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#1 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

JRPG as a genre title is mostly useless these days. It was useful at a point in time when the majority of RPGs coming from Japan shared a similar design motif, but with the success of games like Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma it is quickly becoming obsolete. Now the term leads to confusion. These games don't share much in common at all with what many know as JRPGs. That label to many people including myself implies several distinct qualities.

The game will most likely have anime inspired graphics. The main focus of the game is the story. The main character (usually young) will eventually be joined by a varied cast of characters most with at least a partially developed backstory. Character growth over the course of the game. The theme of good versus evil. A grand story arc with a definitive end.

Series in this genre include: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star, Grandia, Tales, etc.

Not included: Etrian Odyssey, Dark/Demon's Souls, Monster Hunter, Dragon's Dogma

Note I didn't say anything about combat or setting as these aspects are quite varied in this particular genre. Note as well that I am aware that not all these games share all of these qualities but most of them do.

The only real trouble with this is that these games don't have a unique label to identify them. Many know them only as jrpgs. I've heard the term classic rpg but there are a host of problems with that designation. There must be a better way of labeling these kinds of games as JRPG just isn't cutting it anymore.

#2 Posted by Aetheldod (3333 posts) -

Altho I understand what you are saying I still think jrpg applies but only because those games are indeed JAPANESE developed rpgs ..... but what else could we call them? I think the best one we had was turn based , but that rarely applies now days becouse most of the have active turns , also there must be turn based rpgs made in the west. Quite a task to come up with a new nomenclature for those :/

#3 Posted by mwng (891 posts) -

RPG from Japan. JRPG.
 
What you're describing seems to be a subset of JRPG?

#4 Edited by Scrawnto (2413 posts) -

The thing is, JRPG may not accurately describe the majority of RPGs from Japan, but I knew exactly what kind of game you mean when you say it, so it seems that the label is cutting it just fine as a means of communicating a concept. That is the primary purpose of language, is it not?

Also, it is the kind of RPG that originated in Japan. If a restaurant in Italy starts serving bratwurst and sauerkraut, Italian cuisine does not cease to apply to a certain kind of food.

#5 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@rebgav:

Except that many people tend to use JRPG as a regional label rather than as a genre. Thus they call games like Dark Souls a JRPG confusing what that genre actually entails.

#6 Posted by McGhee (6091 posts) -

Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma aren't JRPGs. They are RPGs made in Japan.

There is a difference.

#7 Posted by Sanj (2232 posts) -

YOUR BUTT IS OBSOLETE.

...

But yeah I see what you mean actually.

#8 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Most genre titles are useless to be honest, at least the more specific ones.

#9 Posted by BirdkeeperDan (400 posts) -

It might not be good but I don't see a new term coming into use. It will probably just become traditional JRPG over time.

#10 Posted by Jeff (3336 posts) -

@McGhee said:

Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma aren't JRPGs. They are RPGs made in Japan.

There is a difference.

And by "RPGs made in Japan" you mean "Action Adventure games made in Japan." If we're feeling generous, maybe "Action RPGs made in Japan?"

Staff
#11 Posted by McGhee (6091 posts) -

@Jeff said:

@McGhee said:

Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma aren't JRPGs. They are RPGs made in Japan.

There is a difference.

And by "RPGs made in Japan" you mean "Action Adventure games made in Japan." If we're feeling generous, maybe "Action RPGs made in Japan?"

Yes, I thought about saying "Action RPGs made in Japan" but then I feel my comment would have lost some of its snarkiness. Can't have that happening.

#12 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

your 'definition' of a JRPG is also a little odd too. I'm pretty sure there's a story in Etrian Odyssey that is technically the focus, as well as a varied cast of characters, anime inspired, most of them are pretty young...

#13 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1169 posts) -

JRPGs are super useful when describing games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy. While I agree with you that the term I'd overused I hardly think its obsolete.

#14 Posted by Iodine (532 posts) -

Boiling down pretty much any decent to good game to one short acronym/abbreviation is pretty obsolete and pointless.

#15 Posted by Dagbiker (6898 posts) -

@Scrawnto said:

The thing is, JRPG may not accurately describe the majority of RPGs from Japan, but I knew exactly what kind of game you mean when you say it, so it seems that the label is cutting it just fine as a means of communicating a concept. That is the primary purpose of language, is it not?

