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Default General News - RPGs of 2021 @ PC Gamer

December 13th, 2021, 20:41
PC Gamer made a quick recap of this year's RPGs.

It's been a great year for RPGs, if you hate and fear the new

Re-releases and retro RPGs made the futuristic-sounding year 2021 feel indebted to the past.



In 2019, Disco Elysium pushed the RPG genre so far people said it wasn't really an RPG at all. They called it an adventure game, or a visual novel. Disco Elysium really was an RPG of course--one with roots in CRPG classic Planescape: Torment and the kind of tabletop roleplaying with actual dice--but it was revolutionary enough to sail right to the edge of our convenient definitions. It felt like evidence of a genre that was thriving.

While games directly influenced by Disco will take a while to start arriving, it felt like the product of an overgrown RPG greenhouse. Surely that same climate was about to produce even more unusually proportioned fruit?

Maybe not. By contrast, in 2021 the genre felt safe and predictable. For starters, it was dominated by remasters, re-releases, and ports. As well as Disco Elysium's own Final Cut, there was Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Diablo 2: Resurrected, Final Fantasy's pixel remasters, Nier Replicant, Legend of Mana HD, Geneforge 1 - Mutagen, more Kingdom Hearts games on PC than any human could ever actually play, and the incremental update of Skyrim Anniversary Edition. Further ahead, we can look forward to The Witcher 3's next-gen edition and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake.

There's nothing inherently wrong with re-releasing old games. It used to be that classics were often lost, either hard to find or hard to get running on modern machines, the history of the medium evaporating behind us. Though games are still routinely delisted these days, overall the industry is better at preserving and valuing its own history than it used to be. (And profiting from that, of course.)

What's surprising is that most of the new RPGs that squeezed out between 2021's herd of re-releases didn't feel like the future, either. They skewed toward celebrations of the past, the kind of games that will inevitably be described as "love letters." […]
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December 13th, 2021, 20:51
"great year for RPGs"
not really
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December 13th, 2021, 21:10
Yes indeed 2021 was the year of remake's and remasters with new RPGs being throw backs/spiritual successors. Next year looks to be a repeat of 2021 sadly.

Also old news shared this already.
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December 13th, 2021, 21:13
Well, it's certainly subjective. For my part I found it quite good, but I'm not looking for big AAA games.

Pathfinder, Encased, Vagrus, Solasta and Mechajammer were the only ones I've bought. The first one is already enough to make it a good year for me. There were many other worthy games too.
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December 13th, 2021, 21:14
Originally Posted by porcozaur View Post
"great year for RPGs"
not really
All you had to do is keep reading that sentence.
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December 13th, 2021, 21:15
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Also old news shared this already.
Woops, in your thread?
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December 13th, 2021, 21:15
It was a poor year for game releases in general, imo. Much worse than 2020, despite the pandemic hitting early in that year.
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December 13th, 2021, 21:20
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Well, it's certainly subjective. For my part I found it quite good, but I'm not looking for big AAA games.

Pathfinder, Encased, Vagrus, Solasta and Mechajammer were the only ones I've bought. The first one is already enough to make it a good year for me. There were many other worthy games too.
Well I happen to enjoy playing big AAA RPGs. I know many on this forum don't and that's fine with me. It's simply called variety but developer's especially western ones one have moved past RPGs. Though there are a few big projects incoming in the next five years.
  • Starfield
  • Outer Worlds 2
  • Avowed
  • Elden Ring
  • Dragon Age 4
  • New Mass Effect
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Woops, in your thread?
Yeah I mentioned it on a news-bit thread for Corwin. Anyway it's not a problem as past stats show the news-bits get more attention as many don't read the forums.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; December 14th, 2021 at 03:12. Reason: Minor Spell Fix
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December 13th, 2021, 21:29
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Well I happen to enjoy playing big AAA RPGs. I know many on this forum don't and that's fine with me. It's simply called variety but developer's especially western ones one have moved past RPGs. Though there are a few big project incoming in the next five years.
  • Stanfield
  • Outer Worlds 2
  • Avowed
  • Elden Ring
  • Dragon Age 4
  • New Mass Effect
I'm enjoying them now and then too, I spent an insane amount of time in most "old" Bethesda games (Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3), "old" CDPR Witcher games, for example. But I'm not playing a lot and I'm as happy with a well-made indie, maybe that's where the different opinion is coming from.

I found that 2020 was rather poor, but 2021 was fine because I got interested in a few good indies (and I hated WL3, didn't like Disco Elysium much, both released in 2020). Perhaps I'm the one with weird tastes.
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December 13th, 2021, 21:30
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Well I happen to enjoy playing big AAA RPGs. I know many on this forum don't and that's fine with me. It's simply called variety but developer's especially western ones one have moved past RPGs. Though there are a few big projects incoming in the next five years.
  • Stanfield
  • Outer Worlds 2
  • Avowed
  • Elden Ring
  • Dragon Age 4
  • New Mass Effect

We're in between console generations still. The big AAA multiplatform titles you want are simply not ready and not economically viable yet. The big publishers are going to want to release such games to a huge install base of new gen consoles. We're not there yet and the distribution of new consoles is hampered by the chip shortages.
There will be plenty AAA RPGs and other heavyweights like GTA VI upcoming towards the mid 2020s.
We'll have games coming out our ears and more games than time to play them when the AAA publishers are ready to release their flagship titles on PS5 and XSX.
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December 13th, 2021, 21:41
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
We're in between console generations still. The big AAA multiplatform titles you want are simply not ready and not economically viable yet. The big publishers are going to want to release such games to a huge install base of new gen consoles. We're not there yet and the distribution of new consoles is hampered by the chip shortages.
There will be plenty AAA RPGs and other heavyweights like GTA VI upcoming towards the mid 2020s.
We'll have games coming out our ears and more games than time to play them when the AAA publishers are ready to release their flagship titles on PS5 and XSX.
True but the fact still stands that pure RPGs not RPG element games are not being made by large developers like in the past. It all comes down to numbers nowadays.

