With the PS4 and Xbox One coming and the Wii U already upon is, maybe it's time for a lot of those great RPG games that made Japan the dominate force in the genre to return.
A lot of JRPG franchises have slowly been forgotten in this current generation of consoles. Perhaps the costs to make these games are too much for some developers , or like some consider the lack of innovation coming out of Japan in their RPG games and the big movement from the western developers like Bethesda and Bioware, have left a lot of Japanese developers struggling to find their audience again.
Wild Arms: Published by Sony and developed by Media. Vision was released in 1996, but never took off like Sony had hoped, but did well enough to produce 7 games. 2 on the PSOne, 4 on the PS2 (Including a remake of the first game) and 1 on the PSP. All 7 games took place in the world of Filgaia where adventurers would explore the world with mystical weapons called ARMS, and do battle with other worldly creatures bent on destroying an already dying world. With Sony's first party studios focusing more and more on action games, a return to Filgaia may just be what Sony needs to show the world that God of War and Uncharted are not all they can do. If Ni no Kuni proved anything, a traditional RPG can still succeed in this day and age. With an already established fan base, and a higher need for less action games, Sony can add yet another great exclusive to an already impressive list of first party games. (If not on a PS4, a shiny new handheld may be the perfect choice).
Breath of Fire: Published and developed by Capcom, the Breath of Fire series first started on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993 and moving on to the PSOne and ending on the PS2. The series and has spanned 5 games, but the major departure of the fifth game left a lot of people with a bad taste in their mouth. All 5 games stared the same 2 main characters Ryu, a boy with the ability to turn into a Dragon, and Nina, a princess. Though the games have no connection to each other, the look of both characters didn't change much throughout the 5 games. With most companies focusing on multiplayer and more action oriented games, Capcom's success with Monster Hunter and Dragons Dogma gives them the perfect opportunity to bring back a franchise into a genre struggling to find a foot hold in a generation dominated by shooters. With Square Enix struggling to keep Final Fantasy afloat, this may be Capcom's best chance to bring back one of their oldest and beloved franchise to a plethora of success.
Shadow Hearts: Though not as old as some franchises out there, Shadow Hearts quickly became a cult classic. The Shadow Hearts series released on the PS2 and spanned 3 games Published by Midway and XSEED in North America and developed by Sacnoth and Nautilus. Unfortunately the first Shadow Hearts had the unfortunate release window a month before Final Fantasy X. The direct sequel released 2 years later, was a much better success, with a big push in advertising from Midway. With the third and final game being published by XSEED (due to the demise of Midway)was not as successful, releasing just months before the next gen consoles (Xbox 360, PS3) leaving the owners of the franchise Aruze, leaving the game industry, leaves little chance of a sequel to ever come. All 3 games were praised for their great cast of characters, unique blend of humor and its unique Judgment Ring combat system. Though a chance of a sequel is all but zero and HD remake will give this great franchise the send of it deserves.
.Hack: Published by Bandai and developed by CyberyConnect 2, .Hack released on the PS2 in full force, with 9 games, multiple Anime series, and Manga's. The premise of .Hack focused on a single player story taking place in a virtual MMO world where certain people, after dying in the game, would fall into a real life coma. The first 4 games .Hack//Infection,//Mutation,//Outbreak, and //Quarantine released in 2002 with each sequel releasing every three months. .Hack//GU released in 2006 as a new trilogy staying with the same concept of a single player story driven virtual MMO, focused on a different group of characters after a new outbreak begins to strike the virtual game called "The World". A final game to the .Hack story released on the PSP with a fighting game later on the PS3 though neither one made it outside of Japan. With the great success that Bandai received from the great .Hack project and with the rise of console MMO's and the idea of Free-to-Play, the next generation of consoles would be a perfect fit for an actual .Hack MMO. But then again an epic 7 game HD Remake would be very appreciated.
Xenosaga: Published by Namco and developed by Monolith Soft, Xenosaga released in 2003 on the PS2 with a planed, massive 6 game's that Namco later cut down to 3 due to the massive cost of the first game in the trilogy which also saw the lead designer being removed from the project. Tetsuya Takahashi the creator of Xenosaga dubbed it a spiritual successor to Square Enix's cult classic Xenogears (also developed by Tetsuya Takahashi) touched on a story of machines, religion, and creating cybernetic life. Though the series was successful, the changing of staff throughout the project can be seen throughout the 3 games with different voice actors, drastic changes to character designs and game mechanics , and changes to the original story that left questions unanswered and some fans frustrated. Xenosaga told a story with themes that most developers won't even attempt to touch, which stood it apart from most games. With a unique world, characters, and themes it only seems fitting that an epic space saga, that tells a mature story and moves away from tired fantasy worlds comes back in a new generation.
With a new generation almost upon us, we have seen HD Remakes and reboots of classic franchises, but none from dormant JRPG's. With a new generation of consoles upon us comes a new generation of gamer's . With so little innovation in the gaming industry today now is the perfect time for JPRG's to show the world why they were so great in the first place. With memories of a beloved flower girls death, finding out a sword wielding frog is a Squire dedicating its life to protecting a queen, or you're silent blue haired hero losing his arm and finding out he is an android. It's these moments that made JRPG's great, and its moments like these that are missing in RPG's today.