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

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McFazzer:
A bit off topic but, Innegativeion? is your avatar of Naoto Shirogane in casual girl clothes?

Yes. Suffice to say that the Persona 4: Golden epilogue has new character sprites for the whole main cast. Naoto was apparently *really* good at binding.

On a more pertinent note, I've just recently finished TWEWY for the second time, and Xenoblade for the first... I'm now quite certain (even more so than my last two posts- go figure)the OP's opinions are greatly misinformed or under-informed.

Lilani:
*snip*

There are a couple of problems with this.

1.) The Japanese game industry as a whole is declining. JRPGs is one of their biggest gaming exports. Do the math.

2.) What the OP doesn't mention, that should be addressed, is that many people whom dislike JRPGs used to like them. Put me in this category.

I loved RPGs during the Saturn and PSX era (and beforehand, having played a few on the Megadrive and MegaCD). Problem is, current JRPGs, for the majority, don't offer anything new from what I've seen before. Why spend a full retail price on a game with the same cliched stories, characters, locations, battle systems, music, hammy dialog, and visuals that I played over 10 years prior (albeit, look a little nicer (or, sometimes, look worse))?

JRPGs, like a lot of genres in these days, need to remain innovative in order to stay relevant. And they're just not doing so. Say what you like about these action games and FPS which everyone is saying is the bane of gaming, but at least some of them are trying something. Whether it be The Line or MW2 for its story, Mirror's Edge for it's unique premise and visual style, Portal for it's gameplay. And yet, the only JRPG in recent years to have made waves is Persona 4, for reasons which no-one wants to explain to me why when I ask. I'm tempted to buy this game myself, but considering the horrid JRPGs I've played in recent years (FF13, Xenogears), I'm not investing again without some very good reassurance.

I understand that some people out there are happy to buy the exact same game with different packaging, over and over, hence the waves of loyal Pokemon fans, and all that jazz. But there are great many of us being alienated from the market due to sheer laziness. And with the next gen close on the horizon, with video games becoming more expensive to created, JRPG devs had better think fast, or we might see some of the greatest falling, fast.

In a nutshell; I don't agree with them being gritty, but they need to do something.

Innegativeion:

On a more pertinent note, I've just recently finished...Xenoblade for the first... I'm now quite certain (even more so than my last two posts- go figure)the OP's opinions are greatly misinformed or under-informed.

Surely playing that game would justify his argument more than anything?

Daystar Clarion:
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.

I will give this a +1 and add;

They need better combat too, I just shake my head when a person with a machinegun puts 50 rounds into a person with a katana, then the katana person proceeds to slash a tank in half.

Also internal consistancy failures need to be fixed

Star Ocean (Last hope I think) has the player slashing at bugs because fast moving projectiles bounce off some kinda shield, then half way through the game, you return with a person who uses guns, and he can blast the bugs AOK.

And you know the sad part about Persona 4 is it plays painfully into the high school antics that is the current trend in anime and manga at the moment.

And it is very popular by both sides of the pond.

gyrobot:
And you know the sad part about Persona 4 is it plays painfully into the high school antics that is the current trend in anime and manga at the moment.

And it is very popular by both sides of the pond.

I prefer to think of Persona 4 as the happiest game about serial murders ever! The high school antics didn't bother me so much, mainly because that is what I see the Persona series as (I know it's not all that, inner demons, growing up etc). Atlus has a whole library of not high school antic SMT games, and they are great (although they still have teens, Persona is the only one that springs to mind as having school life), but Persona was my first introduction into the SMT games and they have gripped me ever since.

I'm not seeing the lack of diversity in JRPGs that many people in this thread are describing. I mean, we take all the following to be JRPGs:

- Monster Hunter
- Demon's/Dark Souls
- Persona
- Fire Emblem
- Final Fantasy
- Dragon Quest
- 'Tales Of' Series
- and more!

Fuck me blind, but that's a lot of diversity, if you ask me. There's tactics games, turn-based games, real-time games, narrativist games, "gamist" games, party-based games, single character games, games that are traditional JRPGs, games that borrow from WRPGs, cliche games, creative games. RPGs of all kinds contained within the "genre" of the JRPG.

