×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Oblivion of Western RPGs

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the taking-on-the-big-ones dept.

304

1up has a piece looking at how Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion may just be what the western RPG genre needs to spring back from the brink of nonexistence. From the article: "Western RPGs focus on the characters, and the world around them is a tool to let the player-as-character do and see more. Eastern RPGs focus on the events unfolding around the characters, and how the characters affect the world around them. Western RPGs are based on the experience of tabletop role-playing games, limited only by the imaginations of the players and the game master, where Eastern RPGs are more re-creations of traditional storytelling. Oblivion has taken huge strides toward meeting fans of MMOs halfway by building A.I. that really lives alongside the player and ensuring that the actual missions are easily pursued."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

304 comments

My first TES game experiance (0, Redundant)

9mm Censor (705379) | about 8 years ago | (#15028631)

My previous comments on this game... Oblivion is the first time I have played a TES game. Being someone who loves FPS (hardcore UT and Battlefield player), it takes some thing special for me to play something that doesn't have quad damage and a rocket launcher. I can count the number for non FPSers I own in two hands. A need for speed game that I bought when I got my first car (which I played breifly and haven't touched since) and Oblivion. Having put 30 hours into one character, mostly in 6 hour spurts after work, I am hooked. Who would have though bows and arrows were as cool as rocket launchers?

Re:My first TES game experiance (1, Informative)

urbanriot (924981) | about 8 years ago | (#15028877)

*gasp*

He must be one of those guys Penny Arcade was speaking about a few months back. A shill, I believe they're called.

People paid by the game producers to spin a game to the internet community through web sites, newsgroups, etc.

Mind you, the game actually is pretty good so I'm not sure if that's necessary.

Re:My first TES game experiance (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | about 8 years ago | (#15029052)

Ok. Sure. I wish I got paid to promote stuff. Google my name. I am not some advertizer. I just like this game.

Re:My first TES game experiance (2, Funny)

XenoRyet (824514) | about 8 years ago | (#15029637)

Of course, that is exactly what one would expect you to say if you actualy were an advertiser...

*puts on tin-foil hat*

The Shills are Everywhere (0)

iridium_ionizer (790600) | about 8 years ago | (#15029363)

We all know that there are shills, but very few of us know to what extent. The sad truth is that there are no real fanboys. Sony, Nintendo, Xbox, Final Fantasy, whathaveyou. In fact there is no hardcore gamer demographic, only casual players that follow whatever the shills say is cool. The Slashdot boards are 99.9% shills. I hope that I am not the only one left. If I am, then I will certainly get modded down into obscurity.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/01/25 [penny-arcade.com] http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/02/10 [penny-arcade.com]

Re:The Shills are Everywhere (3, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | about 8 years ago | (#15030197)

No, you're just being as elitest and oblivious as the next guy, and well, it looks like I'm the next guy, so I'm definitely not excluded from this catagory.

You do realize that one of the defining characteristics of sheep is that they think that everyone else is a sheep except them. The international coorperate machine has made millions off of making people feel like they're being individuals.

Me? I'm a total sheep, I realize that there's really no way of escaping it, and get on with my life. The more you try to fight back, the worse it gets, really. You just end up playing into the hands of a different coorperately manufactured demographic. I love my iPod because it makes me feel like I'm supporting a movement of aesthetics and innovation, I drive a Toyota because it makes me happy to give a big "fuck you" to the redneck american auto industry. I'm sophisticated and elitest, and I'm playing right into the hands of a lot of major companies. And ya know what? The best I can do, most of the time, is acknowledge that I'm doing it, and move on. And yes, I'm feeling quite "holier than thow" right now for having said this, but whatever.

So don't go around spouting about shills like you aren't one yourself. It's fairly obvious, from your list of examples, that you're trying to use your arguement to put down those things you don't like (namely console gamers), which is petty and shortsighted. Both sides are equally at fault for deluding themselves into following whatever the latest trend is. Unbelievable.

Re:My first TES game experiance (1)

mwheeler01 (625017) | about 8 years ago | (#15028961)

Heretic and Hexen are technically FPSes with bows and arrows and magic. Sort of the same gig just without all the stats and quests.

Re:My first TES game experiance (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15029136)

An FPS with oldschool-style RPG plot, levelling, and equipment would be quite interesting.

Re:My first TES game experiance (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 8 years ago | (#15029244)

Morrowind & Oblivion aren't this already?

Jaysyn

Re:My first TES game experiance (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15029328)

My work firewall blocks pretty much any site with *game* in the url, so I'm hard pressed to find screenshots at the moment, but I imagine Oblivion still has cut-scenes, spans of dialogue, and empty walking periods from time to time.

In response to the grandfather post, I was thinking something with the same speed of gameplay as Heretic, only with the grind that appeals so much to fans of eastern RPGs. Playing the same levels in a doom clone would probably get boring much more quickly than the relaxing ease of FF-esque battles, I think, though. A quick-and-dirty random level generator would work wonders.

Re:My first TES game experiance (4, Insightful)

masklinn (823351) | about 8 years ago | (#15029420)

Oblivion still has cut-scenes
no
spans of dialogue
yes
empty walking periods from time to time

yes and no, the world is full of riches, and if you're an alchemist walking through the woods transforms into a game of "find the material" as you run from bush to bush trying to harvest some plan or a shroom while being coursed by a troll that found you before you found him.

There are also quite a lot of stuff hidden in any area (caves, houses, shrines, bandit outposts, ...), so there isn't much truly empty space. Much less than in Morrowind. Even if you don't use Fast Travel.

On the other hand, the last 2 items are part of an RPG experience, an RPG can't be action-packed without dialogs or exploration, that's not an RPG anymore.

I was thinking something with the same speed of gameplay as Heretic, only with the grind that appeals so much to fans of eastern RPGs

What you're suggesting is a 3D Diablo.

Repeat after me: Diablo is NOT an RPG

Re:My first TES game experiance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029263)

If Oblivion doesn't satisfy here, perhaps Project Offset will

Re:My first TES game experiance (3, Informative)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | about 8 years ago | (#15029464)

I've randomly stumbled into info about a game in production which sounds close to what you describe. It's called Hellgate: London [gamespot.com] .
It's pretty much a diablo-like FPS set in a demon filled london. It has levels and equipment, but the controls are like FPSes. Also the levels, monster placement and items are randomly generated (like Diablo). The weapons include guns and melee weapons, which can then be upgraded with items. Also there are stats and skill trees.

Dunno about the plot or anything more tho it seems pretty interesting.

"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (5, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 8 years ago | (#15028704)

What's this crap about Western RPGs being on the brink of nonexistance? I guess all those games by Bethesda, Bioware, etc. don't exist?

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15028737)

If anything, its eastern RPGs that are on the brink on non-existance in the US. Which is sad, because by and large I dislike western style.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15028982)

Why is that sad? We already have the ability to watch movies on our TVs, and many computers are capable of displaying text.

Eastern rail-playing games (I refuse to mislabel them roleplaying) haven't really innovated at all, or at least in a useful manner. Apparently the "latest-and-greatest" Final Fantasy game plays itself for you, with "five minutes of setup" [slashdot.org] - leaving Square-Enix, shocked, shocked!, that gamers were upset at having no control playing the game.

Eastern rail-playing games are dieing out because we've already seen the one story they tell over and over and over again. People are sick and tired of playing a band of pubescent brats who go and defeat some giant pure-evil force. It's been done before. We've seen it.

