Bethesda: Japanese RPGs “Not Realistic”


Fallout 3 and Oblivion maker Bethesda’s honcho Todd Howard has said Japanese RPGs are “not realistic” compared to western ones.

Todd Howard, executive producer at Bethesda, gave an interview in which he politely rubbished the Wii and 3DS as platforms unsuitable for Bethesda games, stated that Red Dead Redemption is “a great RPG,” and also weighed in on Japanese RPGs:

In terms of the RPG genre, you guys do a fantastic job and a lot of the western developers are leading that charge now; maybe Japan is a little weaker in that area.

Final Fantasy XIII is selling pretty well, but it seems whether it’s you or BioWare, or Peter Molyneux with the Fable series, there’s just a really strong western RPG presence.

Do have any thoughts on the state of the Japanese RPGs? Do you play them personally?

I don’t. I look at them. Artistically, I think they’re really, really good.

I’ve never been one to draw lines, though I think it’s easier in this case to say, “these are the western and these are the eastern ones.” I think, by and large, if you look at Japanese games, overall their mindset is way more fantastical, even if it’s not an RPG.

Personally for me, sometimes I like that and sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my hands around it. A western game… again I’m generalizing, they’re more realistic.

Even if it’s post-apocalyptic America Fallout, there’s this filter on it: well, this could really be happening. It’s got this somewhat of a suspension of disbelief, even when we do fantasy stuff.

If you compare the sci-fi in Mass Effect to the science fiction in a million Japanese games, it just gets really, really out there. I think the two sensibilities break down more like that.

Apparently he never played Morrowind.

Whilst being much more circumspect than other western developers, it does seem apparent Howard does not hold Japanese RPGs in great esteem.

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  • Anonymous says:

    Fuck Bethesda and fuck WRPGs. And fuck the WRPGWeebfags who love them.
    Ys Series
    The Legend of Heroes/Kiseki Series
    Final Fantasy
    Tears to Tiara
    and so may more examples of very good RPGs done right.
    Fuck the Westernshit. Fantasy over reality. Like people have already said on here: if you want reality, get a fucking job, go play sports, go rob a bank or kill your children.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bethesda: no one cares. I still play Japanese RPGs, because they have much more to offer than the constant bullshit of the Pure White-Race Western RPGs. Japanese RPGs don’t have to be realistic. It’s FUCKING FANTASY, for fuck sake. I have played JRPGs most of my life, even played the very first Final Fantasy back in the 80s on the NES. This was all I knew was JRPGs, not Ultima and so other faggy so-called *realistic* shit. Maybe you should tell that bullshit to Nihon Falcom Corporation. Pretty sure they would laugh it off, not giving a fuck. And that company makes damn good RPGs. The Ys Series and the Kiseki series are perfect examples of their great work. No, I will never play a Westerntard RPG, because, no. Feel free to call me a weeb and whatnot, I could give a fuck less. JRPGs and or nothing. I guess the fags at Bethesda are trying to make it seem like their RPGs are more on point, than Japanese ones. Pfaaw. No one gives a fuck about your bullshit opinion. They are just games. If they sell, they sell to make profits. They don’t have to be realistic.

  • Todd Howard is just an arrogant game maker who has the America is the Best complex like any other egoistic person in the States so shut the fuck up Todd I like your games but you dont fucking need to be so arrogant

  • I was infuriated before I started reading but after reading I can’t really say he’s trashtalking.
    He does put an emphasis on that it is his personal opinion and that he is generalizing. Apart from that his opinion does not talk for all developers.

  • “Japanese RPGs are “not realistic” compared to western ones”

    what? who cares.. its a game, if you want “realism” go play medal of honor games. To me RPG’s arnt based on reality more fantasy.. realism isnt a key factor.

    on a note Bethesda…

    Oblivion (and i love the game) isnt Realistic

    Fallout 3 (and i love the game) isnt 100% Realistic

  • This is getting old…..seriously if this keeps going itll be like Mac or PC LOL…..lets just put it this way if Japan didn’t come out with FF7 there wuldnt be any RPGs unless some can name an RPG b4 FF7. Only thing i dont like about WRPGs are the fact thats its almost the same thing over and over for JRPGs only thing i hav against it is how seriously they hav to make theyre rpgs much better than how they r today but theyre still good overall

  • Zenanon: as to why this became a shit fling festival is beyond me. I commend the only person that mentioned shenmu, could not be plopped in reality more than waiting two hours to meet a contact at the arcade or the only way to get stronger was to work out for several hours a day. And check this out, you had to get a job, take care of a pet, and keep a healthy relationship with friends neighbors family and a girlfriend. I’ve been playing electronic media games since pong and i’ve played rpg since the 80’s, that’s way before ps1 kids. Here is the thing, the west has just jumped into the vg rpg market but still uses the same designs as they have with all the top selling vgs. Buff dudes that shoot the shit out of things. But here’s something alot of you glossed over. The two styles differ because of culture n folklore and mythology. I mean hands down japan folklore is amazing, filled with unbelievable hero’s n heroines doing the fantastic and alot of times dying to save people. Frankly that sounds like something cool that I don’t have the time to do in life since I got thes jobs n relationships I got to deal with. As for the cultural folklore of the Americas, it kinda lacks that mystical amazing. We have our daniel boones, our John Henry Irons, sitting bulls Merlin king Arthur robin hood n al capones. Of course the only thing our RPGs will b based on is what our fairy tales n paranoia dictate. Frankly both have it’s ups downs n boring parts but popular media dictates too. I don’t know about ne one ekes but having a big assed gun a huge sword n a Byatt big ass chick that can change into a robot monster gets me hard. As for fallout 3 post apocalyptia gets dull fast cuz it’s not reality too much is missing n social interaction is limited but pc hacking n addin a few extra wrpg with jrpg themes made the experience fun. In close, a Great psycho onces said: in a dream u can do ne thing if u die in the dream u wake up to reality! Ask me what happens if u die in reality…u die stupid that’s y it’s called reality!

  • ChaosAngelZero says:

    Howard said that “WRPGs are more realistic”, NOT that “JRPGs are not realistic”.

    Because, when it comes down to “strict” realism, neither branch is “realistic”, at all. You should quit taking valid, 100% certifiable criticism and turn it into an imaginary weeaboo witch hunt or something, Arte.

  • Fuck that guy!!! What does he know? All he did was make an RPG that sold millions worldwide. Fuck him….seriously! The only RPGs that are good are the same ‘ol JRPGs that have been around since the PS1 era. Only with better graphics.

    I only play games where the main character is prettier than all the girls around him and like to take it in his emo ass! Anything japanese and anything remotely anime is where its at. Western game developers can kiss my ignorant ass eventhough they are now better than their japanese counterparts. I will open my mouth to swallow any shit that comes out from my favorite JRPG maker!

  • “overall their mindset is way more fantastical, even if it’s not an RPG.”

    It’s a ROLE-PLAYING GAME. The whole point of role-playing is to have a more fantastical experience. Video games in general, actually.

    And that’s exactly it, Japan goes in fantastical directions, and the west is desperately trying to make everything a full-fledged simulation. That’s why there’s so many first-person games. First-person shooters are popular here because Americans want to shoot people in the face. There’s a desire for realism when it comes to things like that.

    All these western RPGS are trying to simulate, as if you were really in this place. Making choices, having conversations, realistic consequences to your actions, etc. To make a good ROLE-PLAYING GAME, you have to have an interesting role to play (unrealistic) and you have to be able to play that role accurately (realistic). If you want a realistic role-playing game, just play the game of life. Not Life, but life. See how much fun you have with that without getting in trouble in some way.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is: Who gives a shit? Reality isn’t exactly fun. So why should push an expectation of realism onto any game? If it’s going to simulate, fine. If it’s not, FINE. The only thing we should expect from video games is fun. What shape and form that fun has depends on the game. Don’t bash games for not being a god damn simulation.

  • Calm down guys, he never badmouthed JRPGs.
    He is right, western games tend to be more down to earth than Japanese games.
    So what? He did not say it is a bad thing, why do you feel so offended by this harmless statement?
    You are overreacting far too much.

    • agreed it seem everyone is getting up in arms just because he voiced him opion on the diffrences between what makes a WRPG a sucess versus JRPG. He never state that one was greater than the other. In my point of view it doesn’t matter, this kind of depate is completely subjective. The way I see video games is like an interactive move/tv show. Its a form of entertainment by drawing the audience in with visual, mental, and physical stimulation. The more realistic a story/setting is the easier it is for the audience to relate to it; plus WJRPG seems to aim for more of mature and creativly desencitiesed age group. JRPG’s on the other hand focus more on style with immaginative and colorfull characters/worlds. They seem to primarily aim for younger age groups or fans of JPOP kind of stuff. Either why what’s key is a good story and character development, the rest is just the iceing on the cake.

