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JRPGs in Decline? “They Were Not Popular to Begin With”


Famed Capcom game developer Shinji Mikami, the father of Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and a number of other top game franchises, has weighed in on the supposed decline of the Japanese RPG in the west in rather frank terms.

He had this to say in an interview:


“I think it is because Japanese RPGs were really never all that popular in the west to begin with.

I think the best way of interpreting things is that they aren’t getting less popular; they weren’t very popular from the start.”

Although this is being widely interpreted as a “frank” statement by Mikami, in fact it is rather evasive – critics such as Bioware never actually said that they were speaking about JRPGs in the west, but were rather speaking generally about a genre which even in Japan has not been enjoying spectacular success of late.

Had he addressed the issue of why Japanese designers have allowed the genre to stagnate to such a degree, his answer might have been all the more interesting.

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  • I’d say a decline would be from people having less money and maybe because we need more variety, if anything. It could also have something to do with the way they are released over here. (Such as skipping games in a series!)

    As far as I’m concerned jrpgs are pretty much the only video games. I know that’s personal preference, but I like the game play style and having an interesting story to keep me playing.

    I’ve yet to see any good rpgs made by western companies…

  • Anonymous says:

    Bioware has produced some decent stuff over the years but they are overhyped and overrated. I would take pretty much any Megami Tensei game over their whole catalog without a second thought.

  • Anonymous says:

    What I really don’t get is that why everyone just basically wants to make JRPGS the EXACT SAME AS WRPGS!

    Look at the comments

    “Oh just take out all your culture relevant character designs, story, morals, and general pacing of the game”

    “Just remake a bunch of games even though 5 minutes ago we said rehashing is what’s killing the genre”

    “Take a page out of the totally different WRPGS developers and mindlessly copy all thier mechanics for success”

    How is just changing the product to a western one helping it? I mean despite what the general opinion is FFXIII STILL sold well, into the millions well. It’s the same with Bioware even though I hate thier new direction and attitude, I can’t ignore thier sales and track record that is fact, my opinion is subjective. But speaking of Bioware even though they have a good track record which of thier games has been able to recapture THIER glory of the 90’s? I love Planescape, BG, and NWN as much as anybody else, but like the old SNES JRPGS, these are also OLD by at almost a decade now.

    They’re not bad games, they’re old games, released ages ago, by, as previously stated, people who have left the company, so those with the “magic” are gone as well. And about all the people complaining about how “There are so many good games they don’t translate!” well why do you think that is!? It’s because of people whining and complaining about everything unique about thier product like characters, story, and build for almost EVERY DAMN GAME THEY RELEASE. Its just basic logic, why keep releasing games into a market that won’t buy them?

    Why keep making expensive investments on people who only just bitch about everything your culture stands for and asks you to change it to thier specific likings? Has anybody ever heard of the phrase “You can’t please everyone” it’s still relavent. I mean it’s funny how so many people just say “Oh just have a mixed team with the Americans creating the meat of the product while we have the funny Asians add some controlled pre-screened wackiness to it” and then just have a western game with a viel of anime art so it can be “Japanese” it’s still western. Not that western is bad, its just that if I wanted a western game I would buy it from a western developer. The same problem lies in localization, which so many people suggest for JRPGS to have them “listen to thier fans”, it causes the product to lose everything unique about it in favor for being marketable.

    Which is why I like companies like Atlus and N1 because for the most they defy every “JRPG sterotype” while still remaining very eastern. Look at Persona, SMT, and even thier “western products” like Etrian Odyssey and Disgaea both which use a western perception (EO is high fantasy western, Disgaea is a western mythos) but still are made very well, oh and most Atlus games are TURN-BASED, the supposed “archaic, old, boring” formula of gameplay. And why does it still work, because of the mechanics that go into it, the parts make a good machine, not just how many parts you have. I find it REALLY hilarious because in the comments someone suggested that having craploads more armor and quests, suddenly make the game better, and how another person said how most Japanese industries prefer quanity over quality. It’s funny because it seems that what the WRPG auidience more everything in the game to make it “awesome”.

    Look how so many people mock otaku obsession, yet when I look at the list of “requirements” for a WRPG it looks a little more creepy than an otaku. These are pretty much summed up as “I want to BE the character, I want to FEEL like I’m that awesome because I am” essentially making it one big ego trip for you the player. While otaku obssesion is weird, it distingushes between fake and real, 2D and 3D, but not for WRPGS which have to be some odd form of hyper-escapism for the player, which I thought was a negative stigma for games but I was wrong looking at all the “YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME” games like COD and WRPGS. Really all these people complain about how railroaded JRPGS are yet, are ANY games not just set to follow a path with some forks and resets? Look at Mass Effect hereled for “being able to do what you want” yet you just have 3 branches at each specific junction all clearly labled for you, if the JRPG fan is on a leash, the WRPG fan is a rat in a maze (Also Persona has braching endings as does Devil Survivor).

    And for games like Fallout, what difference does it make in the ending when all that happens are some minor variations (Like in DS the 7 endings are pretty similar except for dialouge). And in games like Fallout why is there a meter which tells you “karma” and why is it so easily reversable!? In games like Persona with the exception of save-scumming if you screw up you SCREW UP, if you break a Commu or S.Link you have to take valuable time to fix it (which was toned down in P4 but it still happens)not just go do X for X and BAM you’re suddenly a good guy! WRPG fans don’t want choices they want easily reversable consequences, they want to be a total dick yet still be a “Saint” so many times I see people complain that, “Oh that’s not fair I killed his brother and now I get the bad ending” WELL WHAT DO YOU EXPECT, people complain about “lost forever” in JRPGS (Subverted well in TWEWY a JRPG)but that’s what it is a CONSEQUENCE. While I agree P4 had a “Guide-Dang It” true ending it still held true to the GAME’S moral of “Don’t take the easy way out” in trying to find the true culprit, and asking you to look beneath the surface, not just take in what is blatently presented to you.

