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How often are big cities in jrpgs frauds?

SantaC

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They show you this panning view of a grand city, but when you get to explore it is just a few blocks that makes up maybe 1/6 of its size.

I think the best example of this is Altissa from Final Fantasy XV.




On the other hand, Rabanastre of FFXII was actually quite faithful to its size.
 
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SantaC

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100% of the time, including Rabarnaste. Do you not realize how big a city of even 300,000 or so is in real-life? It's significantly bigger than any game.
Obviously it is hard to make a grand city explorable in 1:1 scale but often it is not even close. FFXV was especially insulting.
 
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Sidesalad

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Oh man don't get me started on the scam of 'big cities' in jrpgs. I'm still upset we never got a big city in Breath of the Wild.

But you know who did big cities right? Kingdoms of Amalur. I ran around those for hours and still couldn't explore every nook and cranny. I think I need to play that game again.
 

Fictive

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All that artwork, from traditional 2D to 3D geometry, only just to be relegated as background “fodder” and discarded shortly thereafter.
 

AmuroChan

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For me, the size of the city is not as important as the interactivity of the city. Sure, a scaled down big city in a RPG is disappointing, but I feel equally disappointed when traversing around Manhattan in Spider-man and not being able to enter 99% of the buildings. I much rather have a smaller city where I can interact with everything and enter every building than a large city that's large for the sake of being large.
 

Serengrad

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Faking it is better than nothing.

San Francisco is seven square miles and that's bigger than most games whole map, even including how exaggerated the speed of basic movement is.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

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I know it's not jrpg, but I was just thinking of how small the Imperial City seems in Oblivion. (I adore Oblivion nonetheless.)
I like Oblivion too, my favorite one.

Apparently the lore says that it's supposed to have a population of around one million.
I know it's impossible to achieve that in a game, especially when every NPC has a daily routine.

But it breaks the illusion to have a capital city so small.
I assume a that a realistic sized Imperial City would probably occupy the entire in-game map of Cyrodill.
 
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synchronicity

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I like Oblivion too, my favorite one.

Apparently the lore says that it's supposed to have a population of around one million.
I know it's impossible to achieve that in a game, especially when every NPC has a daily routine.

But it breaks the illusion to have a capital city so small.
I assume a that a realistic sized Imperial City would probably occupy the entire in-game map of Cyrodill.

I try to imagine that I'm just visiting a small portion of the city to maintain the illusion/personal engagement. :messenger_winking_tongue:
 
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Alexios

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Always. A real life size city would suck for most JRPGs. Like getting lost in Morrowind's Vivec City x1000 and looking for a needle in a haystack for everything you need to do. Maybe a game some day will take place in a single city but that's boring and would still have many copy pasted areas to achieve a lifelike scale, just as in real life every neighborhood has basically all the same stores as the last and next with customers from that one part of the city that like having it near their house instead of travel. It's pointless for games so you get a vertical slice and points of relevant interest.
 
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For me, the size of the city is not as important as the interactivity of the city. Sure, a scaled down big city in a RPG is disappointing, but I feel equally disappointed when traversing around Manhattan in Spider-man and not being able to enter 99% of the buildings. I much rather have a smaller city where I can interact with everything and enter every building than a large city that's large for the sake of being large.
I really hoped this was the generation where we could enter every building we see.
 
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01011001

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I hope Nintendo allocate more budget towards Takahashi's team for the next Xeno game.


this was one of the worst cities ever in a videogame. the people and even the cars didn't have any collision box, presumably because they didn't want to implement an actual AI for them.

also the ridiculously close to the camera draw distance for stuff like giant mechs... like... fucking hell...
 

Belmonte

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I'm not sure if it is a good idea to have a 1:1 big city in a typical JRPG. You are usually moving to the next location on them, like a road trip. The way these games are structured a big city would destroy the pacing greatly. Even WRPGs need to be careful with 1:1 big cities.

The devs will need lots of quests, collectables and people to talk. Xenoblade series do that but it isn't a typical JRPG.
 

Fbh

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All of them.

Realistically though I don't know why you'd want one. If devs had to make a really big city and actually fill it with fun and engaging content there probably wouldn't be any time or budget left for the rest of the game.

You're not getting a massive city filled with compelling content and also a ton of other locations and dungeons and smaller towns , and open fields, etc.

With that said, Altissa was specially bad. Not only is it small but there really isn't much to do and the sorry sequence there is terrible.
 
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It's a weird thing to grapple with, but trying to make a completely realistic city, aside from requiring a monumental effort, has its own problems in terms making a game enjoyable. Even if you put a lot of effort into the detail of the houses and their inhabitants, each one you add is only there to serve an illusion, it's not as if all of them are important to the story. Each house that has a cupboard with some treasure makes every other house with a different treasure cupboard just a little bit less meaningful and worthwhile, since the value of any found treasure is tied to its rarity. That leaves you either going through a bunch empty houses or acquiring a bunch of worthless treasure, both of which suck.

Which isn't to diminish the original point of the op that disappointingly small cities harm the enjoyment of the player. Watching a grand cutscene before entering the capital city of an empire loses its charm when you find out there are 16 people living there. Devs need to strike the right balance, and that usually means including more than they tend to and not less, but it isn't recreating a 1:1 city, almost none of which has anything to do with you. A significant number of meaningful experiences, like interesting npcs and varied quests, alongside art that somehow gives an impression there are a lot more people and places in the city but they just aren't connected to what you're doing, is probably the best use of resources. That way more time and effort can be put into enemies, the combat system, other cities, the rest of the world, etc.

