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The RPG Sanctum #1: The State of the Genre

RosestormRosestorm Host of The SectorcastFull Members
edited February 2011 in Latest Updates
The RPG Sanctum #1: The State of the Genre
Notes: The first episode of The RPG Sanctum will focus on the current state of the RPG genre as a whole. Our panelists will muse about where they think the genre sits and where they think it's going.
Sub Topics: JRPGs, WRPGs, and Indie RPGs
Guests: Michael Cunningham (Macstorm), Phillip Willis (JCServant), Emanuel Merino (Risingsuntzu), David McBurney (fbm), and Special Guest Robert Boyd from Zeboyd Games
Date: Thursday January 20, 2011 9pm US Eastern Time

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The next show's topic will be what makes an RPG, please leave all of your feedback for this show here, and if you have comments for the next show's topic leave them here.
Here is the next show's info,
The RPG Sanctum #2: What Makes an RPG
Notes:
Do you know what of JRPG, WRPG, SRPG, TRPG, ARPG, CRPG, or the now infamous expression "game with RPG elements" truly means. In a debate that will bring out your inner fanboy(or girl), our panelists will duke it out in a no holds bar turn based cage match too bring you the answer.
Guests: Scott Wachter (Fowl Sorcerous), Nathan Schlothan (TwinBahamut), Andrew Long (Castomel)
Date: Tuesday February 1, 2011 9pm US Eastern Time

Notes: During the editing for this episode something happened that caused the interlude music to play twice, this is my first time editing so please be gentle with the criticism.
Deputy Editor of Gamersector.com
Check out my podcast Sectorcast, http://gamersector.com/podcast/sectorcast
A lie would be considered the truth if only more people believed it.

Comments

  • CavalierCavalier New Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Haven't listened yet as it's still downloading. You probably need to do something about the quality as the file size is a bit extreme. 320kbps is too high for a podcast (unless you're all singing, really well) :)
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2011
    First off, great first episode!

    Just a couple of nitpicks though.

    You may want to edit out the bits where Manny dropped the call. No one wants to hear that bit truthfully. It has nothing to do with the show, it's probably worth cutting it out.

    Also, holy huge file size, Batman! This thing is a monster. You may need to compress the file some more more to make it more manageable. Also, it might be a good idea to cut down on the music to about 30 seconds rather than a full 2 to 3 minutes. You don't really need that much time to make a quick transition.

    But really, the rest was pretty great. It was a very good discussion. Very insightful.
  • RosestormRosestorm Host of The Sectorcast Full Members
    edited January 2011
    I will fix the file size when I get ready to upload it to itunes, in regards to the music length, I want to get all of your feedback as to whether or not I should go with shorter pieces or whether you guys like the longer ones.
    Deputy Editor of Gamersector.com
    Check out my podcast Sectorcast, http://gamersector.com/podcast/sectorcast
    A lie would be considered the truth if only more people believed it.
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2011
    Rosestorm said:
    I will fix the file size when I get ready to upload it to itunes, in regards to the music length, I want to get all of your feedback as to whether or not I should go with shorter pieces or whether you guys like the longer ones.

    I think smaller will help your compression. Also, Rose, sweetie muffins, you've got music queuing into Phil talking during the WRPG section. You may want to fix that since Phil becomes barely audio-able.
  • RosestormRosestorm Host of The Sectorcast Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Unfortunately, I deleted the original file from my computer before I caught that, and I can't fix it, on the plus side I figured out what caused it so I will be able to avoid that in the future. I don't have the source file anymore so I can't fix that, the file size I can still fix though.
    Deputy Editor of Gamersector.com
    Check out my podcast Sectorcast, http://gamersector.com/podcast/sectorcast
    A lie would be considered the truth if only more people believed it.
  • jason_150457jason_150457 New Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Hey roy, great ep. Was a bit long though(not to mention that im typing this at 130am right after listening to the cast) I agree with the other posters about the parts that need cuts, but what was most disappointing for me was that while they guests' audio were very clear but I could barely hear you (if at all)

    keep it up! by the way, i just checked ur bio( i'm turning 21 this year too!:p)

    Ivan(disregard my nick if replying to any post of mine, it was a name i picked up bcos i thought it was cool.):)
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited January 2011
    I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but shorter transitions are always a good idea.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2011
    Nyx said:
    I think smaller will help your compression. Also, Rose, sweetie muffins, you've got music queuing into Phil talking during the WRPG section. You may want to fix that since Phil becomes barely audio-able.
    What? Me??? Barely audion-able during one of my magnificent monologues? Blasphemy I say! Blasphemy!!
  • IslandsnakeIslandsnake New Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    I enjoyed the podcast, it was pretty interesting to hear some "OGs" talk RPGS. It did run very long, I almost feel like you coulda made a episode for each section of the podcast -- though I think thats a good thing, its always better to have too much than too little.


    A few things I would try to improve/change in the future -
    -- Voice levels seemed very all over the place the entire podcast, some of the people speaking had extremely high volume or voices -- while others I could barely hear...if possible try to get everyone on the same level or turn down the louder peoples volume and so on and so forth -- I haven't worked too to much with this kinda stuff but it should be possible to get it at least a bit more consistent.
    -- If possible its good to have the guest have there mic on mute(if possible ofc) until the want to hop into the fray -- on more than one instance there was backround noise from people who weren't talking or at least it seemed so to me.
    -- Great job picking the people to do this show, everyone had a different backround and view on the subjects, and while I wish there was a bit more conflicting views than there was-- there was plenty of counter points and dicussion that sprang from the topic - which made it enjoyable.

    Either way I enjoyed it! and since there wasn't too many comments I thought id put my 2cents in :D

    Keep it up, looking forward to episode 2!:peace:
  • AzilisAzilis Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Nyx said:
    Also, Rose, sweetie muffins, you've got music queuing into Phil talking during the WRPG section. You may want to fix that since Phil becomes barely audio-able.

    Phil was audible enough that I initially thought it was intentional . . . it added some dramatic tension to Phil's "history of the western RPG" monologue. Then Rosestorm started talking with his too quiet mic, and he was almost completely drowned out by the music. His mic has been far too quiet the times he's been on RPGcast too, so there's a consistent problem across separate podcasts.

    Other than a few editing issues, pretty good initial episode so far (I listened to the first half of it today, and I'll get to the rest tomorrow). I'll be interested to see where this podcast goes with future episodes.
  • AverageJoeAverageJoe Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Hey guys, loved the first episode of Sanctum. Very cool to have a podcast talking about the genre itself, and not just picking apart games (although that is always fun too). Personally I enjoyed this podcast bc I have also been having this kind of discussion with my brother for years now. What has happened to the good old days of gaming? Why do the games now just feel...different? (it could be that I am no longer twelve years old eating frozen pizza and playing final fantasy all night) but I also think it has to do with a shift in the gaming currents. Games make so much money now that they are developed around "what will sell to the largest audience" and not "how can we create a powerful art medium." My two cents. Keep up the good work!
    Now Playing: Final Fantasy 13-2, Xenosaga 2, Wild Arms 2, Zelda Twilight Princess
  • NightfoxNightfox Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Looking forward to the next one a lot. The overuse and misuse of the term "RPG" drives me insane these days, so I'm dying to hear how it gets broken down by you guys, regardless of any outcome :) It's like one of the main topics I always mull over when working on my own game, lol.
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)
  • silktailsilktail mild peril Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Rosestorm said:
    I want to get all of your feedback as to whether or not I should go with shorter pieces or whether you guys like the longer ones.

    Longer ones would work if they are directly related to the subject being discussed. But otherwise you probably want to stick with a short bit of music.
    (People can always pause it, if they wanted more of a break.)
  • LokeSTLLokeSTL Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    IMO, the problem with the JRPG genre is that it didn't follow a natural progression this gen. On one hand, I think this has much to do with the fact that Japan has moved to developing for handhelds and mobile platforms. While the DS and mobile platforms sell in other areas, the niche JRPG crowd is still primarily a group of console gamers. So excuses are made as to why JRPGs don't "sell well anymore". Assumptions like "tired combat systems" and "cliche stories" are made. It was even mentioned in the podcast that there are "currently an abundance of JRPGs", or something to that effect. That depends on your outlook.

    Look for a moment at the fact that the majority of JRPGers were on the PS2 last gen. It is reasonable(and well known in my circles) that the bulk of these people either made the jump to the PS3 with expectations of the same treatment, or have held out to see what happens. Not only did VERY few traditional JRPGs ever end up there, but not many came to the other console formats either. Especially not to the PS3.

    What we have is a group of developers who are developing for one set of formats(Japan/handheld), and another group of gamers who are still interested in the next gen of another set of formats(NA/EU/console). Can anyone name more than a few traditional JRPGs that have come to the PS3 in NA/EU? I bet not. Some of us have finally given in and bought a 360. And now what traditional turn-based menu driven JRPGs are coming to the 360 in the future? I can't think of one.

    So what you have are people like me who love JRPGs, but don't like to play them on handhelds. People that constantly read and wait for some news on the next console JRPG that might be localized, and finding none. The closest thing would be the NISA fan service hybrids, the few "action-RPGs", and the bastardizations like FFXIII and Resonance of Fate. There is nothing wrong with those titles, they are just not what is wanted to fill the void. The closest thing that I've played this gen is Lost Odyssey. It's just too bad that much of the fanbase wasn't there to receive it. Not even me, I just got it December 2010.

    Maybe it'll never be what it was, but the JRPG genre is still much loved. It's just too bad that the developers and us oversees fans can't see eye to eye on where they should end up. Get Sakaguchi to make a traditional PS3 JRPG, or SE to make a traditional console JRPG, and you'll see the genre rise again. Until then, we'll just bicker amongst each other about the nerdy little details of what makes a great JRPG and where the genre should go. Constantly and often. We don't have much else to do while we are waiting.
  • AzilisAzilis Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Rosestorm said:
    I will fix the file size when I get ready to upload it to itunes, in regards to the music length, I want to get all of your feedback as to whether or not I should go with shorter pieces or whether you guys like the longer ones.

    Honestly, I don't see the need for intermission music at all. I listen to these podcasts for the discussions, so a break for music (especially a lengthy piece of music) doesn't appeal to me at all. If I want a break, I'll hit the pause button. I didn't understand why Chris decided to start playing music during the middle of RPGcast episodes either, but a lot of people seemed to like it, so I'm probably in the minority here.

    Regardless of whether or not you want to have music in the middle of the podcast, the intro music should definitely be short. The introductory segment of any podcast episode is pretty important to get to right away, so having a piece of music several minutes in length before the episode begins shouldn't even be considered. The way Chris uses his standard opening music for RPGcast is perfect IMO. He starts talking after 10 seconds of music, and the music gradually fades out as he continues the introduction. (The music is completely faded out after about a minute I think.)
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited January 2011
    We've talked about the music and Roy is planning to cut it down for the next episode, so no worries.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • NightfoxNightfox Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    LokeSTL said:

    What we have is a group of developers who are developing for one set of formats(Japan/handheld), and another group of gamers who are still interested in the next gen of another set of formats(NA/EU/console). Can anyone name more than a few traditional JRPGs that have come to the PS3 in NA/EU? I bet not. Some of us have finally given in and bought a 360. And now what traditional turn-based menu driven JRPGs are coming to the 360 in the future? I can't think of one.

    So what you have are people like me who love JRPGs, but don't like to play them on handhelds. People that constantly read and wait for some news on the next console JRPG that might be localized, and finding none. The closest thing would be the NISA fan service hybrids, the few "action-RPGs", and the bastardizations like FFXIII and Resonance of Fate. There is nothing wrong with those titles, they are just not what is wanted to fill the void. The closest thing that I've played this gen is Lost Odyssey. It's just too bad that much of the fanbase wasn't there to receive it. Not even me, I just got it December 2010.

    Maybe it'll never be what it was, but the JRPG genre is still much loved. It's just too bad that the developers and us oversees fans can't see eye to eye on where they should end up. Get Sakaguchi to make a traditional PS3 JRPG, or SE to make a traditional console JRPG, and you'll see the genre rise again. Until then, we'll just bicker amongst each other about the nerdy little details of what makes a great JRPG and where the genre should go. Constantly and often. We don't have much else to do while we are waiting.

    I'm holding out that Persona 5 remains turn-based and is on the PS3 or 360 (still awaiting word on platform!). I mean, even if it isn't Persona that does a turn-based console game first, it has to happen eventually. I've pretty much given up on Square-Enix delivering anything that keeps my interesting beyond the shinies these days (aside from Dragon Quest). If only Konami, Capcom, and Sony/Media.Vision would give us their respectively long overdue sequels to their turn-based games, that might solve the problem ;p
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)
  • LokeSTLLokeSTL Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Nightfox said:
    I'm holding out that Persona 5 remains turn-based and is on the PS3 or 360 (still awaiting word on platform!). I mean, even if it isn't Persona that does a turn-based console game first, it has to happen eventually. I've pretty much given up on Square-Enix delivering anything that keeps my interesting beyond the shinies these days (aside from Dragon Quest). If only Konami, Capcom, and Sony/Media.Vision would give us their respectively long overdue sequels to their turn-based games, that might solve the problem ;p

    I've all but given up on any turn-based JRPGs showing up on consoles myself. SE is just too large and arrogant. I believe that Sakaguchi still has one more game obligation to MS, but fear that he is going to move to a more action-based system like The Last Story. Here is to hoping that he makes a direct sequel or something in the realm of Lost Odyssey.