  • My how the times have changed. I would have sworn the whole point of video games was to be entirely unlike reality.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but when I get home from work and sit down at my tv, the last thing I want to do is play a “game” where I’m constrained to the same possibilities as in real life.

  • U guys, it’s just an opinion, the same crap is happening in japan in what their developers think of western games, crap, who cares who started what first, it’s just different styles, quit being a twat to what other people think, as it says in the beginning, it’s just an opinion!

  • I like how he says Mass Effect gets really really out there, like he invented Space Operas.. Hello Star Ocean series.. Like seriously, I enjoyed Mass Effect’s gameplay, but the story’s lacking..

  • Shit like this kills me. It easy to bash JRGPs now, but back in the day, they put fucking RPGs on the map has a marketable genre. Also the ‘Not Realistic’ thing kills me more. That’s the FUCKING REASON I play game.

    P.S. Fuck talking mutant tree are not realistic neck beard.

  • Bronxdragon says:

    ……Do they even hear themselves when they bitch? Why would someone playing a game want it to have anything to do with realism? The point of games is escapism the same with books. If you want realisict bullshit play sims and get high of being god for a hour or so.

  • come on people
    the reallity
    jrpg= mens transform into a girls
    and unoriginal story

    wrpg = games for men that like real life and dont collapse when they fan announs married with older men XD

  • yes here is the weeaboo cry fest i was expecting!

    Now to add more fuel to the flames:

    all jrpgs play like dragon quest

    they all feature a trap that is not gay

    they all involve saving the world from evil force

    they have no originality

    • You should admit that WRPG’s do the same shit, but in a twist of attempting to do the world for better or worse. Your not adding fuel to the flame your just proving how much of a 6 year old you are.

      • yeah feed me! all you do is cram your lousy opinion down my throat and expect me to take it like a submissive yaoi person.

        wrpgs add moar flavor to story and actually have varied combat systems!

        nice try 😀

  • I like JRPGs, but I find WRPGs have more replay value. And I’ve played my share of WRPGs what I think he meant when he said WRPGs are more realistic is that its easier to put yourself in the character shoes, and get a full experience while playing the game. Cause isn’t that what an RPG is supposed to be? A game where you yourself are the character?

    • “Cause isn’t that what an RPG is supposed to be? A game where you yourself are the character?”

      Yes… and no.
      The problem with the whole WRPG and JRPG terms are that WRPGs take the RPG elements from tabletop RPGs /P&P RPGs (change the story, you are the character, et cetera), where the JRPGs are defined by the GAMEPLAY (thats why RPGs with turn-based combat are called TRADITIONAL RPGs, or REAL RPGs).
      When you play a JRPG which is defined by the gameplay, changing the story and your characters is nice to have, but it’s not a must-have.

      An example: If you would have a Final Fantasy title WITHOUT level-ups, WITHOUT the possibility to change the story, et cetera, but WITH turn-based combat: Would it be an RPG in P&P/TT/western terms, would it be an RPG? Not really. Would it be an RPG in JRPG/videogame terms? Yes.

      Another example: If you would have a shooter WITH level-ups, stats, the possibility to change the story, and every other element that WRPGs have: Would it be an RPG in western terms? Yes. Would it be an RPG in japanese/videogame terms? Not in the slightest.

      People seem to forget that the videogame genre is named RPG BECAUSE it imitates the D&D gameplay where you TAKE TURNS.

    • That’ debateable. You can argue that you’re playing the “role” of the main character in the game.

      But then, the WRPG makers will complain about the silent protagonist again even though Fallout also uses it.

      When I played Mass Effect 2, I can’t imagine myself making any of the choices available for Shepard. They’re all too American & either too super/anti heroish (depending on your choice). Surely, life isn’t as simple as Paragon and Renegade. So you can’t argue that the choices are in any way realistic.

  • I don’t care if it is realistic or not if it intrigues me then I’ll play it. I mean, Bethesda soft, I have played both Fallout and Elder Scrolls and they aren’t actually realistic, excluding Fallout which is some WWIII zone, But I am sure that lighting isn’t supposed to be shot out of your hands. But I have to say I still like Persona more than your games because I feel your story is lacking especially on Fallout 3.

    BTW Bethesda Soft play Fatal Frame I’m sure your asses might criticize the the game.

  • =/ because, you know, I totally play my rpg’s for the realism. Shoot, half the fun of rpg’s are the fact that what happens in the game are so unlikely to happen in reality at all. Even games like Mass Effect or Fallout. I don’t recall a pocket nuclear weapon existing in reality, or races like the Asari running around in our solar system. Saying that’s somewhat possible is like saying something like Cloud’s buster sword or magic is possible because swords and wiccans exist. If I wanted to play a realistic game, I’d play a life simulator. Or go outside.

  • Damit I sneezed and click the wrong button… O well I am ending my rant.

    only Bethesda had come close to what I would view as a really, really, really, great RPG and even then they haven’t gotten everything right.

  • Well… personally I don’t like most JRPGs or WRPGs.

    When I play an RPG I look for the following things.

    1) Control over how my character looks(I want a ton of options for changing how my character looks, from his/her face to what they are wearing).

    2) Control over his/her skill set (i.e. I hate the whole collect aggro as a Tank etc class types).

    3) Free movement around the game (I hate the invisible tunnels that most RPGs have).

    4) I want simultaneous attacks (I want the enemy to attack me at the same time I attack them, no turn based stuff).

    5) I want to be the one attacking (I want every click I make to have an action against the enemy, no WOW click target and then sit back and cast spells).


  • “Apparently he never played Morrowind.”

    Apparently neither have you. There is a difference between a fantasy setting with one where summons transform into cars for shits and giggles.

  • I think everyone here has completely misunderstood what he meant by “unrealistic”.

    What the guy means is not that the WRPG scenario’s can happen in real life (i.e. Morrowind), but that the choices you make in the game are reminiscent of what can really happen in real life. In the case of Dragon Age, despite it being in a fantasy setting, the people act like REAL people. The choices are like REAL choices. There isn’t simply “Yes” or “No” answers like JRPG’s (if there even is a choice).

    Role playing games are traditionally about having your own, original character who makes his own, original decisions. That is definitely not the case in JRPG’s, but WRPG’s are doing a much better job at it in recent years.

    I’ll play JRPG’s when I want a non-serious couple hours of fun by looking at the asses of some unrealistic fantasy babe. If I want real, emotionally gripping and impacting games, I’ll look more for WRPG’s.

    By saying realism isn’t there isn’t saying the game is bad. It’s just saying that game has failed to be reminiscent of human society, becoming something which we cannot, as humans, sympathize with. WRPG’s can be tear jerking, powerful and make you stop and think “Wow”. JRPG’s are just… mindless fun. There is a big difference.

    Note: When a JRPG kills off a main character (despite how rare that it) or has a sad ending, it doesn’t make it more realistic or more tear jerking than a WRPG. Gratuitous character deaths are as worthless as gratuitous sex scenes. To make it truly meaningful, there needs to be a point. So don’t try and make the Aeris argument.

    • I like you.

      I hate myself when I want everyone to live thus stopping Loghain’s execution, Alistair has a fit and leaves. Later he becomes a drunk and roams around telling everyone how he was a “grey warden” and that.

      I hate myself when I go for an independent New Vegas and learn that without a central government, it will become chaos. Freedom always has its price I guess. ;_;

  • He has got a point, the Star Ocean characters look pretty strange and overly cutesee.

    I don’t understand this weeboo aversion to muscle bound characters either. Theres nothing more stupid than a weak emo looking character carrying a hench sword.

  • “I think, by and large, if you look at Japanese games, overall their mindset is way more fantastical, even if it’s not an RPG.”

    “Personally for me, sometimes I like that and sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my hands around it. A western game… again I’m generalizing, they’re more realistic.”

    and Artefact choose to summarize it into

    Bethesda: Japanese RPGs “Not Realistic” (for obvious intentions)


    Anyway what Beth said was infact pretty accurate, infact by n large if you look at Japanese (anime, manga, porn, tv, game shows and many more ), overall their mindset is more fantastical.

    Psychologically I will attribute that to the above mediums being escapes from their daily routine and way of life where sticking out like a sore thumb is something to be frowned upon

  • @Jeen “Whatever the hell happened to people who plays both JRPGs and WRPGs?”

    as someone who once loved both WRPGs and JRPGs let me tell you. I lost interest in WRPGs because of WRPG developers and their fans constantly acting like retards. No way in hell am I giving my money to faggot trolls like bethesda or Bioware

  • Red Dead Redemption is an RPG? I presume he’s one of the guys who actually believes Fallout 3 is an RPG too?

    I think I now understand why the western developers are perceived to be doing better on the RPG front. They aren’t innovating in their games, they’re just creating the same old games and sticking the “RPG” label on them to make it sound a lot deeper. If you have a typical FPS, it doesn’t really sound innovative when you market it as a “first-person shooter”, but it certainly sounds innovative if you market it as a “role-playing game”.

