I've been playing a lot of JRPG's lately. Mainly because I missed the Japanese style and concept. While I was playing Final Fantasy XIII-2, it made me look back and think which series would I like to play again? Better yet, what series would I like to see make a return as next-gen.
I was first exposed to the genre through Final Fantasy VII, and from there on, anything RPG I picked up. Back in the PlayStation One and PS2 days, there were tons of JRPG's in the console, with the western RPG's dominating the PC platform. But now, JRPG's are quite rare. The market isn't what it used to be, making it a big risk for most developers. Some still continue like Square Enix with Final Fantasy, but even they are struggling to stay afloat. But not all is lost. The latest JRPG released was Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch receiving good reception all across the board. Ni No Kuni shows that there's still a market out there. With the whole industry slowly converting to the next generation, I'm hoping to see some of these JRPG series to make big return. All you can do in the end is hope really...
Breath of Fire series
This series has always been great. Breath of Fire is well known for it's recurring characters. Each game has an entirely different story, but always have the dragon shapshifting silent protagonist named Ryu and Nina, a girl with wings. The latest release for the series was Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, released in 2003. Since then, nothing new came out. Capcom has forced this great series to go on hiatus, Why? no one knows for sure. Maybe it's the now crowded RPG market making Capcom think it's a bad investment, or the lack of confidence that the series would be well received by the modern crowd today. Whatever the reason, if Capcom would stop thinking like a business for 1 second and just give a go signal for a new game, I'd buy it in a heart beat. Imagine a Breath of Fire game with Capcom's new game engine for the PS4?
A true RPG classic. Chrono Trigger is considered one of the best JRPG's of all time. Actually, some might even consider it one of the best games of all time. With its multiple endings(around 12), memorable characters, and having a two dimensional world, it left a lasting impression that was hard to shake off until now. Even some of the endings were quite shocking as a kid. Time travelling is tricky to pull off and Chrono Trigger had a story that was actually good. Chrono Trigger were the many games that embraced the ATB(Active Time Battle) system and is the game that had the exact art as Dragon Ball. There has been no new title for the series after Chrono Cross. That's 13 years Square Enix, get to it!
The one thing I haven't seen lately in current JRPGs is a lot of playable characters to choose from, and I mean a lot. That was Suikoden's trademark feature - 108 playable characters. Suikoden gave players the option to collect playable characters and I remember getting hooked because of it. Talking to every NPC I find in hopes to recruit all of them for my army. The strategic war battles is also something that I miss - A part in the game were it becomes a strategy game, with the protagonist commanding his newly formed army to go against the enemy nation. There was also base building. It had a fairly simply turn-based gameplay, but everything else made it unique. The series is still alive to this day, but now lives in hand-held devices such as the PSP and Nintendo DS.
This is probably a personal favorite. Not many knew about Jade Cocoon back in the day. I myself had no idea what it was all about, but with me addicted to anything RPG at the time, I picked it up and tried it out. After a few hours I was already a fan. It was Pokemon with a more tribal setting. Come to think of it, Ni No Kuni is somewhat similar to Jade Cocoon - having the ability to summon monsters to fight your battles. It had a sequel in 2001 on the PS2, but after that, gone. From what I know the series did not die from failure, but rather the studio Genki decided to focus on another genre, racing games. Not even sure if the company still exists.
Wild Arms 1 and 2
This series is pure nostalgia. I remember those late nights of me trying to figure out the puzzles as a kid and humming to the Wild Arms intros. The Wild Arms series lost steam quickly after the second game, making me consider that the series only have two titles(It actually has five). There's a lot going for Wild Arms - The western setting, the anime cutscenes, gameplay focused on guns, and the damn good sountrack. I'd love to see Wild Arms get a new face for next gen though, and if they can make me hum while playing, it will be worth every penny. Instead of just posting gameplay footage of the game, I'll just dump one of the game intro's below and if you get goosebumps from hearing it, you know you want the series to return in a big way.
Wild Arms 2 intro
What about you? What games would you like to see make a big return?