The death of eastern rail-playing games would be quite welcome - maybe then we can see some actual innovation (well, useful innovation, not taking even more control away like in FFXII) in the RPG field. Who knows, maybe we'll even get an actual ROLEplaying game from Japan if the rail-playing game genre does finally die out. We can dream, we can dream.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1, Troll)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15029346)

Because I enjoy playing many eastern RPGs. I don't enjoy the western style whatsoever. I find the elder scrolls games to be particularly bad, I'd put them in the worst 50 games I've ever played (Daggerfall gets a particularly bad rating in the bottom 10, due to the pure bugginess of it).

I play RPGs for the story. Western sandboxes (I refuse to call these roleplaying as well, as you need to have interactions between people, not bad bot scripts with no creativity, to be roleplaying. If you want roleplaying in a video game, its called an IRC chat room and a dice bot. Dice bot optional.) have either no story or a very poor story. TES is a great example for that- what the hell is the story in Daggerfall? Or Morrowind? I couldn't find one.

Have eastern RPGs fallen into a bit of a rut? Yes. Although that doesn't mean there are no gems- I'm truely enjoying Dragon Quest 8, I'm having far more fun playing it than I ever did with NWN (horrible game that was barely saved to mediocre with multiplayer), Baldur's Gate (horrible series), or TES. But even the shittiest of the eastern rpgs is better than the western style ones.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (2, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | about 8 years ago | (#15029482)

Wow, we really are polar opposites on this issue. Everything you say can almost be flipped around. I consider Baldur's Gate one of the best computer games ever made, along with NWN and the Elder Scrolls. I mean, these are real RPG's and not just movies where you hit a button here or there. If I wanted a story to watch, I'd rent a movie. If I wanted to be immersed into and become part of the story, then I play an RPG. A real RPG.

Have you played Oblivion? If not, then how can you say what it has or doesn't have? If you bought it, why? Why buy the sequel to something you hated? Or did you play 5 minutes of a friends copy and get confused because you actually had to do something other than hit "auto-play" to let the "movie" unfold? Bah...this is too easy.

I've yet to see an Eastern RPG. Not sure one exists. Sure, you can call them an RPG, but that doesn't make them an RPG. They're movies with a lame "what should we do next?!?!" button on it. That's it. There, I've broken down all Eastern style "RPG's" for anyone that's interested. If that's your thing, then go to it!

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15029731)

If I wanted to be immersed into and become part of the story, then I play an RPG. A real RPG.


So do I- I get together and play PnP. Or get on IRC and roleplay. A western RPG would be the absolute last choice I'd take- a poorer plot than an eastern RPG, and none of the interaction of PnP gaming. Western RPGs are not roleplaying games by any stretch of the imagination. Play a real roleplaying game for 5 minutes and you can tell how utterly lacking computer games are.

Have you played Oblivion? If not, then how can you say what it has or doesn't have? If you bought it, why? Why buy the sequel to something you hated? Or did you play 5 minutes of a friends copy and get confused because you actually had to do something other than hit "auto-play" to let the "movie" unfold? Bah...this is too easy.


No, I didn't buy Obblivion. I did buy Daggerfall, I did play but did not buy Morrowind (A friend gave me his copy for a week or 2 to try out). I have no plans to buy or play Oblivion, I know what the past games in the series were like and it has no interest to me.

I've yet to see an Eastern RPG. Not sure one exists. Sure, you can call them an RPG, but that doesn't make them an RPG. They're movies with a lame "what should we do next?!?!" button on it. That's it. There, I've broken down all Eastern style "RPG's" for anyone that's interested. If that's your thing, then go to it!


I'd like to play a Western RPG. But one doesn't exist yet. One can't exist, AI currently doesn't and most likely mever will pass a Turing test. They're just lame sandboxes with no point to them. I don't play games to figure out things to do, I play to be entertained. At least Eastern styles have a point in the game (to advance the story). I've yet to find a western RPG that had any motivation for my character to leave the first town.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

Criterion (51515) | about 8 years ago | (#15029975)

"I've yet to find a western RPG that had any motivation for my character to leave the first town."

Well then you simply didn't play very much of Morrowind, did you?

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15030206)

Not much of it. As stated- I found it rather boring. I didn't particularly like the combat mechanics either (although better than Daggerfall's). I don't want 1 billion poorly designed side quests with no effect on the main storyline- if I did, I'd play WOW. The main storyline in Morrowind was so weak I'd call it non-existant. That style of gameplay is just boring.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029979)

FUCK Y0U AND Y0uR ATTITUDE OF "I DON"T LIKE THIS SHIT, SO NO ONE SHOULD ENJOY IT!"

GOING BY Y0UR L0GIC FUCKTARD, I HATE 'WESTERN RPGS' SO THAT SHOULD BE ELIMINATED AND I HATE Y0U SO GO FUCKING KILL YOURSELF FUCKTARD!

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

sgant (178166) | about 8 years ago | (#15030097)

Though, in truth, I was only giving back what he was dishing out. Yet I didn't see you posting when he was saying the opposite, which leads me to believe this is really YOU posting now.

Also, check out the caps-lock, it seems to be stuck. Or did you do that on purpose? And the reason was....?

But hey, good times right?

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | about 8 years ago | (#15030001)

Have you played Oblivion? If not, then how can you say what it has or doesn't have? If you bought it, why? Why buy the sequel to something you hated? For what it's worth, I couldn't stand Morrowind. Buying Oblivion was a gamble for me, but it did pay off as I find Oblivion hard to put down.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (2, Insightful)

masklinn (823351) | about 8 years ago | (#15029486)

TES is a great example for that- what the hell is the story in Daggerfall? Or Morrowind? I couldn't find one.

Maybe you should've looked for one in the first place...

Granted, stories in TES aren't handed to you (more like forced down your throat, really) as it is in Eastern style "RPGs". The point is that you make the story. A main quest is given to you (well not in morrowind, you had to look for it. It is in Oblivion though) and from there onwards you're the one who decides what the story is, which includes the ability to not do the main quest in the first place if you don't want to.

You seem like you want to play RPGs as you'd read books, being guided linearly at each steps, never being able to make mistakes, never having to look for anything and never actually creating the story, just hopping along a heavily scripted timeline. That's fine, really, but that's not the goal of PC RPGs, that's not how a TES or a Fallout works, and it's no reason for you to diss them the way you do.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15029759)

The point is that you make the story.


Its a game. The point of a game is to complete the story. If I wanted to make a story, I'd write a novel or short story. When I play a game, I want there to be a defined game.

That's fine, really, but that's not the goal of PC RPGs, that's not how a TES or a Fallout works, and it's no reason for you to diss them the way you do.


Sure there is- to throw it back in the face of the guy I replied to. He said Eastern RPGs should die out. I disagree- I find them highly entertaining, and find the very concept of western RPGs to be flawed. I'm pointing out my point of view.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

sgant (178166) | about 8 years ago | (#15029308)

It's the opposite for me. The "Eastern" movies (I refuse to call them RPGs because they're nothing but interactive movies) are hopefully going away. I mean, they can hang around all they want, but I just don't want them influencing the real RPGs.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (0, Troll)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15029784)

The only real RPGs are played with friends and dice (dice optional). Western RPGs aren't real RPGs either. IMO they're worse because they try to be one and fail so miserably.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 8 years ago | (#15028919)

Bioware RPGs are not massively open-ended like Elder Scrolls or the old Ultima games. Its more of a hybrid, where you have small amounts of open play in different chapters.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 8 years ago | (#15029337)

But it has the tools for open ended games. There were awesome open ended mods and mmo's for nwn.

