BioWare: Final Fantasy XIII is Not an RPG

Tom Goldman

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Aug 17, 2009
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BioWare: Final Fantasy XIII is Not an RPG



According to BioWare, a series that once defined the traditional RPG has stepped completely out of its own genre.

The divide between western and eastern RPGs has always been pretty large, but the sides have tended to keep to themselves. Not anymore, as BioWare Austin writing director Daniel Erickson has called Final Fantasy XIII [http://www.gamestop.com/Catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?product_id=76617] out on its validity as an RPG.

Taking to Strategy Informer [http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/8006/bioware-you-can-put-a-j-in-front-of-it-but-final-fantasy-13-isnt-an-rpg], Erickson said: "You can put a 'J' in front of it, but it's not an RPG. You don't make any choices, you don't create a character, you don't live your character... I don't know what those are - adventure games maybe? But they're not RPG's."

This was in response to a question about Star Wars: The Old Republic's story being a major pillar of the upcoming BioWare MMORPG, and how the lack of good gameplay to back up a story can affect a game like it may have with Final Fantasy XIII. It's definitely an interesting comment that highlights the controversy created by the latest game in a series that was traditionally meant to define what an RPG is.

It's useless to get into the debate over the definition of an RPG, but even Square Enix once told 1up [http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3178060] that Final Fantasy XIII wasn't designed using the RPG template. Final Fantasy XIII is the only Final Fantasy title that seems to be pushing away a huge segment of the hardcore audience that would have at one time supported it vehemently. I've got to agree with Erickson here, even games like Mass Effect 2, which has been criticized for losing some traditional RPG elements, feel more like RPGs lately than Final Fantasy XIII due to the choices players can make with regards to their own characters. Years ago, I doubt anyone would have predicted that Final Fantasy XIII would fall off of the RPG ladder to any extent, let alone become something that doesn't even feel like one to some players.

Via: Kotaku [http://kotaku.com/5538236/bioware-on-final-fantasy-xiii-not-an-rpg]


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Icecoldcynic

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Oct 5, 2009
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I have to admit I kind of agree. I said as much in a topic yesterday about RPG's; they have evolved far beyond the old style PnP RPG's, and now RPG can hardly be considered its own genre anymore when it has so many sub-genres.
 

Onyx Oblivion

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Sep 9, 2008
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Does it have stats and leveling as a focus in combat? Then it's an RPG.

Unless he's also saying that stuff like Diablo and MMORPGs aren't RPGs?

Besides, when the genre was named, anything with dialogue and a plot above "Eat Dots" was pretty much an RPG.
 

LiquidGrape

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I'll start taking anything BioWare has to say on their alleged definition of roleplaying seriously once they stop this asinine nonsense about Shepard being a predefined character.
Hypocrisy much?
 

Optimus Hagrid

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Tom Goldman said:
You don't make any choices, you don't create a character, you don't live your character... I don't know what those are - adventure games maybe?
No, they're RPGs, silly. You are just Role Playing the lead character. In Game format.

/does not play many RPGs
 

Jack and Calumon

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Dec 29, 2008
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Well... The trouble with Final Fantasy is, is that it is a corridor with an encounter ever few hundred yards and a cinematic every now and again. That's what everyone says.

Calumon: Don't these guys talk about these games alot?

 

Danpascooch

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Apr 16, 2009
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I wholeheartedly agree, it was a decent game, but the thing about RPG's, THEY'RE NOT FUCKING LINEAR!
 

Onyx Oblivion

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Optimus Hagrid said:
Tom Goldman said:
You don't make any choices, you don't create a character, you don't live your character... I don't know what those are - adventure games maybe?
No, they're RPGs, silly. You are just Role Playing the lead character. In Game format.

/does not play many RPGs
No. As an avid defender as JRPGs. This defense is wrong. Saying that you are playing a "pre-defined" role makes nearly every game an RPG.
 

Danpascooch

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Apr 16, 2009
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LiquidGrape said:
I'll start taking anything BioWare has to say on their alleged definition of roleplaying seriously once they stop this asinine nonsense about Shepard being a predefined character.
Hypocrisy much?
No, you can make him whatever you want, he just has a predefined LAST NAME, that's hardly the same as having a game like Final Fantasy 13, where you literally walk down straight linear paths for hours at a time, I felt like I was playing an old 2d sonic game for god's sake.
 

Deofuta

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If the game focuses upon playing a role. Then its an RPG. The combat system is regardless.
 

Danpascooch

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Onyx Oblivion said:
Does it have stats and leveling as a focus in combat? Then it's an RPG.

