As a genre, RPGs are something that I find very enjoyable. Along with being the main source of nostalgia for me, the genre tends to attract a lot of elements in games that I find fun. Interesting characters, fun gameplay loops, a nice mix of the old and new, and reasonable amounts of grinding. Not to mention, the RPG genre tends to attract anime-inspired artists, which is a style I enjoy as well.
But as much as I love the RPG genre, there are times that I do spend wishing that we got something new. I do love me some Pokémon and Dragon Quest just like everyone else. They are tried and true RPGs that will probably remain constants for decades to come. And even if you’re not one of the big RPG franchises, having those familiar systems will at least draw in those fans.
But as a fan of niche games, I always wish for something different. Something…more. Every once and a while, a different sort of RPG release captures my interest, and the past few years have found us getting more of these games, big and small. It gets me thinking about what kinds of games would I love to see really experimented with. So without further delay, let’s go over RPG sub-genres that I’d love to see more of!
With the often recommended Golf Story, the recent releases of Dodgeball Academia and Mario Golf Super Rush, and the future release of Sports Story, sports RPGs have been getting a healthy stream of games in the last few years. But I want more. More games, more sports, more extensive storylines, and more characters. We always see the constants of baseball, soccer, golf, and football. What about gymnastics? Volleyball? Cycling? Ice Skating? Of course, there are the logistics of trying to figure out how to make those sports fun to play, but I still think it’s a fun thought to think about.
It doesn’t even have to take place in a school setting, although that would probably be the easiest to build a plot around. What about having a ragtag team of office workers who just want some excitement in their life, so they decide to make a work rugby league? Or a group of preschoolers deciding to get into an intense session of imagination hockey? The possibilities are endless and honestly, the wackier, the better. Give us those powerups. Give us those magical girl-Esque transformations. And you can’t forget the finishing moves that, when thinking about it too deeply, would actually result in the end of the human race as we know it.
Now, when I mention card RPGs, I’m not talking about RPGs where you select cards to enact movement or attacks. I am specifically talking about games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering, or Shadowverse. Where you can control a character and interact with others in the world, battling and leveling yourself up to get better cards and more money. And the more cards, the better. Let me make my crazy decks. Of course, you’ll want online functionality with these games to keep the community alive, but you also have to make sure the single-player experience is just as rewarding. Some of us don’t want to be steamrolled by mill decks, after all.
This is another genre that I would love to see really push the envelope with its storytelling. Most card RPGs revolve around school kids. What about a group of old people who meet up for cards every Friday night? Angels that are tired of guard duty and have been watching the humans play cards, so they want to get in on the action? I could truly go on all day.
Now, this is a genre that truly hasn’t been explored to its full potential. There are games like Crypt of the NecroDancerand Taiko no Tatsujin that have dabbled in the genre already. But typically, rhythm games tend to stay in their lane. And it’s really a shame since a lot of RPG soundtracks are actually really great and may have great beatmaps. The only issue comes down to timing. Nothing ruins a rhythm game faster than based timing. That’s probably a big reason why this genre isn’t really experimented with a lot. There is also probably the fact that these games would just turn into rhythm games with RPG elements rather than RPGs with rhythm elements.
Another concern would probably be how to differentiate between different characters. While Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure attempted to do this with each character having their own abilities and attack values, there was little value in experimenting with units. A game in this genre would need to build up not just its music, but also its cast and world to truly make it worth playing and experimenting with.
Where’re the Wacky Ideas?
When it comes down to it, it’s easy for me to sit here and scream about what types of games I want to see more of. After all, I’m not the one developing games. It can be hard to develop games. Not just from the actual development process, but also publishing and marketing as well. Sure, you could try experimenting with your games and doing something completely out of left field. But why do that when you can take the safe option and will at least give you more of a chance to recoup costs?
Nonetheless, it’s fun to think about different types of games. We are seeing more and more genres mixing together. More indie developers are popping up looking to capture the same joy they felt as a kid. It’s truly a great time to play video games. But what genres would you love to see explored more in RPGs? Or just in general? Is there a combination that hasn’t been done yet that you’re just dying to see?
Kierra has a huge love for handhelds, especially of the Nintendo variety. She’s a huge fan of SRPGs, JRPGs, visual novels, simulation games, and (almost) anything anime. When she’s not playing games, she’s procrastinating with her cosplays or wondering whether she really needs to buy another Yu-Gi-Oh figure.