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Thread: RPGCast - Episode 195: "About the Fans"

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    Man vs. Slime, the fourth type of conflict Administrator sabin1001's Avatar
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    RPGCast - Episode 195: "About the Fans"

    RPGCast - Episode 195: "About the Fans"

    Origin destroys Chris's computer. Then the RPG Cast crew get all excited for The Old Republic. Finally, the show provides the definitive Metacritic score predictions for Skyrim. You used to let us think you were about the fans, Square-Enix, let us think it again!

    You can find the links to all our stories on delicious: http://delicious.com/rpgamer/195

    RPGCast streams live, sometimes on Friday at 10 PM Eastern / 7 PM Pacific, usually on Saturday at Noon Eastern / 9 AM Pacific.

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    Download the show: "About the Fans"
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  2. #2
    The Gratitude Pokemon Shaymin's Avatar
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    I'll be honest... I used to play competitive Pokemon and went looking for a replacement after I "retired" from it, and I've never heard of competitive DQ:Monsters.
    "The flowers all over its body burst into bloom if it is lovingly hugged and senses gratitude."
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  3. #3
    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    Chris, I gotta agree with the people saying that costs aren't the problem with JRPGs.

    We're at an age where games more than look good enough to the casual observer, and it's not always the most graphically impressive games that sell the most copies. Call of Duty, for example, is as dated a game graphically as it comes (there's still Quake III code running there, for goodness' sakes!), but they're still usually the best-selling games of the year they come out. In short, production values are great at the moment, and have never been the problem with the JRPG genre. The problem is that, outside of a few outlying examples, it's the same spikey-haired, generically fashionable young people saving the same generically fashionable worlds from the same generically fashionable villains for the same generic, paper-thin reasons. Literally the same story beats play out from JRPG to JRPG unless it's something that's kept to the fringes like Demon's Souls or the SMT series. There's a reason Demon's Souls hit as hard as it did - it found an audience that had grown tired of what JRPGs had become of late. Didn't surprise me - From Software never seemed to do well unless they were outside the system (remember that horrible XBOX 360 launch RPG Enchanted Arms?).

    In much the same way that Western RPG makers need to crawl out of Tolkien's backside and make their own worlds, Japanese RPG makers need to stop with the stories they've been regurgitating for the last 10 or so years and get back to the creative spirit that spawned the FF7s and the Suikodens of the previous era.

    That said, I have to take issue with Anna as well. There's plenty of room for throwback FPS games. That's the whole point of Serious Sam, Painkiller, and Hard Reset. Also, Halo 1 hasn't exactly aged poorly, and its foundation continues to be seen in myriad other two-weapon, regenerating-health games over the years, including Call of Duty (whose single player campaign is basically Master Chief in the modern era). The shooters of the world have evolved, certainly, but the core fanbase of the genre still looks at the classics reverently.

    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
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  4. #4
    これはメタです RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    ...the creative spirit that spawned the FF7s...
    Which has spikey-haired, generically fashionable young people saving the same generically fashionable worlds from the same generically fashionable villains for the same generic, paper-thin reasons, if you want to look at it that way.

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    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    There's a reason Demon's Souls hit as hard as it did - it found an audience that had grown tired of what JRPGs had become of late.
    More like what games in general have become.

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    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quin View Post
    Which has spikey-haired, generically fashionable young people saving the same generically fashionable worlds from the same generically fashionable villains for the same generic, paper-thin reasons, if you want to look at it that way.
    Well you have to admit that back then it wasn't quite as common. FF7, much like FFIV, birthed a lot of what would eventually become tired cliches. And at least FF7 had a decent story and characters, something Square Enix was famous for before they booted Sakaguchi. This, of course, is the main problem with Japanese development in general. There's no "new generation" coming up. There aren't any new folks that are successfully taking up the mantle when the older ones leave. It's actually a hilarious contrast to western development, where massive turnover is a way of life and a problem in and of itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThroneofDravaris
    More like what games in general have become.
    Heh, one could say that, yeah. There's certainly a large group who wishes that games were all Nintendo Hard, and I imagine that helped Demon's Souls as well, seeing as it's exactly that.

    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
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  7. #7
    これはメタです RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    And at least FF7 had a decent story and characters
    Did it? FF7 required about five extra games to explain it's plot, and characters like Cloud and Sephiroth only seem to show up these days as fodder for people who think they're overrated.

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    Never Google Image Search Clix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quin View Post
    Did it? FF7 required about five extra games to explain it's plot.
    ...Did we play different games? FFVII was pretty damn contained as a story. The Compilation adds nothing to the original story and at worst merely serves as a distraction. The originally written plot was fine, just miserably localized. Still, it was self-contained. Can't say that entirely about FFXIII, which requires the novellas and subseries mythos not present or highly obscured in the original game to fully understand what is happening in the last act.

  9. #9
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    FFVII was exactly the same as FFVI, with minor alterations that mostly made it a worse game. It also popularized the idea that it is ok for a game to have irredeemably crappy mechanics and ****-all challenge as long as it's a "cinematic experience", which has basically ruined video games forever.

    Really it wouldn't take much effort to make a good Final Fantasy game. Square Enix just needs to look at all the stuff they want to put in the game, ask themselves "What does this actually add to the experience?" and remove anything where the answer is "it will looks cool!" or "it will sound cool!" or "all our other games have this". Then you would probably have a relatively serviceable game that I would still probably never play.
    Last edited by Drav; 10-03-2011 at 10:04 AM.

