Recently i've been going through a phase of checking out some of the older RPGs i used to play.
It all started when i DLed daggerfall from internode and it has spread from there like a wildfire.
In the past week i've dug up some of my older dusty ones like Might and Magic 3-6, Wizardry 6 and 7, Wizards and Warriors and Ultima Ascension.
I'm surprised that most of these still are able to run on vista (with a few tweaks) and this is mostly due to crazy fans like myself who have gone to great lengths to find out how these babies can work on the newer OS's.
The conversation has come up with a friend who's another RPG fanatic, why don't they make RPGs with such complexity and detail anymore?
The theories are varied, but we feel it comes down to something like this.
1) The average gamer wouldn't have the attention span to cope with some of these RPGs.
2) Game developers don't have the time or resources to make RPGs with such detail.
3) Game designers need to keep it simple in order to make sure it can be ported to a console.
4) Game designers that used to make these sorts of games aren't around anymore and thus, current designers tend to make something similar to what is around at the time.
5) Current way of thinking is big RPG can only be a MMO
I'm sure there's more to it than that and i'm sure it's a bit of everything in most cases.
But i myself lean more towards #4.
If you are an old timer RPG addict like myself, you'd understand the qualities of RPG content that just aren't around anymore.
RPGs that would take you half a day to read the manual and the other half to roll up your characters.
RPGs with a huge range of classes, races, spells and abilities.
Ones with massive scale for the world you explored.
Ones that would take you weeks to months to finish.
A lot of these elements may sound like the sort of thing you'd find in any RPG on the market today. But to be honest, nothing much has been around on the market for quite some time that would come close to the sort of scale you used to find back then, even as little as 7 years ago.
To give an idea about the sort of RPGs i'm talking about.
Bards Tale, Ultima, Might and Magic, Wizardry series, just to name a few off the top of my head.
So, is the age of the hard core western RPG gone and never to be seen again. Or is it just a sign of the times that designers stick to what works currently and it would take someone to make a hit that goes against the grain in order for the style of these oldies but goldies to return to their rightful place at the top of the RPG ladder?
Thoughts and opinions appreciated as always