    To me that’s why I don’t like ME or DAO’s “Cool allies and friends” because it’s either you LURVE them to odd levels or you’re apathetic, kinda like the “choice system” dick or self-rightous. Because I have to care about the characters, it essentially limits my ability to like the game because it’s so heavily based on me having a certain response, if I don’t have that response I lose large amounts of enjoyment. While I firmly believe characters are the main focus, and are rightfully so, they should drive the story and emotions within the world not you, otherwise you end up in a crutch situation like DAO or ME. Take P4 for an example, I CERTAINLY care more about what happened there that in ME, because I chose to care the game didn’t make me, and that is what “important decisions” should be. While the people in P4 were different and sometimes off, while there was an emphasis on the S.Links it wasn’t entirly vital, just highly reccomended.

    You didn’t have to hang out with everyone, you didn’t have max out every link, you could just just spent every day grinding the game was fine with that it just mentioned how much more diffucult it would be in doing so without trust and teamwork. And then you could have chosen if you cared about thier problems or the bonuses you recieved, they didn’t say “HEY YOU CARE ABOUT ME” it was “HEY YOU DECIDED TO COME SO THIS IS THE RESULT” it DID give the option to be a dick, ALONG with a VARIETY of other options. And Overall I find it funny when no one mentions Atlus because they know it pretty much blows thier whole argument out of the water. I find it funny that people are so quick to declare the market dead, because if it’s dying it’s only for what they ship here back at home they probably have plenty of products not translated, not because of developer ignorance but because of the WRPG auidience.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think is that developers are way more concerned for profits than ever before.
    They do massive polls to see what every gamer likes and try to put all that in one game. Before all that they just locked themselves up in a studio and think up shit and just wing it.

    It’s like try to write a good novel, you don’t go out and ask people what they would like in it but just write the damn thing with every thing you can then just hope people like. Now its just “oh they like pretty boys, toss a few in” , “GUNS, cant get enough of those”, etc.

    Now its more about the money than making a good original product, remember that just because someone likes a particular idea it doesnt mean you can just force it in.

    If they would just focus on the game itself and let the artists, writers, designers do as they like and apply their talent unhindered, a true work of their hearts and minds, then we will get those old JRPGs that we loved and remember.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chrono Trigger is just one game and look how long it’s been since it came out (originally). I’m not saying Chrono Trigger was a bad game, though. Don’t get me wrong. I thought it was pretty damn amazing. Better than Final Fantasy, I’d say.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bullshit, Mikami.

    JRPG’s aren’t popular in the west right now because most of them suck ass. This console gen has been HORRIBLE for JRPG’s.
    Of course, considering how expensive JRPG’s usually are to make just due to the actual process itself, combined with JRPG’s typically being new(er) IP’s/not-sequels, and the general cost for developing an the PS3 & the 360…this might be understandable to a point.

    It’s no wonder the DS is the de-facto JRPG champ this generation. Cheaper to develop = less risky if the game BOMBS.

    The west would love JRPG’s if Japan didn’t design them to suck. So here’s an idea: Take a look at what made your games popular in the past, include what fans have been BEGGING for for years (no random battles for starters, for Gods’ sake), dump idiotic fetch quests that have you going everywhere over and over and over again (Nier), then LISTEN TO YOUR FANS SOME MORE, DUMBASS!

    Can’t be that hard to make a good JRPG this gen. I mean, there are like 3 or 4 decent ones on the 360/PS3…

    • PrinceHeir says:

      most of the people who worked on those games are already gone by now. and neverwinter nights declined after the 1st one. still i like baldur gate games. i just hate how they act they’re the shit. really? people like these wonder me why are they even on the industry. i would definitely want to see if they try to criticize blizzard. they mave some faults but at least they still deliver they’re high quality games(not sure about WOW though some like it some don’t) wait for starcraft II mass effect 2 would probably be off in the radar by then.

  • man, this guy don’t know what he is talking about. Just search anyware for the number of seeled copys of crono trigger, ff 6 and ff7. And in that time, piracy was extremely easy compared to now. I knew there’s some stagnation, but say that the genre have never been popular in western to begin with is completely wrong, lol. A really bad excuse.

  • Anonymous says:

    They’d be more popular if they translated more into english.
    Finaly Fantasy isn’t the only RPG series.
    There are a lot of others that don’t get translated that are really good.
    The problem is that nerds look to G4 for game info when they only make fun of the JRPGs instead seriously recommending games.
    Search for a good JRPG blog that might have good reviews.

  • He’s wrong about the part that JRPGs were never popular. SNES is the proof.

    Hate me if you want, but I blame the PlayStation for the JRPG decline. As soon as J-devs realized the multimedia capabilities of the new console, they leaned on FMVs and got careless about the game experience.

    • I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, but I do agree that technology has made a negative impact with companies who try to do the most cutting edge graphics rather than trying to make unique gameplay experiences.