As for Rabanastre, I think it used a rail system to give the impression you were traveling through neighbourhoods to other districts, right? Not bad for the PS2's capabilities I guess.
 
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mindfreak191

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Altissa is literally the first thing that popped into my mind after reading the thread title, especially how long the intro cutscene is you start thinking "Oh boy, here it comes!", and then it's just pure nothingness lol
 
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NahaNago

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Yeah, this is one of my biggest issues with jrpgs. I would like the cities to look like what you are making them to be from a distance.
For me, the size of the city is not as important as the interactivity of the city. Sure, a scaled down big city in a RPG is disappointing, but I feel equally disappointed when traversing around Manhattan in Spider-man and not being able to enter 99% of the buildings. I much rather have a smaller city where I can interact with everything and enter every building than a large city that's large for the sake of being large.
I think this is why older jrpgs tend to become more beloved. You don't notice the shortcuts of the old games since the hardware couldn't handle bigger cities to interact with. It's why I'm left feeling like the current jrpg cities are fake.

Reduce the size of the cities and make them interesting to look at and explore like they were in the past. Make them unique and full of life and charm. Or create a city building program that allows you to randomly generate furnished buildings and npcs for a city.
 

Sidesalad

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Why though? What do you want to do in countless buildings that have no relevance to anything related to the story or game and wouldn't have anything interesting in them? What purpose would any of that serve?
Exploring towns, talking to all the citizens, and finding all the secret areas of a big city can be one of the most enjoyable parts of rpgs. Not every part of a game needs to move the narrative forward. If you make an engaging world, then just running around in it should be fun.

I would love to see living, breathing towns, with npc's controlled by AI whose behavior changes over time. Unfortunately most towns in games are like static websites from 1995. What they need to be is more like the current youtube homepage, that changes via machine learning and constantly gives you a reason to see what's new.
 
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Zenaku

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this was one of the worst cities ever in a videogame. the people and even the cars didn't have any collision box, presumably because they didn't want to implement an actual AI for them.

also the ridiculously close to the camera draw distance for stuff like giant mechs... like... fucking hell...
They lacked collision mainly because it was virtually impossible.

They needed seperate collision boxes for humans and mechs, which complicated things, and management refused to let them turn the city into it's own self contained area (loading in and out) which would've let them dedicate more resources to the city.

Xenoblade X pushed the hardware to the absolute limits, and they had to make sacrifices.
 

UnNamed

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They needed seperate collision boxes for humans and mechs, which complicated things, and management refused to let them turn the city into it's own self contained area (loading in and out) which would've let them dedicate more resources to the city.
A thing every open world game do better since Hunter on Amiga.
 

TheDreadLord

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FFXIII is probably the worst with that regard. The biggest city, if you can call it one at all, is about 3/4 corridors.
 

DGrayson

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Big cities in JRPGs give me anxiety cause it takes me forever to get the layout down and make sure i talked to everyone and explored every nook and cranny.
 
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Diddy X

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Big cities in JRPGs give me anxiety cause it takes me forever to get the layout down and make sure i talked to everyone and explored every nook and cranny.

In DQ8 most NPC said nothing of value but there was no way of knowing before talking to them, in XI that seems to be fixed, the important ones are marked with another color so you can just skip the useless ones.
 
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Sub_Level

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Rabanastre, Midgar, and Lindblum were all done pretty well.



X has a story reason for small towns. VIII is kinda all over the place.
 
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Kirazuki_01

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FFX - Bevelle

The capital of the world and huge city is not explorable at all. I remember first playing FFX and I was looking forward to seeing this but nope. You can go to the front door and that's it.
 
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RPSleon

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Oh man. The beauty and scale of that city in ff15 was one of the only things pushing me towards trying it out (after hearing about how meh most of it is) as i got it for free. Didnt realise it was one of THOSE kinda cities.
 

MOTM

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Actually playing FF12 now and was telling myself I’ve never played a jrpg where the city actually felt like a proper city. One of the worst in recent memories is DQ11.
 

bbeach123

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All the city in FF15 was pretty bad... Nothing memorable except looking good .

I can't say why but FF8 cities and area give me a lot of feeling , or atmospheric. And its all very memorable.
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

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You want to play in a big city, play GTA.

A city that big is enough for a whole game. I don’t understand why some people want to enter every single building in a RPG city. You’re not there to enter every house and explore every floor, there’s a whole game outside that city’s walls and the city is just one of many stops / sidequest containers. Xenoblade’s cities are already sprawling and teeming enough to become a chore after a while. Anything bigger and you don’t need to get outside those walls to get a 50-hour game.
 

SkylineRKR

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Altissia is the biggest fraud. Its a terrible layout with nothing to do. Bevelle was also trash, wasn't it just the bridge? FFXIII's cities are empty action stages. Midgar in FFVII R is bad as well, its all tubes and there is almost zero feeling you're in a city. Novigrad in TW3 was pretty good. For JRPG I guess the first city in Lost Odyssey is kind of big. And FFVIII did it sort of right considering the hardware. Esthar and Deling City felt rather big.
 
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