World of Apex

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Crossing Genres

Hey! You got your roleplaying game in my mainstream action game! Hey! You got your mainstream action game in my roleplaying game! With more and more character customization, open ended gameplay and wide worlds to explore, people have been overlooking where all of that came from: the geeky, old school RPG.

Not many people look at Grand Theft Auto and say, "Hey, check out that roleplaying game!" GTA is an action game, right? Right? Maybe not as much as people would like to admit (especially Jack Thompson). Think about it, though...you have a customizable character who can use various weapons and modes of transportation, with which you can improve your skill level by using them. Sounds alot like a certain big-name RPG we're waiting nine more days to get, doesn't it? The comparison doesn't stop there though, because even the worlds they're set in closely coincide. Most RPG's have large, open worlds to explore and a quest system to progress the storyline, as well as a bunch of neat side-quests to provide a break from the main plot. All of those are in GTA, a game where you have a city (whether it be three islands, a coast and an island, or a large three district metropolis) to explore in which you can pick up missions to progress the story, or go wandering about during or between said missions doing side-quests. The parts all add up, and the only missing piece would be experience points and skill points...or is it?

The newest movement in roleplaying games is the true action RPG, a game with the base roleplaying elements mixed with a fine blend of the kind of action you would expect from shooters. The hack and slash days are coming to a close, and the modern fantasy combat is moving in, with games such as Mount&Blade, Oblivion, and Project Offset leading the push. The lines between action games like GTA and roleplayers like Oblivion is being blurred to the point that the only distinction is stereotypical setting. The only thing that separates killing pedestrians in GTA and murdering villiage folk in Oblivion is...well...the villiage.

Are games that cross genres going to take over gaming? Are we ever going to see any more one-track games like the sidescrollers of old? Is the concept-turned-reality of massive, open worlds going to invade the industry the way MMO games have? Drop a comment with your thoughts.

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