      • Anonymous says:

        I propose longer and more open (as in widespread and announced) beta testing for some of these RPGs. It’s not realistic, but usually the fans have much better ideas. It might be a waste of time (money) to make 25-50 copies of an unfinished game to send to applicants, but if they end up with better ideas to make the games sell more, then it’d be a worthy venture.

  • PrinceHeir says:

    it’s a bold statement i agree. not to mention final fantasy X sold like 6 million last 2004 don’t know what the figure’s are today. still jrpg is still popular in west just not in the US(if that’s what he saying i agree) i think this all started when bioware started talking shit about games like FFXIII(even though their game mass effect barely has rpg elements) bioware should just stfu since they barely had an impact on rpg’s remember blizzard? at least they had a tremendous impact on the rpg scene and yet they don’t try to compare there games on anyone. and to the people saying japanese are now falling in the industry? they pretty mastered every genre to date(except fps). how many fighters does western have?(only mortal kombat reboot is coming) how many hack and slash do they have? do they have the impressive artwork of okami? or the stunning boss fights of shadow of the colossus? or the quirkiness of metal gear solid? the mindfuck that is killer 7? and the fapping lightsaber of travis touchdown? sooo many to list. the east have an incredible amount of contribution to the gaming scene. so bioware if your gonna compare east or west try to provide umm you know facts? instead of your bullshit you have been spewing over the past months?

  • Anonymous says:

    Partly true, having grown up exposed to western and eastern rpg games back when I was much younger. My preference always goes to the more humanistic and simple in their manner of story telling presented by JPRPGs while westerns ones is “mostly”(trying not to make a blanket statement) about guts, glory and individual heroism.

    Japanese RPG art designs for their character and the world the stories are taking place in, though very outlandish is always too incredible and beautiful to describe while alot of the western art works looks very 70s and too hippee for me to digest…I meam come on, why is my heros and heroin wearing a leather amour that looks like they just bought some second hand custumes coming straight “that” porn production. Haha.

    But now, the west are actually getting better with both story telling,dark fantasy with a bit of humanistic element and decent plot is making JPRPG looking kinda lacking. Not to mention hiring alot of art designers exposed to western and eastern art. Alot of them are actually asians too.

  • DualStorm says:

    Simple. In order to get more people buying JRPGs, port everything from the PS 1 to PS3,computers,Xbox,Wii and every console of today. Bring back the sega genesis or dreamcast. And make everything have a PC port. Its not that they werent popular in the west, is the lack of availability, (i remember the times that PS1 games and N64 games from Japan wont work for consoles made in the west… you need to buy a console there due to regional restrictions…)

  • Anonymous says:

    In this generation, the majority of people who own a “next-gen” console are older. They don’t want to sit through a 60+ hour game. They just want to shoot shit and kill things in a short time.

    • Nope, if I wanna shot shit and kill things in a short time I would play CS with my friends. If I want to sit through a 60+ hour game I chose a game which I can customize my character, make in-game decisions that make me feel I’m in change, play in a way that make me feel like a tactician, not something like force me in a re-created shit-head and only one route to the final destination that I can’t stray from (I’m not a elementary schooler!!!). And I bet most people feel the same way I do.

  • Simply put, they (most Japan’s game and anime company) recent production are like this: more quality less quantify, shallow, cheap fun and way too overrated (Naruto,K-on,FF13 for exam). Still there are alway some good gems that bring great enjoyment but they usually damn hard to find and most of them never have an English translation.

  • Something gets beaten to death, and they wonder why it isn't doing so great any more?

    A LOT of things were great in the 90s, but, it hasn't been the 90s for a decade. JRPGs are hardly the only done to death industry out there that is 'in decline'. I think a lot of things need to stop being beaten on as if the gravy train never actually runs out.

  • Anonymous says:

    Every genre gets stale eventually, the main offender is the shooter, you’ve shot one guy, you’ve shot them all. Of course, there will be a game that just magically wipes your boredom away, this differs by opinion of course.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sony and Microsoft are sucking the dicks of hard-core FPS fans.

    The PS2 had only one FPS games in their top 25! However Sony directed their top 1st party developers to create FPS games. Sony effectively abandoned 140 million PS2 fans, to chase after 24 million Xbox fans! Many top-selling PS2 games have no sequels on the PS3, and many PS2 fans have few reasons to buy a PS3.

    And Sony’s strategy failed. Sony failed to get Xbox fans to switch over, while they lost millions of PS2 fans!

    Microsoft gave a token effort, with Blue Dragon and a few Beta versions RPGs. But 360-owning RPG fans feel shafted, so they obviously failed too.

    Console gaming has changed. It’s been taken over by hardcore FPS games, hostile online multiplayer, and angry 12-year-old gamers.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Wrong. Gran Turismo and Grand Theft Auto made the PlayStations “shine”, which is precisely the reason why the PS3 ain’t shining no more. FFVII was an anomaly in the system, after it the effect just wore off and everything slowly went back to normal.

    • The answer is simple: they think it’s more trouble than it worth (piracy,lack of translator,system comparative,if the game isn’t sold well it will be a huge lost… and all other bullshits).

  • Anonymous says:

    Noone mentioned that biowares modern wrpgs are all the same?

    Send a hero to 3 cities/locations/planets, choose one of the 2 factions that are vying for control of said city/location/planet, help your faction wipe out the other faction.

    Pump money into your allied factions to get them ready for the final battle.

    Fight boss.

    The 3 locations sctick was done in mass effect 1 and dragon age…and probably other bioware products that aren’t as memorable.

    The only difference in formula between WRPG and JRPG is that WRPGS say “We don’t need a story, we can just stick generic characters into a sandbox and have adventure ensue!”