Single Player PC RPGs Have Been Dying For Years (2, Insightful)

EXTomar (78739) | about 8 years ago | (#15029104)

I guess all those games by Bethesda, Bioware, etc. don't exist?

Okay list them. :) Asking this question doesn't automatically make the argument invalid.

In case you haven't noticed, the "single slayer, PC RPG" genre has been all but dead for years. They morphed into something that is found mostly in its current MMOG form (think World of Warcraft) or something more "hybrid" (for instance RTS games with RPG elements).

So here is an excirse: go to the store to pick up a brand new copy of Oblivion but also look around to see what other single player RPGs are current on the self. Chances are there is Morrowind. There will also probably be Knights of the Old Republic 2 which is a pale shadow of its predicessor and not to mention a very shollow RPG. If you want to count things like Grand Theft Auto I suppose these could be RPGs and even closer to "a sandbox" that is found in Oblivion but again it is a very shallow if not an outright adventure game (Zelda is an action/adventure game even thought it has many themes common to RPGs).

So where are all of these Bethesda and Bioware games? Compared to the stuff online, compared to the sports games, compared to the movie franchise games, the fact that producers buckled down for Oblivion is a miracle. Just like Myst style "hot spot adventure games" went out of style so is the "single player RPG". On the console, there may still be refuge there for the "single player RPG" but who knows how long that will last as consoles gravitate to look more like PCs....

For the near future, I see Neverwinter Nights 2 and Gothic 3 and I suspect one of them wants to desperately have some sort of online play feature....

Undead Genres (2, Interesting)

hanako (935790) | about 8 years ago | (#15029167)

While adventure games have been considered a "dead genre" for years, there are actually MORE of them being released to the mainstream currently than there are single-player RPGs!

It's a shift in the market. As the adventure fans come to recognise that they are no longer considered a hot property, they also become more willing to accept ANY adventure game that comes along, and thus it becomes easier for extremely small studios on a low-budget to make an adventure game and get it published for retail. These adventure games don't get the huge marketing push of the 'hot' genres, but they are out there. Check Gamespot - you'll find several reviews of recent adventure games. Every single review will include the phrase "Adventures are a dead genre". Despite the fact that, y'know, the game is right there and they are playing it. :)

So yes. There is a lack of single-player RPG goodness on the shelves. If it persists, expect the independents to eventually pick it up, just as they have with adventure games. *Especially* as better rpg toolkits become available. RPG Maker XP has already produced at least one English PC game on sale...

Re:Single Player PC RPGs Have Been Dying For Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029415)

I really can't stand 'sandbox' games. I don't want to be moving on a rail, like in Half-Life 2, but I need some direction or I get bored very quickly if it feels like I'm just wandering around accomplishing nothing.

Re:"spring back from the brink of nonexistence?" (3, Interesting)

Gorath99 (746654) | about 8 years ago | (#15029225)

Instead of the term "Western RPG" I'd use "traditional PC style RPG". The kind of rpgs you don't play with a joypad and that don't require massive amounts of mouse-clicking. I'm talking Betrayal at Krondor, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Wizardry, Albion, Bard's Tale, the old SSI games, Planescape Torment; those kinds of games.

Don't get me wrong: I've spend a significant portion of the past four years playing Morrowind, I had a lot of fun with Diablo (the original more so than the second one) and I've enjoyed all the Final Fantasy Games for the SNES (and Chrono Trigger... wonderful Chrono Trigger...), but I long for another Baldur's Gate or BaK.

The more recent Bioware fare really isn't in the same genre; Neverwinter Nights felt like Diablo, only without any of the atmosphere. Bethesda makes some of the greatest games in the rpg genre, but they've always leaned a bit towards being action games (remember how you had to make hacking gestures with the mouse to hack with your sword in Arena?) and I fully expect them to move more into that direction as console gamers make up a greater part of their audience. Not that I blame them, mind. It's just that noone seems to be making games in a subgenre that I love so dearly anymore.

Personally, I like Black as a Western RPG (3, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 years ago | (#15028739)

Because, when you come down to it, using your gun to make big holes in people in buildings is what I play Western RPGs for.

Western RPGs ARE RPGs! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15028743)

Eastern RPGs are just a book written as a video game.... a story is told, with no major twists to what the end is...

Western RPGs is where YOU make the story, and how you want to do it.

Re:Western RPGs ARE RPGs! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15028855)

No kidding. There IS no such thing as an "Eastern RPG" - they're NOT RPGs! The best description of them I heard was "rail-playing game". They're cliched stories which are viewed by repeatedly hitting the "Action" button.

"Western RPGs" are the only real role-playing games. If you don't play a role in the story, it's not a role-playing game. Battle systems do not a role-playing game make.

If anything, Eastern "RPGs" are going out of favor. Japan may love FFXII, but other than that recent fan-boy "defence of FFXII" article on Slashdot, I've yet to hear ANYONE in the US who's at all interested in that game. Oblivion, on the other hand, had/has people saving up money to purchase. Can't wait until I can afford a new computer...

heh. Oh, please... (5, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | about 8 years ago | (#15029922)

"No kidding. There IS no such thing as an "Eastern RPG" - they're NOT RPGs! The best description of them I heard was "rail-playing game". They're cliched stories which are viewed by repeatedly hitting the "Action" button."

Let me remind you what table-top role-playing used to mean, at least with a good group and GM. It used to mean just that: playing a role, as in a theatre play. The whole point was taking part in an interactive fiction exercise, sorta like being co-autor in a theatre play. The stats were _not_ the whole point of the game, and in fact they were just props in that interactive fiction. What made one a fun guy to play with was _not_ accumulating the most loot or levels ("woot! my char is level 60 and PvP rank 14 before yours!"), but coming up with interesting lines for your character and/or interesting ways to solve a situation. Even if that character was level 1.

So making a game that's all about the props (stats, levels, whatever) is _not_ an RPG. And that pretty much sums up most of the Western games that some marketroid called "RPG" in the last years: some action game (be it arcade-like, action/adventure, or FPS) with some stats strapped on. You'd be surprised what got called an RPG. Let's just say even Daikatana claimed to have "RPG elements.

And turning it all into a fast-paced action game where all you ever have time for is mashing the attack button, and occasionally blocking, is _not_ what makes an RPG. _The_ thing that made table-top RP fun was having the time to come up with some smart and innovative solution. Having just enough time to reload and aim for a headshot before the enemy finishes charging you in real time is not exactly making that possible, even if the game actually gave you the possibilities. Most don't.

So basically there never was much RP in either Eastern or Western games. All they could offer was a good story, with some (different) ways of pretending that you're a part of it. Actually, in the Western most games didn't even offer that, as they focused mainly on having an action game with some stats thrown in. (You can feel free to point at Bethesda and Bioware games, but they're not the majority by any kind of counting.) So basically if you want to define RPG as "If you don't play a role in the story, it's not a role-playing game", then most western games didn't even _have_ much of a story to play a role in.

And even those exercises in storytelling, on both the eastern and the western sides of the map, are on a path to extinction, as more and more companies turn their games into MMOs (even Bioware announced one) and the afore-mentioned action-games-with stats. Presumably to catter to the large mass of CS kids who don't actually have the attention span for a story ("Auugh! It says 'press START to continue'! If I wanted to read that much text, I'd get a book!") or the interest for anything that doesn't involve willy-waving ("I managed to head-shot you, so you suck and are gay too! Oh, and your mom is a fat whore!") Though the western ones seem to have a head-start there.