    They aren’t doing anything inherrently different from what they’ve been doing before–They’re just marketing their same old games as if they were of a different genre of gaming.

    • HEY DIPSHIT! Let me define rpg real quick.
      A role-playing game (RPG) is a broad family of games in which players assume the roles of characters, or take control of one or more avatars, in a fictional setting. Actions taken within the game succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.

      Just because you didn’t like fallout because it wasn’t filled with faggy jap shit doesn’t mean that its not an rpg.

  • I don’t give a damn about realism,graphics and stuff. All that matters in the end is that game is interesting. I still sometimes find that FFIV is 10 times better than a title that cam out this year.

    • I thought it was your favourite pal, the honorable and professional crybaby “Phil Fish” who couldn’t take shit when its flung back at him.

      “Whats good for the goose is good for the gander” don’t they say?

  • Some of you mofos make me sick! The fact of the matter is jrpg’s and wrpg’s are different. They have their pros’s and cons like any thing else. I play both and like the over the action sometimes afforded in jrpgs like ffxiii and tales of vesperia, but then I like the more realistic approach of weapons and monsters like fallout 3 and mass effect. I think anyone who can meld the two and bring a non emo/effeminate male character that isn’t too “muscle bound” and have a great story with out a whole bunch men acting all sensitive and emo (ffxii I’m lookin at you!), then throw in guns, swords, over the top final techniques and bosses!

  • Listen if you wRPG fegs want realism why don’t you go outside?

    the whole point of a game is creating a fantasy universe where you can kick ass with awesome spells and cool weapons.

    not where the world blows up cuz some dood fucked up and your the only survivor and have to jerk off to the cover of a green peas ad.

  • Strange statement from the the developer of the Elder Scroll series. A pure fantasy game.

    And Red Dead Redemption is not an RPG.
    It’s just Grand Theft Horse and it’s nothing more than that. Quite boring really.

  • Escapism isn’t always synonymous with a lack of realism (if ever, really). The point of fantasy is to supplant one reality with an alternative one. There’s a reason that a lot of vg reviewers place heavy importance on a game’s ability make a player get lost in its landscape. I prefer to think that this is especially true of RPGs.

    As far as the article goes, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Some of what he says, I agree with, while other portions I can chalk up to him being relatively ignorant (and lacking in memory) when it comes to a good number of western rpg’s that are out there and highly acclaimed. A good number of things from the d20 universe, for instance.

  • Well said by him….and no, JRPGs arent just for kids. Goto Akihabara, plenty of men.

    Nothing wrong with fantasy however…or realistic RPGs either. I have but one complaint, after going through several JRPGs, JPRGs are too linear.

    Thats all…who cares about fantasy vs realism…that personal preference.

  • coyote1250 says:

    they can fuck themselves up with muscles and musle girls while Japs conquer the world with Moe\

    One thing to add is that Fallout and Obilivion relies on many many modders to make it look better, while the original character design is total orthopedic failure

    I like their stories , but goin over to comment the other side is stupid

    • Elder Scrolls is a huge game though, its understandable that they couldn’t have everything polished to perfection.

      I think Oblivion is a good example of how action RPG’s are not inferior to traditional RPG’s.

  • Oh, because “The Elder Scrolls” and Fallout 3 are shining examples for realism, eh?

    Todd Howard is such a douche. Seriously, it’s a crime against humanity that this guy actually makes a living in the gaming industry while talented but unlucky people get tossed around by such dickheads.

  • He wasn’t trashing Japanese RPGs, as the headline intimated. He simply stated that they lean more toward the fantasy genre. He was actually very complimentary, but conceded that fantasy titles don’t really appeal to him.

  • Doesn’t sound like he’s having a go at JRPGs. He says “Personally, sometimes I like that and sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around it”.

    Saying WRPGS tend to be more realistic is a statement of fact, and he seems to think that’s the better approach. But he would, wouldn’t he? Seeing as he develops western RPGs and all! At no point did he imply that JRPGs are ‘bad’ for being [more] unrealistic.

  • I think it’s a matter of cultural preference too. I’ve never been impressed with western RPGs. There haven’t been a single one with good story, IMHO.

    There haven’t been a single western RPG that pulled my heartstring like Terranigma, Tactics Ogre, Ogre Battle 64, etc.

    For example, I’ve played mass effect 2 & I think the moral choice gameplay are gimicky and nothing new. It’s been done before by the original Ogre Battle to better effect. Also, with Fallout 3, I enjoyed the beginning bit because it’s quite funny, but the free roaming part (which is the rest of the whole game) is just boring to me because there’s no real objective in it. I’m not presented with an experience/story/narrative, it’s just an open world. I’m not motivated to play the game because there’s no purpose for it.

    If I want to roam around in a real open world, I could just live my life. Take a holiday & go on road trips again or something.

    Also, about stories. I haven’t ever encountered a Western RPG with story/plot that makes me think or impress me.

    In case you’re wondering, I’m not a Japanophile. I read western novels all the time (since I don’t read Japanese) and Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams are my favorite authors. I think anyone with talent from any culture could make a great story, but compared to those novels, the stories in Western RPGs are pretty infantile in depth.

  • Who gives a fuck about realism, yes the atari and the sege genesis and the NES etc really kicked off big because of their awesomely realistic graphics. We play games to escape a drab reality and these fuckers want to put this unwanted shit in the game? Fuck off, I want fantasy I want characters with some actuall fucking unique designs and I want to be able to swing a solid steel sword 4 times my characters fucking size. The Majority of western RPGs have no variety in terms of colour scheme and character design, they’re either massively over built or a skinny arsehole acting like a gangster, and of course the weapon of choice is allways a friggin gun.

  • it’s a shame he hasn’t at least tried to play some of them. i think the super nonrealistic sides of rpgs really appeal to massive amounts of people out there. just look at dragon quest. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN F***ING HOLIDAY!! hahaha. don’t even get me started with pokemon lol

  • Red Dead Redemption is considered a “great RPG”? I didn’t even know it was an RPG in the first place, more of a open third person shooter adventure than an RPG. If he considers Red Dead Redemption as an RPG, he clearly does not know the definition of RPG in the first place, let alone video games. Please continue creating good games, but stfu until you get a good sense of what people want in games and what type they want, kthxbai.

    • Actually, he does. RPG isn about levels and experience. It should be more about living in a world making decisions, building character. I saw only a little bit of Red Dead Redemption, but even when you dont have anything resembling stats here, it can be considered RPG is you can build your character by interactions with other NPC. Calling it “great RPG” is surely wrong but it surely have a potencial to be good RPG.

      • I’ve played it, there is fairly little decision making in the first place, as it also has a laid out scenario you have to do to progress. The interactions with the certain people in question are merely optional sidequests and provide nothing. The main character(s) changes very little when you play the game (only implied in a sense through his retelling of his past, but even that doesn’t land a good impact.), the main character only wants to look out for his family, but is totally okay with killing hundreds of people and destroying their families.

        The honor system in the game, which is pretty much a morale chart decides whether you are a “good guy” or a “bad guy”, but is heavily forced upon you to be the good guy, or you’d have MAJOR difficulty (next to impossible if you like not being able to save peacefully, buy new guns & ammo, and not get shot at before you can get to the next required story marker) in progressing through the game, and even the negative morale doesn’t change anything you’d experience if you were positive, instead.

        • Ok, obviously just a souped up action ride. It would be interesting if you could make some radical decisions and take your own aproach to that game. I love wild west and there are so few games from it.

  • This is just another ”culture clash” like I had when I got into anime. After growing up in a Western society, watching Western film and reading Western books you have created a border of how far things can go fantasy wise. When you start watching anime you notice that sometimes things become very unrealistic. At first you can criticize this but in the longer period you notice that this ”unrealism” is inherent to anime or Japanese entertainment in general. A good example will be Tengen Toppa Gurren Laggan; A cowardly boy that drills holes underground will have to fight for the sake of the universe in a robot spanning a greater size than the galaxies. Unrealistic? To the Western society, yes. Bad? …No Freakin Way.

  • Klingengeist says:

    Hmm, i play rpgs because they are not realistic, actually most roleplayers do i think. To flee reality for a bit.
    But i dont like bunnyeared FF characters.^^

    Also dont think Oblivion, Dragon Age and Fable are more realistic in the sense of “it could happen”. But they dont have flying cities or something like that.

  • haha, i never knew that wrpg was even a genre.Since when? Most of the video games that are out now, are awful in my opinion. they all have one unifying theme, ”guns,point, shoot”, yeah very creative (sarcasm).