    That and you can have your character be a city nuking jerkass.

    I’m REAAALLLY sick of sandbox games.

    • Anonymous says:

      JRPGs lack the ability to alter the outcome. I am suprised no one has mentioned this feature that many Western RPGs have but is sorely lacking in JRPGs. It’s really simple. Kick the dog or slaughter it, help the old lady across the road or run her over, this is what makes WRPGs superior to JRPGs, the ability to be a douche or a saint, the chance to alter the ending outcome. JRPGs typically lack this feature and the storyline is usually set in stone and the player can’t change it, which is what I absolutely hate about JRPGs. I can’t understand why Japanese gamers enjoy being lead along by the leash all the time in their games.

      Another thing, minor but still annoying. JRPGs usually have effiminate pretty boy characters, whilst WRPGs tend to have strong male characters. Western gamers usually prefer the latter whilst the Japanese peculiary prefer the former, example the fiasco with two different versions of Nier. Clearly if JRPGs want to be more successful overseas they have to dump the unrealistic bishounen ideals and embrace more realistic strong manly leads instead. Given the stagnation of JRPGs even within Japan itself, it’s obvious where the future of JRPGs is.

  • Dungeons & Dragons for example was never meant to be mainstream It got popular because of diffrent reason’s, It also fell into hard times as well.

    Like JRPG Game Designers and Developers you face the same problems as TSR back in those day’s face.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a single tip for the japanese devs:


    Just check out what crazy stuff morrowind, oblivion and fallout 3 have. Or BG2. If the community doens’t like your game, it will be adjusted. It definitely helps regarding the lifespan of the game.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Well, with the kind of people who buy these games, I would expect that Sony bans at least half of the FFXIII mods for being NSFW material.

      Also, I’m not sure how modding would work in a console-only game, stuff might get too messy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last thing I want is some boring ass western rpg with ultra muscle bound emotionless males with no cutscenes and stiff animations taking over Jrpgs place. Please don’t fall victim to American or the western mind manipulation. Be your ownselves Japan and evolve your games for the love of god but please stop kissing white ass.

      Japs focus far too much on want people want instead of just making a damn fun game that they themselves will enjoy playing for years to come.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, it’s a slight improvement over the decline from FF7 through 10. FF12 was okay, worse than FF6, but better than 7-10, and 13 was miles ahead of the garbage of 7-10.

      The decline already happened, we’re just slowly getting over it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I dunno about you, but 12 was an upgrade. It added more content and a bigger world, a more complex story, and higher customization. Yet for some reason, people thought that was a bad thing. So they went back to basics for 13… tenfold.
      If you guys JUST noticed it for FF series, you guys are idiots. Everything after Persona 4 has been garbage.

      • darknetwork says:

        i agree with the customization etc, but i’m not sure about the storyline. it’s boring. compared to other FF series i wasn’t too interested knowing how the story develops.

  • Anonymous says:

    No matter what you think about the direction of JRPGs, what he’s saying isn’t incorrect. Outside of Final Fantasy JRPGs have never been very big in the West. Their popularity has always been exaggerated by the nerd market especially here on the internet. The casual gamer in the West never cared much about them.

    Top selling PS1 games:

    In the top 50 there’s only 5 JPRGS. Final Fantasy VII-IX, Tactics. The fifth being Dragon Quest VII but that’s pretty much all Japanese sales.

    Top selling PS2 games:

    Again, look at the top 100; all of the few applicable JRPGs there are Final Fantasy–Kingdom Hearts too, but that’s pretty much does FF+Disney anyway.

    As far as “stagnation”. It’s a little bullshit because this can really be applied to every genre to some extent–WRPGs just as much as JRPGs and even more in some areas. And it’s hypocritical because Bioware themselves have pretty much using the same formula since Baldur’s Gate. Not to mention they themselves attempted to make a JRPG type game with Sonic and it was completely generic. They’re in no position to talk.

    And what about games like Valkyria Chronicles, Demon Souls, and TWEWY? There are plenty of JRPGs out there thinking outside the box a little. But nobody wants to talk about them.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      “The casual gamer in the West never cared much about them.”

      And what makes you think that most hardcore gamers care about them? Some of them not only don’t give two shits about them, they outright despise them. They may take SRPGs, RTS or full turn-based strategy games before those, and for the more action-heavy ones, they’d simply move to stuff like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden (which feature grinding and equipment upgrades, after all). And for stories, they may go with movies, anime and books. There you have it, better options abound for many people, among them the so-called “h4rdc0r3z”.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Actually, FFVII was the only relevant JRPG, the whole genre is a meta-niche (’cause games themselves are a niche) that basically trail behind its unreachable shadow, trying to repeat the success formula… well, without any success.

  • Anonymous says:

    very Country has Different Cultures, Different Beliefs.

    I believe Producing a Game is the same. Different people make different games. Japan has their own ways and stories. We have no right to say “mine is superior, yours is inferior.”. and Personally, I like like JRPG! ^^ Japan!!!! XD

  • Anonymous says:

    Actually, RPG’s were very popular in the United States at one time. It’s just that the companies in question have been punking out and instead of focusing on a ‘deep’ gaming experience, they have been focusing on eye-candy instead.

  • Even if we look at his comment itself, ignoring that it (as pointed out) evades the actual issue, it’s flat-out wrong. Ever since the arrival of FFVII in 97, and even arguably before then, the JRPG epic has been a household name noticeable by most fans of gaming. Oh, sure, there may be many casual gamers out there that wouldn’t recognize big names and games in the West, but then they are the same sort that probably wouldn’t know anything about Devil May Cry itself, which wasn’t exactly a sleeper hit.

