Final Fantasy IV shows how tedious modern JRPGs have become

Sep 10, 2022
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While I greatly enjoyed Yakuza: Like a Dragon (and it's very obvious that the development team had a love for classic JRPGS), there was definitely room to trim length -- it could have very easily been shortened to 20-25 hours for the main story.

Some things that would have helped:
  • Shorter cut scenes
    • A good indication that many of the cut scenes were too long: when the controller frequently powers off before they're over
  • Being able to automatically skip extended animations for special attacks
    • You could press a button, but you needed to do it every time
  • Being able to leave "auto-battle" on
    • Again, you can turn it on, but you had to do it for every battle
  • A "fast" or "faster" option for battle speed
    • They went to the trouble adding in battle speed option... but only allowed you to slow things down
  • Lower costs for equipment
    • The series walks a strange line between realism and absurdity:
      • Food prices seem pretty normal for restaurants
      • Roaming groups of thugs often only give rewards on par with the amount of cash that you might expect them to be carrying
      • Convenience store food has convenience store food pricing
      • Taxi fares seems a little on the cheap side
      • When you go to buy a "nice" box cutter or baseball bat... it can be as much as ¥ 2,000,000?
 
Sep 11, 2022
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Honestly, this article made me realize that it's a trend in media (both games and movies) to basically no longer respect the consumer's time. Early RPGs are great because they tell these spanning stories, generally without being too grindy and without wasting everyone's time with over-expositioning everything, or adding a billion needless side quests (FF4 has some side quests, which you mention, but all of them close or explain narrative loops not directly related to the main story). Now, we have this ideal that longer is better, so games and film will faf about as much as they can, diluting themselves to the point of farcity. We see "engagement time" as the end-all-be-all, actively trying to get people in the created worlds 24/7 rather than simply telling their story and moving on. It's sad, and it's definitely not for the better.
 
Reactions: Sim2er
Sep 11, 2022
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I am on the last two of playing all of the single player Final Fantasy games in order. I finished FFIV back in May and I honestly didn't like it. The story was fine but the game play just bothered me and I felt like 24 ish hours was still too long. The one I had the most fun with was FF9 with all side quests complete at around 36 hours. FF9, if all you did was play the story and watch cutscenes is about 12 to 15 hours. Sidequests are optional for a reason. What sucks is when a games story drags on till you lose interest (like FFIV). When I beat the last boss of 4, I didn't even want to go back to do sidequests.
 
Sep 11, 2022
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I completely understand trimming the fat from a game, nobody wants useless stuff. That said, if I'm dropping $60 on a game, I want to be able to sink my teeth into it. I don't want 10 or 15 hours, or with some games even less time. Call of Duty can get away with that because most folks play multiplayer, but when it's a single player only JRPG, all you have is what you have. If other players want so little, I can respect that and more power to them, but games can be massive and good.
 
Reactions: Sim2er
Sep 11, 2022
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Come on! There is a very obvious and hypothesis busting reason you're talking about FF4 and not FF1. There are PLENTY of short games out there. You're more than welcome to keep playing them over and over while we enjoy our longer games.
 
Sep 10, 2022
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Honestly, this article made me realize that it's a trend in media (both games and movies) to basically no longer respect the consumer's time. Now, we have this ideal that longer is better, so games and film will faf about as much as they can, diluting themselves to the point of farcity. We see "engagement time" as the end-all-be-all, actively trying to get people in the created worlds 24/7 rather than simply telling their story and moving on. It's sad, and it's definitely not for the better.
One of the things that has changed over time is the difference in development time -- it takes longer and longer to create the general world and environment for a modern game.

The majority of people involved in these projects aren't writers trying to tell a story -- they're artists & developers sinking their time (sometimes years of their time) into creating a setting for telling stories in.

