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Default The Authentic RPG and its Tragic Demise @ Critical Gamer

January 24th, 2011, 23:02
The Authentic RPG and its Tragic Demise is a piece at Critical Gamer, where the author discusses the meaning and demise of RPGs. His main issue seems to be pre-generated characters but I found the piece undermined by a lack of experience and some errors - such as adding Fallout to the new generation not-really-RPGs list. I assume he means Fallout 3 but it isn't clear. Here's a snip:
Although I do take offense at your tone, I’ll still explain my reasoning. The trouble is that the majority of RPGs are being attracted to a more action-focused design, one that emphasizes flashy combat and downplays role-playing. And Mass Effect’s brand of gameplay, love it or loathe it, is leading the charge in the industry. Take all the hullabaloo concerning Dragon Age II for example (if you count a relatively minor fraction of perturbed Dragon Age fans to count as hullabaloo). The sequel to Bioware’s award-winning fantasy RPG is adopting the dialogue wheel and voice acted character ideas, forcing the player into the role of a hero named Hawke and claiming to be more (surprise!) action-oriented this time around. Bioware’s first venture into the MMORPG, The Old Republic, is on-board for similar changes as well.
It’s not just Bioware, though: bunches of other RPGs lean heavily towards such tendencies these days, including Fallout, Fable, Gothic and even Dungeons and Dragons itself. The recently announced Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim seems to be the last beacon of hope for the deeper side of RPGs, but even that series is light on character interaction. It would appear that an already too-small gathering of games has dwindled to an amount just shy of zero.
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January 24th, 2011, 23:02
Most players are just going to have to accept the new direction or get left in the dust. You can bitch and moan about the state of rpgs myself but it will do no good.
The developers and Publishers only care about making games more accessible
to cater to a broader market. To get more casual gamers while trying to retain
your hardcore fans to earn more money. Don't blame ourselves for the problem
were facing blame developers like bioware and bethesda they believe in making
are rpgs as I said more accessible. So have a bottle of cold beer on me
and remember the past fondly.

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January 24th, 2011, 23:40
But is it really impossible to create something that can please the casual and the hardcore?
Besides I've been playing computer and video games since the seventies. And that was never an issue. People would play what wanted to play. If it was hard, then he would accept it and adapt to it if he really wanted to play. Are we more stupid and lazy today? Or is this being induced to us? Are we creating a generation of retards?
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January 25th, 2011, 00:17
My guess is that there were at least as many retards back then. It's just that the industry is targeting them now
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January 25th, 2011, 00:50
There will always be good RPGs, you just have a to look a little harder to find them!
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January 25th, 2011, 00:53
It’s not just Bioware, though: bunches of other RPGs lean heavily towards such tendencies these days, including Fallout, Fable, Gothic and even Dungeons and Dragons itself.
Eh…? I wish he would be more specific about which titles he's referring to. How could he possibly be including Gothic or, as Dhruin mentioned, Fallout as being dumbed-down "new generation" titles? I can only assume he meant ArcaniA.
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January 25th, 2011, 01:22
You know, it's rather disappointing to read an article like this- filled with disgruntled comments regarding the current state of mainstream RPGs, and know the author has never bothered to pick up an indie RPG to see that authentic role-playing isn't dead, it's just not made by AAA developers anymore. I could name a dozen indie developers who have made (or are making) some quality shit, keeping the genre alive. It is too bad that he could have used that space to educate RPG fans of other options rather than lament that the best days are behind us.
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January 25th, 2011, 01:52
Originally Posted by BasiliskWrangler View Post
You know, it's rather disappointing to read an article like this- filled with disgruntled comments regarding the current state of mainstream RPGs, and know the author has never bothered to pick up an indie RPG to see that authentic role-playing isn't dead, it's just not made by AAA developers anymore. I could name a dozen indie developers who have made (or are making) some quality shit, keeping the genre alive. It is too bad that he could have used that space to educate RPG fans of other options rather than lament that the best days are behind us.
That's true. But only the indies are doing it. And it's becoming a gaming niche, more and more, thanks to that.
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January 25th, 2011, 03:21
Holy double standard! Knights of the Old Republic is fine but Mass Effect isn't? Knights allowed you to make your character the way you want but ME doesn't? Except for the combat model, these two games are almost the same!! RPGs have been giving us pretty much the same number of response options since Infocom gave up the ghost. And what's this silliness about names? When all interaction was text we could pick our names but Knights is voiced! Sure you could pick your name but nobody ever used it - just like they never use your first name in ME.

