GDC 2007: Hope for the RPG

Recommended Videos

As many of you know, I have been less and less hopeful about the future of the story driven RPG as next gen gaming blasts into the limelight, fearful that story and characters will be left behind for cutting edge graphics. Yesterday I attended a press event with Peter Molyneaux, Ray Muzyka and Sakaguchi that made me hopeful again. Summatoid live blogged it at the event, so if you would like to read the word for word version it is up, but I’d like to hit on a few key points that I feel will be a breath of fresh air to the RPG gamer still seeking an affecting game experience.

Of the three panelists present, Peter Molyneaux was the most vocal about pushing forward to break new barriers in the genre and redefine the RPG. Fable 2 sounds highly promising through Molyneaux’s words, and although the reaction to the first game was mixed, he seems unphased and positive. It’s exciting to me to see a major face in the industry strongly supporting daring concepts such as customization of the character through evolving gameplay. More Fable 2 news will be hitting Dtoid later in the week, so keep an eye open for further details.

Ray Muzyka, the CEO and Co-Executive producer of Bioware, also had some interesting input. He mentioned the idea of combat that causes actual emotion in the player, which is a feeling I haven’t had since playing Final Fantasy 7. He also stressed that conveying emotion to the player is key, causing the player to care about the characters he/she controls and feel a drive to complete their storylines. With the upcoming Mass Effect, he says Bioware is aiming to create a non linear experience that allows the player more freedom to choose the way they engage. Also, he mentioned Bioware is working on an MMO that is aiming to combine the online universe with an emotionally engaging storyline (more like that of a classic RPG).

Sakaguchi was the least eloquent of the three, which was a surprise to me considering his wide range of experience within the Final Fantasy universe. I wonder if the language barrier (he spoke through a translator) may have affected this in some way. Regardless, he stressed his dedication to the story told in RPGs over everything else. He envisions a lot of possible growth via online connectivity and seems very motivated to move forward on that idea. Sakaguchi also referred to the idea of creating a “real life” RPG experience versus one in a fantasy setting, which caused some interesting debate. He says it woul dbe difficult to execute correctly, but has been something he has wanted to explore for many years.

Bottom line, readers? It seems to this journalist there is hope in the RPG world for adventures we can actually care about again. With people like this out there willing to push the envelope and explore the aspects of this genre that haven’t been explored, we can still hope to see (and play) in worlds we haven’t imagined yet. It excites me to think that 20 years after I started playing these games, there’s still an endless amount of possibility as to where they can go. What do you want to see happen to the RPGs of the future?

Destructoid is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy