Role Play Games are some of the most heavily played in the world. They attract a loyal following thanks to their in-depth design, customisation and longevity. RPGs have an extremely long life cycle. Successful console RPGs, such as the Final Fantasy series, have gone down in as some of the greats in video game history.
But what makes these games so enjoyable?
The sense of progression that they offer is immense as you get to take your character from zero to hero. In many ways, the entire RPG experience is built around luck, chance and gambling.
The Borderlands series has been a massive success, with a great deal of its charm being down to the randomly generated rewards, content and enemies that are placed within its expansive world.
It wasn’t the first successful game to do this, by any means, but it is perhaps the most well-known, successful game that brought it to a mass audience on such a large scale. It’s true that it obviously borrowed RPG elements from more established games, such as World of Warcraft, but it managed to roll out these elements across the previous generation of consoles to rave reviews.
Developers know well-crafted RPGs sell well
2K Games, the developer of the Borderlands series, have a rich roster of deep and complex games, including the popular Sid Meirs’ Civilisation collection, with its engrossing tactical gameplay, as well as the wildly successful Bioshock series, which merged the worlds of videogames and cinema into something totally compelling.
Another publisher that has done extremely well within the RPG genre is Square Enix. The Japanese giants have grown the brand from humble beginnings on the Nintendo Entertainment System (way back in 1987!) into one of the most successful videogame series of all time.
Players keep returning, time and time again, to these games, partly due to high quality of storytelling within the games, but also because of the escapism they offer.
Virtual gambling has become a common mini game within leading games, from Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto (who were both developed by Rockstar games, who are famed for including mini games and hidden content within their productions), to established RPGs like Dragon Quest.
This allows players to indulge in a vice that they would perhaps never do in real life, without any risk or consequence. It’s also a great way to speed up the process of players being able to buy the weapon or piece of gear that they’ve had their eye on, without having to venture the main campaign or story of the game.
After all, swathes of people in real life try to beat the bookies by betting on horse racing, football, basketball, hockey, the result of reality TV shows – you name it, people bet on it – so it makes sense that this feature is now a mainstay within the highest profile releases.
If it’s not included first time round, it could be on the second
The internet has been abuzz with speculation over the past few months. It has long been thought that an update to introduce a playable casino into Grand Theft Auto 5 is on the cards – but it’s yet to see the light of day.
The omission of this element from GTA5 is one that Rockstar has been criticised over, especially as it was a popular feature in previous GTA games.
If Rockstar are considering introducing the feature in some DLC, then it further shows that gambling is an element of expansive, open-ended games that fans demand. Details still haven’t been confirmed either way, but given the developer’s previous track record, it is highly likely.
A similar vein is seen within popular PC RPG games where, if not included originally, casino games and mini-games of luck and chance are frequently included by either user mods or developer authorised DLC.
XP is a form of currency
XP (and its variants) is the standard points system used to level up in RPG games. In many a sense, this acts as virtual currency that rewards risk and chance throughout the game. Every time you enter into combat or venture into unexplored territory, you are taking a gamble. Sometimes it pays off and you are able to reap the rewards, and other times, you leave empty handed after falling to stronger foe.
The entire RPG system is based upon risk and reward, and in a loose sense, is a form of gambling. You gamble on the skills you choose, you gamble on the weapons you equip, you gamble on the party you keep – and in many cases, you physically gamble, in the traditional sense, in mini games and virtual casinos.
It’s clear then that gambling, risk and reward are a mainstay within the RPG genre, and look certain to stick around in any future games, including RPGs and more live action orientated games.