Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why JRPG big releases should already jump to the new consoles

Bravely DefaultJRPG is a niche genre that has been in the industry since the very beginning. Nowadays it doesn't seem to get so much attention as it used to, but has been little by little regaining some ground in the industry.The thing is that even though it looks as if Japanese rpg games are picking up some speed, companies are dragging their feet and not showing any initiative into releasing titles for the new consoles. At first this seems logical because the older consoles have bigger sale numbers, but if we take things into perspective we can see that there are some things that affect this situation that they are not been seen and we are going to talk a little about them today.

Xenoblade Chronicles
This game is proof that the JRPG genre can evolve.

The gaming media has already moved on

The first thing that a company would want is for their game to get mentioned and shown in order for it to get exposure and rally the fans. This is not that likely to happen with older consoles as almost every trending topic in gaming has to do with the new game systems or the PC platform. Titles that are exclusive to the older generation are taking the back seat and having just a quick mention at best, which is not good for advertising, much less for a niche genre that is trying to make it big again.

Tales of Xillia
The "Tales of" series one of the few that still follows its roots and remains successful.

The new console users are louder and more active

Humans are lovers of novelty by nature so even if older consoles have a greater number of games and units sold worldwide, the new generation is what gamers are into. Be it playing multiplatform games or getting into exclusives (like the smashing success of Mario Kart 8), gamers are all about the new games on the newest platforms, been social networks and the gaming media a clear indication of this. This means that by releasing JRPG games exclusive to older consoles they are dividing the niche and making it smaller than it should be even if business logic tells them otherwise.

Final Fantasy X
This is the first game that boosted PS2 sales back in the day.

Newer consoles thrive on the early release of a new JRPG 

It is quite right to say that gamers feel that there is a drought on the JRPG department on every new console and that is fertile ground for success as there is no real competition. You can see this as gamers ask themselves when does Sony (which are known to favor Japanese rpg games) is going to give some role playing awesomeness to the PS4 and even Wii U fans who are eagerly waiting for Xenoblade Chronicles X. If there is something that gaming history has shown us, is that every new console gets its definitive JRPG game early on, but this time that big release isn't even near. Doesn't anybody want that privileged space anymore?

Nino Kuni
Nino Kuni...We need a sequel to this beautiful game.

It doesn't have to be a really expensive production

When it comes to JRPG games, it isn't that much about cutting edge graphics as it is about a fascinating story and cool game play. This doesn't mean that they should make a game based on stick figures, but they can pretty much make it look good without having to sell their souls for it. All they have to do is focus into the story telling and overall design of the game and there you go. Evidence of this comes with the various Kickstarter campaigns that have been popping up that show indie JRPG styled games that look as if they were AAA high budget productions, so if a small studio can do it, why can't they?

Lost Odyssey
The last game we got that had that Final Fantasy 7-8 feeling. 
Wrapping it up

JRPG games have reached their maximum potential for growth on the previous generation and must move on in order to keep growing. The genre had its share of success in the last few years, but it must keep moving in order to keep that momentum going. It is noted that the new generation has not been here for that long, but the fact that there isn't a clear release date for any big JRPG game is kind of weird, considering that the fan bases for each of the new game systems is growing very fast and have already reached a point where profit is possible. Now for all of the JRPG fans out there, let's just cross our fingers and hope for the best.

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