In 2019, in a conversation with Retronauts, inXile founder Brian Fargo talked about what Interplay hoped to achieve when producing the classic role-playing game “The Bard’s Tale”.
“We are trying to create an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are in the game…in our own original way.” Fargo said, “You start in a bar, walk outside, and have to touch Entering the dungeon, you will feel like living in another world.”
Like many game developers of that era, Fargo has played Dungeons and Dragons since he was a child, eager to transplant the fun of board games into video games. In an interview with Retronauts, Fargo also said that if there are not enough people playing Dungeons and Dragons, he and his friends often get together to play Wizardry. “It has great rules and traps, but it doesn’t have the same degree of freedom. (The experience) is linear…but it’s so fun to play.”
As early as the 1980s, developers such as Fargo, Michael Cranford, and Richard Garrett tried to build a huge world, design complex dialogues and moral systems, and challenge people’s perception of games. Today, technology is enough for these developers to realize their wild imagination, but the RPG category is still developing in other ways. “Elysium Disco”, “Longyu 7” and a number of high-quality independent games provide players with a wealth of Role-playing experience.
In a sense, if you want to understand modern games, you have to understand RPG first.
In recent years, RPG games have ushered in a renaissance, with outstanding new titles coming out almost every year. This type of game also has a huge ability to attract money, which is one of the main reasons why Microsoft is willing to buy Bethesda for $7.5 billion. As the creative director of B agency, Todd Howard said when talking about the acquisition: “I completely underestimated the impact of the entire gaming community, and the players’ reaction made me happy. Like us, many people think this is A good thing.”
The “Radiation” and “The Elder Scrolls” series were born in the silver age of RPG. At that time, European and American studios such as BioWare and Kuroshima, and Asian studios such as Square and Enix were busy defining modern RPG. “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim”, “Dragon Age: Origins” and “Fallout: New Vegas” and other works bring fascinating possibilities, but after the turn of the century, RPG (especially RPG on the PC platform) experienced An identity crisis.
BioWare shifted its development focus to the host platform, and established studios such as Interplay closed down. It is difficult for the development team to impress publishers with RPG game plans. “I remember that when developing Fallout 3, we turned to 3D graphics, but we still adopted an isometric perspective. The publisher asked us why we didn’t fully adopt 3D graphics.” Obsidian designer Josh Sawyer once revealed in an interview , “The publisher’s mindset has shifted from making isometric perspective games to 3D games. For a long time, the old RPG completely lost its vitality.”
The first generation of “Mass Effect” is a very representative work. The development team borrowed some design methods from RPGs in the 90s, but it seemed embarrassing. Company B also abandoned the esoteric elements of RPG games on the grounds of improving the user experience… Obsidian Entertainment inherited the spirit of Kuroshima Studio and continued to produce deep RPGs, but suffered from lack of resources.
It wasn’t until after 2010 that with the great success of action RPGs such as “Dark Souls”, RPG gradually found a balance between ideal and reality. Crowdfunding, digital distribution, development technology and tools are all driving RPG forward, and the anchors have also made “Undertale” and other niche RPGs more popular with players. At the same time, excellent works such as “Divinity: Original Sin”, “Final Fantasy” and “Dragon Quest” have been successful on both PC and console platforms, which makes publishers more confident in RPG.
Whether in the European, American or Asian markets, whether the landing platform is a console or a PC, RPG games always have one thing in common: they use values, systems, and narratives to let players find their own stories, and cultivate a sense of participation by players, thus forming a community. group.
In today’s world where people have countless ways of entertainment, many developers realize that games that have attracted the attention of players for a long time are most likely to succeed-and this is precisely what RPG has done best in the past 40 years. Perhaps it is for this reason that Ubisoft has turned “Assassin’s Creed” into an open world RPG series…
Similar to the ancient games of the 1980s, modern RPGs still regard stimulating the imagination of players and providing them with unlimited possibilities as their goal. Over time, I believe that RPG will continue to play an important role in the gaming industry. What do you say?