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Sakaguchi: JRPGs need to change

Should focus on feelings and detail.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Japanese role-playing games need to change if they're to reclaim their former glory, the creator of the Final Fantasy series has said.

JRPG makers should value showing feelings and detail – two aspects of role-playing games Japanese creators are good at, developer legend Hironobu Sakaguchi said in the latest Iwata Asks (translated by Andriasang).

Sakaguchi, who is boss of The Last Story developer Mistwalker, was chatting to Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata and Xenoblade director Tetsuya Takahashi about the future of the JRPG.

Iwata suggested that one of the reasons JRPGs aren't as successful outside of Japan as they used to be is because creators made "excessive use of the same patterns and conventions". Sakaguchi agreed.

All three pointed towards foreign movies, which are accepted in Japan, as evidence of entertainment that all people throughout the world can find interesting despite cultural differences.

According to Sakaguchi, the answer to this is near and JRPGs can succeed if they work towards this target. "This is one topic we game creators in Japan will have to clear going forward," said Iwata.

In 2009 Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare criticised JRPGs for failing to evolve.

"The fall of the JRPG in large part is due to a lack of evolution, a lack of progression," co-founder Greg Zeschuk said. "They kept delivering the same thing over and over. They make the dressing better, they look prettier, but it's still the same experience."

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