  • that’s the good, western with realism and eastern with fantasy, we can switch either 2 of a kind if we want something new.

    above all, realism give the game of possible for the future and fantasy give you what you ever dream off.

    combine this, generate new more new games to come. hybrid maybe?, plus there is no right or wrong in game realism or fantasy, the only problem is BUG.

  • This “realism” bullshit is all too often used as an excuse for lazy, unimaginative level design. Usually with loads of repetition. Chief reason I mostly stick to retro games these days…

  • I know that nobody will ever read this because this is so low on the comment list, and that I am not a registered member so it will be taken with a larger grain of salt, but I am going to have to agree with this statement, but not for the same reasons many others are. PREPARE FOR SOME GENERAL GENERALIZATIONS.

    I think that ‘realism’ is too broad a term. Graphics-wise, I think that realism is pretty low on the priority list for WRPGs, and for many JRPGs, it’s pretty high (compare Fallout 3 and Final Fantasy XIII). Gameplay wise, I’d say WRPGs are more ‘realistic’ than JPRGs but that’s not really all that important, as long as gameplay is not compromised.

    Where I think he is drawing a line is that people in WRPGs are more ‘realistic’ in how they interact with you. In that they build up relations, remember how you interacted with them before, have allegiances, personal preferences, and quirks to flesh them out to feel like they’re real people. Modern JRPGs usually don’t have a very deep system to build up relations between characters. The biggest exception to this is usually dating sim aspects where you woo a girl, or pick if you would rather befriend A or B.

    I think that along the lines of acting human, even in historical/fantasy/sci-fi, we still have expectations as to how we think people should act (to a certain degree). If a woman sees her son being attacked by a beast, a natural response would be to see her in anguish or screaming. If we see her doing a magic dance to scare away the beast, many people are disconnected from that character.

    I think these are a few reasons why he draws a distinction between WRPGs and JPRGs in regards to realism. In most modern WRPGs, it’s a living world that you happen to be in, and you make a difference but you usually still have to discover things and make a name for yourself. Or if you are superior than most, you face enemies even more powerful than yourself.

    In many JRPGs, it’s just a super-fantasy, in that you are someone of extreme importance that nobody else can match because of who your parents were or you were destined for some reason. You are the savior of the whole world, not just someone trying to get by. And people just gravitate towards you for some reason and it feels forced and scripted and makes it hard to connect with it. It’s like watching a harem anime and 6 girls just fall for a guy for next to no reason, or because of incredibly unlikely situations.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents.


    The player in WRPGs tend to be less of “the chosen one from legends” and things like that. Also, people react and build relationships in more believable ways.

    The player in JPRGs tend to be saviors of the world due to a prophecy or ancestral lineage (and a few other cliches), who have a party of followers fall into his lap and people act contrary to what we naturally feel they should.

  • WRPG and JRPG both play differently, and it is for the person who is playing them to see which they like better.

    Personally i get drawn into WRPG much easier than i do with JRPG, i could not put down Fallout 3 and Mass effect 2.

  • I don’t like criticism like this because Japanese rpgs were never attempting for realism. Since when is realism in games a criterion for quality? It is like they are just looking for differences between western and eastern games and alluding that this difference is a determinate characteristic of quality.

  • I don’t think Super Mario Bros. would have been successful if it had more realism..

    And I don’t understand what people mean with Realism, isn’t it just limiting your views? How can you say one fantasy is more realistic than another?

  • Ther is one “realism” issue that I hate about all games that strive for so called “realism”. They say that they are “realistic” and stuff and than you end up regenerating in cover after they hit you between eyes with fucking shotgun. They should decide if they want to go for realism in all ways or to make crap easy games for kids. I am mostly speaking about modern shooters. This isnt complain only about RPGs.

    • Regenerating health is just the modern way shooters work and they give a totally different challenge, you can split regenerating shooters and HP shooters.

      Try play Quakelive and Modern Warfare 2, it is totally different ways to play and the different health systems have a lot to do with it.

      • Yes both are games, both can be fun. But Quake never tried to tell you that its realistic modern war simulation. Modern Warfare tells you exactly this while its clearly everything but realistic (gameplay wise). Thats what pisses me so much on MW or CoD series.

  • Am I the only one who didn’t see a supposed insult in the realism statement? He said the approaches are different, I don’t see him saying anywhere that the realistic approach was “better”. The insult, if anywhere, would be that he didn’t play JRPGs at all, which could easily be a personal preference.

    I know the Bioware devs like to troll JRPG fans and there was a flamebait Bethesda ad posted just yesterday on this site, but I think people are making too much out of this statement.

    • no you aren’t if you shifted through all the shit posts here, you would’ve seen other people. like myself agree with you… but there are too many JRPG fan boys who just responded to the headline… I’m with you homie

  • J-RPGs tend to be visually stunning but have not so much going for story or any real interest in playing them. For story, they don’t hold a candle to American and western RPGs. Elder Scrolls, PlaneScape: Torment, Adventure Construction Set, Ultima, Zork. Back and forth, we kick ass.

    Now, there are some exceptions. “Princess Crown/Odin Sphere” were fantastic. I’ve suggested “Littlewitch Romanesque” being re-developed this way to make a grand adventure.

    I will say again; “Too many cooks spoil the soup” which is a bit of “Western” wisdom. IMO, most of the problems J-RPGs have is that after they got really successful the money men came in and just wanted to nurture a “Money plant” not risk any innovation or creativeness thus any idea faces a gauntlet of potential censors. You need to just throw money at “Indies” luring them with a good royalty check if they make a good product and future employment likewise. Give them respect, trust and freedom (after a “We DO need to make $ also” speech) they’ll work like mad to make you (and them) a lot of $. (sorry, no “Yen” on my keyboard)

    I’m not “Bashing” you Japanese, it’s a problem most industries have these days. Smile and let the company roll off the cliff, just try to be the last one laid off while you backstab your co-worker to make sure it happens. Just that in the west in the video game industry they still got balls in the game making industry to say “Leave us the F*ck alone or I’ll not just jump ship I’ll F*cking sue you for hurting my career by wasting my time and messing with my vision and even if you win I’ll COST you more than I’d make in it you F*cking stuffed shirt rich parasite!” Since people DO still by games by “The creator/director of Zultima Adventure Pong”, such a threat is taken seriously. (they’ve turned into syphilitic donkey dick sucking cocksuckers in the writing, music and movie industries, but “Programming Skills” on the upper end are still not too casually replaceable though thanks to you Asians that’s not as true anymore)

  • if you want to be realistic, then stop playing games as they are not real. GAme are meant to be your fantasy, out of this world. Not rule by physic or science, it is a mystical world what lets your imagination runs wild.

  • You know there is this thing called “suspension of disbelief”, you use it to enjoy a fantasy/sci-fi show/game.

    Some shows and games do this nicely, that is, it is easy to immerse yourself in the show.

    Then there are bad shows, where you try to suspend your disbelief, but you just cannot.

    Even if you accept the rules of that magical world, you -for example- realize that the society constructed is STILL impossible following the rules of that world. Or something like that…

    This is what true appeal to realism SHOULD BE.

  • Personally, I don’t care where a game came from, as long as I consider it fun. Yeah, I prefer pretty boy heroes with swords to army men with guns ( Or would that be Shooter genre? I’m not too familiar with the differentiation between them. ), but if there were western RPGs like that ( and if there are, I don’t know of them ) I’d play them too.

    Why does origin matter as long as you have fun and enjoy the game?

  • I love fallout2, masseffect, frontmission,resonate of fate… And I don’t like most of Betheda games (fallout 3, oblivion…) and FF series… Realistic has nothing to do with games or your taste (games are unreal in the first place). As long as the gameplay is good, JRPG or WRPG doesn’t matter to me.

  • It seems whoever wrote this article and the one about Western RPGs VS Easter RPGs is very biased like Fox News. Todd Howard and Bethesda make amazing games as well as Japanese game makers, but this sensless bias that things Japanese are better than anything else is annoying with this website. I have to say, Fallout is turning into a better game saries than Final Fantasy because they’ve had to adapt. The Final Fantasy guys from Square Enix have a comfortable little nich and they don’t have to try hard to make anything succesful. It is sad really.

  • when i think rpg, i think d&d first

    but generally i hate d&d worlds.

    japan does world creation and fantasy making FAR better then western, however western handle the story and mechanics significantly better.

    but both have a major fucking problem. unless everything you kill are animals, they aren’t all bad.

    in wrpg you have more or less a this is war mentality, where everything that fights you is bad and wants you dead.

    in a jrpg, you have clearly intelligent things, act like they are fucking animals.

    take the monster girl encyclopedia foe example, not the sex and rape parts, but the creature verity.

    ill stop here for now

  • I don’t really think this guys claim has much validity. If you take, say, Final Fantasy VII and strip away elements like materia and humongous swords, I don’t think the scenario is any less implausible than any game like Fallout. You’ve got a greedy corporation and mad scientists who have created a genetically engineered monster, not too far from the Master of Fallout 1 to be honest.

