What would it take for JRPGs to be popular in the west again? Is it even possible?

Mar 28, 2012
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#1
JRPGs relevant in the west:
Pokémon
Final Fantasy(although this series is almost sonic status right now, lives completely off of a dedicated fan base.)
Dark Souls
Kingdom hearts
(am I missing anything?)

What makes the games above popular in the west and what could others learn from them?
 
Jul 29, 2012
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#4
Aren't the designs what make them appealing to people as JRPGs to begin with though? :/

I mean just look at NIER... that game was pretty atypical of a JRPG and it sorta tanked in the West, didn't it? And honestly, FF will probably be fine post-XIV. Once XV is closer to release, it should return to business as usual. Not many people are interested in the sequels though... :/
 
Mar 28, 2012
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#10
What about localize them first ?
*cough* dragon quest *cough*

Aren't the designs what make them appealing to people as JRPGs to begin with though? :/

I mean just look at NIER... that game was pretty atypical of a JRPG and it sorta tanked in the West, didn't it? And honestly, FF will probably be fine post-XIV. Once XV is closer to release, it should return to business as usual. Not many people are interested in the sequels though... :/
Dark souls sales just fine in Japan (although it is very berserk like though, which I think is somewhat popular in Japan).
 
Aug 20, 2008
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#18
Probably not with any game that would be immediately recognizable as a JRPG.
That would be my guess.

The anime design, plots etc. are never going to be hugely popular in the US. It's just a niche thing here.

I'm not sure turn based combat will every catch on big time either, not when very interactive combat games like shooters, action games etc. are the rage.

So anything they tried to do with a JRPG to fit the western market would just lead to it not resembling a RPG.
 
Jul 29, 2012
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#21
Quit with the dumb names.

358/2 Days? WTF is that!
I think that's more of a Squeenix thing than JRPGs in general... at least the SUPER ridiculous ones since there are still some pretty weird ones from non-SE games.

And the 'easing up on the Saturday morning anime' thing is probably unlikely unless they get new character designers that don't work in those styles. Also consider that they're marketing the games to Japan first before anywhere else.
 

chaosblade

Unconfirmed Member
Jul 14, 2009
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#22
That would be my guess.

The anime design, plots etc. are never going to be hugely popular in the US. It's just a niche thing here.

I'm not sure turn based combat will every catch on big time either, not when very interactive combat games like shooters, action games etc. are the rage.

So anything they tried to do with a JRPG to fit the western market would just lead to it not resembling a RPG.
Turn-based combat and JRPGs don't inherently go together. I've actually seen complaints on GAF and elsewhere that too many JRPGs don't use turn-based systems anymore.
 
May 11, 2009
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#23
That would be my guess.

The anime design, plots etc. are never going to be hugely popular in the US. It's just a niche thing here.

I'm not sure turn based combat will every catch on big time either, not when very interactive combat games like shooters, action games etc. are the rage.

So anything they tried to do with a JRPG to fit the western market would just lead to it not resembling a RPG.
I believe turn based games can still sell, developers just need not to expect huge AAA sell numbers, or maybe port to PC where people are more open minded to these sorts of things.
 
Mar 28, 2012
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#24
That would be my guess.

The anime design, plots etc. are never going to be hugely popular in the US. It's just a niche thing here.

I'm not sure turn based combat will every catch on big time either, not when very interactive combat games like shooters, action games etc. are the rage.

So anything they tried to do with a JRPG to fit the western market would just lead to it not resembling a RPG.
Dark souls
 
May 19, 2013
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#26
Honestly, were they ever that popular? This could just be me having weird personal experiences but I only remember certain FF games and Kingdom Hearts being popular, the genre as a whole never seemed as big as certain people like to make it out to be to me.

Also, this is just from personal experience, but I knew a fair amount of people who bought certain JRPGs because they were more mainstream at the time but didn't stick with the genre because they didn't actually like what they had bought.

Outside of that I feel like luck, production values, and exposure are really the biggest things. I don't think FF7 or Skyrim are very special games personally, I just feel like they had amazing production values for their time and a lot of media coverage.
 
May 29, 2013
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#29
Well, let's look at Pokemon and Dark Souls, since those two aren't in decline like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy are. What do they do differently?

I'm not sure turn based combat will every catch on big time either, not when very interactive combat games like shooters, action games etc. are the rage.
Pokemon disagrees. It's easily the most popular JRPG series out there, and it's turn-based.
 
Aug 20, 2008
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#31
Did that really sell well in the west?

I know it has a big hardcore following online. But I assumed it was just a niche title--for more casual/mainstream gamers like me who are aware of it like me, the difficulty is a big turn off.

