Apr 14, 2011 8:16 PM
Japanese Role Playing Games Vs. Western Role Playing
Each has its pros and cons. JRPGs for the most part have a more comprehensive storyline and character development due to their linearity. WRPGs have a lot more freedom and you can explore and do things on your own in any order, whereas JRPGs seem to hold your hand for the most part.
I seem to prefer JRPGs as I find their storyline and characters a lot more interesting and memorable. I notice a JRPG formula that works well for me and i stick with me. There are alot of differences.
One of the most major differences is that WRPGs want to immerse you in its universe by being yourself. It focuses more on YOU and your experience as an individual gamer or as part of a community. For example, in both Baldur's Gate and Might & Magic series, you create your own protagonist giving him/her a class and later on, customizing their appearances. WRPGs encourage you to do whatever you want. There are no strict rules governing your action; the plot line is there for you to follow whenever, though this huge freedom in games some times kills the pace of the story being told through your eyes because the majority of the game is fixed on you being able to do what you want. You don't get the same progressive plot flow that you would get in a linear jrpg game for example. This inevitably leads to a mushrooming of MMORPGs in some cases.
A JRPG wants to immerse you in its world by you slipping INTO a character's skin. Earlier JRPGs are huge about exploring the new world, but ever since FFVII, subsequent JRPGs focuses more and more on immersing in that fictional world to the point where the game is an interactive movie. You become another person and see the world through their view. Even the hugely innovative Lost Odyssey requires you to sit on Kain's shoulder and follow him around; hence, the main reason why JRPGs tend to be from the third person perspective much like anime, or reading a story fictional book.
Of course there are alot of culture differences as well, such as the use of weapons in games or how characters are portrayed in video games are most noticeably the use of art styles in creation of the world and the color pallets that they use are deffinitly different.
Of course, color. You can tell immediately where a game is made by the use of color. Western RPGs tend to be drab and dull, almost monochromatic, while Japanese RPGs are extravagantly colorful and vibrant. Whereas Western game developers strive for realism, drawing on their backgrounds of movies and TV, the Japanese developer, brought up on the ornate, bright, swirling colors of Kabuki Theatre, anime and manga, has a larger color palette from which to work.
There is no doubt that realistic-looking Western RPGs backgrounds can, and do, look breathtakingly gorgeous, but the Japanese have it in spades as their spectacular mythical landscapes seem to spring out at us and come to life before our eyes.
Another culture difference is the use of fictional Vs reality concept that is used in alot of games. Though i won't deny that wrpgs do create fictional universes. There highest aim towards creating a video game is realism. Creating a universe or world that you can actually relate to in some way, giving you the sense that even though it might be fictional, like dragon age for example. Its something that is with in the bounds of reality.
Japanese on the other hand strive for a more mystical, fantasy world, like seen in alot of anime or out of a story book. They make creative, vibrant, some times over the top unrealistic worlds that probably would only exist in ones imagination. Both genres have there own unique culture styles, but i find the jrpgs style a little more to my liking.
Freedom of movement is another area where the difference between the East and West is marked. Many Westerners like the freedom and independence that a free-range RPG provides. The story line and its accompanying side quests are secondary to the free-roaming adventure that can be had on their own. The personal freedom to go anywhere, do anything and cope with challenges as they arrive appeals to the Western mind.
The Japanese RPGer, however, likes to know what's coming next so they can lay plans, and a linear game caters to that need. The Japanese player actually feels uncomfortable with the unknown and would much rather have clearly defined goals by which to progress. If you gave a Japanese RPGer a free-roving game and told them they could do anything and go anywhere they choose, they would probably go nowhere.
Westerners, on the other hand, are excited by the challenge of the unknown. This, of course, harks back to the Japanese game developer providing a definitive gaming experience, and in this case a linear story is the backbone of the RPG which is the driving force of most jrpgs.
Any jrpg fan can tell you, there into the game because of the use of an epic story told through the use of various dialogue and or cut scenes. And the more epic and dramatic the storyline is, the further the player is transported from reality. Japanese developers make an entirely new world and invite the player into it, whereas Western developers want art to imitate life.
he market has definitely changed over the past decade and both jrpgs and wrpgs borrow concepts from each other that work pretty well.
The jrpg market on the other hand is becoming alot more niche, compared to the wrpg market which seems to be the mainstream of rpgs now a days. Jrpgs are falling in that niche category and trying to use innovation to try and change alot of things. In other words, alot of jrpgs don;'t have the traditional elements thay use to have. Square enix is one such company that is looking at the wide scope of rpgs and what caters to fans the most.
There for they are changing there concepts of how Japanese role playing games used to be. There adding alot more freedom, action based type of game play and there stories are becoming more of a 2nd nature and not the main driving force of the market. Sadly alot of jrpg fans that love the traditional story telling like tales for example are kind of sad to see how the gaming industry in this market is changing. Well other western audiences appreciate the change.
In terms of epic story lines and progressive plot flow through the use of cut scenes and CG. Some companies like bio ware especially have really proven the fact that even though its a western game, they can still deliver one of the most stunning character driven and epic story line. Dragon age is one such game that i thoroughly enjoyed. Not to many western rpgs have the same amount of deep character driven story line, cause like i said, most western games like to tell things from a first perspective, dragon age on the other uses a third perspective way of telling a story. But it also gives you the feeling that your a character in a role playing the game, so it actually uses both methods from the jrpg and wrp standpoint to really create a masterpiece.
This is something that mostly changed over the past few years though. In the past western rpgs were alot more about sand box and freedom, story was not the center of attention. Like i said before western developers want art to intimate life. They really focused on the worlds created and giving you the first person view of how the story unfolds. other game like mass effect and DA:0 Kind of use both elements from both genres which i really appreciated in mass effect and DA:O. Something completely different then the fallout or elder scrolls series.
Posted by link9us | Apr 14, 2011 8:16 PM | 3 comments
link9us | Aug 20, 2011 10:16 AMYeah i wrote this a while ago. I know this kind of discussion is huge on debating. Bit this is my personal view on how both genre's differ. I wouldn't dare make this topic of discussion though cause it would just cause a flame war. So i just blogged it instead.
xshadowscreamx | Jul 5, 2011 1:46 AMi mised many jrpgs when i was young becouse i diddent know much about them or had the right friends to show me. but wil make make up fot it with kingdom under fire or whatever its called that my friend will let me borrow and divinity 2. yes i have never played final fantasy 7. only a demo of 10..i am sad....but i have played my fair share of wrpgs. skyrim will take my life away.lol.
xshadowscreamx | Jul 5, 2011 1:36 AMi will read the rest when im on a pc. not on a damn touchphone.lol.talk about an eye test.