"If anything, Eastern "RPGs" are going out of favor. Japan may love FFXII, but other than that recent fan-boy "defence of FFXII" article on Slashdot, I've yet to hear ANYONE in the US who's at all interested in that game. Oblivion, on the other hand, had/has people saving up money to purchase. Can't wait until I can afford a new computer..."

It might also be worth noting, that the western RPG that you so seem to cherish also is a pretty recent invention. Having much of a story in a RPG didn't even exist in the West until the mid or late 90's. Before Bethesda's "TES: Arena" and Interplay's acquiring the rights to D&D, there was no such thing as a western RPG with enough of a story to play a part in, or any freedom in playing that part. E.g., SSI's D&D exercises swung between being some kind of squad-based tactics game with D&D rules in the beginning, and some kind of dumb square-based proto-FPS in later games like the "Eye Of The Beholder" series, neither featuring more story than the most basic excuse to go kill some monsters. They were also as on-rails as it gets, with no more freedom than choosing the classes of your party members.

So basically it rose abruptly after the middle of the '90s, and by 2000 it was already on the decline again. Origin had been gutted by EA and turned into just (bad) tech-support for UO, Interplay was turning its attention to anything _but_ using its RPG franchises, and almost everyone else has been busy making MMOs or action-games-with-stats.

I.e., I don't know if Eastern RPGs really are going out of favour with the gamers (the sales numbers say that at least the PS2 ones are still doing well), but the western ones were just a blip as favour with the publishers goes. They rose abruptly, and started being on the decline within a couple of years. There just aren't many of them produced any more, and it just seems to go downhill.

Eastern RPGs = Teh Suck (0, Troll)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 8 years ago | (#15028881)

I think I agree. I'd say Final Fantasy was one of the earlier "Eastern RPG" titles to make it big in the U.S., and that "game" just continued to suck more ass as it got older.

Re:Western RPGs ARE RPGs! (5, Interesting)

Ayaress (662020) | about 8 years ago | (#15029306)

This is how I've always made the distinction:

Eastern RPGs - and for that matter, a good chunk of western ones, too - give you a role to play. At best (i.e. the western RPGs like KOTOR and Jade Empire that are much closer to the console RPG style), you get to decide wether to be a nice guy or a jerk along the way.

Western RPGs - the breed of them that's truely dying, even in a world where KOTOR got game of the year - you're given a stage to play on. Everything else is up to you. I'm several hours into Oblivion right now. I'm not even sure if I'm on the main quest or not, but I love it anyway. The Ultima series are the only games I played much of that I can really compare to Elderscrolls in terms of sheer freedom.

I love that I can just blow off the main quest givers and go do whatever. Become an assassin, a thug, a knight in obligatory shining armor, (Or if I invest enough time raising my skills, all of the above), or just blow that stuff off and spend an hour picking flowers in a field.

Or even doing something completely pointlss and weird. In Morrowind once, I had a weekend off and nothing else to do, so I set about stealing every last spoon in the game (I think - I may have missed a few, but I had a good couple hundred of them), and then writing "I AM THE KING OF SPOONS" with them on the roof of the Underskar... Just because I could.

Re:Western RPGs ARE RPGs! (1)

masklinn (823351) | about 8 years ago | (#15029513)

Western RPGs - the breed of them that's truely dying, even in a world where KOTOR got game of the year - you're given a stage to play on. Everything else is up to you. I'm several hours into Oblivion right now. I'm not even sure if I'm on the main quest or not, but I love it anyway. The Ultima series are the only games I played much of that I can really compare to Elderscrolls in terms of sheer freedom.

Fallout I & II were also quite strong freedom wise. And let's face it, you can't help but love a game in which you can decide to become a porn star, can play with a magic 8 ball and can meet the Monty Python's Arthur.

Counter point, two words - (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 8 years ago | (#15029423)

Chrono Trigger

Explain to me how that game is on rails?

Also please explain to me how, with all the choices you could make in say Baulders Gate, you got to not fight the boss at the end? These are the two quickest examples I can think of. Another would be FFX-2, where if you screw up in like the first 5 minutes (or anywhere, really) you get a different ending?

Re:Counter point, two words - (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | about 8 years ago | (#15029521)

Sure, there are 9 endings, but that's pretty much all it matters.
You can choose to do or not do the side quests and choose when to go fight the final boss, or you can choose not to accept NPC "x" into your party.
You don't have choises that will greatly change the game's outcome. You don't have stuff like joining a faction which will indeed unroll a vastly different chain of events.
Also you can't just stroll off and ignore the main story line and still get a lot of new content.

Not to say it's not a fabulous game which I really like.

Re:Counter point, two words - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029636)

The point is alot of "western" RPGS arent just the line to follow... sure Ultima's you had a goal, but you could travel anywhere in the world, granted you may get your butt handed to you. Do the quests completely out of order, or choose not to do them at all. Same with Elder Scrolls, Bard's Tale... Also especially starting with Ultima IV, your actions controlled what happened. You wanted to strive to be an Avatar, but by stealing from someone you wont be for at least some time to repent.

Re:Western RPGs ARE RPGs! (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 8 years ago | (#15029476)

Eastern RPGs are just a book written as a video game.... a story is told, with no major twists to what the end is...

Western RPGs is where YOU make the story, and how you want to do it.

Perhaps i just haven't been playing the right Western RPGs, but gameplay aside they seem pretty similar to Eastern RPGs to me. You start at the begining, you have some degree of freedom along the way, and no matter what decisions you make in the process you always end up at the same place.

There are a few Eastern RPGs that allow the choices you make to have a significant impact on the end of the game, but admitedly they're in the minority. However i don't really know of many Western RPGs that have multiple ending possibilities either.

Eastern RPGs _have_ been moving in a somewhat depressing direction lately, especially the FF series. It used to be that there was a path of least resistance that you were encouraged to follow but divergence was possible, but many of the newer games are allowing you less and less leeway. One noteable exception which i played recently was Tales of Symphonia, i decided to go explore the rest of the continent i started on rather than taking the ship across to the next land mass like i was encouraged to, and did some interesting things to the plot as a result :)

Re:Western RPGs ARE RPGs! (1)

Gorath99 (746654) | about 8 years ago | (#15029591)

However i don't really know of many Western RPGs that have multiple ending possibilities either.

Not arguing your point here, but should you want to try some western rpgs with a large degree of freedom (including multiple endings) then you could do worse than trying the first two Fallout games, any of the TES games or Planescape Torment. All heartily recommended (though the first two TES games are not the most accessible of games).

They are called adventures (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#15030129)

The sad thing is that we, the human race, always try to pigeon hole everything. What is worse is that we often get it wrong.

Hands up if you ever seen a game claimed to have "rpg" elements when the only thing the game has is that units can gain "level up"?

For some reason some people have come to believe that levelling up == RPG. It of course does not. Many games level up. Being allowed to fly bigger aircraft in an aircraft sim is a form of levelling up. Getting a bigger gun in Doom is.

Take away the levelling up from games like FF and you will see that they play very much like the adventure games of old. In fact the old "Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis" also had fights in it.

Adventures however are not RPG's most notably because you do not choose a role to play but rather follow the lead character through a pre-determined story. Adventures are as much about roleplaying as a FPS. Sure, you can roleplay in Doom. Just as long as you roleplay a guntoting silent marine who shoots everything on sight.

