The World of Asian RPGs


Unlike many other genres, Asian RPG industry has never experienced a real crisis. Far from being the most popular genre of video games, Asian RPGs has nevertheless had a faithful player community at all times, and for this reason the production of these games has always been extraordinarily stable. Today's Asian RPG still haven't lost their appeal, and creative ideas for story, setting, and gameplay continue to find their way into the games. Asian RPGs have also left their mark on Western RPG industry. Western games like Septerra Core or Anachronox are in fact Asian RPGs by definition. "Anachronox" also successfully combines gameplay mechanics of Asian RPG with traditionally Western comedy adventure. Many of today's most interesting Western RPGs, such as Knights of the Old Republic or Jade Empire, are clearly influenced by Asian RPG's tendency to detailed plot, streamlined gameplay, and heavy characterization. We might witness the day where Asian and Western RPGs, separated for a long time, will became one genre again, taking the best elements from each other, and perhaps combining story and characterization of Asian RPGs with the free-flowing gameplay of the Western ones. With the rapid development of Chinese industry, we can also expect even more powerful RPG contributions from China in the future.

About the author: Unicorn Lynx is a fellow MobyGames contributor and approver.

Note: This article is dedicated only to Japanese and Chinese RPGs. Since Korea is widely recognized as the third most important RPG developer in Asia, some readers might ask why I omitted Korean RPGs. There are two reasons for that. First, I can neither read nor understand Korean language, therefore my knowledge of Korean games is extremely limited; second, Korean RPG industry traditionally has preference for strategy RPGs. This is an independent genre which, together with action-based and online RPGs of Asian origin, is not covered in this article.

Table of Contents: The World of Asian RPGs