    Even if you take a more recent example like Strange Journey you’ll find that the scenario isn’t any more impossible than pretty much any scifi story I’ve read or seen in a movie.

    Basically what it comes down to, is the developers of these wrpgs just wanting to take a dump on the competition just like in a political race. Yeah, Final Fantasy has been a series of disappointments for many years, but stuff like Dragon Age really isn’t much better. Sure you can have more control over what your character looks like, but that doesn’t necessarily equal depth or good gameplay in an rpg. And besides, anyone who claims that wrpgs are “realistic” is obviously full of shit. 😉

    • I posted this above, sorry to repeat myself but I think you should read this part of my post:

      He said that JRPGs are more fantastical. That’s not a bad thing. It means (for all you dimwits), that they are based on a broader imagination. It means they are more creative in their thinking. Their worlds aren’t held to the laws of physics or the basic sci-fi or fantasy cannon that most western RPGs are held to.

  • all game developers are hereby banned from commenting on on other companies games on the grounds that i am tired of listening to their bullshit. just shut up and make some good games. no one cares what your opinion on final fantasy or any other series is.

  • Okay, when Bioware talk shit about JRPGs I listen because they actually know what they’re talking about.

    Todd? He and his company has yet to make an “RPG” that isn’t a glorified action game with meaningless stats tacked on. There are six year olds with mental retardation more qualified to talk about what an RPG is than that fucker.

    Modern Bethesda is the worst damn company for RPGs.

  • I’m not sure why the Western RPG developers are constantly trying to bring up an attack towards their Japanese counterparts, I’m finding it pretty tiresome and pointless nowadays. Are they really that bitter just because they’re not making any headway in the Japanese market? They should realize that it’s a cultural difference in tastes, not because of the way the game is presented. With the Western developer’s constant barrage of attacks towards their potential consumers, it’s highly unlikely they’ll gain any loyal customers with this type of mindset. Personally I’ve started hating Western RPGs more and more now, not because of the games itself, it’s the attitude that the Western developers have been bringing. Their arrogance is getting more and more irritating nowadays. I like both Western and Japanese developed RPGs, but I’m getting tired of this repeated debate that’s constantly being brought up by the Western developers and I’m now starting to lose interest in their games because of it. They need to grow up and learn to work with the Japanese to develop better games, instead of trying to be a bully in a schoolyard.

  • Don’t get so cocky Todd Howard you only made 2 Good games that received critical acclaim and good sales .Square soft made 7 good games that received critical acclaim for their games.

    You maybe on top of the world now Todd but it may cruble someday.

    • blah blah typical ff faggot. Those games one critical acclaim and Idk why. In Final Failure 92389021832352390219827903473074384 is that the one where you ride chocobos around and save the world?

      • Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Fallout 3 were his two best games you think you can name any other games his company made that were great?

        Final Fantasy wasn’t the only fucking game that received critical acclaim Unlimited Saga,Chrono Trigger,Kingdom Hearts,Dragon Quest series,Mana series,Front Mission series,Xenogears,Bushido Blade,Parasite Eve,Vagrant Story​.

        Go ahead and bust Myballz will you Todd if thats your real name Todd?

  • The sad part is that Todd Howard is absolutely the last person that should be talking about realism in RPGs. Fallout 3 had no grasp of realism WHATSOEVER. More than 200 years after the nukes have dropped, and people were still eating pre-war food and pre-war wood framed houses were still standing? Right, REALISTIC!

  • Funny how so many people here read his comment as some kind of an attack on jrpgs. He was simply stating a fact that jrpgs use more fantastical means, i.e. skinny pretty guys wielding three meter swords, while western fantasy still likes to keep it somewhat more realistic, even if it is high fantasy. It was not a poorly worded opinion, it was completely understandable for a person with at least some intelligence.

  • Are you fucking kidding me? This site is becoming the fucking Fox News of fucking Non-Japanese Japanese culture appreciators.

    Seriously, did you even read what he said? If you played any of the fucking last few Final Fantasy games they have fucking air ships that look like god damn whales…. that’s what Todd Howard calls fantastical. Why? Because fucking whales don’t fly. You do get that right? He said he appreciates JRPG, but having to pick up ammo for your gun is a bit less fantastical than fucking air ships that look like whales.

    I’m a big fan of Japanese culture, but you guys, who don’t even live in Japan, love to make everything East vs. West. Stop taking anything a Western Developer says out of context, unless you like being compared to Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.

    • “Because fucking whales don’t fly.”

      OMFG my mind is BLOWN!! Because for a second there, I totally thought whales COULD fly.

      What else should you let me know next? Do monstrous aliens who exist only to invade and destroy earth really exist?!

      Did the Nazis actually manage to summon undead and demons in WWII?!

      Do Big Daddies really fucking exist!?

      What about zombies? Demons?

        • Will you stop being such a whiner and either take this site less seriously or go and complain to its owner?

          You going like that makes me wonder why you haven’t keeled over.

          If some people took offense, what’s it to you? It’s not like you’re going to illuminate them.

        • Vocab and spelling are different… but fine. I realized after I posted I spelled “your” wrong….

          But seriously this is fucking Fox News like spin going on here. Todd Howard never said anything bad about any Japanese developer. Fucking read the God Damn quote people. He said that JRPGs are more fantastical. That’s not a bad thing. It means (for all you dimwits), that they are based on a broader imagination. It means they are more creative in their thinking. Their worlds aren’t held to the laws of physics or the basic sci-fi or fantasy cannon that most western RPGs are held to.

          In no way was he disrespecting JRPGs, in fact I think he was giving them props. But thanks to the Sanakaku headline spin, the fucking mindless JRPG followers took offense to what he said.

          Grow a fucking brain and learn what fucking context means.

        • Not to be a grammar nazi and all…but…

          “when you’re vocab get’s better we can discuss this topic”

          Wouldn’t have mind if you just got YOUR wrong…but when you do that in a sentence talking about other’s vocabulary? Yeah.

  • …RPG’s are not realistic…


    Now tell me just how realistic is the idea of fighting fucking MUTANTS in a post apocalyptic world. Or shooting aliens as a steroid-addicted space marine.

  • well maybe i dont wanna play a realistic RPG
    maybe i wanna play an RPG where i can kill building sized dragons with swords the size of aircraft carriers.

    I think a lot of video games abandoned the concept of realism a long time ago, and it’s pretty much the whole point of video games isn’t it? To escape from reality.

  • “If you compare the sci-fi in Mass Effect to the science fiction in a million Japanese games, it just gets really, really out there.”

    Maybe western sci-fi games should get “really, really out there” too, then it might be interesting.

    Mass Effect is so boring and by that I mean the setting, not the gameplay (which is boring but thats because WRPGs are just boring in general. I know, I have the game.) The science fiction in games like Star Ocean (however little of it there may be), Phantasy Star, Xenosaga, its all a lot more interesting. I didnt get very far in Mass Effect but I didnt see it mention nanotech once, for example, but all three JPRG examples have nanotech as perfectly normal parts of everyday life. Im sorry if thats too out there for western RPGs. Maybe we should stick to 1950 sci-fi tropes instead.

    • “The science fiction in games like Star Ocean (however little of it there may be), Phantasy Star, Xenosaga, its all a lot more interesting. I didnt get very far in Mass Effect but I didnt see it mention nanotech once, for example, but all three JPRG examples have nanotech as perfectly normal parts of everyday life. Im sorry if thats too out there for western RPGs. Maybe we should stick to 1950 sci-fi tropes instead.”

      That’s because Mass Effect’s theories are that much more believable and well-researched, although based on the imaginary “Mass Effect” element. They explained every and all tech that their universe has, up to and including the tactile feedback hologram they use on their freaking ships. But then again, you would know that if you played the game more and read on all the Codecs. Which you didn’t.

      In short, shut the fuck up about Mass Effect’s science fiction less interesting than your stupid Xenosaga.

    • Phantasy Star? Nanotech? Excuse me, but are you referring to Phantasy Star Universe’s method of storing shit inside a little case?

      In the classic series and the Online ones, there wasn’t much, if any explanation regarding the techniques, and there was even magic, in which case, they classified more as fantasy with science fiction elements. In other words, like Star Wars, it is a space opera.

      Xenosaga is more a space opera than anything else too, with the explanation for many of the things being quite “out there”. Especially for the Hilbert Effect, being based in a method to treat imaginary numbers as real ones. The writers must have liked the name and devised the “Hilbert Effect” term to making the Gnosis monsters tangible.

      And Mass Effect is boring? Odd. A bunch of people and me included love the series. If you don’t want the game, by all means, give it to someone who will appreciate it.

