Final Fantasy aside, Japanese role-playing games simply don't command the respect (or sales) they once did in the West. You may have an opinion on this! That's great. So do BioWare.
With Mass Effect and Dragon Age both leading the way as far as Western RPGs are concerned, they're a company well-placed to know what's good, and what's not so good, about the Japanese entries in the field.
"The fall of the JRPG in large part is due to a lack of evolution, a lack of progression," BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk told Destructoid last week. "They kept delivering the same thing over and over. They make the dressing better, they look prettier, but it's still the same experience".
"My favorite thing, it's funny when you still see it, but the joke of some of the dialogue systems where it asks, 'do you wanna do this or this,' and you say no. 'Do you wanna do this or this?' No. 'Do you wanna do this or this?' No. Lemme think — you want me to say 'yes.' And that, unfortunately, really characterized the JRPG."
"We have big debates on whether GTA is an RPG, for example", he adds, highlighting some of the differences between Western and Japanese approaches. "It's got all the elements, it just doesn't have the numbers. And what gamers here want is that higher depth, that higher integration of features...Mass Effect 2 is in some ways a continuation of that evolution."
Ah, there's the BioWare plug. Still, he's got a point; the more you push those traditional RPG elements under the hood, the more accessible you make the game. The more accessible you make it, the more people will play it, the more money a company makes. Easy!