    It’s much ado about nothing. JRPGs have declined in popularity in the West, there’s little doubt about that, but that’s undeniably a result of the fucking explosion of them during the PSX’s era.

  • Anonymous says:

    JRPGs were always popular in the west. The problem was, the genre never grew or fixed any of its core problems. You played 1 JRPG, you played them all. After awhile, the grind got old. Disgaea is the perfect example, even though it’s not a JRPG. Disgaea was a blast. It was different, but it wasn’t. It was grind heavy, but the over the topness made it worthwhile. Then Disgaea 2 came out, and it was just more of the same with less likeable characters and a weaker story. Then Disgaea 3 came, and it was the exact same song and dance. By D2 you were tired of the grind, and by D3 you never wanted to grind again. Every JRPG is a grind, and rather than characters and stories getting stronger, they are getting weaker. I never liked FFVIII, but I loved the first 3/4s of VIII. I didn’t like the ones that followed, and X was a pile of atrocious on so many levels it hurt. Beyond that, the FF series has been just getting worse and worse and worse. Same with Xenogears. Mind-blowingly great. Then Xenosaga was a massively flawed mess and an unrewarding chore. And the sequels wer ejust promises of more of the unwanted same. I play games to have a good time, not grind and work a second daunting job. JRPG’s just haven’t figured this out, and that’s why no one wants them anymore. Especially not with the leaps and bounds Western RPG’s are making. The Fallout 3s of the world give you a whole fucking world to explore and do as you will in while customizing my character, and you want me to go back to random battles with no strategy, sorting through lists of techniques and balancing mana, and learning the same pile of moves in each play through? Not happening.

  • UraSapMrJap says:

    Japan should retire from RPGS altogether. I don’t think I enjoyed a JRPG since the PSone days.

    Either that or just sell their RPG scripts to the game-makers in the west. Problem Solved. Better looking games that are actually fun to play which are also made in half the time.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Better yet, assemble a diverse group of developers in order to take the best of both worlds. Japanese take care of the game world’s aesthethics and general tone, Westerners ensure that the main characters aren’t totally gay. Japanese develop an interesting and sometimes weird plot (remember the entirety of FFVII, including Cloud’s intrusion into Don Corneo’s, lol), Westerners insert alternatives and meaningful deviations. Both can compose the music and do other stuff.

      But given the current game company map, it doesn’t look very likely… we’ll have to wait for Deus Ex: Human Revolution and see how that one turns out.

  • Anonymous says:

    JRPGs are simply stagnant for, what, decades. It’s always the same story of a 16 year old idealistic kid with the same rag-tag group that comprises of a saucy onee-chan, a loli with amnesia who has the super secret key to the mystery, some gruff veteran with a painful past.

    Then there’s always the same crap about the “heroes” wanting to protect everybody. Sigh, boring. Modern JRPGs are just a new coat of paint over the same old crap from the 80s.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Or a variation thereof.

      More important than these (because NEWSFLASH: yes, for a game to be popular it has to be sold as a good game in addition to an original story… or otherwise be a Nintendo-developed non-game, it seems), JRPGs always play the damn same, and the basic mechanics requirements in order to fit into the genre essentially guarantee that all additions to them won’t make them any less boring and samey.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really now. Explain valkyrie profile. Idiot.

      But yes, you describe western RPGs very well. Completely stagnant, always the same wannabe-tough guy mainchar with boring partymembers nobody gives a shit about.

      If Bioware hadn’t ripped off Dating sims and added sex, nobody would remember those recent Bioware games, because they were just the same rehashed old shit western RPGs have hashed out for decades.

  • Anonymous says:

    The JRPG experience hasn’t “scaled well” with the growth of the western market. It used to be that like 30% of all gamers were otaku to some extent. Now that number is probably around 5%. Not because there are less otaku gamers, but because the market has shifted to middle aged salary-men gamers and frat-boys. I think gaming has become less “geeky”, so it’s only natural that the geekier games are not selling as well – percentage of the whole. JRPGs are becoming more and more of a niche, represented by a target market that will buy regardless of quality in some cases.

  • Onanimous says:

    Maybe he should have taken a look at the PlayStation Network’s Store’s list of Top Downloads which, up to a few weeks ago, had FF7 listed, every week, almost always at or near #1, since it came out on PSN a year ago.

    FF8 did reasonably well, and I expect FF9 which comes out next Tuesday to do much better.

    These sales mean this: good JRPGs are in demand.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      He’s ranting about the perceived lack of popularity, not that they are less fun than they were more than a decade ago… although that’s a whole new can o’ worms if you ask me, stagnation doesn’t even start to describe it.

    • Anonymous says:

      incorrect. there simply arent very many good rpg’s to begin with these days. mass effect 1 and 2=generic and boring,oblivion=dull with bad combat,fallout 3=oblivion with guns. ill admit i enjoy the gore in fallout 3 but thats it.

      jrpg’s havent represented much either but its safe to say the persona games have stood out. persona 3 fes and persona 4 by far are the best things to come out in recent years on the rpg front.

      bioware is trash. ill stick with my persona’s,disgaea’s,final fantasy’s(not 13 lol),and tales of games.