    • Diferentiate between sci-fi and space opera. Mass Effect tries to be realistic sci-fi with believable military. Something that is called military sci-fi in literature. Its not genre for everybody but some people prefer it. Like I do. On the other hand Xenosaga is about giant mecha which is actually completely unscientifical. Its space opera, just like star wars which isnt sci-fi too.

      • In defense of mecha nuts like myself say that to tanks in the early 1900s same to planes both were priginally considered unrealistic and useless. Just wait someday mechs will be juct st as indespensible as a tank or jet is now. Things are only impractical till you refine em enough.

  • Why do you make it out that Howard hates JRPG’s? He just made an opinion based off of what he knew (I have no idea what he plays). He preferes one thing over another, yet still recognizes their value.

  • I don’t see anything particularly controversial in what he’s said. Western games, for better or for worse, do tend to be more realistic than Japanese ones; there isn’t much of a debate there.

    He also didn’t say that Western games were necessarily better because of this: “sometimes I like that and sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my hands around it”; it seems like he sees both good and bad in the Japanese approach even if he prefers the Western one. He clearly isn’t one of those faggots who rants endlessly about the superiority of one culture’s RPGs over another’s.

  • Realism in western video games?

    1. People can cast magic. Very real..i bet those magician like David Copperfield can summon hordes of undead soldiers to fight for him too.
    2. Eating stuff improve your skill in alchemy (TES Oblivion) and can increase your health (FO3) also whe nyou eat them it take only one click to eat. Thus we can eat during battles and restore our health, in no time. I could bring a hundred apples and stay alive while being shot.
    3. A naked 4 feet tall dwarf lvl 60 vs a fully armored 6ft tall human lvl 1 and still win. (WOW)
    4. Sword are better than gun (Hellgate)
    5. Soldiers can jump through buildings by planting C-4 under their feet (BF2)
    6. Getting a shot in CounterStrike is nothing. You can still run and fight. Getting one in real life…heh.
    7. Machine gun never ran out of ammo. You cold shoot them forever. If you get shot too much, take cover will save you a ride to the hospital. (Call of duty 2)
    8. Getting bite by a rattle snake and still live. (Call of Juarez)
    9. You could get patch up by a medic who is running around and throwing med-kit. War on Iraq should be much easier. (Battlefield 2)
    10. There are almost no obese characters. (Fable did a good job on this one).

  • At least he stresses that one is not necessarily better than the other. Just that sometimes people prefer fantastical, sometimes realistic.

    I can definitely agree that Japanese games can be quite fantasy-oriented in general, compared to Western games.

    Of course, this won’t stop morons from thinking he’s dissing the genre, as they start to flame.

  • Final Fantasy Sucks and YOU SUCK for liking it. However not realistic doesnt mean it sucks. take POKEMON or Persona 4 for example. It’s as addicting as Fallout. So that post above is our wet dream.

    • Elder Scrolls and Fallout are pretty far from real life. At least my real life. The realism he’s talking about lies more in the game mechanics, causality, plausibility of story elements and characters, balancing, consistency, and other things adapted to the basic setting of the fantasy world. So that if an average joe was thrust into the fantasy world, he would still have a pretty good grasp of what he could do, what’s going to happen next and why.

    • He’s not saying one is better than the other. He’s just saying that sometimes people prefer fantasy, sometimes they prefer realism.

      They’re two things you can’t really compare, or say that one is necessarily better than the other.

    • A real live RPG with two factions, WRPG vs JRPG. Watch fanatical JRPG groups battle with fundamentalist WRPG hordes in the streets of your town.
      Ultrarealistic graphic quality with real blood and bones. More weapons than you can imagine, from guns to kitchen knives. Surprised civilists. Police NPCs. Weather effects. Stray dogs. This game has it all. ^_^

  • Y’all should read all of these recent interviews with him. He is talking about his personal tastes and the direction of his company’s games. He doesn’t dis value iPhone games, wii games, portable games in general, or jrpgs. He is just saying that they are not realistic, which is true … I mean Final “fantasy”, it’s suppose to be roughly based on our reality which is a good thing. He is just saying that Bethesda prefers to take a more realistic approach, even when dealing with the elder scrolls series the games are rooted in history and then have the whole high fantasy aspects. I don’t play sport games but I don’t discredit them, just as he isnt discrediting jrpgs that he doesn’t like. I don’t know how y’all are finding ground to flame on this

  • artistically they sorta fail have you seen women in freaking dragon age? they look like men with boobs, I say you take a game like fallout fuse it with finalfantasy and do something good with it

  • AsakuraZero says:

    well having played Wrpg and Jrpg its all about tastes and … A GOOD FUCKING STORY, and the right of choosing

    Mass effect and chrono trigger are good examples

    one is Sci-fi, and the other is fantasy/sci-fi but both are good and they are rpgs.

    the actual problem is that we have companies going 100% graphics and so-so to shitty story (FFXIII as example), or games with bad graphics and a passable story

    imo They need to learn why the old school games were good since there is the right formula of making games.

  • This is only a War for the cookies. All want the cookies, but not all the cookies are the same. I play BOTH generes, and depending of the mood and the game, i have my favorite, Fallout is a Must like Hitman Agent 47, but there are times i will simply play Magna Carta or Final fantasy because i need to escape from this Ugly and Sick World.

  • Both RPG-styles are good, I think. It does seem though that the Western ones are much broader comparatively, which I personally like.
    Whichever way you think of it, though, it doesn’t seem like he’s bashing JRPGs. He just enjoys the WRPGs, which would explain why he leads a company making them.

  • If I’m going to play a fictional game, I don’t mind if the laws of physics don’t apply as long as it’s fun. When people are running on walls and flying through the air and all of that crap, I’ve got no problem. That kind of thing can even make it cool.

      • They are constant for non relativistic cases, which are the majority of the phenomena we are able to observe so far, except for light.

        In any case, when a game is supposed to be a game, I don’t care if said physics laws are bent or outright violated. After all, it’s just a game.

        Huh… Violation and games? Somebody call Equality Now!

        • My point was more imed at the crazy shit in the japanese rpgs than our world. Basically i was pointing out something in regads to the concept of the multi verse nd that expecting things to remain the same and constant is stupid.Obviously it it’s a worldmagic and or faster than light tech have been perfected then it would have different laws. As such i was pointing out that calling them non realistic ius kinda dumb since even in our world some stuff just dosn”t make sense. I should add i create a distinction between fantasy and reality by removing it and equting said things to the multiverse.

    • I’m with this. As far as I’m concerned, fuck realism. Only make something more realistic if it doesn’t subtract from the fun. Just because people can’t jump thrice their own height doesn’t mean I’m going to be completely outraged if I play Sonic or Mario (and I highly doubt supersonic hedgehogs are realistic either).

      Why would you even care about realism in any game that isn’t a simulator?

  • The character interaction in Western RPGs tend to be more mature and realistic, even if the setting isn’t.

    I’m sure there are some good JRPGs out there, but after playing Final Fantasy XIII, I will stick to the Western stuff.

    I lost most of my desire for the genre after the Dreamcast.

  • Here we go again with this stupid realistic=better idea in videogames.

    This is why so many games out of the west nowadays are nothing but seas of beige. Since when did a game being colorful and fantastical become bad?

  • >Bethesda

    Fuck off what those cunts don’t make RPGs either. First Person action games with poorly implemented stat systems, non-existent plot lines and generic quests. Did I mention the dialogue? Even poorly translated JRPGs are better written.

    Black Isle for life!

  • i like jrpgs because they ARENT realistic..
    i like the whole 15 year old saving the world type thing, will never get old as long as they have depth into the character and world

    i dislike wrgs because they are basically mmorpgs..
    if i wanted to excessively grind for an item, i would play a game that would mean something if i gotten it

    either way i play games to escape reality, not to be stuck in another one

    im glad the wii and 3ds arent getting realistic/violent games because those are the games i tend to stay away from on my 360/ps3

    • And you’re talking full of shit. Most wRPGs don’t even go beyond the level 50 cap. Most critically acclaimed wRPGs don’t even require you to grind.

      “i like the whole 15 year old saving the world type thing, will never get old as long as they have depth into the character and world”

      Depth of character? LOL.

      • Did you forget the most popular Western made MMORPG World of Warcraft is above level 50 and people originally demanded for the level cap to be raised?

        The significance of this argument is the fact that it’s the most popular MMORPG worldwide, and level caps didn’t really make a difference in it’s popularity. In fact it sold more because the expansions offered the ability to increase the level caps.

    • From what I’ve seen there is way more grinding in JRPGs than CRPGs.

      However, JRPGs do not actually belong in the RPG genre at all, so it’s nonsensical to compare them with CRPGs. But people will never understand this, even if you explain it to them slooooooooooowly.

  • Peter Barton says:

    “. . . overall their mindset is way more fantastical, even if it’s not an RPG.”

    “A western game . . . again I’m generalizing, they’re more realistic.”

