The Death of JRPGs, and What I Think Will Become of Them.

I think the problem with JRPGs in general is that they've become irrelevant. They're no longer considered the kings of RPGs, and instead have been replaced with games that have rewritten the Role Playing formula and genre as a whole, while JRPGs slouch behind as they stay the course and continue pushing forward with their genre, when it's becoming extinct. Games like the Ultima series, KotOR, Oblivion, WoW, Mass Effect, etc. have become so familiar at this point that [the developers] don't want to stop with the trend that we're in right now. It's become an ingrain system; we can't really think of ways that we could improve on it.

JRPGs have always been a part of this niche culture, a cult-cul de sac that only a small portion of the gaming community will take part in. When developers/publishers try to stick to the hardcore audience—especially considering we're in an economic inflation, coped with mobile gaming hastily demolishing console gaming as a whole—they're left with an ultimatum: They either push forward with their plans and please the hardcore audience and make diminishing returns, or they go after a wider audience and are forced to dumb down the game to appeal to said audience and rake in huge profits, but you piss off your loyal fan base. And, unfortunately, we're stuck with the latter for the majority of games that we'll play.

Since I'm on the discussion of JRPGs in general, let me use an example of what's happening: Final Fantasy, XIII to be specific. This was being developed back in 2004 (assuming the wiki page is telling the truth). During the development of XIII, all these amazing games were being made—and eventually released—with critical praise for the innovation they've made. Games like Oblivion (and its expansions Knights of the Nine and The Shivering Isles), Mass Effect 1 & 2, GTA IV, Borderlands, Demon's Souls, etc. were all spitting on the faces of JRPGs for their level of creativity and, the biggest one of all, exploration. With three-dimensional graphics becoming the new norm for level and character design, they were the first to push the envelope with exploration by allowing the player to go where ever they wanted to go, never constrained by loading screens that appeared every time you had to "transition" to another part of the "world".

Fast forward to 2010. Final Fantasy XIII releases. It's a linear game focused on story telling. It's the same as the older games, albeit the linearity is more or less over-zealous. There's no exploration, no side quests (until you reach Chapter 11), the combat is a game of mash A/X on either Auto-Battle or doing the same for Abilities like a kid with Tourette Syndrome holding a strobe light in their face while they suffer from an Epileptic seizure, and the story has no branching trees that allow the player to carve their o