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When it comes to video games, what makes a game an RPG? Is it the genre it falls into? The story? The characters? The combat system? The magic? The quests? The exploration?
It’s a hard question, and one that all gamers have asked themselves at one point or another: At what point does a video game have enough RPG elements to become an RPG? The definitive line between a video game and an RPG is blurry. One thing is for certain: A role-playing game is not a role-playing game unless the player has role to play. (In other words, if the player plays a character rather than playing from the first person perspective of a character, it is not an RPG.) But beyond that, the line blurs. The reason for this is that as technology advances, more and more games add more and more RPG elements to offer a game that’s more immersive—and more
I ask this question because no one seems to have a clear answer to this question. TV Tropes States Role-playing games (RPGs for short) are a genre of video games in which the player controls a character or group of characters in a statistical abstract. Most are based on one or more quests, items, stats, character customization and experience points that increase the power of the character over time. (1)
TV Tropes also gives examples of types of role-playing games:
– In Western role-playing games (WRPGs), the emphasis is often on more character customization and free exploration. Player characters generally have no predetermined identity, allowing the player to define their own character through interactive dialogue. Western RPGs traditionally resemble turn-based tabletop role-playing games, and many also incorporate elements of tactical wargames, but many modern examples use real-time combat and emphasize tactical control on the player’s side, often delegated to AI. Western role-playing games come in three main types, but there are also hybrids.
- Dungeon Crawlers focuses on battles, loot and money, with no interest in story or world exploration. The first Western RPGs fit this bill, codified by Wizardry and the first Ultima. Conceptually, it’s akin to Rogue and the genre that evolved from it (see below). This subgenre fell into disuse in the 90s, and only the Diablo series and its many clones continue the traditions.
- Sandbox RPGs were codified by the aforementioned Ultima series, starting with volume 4. This subgenre focuses on free exploration, character customization, and interactivity with the environment. The king of these is the Elder Scrolls series, although a growing number of games in the sandbox genre with RPG elements threaten to blur the distinction between the two categories (old-school purists dispute this), that a role-playing game in the sandbox genre focuses on modeling the world and allowing the player character to interact with it in a systematic way, although by this definition the genre is probably already extinct given the evolution of its franchises, of which the more narrowly focused Immersive Sims are its close cousins).
- Narrative role-playing games are the most recent sub-genre, codified by Planescape in the late 1990s: Torment and the Baldur’s Gate series, which focus on the story aspects. These games usually have interesting characters and a compelling story, and in this they are often compared to modern Eastern role-playing games, although they generally offer more choices (both in terms of gameplay and story) than their Eastern counterparts. Recent examples in this category include the Mass Effect series, The Witcher and Dragon Age.
- Oriental Role Playing Games (EPG): The first Wizardry-inspired Eastern RPGs, like their Western counterparts, focused on destroying monsters and collecting loot, with turn-based battles borrowed from Dungeons and Dragons and generally a very simple plot. Early Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and Megami Tensei games are examples of this. If that doesn’t sound quite right, it’s because this subgenre didn’t last long, as it quickly evolved into
- Light RPGs often focus on a cinematic story and memorable characters, with usually, but not always, more linear gameplay and less direct editing than western RPGs. Light RPGs generally have similarities to visual novels, feature films, anime, manga or light novels. Until recently, most of these games were published in Japan, which is why they were called JRPGs. A good distinction is that a WRPG will generally have some degree of character customization, whereas a light RPG will likely have a certain player character that may have some degree of customization, such as skills and equipment/clothing, but his personality and appearance will always be the same. Light role-playing games usually use a turn-based or pseudo-round system where the player enters actions separately for each character on the team each turn, although some recent examples use full real-time combat systems, although these still focus heavily on tactical use of skills, positioning, weaknesses and the like, rather than frenetic reflexes. The Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Pokémon series are examples of this subgenre.
- Action-RPGs (ARPGs) are an amorphous collection of game styles united primarily by the presence of real-time combat, but they are nonetheless still role-playing games (as opposed to action games with RPG elements, though the distinction between the two is rarely clear). In the context of Eastern RPGs, the ARPG is a distinct subgenre defined by its opposition to the turn-based, menu-driven combat of traditional ERPGs, while in the Western tradition it is more of a genre modifier (see Video Game Genres), where real-time combat can be introduced in any of the three aforementioned variants. The most common categories of western ARPGs are Diablo clones, Deus Ex-like FPS/RPG hybrids, and hack and slash/RPG hybrids like Dark Souls.
- Souls Like RPG refers to a very specific setup that focuses on stamina management and dodging, as well as paying attention to your opponent’s reactions to avoid incredibly hard hits. As the name suggests, the Dark Souls series has made the genre popular.
- Tactical role-playing games are akin to light role-playing games, but they focus on moving through a grid-like system and often use abilities that allow you to hit multiple enemies at once or fight from a distance. While there are Western RPGs with tactical combat similar to wargames, the tactical RPG subgenre differs from other RPGs in that it is very similar to strategy games, but with RPG elements. TV Tropes associates this type of game with turn-based strategy, as the two genres are very similar. However, later examples of oriental tactical role-playing games also included elements of real-time strategy. (Tactical RPGs are generally easy to distinguish from strategy games, however, because real-time, turn-based strategy games generally have an open-ended plot and focus on conquering territories, while tactical RPGs generally have an overarching plot characteristic of light role-playing games.)