Trollhoffer:
I'm not seeing the lack of diversity in JRPGs that many people in this thread are describing. I mean, we take all the following to be JRPGs:

- Monster Hunter
- Demon's/Dark Souls
- Persona
- Fire Emblem
- Final Fantasy
- Dragon Quest
- 'Tales Of' Series
- and more!

Fuck me blind, but that's a lot of diversity, if you ask me. There's tactics games, turn-based games, real-time games, narrativist games, "gamist" games, party-based games, single character games, games that are traditional JRPGs, games that borrow from WRPGs, cliche games, creative games. RPGs of all kinds contained within the "genre" of the JRPG.

All of those are fantasy, excepting Persona.
The only game with it's own style, really, on that list, is Demon's/Dark Souls.
And none of them have good writing or art design. Which the greats among WRPG's do.

Trollhoffer:
I'm not seeing the lack of diversity in JRPGs that many people in this thread are describing. I mean, we take all the following to be JRPGs:

- Monster Hunter
- Demon's/Dark Souls
- Persona
- Fire Emblem
- Final Fantasy
- Dragon Quest
- 'Tales Of' Series
- and more!

Fuck me blind, but that's a lot of diversity, if you ask me. There's tactics games, turn-based games, real-time games, narrativist games, "gamist" games, party-based games, single character games, games that are traditional JRPGs, games that borrow from WRPGs, cliche games, creative games. RPGs of all kinds contained within the "genre" of the JRPG.

Monster Hunter and Demon/Dark Souls are Action-Adventure games, not JRPGs

Akratus:
All of those are fantasy, excepting Persona.

I don't really see how this is relevant, given those most WRPGs are fantasy. It's true that WRPGs are science fiction more often than JRPGs are, but that's got more to do with the coat of paint than the actual content of most games. Few games of any origin are successful at being traditional science fiction -- the kind that comments on the capacity for technology to change the social landscape of our lives. For most intents and purposes, science fiction and fantasy both hold the same function in games; they provide abstractions that allow game mechanics to make sense.

In any case, Persona is also fantasy. It's just fantasy in the modern world, rather than psuedo-medieval.

Akratus:
The only game with it's own style, really, on that list, is Demon's/Dark Souls.

Patently false, whatever definition of "style" you want to use. I don't know if you're referring to art style, writing style, mechanical style or whatever, but each of those games are different in all of those different ways. Dragon Quest doesn't resemble Monster Hunter at all, be it in mechanics, writing, art, sound direction or whatever you'd like to point out. Nor does Persona resemble Fire Emblem in those ways. Each of those series has a very different way of handling the concepts it includes, which becomes obvious when you play them.

Akratus:
And none of them have good writing or art design. Which the greats among WRPG's do.

You're moving into an area of heavier subjectivity here, but we'd have to define the "greats" among WRPGs first, in any case. For me, the prime example is The Witcher series, which had good art direction for the first game and absolutely fantastic art direction for the second. Otherwise, are you talking about The Elder Scrolls, which has changed its art direction drastically between Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim? Are we talking about Fallout, the writing within which took a deep dive from Fallout 3 onwards? Mass Effect? Dragon Age?

You're not being at all specific and you're leaning on generalisations rather than anything that illustrates your points for me. It's easy to claim that WRPGs are more diverse, have their own styles, have better art design and have better writing, but those are just opinions without reasonable, explained backing. You're welcome to those opinions, of course, but you're not going to sway anyone if you don't illustrate the reasoning behind them, especially if your audience gets the impression that you haven't played any significant amount of JRPGs.

Insofar as my gaming experience goes, RPGs have been one of the major backbones of my play time ever since I discovered them -- Western and Japanese alike. I absolutely value both and couldn't tell you which kind I like better, because I honestly don't know. But what I do know is that JRPGs often get slighted by people who haven't actually played them, or haven't played JRPGs of different kinds. And I'm getting the distinct impression that you're one of those people, because I specifically chose the games I listed because they're all popular, well-known and different.