      • Anonymous says:

        wow, someone has suck taste in games. you can bash those games with a straight face given the generic story in nearly every RPG ever made? Please. I know Bioware sucks right? That’s why they have made so many classics and goty products. Bet many jrpg producers would like to suck so much. Although, that being said, I’d take dragonage over oblivion anyday but most disagree

    • Normally I would jump on the “hate east” bandwagon and say your right.
      It’s not true, they can compete they just need to look at the market as a whole, instead of the just the Japanese consumers. Keep every type of player into consideration add different elements. they have the stories just lacking the game-play or whatever that has decline in recent years.

  • Anonymous says:

    w/e all i know its the community who treats jrpgs with more harshness as the times roll on.

    No offense but the story in 7 8 10 and 13 are kinda of close to one another. In terms of the amount of drama and other cheesy factors. ppl embrace the new system and others dont its just most of the ones who didnt are the majority. PLus the fact that the consumers just want something the same. Specifically if its in a franchise in this case ff.

    If you want to experiment with other mechanics than build a new game franchise. market it as the new ff experience or something. Look at the mana series started off as a branch of ff like crystal and tactics. They hit off in their respective niche genre without any negative feedback.

    Plain and simple the mythos of final fantasy is getting over used and should be left alone for awhile and come up with new ones.

    • Anonymous says:

      and fps games have?

      people need to compare the new and the old better

      for instance:
      fps’s were single player, now they’re exclusively online multiplayer

      rpg’s were single player, now they’re mostly mmo

      looking at the amount of eastern mmorpgs, i think the market is doing fine

      all i see, is that single player seems to be dying

      • Anonymous says:

        Except for the fact that what the top selling FPS titles in recent times was more notable for its campaign than its multiplayer content? (Modern Warfare 2).

        And Bad Company 2 was the most recent and possibly the first FPS in the Battlefield series to HAVE a single player campaign?

        HL2 is going back a bit further but that’s dominantly campaign, and so are episodes 1 and 2.

        Singleplayer isn’t dying, Multiplayer is booming – good FPS have both.

  • This is irrelevent to the topic but…

    The Popularity of a genre is almost irrelevant,If the games are good,then it will sells.

    Take Persona 3 and 4 for example.

    But there are also case in which even the games are good,and is in a popular Genre doesn’t sell very well, like Shenmue,Okami and Shadow of Colossus.

    And this is relevant to the topic.

    Mikami said that he would “commit harakiri” if Resident Evil 4(which was only on GameCube at the time) came out on another platform,and the game not only ported to PS2 but also on PC and Wii (and IPad)

    Now we all know not to take Mikami words seriously,Basically what he said to the public can be treat as hot air.

      • It depends. I mean there are plenty of games that if they just did a rough translation on it and distrubuted through say the PSN (or VC or Xbox live), I think would do well.

        The only reason they might not do so hot is if they try to completely localize it. With full voice over works, aggressive advertising campaigns, etc.

  • good old days, when japanesse developers took risks making original games, nowadays you just see the sequel of the same game over and over with few improvements, wich lately western developers seem to be doing too.

    P.S:pretty much thats happening with the anime too.

      • lets see here.

        metal gear
        metal gear solid
        metal gear solid 2
        metal gear solid 3
        metal gear solid 4

        each one good, but very little inovation between each.

        you have a gun
        you dont want to kill and dont have to
        and every solid, cutsceen hell.

        good games, but next to no innovation, or originality passed 2.
        and puting something into the game that should have been there in the first place is not innovation, im looking at you camo.

        • of 1-2 graphics and first person, 3-4 was graphics, and camera angel if you played the first version of 3.

          and all the “innovation” was natural progression (graphics) or improved shit, or shit that should have always been there.

          i mean this seriously, if yo can name me anything truly innovative, than tell me, because i cant think of anything that wasn’t natural progression.

          and again im not saying they are bad, i love those games.

        • well they do haave innovation with each , most notably from 1 to 2 and 3 to 4, but its true that some japanese games dont improve at all like the tenchu series, wich if they kept improving it would be pretty much something like arkham asylum.

    • no its not that, its that jrpg has a formula and no one will break it, and in ff13’s case, they broke it in the wrong fucking direction.

      here let me say what i think an “epic” jrpg should be

      the game, start to when every you can first have a shot in hell of beating the end boss, 15-20 hours.

      comfortable beating the end boss, 40-80 hours.

      there should be 20 invintory slots, and have side wuest to open up more.

      over all armor increases shit less, but is over all more of a challenge to fill all the slots, and those items can be upgrades, either max armor, max resistance, or a balance.

      there should be more than 100 wepons a person. some weapons shopud go faster, some slower but more powerful.

      and there should be about 3-400 hours worth of side quests, in a jrpg, they arent hard to make that many, but it SO helps to have something to do while grinding.

      i dont mention story because that shouldnt have to be mentioned.

      • Anonymous says:

        You forgot 1 of the most importent things, characters. Without great characters an RPG just falls flat on it’s face and gives you no reason what so ever to feel conected to the world you are playing in. Little to no emersion is a shallow shell of an RPG.

        • when i play an rpg, story is a second to everything else.

          lets be honest here. every story can be condenced into this

          1 back story character that all die off, leading into you
          2 you being normal, and shit hits the fan you take up a sword
          2a you can be an emo bitch about this, or cool but if you are cool with it, your friend will die, which slaps you into a bitch,
          3 you are a badass to begin with, and that is the whole premase of your character.