    I do still enjoy DQ, but even that series seems to be ramping up to a change. The multiplayer, bubbly cartoon art, and funny hat focus is starting to throw me off. But as long as the combat stays traditional, I can turn my head at those things for the most part. Looking forward to VI, I've had it pre-ordered since Amazon listed it. It would be nice if SE would put a collection together for a console. As I said before, I'm not a big fan of handheld gaming.

    I'd be glad to see a tradition JRPG show up on the HD consoles in any form. Whether it be a new I.P., a new addition to a classic series, or the HD remakes of classic JRPGs. Whether it's from SE, Konami, Capcom or Sony. Heck, I'd be greatful for a sequel to Enchanted Arms at this point. I just hope that those Japanese devs haven't completely forgotten about us, that's all.
  • bluemanrulebluemanrule Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Many of the technical aspects of this pilot have already been addressed so I'll touch on content. I recommend associating time limits on certain topics. It will help keep the focus.

    I agree that he psychographics of consumers is different from the days of old. Now we need shorter chapters and save anywhere structures that allow us to play a game as our schedule allows. Making a story-telling style conducive to this behavior would benefit the genre greatly. This could decrease the dominance of the portable condolences and become more accessible to all Gamers.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    I have strong opinions. Slanted they may be. Uninformed they are not.
  • CipherinthesnoWCipherinthesnoW Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Great first episode Rose, great panel, and it seemed like a well thought out cast. Yes it was very long, and kind of buggy, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I'd like to see info on the music you use, as it was fantastic.

    Thanks, and I'm looking forward to the next Episode.
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited January 2011
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • emechemech Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    I was initally questioning what the point of a new podcast, but I liked this. It adds depth to editorial while the rpgcast is more of a site commentary track. Well done.
  • moenkimoenki New Member Full Members
    edited January 2011
    I've thought for a while that a podcast involving a more varied cast of RPGamer staff talking in depth about more general topics was in order, and I'm fully behind this project.

    Some thoughts on the subject:

    - We inevitably view classic RPGs, especially from the NES, SNES, and PS1 days through rose-colored goggles, because they were a formative experience from our "younger and more vulnerable" days. Plus they were complete works of art that built on past accomplishments without copying them. Take Chrono Trigger, which will eternally go down as one of the greatest RPGs of any system, ever. It was made by the best talent from the two classic companies who were doing it from day one. Whatever it turned out to be, was going to be good. But now if a company were to make a game that had anime-inspired graphics, a story based on time travel, a spiky-haired mute lead guy and a bunch of girls and humanoids, had whimsical rousing musical score, etc ad infinitum... it's not that we premeditatedly liked those elements and would accept anything that took that mold, but they all worked together with the sheer genius that created it and it was alike but different from what we liked before from Squaresoft and Enix. I for one felt an alliegence to those guys because of their consistent quality.

    - Most of us are into video games as well, not just RPGs, and we don't need to compartmentalize our interests so much. Final Fantasy and Secret of Mana and whatnot fit in their time as much as Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Castlevania did. As they stuck out like a golden thumb as a particularly intriguing subset of video games, we've identified with their genre since then (which at the time meant about as much as Mario was an "action" game and Metroid was an "adventure" game) and built a little world around it. Now since we're so hyper-informed by the internet and the glut of JRPGs in the 2000s, it forces us to re-evaluate what we liked about the genre in the first place and where we expect the next incredible experience. But the expectation that it's going to come from retro-styling or even the kind of definition-expanding WRPGs can actually ruin the appreciation of something as simply, a video game. And companies are going to feed those streams with diminishing returns because they're simply looking to capitalize on markets. So as the "art form" does continue, we shouldn't let our past expectations ruin our appreciation of whatever is new, or what is done as a labor of love.

    - I played a little bit of Whisper of a Rose, which if it came out of the SNES would not have been a great game of say Squaresoft quality, but there was other stuff at the time which were technically RPGs and much worse (7th Saga??). Nevertheless it was made with limited resources and with a genuine love, which makes it good. Breath of Death/Cthulu Saves The World are other examples of that retro-JRPG thing happening now. These are opposed to the more immersive, expansive, and personal-choice-driven big budgets WRPGs of recent years (which I haven't played alot of but learn a about from RPGCast and this show, thank you). You know, Super Mario Galaxy was mind-bendingly amazing, but I had just as much fun playing New Super Mario Bro's!

