Tales Series Producer: Casual Games Caused Decline of JRPGs

According to the man behind the Tales series, mobile and casual games brought down JRPGs.

Remember when Japanese role-playing games were on top of the world? The rise and dominance of these turn-based, story-driven titles may feel like it just happened yesterday, but in reality, JRPGs have been on a steady decline for quite some time. That hasn’t stopped Hideo Baba, the producer of the Tales series since its inception, from continuing to perpetuate his beloved franchise. However, that doesn’t mean that the genre in which he works is nearly as viable as it once was.

Silicon Era spoke to Baba at Namco’s recent Gamers Day, where hands-on time with the latest Tales of Xillia was provided. Baba had plenty of positive things to say during this 15-year anniversary of, as he described it, “cornerstone of the JRPG market,” but he also understands that not all is peachy keen in the land of JRPGs.

“The sheer numbers alone have gone down. Fifteen years ago, you saw a great variety of games coming out for the PSOne,” Baba said. “But nowadays, you can count the number of games on one hand.”

There are plenty of factors that have contributed to the fall of turn-based games, but Baba sees the dispersion of games and game development as one of the leading causes.

“There are several reason, but a major one is how the game industry in Japan has gotten much smaller over the years. That and JRPGs themselves take so long to complete,” he said. “Which has always been the case, but with the rise of casual games, mobile games… gaming as a whole has become so dispersed.”

For now, fans of the genre should look forward to Namco Bandai’s Tales of Xillia, which will be coming exclusively to the PlayStation 3 August 6