          1 you go on the first quest, which should be the end of your adventure, but shit hits the fan
          2 you get fucked up by a big bad, but not the big bad
          3 and this one is rare, the world opens up, and you figure shit out slowly


          long quest with slight turns to the big bad


          you kill the big bad, game over.

          there are slight varriations on everything, but i just summed up 75% of all rpgs, so story is a second, and as for characters, again, fuck them because they are just as steriotypical.

          one time, just one time, i the character you play after getting jerked around for the 5th time by the same 1 or 2 pricks to just yell fuck this, and go off and do his own shit.

          but realy for me, its all about the combat system and how you build characters. if there isnt a good system than its a 20-40 hour game, but if it has a great one, thats what makes me sink 300+ hours into a game.

        • look up a game called elona, there are parts from various mmo’s i have played, like everquest, and also parts from various rpgs, and character builders.

          realy what i want is every part of armor has its own slot. like forearm, hand, that part above elbow and below shoulder, dont know technical term elbow and shoulder, there is 5 slots, than 10 because you mirror it, chest and back, neck face head another 5, than legs are split into 4×2 and a crotch peice, 2 earing and at least 4 rings, 8 if you realy want to go balls out, but rings would be under powered, and a quest to add 1 or 2 more ear slots. and possibly nose slot, think minitor nose ring when i say that and not douchebag jewelry.

          than you have feet and fist weps, with spikes so do more dmg, if you have spokes on your armor it would serve a practical purpose of possibly harming enemies, and 2 hands for weps in each, or a sword and board or just a 2 hander, depends on play style, more agro dps from more hits but each hit is lower dmg, better tank form sword and board, or have a 2 hander for led hits but over all more dmg.

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember Devil May Cry 2 and 4? Remember Reisdent Evil 3, 5, and everything that wasn’t 1, 2, or 4?

      Do you also remember how they failed miserably and where heavily criticized for good reason?

      When you “miss” on more then half of the games you’re involved with..

    • Anonymous says:

      no most of the J-rpgs are stagnant like hell , just like west they produce one or two decent ones in 4 years . Plus they tend to focus games for ps 3 or psp , never for pc to take advantage of the power .

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think the stagnation of JRPGs is an issue particularly unique until it’s own; I hate to point out the obvious, but the evolution of enterprise titles has tended to favour minimalisation of game mechanics and maximisation of presentation.

      Once a heavy-handed narrative is coupled into the mix, one can deduce the over-arching mantra for this direction: Cinematic.

      I feel the only thing that makes JRPGs somewhat unique in this aspect is the amount of people who played them during a time when games were still very much about depth of play.

      If one were to look else where in the world of video game genres one would find similar cases:

      There are people in the WRPG camp who can’t stand what Bioware has done to their genre of choice, people of Ego-shooter preference can’t stand the rape-and-pillage of Halo.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Lilith: I guess less than 5% of the entire SNES install base ever played a JRPG. So no, they were never popular.

      On the first PlayStation, only Final Fantasy VII was actually popular due to a number of reasons, many of which have not repeated and will not repeat in any other title. From there, it was just downwards, back to the starting point.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually he’s right,the only reason back in the days JRPGs completely dominated the consoles is because the vast majority of WRPGs were PC exclusive but even then WRPGs still completely dominated JRPGs in the West.After 2000, WRPGs’ve started to invade consoles and JRPGs’ve been losing it’s ground.

    • Anonymous says:

      What an idiot! Japan is the cradle of RPGs and America knows nothig on how to make a decent RPG…. They only know sandboxes, sex games and puzzle games and cheap rehashes of old or cheezy movies….

      • An Otaku's Opiate says:

        Early games are considered higher art? HA.

        Shadow of the Colossus is higher art. Yume Nikki is higher art. So are Braid, Okami, and Ico.

        Not to bash on old-school games; there are plenty that made up my childhood, and there are even some I play even today. I am just as fully aware that the definition of “art” differs from person to person, but it would be hard to argue that games created during the early period of the medium’s history would pass as something artistically relevant, whether it be in terms of story, character development, art design, genre, or gameplay.

        • Anonymous says:

          Art is the application of a skill to create an object; The skill demonstrated can be anything.

          Story, art design are examples of what’s broadly known as ‘liberal arts’.

          A somewhat more esoteric form of art– at least to the uninitiated masses– would be gameplay, level design and technicals.

          While there were a lot of garbage titles then, as now, it’s still an act of ignorance to dismiss the contributions of older titles simply on the basis of their age; if you look past the splendor of the new, you find it rests firmly on the shoulders of the squalid old.

        • diskonline says:

          I agree with you on “the definition of art differs from person to person”, the term “art” has never been defined by majority.

          But “art” wouldn’t take shape without an artist. The problem is, there is too few artist in the industry. Most producers only take their games as “products”, that’s way we don’t have so many arts to enjoy.

      • I’ve seen FF13 and FF14, They are different from what FF used to be,but is that really a bad thing?

        Those 2 are good games (in FF14 case, looks good), they didn’t make me like FF or JRPG in general any less,I welcomed the changes.

        *I know FF14 isn’t gonna be a WoW killer,but at least it’s gonna be an enjoyable timesink,like FF11 was.

        • Anonymous says:

          Uh how is FFXIII is basically like all the old FF games. <.< It's not new, people are just bored and the story didn't really back it up either. FFXIV is basically FFXI with better graphics. Combat is still boring to watch and play. They even used the same particle effects from FFXI….

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, I’m playing through the Final Fantasy XIV alpha. It’s a lot better than XI so far (and most other mmo’s). It’s quick paced, enemies are balanced and don’t require an whole party to beat.

