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CristolGdm

Is there some room/market for indie traditional RPGs?

7 posts in this topic

Hi guys,

I have developed a few very small projects in the past (mainly as a training), and i'm considering moving forward to my first "big" project (AAAA, obviously).
Problem is, the kind of games I really like, and would really love to make are traditional RPG. By that, I mean based on exploration/story; system can be traditional (FFs, baldur's gate), or original (TWEWY, Chrono Trigger, Radiant Historia), 2D or 3D, the main thing is that I like taking players through different environments, and telling them a story, that kind of things.

The question is: Is there still some room to develop indie traditional RPGs? I know that RPG are still a quite popular type of games, but they tend to all be developed by big studios, whereas indie games are more around mini-games.

My overarching goal (we're talking long term), after developing a few projects, would be to manage to publish on phone market, or even DS market.

I understand that some might say "just develop what you like", but I'm not sure about spending hours of work on a project if it ends up being played only by my brother and my best friend.

So basically, this is the question: do people play indie RPG games?
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Of course there is a market for them. As you said, they are a popular type of game.

The difficulty will be competing successfully in that market.

Note that the games you mention at first, the final fantasy, baulder's gate, chrono trigger, etc., these were also made by companies and by relatively large teams relative to similar games at the time they were made. They were the AAA games of the day. The first console games were often 1-3 total developers, but Final Fantasy (original) back in '87 had a team of 5 which was very rare.

Can you make such a game? Probably. Can it be successful? Yes, many indie RPGs have done well, especially on mobile devices.
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If you just want to get the story out there, there are plenty of tools that can create classic-style JRPGs that require little or no programming. Some of them are probably scriptable enough that you can accomplish whatever unique thing you want to incorporate.

There is a market for the well-done indie JRPG: See Breath for Death, Cthulu Saves the World, and Wizorb -- all of which were relatively successful on XBLA Indie Games, and then made the leap to Steam. It's unlikely you can make a fortune from it, but you can have success and find an audience.

If you do it, make sure you understand what made those classics really great, and how modern JRPGs have diverged. You could play through most of those games in say, 20-25 hours, give or take -- and they were *good* hours. Cut scenes were important, but a relatively small proportion of game time. Combat animations specifically were *way* shorter -- Most attacks and spells were a 1 or 2 second animation at most, and the ultra-massive spells were maybe 5 seconds -- in many modern RPGS, even the lamest of attacks gets a 5+ second animation, and the ultra spells get a short film (IIRC [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/dry.png[/img] ) -- awesome the first time, cool the next four, increasingly useless and annoying thereafter. Designers of those games understood that 25 hours of compact fun is better than 80 hours of animation and boring exposition.
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I definitely feel there is a market for good traditional RPGs, which is why I'm working on one myself.
Some indie developers survive solely on making indie RPGs... and not very high-quality ones either!
Jeff Vogel has been making indie RPGs for eighteen years, and he re-uses alot of the same (poor) graphics for each RPG, instead focusing on the stories of the game.

[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1332181675' post='4923376']
...in many modern RPGS, even the lamest of attacks gets a 5+ second animation, and the ultra spells get a short film...[/quote]

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heL6FCojAbI[/media]

[size=2]Oh sweet! The YouTube video auto-embedded itself. That's a nice touch.[/size]
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Hah, KoTR was the first thing I thought of, too.

As to the OP ... I'd definitely consider buying such a thing if I heard about it and it seemed worth playing.
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Well, lots of positive feedback here, thanks a lot :) And useful advice too, I'll try to keep that in mind.
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A mini-game is obviously much easier for individuals to write than full games like RPGs. I don't see any evidence that there're less popular - and indeed, the fact that there's less competition should be a bonus. You have to decide yourself though if you see the extra development time as a cost (personally, writing things for free/fun, I find more satisfaction writing a longer more fuller game, than several simple quick casual games, even if the former doesn't get any extra downloads than casual games). If you're in this for money though, obviously the development time is a big factor...
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