If JRPGs have a consistent advantage of WRPGs, though, I'd say that it's that they're usually more mechanically sophisticated than WRPGs, with a more diverse array of gameplay systems within the genre. The WRPG industry is more heavily dominated by a smaller selection of "greats" that don't necessarily innovate on the material that they've put out beforehand. For instance, BioWare's Dragon Age is like a parred-down version of Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights, whereas Mass Effect's combat mechanics were competent but otherwise standard for third-person shooters. Skyrim's major problem is that it, by default, contains very little depth of gameplay without mods. The recent Fallout games are better in that respect, but not necessarily by that much. While smaller games like Mount & Blade buck the trend heavily, they really are a whole lot smaller than the AAA material that dominates WRPG perception by that small handful of large studios.

Juxtaposing that is the greater diversity of JRPG gameplay systems, as I mentioned above. Fire Emblem isn't a traditional JRPG (apart from the fact that it's long-running in its own right), because it's a tile-based tactics game where the outcomes of fights are influenced by RPG mechanics. Monster Hunter and Dark Souls hinge on the master of timing and relative positioning, plus recognition of enemy telegraphs. Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are about how efficient you can make your turns, whereas the 'Tales Of' series uses real-time, side-on, fighting-game style combat with a traditional JRPG menu system that can be accessed to control your allied characters, which pauses the game. Apart from the notable differences in aesthetic and writing, each of these series has a distinct kind of mechanical gameplay.

As a gamer who loves RPGs of all kinds, but especially loves experiencing new systems and new ways to play, there's no question -- JRPGs more often provide me with the more novel gameplay experience and the need to adapt my understanding in order to succeed. And it doesn't seem that the JRPG's creative spark has really gone anywhere, with the major flaw of the genre being that its writing quality hasn't progressed in relation to its mechanical creativity. With that said, though, WRPGs often have atrocious writing in their own right -- one of the most celebrated WRPGs today is still Skyrim, which writes the book on forgettable dialogue and prose. BioWare games are better and The Witcher games are even better still, but we're not talking genius writing on either end of the geographical spectrum. And for what it's worth, JRPGs tend to have a greater focus on the dynamic of a group of consistent characters. They may not be comprised of literary genius, but plenty of WRPGs don't even try, which is to me a constant source of disappointment.

Like I said, I love RPGs on both sides of the spectrum. Both have their ups and downs. But what you posted communicates nothing to me except that you're not experienced with JRPGs and have almost certainly gained your information second-hand, or are biased for whatever reason in favour of one cultural group of games. The best RPGs, I believe, combine strong elements of both styles. So it stands to reason that The Witcher games and the Souls games have been some of the most celebrated RPGs of this gaming generation -- both borrow heavily from both sides of the Pacific Ocean and are much more powerful for it, which shows us just how foolish picking just one or the other is.

Desert Punk:
Monster Hunter and Demon/Dark Souls are Action-Adventure games, not JRPGs

Oh please.

Akratus:

Trollhoffer:
I'm not seeing the lack of diversity in JRPGs that many people in this thread are describing. I mean, we take all the following to be JRPGs:

- Monster Hunter
- Demon's/Dark Souls
- Persona
- Fire Emblem
- Final Fantasy
- Dragon Quest
- 'Tales Of' Series
- and more!

Fuck me blind, but that's a lot of diversity, if you ask me. There's tactics games, turn-based games, real-time games, narrativist games, "gamist" games, party-based games, single character games, games that are traditional JRPGs, games that borrow from WRPGs, cliche games, creative games. RPGs of all kinds contained within the "genre" of the JRPG.

All of those are fantasy, excepting Persona.
The only game with it's own style, really, on that list, is Demon's/Dark Souls.
And none of them have good writing or art design.

I'm inclined to agree with this.

Which the greats among WRPG's do.

I won't agree to that though. WRPGs are just as boring if you ask me.

JRPGs rarely have outstanding gameplay, so I do often end up looking past gameplay flaws. Sure the stories might not be Pulitzer Prize material, may even be repetitive, but I enjoy then well enough and I've rarely put up with terrible gameplay to continue the story because it was that good in a WRPG. The exceptions being The Witcher and Fallout: New Vegas. Which are the exception that proves the rule, as I always felt that The Witcher had more in common with a JRPG than a WRPG (playing the role of Geralt, not a nameless wanderer who you make yourself, the combat felt like it had that kind of turn based flow to it) and New Vegas had an interesting world which I love wandering, I also have a soft spot for Obsidian games :).