Using Yakuza: Like a Dragon as an example, the side quests / sub-stories are often just small vignetes focusing on a story that only tangentially relates to the characters. Ultimately, though, all of them boil down to "because <insert convoluted reason> you need to beat someone up", with some kind of minor in-game reward for completion.

The stories fit in with the world and the game engine seems very well suited to delivering them, but I'm less sure that an RPG is necessarily the best format for telling them. On the other hand, I'm not sure what the incentive would be for completing them or how they might be packaged without the context of the larger game.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey seemed to experiment with this a little with their "Story Creator" mode where anyone could use the platform to tell their own stories. Despite the potential, though, most of the stories turned into either a series of crass jokes or just a thin excuse for farming xp & gold.
 
Sep 11, 2022
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Final Fantasy IV pioneered the formula for modern JRPGs, and even after all this time, it could show the newcomers a thing or two about pacing and storytelling.

Final Fantasy IV shows how tedious modern JRPGs have become : Read more
Sorry, but this article smells overgeneralization and oversimplification, with a dose of nostalgia. There are also games thare are huge and earn their time, and games that are short and feel like do would be better if things were flashed out more.

The how long to beat pointing at Persona 5, ok. The game(s) takes time because they have life simulation elements, which adds to the experience the franchise ains to provide, not merely filler. Xenoblade games takes time because their worlds are huge, and as a matter of fact, some of the most beautiful and full of things to explore there is, far from what should be considered filler.

That comparision between the beggining of FF4 and Xenoblade 3 is just silly. While many things are listed one your brief time there, truth of the matter is, none of them holds the same weight as an all out war with each side killing each other for more life spam, with races and two worlds from two previous games in a build up story of 10 years that Monolith Soft crafted with the Xenoblade series. Do not disregard cutscenes as mere downtime when talking about super well crafted cutscenes in a story with a lot of background.

Furthermore, many times when people say some RPGs waste their time with griding, that is actually on them and not the game. Some people resort to level up to face challenges in the story when this is actually the less desirable approach to face these challenges, equivalent to mindless bruteforce. The actual mean you are expected to deal with it is through good management of equipments, attack options, accessories, classes, party composition and proper strategy, that is, you know, playing well. If you nail that, level is not much of a barrier.
 
Sep 11, 2022
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One thing being forgotten here, is limitations. Stories had to be much more condensed due to hardware. Had FFIV been developed from the ground up, on any of the last few to generation cycles, it would have likely been a longer game.

It is also a matter of personal preference. People who play a lot of games, usually for work, tend to look more favorably on shorter games, so they can move on to the next one. The biggest fans of JRPGs like to stay in the world longer, not just speed through them. To fans, side quests and grind are part of the experience.
 
Sep 12, 2022
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this article is based on a fallacy. there is no such thing as a modern jrpg, at least not any that could be considered "AAA", final fantasy was the last jrpg and it was thoroughly dead by 15.
 
Mar 7, 2022
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One thing being forgotten here, is limitations. Stories had to be much more condensed due to hardware. Had FFIV been developed from the ground up, on any of the last few to generation cycles, it would have likely been a longer game.

It is also a matter of personal preference. People who play a lot of games, usually for work, tend to look more favorably on shorter games, so they can move on to the next one. The biggest fans of JRPGs like to stay in the world longer, not just speed through them. To fans, side quests and grind are part of the experience.
As a fan of story and world-building, I don't like to grind the same content over and over as I feel like it cheapens the impact, but I do like to complete every side quest. However I recognize that mine is only one play style, and there are people who want to keep playing their favorite game for diminished returns, achievements, etc. I think the best option is to offer varying difficulty/grind levels so players can play how they want.

I also generally expect about an hour of gameplay per dollar, with the understanding that most games are worth $20 but priced higher at launch. Whether I pay more or wait for a sale depends on many factors, but so many games release nowadays that I don't often find myself wanting to buy at launch.

Ultimately I'm hoping that gamers are pushing back on filler and time gated content, which I think the article is a reflection of the former principle.
 
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