Unless he's also saying that stuff like Diablo and MMORPGs aren't RPGs?

Besides, when the genre was named, anything with dialogue and a plot above "Eat Dots" was pretty much an RPG.
I define RPG as a game with a high level of character customization, exploration, and sidequests that are littered throughout the game, you know, not "go kill this" quests that they throw into THE LAST 3 HOURS OF THE GAME!
 

Brad Shepard

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Im sorry, I love Bioware and all, but they need to shut up.

Square might have missed the bullseye on ff13 a bit, but its still a awesome game with a awesome story.

Dont insult your elders, if you get what i mean.
 

Fightgarr

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Dec 3, 2008
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Tom Goldman said:
It's useless to get into the debate over the definition of an RPG, but even Square Enix once told 1up [http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3178060] that Final Fantasy XIII wasn't designed using the RPG template. Final Fantasy XIII is the only Final Fantasy title that seems to be pushing away a huge segment of the hardcore audience that would have at one time supported it vehemently. I've got to agree with Erickson here, even games like Mass Effect 2, which has been criticized for losing some traditional RPG elements, feel more like RPGs lately than Final Fantasy XIII due to the choices players can make with regards to their own characters. Years ago, I doubt anyone would have predicted that Final Fantasy XIII would fall off of the RPG ladder to any extent, let alone become something that doesn't even feel like one to some players.
Here's what I don't get. You've effectively stated that Square-Enix themselves didn't design it to be an RPG, shouldn't that be the end of the debate? Why did you feel the need to make that next statement? Isn't that a sort of kick it while it's not even participating statement?
 

BrotherRool

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Oct 31, 2008
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I disagree completely because only in the most infamous FF (X-2) was choice and even character building really a focus. I can't see where this has gone off the rails.

FF's have always defined their RPGness as turn based combat, high customization of equipment, story based focus and creating a huge new world.

FFXIII does all this exactly like it's predecessors. The only real difference is a lack of towns and sidequests, which I don't feel define a JRPG but are far more valid
 

drisky

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Under the definition of "role playing", Final Fantasy hasn't really been an rpg since FF2 (you could argue that 1 was because the characters didn't have defined personalities). Final Fantasy kind of made that an rpg is something with stats and levels for years, now its just hard to call it something else.
 

TheMonkeySlayer

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Brad Shepard said:
Im sorry, I love Bioware and all, but they need to shut up.

Square might have missed the bullseye on ff13 a bit, but its still a awesome game with a awesome story.

Dont insult your elders, if you get what i mean.
So you're essentially saying that Square Enix shouldn't ever be criticized? That's ridiculous.
Anyway Bioware aren't saying that it's a bad game, just that it doesn't fit the description of an RPG.
 

LiquidGrape

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danpascooch said:
LiquidGrape said:
I'll start taking anything BioWare has to say on their alleged definition of roleplaying seriously once they stop this asinine nonsense about Shepard being a predefined character.
Hypocrisy much?
No, you can make him whatever you want, he just has a predefined LAST NAME, that's hardly the same as having a game like Final Fantasy 13, where you literally walk down straight linear paths for hours at a time, I felt like I was playing an old 2d sonic game for god's sake.
No, see; with predefined, a term coined by Ray Myzuka, BioWare mean to say that Shepard has a fundamental persona which the player is unable to affect. They've especially used that little nugget to dodge questions about the lack of same sex romances.
It's all a load of tripe anyway. They don't believe it themselves. Chris Priestly even said recently on the BioBoards that Shepard is "completely unique to each individual playthrough".
That's the hypocrisy I was referring to.
 

Gvaz

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Sep 8, 2008
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If you define a role playing game by turn based combat where you choose actions and have them play out, sure X game is an rpg.

If you want to press X and watch things play out instead of contributing more (ff13, heavy rain) then it's not an rpg, it's an interactive movie.

It doesn't help ff13's case that it's a really really bad game, but hey, FF lovers would eat shit on a plate if it had squeenix's name on it
 

Brad Shepard

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TheMonkeySlayer said:
Brad Shepard said:
Im sorry, I love Bioware and all, but they need to shut up.

Square might have missed the bullseye on ff13 a bit, but its still a awesome game with a awesome story.

Dont insult your elders, if you get what i mean.
So you're essentially saying that Square Enix shouldn't ever be criticized? That's ridiculous.
Anyway Bioware aren't saying that it's a bad game, just that it doesn't fit the description of an RPG.
im not saying that, im saying it is an RPG, like Onyx above said.