"Japanese CRPG's are sooo different than Western CRPG's". "I Prefer japanese CRPG's, they are more like a movie". "Western CRPG's are REAL CRPG's"...

In the world of CRPG's there is two "schools". Japanese CRPG's (i.e. Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda) and Western CRPG's (Ultima, Baldur's gate). The games of both schools can be called CRPG's (world to explore and interact, people to interact, riddles to solve, ...). And one school is very different from the other (and vice-versa).

...But the purpose of this lesson is "not" to show the differences from the two schools. This lesson will show you the elements of a CRPG (we saw the in the last lesson) "in deep": We will show every element and HOW it can be used, in a scale from 0 to 10. And in that moment, the difference within the two schools will arise... and also some variants too ^_^.

 Elements of the World

 "Outside" World (i.e. Planet's surface, Continent)
  • 0: Plain world:
    • In the world (between cities/planets/...), you don't move the player freely: The paths are pre-made, so you only have to tell your avatar the next city you want to reach within your area.
    • Example: Breath of Fire IV
  • 10: Complex World:
    • In the world (between cities/planets/...), you move freely in any direction: You're travelling within the world, choosing your own path.
    • Example: Ultima VII
 Interaction with surroundings (i.e. taking stones and putting them in certain places)
  • 0: None:
    • You cannot interact with your surroundings.
    • Example: Final Fantasy VII. (Pre-rendered screens ^_-)
  • 10: Mutable:
    • The world suffer BIG changes because of you.
    • Example: ---. (Legend of Zelda N64 can be an example of 7)
 Physical Laws
  • 0: None:
    • There's no physical laws within the game.
    • Example: Final Fantasy IX
  • 10: ALL:
    • The game is a "perfect" simulation of a real world.
    • Example: Legend of Zelda GC (...not exactly a 10, but you can imagine what i'm talking about ^_-).
 Objects. Interaction with objects
  • 0: None.
    • There's no interaction with the objects in the game. Just Pick-Use-Discard.
    • Example: Final Fantasy Saga
  • 10: Full interaction.
    • You can combine objects, use them in certain places, change them, store them... Sort of old-school Graphical Adventures.
    • Example: Ultima VII

 Actors (not Avatars ^_-)

 Talking with people
  • 0: Just plain.
    • No choices. Just question-answer.
    • Example: Old Final Fantasy Games
  • 10: Total Interaction.
    • Talking with people leads to lots of choices, and every choice changes the actor's behaviour towards you.
    • Example: Geneforge
 Interaction within Actors
  • 0: No interaction.
    • The actors don't interact with each other. Only in cinematic scenes.
    • Example: Tales of Phantasia
  •  10: Full interaction.
    • Ey!. It's like living in the real world!. Actors live their own lifes!
    • Example: Fable?
 Interaction Avatars-Actors
  • 0: Plain interaction.
    • Actors just talk to Avatars... and when avatars talk to them.
    • Example: Old Final Fantasy Games
  • 10: Total Interaction.
    • Actors REACT towards Avatars characteristics (reputation, equipment, visibility (sort of metal gear),...)
    • Example: Baldur's Gate (maybe a 7 here), Fable?

 Avatars (your party)

  • 0: No party.
    • You're alone. No friends join you in your quest.
    • Example: Legend of Zelda
  • 10: Party!!!
    • You have friends in your party. Even, you can create them during the game.
    • Example: DarkLands
 Party initial stats
  • 0: Pre-made.
    • The avatars has a fixed stats, sex, job, ...
    • Example: Almost all Japanese CRPG's
  • 10: Feed your imagination...
    • The hero can be EVERYTHING you want.
    • Example: DarkLands
 Party stats
  • 0: Basics.
    • Only Characteristics: Just some starge numbers that go up when you level up.
    • Example: Almost every Japanese CRPG. Ultima VII
  • 10: Paper & Pencil
    • Habilities included: Ey, it;s like playing a Paper&Pencil CRPG!!!! (and maybe the numbers are hidden...)
    • Example: Avernum (Give this one a 7 here...)
 Hero's evolution
  • 0: None.
    • The main hero doesn't have any evolution in his personality. Maybe even he doesn't talk...
    • Example: Chrono Trigger
  • 10: Everything.
    • Your hero's behaviour during the game changes him...very deeply.
    • Example: Fable?