This guy isn't ever going to see a "real" RPG again simply because he's holding RPGs up to a standard they haven't ever met! When an RPG gives you a choice it's almost always a very short term one. When you get options with your style of interaction, you only get two or three. That's simply a limitation with computers - they can only react to expected input.

(That changes a lot in an MMO, where you can do a lot of heavy duty role playing. But in an MMO you aren't really roleplaying with the game itself, you are roleplaying with other people who can make up responses as they go along. The MMO itself is just a backdrop.)
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January 25th, 2011, 03:49
Originally Posted by Von Paulus View Post
That's true. But only the indies are doing it. And it's becoming a gaming niche, more and more, thanks to that.
One of the main problems with a lot of the indies is that really look graphically inferior. I'm not saying I expect graphics like what you see in Dragon Age or anything, but many would have been considered obsolete, graphically, ten years ago. I certainly don't mean to insult indi developers (particularly the ones that post here!), but I think that really makes them even more of a niche. If you saw more indies that had graphics at least comparable to say, BG2 or Arcanum, which by today's standards are obviously obsolete for AAA games, they'd be much less of a niche product (and I realize that graphics can be the most expensive part of the game).

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January 25th, 2011, 03:53
Originally Posted by BasiliskWrangler View Post
You know, it's rather disappointing to read an article like this- filled with disgruntled comments regarding the current state of mainstream RPGs, and know the author has never bothered to pick up an indie RPG to see that authentic role-playing isn't dead, it's just not made by AAA developers anymore. I could name a dozen indie developers who have made (or are making) some quality shit, keeping the genre alive. It is too bad that he could have used that space to educate RPG fans of other options rather than lament that the best days are behind us.
I couldn't agree more.

I don't see the doom and gloom. Actually I'm pretty optimistic about RPGs future. It's getting easier for small developers to make quality RPGs. I'm not saying it's easy, it's just easier than it was ten or twenty years ago.

You used to only have Jeff Vogel's RPGs, but now there are more and more indies popping up to fill in the gap that the AAAs left. Dead State, AOD, Frayed Knights, Eschalon series, Depth's of Peril, Driftmoon, Knights of the Chalice and a few others I know that I'm forgetting. If you look at it this way it has never been better to be a RPG fan.

Indies aside you also have people making really good RPGs with mods. Lazarus and Ultima 6 Project being prime examples of that.

So cheer up Critical Gamer and open your eyes to the world of indies.

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January 25th, 2011, 04:20
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I couldn't agree more.

I don't see the doom and gloom. Actually I'm pretty optimistic about RPGs future. It's getting easier for small developers to make quality RPGs. I'm not saying it's easy, it's just easier than it was ten or twenty years ago.

You used to only have Jeff Vogel's RPGs, but now there are more and more indies popping up to fill in the gap that the AAAs left. Dead State, AOD, Frayed Knights, Eschalon series, Depth's of Peril, Driftmoon, Knights of the Chalice and a few others I know that I'm forgetting. If you look at it this way it has never been better to be a RPG fan.

Indies aside you also have people making really good RPGs with mods. Lazarus and Ultima 6 Project being prime examples of that.

So cheer up Critical Gamer and open your eyes to the world of indies.
I tried the indies some are good and others I wouldn't recommend to anybody. Still the indie developers try to scratch that rpg nostalgia but only a few do.

