Are you all drunk? There are still some games with redeeming art direction, Ni No Kuni, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Blue Dragon (the art was the only good thing about that game though) even something like The World Ends With You (characters looked ridiculous but it fit the setting).

Padwolf:
Take Chie from Persona 4. At the moment I cannot stand her, she is one of the most annoying characters I have ever come across.

Now I have a sad, because I thought Chie was adorable. D:

OT: First, I think it's hilarious that you think games are emulating Song of Ice and Fire, because "gritty" fantasy has been around for a lot longer than that series. Would it blow your mind to find out that Dungeons & Dragons was first published back in 1974? Over twenty years before Game of Thrones would be released?

Second, exhibit A for your side of the argument is Dark Souls, which you could be forgiven for not categorizing as a JRPG all things considered. It has a rather dark, foreboding atmosphere, with a very "classic" enemy set and pseudo-medieval armor/weapons. Fair enough, but it's pretty heavily outnumbered on the other side of the spectrum.

Oh, and that's generally not why people play JRPGs. I don't know about everyone else, but when I play a JRPG I'm expecting a pretty heavy narrative, filled with lots of light-hearted fun moments to build up my attachment to the cast before something dramatic tears me down again. I expect large quantities of quirkiness, and one or two throwaway characters that I don't need to care about because they have little relevance to the overall plot but have been thrown in anyway. If every single JRPG were more like Dragon Age, I'd probably get bored out of my skull trying to play any of them, because at least JRPGs still know how to create a different kind of fantasy universe.

Want to make JRPGs better? Take out the Angsty teenage heroes, or atleast if you have to have them, make them a joke character of some sort (like having the cast lampshade make fun of their angsty-ness.)

Just what we need in the world
More grittiness and cynicism.
You know, some of the most beloved children's shows and the like are loved by adults because they manage to maturely address heavy subjects without resorting to crying about the sorrows of mankind.

You can't generalize like this. Some Jrpgs fit with gritty themes but if ALL of them became like that it'd be boring.

You can make a Jrpg based on Berserk of Evangelion. Those, yeah, those can be dark and sad and stuff. You can't somehow throw away all the other wonderful kinds of Jrpgs out there.

Oh and I think they're plenty "liked". They were just never THAT big to begin with back in the day cause gaming in general was small then so now where the gaming audience has multiplied in size and the fandom of Jrpgs has pretty much stayed the same size it seems smaller in comparison while it is just as it has always been.

Btw, if you want "gritty" Jrpgs play the Nier series. It's plenty dark and stuff and it actually didn't do that well, it kinda disproves your theory. :p

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