Also, it is the kind of RPG that originated in Japan. If a restaurant in Italy starts serving bratwurst and sauerkraut, Italian cuisine does not cease to apply to a certain kind of food.

This, language is very rarely decided, and agreed upon by every one.

#16 Posted by JasonR86 (9372 posts) -

How about genres for everything is obsolete?

#17 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@rebgav:

If genre labels are not a useful tool to describe the content of a game, why do they exist then? Genres are a shorthand of letting a prospective player know what type of game they are getting into without having to research it. Subgenres narrow it down further.

#18 Posted by Turambar (6484 posts) -

How is Etrian Odyssey not a JRPG?

#19 Posted by Iodine (532 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Jeff said:

@McGhee said:

Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma aren't JRPGs. They are RPGs made in Japan.

There is a difference.

And by "RPGs made in Japan" you mean "Action Adventure games made in Japan." If we're feeling generous, maybe "Action RPGs made in Japan?"

Do the Japanese just consider those games "adventure games," and if so does that make Skyrim a Western Adventure Game? Red Dead Redemption would then be a Western Western Action Adventure Game.

Including DLC I believe the proper grouping would make it into a Western-Western-Action Adventure-Surivival Horror-Hunting-Racing-Gambling-Sandbox-multigenerational-historically influenced-sleep simulating-game

#20 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

I fail to see how Etrian Odyssey isn't a JRPG by the definition given in the OP. I also don't think anime inspired graphics has much to do with it at all considering Final Fantasy started off trying to mimic western stories and art style.

#21 Posted by Enigma777 (6047 posts) -

I do feel like labeling games based on where they originated in this day and age is a bit silly. He'll AC3 is being made, in what, 8 different countries?

#22 Posted by BirdkeeperDan (400 posts) -

I think of think of them as soap operas because they don't make sense to people who aren't familiar. Maybe label them Gēmudorama as in Merodorama, it'll never happen though.

#23 Posted by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

Genres are broken!

#24 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@Turambar: @Animasta:

The characters in Etrian Odyssey are classes with no personalities. The content of the game is exploring large labyrinths and dealing with tough enemy encounters. Story is not the focus. There is no main character development. It is a dungeon crawler in the vein of Wizardry and its ilk.

#25 Posted by chrissedoff (2041 posts) -

No, it's still as useful as ever. Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma aren't JRPGs.

#26 Posted by WarlordPayne (692 posts) -

Monster Hunter isn't in any way an RPG, it's a straight up action game, and as people have said Etrian Odyssey is a JRPG and Demon's/Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma are action RPGs at best if not action adventure games.

#27 Posted by Turambar (6484 posts) -

@upwarDBound said:

@Turambar: @Animasta:

The characters in Etrian Odyssey are classes with no personalities. The content of the game is exploring large labyrinths and dealing with tough enemy encounters. Story is not the focus. There is no main character development. It is a dungeon crawler in the vein of Wizardry and its ilk.

Final Fantasy I.

#28 Edited by Apathylad (3065 posts) -

So do you guys think the mechanics define what makes a JRPG? Or the art style?

It depends on what your definition of a JRPG is, but I still consider the Souls games to be JRPGs, or at least Action RPGs. They still have loot and stat options that are more in-depth than something like Zelda, which I feel falls under the Action-Adventure category. And what about Xenoblade? The game definitely has anime-like characters, but it plays more like a single-player MMORPG.

#29 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@upwarDBound: They were probably quite useful when there were fewer types of games and fewer historical examples of each genre. Distinguishing a platformer from a racing game requires relatively little nuance, a big broad label will do the job. Broad categorization just becomes less useful as more games defy traditional genre definitions. While your reaction to that could be to define more and more labels until every new hybrid has its own bespoke genre, it seems to me that it's probably simplest and sanest to just describe a game in plain language and using terminology appropriate to your audience.

What if your audience identifies with genre labels? Would that mean that the simplest and sanest thing to do is to not take your advice?

#30 Posted by TobbRobb (4408 posts) -

I only use in genres in the way that, if someone can't specifically mark a genre for a game. I'm more likely to enjoy it. Clearcut genrecases are usually less interesting.

#31 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1854 posts) -

I have a pretty good idea what a JRPG entails. I would never refer to a game like dark souls or anything that deviates too far from a FF style game a JRPG. I don't recall any game critics referring to the games that way either. Like RTS or TBS or FPS, JRPG refers to a style of game not the geographical location in which it's made + RPG.