    I don’t see it as western games being more realistic, but less fantastical.

    • Maybe it’s about logistic that he want to talk about since there are a lot of WRPG that taken place in an fantasy world, and WRPG tend to be more mature than JRPG does, and since the age of people who playing game getting higher they are taking more joy playing WRPG ( you no-longer want to read books for 5 years old kids when you are at 16 don’t you???)

    • Realism or not, a game that have broken logic and crappy game balance will fail no master how good looking it is. To be honest, alot of JRPG focus to much on graphic and make hell out of or the factor like ill logical and fixed story line, broken gameplay, silly costume, no English patch, need too much grinding, ect… sometime I fell the Japanese developers just take their customers so lightly (maybe is the fault of the mindless idiots who buy anything out of the store because their are the proud “fan boys/girls”)

    • people now pursuit realism in a game

      We are now living in a time where realistic factor in a game is crucial. check GT5, BC2, ArMa II, and even Crysis 2. The more realistic it is, the more ppl like it. even in some fantasy genre there should be a boundary where loli cannot swingin giant sword effortlessly. I’ve never seen that in Elder’s Scroll.

    • Didn’t you hear? Realism is hot these days. Because obviously, people play games because they want a realistic experience. The thing they apparently lack in real life, right?

      I do hate it when people (especially game devs) confuse realistic games with good games, though. Besides, half of the time, “realism” just means using depressive and boring colours, usually a lot of brown and grey. Gee, that makes games so very amazingly awesome, right?


      Though as for western RPGs being realistic, how realistic is Morrowind/Oblivion? Or Dragon Age? Or one of the big daddies of PC RPGs, Baldur’s Gate? I can’t recall when I last saw somebody toss actual spells at a dragon in real life.

    • I think people strive for artistic usage in video games. Dreamfall comes to mind, when I first played it, it was incredible in my opinion. I can have 3D gore with very realistic organs showing whenever I cut something, but so what?

      Really depends on how game creators do it. IMHO, Final fantasy had done these sort of RPGs really well in the artistic platform. I truly enjoyed FFX/FF8/FF7 when they were released. It brought something new to the table, among the mass junks.

    • “I wasn’t aware people strived for realism in video games. Certainly comes as a shock to me…”

      Neither was I, and I bet many, many more agree.

      Still, I think he was referring more to the decision making factor in games like Mass Effect and Fallout 3. The case of Mass Effect comes to my mind. I just finished it a few days ago and four of my characters died and I also lost half of my crew. I could have saved them if I had gone sooner, instead of doing side quests.

      I haven’t played a JRPG so far in which time was an actual factor for consideration, except maybe for Chrono Trigger, and even there, only the endings were affected depending on when you decided to fight the final boss, with the exception of getting or not getting an optional character.

      • Art vs story. I think “Photorealistic” word was bad choose, it should be something like “games are focusing way too much on perfect graphics”. Graphics in exchange for gameplay is wrong. Realistic characters and plots cant be wrong. And by realistic I dont mean that they should be based on our world or history etc. but that they have to be believable, they have to make sense.

        • So, the Elder Scrolls series was based on the real world and it makes sense? Fallout was originally created by an entirely different company, so the story and the world’s not even created by Bethesda, so I don’t see how it’s counted as their own “realistic” creation as well.

    • Where have you been in the past 8 years…?

      Not that I’m a fan of this “realism” turnabout, but I certainly don’t mind – so long as you give me a healthy dosage of actual creative artstyles and games alongside em. I certainly know Valkyria Chronicles was a definite welcome sight when it first released but unfortunately… not much else to see these past few years as far as I’m concerned…well that and maybe demon souls

    • Shippoyasha says:

      Well, I kinda agree with the ‘realism’ point in a way, because that’s the kind of feel WRPGs go for. It doesn’t mean they ARE realistic, but that they’re aiming for that feel. Otherwise, Japanese RPGs usually are a bit more fantastical in presentation and that’s just a different goal they’re going for.

      Honestly, while I do like the freedom in WRPGs compared to JRPGs, JRPGs truly has MUCH better character designs, just a better overall style to the worlds and with more memorable music.

      Like countless gamers, I don’t think this needs to be a contentious issue. Just wait till someday, they make a RPG with the freedom found in WRPGs, to the sheer stylishness of JRPGs.

    • Well said, Blkant…

      Realism in videogames..? And in RPGs at that…

      Fool…Videogames are an escape from reality…From the norm of everyday life AND realism…

      A blissful time where you don’t have to worry about this kind of sh*t happening to your world and just go into anothers…Your opinion is moot…

      I love Bethesda games, but keep your bloody and moot comments to yourself, Mr. Howard…

      There are plenty of sub-genres for RPGs nowadays…Back then it’s all fantasy, now it has sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and bloody f*cking realism…

      Realism…HA!!! If I wanted realism, I’d go watch people shooting each other on TV and pretend hit points pop out of them every time they get hit by a bullet…

      To each his own…

      Like I said in the previous post, Lolis and armpits are what makes an RPG for me…

      WRPGs…JRPGs…It doesn’t matter, but they should respect one another since they both have their strengths and weaknesses…

      Instead of bickering, they should join hand-in-hand and make a post-apocalyptic, fantasy-western, sci-fi RPG with a loli magical girl bio-weapon alien-demon-mutant-angel hybrid time-traveling esper-data entity as the main character…

      Realism with a side of pantsu, waki, and MOE~

      Everyone wins…And faps…

      Oh, and be sure to give the loli main character detached-sleeves and make sure her victory pose involves raising one or both of her arms up~

      In fact, give every girl character detached-sleeves or any armpit-exposing clothing…

      BONUS PIC:

      • “I love Bethesda games, but keep your bloody and moot comments to yourself, Mr. Howard…”

        Whoa. Dunno if trolling.

        Keep his comments to himself? He was asked what his thoughts were on the subject, and he gave them.

    • starsplash says:

      I love this argument about whether video games are more realistic than another video game.

      Surely, Morrowind or even Fallout look more realistic, becase they are more so than JPRPGs. The purpose of JPRPGS isn’t to fullfill the realism stature and obvieously can’t. But my answer to this is the same if someone asked if Id rather have: An anime girl or a real girl. My answer is a real girl because I can bang a real girl, not a fake one. In this case, a video game is fake based on a fake story and a fake environement that was made for our entertainment purposes. The only difference is that Americans are not as obssessed with annime as the US market and therefore, graphics and enviornmenets goes a long way in determining whether is good or not. Japan on the other is more obsessed with anime and graphics and enviornements dont seem to be as a big deal as it is in the United States. It just depends on what people perfer.

      But in my opinion, ths “what is more real and what isn’t” argument needs to stop because we all know the key rule to video games: None of them are real. once people understand this, the more these stupid rediculous articles, prefrences and rankings go away.

    • I agree. Yes, I understand that video games are all about enjoying a challenging game while living out a fantasy, so if you always wanted to be a star athlete, then sports games are for you. However, I have never enjoyed playing games that I could do in real life, which is why sims, whether war, gang life, or just life in general, have never interested me.

      If I’m going to play a game I want to do things that I could never do, in places that couldn’t exist, for reasons that boggle the mind.

      Like Tetris. Where on earth are you going to find a two dimensional realm where controllable blocks fall from the sky? Nowhere, that’s where.

      • He isn’t insulting anyone. When he says “even if it’s not an rpg” he means that he likes the aesthetic appeal of japanese games, even if those games are not necessarily rpgs.
        And not realistic? If you accused final fantasy 13 of being too grounded in realism then the developers have failed you (or you’re just tripping on acid 24/7).
        The only thing any jrpg developer should be concerned with is creating real characters. The setting can be as fantastical as one wants.

        • grow up you cunt , witcher is more realistic . Weapons look like like what they looked like they had in the past , architecture , movement and fighting more accurate portrait of what it was back in the day .
          there are very few jrpgs that trend a road of real time , might and magic road . Like just watched trailer for some jrpgs guy cooks meat in giant cauldron and then eats to bust his damage while fighting white, floating whale . WFT ?!

      • ~~Todd Howard has said Japanese RPGs are “not realistic”~~~ of course not… most of them are not suppose to be….

        think of an ultra realistic scenario of playing a cop, firemen, army officer ect…. its gonna be really boring….

        • no. we dont have native teams of devs here in hawaii. (that I know of) most move to the mainland and work for the companies there. as Overt said it would be more about influence. So to answer the question, if a Hawaii co. were to make an RPG, it would probably be a WRPG w/ influences of JRPGs mixed in.

        • We don’t take kindly to paradoxes here, Anon.

          Anyway i don’t think Hawaii has a native team of game developers.
          At the same time it’s not the geographical location that matters, but rather the cultural movement they were most influenced by. Whether japanese or “western”, as game developers and professional reviewers themselves defined them through the years.

