It might be time to cast a Raise spell on JRPGs
There was a time when Square Enix was pulling in a few million in lifetime sales with Final Fantasy. For the past year or so, the Final Fantasy name hasn’t been garnering that much clout what with the lukewarm reception of Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels. In fact, the recent Final Fantasy XIII-2 only garnered a lifetime sales of 860,514 units in Japan compared to the past titles which usually sell about 2 million at the least.
This begs the question on whether the single-player JRPGs, a genre of RPGs that focuses more on narrative and a fixed story structure -a contrast to a Western RPG’s reliance on power fantasy and expression of self- are still relevant in this day and age. Yes, even with promises of a fifteenth Final Fantasy and a third Kingdom Hearts able to blow gamers’ socks off according to the game’s producers, it’s hard to tell if the same kind of excitement for a single-player JRPG in these past few years can match the levels of hype back in the late 90s and early 2000s.
To gauge if the genre still garners interest outside of Japan, we take a look at three prominent franchises that have branched out in English form in recent years.