#32 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@Turambar said:

@upwarDBound said:

@Turambar: @Animasta:

The characters in Etrian Odyssey are classes with no personalities. The content of the game is exploring large labyrinths and dealing with tough enemy encounters. Story is not the focus. There is no main character development. It is a dungeon crawler in the vein of Wizardry and its ilk.

Final Fantasy I.

Which came out in the formative stages of the genre and was more akin to Dragon Quest and Ultima than Wizardry. The genre wasn't fully established until Final Fantasy II (not IV) in my opinion.

#33 Posted by Turambar (6484 posts) -

@upwarDBound said:

@Turambar said:

@upwarDBound said:

@Turambar: @Animasta:

The characters in Etrian Odyssey are classes with no personalities. The content of the game is exploring large labyrinths and dealing with tough enemy encounters. Story is not the focus. There is no main character development. It is a dungeon crawler in the vein of Wizardry and its ilk.

Final Fantasy I.

Which came out in the formative stages of the genre and was more akin to Dragon Quest and Ultima than Wizardry. The genre wasn't fully established until Final Fantasy II (not IV) in my opinion.

Final Fantasy III

#34 Posted by Hailinel (22704 posts) -
@upwarDBound Aww, you're so cute with your gross misconceptions!
#35 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3626 posts) -
@RollingZeppelin

I have a pretty good idea what a JRPG entails. I would never refer to a game like dark souls or anything that deviates too far from a FF style game a JRPG. I don't recall any game critics referring to the games that way either. Like RTS or TBS or FPS, JRPG refers to a style of game not the geographical location in which it's made + RPG.

#36 Posted by believer258 (11039 posts) -

@Turambar said:

@upwarDBound said:

@Turambar said:

@upwarDBound said:

@Turambar: @Animasta:

The characters in Etrian Odyssey are classes with no personalities. The content of the game is exploring large labyrinths and dealing with tough enemy encounters. Story is not the focus. There is no main character development. It is a dungeon crawler in the vein of Wizardry and its ilk.

Final Fantasy I.

Which came out in the formative stages of the genre and was more akin to Dragon Quest and Ultima than Wizardry. The genre wasn't fully established until Final Fantasy II (not IV) in my opinion.

Final Fantasy III

I can't really speak for someone else's knowledge, but I'd bet that could come up with a fair number of JRPG's made after FFIV that don't necessarily focus on story. Games within certain genres can vary in focus, see: Half-Life vs Modern Warfare. Both undeniably FPS games, both vastly different.

JRPG is a genre. Yes, it stands for "Japanese RPG", but we have developed certain connotations with it like "turn based combat", "young characters", "anime art", and "a good vs evil story with a grand scale". No one in their right mind would refer to Dark Souls as a JRPG because, while both Japanese and an RPG of sorts, it doesn't fit the genre conventions very well. It's like calling Portal a first person shooter - you're in first person, and you're shooting something, but calling it a first person shooter is simply wrong and does not at all convey anything close to what the game actually is. Dark Souls is an action RPG that was made in Japan, and Portal is a first person puzzle game.

#37 Posted by project343 (2807 posts) -

@upwarDBound said:

The game will most likely have anime inspired graphics. The main focus of the game is the story. The main character (usually young) will eventually be joined by a varied cast of characters most with at least a partially developed backstory. Character growth over the course of the game. The theme of good versus evil. A grand story arc with a definitive end.

So the broadening of genres makes them irrelevant? JRPGs are pushing away from the tried and true and are starting to merge other ideologies into their core design framework. WRPGs have been moving more and more toward action combat systems, and at the same time, all other genres are incorporating RPG elements--does that make the WRPG an irrelevant genre?

Also, if you put Dragon's Dogma and the Souls series next to it's WRPG counterparts, I sure as fucking hell hope the average hardcore gamer could tell which of the two locations those games come from. Both games ooze Japanese design in their animation style, effects, UI, item systems, and models. There is something distinctly Japanese about those two series that marks it as a wholly different and unique experience from their WRPG counterparts.

#38 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@upwarDBound Aww, you're so cute with your gross misconceptions!

What do you mean exactly? How I define what people know as JRPGs? Yes that may be different to some people. I have my own classification as others have theirs. If you think I'm attacking the genre I'm not. I'm not trying to discredit Japan either. So please elucidate these "gross misconceptions" as you have so tactfully put it.