Valnyan:
A lot of JRPG are mature. Pretty much any Final Fantasy or Breath of Fire are mature, the Phantasy Star serie too. What makes maturity is the story telling, deep characters, even "one dimentional" characters can be written in a mature
manner.

Game of Thrones, on the other hand, I watched the first season and I wouldn't call it mature. Maturity isn't defined by sex, gore, deaths, cussing and nude wiminz, that is the definition of "maturity" a ten year old would have. Because "maturity" means "the stuffs for adult" and that's porno, death and violence.
This is not mature, it is gritty.

If you want gritty JRPGs there are a few Demon Souls/Dark Souls are pretty gritty and really mature but can be hard to grasp because they don't give any exposition about the plot, there are pieces of information everywhere in the dialogue, the scenery, the character design, items and it's to the player to assemble the puzzle. (And that's coming from someone who hate Demon/Dark Souls' gameplay)
If you want a (less) gritty and (less but still) mature JRPG there is also Dragon's Dogma that is much less reticent to explain its plot.

As for WRPG, if you want a mature WRPG there is Dragon Age : Origin which happens to be gritty too. There are probably some others but I don't have an example of non gritty but mature WRPG for now.

Just to make my point clear, one last example that is not an RPG, but that most peoples will agree is not mature but gritty : the new DmC.
Because everyone adding "fuck you" every other line is instant maturity for any story.

With Game of Thrones, the way I see it is Maturity to the lowest Common denominator. So for Japan to get people to like them again, they need to be relying on the lowest common denominator of maturity if people will take notice and it is not hard given the creative resources of Japan. Same settings but with the mature mindset I say

gyrobot:

Valnyan:
A lot of JRPG are mature. Pretty much any Final Fantasy or Breath of Fire are mature, the Phantasy Star serie too. What makes maturity is the story telling, deep characters, even "one dimentional" characters can be written in a mature
manner.

Game of Thrones, on the other hand, I watched the first season and I wouldn't call it mature. Maturity isn't defined by sex, gore, deaths, cussing and nude wiminz, that is the definition of "maturity" a ten year old would have. Because "maturity" means "the stuffs for adult" and that's porno, death and violence.
This is not mature, it is gritty.

If you want gritty JRPGs there are a few Demon Souls/Dark Souls are pretty gritty and really mature but can be hard to grasp because they don't give any exposition about the plot, there are pieces of information everywhere in the dialogue, the scenery, the character design, items and it's to the player to assemble the puzzle. (And that's coming from someone who hate Demon/Dark Souls' gameplay)
If you want a (less) gritty and (less but still) mature JRPG there is also Dragon's Dogma that is much less reticent to explain its plot.

As for WRPG, if you want a mature WRPG there is Dragon Age : Origin which happens to be gritty too. There are probably some others but I don't have an example of non gritty but mature WRPG for now.

Just to make my point clear, one last example that is not an RPG, but that most peoples will agree is not mature but gritty : the new DmC.
Because everyone adding "fuck you" every other line is instant maturity for any story.

With Game of Thrones, the way I see it is Maturity to the lowest Common denominator. So for Japan to get people to like them again, they need to be relying on the lowest common denominator of maturity if people will take notice and it is not hard given the creative resources of Japan. Same settings but with the mature mindset I say

Like others have said, why must JAPANESE RPG developers get WESTERN audiences to play their games. Japan is an EASTERN country, therefore it relies on EASTERN audiences.
Anyway, 'lowest common denominator' maturity isn't maturity at all. This grit and LCD style you keep advocating (something JRPG fans don't want) is only mature if it has a point to it, if it's trying to get a political or social message across, but excessive violence, swearing and pornography for the sake of it is the very epitome of immaturity. My favorite example of this is Gears of War, it's gritty, very gritty, but there's no moral undertones, so it's far from being mature.
But You still haven't answered everyone's question: why must Japanese developers pander to western audiences? Why must they make an entirely secondary demographic play their games?