 The Story

 The Story
  • 0: Basic.
    • There's a Big Demon!. Kill him!.
    • Example: Old NES Games. (I better shut up in this matter ^_-)
  • 10: Book.
    • Is this a game or a book?.
    • Example: Ultima Saga, Final Fantasy X, ...
 The End
  • 0: Linear.
    • The end is always the same. No matter what you do.
    • Example: Final Fantasy VII
  • 10: Open-Ended.
    • There's lots of endings!
    • Example: Geneforge
  • Special: There's "no" ending.
    • Example: DarkLands, Fable?
  • 0: No Side-Plots
    • Anything you do MUST be done for advancing inside the game.
    • Example: Lufia GBA (OK, maybe a 2 here...), Ultima VII Serpent Isle (and maybe here a 3...)
  • 10: Side Plots everywhere!!!
    • If you pass the entire game, maybe you'll miss half of it.
    • Example: Geneforge
  • 0: Talk to-Go to...
    • Just talk to everyone and continue the game. Suitable for people who doesn't understand Japanese ^_-.
    • Example: Final Fantasy VII (and forget mini-games here).
  • 10: Graphic Adventure.
    • Total interaction = Total riddles. Sometimes Disgusting (For me :-P).
    • Example: Ultima VII


  • 0: Outside the world
    • When combat starts, it happens outside the game world (in a new map).
    • Example: Final Fantasy VII (Ey, there's a flash & teleport to battle map :-P).
  • 10: Inside the world
    • The combat taks place inside the world.
    • Example: Geneforge, Breath of Fire V
  • 0: Roll a dice...
    • You have (almost) always random battles.
    • Example: Breath of Fire II (hmm maybe is a 1...)
  • See & Happen
    • Every battle happens when enemies see you (or vice-versa).
    • Example: Chrono Trigger Saga, Breath of Fire V, Ultima VII, Baldur's Gate, ...
 How (Time)
  • 0: Turn-Based
    • Magic-Firaga-To. In Turns.
    • Example: Final Fantasy VII
  • 10: Real-Time
    • You issue your commands while your characters are engaged in battle.
    • Example: Baldur's Gate
 How (Action)
  • 0: No action
    • Just Point&Click.
    • Example: Final Fantasy Saga, Ultima Saga, ...
  • 10: Real action!.
    • Is this an arcade game or what?
    • Example: Diablo, Legend of Zelda
 How (Movement)
  • 0: No movement
    • Avatars and monsters doesn't move at all.
    • Example: Final Fantasy Saga
  • 10: Total movement!!!
    • The world is huge, and you can battle at almost every corner...
    • Example: Geneforge
  • 0: Only bad guys
    • Just fighting with bad guys.
    • Example: Almost every Japanese CRPG's
  • 10: Everybody!!!
    • You can fight almost everybody in the game.
    • Example: Geneforge
  • 0: No effects at all.
    • -5HP. No more. Maybe a little Swing...
    • Example: Geneforge
  • 10: Full effects.
    • Guess what: And invocation of one minute that does 9999 HP... that sells the game ^_-.
    • Example: Final Fantasy X

 Other Things ...

 Mini games
  • 0: No mini games...
    • Is a CRPG. So why we have to ride a motorcycle (pun intended)?
    • Example: Geneforge
  • 10: Mini games everywhere!!!
    • OK, to "advance" in the game you must use your skills...
    • Example: Breath of Fire IV
 Command Interaction
  • 0: Keyboard commands!!
    • [yuhjklbn], [YUHJKLBN], ...
    • Example: NetHack, old Ultima Games
  • 10: Drag&Drop!!
    • Totally Visual. No commands. All menus. Just Up-Left-Right-Down, A, B, C (and sometimes L1, L2, ...)
    • Example: Console Games
 Finishing the game
  • 0: No bad boy.
    • You can save with no worry of not finishing the game.
    • Example: Almost all Japanese CRPG's
  • 10: Bad Boys, Bad Boys...
    • Maybe you can't win the game at certain points...
    • Example: Ultima VII

 Japanese/Western CRPG's. Difference are...

The usual differences are:

 In Japanese CRPG's the interaction with people is usually very linear, but Western CRPG's has more options in this matter (and also the choices really affects the gameplay).

 The Avatars in Japanese CRPG's are fixed, while in Western CRPG's you can have a more customizable party.

 Japanese CRPG's are farther from Paper&Pencil RPG's than Western CRPG's.

 Japanese CRPG's usually have no habilities (no interaction in Level Up). Western CRPG's has habilities (so you have some points to spend in levelling up your player...)

 Western CRPG's have (usually) more choices when playing it, and also are (usually) more open-ended.

 Battle in Japanese CRPG's are more "visual" oriented.

Also, you can use this lesson for detecting CRPG "variants". For example: The arcade-based CRPG's, like Diablo and Legend of Zelda

Only two things more.

1. When you make the design of your game, be sure to have the answer to this question: "Can you give a numeric value to all the options seen above?"
2. I'm an amateur, and also not a hardcore player, so don't kill be if you feel that the differences or something else is wrong ^_-.