Opinion: How important is the story in RPGs?

A lot of my personal favourite RPGs of all times have seriously good gameplay, but is sometimes lacking an enticing story to go along with it, or doesn’t provide a movie-quality plot. I sunk a lot of time playing Nippon Ichi games like Disgaea or Phantom Brave. For me, these games are incredibly fun. I very much enjoy the min/maxing aspect of it, trying to perfect your stats in every way. These games, however, don’t have the most incredible stories.


Gameplay matters more?

When we started designing Soul Reaper, we focused on gameplay first. Re-creating similar moments like when moving around in The Legend of Zelda, fighting monsters in Final Fantasy, getting epic loot in Diablo, collecting souls in Castlevania Aria/Dawn of Sorrow and catching pokemons in Pokemon.

Because of that, the story was always some kind of afterthought, which we realize might be a mistake now. Heck, just looking at our early gameplay teaser, you can see that story is almost absent:

People want an enticing backstory. At least. We do have a backstory, but it doesn’t reveal much of the plot at all. See the story section of our Square Enix Collective campaign: https://collective.square-enix.com/projects/377/soul-reaper/.

[…]the story was always some kind of afterthought, which we realize might be a mistake now.

Serious vs Not Serious Story?

Are you serious?

Soul Reaper’s current story is inspired by Nippon Ichi games and iconic Marvel Characters like Deadpool. Needless to say, it’s not the most serious of stories. Like it’s inspirations, it has a more serious backstory, but is delivered in a comedic way.

Like it’s inspirations, it has a more serious backstory, but is delivered in a comedic way.

We decided on that tone because it seemed that most stories featuring the grim reaper depict him as an evil being set for destruction. We thought showing “him” in a different light might be refreshing.

We still stand by that, however we’re second-guessing if it has its place in an RPG like Soul Reaper. Looking back at most of the highly acclaimed RPGs (like here for example: http://ca.ign.com/lists/top-100-rpg), not many of them are comedic.

We want your opinion!

What’s more important in a good RPG? Story? Gameplay? Visuals? Something else?

What makes a good RPG story? The characters? The setting? The tone? The dialogues? The backstory? Something else?

Serious vs not serious?

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Also published in: https://www.dannyforest.com/blog/2018/2/21/opinion-how-important-is-the-story-in-rpgs

Play our prototype and give us feedback

We are featured on Square Enix Collective until July 14th. As we’re still early in the development of the game (we’re not even in production yet!), your feedback is incredibly valuable. Check out our pitch, try the prototype, vote and send comments here: https://collective.square-enix.com/projects/377/soul-reaper/