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.

Wrong. People (A.K.A. non-Japanese people) hate JRPGS because they are not tailored towards them. JRPGs are generally made for the Japanese culture, and then they get translated/exported because the rest of the world whines for them to be released.

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'm jumping to the discussion rather late, but what criteria are you using to claim that JRPGs are on the decline. It may not be the most recent information, but I remember in Jim Sterling's rant about Xenoblade Chronicles not being localized he cited that Japanese games are making more money in the US that they are in Japan. With that in mind why do they need to add this "maturity" you claim they need?

gritty is just another theme like teen angst.

both suck the biggest donkey dick imaginable.

how about make your story not a convoluted mess that doesnt make any damn sense at the end?
and stop including endless speaking wannabe cute pets. they are fucking disgusting.

nykirnsu:

Like others have said, why must JAPANESE RPG developers get WESTERN audiences to play their games. Japan is an EASTERN country, therefore it relies on EASTERN audiences.

This is not true. Major Japanese developers have mentioned in the past that, with the rise in cost to make the flashiest games in any genre, they are now relying on Western audiences just as much as Eastern ones to make them money.

Sure, smaller companies that make those really terrible JRPGs on things like the PSP and DS can make a living relying just on Eastern sales, but do you honestly think Square can afford to make a top-of-the-line Final Fantasy game for Eastern audiences only?

Here's the oddball answers I got when I asked this to some gal pals.

*Demake all 3D Jrpgs with RPGMaker & slap on a chiptunes soundtrack.
*Heterosexual romance is boring.
*Raiden is prettier than Snake.
*FF7 & up should have just been anime series like FFU.
*Why can't I kill the Disney characters in Kingdom hearts?"
*I hate it when they translate the music.

maninahat:
I think we have a problem when a Song of Ice and Fire is being described as "mature".

As a fan of the novels and the TV series I would have to agree, I doubt it was ever intended to be more "mature" or anything like that. It just takes all the intrigue, corruption, violence and greed of medieval Europe and the Middle East/Mediterranean as its central theme. The TV series tries a bit to hard as well, like the way it ramps the sex up to 11 for no real reason.

I would say its less grit and more maturity. Those of us who remember the Dark Age of Comic Books can tell you just where overdosing on the "grim and gritty" aesthetic gets you, ie nothing good. I do agree partially with your main point that JRPGs do need a dose of maturity now and again. Maturity goes beyond aesthetics, the Disgaea series has a cartoony art style and colour palette but it deals with serious themes. FFVI was made with sprites but managed to convey a moving and invocative story. Its about dealing with adult themes, treating your players with respect and having believable, relatable characters. If the main character is unlikable, insane (and not in a good way) or just plain annoying, its going to be a hard sell for the players.

Just like the bad old days of Grim and Gritty comics however, I think to a certain extent some JRPG makers have been trying to replicate the success of earlier installments with superficial similarities rather than going to the meat of what made those installments successful. Cloud from FFVII is seriously emo; a lot of emo, mopey protagonists have come after (and some before) him. What made him a compelling protagonist? The fact that he is revealed to be a subversion of the traditional hero. He isn't the glamorous, hard-boiled elite that he thinks he is. In fact given his bundle of neurosis is legitimately due to severe mental trauma, we have essentially been playing as a clinically insane person throughout much of the game. That is what made Cloud interesting, not the fact that he is an emo pretty boy wielding a Freudianly huge sword. JRPG developers need to remember that their top draw has always been great stories with compelling characters. Having great graphics is advantageous but when everything else is all but excised in the name of those graphics, we get a very pretty CGI anime with occasional combat scenes. When did the player become accessory to the game? Sure JRPGs have traditionally not had much player determination but when the player is relegated to nothing more than the combat sequence puppeteer, something is very wrong. Overall I believe that some JRPG developers need to focus on their core strengths, less on aesthetics and give their players some respect. We want to feel emotionally involved in the character's story, not the dude who just presses the buttons.

gyrobot:
But the childishness is a disease that needs to be cured

Oh fuck, I don't think you're joking.

