In the video game space, plenty of “code words,” jargon, catchphrases, and so on are commonplace and help people understand what they’re referring to or talking about. For example, things like “Console Wars, “NPD Data,” “ROMs,” “GG,” “Noob,” etc., but it can also be very expansive and pertain to how video games are broken down by genre. That includes the term JRPG, which means “Japanese Role Playing Game.” When you say that phrase, you’re implying that the game is either made in Japan by a Japanese developer, such as Hideki Kamiya and his team at PlatinumGames, or that it goes heavily into many of the themes that Japanese games are known for.
What do we mean by that? Well, if you’re playing a JRPG, more times than not, you’re playing a game with a young protagonist who unknowingly is about to go on a quest to save the entire world. You’ll have plenty of party members with wacky hairstyles, numerous fantastical elements that will feel out of place yet aren’t, and, of course, there will be plenty of “curvy women” even if they’re technically underage.
That’s why gamers often use JRPG when defining certain titles they see because they can very easily tell who made them and their “intentions.” But, by that token, some Japanese developers aren’t okay with that phrase because they feel it negatively affects both the developers and Japan itself.
However, Hideki Kamiya isn’t one of them. VGC went and asked Kamiya his feelings on this, and they weren’t what you would expect:
“I have a lot to say on this. Just to be clear first though, I have a positive sentiment when it comes to the term JRPG. Indeed, I think it’s something that we should be proud of.”
He noted that when it came to the perspectives of the Japanese and American cultures, the two have different views on “how to make things feel realistic” or to make them feel exciting. He used sound effects as an example, as the two nations will use various sound effects to deliver different feelings.
He also noted that Kratos was one of the inspirations for Bayonetta, but that she was born because they couldn’t think of how to make a character like Kratos that “fit” with their perspective, so they made Bayonetta instead:
“I think it’s certainly something that should be celebrated moving forward, and someone should actually aim to make a ‘king of JRPGs’ game to express that. As Japanese game creators, we’re very proud of the actual term JRPG.”