FF does not give you a role to play.

So where does this leave oblivion? Well in limbo. The thing that is missing from the elder scrolls is choices. You can join any guild you want even if they seem mutually exclusive. Only a hand full of quests even have a choice in them as to how you complete them. Usually either giving an item to the cops or the criminals. You can very easily however complete both quests for the dark brotherhood (evil assasins) as for some noble band of knights.

The old taking a side in a quest is not part of the Elder Scrolls and I miss it.

Oblivion ain't a bad game, just that it is RPG light compared to the real stuff like baldur gate, KOTOR, planescape torment etc.

Oblivion is free as those games but the individual quests are pretty much on rails. I would have loved to have been able to choose a side in the whole dark brotherhood deal. Not in this game.

To some this makes Obilion a union of the worst elements of eastern and western RPG's. The "feeling lost" of western RPG's and the "on rails" of eastern adventure+levellingup games.

It almost reminds me of Doom3. Nice engine. Now can a real game company make a proper game with it? For me Oblivion is only acceptable because there the lovers of western RPG are not exactly swamped with choice. When is the next company going to revive the genre like Baldur's gate did?

Character Development (4, Interesting)

aitikin (909209) | about 8 years ago | (#15028749)

I find it interesting that they talk about how character development is the big thing for Western RPGs. I never realized that RPGs were ever really that commonly created in the Western Hemisphere. I would have to say that the change to having the primary focus on character development is more a general revolution in RPGs. All of the table top RPGs and such were extremely story oriented as well. No one wanted to play a game of D&D where the master was a bad story teller.

Also, the fact that technology has increased so much is the only reason that the character development can take place. Eastern RPGs seem to be a continuation of the classics, which took place when they could only have so much and the best thing they could do was tell a story.

Re:Character Development (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 8 years ago | (#15029003)

Final Fantasy 5 had character creation that every character could be any class, and multiple classes combined. It was quite innovative in terms of character development.

But for whatever reason, it wasn't released to world markets, just Japan. Maybe its because open ended plots are what en-vogue for western markets these days more than any other factor. The GTA influence on game dev can't be understated.

I haven't played enough of Elder scrolls to really get an accurate opinion, but I'd say it lacks almost too much direction. I know its the point, but if I'll play in a large persistent world, it'd be cool if other people could log into it as well. If they introduced something like NWN based multiplayer into it, I'd be like OMG thats hot. As it stands, its just kind of leaves me with an 'absent' feeling.

Re:Character Development (1)

Manmademan (952354) | about 8 years ago | (#15029183)

Final Fantasy V was released in the US back in 1999 as part of Final Fantasy Anthology- It was preceded by a release of Final Fantasy Tactics in 1998 which had a more refined version of the Job System, and followed up by Final Fantasy X-2 several years later which also had a tweaked version of the Job system. (FFXI also includes it but as an MMORPG, it's another animal entirely.)

Regardless of the freedom the job system provides in terms of character creation, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy X-2 did NOT have open ended plots- whether your party consisted of white mages with broadswords, Chemist Monks, Dancers who could cast black magic, or any combination thereof there was only one endgame, and you had no choice but to play the Hero and follow a VERY scripted plot.

Re:Character Development (1)

svip (678490) | about 8 years ago | (#15029940)

Regardless of the freedom the job system provides in terms of character creation, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy X-2 did NOT have open ended plots- whether your party consisted of white mages with broadswords, Chemist Monks, Dancers who could cast black magic, or any combination thereof there was only one endgame, and you had no choice but to play the Hero and follow a VERY scripted plot.

...which is what he said...

Re:Character Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029319)

Except that western RPGs have ALWAYS been this way since their beginning back in the early 80s. Ultima... yum. Wizardry... yum. Bard's Tale... you get the picture. Character development centered, on an Apple II.

But do Western RPGs have.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15028768)

Chicks with big breasts? And all the girls wear next to nothing?

Single Player glory! (5, Interesting)

Cy Sperling (960158) | about 8 years ago | (#15028775)

I can identify with the player mentioned in teh article who dislikes playing with other people. I have been quite bored with the glut of MMO & RTS games that have come to dominate the swords and spells genre of gaming. I have been playing Oblivion for about a week and it is so wonderfully full of single player greatness I can barely stand to go to work and wait 10 hours before my next hour of exploration. Every character I meet in the game is absolutely in-character and free of the slightest hint of l337speak of griefing behaviour that permiates the online worlds. I can come and go from the game at will and know the world has waited for me to return to it as if I hadn't gone to my job all day. Best yet, the NPCs aren't just manequins anymore- they are completely entertaining to watch as they attempt to live their lives and deal with each other. The first time I saw a pickpocket get attacked and killed by city gaurds- I was delighted. He was someone I had met and talked to and now, due to his unscripted actions, he is dead and gone from the game. The actions of the NPCs impact the world permenantly. I imagine that, just like in GTA, after my initial wonder of exploring the world starts to wane- there is an abundance of non-save-game fun to be had by simply messing with the locals to see how the game's AI reacts.

Re:Single Player glory! (1)

Swimmin' Pants (911939) | about 8 years ago | (#15029144)

The NPCs in the game really are entertaining. I once walked into an inn once just as a fight was breaking out between two NPCs. They fought for a good 3 minutes, a battle that took them all the way to the top floor of the inn, before one of them finally fell. The victor (and aggressor) then looted the valuables from the corpse, and fled.

Another great story involves something my friend did the other night. He got the owner of a shop to like him a lot through bribery, and then snuck through the store, stealing various items. He wasn't seen by the shop's owner, but when he left the shop, he got confronted by a guard. He resisted arrest, and shortly after his fight with the guard began, his friend, the shop owner, ran outside and fought alongside him against the guard.

The NPCs are far from perfect, but they sure are a huge step up from Morrowind's talking statues.

Re:Single Player glory! (1)

mcsestretch (926118) | about 8 years ago | (#15029442)

Not only are the NPCs fantastic, the fights are entertaining. In Morrowind, you knew within 5 seconds whether you were going to mop the floor with whatever was fighting you or whether you were going to need a mop to clean up your corpse after the fight. Oblivion has a lot more strategy to the fight. Seems like everything I've fought (except for rats, imps and other low-level creatures now) has been a tough fight that could go either way.

Single Geek glory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029490)

"I can identify with the player mentioned in teh article who dislikes playing with other people"

I agree. I like playing with myself. Oh, wait. That didn't come out right.

Re:Single Player glory! (4, Interesting)

svip (678490) | about 8 years ago | (#15030023)

there is an abundance of non-save-game fun to be had by simply messing with the locals to see how the game's AI reacts.

I agree there. The AI is so buggy you need to do very little messing about to make it do hilariously stupid things. Like when I got in Jauffrey's way and he jumped up and down on a candlestick for a minute then fell through the wall. Brilliant!

Or when you beat up a quest-vital NPC (they're immortal, so much for freedom), then kill all the guards that come for you, then surrounded by corpses you go buy your groceries from the NPC who just woke up and has forgotten everything that happened.

Or when you assault some innocent and if you don't kill him in first blow and he sees you for a second before dying, a guard comes running from the other side of the town at mach 3 - so you jump over a wall into an alley and he starts running around the block, so you jump over again and he turns around and goes back around the block.

Or when you tapdance on a storekeep's desk throwing all the goods around the room, then take out your claymore and play golf with the remainders. Then you lift up an apple and set it down again and 200 city guards suddenly enter.

