Tis nothing more than a miserable pile of big swords and young heroes! This is what all you fans of have been waiting for that I promised to deliver some time ago. This my friends, are thoughts of wisdom that I have personally gathered together from past experiences of playing the typical “run of the mill” RPGs on several different consoles.
Now don’t hate, but appreciate. The fact that YOU can make a difference in the making of an RPG. To those who have no idea what RPG stands for, it is Role Playing Game. Which is similar to D&D, MUDs and other fantasy/sci-fi based games. But we’re not here to talk about D&D, nor MUDs. No my fans, we’re here to talk about the ongoing crap we have all seen in a RPG since the days of yore.
You all should remember or know of Final Fantasy 7, right? Don’t get me wrong, it was and still is a great game. However, its creation started a series of repetitious RPGs spawning from the whole idea of having a hero with a huge sword that would snap his wrist like a twig, and a young female mage that is some how more powerful than a old wizard who knows of the cosmos like the back of his hand. It usually starts of with the young hero being around the age of 12-25, not any older because the fact of having an older man saving the world is just STRANGE. Also, he has to be lazy, cocky, spikey hair that defies gravity, lives with a mom or with other siblings, is unaware that he is related to a villain by any means (i.e. be it a brother, sister, mother, father, etc), and the list goes on and on. His side kick would most likely be a young mage, as mentioned before, with crap powers but soon can cast the most powerful spell by slaughtering a thousand innocent orcs by gaining the experience in order to know of the spell itself. The antagonist would be an evil warlock, or a mighty king that wants to revive a demon God by means of blood or soul sacrifice. Could be related, as mentioned before, to the hero or wouldn’t be.
All of you should understand of what I’m getting at here, right? These companies make a RPG saying that the story line is heart breaking, the characters gave been given more “life” to them, and the environment is “breath taking”. After playing so many titles that have exhuasted that same steam over and over, it came to a point where they’re just lying out of their ass. Take Dragon Quest 8 for example, it had potential to become a great part of the series of all other Dragon Quests, but failed to do so. Why? Lack of a story line that all the other Dragon Quests had, but that’s just this one critics opinion, so don’t take it too personally. It was as if I was playing RPG Maker with cel-shading and had the title, “Dragon Quest 8” on it. It had what most RPGs could have needed, which was the simplicity of buying a weapon or armor that could last you for a couple of hours before you needed to upgrade to a new one later on. But I degress, I’m going off topic now and should get back on track.
It just irks me to no end of how many games have a static YOUNG hero in almost every RPG. Let it go, have some 40 or 50 year old man or woman save the world, because it shows that that older hero has had the experience of pain and suffering before thus knowing of what to do in trials before them in order to defeat the evil villain. What is wrong with having a mother or father saving the life of his family and friends from a cursed being that has raped the world of its beauty? If I were a villain bent on destruction, chaos and creating an army of missile armed gerbils, things would go so smoothly. First, I’d find out who this young hero was, find’m fast and kill him on sight. Forget sending any of my generals, because we all know that in any RPG that the henchmen get their butts whooped by the hero and the boss gets cocky. After the hero is dead, then I’d seal or use the ultimate weapon that was suppose to kill me and use it on the kingdoms that oppose my rule. Ever heard of Rhapsody? Well, they’re a Italian band, now called Rhapsody of Fire, which has a sick ass story line to their songs. Check out the story and know of what an RPG should be about.
Anyways, an RPG should not be about the hero winning all the time, but the morals and stories that have been created by his actions. By doing so, people that have been inspired by them will/should rise up and take actions against the evil that still threatens the world, i.e. V for Vendetta style. And why hasn’t there been a V for Vendetta game? I’ll get to that in another article later. As for the creative process to make a “AAA” title RPG, you need to know of what the fans want and could possibly want more of by unexpected means. As an aspiring game designer myself, I believe that to be immersed in a fantasy world, you first need to know the foundations of the way things work. For example, why did a great wizard turn evil? Because of vengeance? Envy? More power? Who knows, but the point is that some people’s goals change due to dramatic results based off of a situation they could not control. So, let’s say this old wizard turns evil because of his envy of the young mage that has the potential to become greater than him. Not only that, but the wizard is forced to guide the mage into becoming the next advisor to the king, which would take over the wizard’s current position. Now how would that feel to you? Some smug little brat that can flaunt his/her powers whenever they choose to has been left in your care to guide and teach them the ways of using magic, but keeps making you look like a fool in front of people by doing better than you ever could. Taking all the abuse the wizard ever could take from the brat, he left the kingdom in pursuit of a legendary book that holds the power of the cosmos itself and vowed to return in later years to kill off the brat mage that twisted his pride and honor. I’d say more on the story, but I’ll leave that for anyone who would be interested to find out more.
As for the rest of the foundations of the fantasy world, there are the beasts and other creatures that live and thrive upon the land. Are there different religions? How so? What makes one race hate another? A good example is World of WarCraft, Final Fantasy 6, 11 and 12, any games made by NIS, but you know what I’m saying already. Also, keep in mind that anime usually plays a big part in an RPG. The art style, character creation, the plot, almost everything nowadays in an RPG has a nime style to it. The buck stops here, folks. It’s time we get some Boris Vallejo artwork in these games. Wikipedia him and know of what good human anatomy is all about. Foriegn based companies that wish to make a killer RPG should know more of what makes an RPG stand out, and for most fans on God’s green Earth would appreciate a change in art style. Square has its own unique style, and has had it for a long time now that has rarely ever changed. Why not use European artists for the games? There’s some really good artists out there that could inspire a new generation of RPGs, so get off that rock and swim around! I’m looking at you, Japan and Korea.
I think it’s about you guys over yonder should get off those chairs, pack a lunch and take a trip to the land of legends and driving on the wrong side of the road. I’m talking about Europe, baby. RPGs based off the folk legends and myths is a good way to start, and hopefully would go into a wonderful series. Depeding on how and where you take it. Granted, there are European gaming companies, but very few actually make it big here in the US. I’m not just talking about England, Italy or France. There are companies in Finland that probably have great IPs and such, but lack the funding to create the dream. As for going back to Japan and Korea, stop or even try not to have so much cute anime theme and laid back story line that makes it not special or worth while. If you want your company or game to stand out above the rest, follow your own path of creation. Go left field all the way, take the creepy path to grandma’s house, “think outside of the box”, there’s so many ways of saying it and they’re all the same. So just do theright thing and make your RPG something that you feel can make itself a legend amongst others. Learn from other companies, know of their mistakes and learn from it.