Rampant Games - Devolution Revolution
And then Diablo happened. “Ah-hah!” cried the industry, anxious to cover their collective butts and not to appear as fools when an RPG sold over a million copies after they’d declared the genre dead. “It’s a new paradigm! This is the evolution of RPGs.” See, they weren’t wrong. The old RPGs were dead. Long live the RPG!
Nevermind that Final Fantasy VII and Baldur’s Gate (which admittedly had some Diablo-esque elements) were also making insane amounts of money, too. FF7 pretty much dwarfing Diablo’s success. But it was, you know, a console title. And even Fallout garnered some major critical appeal and financial success, and it was an old-school-style RPG writ LARGE.
So really, what we may call “evolution” is really nothing more than a story of “chasing the almighty buck” and following a narrative provided for by men in suits. So now, the whole “RPGs are dead / dying” thing really rings hollow to me. I’ve lived through it before, and I know how it works. It’s got nothing to do with changing the paradigm. Sure, a lot has to do with appealing to the market’s tastes, but a significant part of that is simply putting out a quality product (and marketing the crap out of it). Quality – and especially innovation – doesn’t always sell, but a lack of either rarely does. And that had been the real problem.