#39 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5750 posts) -

I still consider Demons/Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma to be JRPGs...

#40 Posted by Hailinel (22704 posts) -
@upwarDBound

@Hailinel said:

@upwarDBound Aww, you're so cute with your gross misconceptions!

What do you mean exactly? How I define what people know as JRPGs? Yes that may be different to some people. I have my own classification as others have theirs. If you think I'm attacking the genre I'm not. I'm not trying to discredit Japan either. So please elucidate these "gross misconceptions" as you have so tactfully put it.

Japanese RPGs come in as many flavors as western RPGs. And while JRPGs may lean toward certain designs more than others, technically, if it was made in Japan, it's a JRPG. Simple as that.
#41 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@project343:

WRPG is best used as a regional and setting label but at its core is also flawed. When you have 1st person turnbased/action dungeon crawling games, isometric hackfests, isometric strategy, 1st/3rd person action, roguelike, shooter/rpg it becomes really difficult to use that as a genre label.

Also I never made any insinuation that the Souls games nor Dragon's Dogma were anything but Japanese. I was making the argument that they do not at all resemble what a lot of people think about when they hear the term JRPG. Read some of the responses in this thread for proof of that.

#42 Posted by project343 (2807 posts) -

@upwarDBound said:

they do not at all resemble what a lot of people think about when they hear the term JRPG

So this whole this is just a subjective mess. Because those two games reek of JRPG when I think about the genre shenanigans.

#43 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@Hailinel: You're right Hailinel, they do. I was referring to specific qualities in certain titles that set them apart. It seems you use JRPG in a regional sense which is fine with me. Note the title of my thread is JRPG as a genre title is obsolete.

#44 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@project343:

Really? I'm playing DD right now and it reminds me of Gothic more than any jrpg. If it involves the ending don't spoil it for me as I haven't beaten it yet. I'll be honest and admit that I haven't yet played Dark Souls yet but I did play Demon's Souls and didn't catch any jrpgness in that one either.

But I'm willing to hear out your reasoning.

#45 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

Also, from your list, the only thing Dragon Age doesn't have is anime inspired graphics.

How about we just say JRPG's are story based games without a lot of choices and leave it at that

#46 Posted by project343 (2807 posts) -

@upwarDBound: There is a distinct commitment to the animation that is very different from traditional WRPG jank. I think it mostly has to do with the quality and styling of the animation: WRPGs just look awkward and bad, JRPGs are exaggerated and beautiful, but go really heavy with animation commitment. The items (both aesthetically and in terms of the UI) is very reminiscent of more grim Japanese games with inventories--RE4/5 specifically come to mind. The game is very 'systems' focused; WRPGs have tried and true numbers, yes, but with Dragon's Dogma there are very distinctly different 'systems' that are very prominent and advertised (pawn system, vocation system). All the mobs in the game are obviously taken (in concept) from WRPG tropes, but have a very distinct Japanese hand behind them--particularly with regards to their animation.

The narrative is also very Japanese when it comes around (overly dramatic, hits you over the head, emphasis on forcing convoluted world down your throat), as is the voice acting (it all sounds like a typical anime cast).

I think that was really what I enjoyed the most about Dragon's Dogma. It was like: oh fuck, the Japanese tried to do Oblivion... I fucking love Oblivion, and this is so different!

#47 Edited by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

@Animasta:

Hmmm, you know you're right. They tried to rectify that with the sequel though.

@project343:

I agree with you that the game certainly bears a Japanese feel but not so much that it reminds me of jrpgs. I think maybe it just reminds you of a lot of Capcom games. Same company after all.

#48 Posted by ThePhantomStranger (353 posts) -

Might be a good time to take a look at this extra credits trilogy again...

I'd try to contribute my own opinion but I'm pretty sure 70% of GiantBombers are either way more experienced with Japan or obsessed with jrpgs, whatever those are, or both.

25% of me is really confused though...

#49 Posted by falconpunch (177 posts) -

I'm not even sure what an RPG does and does not include at this point

#50 Posted by KingBroly (1645 posts) -

Xenoblade Chronicles

The best JRPG this generation. It takes a lot of what Final Fantasy XII did wrong, fixes it, and refines the good parts to make them even better. Sure, the game doesn't have the full production budget of a Final Fantasy, but the game is probably one of the best JRPG's of all time, yet it goes largely ignored when it shouldn't.