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November 19th, 2012, 11:38
The developers are hardly to blame, it's the publisher desire to maximise profit that has been controlling the outcome. For a while, some genres appeared to dominate sales - and as such, developers were directed to focus on those. That's still pretty much the case, I'd say.

RPG "elements" have become highly popular - but I wouldn't say that "traditional" singleplayer RPGs are highly successful again. The Fallouts/TES games are not exactly traditional or particularly cerebral - and their level of success is not common. The Witcher 2 is similarly action oriented - and doesn't compete in terms of sales with the genres that still dominate the market.

Torchlight 2 is a straight-up action RPG with little or no story. It's among the most hollow examples of the genre. KoA was similarly hollow and action driven. Both games are very far from what I would consider traditional RPGs.

As for Kickstarter games - I think we need to wait and see before proclaiming a true return to form. However, I will say that after Project Eternity - there's more hope for artistically driven quality RPGs than before.

The only game I can think of that seems to support this theory (in a way we should be really happy with) was Dragon Age - which was uncommonly cerebral/demanding and quite successful. But look at what EA/Bioware decided to follow up that success with.
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