Also got a kick out of how a guard gave me permissing to investigate a murder scene, so I lifted up a parchment in the basement (not knowing about the red cursor yet) and "Boromir" yells Stop stealing from me! despite us being far away from his home in another person's house where I had permission to be.

And it started out nicely when I got accosted by the guards for horse theft in a far away town when I went up and talked to them after being given the horse at the priory early on.

At least the AI is nicely forgiving. Early in the game you can attempt to assassinate Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise and pick the pockets of his bodyguards, and if you get caught you only have to say you're sorry and they forget all about it.

And if you decide after a mad killing spree leaving the streets filled with slaughtered townsfolk that you regret this, you just have to hand over a few gold and all is forgiven and you're once again lauded as a hero.

I love this game.

TES4 != RPG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15028807)

kthx TES4tw!

TAG for later

Homebuilt PC user : 24 Watcher : Lost Watcher

hrm... (5, Insightful)

Jurrasic (940901) | about 8 years ago | (#15028838)

I would honestly change 'Eastern' to 'Console' and 'Western' to 'Computer'. After all, the great 'eastern' RPG series' are all primarily developed for consoles, and sometimes the best of the best ported to PC. the 'western' RPG of character development and creating your role originated with and continues to be the domain of the personal computer, from the early Ultimas, Questrons, Phantasies and Alternate Reality: the City and The Dungeon on the Apple and Atari 8-bits and Commodore 64 to the more modern Elder Scrolls, NWN, Fallouts etc all on modern PCs with some portage to consoles. Its only with the simultanious launches of TES III and IV to the Xbox as well as the PC that the 'western' RPG has been developed at all with consoles in mind. SO I say it's Console RPG vs Computer RPG, and many an arguement about which is best will be waged, but in the end, it all comes down to taste. When I want to be fed a good story i'll play the latest Final Fantasy. When I want to MAKE the story, i'll play Oblivion.

Re:hrm... (2, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | about 8 years ago | (#15029891)

> When I want to be fed a good story i'll play the latest Final Fantasy

Echh ... it's not even a good story when the execution is so wrecked. Maybe it's tolerable in the original Japanese, but when the main characters are animated with even the body language of inarticulate bratty children, I tend to doubt it.

Come to think of it, FFX might have been a pretty good story if not for Tidus. There's a good story in Xenosaga too that's not too bad if you remove everyone who actually speaks. Maybe they should write a Noh game.

Not a good time for Westerns (1, Funny)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | about 8 years ago | (#15028842)

Is this a good time to be doing Western RPGs, what with Brokeback Mountain coming out on DVD? Think of all the horrible jokes!

WoW (1)

mozumder (178398) | about 8 years ago | (#15028886)

Should count as the one that brought back the western RPG...

Re:WoW (2, Interesting)

rabbot (740825) | about 8 years ago | (#15029058)

Not really, WoW is in a completely different genre. And even if we were talking about MMORPG's, there really wasn't anything for WoW to bring back. It's not like we had a lack of good MMORPG's to play. There is no denying that WoW was hugely successful, but that was mostly because it caters to the non-mmo crowd, the casual gamer. It requires minimal time/investment to make significant progress in the game.

Anyways, the thread is about traditional PC RPG's (single player games).

Re:WoW (5, Insightful)

zoomba (227393) | about 8 years ago | (#15029161)

WoW is *not* an RPG. MMORPGs have only the barest of elements in common with traditional RPGs. In MMORPGs, you're not really a hero, just another person. You don't impact the world in a meaningful way. There is no real progressing story that you contribute to. There almost no real sense of immersion when you have people running around spamming "WTB [Wang] x3!"

MMORPGs are a completely different genre and can't be placed in the same category as games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Fallout, Neverwinter Nights, Morrorwind or Oblivion.

When people talk about CRPGs, they're generally not talking WoW or EQ or anything like those, they mean the singleplayer games that are closer to pen and paper RPGs.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029428)

Aren't all games role playing games? If I'm playing Halo, I'm pretending to be Master Chief, I was pretending to be Link while playing Zelda, pretending to be the character in Fallout, etc. And, if the game is fun to play, who cares if it is "on rails" or if you can take a dump in the middle of a town if you feel like?

Seems like we kind of miss the point of these things being games, after all.

Re:WoW (1)

mozumder (178398) | about 8 years ago | (#15029499)

WoW is *not* an RPG.

LOL

MMORPGs are a completely different genre and can't be placed in the same category as games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Fallout, Neverwinter Nights, Morrorwind or Oblivion.

WoW still is the firt western RPG I've gotten into since the old ones from the 80s (not counting other Blizzard titles, which have some RPG elements). I've briefly tried some of the others you mentioned, but they lack the interaction with other people that WoW, and a table-top-RPGs, would normally have.

And, in an MMORPG, environment = other people.

Re:WoW (1)

sgant (178166) | about 8 years ago | (#15029639)

This is true...which has always bugged me about MMORPG's. I mean, I love them, but the quests "say" something but they really have no impact to the world. For instance, playing as a Horde character in the starting area...there is a quest to pick up this guys hammer or pick that he left in the cave. So you go and get it and give it back to him. Now, that hammer is picked up right? Then how could someone else just walk up, get the same quest and go and pick up the hammer again? There is no change in the world. It's all the same. With people saying the "has anyone done the hammer quest? where is it exactly? I need to pick it up".

Why can't they have more dynamic quests generations? Dynamic story generations? You'll be walking along, the computer sees you haven't been over here in a while so it generates a quest for you. "oh sir, my little boy is missing, he was playing over by that cave and he hasn't been seen since! can you find out what happened?". So you go over and then something else generates...the boy is either kidnapped or killed or just lost or something else. Maybe even extending over a long period of time that leads you all over the world!

Now come on, you know something like that is possible. A dynamic quest that only YOU have (or can share if someone you meet along the way wants to join up to help you for a while) that keeps dynamically changing as you move along. Bits and pieces along the way that actually assembles itself into a story-arc. Not something like "ok, I'm doing the marauder quest, anyone else need the lead guy before I kill him?" kind of thing.

Don't get me wrong, I think WoW and EQ and EQ2 are fun, but an MMORPG can be SO much more than the way it is now.

Re:WoW (1)

rujholla (823296) | about 8 years ago | (#15029947)

I agree that would be awesome -- but think of the nightmares that would generate if you group with someone and share the quest and then split up cause you have to log -- how pissed would you be to log back in and find that they have finished the quest for you?? Well maybe that wouldn't be so bad -- more reality after all. ~~shrug~~

Lol the more arguments I come up with to think how much of a headache this would be, the more I think its a great idea.

Another thing would be to have armor vendors / weapon vendors only have items to sell after quests to bring them components for that item have been completed, and once the items have sold the quests could be available again.

 

Re:WoW (1)

js3 (319268) | about 8 years ago | (#15030083)

too complicated. There are technical limitations to this, if you have "generated" missions, they'll start becoming very generic and boring. The alternative is haveing everyone doing the same mission. One moment marshal windor is in some jail somewhere asking me to free him, few hours later I'm trying to queue for bg and he walks in and threatens onyx. Of course I go back and he's still in jail, anyways it's just a game. One of the things that bothers me with wow is they're are too many generic, who gives a damn quests. They have absoletely no point other than doing them for experience. A few good ones like stalvan, missing diplomat, scarlet mon, onyx (I find stormwind quests are pretty interesting to do) but everything else is just blah.