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January 25th, 2011, 04:31
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
One of the main problems with a lot of the indies is that really look graphically inferior. I'm not saying I expect graphics like what you see in Dragon Age or anything, but many would have been considered obsolete, graphically, ten years ago. I certainly don't mean to insult indi developers (particularly the ones that post here!), but I think that really makes them even more of a niche. If you saw more indies that had graphics at least comparable to say, BG2 or Arcanum, which by today's standards are obviously obsolete for AAA games, they'd be much less of a niche product (and I realize that graphics can be the most expensive part of the game).
Exactly. I'm currently playing Geneforge 5 and I'm really enjoying it. But the lack of nowadays standard graphics in these indie games pulls away a lot of potential players, that could be seduced by the good gameplay. So the genre is more and more a niche.
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January 25th, 2011, 04:51
There have only been a few released so far (not counting Vogel's). It's only now that more and more indie devs are popping up.

Released:
Jeff Vogel's Games
Eschalon 1 & 2
KOTC
Depth's of Peril (Maybe Din's Curse, but DOP is better)
Devil Whiskey (if you can ignore the bugs)
Omega Syndrome

Those are just the ones that I can remember.

Now here's what is coming in the near future:

Dead State
AOD
Frayed Knights
Eschalon 3 ???
Driftmoon
KOTC 2

The future looks very good from my point of view.

@Von Paulus Art isn't cheap and there is no way an indie can compete on that scale with AAAs who dump millions into a game.

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January 25th, 2011, 06:27
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
There have only been a few released so far (not counting Vogel's). It's only now that more and more indie devs are popping up.

Released:
Jeff Vogel's Games
Eschalon 1 & 2
KOTC
Depth's of Peril (Maybe Din's Curse, but DOP is better)
Devil Whiskey (if you can ignore the bugs)
Omega Syndrome

Those are just the ones that I can remember.

Now here's what is coming in the near future:

Dead State
AOD
Frayed Knights
Eschalon 3 ???
Driftmoon
KOTC 2

The future looks very good from my point of view.

@Von Paulus Art isn't cheap and there is no way an indie can compete on that scale with AAAs who dump millions into a game.
Only interested in AOD and Dead State. Hopefully AOD gets released sometime soon. Dead State looks good from the previews in magazines. Especially the part of being like fallout.

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January 25th, 2011, 07:53
If there's any hope, it lies in the proles. Er… I mean, indies.
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January 25th, 2011, 08:30
I think germany and eastern europe will play a larger and larger role in the cRPG realm.

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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January 25th, 2011, 09:13
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I think germany and eastern europe will play a larger and larger role in the cRPG realm.
For me, Risen was a giant boost in terms of RPG gameplay and hopefully it had a positive influence the genre. Bioware I think is on the point of no return. It's purely big-corp marketing driven now. I'm sure they'll continue to produce games of high production value, but gameplay-wize I think their game designers will continue to take shortcuts to enable ever shorter production cycles with high production value.
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January 25th, 2011, 09:37
Yep the article only talks about AAA titles … and not even the Witcher …
I bet there are some indy or small studio RPGS out there worth playing , the only difference is that AAA titles get more media attention.
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January 25th, 2011, 11:09
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I think germany and eastern europe will play a larger and larger role in the cRPG realm.
This and what Jay and Samhain said x1000.

The article's intentions are what they are but he clearly doesn't really know the genre. Risen was more casual than Gothic but still pushed a lot of the right buttons. The River of Time was solid. The Witcher franchise is possibly more of a mainstream title but still… I think those kind of European releases fill a niche between the absolute hardcore and the "evolved" and "more accessible" mainstream NA titles, which is naturally smaller than that for said action titles but still big enough to support these kind of games (though not if the publisher idiots up the release like for TRoT).

And then indies come in and fill the final niche for the hardcore hardcore, or experimental-type RPGs.

We're kind of on the precipe now of seeing if the game industry really wants to be only tentpole-driven or "gets" that it can be profitable to serve smaller consumer groups if only you find the right method and budget. I expect and hope the latter will happen.
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