This truly is the Call of Duty generation of gaming. More grit, more over the top macho men, more cynicism equals more grown up. Truly the opinion of someone who isn't.

Grittier? Dunno about that. A different storyline than "Band of youths forms and destroys hordes of monsters before saving the world from a god-like evil being"? I think that might help.

I don't think JRPG's lost their appeal, what I think is that we saw a boom on western market and western games. At the time PS2 was the big star we only had a handful of AAA western games, specially when it came down to RPG, JRPG was the name of the game, so much so that not everyone used that term, it was just RPG. It was in the current gen that we saw western RPGs take flight, and many other genres as well (western), and well they sorta swallowed the japanese stuff. In short, this gen brought the gamers new western stuff, and they enjoyed their fucks out of it, but the Japanese market isn't keeping up with it, they seem to have overestimated the gamer audience as a whole. Look at Capcom's decisions as of late, as well as some decisions by Square Enix...

You've got to wonder what went wrong in the heads of Americans, who are taught to be all fiercely individualistic yet all crave to do and have the very same things. Could it be the so called individualistic mindset, is actually the authoritarian mind and they all wish to emulate the leader of Cool and the leader of Strenght?

I HAVE seen JRPG's that got really dark in their plots (Vagrant Story, Tactics Ogre, and Xenogears are prime examples), but I wouldn't say they were "gritty." Those games were far mroe varied and mature in their approach then the George R.R. Martin knockoffs I see from the West. Grittiness is what a 12-year-old thinks is mature and JRPG's don't need that.

The thing I like about JRPG's is that they are fantasy games set in beautiful worlds we haven't seen before and aren't following the current common fantasy formula of dark, gritty and sexual. I also like that the races involved aren't human, dwarves, elves and orcs. They are far more original than that. Though what they suffer from is lack of marketing, and there are so many in existence that it is difficult to keep track of them. Everyone has heard of Final Fantasy though, there are so many of them it overshadows other JRPG's... Better soundtracks too.

As it probably has been mentioned before. Its the turn based combat. That is literally all i hate about JRPGs. I've seen people turned off by persona which is an amazing game because of the combat. Also the lack of REAL class building and personalization of both the narrative and the characters turns people off too.

Yeah, Skies of Arcadia wasn't gritty and I'd place it as one of the best JRPGs ever.

Yep, just like comic books in the 1990's, they should be gritty with expendable lifeless characters, squinty eyes and...

Its a culture thing. They are japanese games made with Japan in mind, they sell in America because there is a market for them, but that still doesn't mean that we are its prime target. I appreciate JRPG's, and while I do sometimes like a bit of grit, I have no business trying to change them.

Aiddon:
I HAVE seen JRPG's that got really dark in their plots (Vagrant Story, Tactics Ogre, and Xenogears are prime examples), but I wouldn't say they were "gritty." Those games were far mroe varied and mature in their approach then the George R.R. Martin knockoffs I see from the West. Grittiness is what a 12-year-old thinks is mature and JRPG's don't need that.

I mentioned that a lot before about Matsuno's works. That was the reason why people like his works. They are dark, blood hell he wrote the story for Mad World. He knows what the western audience wants. All it takes is a huge leap to CERO Z and he will hold absolutely nothing back. The variety of settings from JRPGs and the grit of WRPGs.

nykirnsu:

But You still haven't answered everyone's question: why must Japanese developers pander to western audiences? Why must they make an entirely secondary demographic play their games?

If you don't want to be the laughing stock and a running joke about how bad gaming can be, then this is the easiest way to approach to the issue.

Oh please, not more of this "make is gritty, make it dark" bullshit.

I love dark games, I love gritty games. I also love Minecraft and Bastion and Rayman.

JRPG's don't need to go dark and gritty to be successful. They need to get rid of random encounters and they need to totally revamp their turn based combat systems. They can still be turn based but they need to have a deeper level of strategy so we can feel like we accomplishing something when we fight. Last of all they need to have a coherent plot that feeds you more bits and pieces of the story as you progress in the game, thus giving you a reason to keep playing. These are things a lot of JRPGs over the last 10 years have not done a good job with.