- Another subset are strategic role-playing games (SRPGs), which are generally real-time strategy games or tabletop role-playing games. This distinction differentiates between games built on a grid system with standard RPG characters (with skills, lots of attack options, etc.) and games built on a grid system but whose characters are more like units (they usually only have basic attacks, no equipment, etc.) A good comparison would be Final Fantasy Tactics to the Fire Emblem series. The first is a tactical role-playing game and the second a strategic role-playing game.
- Roguelikes takes its name from the graphic game Rogue, which was released in ASCII format in the early 1980s. They are determined by a combination of randomly generated worlds and permatod, meaning that every time your character dies, you have to start over in a different set of levels. Also, the emphasis is more on the complex gameplay of the Nintendo Hard than on the story. The player may only make practical decisions, but no decisions that affect the inner life of the protagonist(s).
- Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) can belong to any of these genres, although they are usually a fusion of action and western role-playing games (as the trope-maker Ultima Online was born out of a series of western role-playing games). They also have their own elements, mostly focused on big boss fights called raids and player interaction, but also on more boring tasks like pulling out 20 bears. (1)
According to the RPG Elements TV Tropes page: …your character gains experience and levels as if you were . Instead of a simple skill test where the only thing that makes the game easier or harder is your skill as a player, your control over the player character has been abstracted so that you can tailor it to your needs. Often their skills improve with practice or training. Maybe there’s a class system or some kind of skill matching system. (2)
In addition, the site offers examples of popular role-playing game elements:
– Experience points and character levels – Character classes or position system – Skill points and perks – Equipable skills and upgradeable attacks – Equipment-based progression – Standard condition effects and status buffs – Karma counters and associated moral choices – Relational values and alliance counters (2)
It reminds me of the games I’ve seen and played.
Many feel that Fallout 4 is not a role-playing game because it lacks the deep character customization that the previous Fallout games did offer, among other problems such as a lack of meaningful narrative choices, poor writing, and railroading.
Additionally, the developers of Breath of the Wild consider their titular game to be an open-world RPG, but many players don’t consider it as such because there is no character progression based on stats and levels. (3)
So when can we say, without any doubt and justifiably, that a video game is really a role-playing game?
Source: Original link
- An RPG game for non-RPG players
I’ve never liked RPG (or MMO) games because I can easily become overwhelmed by the deep items, factions, and skill tree systems, but I did manage to finish Fallout 3 and most recently The Outer Worlds (I’ll keep calling those two games from now on). Then I started to think about why I was interested in …..
- I don’t think FF7R is a good action RPG.
TLDR below If you had asked me when I started this game, I would have said that he was, without a doubt, but the more time I spent with him, the more I began to realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth. If there was a spectrum between roleplaying and action games…. ….
- What other video game companies should learn from this game.
Hello, I am Game Designer at Xamã Entertainment, and here is my opinion on what makes Frostpunk a good game, then an excellent game, and maybe even a masterpiece of the survival RTS genre. One word. Atmosphere! 11Bit has done an incredible job of weaving the game mechanics into the atmosphere of the game……
Post At what point does a video game have enough RPG elements to become an RPG?
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This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about what games are considered rpg and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What qualifies a game as RPG?
The term role-playing game (RPG) dates back to the early 1970s, although the idea of playing pretend games goes back to the beginning of human time. What we call role-playing games are games where players take on roles and make decisions. While this description fits most video games, including the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG, it doesn’t account for many online games. MMORPGs are games like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars where the players make decisions, but are not pretending to be characters within a game. A Role-Playing Game (RPG) is a genre of video game where the player controls a protagonist (or several) in a fictional setting, usually one of many possible worlds, and taking on the role of that character. The player controls the actions of the protagonist, often in the form of two or more separate units as the narrative progresses. (The most well-known type of RPG is the Japanese RPG, or JRPG. There are also many popular Western RPGs, including the Fallout series and the Baldur’s Gate series.) The player is often presented with a variety of side quests, and may have the option to choose their character’s skills, abilities, and alignment.
Why does every game have RPG elements?
It’s no secret that almost every game in the industry these days has a RPG element to it, but what exactly is an RPG? Most think of a game such as World of Warcraft, but does WoW really fit the description? Well, if you look at the definition of RPG, then yes, WoW is an RPG. But what does that mean? An RPG is a Role Playing Game, which is a game where you take control of a character and live their life through their eyes. The first RPG is turning 80 this year and video game developers are celebrating by shoving RPG elements into every game they can. (It seems everybody is in a rush to give themselves the same birthday as Tolkien.) The term RPG is short for “role-playing game” and is a genre of game that involves the player controlling a character in the game (either an existing character or one created by the player) that interacts with the game world, and other characters in the game world. (The RPG genre has nothing to do with tabletop or live-action role-playing games, although those can rely on RPG elements to make them fun.)
What makes a good RPG video game?
Role-playing games (RPGs) have been around for a long time. In fact, the genre is older than most video games. The first RPG was created in the 1960s, and it was played by rolling physical dice and moving physical pieces of paper, no computer screens involved. While RPGs have become more sophisticated over the years, turning the genre into one of the most popular video game genres, many gamers still play old-school RPGs. The question is, what makes a good RPG video game? Role-playing games have been around for decades in one form or another, but it wasn’t until the release of Dungeon & Dragons and its subsequent popularity that we got the first “role-playing” games as we know them today. Since then, RPGs have evolved in many different ways, but one thing that has remained constant is that a good RPG should make you feel like you’re really in another world .
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