Re:WoW (2, Insightful)

moexu (555075) | about 8 years ago | (#15029653)

This was probably the biggest disappointment for me about WoW. I love traditional RPGs. I started WoW as a paladin. I prefer to play a character that's bound to do the right thing, and even more so if the right thing is valued higher than the lawful thing (something like Hero's Quest as opposed to NWN where they're the same). When I started doing quests as a paladin I quickly realized that there was only one way to finish the quest. There was no right way, or evil way, or clever way, or any other way. Just get the thing and bring it back, or some variation thereof, over and over and over again.

There are plenty of things to like about WoW but roleplaying isn't one of them.

Re:WoW (1)

Jack9 (11421) | about 8 years ago | (#15029713)

I dont see any evidence of your viewpoint that WoW is not an MMORPG. I'd love to hear why you think that. I contend WoW is definitely an RPG. I contend Oblivion/Planescape/Nethack etc are not RPGs.

MMORPGs usually include a number of competitive ladders. This is native to the current genre. The fact that you can completely fill a bar (reach top level, get the best item, etc) is an indicator of a true RPG... The ladder teaches mechanics, but it ends. Once you reach the top of a ladder you are FORCED to role play. You have to explore and define what is fun for you and how you prefer to relate to other people.

In a single player game, there is no redefinition outside of the game mechanics. Reaching the end of storyline content is a variation of Dungeon Siege. If you run around your house in a cape and hat, you aren't role playing with your dog, you are crazy. Roleplaying is acting, emulating, and relating to other people.

If fun is watching a bar fill, you probably dont like RPGs. If fun is ONLY discovering how a mob fight works, you probably dont like RPGs. If you can create a personality that exists outside of your character's hairstyle and armor color...(or that's part of it), you are an RP gamer.

Re:WoW (1)

svip (678490) | about 8 years ago | (#15030054)

In some of the best RPGs you were 'just another person' - and how you play WoW is far from the only way and immersion is well possible. It may not be a 'traditional AD&D-based SSI/Black Isle RPG' but it's the most successful western hemisphere RPG ever.

And I thought... (4, Funny)

Loibisch (964797) | about 8 years ago | (#15028902)

And I thought this was about nobody making a good RPG settled in a Western environment. You know, like with six-shooters, silly hats and indians.

Yee-haw, that would be fun :)

Re:And I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029092)

And I thought this was about nobody making a good RPG settled in a Western environment. You know, like with six-shooters, silly hats and indians.

Arcanum [wikipedia.org] has revolvers. Not sure if the Chapeau of Magnetic Inversion is a silly hat or not.

Re:And I thought... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15029175)

We need to see The Dark Tower RPG...

"A lobstrosity appears! Command?"

Re:And I thought... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15029195)

Have the lobstrosity pull my trigger finger?

Re:And I thought... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15029280)

Susannah's "Wild Wheelchair" limit break
Jake can ride Oy for extra damage against unmounted foes
Roland would have to naturally be prohibited from learning 2x-strike skill

It'd be pretty interesting if you could steal/win a beam sword from the Calla Wolves boss. Would make the final boss much easier than wielding a 1/1 pencil.

Of course, the Tower itself is perfect for a 100-level bonus dungeon.

Re:And I thought... (1)

Manmademan (952354) | about 8 years ago | (#15029239)

Only if I get to play as the guy running down King in the Van. Is it possible for a book series to jump the shark? If there was one thing that REALLY turned me off to that series (after being a longtime fan) it was seeing Stephen King insert himself in the story as a plot device.

Uh-huh... (1)

Illbay (700081) | about 8 years ago | (#15029137)

Western RPGs focus on the characters, and the world around them is a tool to let the player-as-character do and see more. Eastern RPGs focus on the events unfolding around the characters, and how the characters affect the world around them.

So what you mean is, "Western RPGs focus on the characters' relating to the word by 'doing and seing more,' and Eastern RPGs focus on the world around the characters and how it is seen and is interacted with by the character."

Wouldn't it be easier to say "Western RPGs are more easily described by active-sense sentences, and Eastern RPGs by passive-sense sentences. Otherwise, they're exactly the same."

Sheesh, I thought we got away from all the groove-speak after 1980.

Re:Uh-huh... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15029277)

When I was working on Nicktoons Racing (GameBoy Advance) at Atari, my assistant and I rewrote the manual from a 12th grade reading level to a 6th grade reading level to match the target audience for the game. Boy, did we pissed off the documentation team. I got phone calls from just about everyone in management about how the QA department shouldn't be telling documentation (and, indirectly, marketing) how to write (or market) the product manual. So a 12th grade reading level manual got shipped with a kid's game. Go figure.

Re:Uh-huh... (1)

The_reformant (777653) | about 8 years ago | (#15030140)

I always thought that the biggest difference was that in Eastern RPGS all the stat numbers have 5 zeroes after them.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the relative worth of the Yen compared to western currencies.

Re:Uh-huh... (1)

Illbay (700081) | about 8 years ago | (#15030184)

I wonder if it has anything to do with the relative worth of the Yen compared to western currencies.

Gotta be.

(I wonder if Italian video game scores have SIX or SEVEN zeroes?)

Western RPGs? Cowboys? Gunslingers? (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 8 years ago | (#15029402)

Oh you mean... Western company's making rpg games... I thought we were talking about Cowboys and Indians type of role playing game.

Seriously, when I read the headline I was wondering what Oblivion had to do with Western 1800's era RPGs which I know were non-existant. Unless maybe there is a Oregon Trail mod out for oblivion? Hrm... Now that would be cool.

I prefer Polar RPGs (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 years ago | (#15029512)

In Polar RPGs, from countries like Russia, Canada, Norway, and the like, oh and Australia and South Africa, you get richer art content, more humor, and insane pop songs that richochet in your head.

Oh, and igloos and caribou.

Plus penguins. You can never have enough penguins.

Character development (4, Interesting)

Rydia (556444) | about 8 years ago | (#15029559)

The problem with both is that they each only have one or the other essential components of a real RPG- character development and self-determination.

Console (eastern is a stupid, overinclusive category) RPGs generally have a lot of the former- characters are vivid, plots are involved and very party-driven. Problems evolve with this because there's little self determination ("Whee! I get to chase sephiroth to YET ANOTHER RANDOM LOCATION!"), character development is often superficial due to the maturity of the audience ("I'm, like, totally not caring about this village I'm risking myself to save") and general lack of choices. There are some advantages! SO3 makes fantastic use of facial expressions and voice acting, for instance, because the game knows generally people's relationships, etc. SO2 lets you simply NOT TAKE annoying people along (Precis!!!).

PC RPGs (again, Western is a stupid descriptor) we get "sandboxes." The advantages are that the player has more control over his characters, more options in interaction, and more opportunity to change outcomes. The downfall is that these sorts of abstractions lead to anemic central plotlines and shallow characters.

However, these two styles are not incompatable! There is a fantastic middle ground that no one has discovered. In order to fuse the two, the game must have a large cast of characters, a strong central plot (but not be on rails), and a crapload of so-called "mini-quests," mostly character-based. When the player cannot control every aspect of his main character, at least give him the option of adding that "aspect" of that character by adding party members that conform. To facilitate this, a huge cast of optional party members allows the right level of customization. This large cast can still be used in general "main plot" development, however, by separating characters into groups (mage, scientist, cleric, etc), and write flexible (or modular) dialogue so that for purposes of the main plot, characters are interchangeable.