  10. #10
    これはメタです RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clix View Post
    ...Did we play different games? FFVII was pretty damn contained as a story.
    I will concur with this, "required" was probably a strong word, but it seemed like once there was a bit more FFVII, they needed even more to explain that bit, and so on until we ended up with the full compilation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clix View Post
    ...which requires the novellas and subseries mythos not present or highly obscured in the original game to fully understand what is happening in the last act.
    This seems to be becoming more of a trend I've seen with games these days. Stuff like the events between the prologue and first "chapter" of Mass Effect 2 are religated to a spinoff comic, and as mentioned in the post-podcast chat, an important plot NPC in WoW being killed off in a book somewhere.

    befriend (v.): to use mecha-class beam weaponry to inflict grievous bodily harm on a target in the process of proving the validity of your belief system.

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    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quin View Post
    This seems to be becoming more of a trend I've seen with games these days. Stuff like the events between the prologue and first "chapter" of Mass Effect 2 are religated to a spinoff comic, and as mentioned in the post-podcast chat, an important plot NPC in WoW being killed off in a book somewhere.
    Nothing makes me rage more than that kind of crap. It means that either the developers didn't hire writers who know how to tell a story properly within a game, or the publisher insisted on taking out important story chunks for the purposes of fooling fans into buying more junk. Either way, it makes Oce angry.

    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance

  12. #12
    BEARSONA RPGamer Staff Paws's Avatar
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    But I love the WoW books

  13. #13
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    In much the same way that Western RPG makers need to crawl out of Tolkien's backside and make their own worlds, Japanese RPG makers need to stop with the stories they've been regurgitating for the last 10 or so years and get back to the creative spirit that spawned the FF7s and the Suikodens of the previous era.
    That creative spirit is out there, I've seen it in games like Resonance of Fate, Nier, Ys Seven etc. I think the biggest issues is people are ignoring the more creative games and buying thing same old thing (except for Demon's Souls of course, we should all be proud for helping make that a hit).

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    Member Nightfox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels View Post
    That creative spirit is out there, I've seen it in games like Resonance of Fate, Nier, Ys Seven etc. I think the biggest issues is people are ignoring the more creative games and buying thing same old thing (except for Demon's Souls of course, we should all be proud for helping make that a hit).
    This, a million times this. Anytime I see "JRPGs keep using the same (insert element of interest) over and over again" says to me that the exposure to them is minimized to the most popular/well-known series, especially Final Fantasy, or they are shrugging the exceptions such as SMT off as flukes. I mean, people write entire papers and articles about why JRPGs are failing, and the only game example they use is FF, so of course it's a hard topic to take too seriously. Of course, I know people don't have unlimited budgets for games, so it's tough for people to justify buying outside the hype, but it still makes the criticism seem a bit premature.
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)

  15. #15
    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels View Post
    That creative spirit is out there, I've seen it in games like Resonance of Fate, Nier, Ys Seven etc. I think the biggest issues is people are ignoring the more creative games and buying thing same old thing (except for Demon's Souls of course, we should all be proud for helping make that a hit).
    Well, to be fair, didn't Ys Seven do OK? And Resonance of Fate was a Sega game, so I wouldn't blame anyone for not knowing it even existed (this podcast has talked about Sega's... Curious marketing in the past). That said, you are right, at least in part. There are a few amazing games, but they get brushed under by the regurgitated concepts by the few who are still interested, which makes the genre seem crappy to those on the outside looking in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightfox
    ...or they are shrugging the exceptions such as SMT off as flukes.
    Well, SMT is certainly off in left field. No one else is taking the risks Atlus takes with that series, and most stick to the FF formula. Really, between P3 and P4, Atlus is showing that there IS success to be had in the genre if you're willing to step outside the box a bit. Part of it is the agility that comes with being a smaller company, I suppose - Let's face it, Persona and Demon's Souls would have been focus grouped out of existence at larger companies, but Atlus and From Software just do what they do and consistently find an audience.

    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
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    BEARSONA RPGamer Staff Paws's Avatar
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    FWIW, this may be a chicken->egg, egg->chicken problem. People buy "angst JRPGs", so companies make them. Companies make "angsty JRPGs", people buy them. Possibly because they don't know better, but that's another discussion.
    Also, disclaimer that I'm using a hyperbolic term in quotes that's easily identifiable to both sides for discussion's sake, and not for any other reason :P

  17. #17
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paws View Post
    But I love the WoW books
    I don't have a problem with books that go into detail on a game's lore, although I'm not a fan of the writing in the WoW books I've seen. Like, when Penny-Arcade does a comic for a game, it's usually a background thing or an introducton to that world. That's all good. It's when something is taken out of a game (like an important scene or the fate of a major character) and thrown into a comic/book/card game/cartoon/whatever that makes me angry.

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  18. #18
    BEARSONA RPGamer Staff Paws's Avatar
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    Is Krasus a major character? I sort of feel like the way the whole Wyrmrest Temple incident was handled would have been less impactful in-game.

  19. #19
    Under watcher LordKaiser's Avatar
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    Ninokuni will finally kill pokemon and DQ monsters for good. FFVII story was good but Jenova's origin was not clear. Traditionals JRPGs continue to be made.. for portables... and BTW I lost my interest in the Vita because it don't have a video output.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.

  20. #20
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paws View Post
    Is Krasus a major character? I sort of feel like the way the whole Wyrmrest Temple incident was handled would have been less impactful in-game.
    The big WoW one I was ticked about, actually, was the whole thing with the King of Stormwind. There was even an unfinished questline in the game to find him, but instead of getting to take part of his return to power, we were supposed to read a comic to find out what happened to him, and he just magically re-appeared in game with little to no explanation of how he got back.

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