    - Since this is rambling (I apologize), I'll wrap it up soon: Can we find the courage to admit that alot of these games were more than just the sum of their parts? Je ne sais quais-driven gameplay? This also goes into the possibility that cross-pollenation from other game genres will play a good part in keeping RPGs fresh. Look at it this way: when Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior were all you knew about video game RPGs, and Squaresoft put out Final Fantasy Adventure, which took the Zelda approach while adding stats and level building and a lot more of weapon/armor/magic choice; it was interesting and weird but made total sense and was fun without being incredibly amazing. And that is good enough.

    - Finally, since the commentators brought up liking WRPGs for having more personal choice options and open story, I'd like to put in a word for JRPGs's more linear stories. It's like reading a good book where the author felt that this was the definitive way the story would unfold. But then look at Choose Your Own Adventure books for how this can work with just as much story, but more choice. The LONE WOLF books are an excellent place to look for an RPG fan. It was like having a book instead of a portable system, but with just as much gameplay. Even had pictures, sometimes.

    - So I'm looking forward to the next podcast on what makes an RPG, and hoping that you discuss all the things it can be, rather than just defining what it is and what it's not. Thank you Rosestorm, and sorry to anyone who actually read this post.
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited February 2011
    - I played a little bit of Whisper of a Rose, which if it came out of the SNES would not have been a great game of say Squaresoft quality, but there was other stuff at the time which were technically RPGs and much worse (7th Saga??). Nevertheless it was made with limited resources and with a genuine love, which makes it good. Breath of Death/Cthulu Saves The World are other examples of that retro-JRPG thing happening now.
    Whisper of a Rose is actually a pretty great game which I could even consider of Squaresoft quality, if it had less bugs and the second half would be as good as the first half. It's quite sad that RPGs like this often get completely overlooked. If it wasn't for the Indie RPG Pow How I wouldn't have found out about it ever! There really needs to be a platform for Indie RPGs which is, unlike the forums of the corressponding RPG creation engine, for gamers. With realistic discussion how good a game is from a gamer's viewpoint and not just how well it uses the engine.

    Zeboyd's games (BoD VII and Cthulhu) are pretty retro but you can see that he goes by the principle of "plan small to achieve something". So his games will never be "epic" but they are still fun to play and for the low price ($1-$3) well worth it.
    Aphelion would another example, it plans to be more "epic" but suffers from the same problems as "Whisper of a Rose", too many bugs and several other "minor" issues that all add up.


    So talking about the state of the genre, my impression is that less and less RPGs get released for consoles. I personally don't like playing games on a handheld because of the small screen and because my neck hurts if I play them too long. Already at GBA times I connected it to my TV screen, too bad this isn't possible for the DS. So I'm stuck with console games and maybe PC games. A further limitation for me is that I prefer 2D RPGs over 3D RPGs and anime style over western style. I bought an XBox360 and a Wii for this generation, decided for XBox360 over PS3 mainly because of Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean and because many of the RPGs at that time were significantly cheaper for the XBox360 (Eternal Sonata -> $10 instead of $60). Wii mainly because I was hoping for RPGs where I can "move" just like they move ingame, with swinging swords and stuff (unfortunately it appears that the Wii controls are too bad to reflect realistic movement).
    Anyway, starting last year I noticed a strong decline in RPGs being released. In fact, there are none. Last ones were basically FFXIII and Resonance of Fate early 2010 and after that... nothing! Nothing at all. Incredibly disappointing.
    Because of my urge to really play an RPG again I started downloading indie games for XBox360 which looked like RPGs. Most were pretty horrible, but then I found Breath of Death VII/Cthulhu and Aphelion and my hopes for indie games went up. I didn't consider them as perfect for my taste but I had the feeling "Just change this and that, fix all the bugs and add this and that and it would be pretty amazing".
    Now after being sure I pretty sure I checked out all RPGs available for XBox360 (except for Bonded Realities, will buy that soon), I started looked for 2D RPG for PC, which finally made me notice this "Indie RPG Pow How", through which I found Whisper of a Rose and Deadly Sin 2, which I both bought.

    Man, I really wish the bigger companies wouldn't always release their good RPGs only for handhelds. =(

    State of the genre = horrible, but last ray of hope: Indie RPGs.
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