Next, character development/sandbox. By putting in very character-specific, optional subplots/subquests, you allow these characters to grow without hindering the main plot with too much generalization. This also streamlines the game by omitting character development for characters not used by the player, or if they just don't feel like developing that character in that direction.

All this allows you to separate characters from the central plot. Stories are generally about internal development of the cast (the modern novel concept), but often (Ulysses, for instance) the plot of the story is secondary to character development completely unrelated, on the surface, to the main action. In this way, you can have a strong but not entirely character-driven plot.

All these allow the player to go through with as much or little freedom and character development as they choose, while maintaining the "epic" story required to make the story itself fulfilling. It's a good system, and I wish people in the industry were trying to explore this area rather than simply throwing their lots in with either the entirely linear or entirely nonlinear camp.

You mean Planescape: Torment? (1)

bloodstar (866306) | about 8 years ago | (#15030118)

Planescape: Torment anyone? There was an end to the story, but ultimately, it was the journey that counted. I still play it occasionally over a week or two, simply to enjoy the effort and thought that went into the design and creation of the game.

Re:You mean Planescape: Torment? (1)

Rydia (556444) | about 8 years ago | (#15030158)

Excellent game, yes, but still not broad enough in either category to satisfy what I'm thinking of.

Hmmm.. Western, eh? (2, Funny)

BigZaphod (12942) | about 8 years ago | (#15029643)

That word brought to mind images of a massive MMORPG filled with horses, pistols, and saloons. Imagine moving up the ranks by being a better outlaw or lawman. Having your skills at drawing your gun improve accuracy and speed as you gain experience. And after a hard day of fighting bandits, you kick it in the local tavern and hook up with some bar maids... ah yeah.. good times...

Almost as good as Deus Ex! (1)

tbcpp (797625) | about 8 years ago | (#15029886)

I bought Oblivion over the weekend on a urge. I was suprised the game is totally addictive. I have to say that the only thing that Deus Ex has over it is the real world links (half of the consperiacies are real) which made it all the more immersive. But for a fantasy RPG. It rocks.


Re:Almost as good as Deus Ex! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029955)

People with sigs like yours wander around and wonder why people persecute you Christians?

Get lost, bigot.

Planescape:Torment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15029981)

What do you classify Planescape:Torment ?
Northern RPG ?

Naked elves (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#15030156)

Now that I got your attention, this is offtopic but on the subject of RPG's.

I remember a western RPG that had actually nude paperdolls of your avatar on your inventory screen. Purely for gameplay reasons of course. Not to oggle your female elves boobies.

Just can't remember the game names. I always thought it was one of the Elder Scrolls series but that don't seem to be it.

Anyone know the answer?

Oh, and to be on topic. The western RPG has died and reborn so many times they put a revolving door on its tomb.

False Dichotomy (1)

podperson (592944) | about 8 years ago | (#15030181)

The east/west dichotomy is simply wrong.

Certainly, Bethesda's earlier games fit the bill. You were a character in a completely static world, the only thing that changed was you. But that's Bethesda. (And, frankly, that's their *technology*. I think they would cheerfully make their world's dynamic if they didn't need to write the code and build the content.)

In general, game design is a struggle between richness of content and quantity of content. Ideally you want both, but practically you tend to settle for one or the other. Some "eastern" games, such as Final Fantasy VII say, try to give you the feeling of a very rich and varied setting, but in fact are "tunnels of fun" where you have very few real options at any given time. Some "western" games, such as Daggerfall, try to provide the illusion of an entire world in which you can do anything, at the cost of the entire world being essentially static and boring. It's a tradeoff.

I've played Western RPGs (e.g. many of Bioware's games) and *designed* games where the character(s) are simply part of larger events. I can't speak sweepingly of "eastern" RPGs, since I haven't played that many of them, but I suspect such sweeping generalizations are probably just as wrong there. The fact is that if something you do has some large effect (e.g. destroying a town) either you need to create the entire town before it's destroyed AND the entire town afterwards, or contrive a far more linear story where, say, you only see some parts of the town before it's destroyed and some parts after. You'll see "western" (and I suspect "eastern") games which take different approaches to this omnipresent problem.

The Final Fantasy games that I've played (VII, VIII, IX, X) are all kind of samish in their plots, but is that an "eastern" thing or just Square sticking to a successful formula?

Anyway, I'm rambling... Mod me incoherent!

What's the big difference? (2, Insightful)

svip (678490) | about 8 years ago | (#15030186)

I've played RPGs all my life. Pen & paper, computer RPGs back since the old SSI/Ultima and the early Final Fantasies games. I like 'both genres'. And I see so many closed minds when people discuss them.

Face it, there's not such a huge difference between Oblivion, Baldur's Gate and Final Fantasy. There's a big focus on character development and their stories in the Final Fantasy games. So was there in Ultima 7. But the core of the gameplay is the same. You have a quest that takes you from A to B. Along the way you can take time of to do sidequests X, Y and Z.

There's more sidequests in Oblivion, that is true. They're also tightly scripted and though you have some leeway in what you do it's far from the free choice people pretend is there.

You can assault people, empty their pockets and rob their stores. That is freedom. But what do you gain from it? Either you pay the guards/thieves' guild to erase the record and it's as if it never happened, or you keep running from the law who somehow know your face on sight - unable to continue with the main story that is there.

It's not really an opportuniy to change the story, it's just a pastime. It's far from anything revolutionary either, and it has about as much ultimate effect as if you set your characters in FF to attack eachother.

They're just games. And the AI in Oblivion sucks immensely. It's still a good game. Overhyped, which was fuelled a lot by Bethesda's bullshit (they're good at propaganda, I'll grant them that) but still a good game. Mind you, I enjoyed BG2 more and I will definitely remember BG2 longer.

Did you know Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed western made RPGs ever and using BioWare's famous engine, included a thank you note to Squaresoft for Final Fantasy in the credits?

Oblivion is not all that special and definitely not very innovative - and in places horribly designed. It's a good fun RPG though. And so are Final Fantasy, Fallout, Pools of Radiance, World of Warcraft and countless others.

has the article writer even played the game? (2, Insightful)

crossmr (957846) | about 8 years ago | (#15030187)

Oblivion has taken huge strides toward meeting fans of MMOs halfway by building A.I. that really lives alongside the player and ensuring that the actual missions are easily pursued."

I've played this a total of about 25 hours now, and I must say the answer is NO, it has not. The AI is horrible makes amateurish mistakes and isn't a stride towards anything good. I've seen countless enemies stand there and do nothing while I spend 2 minutes shooting fireballs at them. I've seen them ignore comrades being attacked from range, and get caught on crazy terrain features like stairs.

Xbox360 AI developer comments [typepad.com]

read up on this and you can see how the xbox360 gimped the AI, and since this game is a port with no real improvements being made on the PC its quite telling about how the game was put together. The AI isn't even the worse part of the game. The level-scaling is attrocious and completely removes the feeling of immersion since every enemy you face is either leveled or replaced with a more powerful version. You only get ahead of meta-gaming and power-leveling.

Is the game enjoyable? Yes it is.

Is the game everything it was reported to be and should be? No, not by a long shot.

Thief had better AI awareness 8 or so years ago. Enemies reacted appropriately to things happening around them. They only react now if you're in range. You can stand there outside their response range, which is not outside your sight range and rain holy fire down around them. Unless you hit them, they don't care. You can do the same thing in a town.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...