I hope there are some JRPG games that do the things I've talked about above, some of them can be dark and gritty, some of them don't have to be.

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

I know that acronyms are useful, but sometimes they go to far. I had to think hard about "ASOIAF" to even understand what you mean, and only did it because you compared it with Tolkien... without that reference, it just sounded ridiculous.

On topic, no. They don't need to be gritty. In fact, the reason why most are disliked is because they are too gritty... That is the reason games like Ni No Kuni or Dragon Quest feel refreshing even when, design-wise, they are dinosaurs. Because after the success of Final Fantasy 7, everything needed to be gritty and angsty and "dark and edgy". Every character needed a tragic backstory to be revealed, some unrequited love, some lost in his life to drive him forward into saving the world. If everything is dark and gloomy, its as unrealistic as all being bright and happy. If you go that route, you end up with Mass Effect 3: a game where the few moments of interaction feel like unnecessary because of the grand scheme of things ("Hey, Shepard! How can you be dancing in the Citadel, when there are people dying by the millions a few blocks away?"). Yes, Vanille is earnest and overly sweet (for the most part), but she is as generic and defined as Lightning and her "angsty and tragic" attitude.

Case in point: Persona 4. Now, that game has some heavy stuff; between the murders, characters with confused sexuality, coping with social expectations, mysticism, etc, nobody would call it a "child's game". But I wouldn't care about the characters a fraction of what I do if they didn't also have some genuinely charming, funny and lighthearted moments. If there wasn't a school festival or a trip to the bathhouse, and all their lives were defined by the mystery case and their tragic backstories, they would be as flat as the happy and naive characters you seems to hate.

gyrobot:

nykirnsu:
But You still haven't answered everyone's question: why must Japanese developers pander to western audiences? Why must they make an entirely secondary demographic play their games?

If you don't want to be the laughing stock and a running joke about how bad gaming can be, then this is the easiest way to approach to the issue.

Every time they try to act like they know what westerns want, they are the laughing stock. Whenever they go out of their way to have "more guns", "more drama", "more grit", without any idea of the sensitivity behind anything western, they turn beloved franchises like "Resident Evil", "Silent Hill" or "Devil May Cry" into running jokes.

Your Gaffer:
Oh please, not more of this "make is gritty, make it dark" bullshit.

I love dark games, I love gritty games. I also love Minecraft and Bastion and Rayman.

JRPG's don't need to go dark and gritty to be successful. They need to get rid of random encounters and they need to totally revamp their turn based combat systems. They can still be turn based but they need to have a deeper level of strategy so we can feel like we accomplishing something when we fight. Last of all they need to have a coherent plot that feeds you more bits and pieces of the story as you progress in the game, thus giving you a reason to keep playing. These are things a lot of JRPGs over the last 10 years have not done a good job with.

I hope there are some JRPG games that do the things I've talked about above, some of them can be dark and gritty, some of them don't have to be.

I completely agree with this. If Japanese developers want the west to appreciate and buy their games, they have to tell a good story well and make their game fun to play.

I will say this, however on the subject of maturity: I think all games, regardless of country of orientation, need to be more mature. Not in the gritty grimdark way, but in a way where they realize the audience for their games are adults. Right now it feels like most of the stuff being made is for teenagers and little kids and very little of it is being made for those actually make up the majority of the gaming population(or at least the so-called "hardcore" demographic).

So when the OP said that he wished that JRPGs would be more like ASOIF, I can sort of agree, but I wish ALL games were more like ASOIF. Not because it's dark, but because it's mature and adult. It knows it's audience and caters to it.

No.

While grittiness works in otherwise flippant genres once-off because it's a contrast, making everything the same is never the solution. You don't just make an entire genre gritty and expect that to sell.

Honestly I think the problems JRPGs generally have are the same problems any game has. Poor characterisation, lack of investment in characters or what they're doing, boring gameplay, overly blatant dialogue, forced emotion, lack of being a good game, any one of these things, but they're all just problems to do with games. JRPGs are not inherently bad, and making them all gritty wouldn't fix it. It's like instead of childish, ridiculous characters you have serious unsmiling ones. Neither is particularly inspired to me.

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