          Quest are optionally tiered from Solo to requiring armies of characters. Each one is quick and to the point. And it’s combat has been sped up from how it started.

          It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely more of a Final Fantasy than XIII ever will be.

        • Anonymous says:

          With WRPGs selling way less in Asia, and JRPGs selling less in Western states what will we get? RPGs made by each developer for their own audience => characters, story telling and scenery reverting back to the old school feel.

          Worldwide sales aim is the reason why JRPGs feel like they’ve “lost their touch”. Because developers come from a country which has it’s own culture it’s very difficult for them to understand foreign cultures and what appeals to their citizens, hence they end up with rubbish mash-up.

          You see the JRPGs genre stagnant because they’ve tried worldwide market approach whereas WRGPS have not.

        • Anonymous says:

          FF14 is basically a prettier continuation of FF11. Other than the gimmicky guildleve, it lacks fresh ideas. Worse, it continues with the same Everquest-era antiquated design of sitting in a corner and camp the same stupid mobs for weeks. It’s just a game to appeal to the same fanbase.

          Yet somehow, the fanboys got it into their brains thinking the same game with prettier graphics will attract a horde of new players who aren’t interested in FF11 in the first place.

        • Shippoyasha says:

          I can *somewhat* agree with his comment in that aside from the big hitter JRPGs, most struggled or didn’t even make profit. Their huge popularity and cultural relevance in gaming aside, it seems the sales don’t really correlate all the time. But when new JRPGs comes out and is fun, I just hope gamers can support it by buying the games more instead of always letting it go to the bargain bins.

    • Azure Xuchilbara says:

      I wish they would re-release Seiken Densetsu 1-3 for the DS or something…

      And while they’re at it, they should also re-release all the old, classic PS1 RPG’s to the PSP…With extras~

      This way, they can set the stage for future sequels of the ones that are popular so JRPGs will make a righteous comeback and make the fools at Bioware eat their comment…

      • Bioware is just good at crowing and tooting their own horns.

        Sure, some of their games are great. I have the Baldur’s Gate all-in-one DVD-Rom collection myself, along with a few other Bioware titles…. but they’re not that good.

        It’s not the gaming industry which decides what genres are doing well or not, it’s the consumers and game players who do. Sadly, that means that the games which players can get into their hands (I’m looking at you, Japanese-American import/export bullshit!) are the ones who decide the ‘popularity’ of titles which come out. And they [game makers] base their erroneous assumptions on what is doing well, almost completely ignoring the internet marketplace over old-fashioned marketing principles of supply of physical goods and demand.

        Keep in mind, that the internet is how piracy of those same physical goods turn into digital goods quickly. This is at the heart of the whole argument of internet piracy of games, anime, and manga or really any and all materials of an ‘intellectual’ nature.

      • Anonymous says:

        But Bioware can never really eat their comment as their own games are just too awesome. I love me some FF anyday and grew up devouring JRPGs on the snes\PS\etc but come on, look at what Bioware does. Can’t cut them when they produce good things.

      • Darkrockslizer says:

        Surely, it’s quite a bold statement and not entirely correct.

        Even though games most enjoyed in the west are indeed shooters, racing games, GTA, sims etc., there’s a large number of those enjoying eastern games as well.

        It’s like saying cheese is unpopular if two out of five customers would pick the sandwich with cheese.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s like everyone says, JRPGs are a stagnant market in the industry. I haven’t had much experience with the more modern titles mind you so I’m drawing this knowledge from a few years back.

          WRPGs are, to an extent, innovating new concepts and updating the games for the release of sequels or other titles. Taking Bioware as an example, Neverwinter Nights was very different to Mass Effect which was a fair bit different to Dragon age or even Mass Effect 2.

          In terms of story (the main reason I personally play RPGs) I think the games come… close. But like a lot of Japanese media it seems that modern JRPGs are very slow to introduce a compelling reason for you to care about the world you’re saving. I’ve heard lots of people say FFXIII only gets good 13 hours in, and having played Resonance of Fate (or End of Eternity in Japan) myself recently, what drew me in was the cinematically gorgeous combat system, not the story.

          Western RPGs tend to throw you in in media res. Without spoiling anything both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 did this wonderfully, and so did Oblivion to an extent. They also tend to have more replay value, even without necessarily just going back to complete all the sidequests.

          The main issue is the cultural origins. In exactly the same way to when you read manga and then read western graphic novels, or watch anime or j-drama and then watch a western TV show. Unpopular I can agree with, but as people have been saying, not -bad- just different. I think the western market has gotten bored of the cookie cutter games that aren’t direct sequels of one another. *shrug*

        • Those 12 year old douchebags have grown over WoW’s 6 year run. They’re fully legal douchebags now. Scary thoughts eh?

          To the topic at hand, JRPGs are not too popular, this is true. But will it be fixed, or will we get another FF13?

        • Anonymous says:

          I think ‘to be frank’ it’s down to the developers, because they think they can just shit out another JRPG that will sell like hotcakes, what happened to the good days, and good games where they really pulled you into the game; panzer dragoon saga or crono trigger etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          actually what we’re talking about here is numbers. The point he was making is that Jrpgs never had huge numbers (excepting an occasional oddball like FF games). Now western rpgs are out and they are generating thier own sales which in most cases dwarf the numbers of almost any jrpg. Wrpgs aren’t taking sales from jrpgs but are generating more sales per title. That is to say Jrpg sales haven’t declined they have just been eclipsed by wrpgs. So I think everything he said is correct.