If X game wont sell at least 10 million the business risk is not worth it.
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December 13th, 2021, 22:31
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Well, it's certainly subjective. For my part I found it quite good, but I'm not looking for big AAA games.

Pathfinder, Encased, Vagrus, Solasta and Mechajammer were the only ones I've bought. The first one is already enough to make it a good year for me. There were many other worthy games too.
It certainly was a great year for me - I actually played 3 RPGs released this year (normally I play 0 and stick with old ones)

I haven't been paying attention to AAA in a long while.. the only exception was Monster Hunter: World.
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December 13th, 2021, 22:32
I believe I spent the year playing mostly rpg-maker type games, and loving every minute of it. I didn't get much of a chance to replay some of the classics that I usually revisit, maybe that will happen more often next year.
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December 13th, 2021, 23:03
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
It was a poor year for game releases in general, imo. Much worse than 2020, despite the pandemic hitting early in that year.
"Much worse"? Absolutely no way.

All 2020 had was Wasteland 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, as far as noteworthy games that people here would generally call an RPG. Cyberpunk 2077 was an infamous flop. It was so bad that "None" won 3rd place in the RPGWatch game of the year voting for 2020, and they were only able to award Editor's Choice to one game (Wasteland 3).

This year we've got Pathfinder: WOTR, Solasta, Encased, ATOM Trudograd…no doubt more that I'm forgetting. "None" certainly won't win a spot in the top 3 this year.
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December 13th, 2021, 23:12
I don't think Disco Elysium sold well, maybe I'm wrong, but that is the impression I got. It was like one of those artsy movies that professional critics rave about and give high scores, but does dismally at the box office.

Anyway, PC Gamer has a very skewed perspective when it comes to gaming, and so can be discounted like most "professional" gaming websites these days.
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December 13th, 2021, 23:29
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
"Much worse"? Absolutely no way.

All 2020 had was Wasteland 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, as far as noteworthy games that people here would generally call an RPG. Cyberpunk 2077 was an infamous flop. It was so bad that "None" won 3rd place in the RPGWatch game of the year voting for 2020, and they were only able to award Editor's Choice to one game (Wasteland 3).

This year we've got Pathfinder: WOTR, Solasta, Encased, ATOM Trudograd…no doubt more that I'm forgetting. "None" certainly won't win a spot in the top 3 this year.
Guess you just skated over the part where I wrote releases "in general"? The Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, AC: Valhalla…there were a lot of major original releases last year. I could barely find any AAA games to give a shit about in 2021.

Even if you just stick to RPGs, last year FFVII: Remake, Cyberpunk and Wasteland 3 were all major releases. Solasta? ATOM? C'mon.
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December 13th, 2021, 23:31
Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
I don't think Disco Elysium sold well, maybe I'm wrong, but that is the impression I got. It was like one of those artsy movies that professional critics rave about and give high scores, but does dismally at the box office.
Looking at the number of Steam reviews for Disco Elysium, I'd say sale is on the par with other indie RPG titles.
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December 13th, 2021, 23:35
Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
I don't think Disco Elysium sold well, maybe I'm wrong, but that is the impression I got. It was like one of those artsy movies that professional critics rave about and give high scores, but does dismally at the box office.
I don't know how well it sold, but I think that's where gaming will become more like movies as it matures as a medium. Movie studios (and also book publishers) typically like to have a mix of box-office hits and also some "prestige" movies that won't have such broad appeal, but will attract awards and respect. I think it would be good if the games industry was a bit more like that, and there was an incentive to produce things for reasons other than mass appeal.
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December 14th, 2021, 00:20
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
matures
I think this is the fundamental problem of the situation. Trying to put words to something that hasn't ever existed before.

I know what you mean when you say mature, you just mean as time passes and variety of products naturally expands, but it's important to also note that by maturing you're not implying 'more adult' as in an unequivocal march of inevitable progression that is always positive.

Interactive media is probably the best catch-all phrase that encapsulates the expansion and interactive media doesn't necessarily mean A Computer Game, if you know what I mean.

If the big money suddenly becomes mildly interactive visual novels or mildly interactive movies, then Games will be the losers. That's what creates the knee jerk hostility to such products, not whether they are good versions of the above or not.

A bit like the knee-jerk rejection of turning games into casinos, there's just a very deep sense that Games as a concept are at risk if the big money stops focusing on the Game aspect.

And this stems from not having the right words to describe what's being promoted. The industry might 'mature' in any direction, but Games don't 'mature' by not being Games any more, if you know what I mean. If anything, it could usher in a regression, just as gambling did.
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December 14th, 2021, 00:44
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
Guess you just skated over the part where I wrote releases "in general"?
No, I saw it, but I thought it was just an aside. I thought the 2nd sentence in your post was back on the topic of RPGs. My mistake.
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