Fair point on pokemon in the above posts. That's kind of a unique exception though.
 
Jul 29, 2011
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#33
Tone done the anime/anime inspired designs and character tropes, have gameplay that's more enticing than turn-based/mmo variant. Aesthetically, A Realm Reborn fits the bill pretty well imo. I don't know why Yoshida's art isn't used more often.

edit: oh, forgot a big one: better use of dialogue, cutscenes and storytelling.
 
#34
Ease up on the Saturday morning anime tropes and designs.
Less moe pandering.
Better writing.
Pretty much.

I still really like a lot of JRPGs, and this obviously doesn't apply to all of them, but these are all annoyances to me.

I really dislike the "moe" trend and that stuff is pretty much not marketable here at all.

Better writing is a big one. When people don't understand what the hell is going on in your story they'll quickly lose interest.

Anime designs are totally fine and can work really well over here too (Persona, Pokemon, etc) but you've got to do good anime design if you're going to do it. Not a jrpg, but something like the art shift from the GBA Castlevanias to the DS ones is an example of a terrible, generic "anime" style.

I think the problem is more one of the really bad, nonsensical JRPGs (like Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2) are the only ones getting any real marketing pushes over here recently, and so it unfortunately ends up turning some people off to the whole genre when they see them and think that's all they are/end up disappointed by them.
 

amr

Banned
Jun 28, 2013
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#36
What kind of popularity do you want to return to?

Final Fantasy 7's success boosted the sales of other JRPGs for a few years, but other than that, JRPGs have never been huge sellers in the West.
 
Jun 2, 2007
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#38
I don't know if I can answer this question completely, but I can tell you why I used to love JRPGs and don't care about them at all anymore.

In as few words as possible: Airships.


It's not so much airships specifically, but what that means for a game. There's absolutely no exploration, mystery, or adventure in these games anymore. They are entirely too linear and on auto-play for what they are. If it was Call of Duty or something where the mechanics are actually inherently fun (and the only point of the game), that would be acceptable. But once you remove the strategy, challenge, mystery, adventure, etc. and hold my hand across a hallway...there's absolutely nothing left for a JRPG. Unless you just really like anime I guess.
 
Jan 6, 2011
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#40
I do. Just not as much as I used to because the things I mentioned bother me too much. Star ocean, FFXIII, Neptunia, Infinite Un discovery. So many shitty jrpgs came out this gen.
None of those are moe, except for Neptunia, which falls into that weird subcategory of JRPGs that doesn't represent the genre at all. And for every disappointment like FFXIII there's a stellar Last Story, Ni no Kuni, Valkyria Chronicles, Lost Odyssey, etc.
 
Mar 28, 2012
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#43
Did that really sell well in the west?

I know it has a big hardcore following online. But I assumed it was just a niche title--for more casual/mainstream gamers like me who are aware of it like me, the difficulty is a big turn off.

Fair point on pokemon in the above posts. That's kind of a unique exception though.
It sold 2.3 million world wide, I think only 350k of it was sold in Japan.
 
Oct 19, 2004
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#45
Basically, remove the obvious incompatible Japanese cultural stuff from the games.

The older games worked because the Japaneseness of them wasn't as obvious. When the fidelity got so good that they could create their imaginary anime idols and J-pop stars in all their "glory" it became off-putting. Nobody can relate to these characters in the west. Nobody wants to be these characters in the west.
 
Jul 29, 2012
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#48
Well, let's look at Pokemon and Dark Souls, since those two aren't in decline like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy are. What do they do differently?

Pokemon disagrees. It's easily the most popular JRPG series out there, and it's turn-based.
Pokemon is a different beast, I think. It helps that it's been around constantly for a decade and pretty much has a humongous fanbase that would likely never leave. I can't imagine them ever stopping production on new Pokemon games. :/

Sometimes I wonder if the people who say things like this actually play JRPGs.
They probably think everything looks like Neptunia.

I don't think you realize how little SMT sells in the west.
They probably still sell more than other non-SE RPGs...

Basically, remove the obvious incompatible Japanese cultural stuff from the games.

The older games worked because the Japaneseness of them wasn't as obvious. When the fidelity got so good that they could create their imaginary anime idols and J-pop stars in all their "glory" it became off-putting. Nobody can relate to these characters in the west. Nobody wants to be these characters in the west.
I find that a bit ridiculous since there are lots of characters in the West that no one wants to be either....
 

Est

Neo Member
Jul 3, 2013
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#49
JRPGs were never as popular in the west as some people seem to suggest, outside of Final Fantasy and Pokemon. The impression that JRPGs have fallen from relevancy seems to come from Square Enix's shitty output this gen.