Role Playing Games (RPGs)
RPGs have been around since the beginning of gaming. It's the idea of playing a character or group of characters that have a role in a story and progress through the game like a movie. Depending on how the game is built, most typical RPGs involve leveling up and getting more powerful. As each game goes on you encounter enemies, new allies, equipment, attacks and spells, and tools to get you to the end so you can beat it. The genre has grown a lot since the early RPG days so we now have action RPGs like the Legend of Zelda and MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) like World of Warcraft. However you choose to play an RPG and which game you play, the foundational building blocks of this genre remain the same; build it right and focus on what's important.
Whether you are playing an MMORPG or a traditional hack and slash RPG, the storyline aspect of any game remains the same. If you have a story that really lacks in depth and conviction and the player Credit: kotaku.comdoesn't get involved with it then the game won't be very successful. The reason is because everyone loves a good story and if the storyline isn't compelling and interesting then gamers will largely ignore it or feel unfulfilled. These days it isn't as huge of a deal since many players want to play online with friends, but there are still a huge majority of people that have that traditional mindset of playing an RPG with a good storyline. If an RPG wants to prove successful and have a fighting chance then it will have to have a really good absorbing storyline to pull the players in and keep them involved.
Most RPG games have some kind of battle system and this is important foCredit: Wikimedia Commonsr keeping the player engaged and interested. Most players like having a good storyline but the battles and fights are the reason they buy these games in the first place. It's important to make the transition into battle smooth and seamless. Learn from the industry and find out what people like, what's popular, and where people are going with their interests. Create a battle system that offers something unique so players will talk about it and flock to it; don't rehash the same old thing. Keep the battle system fun and intense and players will continue to enjoy hours of entertainment which will drive up the success of the game.
Music is an extremely important aspect of any RPG. Some games that weren't even that great succeeded well because of the music. It's something that hits us at our core when we hear a great tune or arrangement and if there are some great soundtracks in an RPG people will remember Credit: Wikimedia Commonsthem for years to come. Finding a good composer that knows how to make good soundtracks for video games is important. Budgets for music in video games has skyrocketed in the past decade because the industry recognizes the power of good music. In addition to great music, the sound effects must also be good and clear. There's nothing more satisfying than hearing your character swing his sword and hear a solid slice sound through an enemy or object. My personal favorite is hearing a really well made explosion sound effect that rips through my surround sound speakers.
This one is complicated to touch on due to the way the industry has moved. The RPG realm today is largely online even if you play one that is only single player because if tCredit: www.slashgear.comhe game can connect online the player can download content to enhance the game. If the decision is made to make an RPG and not use the new online capabilities then there better be extensive testing done for bugs and adequate content since once it's released that's it. Having additional content and updates constantly adds flavor to a game that can otherwise get dull quickly. Knowing there's a new level or line of equipment waiting for the player when they update is exciting and the reason many people play RPGs. The point is whether the RPG is online or not, good content is a must. There must be a lot of levels, equipment, characters, and storyline to keep the player engaged for hours on end or else they will feel cheated out of their money.
What NOT to do
So here are the keys to laying a solid foundation for a good RPG. Over the many years of my RPG experiences there are quite a number of things I've noticed companies doing that have lessened my experience and left me with questions. Without further or due, here's some things NOT to do when making an RPG.
1. Focus on animation and effects - There are so many RPGs out there that look absolutely breathtaking and amazing, but the game play and content is complete garbage. If I wanted to look at great graphics and experience fantastic visual effects I would watch a movie not play a game. The content and game play is important and many companies have missed out thinking the graphics are the most important. There's a reason why games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy Tactcs are still played today and I can tell you for sure that graphics are not at the top.
2. Forcing players to buy a strategy guide - You know those games, the ones where you have to have a strategy guide, a website , and GameFAQs all up in order to play the game and get somewhere (I'm looking at your Final Fantasy 9). Seriously RPGs that don't offer their players help or guidance at all is incredibly frustrating. It's understandable to need a book or guide if you want to find everything the game has to offer, but I'm talking right down to basics like getting through a dungeon or cave. There are a number of games I can list off the top of my head where I wanted to play them but I knew the puzzles and level designs that awaited me and deterred me from even popping it into my system. RPGs today need to have a sense of guidance and ease in navigating the basics of the game so a guide and website aren't needed to get anywhere.
3. Creating annoying characters - RPG makers today are started to experienCredit: Wikimedia Commonsce this weird phenomenon in their head that the more annoying and strange they can make their characters the better. We don't need guys with crazy girly hair and deadbeat personalities being the main character, with girl counterparts that have huge boobs and a personality that reminds me of a blank flash drive. If you want to have a good RPG make characters that are unique but interesting for the player to experience. Make the player want to know more about them, not how to kill them off as quickly as possible because they are irritating.
There you have it; the basic building blocks of a great RPG. I've listed many things to do and NOT to do, and with these things in mind I believe that future RPGs can only get better. I'm hopeful for the next Final Fantasy 7 to hit the stores that will sweep the RPG genre off to another great direction, but so far today I'm starting to think my hope is in vain. Here's to seeing the genre take off again with what's really important.