        • Wow have never heard of gameplay and story segregation? “If X character can do X, why doesn’t he just do X” I don’t know because it would end the game in 5 minutes? It would break the game of all challenge? Really, if character X can jump high why doesn’t he just catapult himself past all the obstacles, if your as fucking charismatic as your stat says, why can’t you send everyone to thier doom? Why should I and my team go on every fucking misson when I could easily send someone else, why can’t I just carpet bomb people from my space ship? Because it would be BORING, and swords of guns is a matter of preference.

        • While japanese developers do indeed create more colorful and unusual settings than the western ones, there is, in my opinion, a major flaw in their thinking – or rather, their lack thereof. The settings in JRPGs are always nothing more than stages for the story to unfold and the characters to act on. They don’t waste a single thought why the world they created works the way it does. Why do people still use swords and other ancient melee weapons in a futuristic scenario? Why does nobody use their improbable physical prowess or insane jumping skills in normal life? What about the ability to create flames or ice or cause an earthquake? Did nobody ever think of using this stuff for something different than beating the shit out of equally poorly explained monsters?
          While WRPGs slowly grow out of that mentality and offer, if not realistic, than at least plausible settings, JRPGs… don’t. And I suppose that is one one reason why Howard calls them unrealistic.

        • Well, in my opinion both western and eastern rpgs are fantasy, but the westners base their rpgs on their culture, while japanese take just inspiration from various cultures at once. If japanese made their games in the same way as westerners we would only get samurai games from them.

          So, regardless of your preference, the japanese way is clearly superior by far. This is because the number of jrpgs in a given year is vastly superior to the number of wrpgs, with great competition between japanese game companies. Add to this the enormous and wildly creative culture of anime and manga and you get scenario writers trying to outwit each other in making the most colorful, wild and appealing setting possible. At the same time though, the gameplay and general outlook becomes heavily dependent on formulas that “sell”, just like recent anime. It’s as if they were trying to sell the same game with a different “mask” on it every time. This seems rather a problem of japanese marketing ways rather than their ability to create quality content.

          What about wrpgs? They’re just drawing on the same medieval-ish scenario over and over, but that doesn’t affect the final product because the number of such rpgs is comparatively low. Now that with Dragon Age we got the ultimate wrpg, though, things will hardly remain the same. There really isn’t that much left to do with the wrpg genre other than rehashing, therefore i think in the future westerners will start exploring with a wilder style of fantasy anyway, unless all competition dies out at some point.

        • realism can suck.

          for example romances in Dragon Age…

          i mean, i’m a damn warrior prince on a mission to save civilization with help from a deadly arrow tossing red head… and we have the same conversations i had with my ex-girlfriend?

          DEATH incarnate is ravaging the land and it’s like:
          “hey, what’s up with you guys?”
          “uh, oh yea, we’re goin out”

        • Anon 16:27
          Mind you, the japanese developpers are a bit lazy with their rehash or their cop out story…

          Or with their habit of blatantly ripping of Star Wars,in case of Final Fantasy…

        • i’m on the side of “If you need to sacrifice some realism for my fun. Go for it”.

          Seriously. Developpers are so bogged down with the mentality of “let’s make it as realistic as possible” that they sometime forget the core idea… Fun.

          Mind you, the japanese developpers are a bit lazy with their rehash or their cop out story… I mean seriously. Star Ocean was a nice series, but the fourth installment… My god that was a stupid needless plot-twist that only emo-fied the main character…

        • i agree with him, and all in all it depends on wat you like. i love the more “fantastical” type so i guess jrpgs is for me. gameplay is more important anyway. im mad no one mentioned that in the interview

        • For what its worth:

          When he says “realistic” he’s not referring to the content being realistic, as absolute0 said: life is boring. The perceived realism comes from taking events/theories/pieces of history which have/could happen (MAD scenario -> Fallout) and warping them to form a story, as opposed to (what seems like) creating a world from scratch.

          That said, I don’t claim to know anything about JRPGs or Japanese culture, it may very well be that the opposite or something else entirely is “realistic” depending on personal history.

      • Or maybe you can actually read what he said… He never said JRPGs were bad, he is actually pretty nice about it, of course Arte makes it sounds like he is a meanie, but that’s not really true.

        I’ll agree with him in everything he said, too. Japanese RPGs are amazing, artistically, I don’t really care about the western reviews, I think they look good, they fit and I’ll enjoy them regardless of being unrealistic or not, now stop being butthurt and enjoy your games like you should.

        • It’s not that you can’t just play your own games, but the debate is cycle of hate, one bashes the other and henceforth, BOTH sides need to shut the fuck up, and recently the WRPGS are doing all the talking so maybe they should learn to stop hatin’.

        • a sensible point, i agree. why dose it matter which one is better, or who said what about xRPGS, in the end, its what you enjoy and your own opinion. though, i think he could have been nicer, and it kinda sounds like he is talking out of his ass… “If you compare the sci-fi in Mass Effect to the science fiction in a million Japanese games, it just gets really, really out there.” i mean, c’mon… if your gonna compare and contrast, at least have a good example of the competition, not just “a million Japanese games”. in the end, i think this guy is just trying to promote his own games, not surprising, however

        • the most important thing in a game is enjoyability.. those who have problems with 12 year old girls knocking out a 50 ton beast with a kick can go blow themselves..

          as long as the story isnt linear or the gameplay isnt depressing, the games good!

          that too hard to understand?

          and Japanese story tellers clearly outclass American story tellers.. character designers make americans look like theyve broken child labour rules and employed kindergardeners for their art..

          I think its evident as to whats good and whats better here, whatsay?

        • Presea is older than both of us. She just has a loli body. *drools*

          But really, if you think carefully, hard, experienced fighters have hard skin and marks from training. A female fighter would never have soft skin and be all cute. It’d be scary =((

        • i played mass effect just 4 days ago and beat it. i have been playing arc rise fantasia for the last couple hours, so i can see what he is saying.
          i would go so far as to say he is “dissin'” jrpg’s, but i see his point. for example, i just met up with the cecile character. she claims to be a very experienced warrior, and that she is very strong. she upper-cuts the character “niko” (with one arm) lifts him off his feet with the punch and he lands on his head.
          according to the manual she is 12 years old, 4’11”, and weighs 86 pounds(39kg). am i expected to believe that she has gained the right to say she is “very experienced” in combat? if she started training at 5, that’s 7 years of total battle experience up until the present. also an 86lb girl hitting a ~150lb guy so hard to knock him 10 feet into the air?
          how many times have i heard this before? momo, presea, cecile, meru, anise….

          jrpg’s of the past were great because they were good stories, but now it’s hard for me to find one that i genuinely like. the tales franchise has never let me down until they decided not to localize.
          maybe people play rpg’s for different reasons today, but the guys who played the good ones from japan in the old days are designing the games in american branches today. in game design school over here, every single student in my class said that classic jrpg’s were at least half their inspiration for wanting to be game designers.

          sorry guys, i didn’t mean to ramble.

        • You see, bloody massacres with heavy guns are much more appealing. Not that I don’t like some God-of-War-like slaughtering. O wait, God of War is ancient mythic Greece. Not realistic enough.

          Ironies apart, what he says is true. But seriously, the Japanese have issues with reality but why the best tech comes from Japan’s unrealistic minds? (sorry, I just had to add oil to the fire 8D)

        • Wow! He prefers the games that makes him money! I’ve never heard of such an opinion!

          That wasn’t very surprising to hear. I expect all video game developers to praise their products over the creations of others.

          Although he does have a point about the 3DS and the Wii. The wii is half a generation behind, and the 3DS is current gen, but a few years late.

  • Western RPGs:realistic settings and designs,limited gameplay,on the rails pacing/environments(this BTW makes FF13 a western RPG)

    Eastern RPGS:Unrealistic settings and designs,limited gameplay,a focus on needless grind,limited pacing and environments.

    I really don’t see the difference?

  • WOW! Bunch of butt-hurt JRPG’ers here.

    I play both mind you, and to be honest JRPG’s are getting a bit … Stale. Same old Angsty/Emo protagonist who uses characters often party members to boost his confidence and then you defeat a final boss.

    Fallout and Oblivion however were amazing. I think the Japanese community will agree on this too, because Bethesda supports it’s PC modding community. This opened up both games to nearly endless possibilities. In fact some of the Japanese mods are/were the most sought after.

    And as linear as FF XIII was, I thought it still had a good story and I enjoyed the 175 hours I put into it. So I think both genres have their ups and downs mainly in terms of STORY. JRPG’s tend to have a lovely fantasy that is compelling and in most cases inspiring but rely too much on the same character templates and EMOish emotions. WRPG’s tend to have a more bland setting but still manage to entertain and use their “openness” to allow the player to make their own story.

    Again, each has their faults, I play both. But I don’t blame Todd for his comments, and frankly I agree for the most part.