So, uh, I guess this is the end of my course...
But I don't want it to be the end of this blog! I need a space to put my games design related rantings and stuff anyway.
I came to a really strange realisation yesterday.
See, I have always considered myself an RPG fan. Some of my favourite games to play are things like Knights of the Old Republic, Final Fantasy, Eldar Scrolls, Chrono Trigger etc. But yesterday I suddenly realised that actually I'm pretty indifferent to the gameplay of RPG games. I don't hate it, but I generally don't look forward to the gameplay parts, rather being interested in the story and characters. I'm not saying that levelling up and finding new items isn't ever fun, sometimes it is, but ultimately it's not the main draw of the genre for me, particularly with JRPGs.
I realised that what actually draws me to RPGs, particularly NWN2, KotR2, Planescape Torment and JRPG games is:
1. Travelling to fantastic locations as you follow the plot.
2. Ensemble casts with interesting group dynamics.
I think a lot of JRPG fans are the same. One big difference between the fandoms is that WRPG fans tend to talk about character builds and stats and their favourite classes and weapons, while JRPG fans tend to talk about which character they like best, what their favourite relationship pairing is, what their favourite part of the plot was.
So...If I'm not actually interested in the RPG mechanics, why not remove them and replace them with something else? Something that's more enjoyable? Kingdom Hearts did this very effectively, though it doesn't have a big ensemble cast, just a 3-man party.
I guess the main obstacle is that RPG mechanics make it a lot easier to manage a big group of characters, being tactical and often turn-based. Making an action game that still allows a bunch of people to run around together and interact and have conversations is a bit of a tricky one, but it must be doable.
So, I guess my dream game would be an RPG that's not an RPG in gameplay terms. My absolute ideal game would probably have the smooth and exciting gameplay of Prince of Persia or Zelda, the fantastic world building, story and party dynamics of Final Fantasy and Planescape Torment, The polished finish and epic set pieces of Kingdom Hearts and the witty dialogue and invention of Psychonauts.
Now all I have to do is convince somebody that it's a good idea... hahaha.
I'm still alive.