Just gathering thoughts I’ve had in the past about JRPGs and my making them into one place.
In JRPG… on the Go I said:
Cell phones (and tablets) with touch screens have been around for a long time now. And here’s the thing: the cell phone is thematically at odds with the JRPG (the cell phone favors short quick sessions, the JRPG favors long form storytelling), but its interface is just about perfect. Want to walk to a spot? Touch it! Want to talk to a dude? Touch him! Want to select your attack in battle? Touch the menu option!
And yet, nearly every JRPG I’ve attempted to play on my phone has opted to use a virtual gamepad.
Why? Why? This interface was made for this gameplay type!
In Better Bubbles, I say:
My problem with the ATB is it’s mostly window dressing. Sure, it visually shows you how differences in speed (and effects like haste) affect your turn order, but you could just math out who moves next and immediately jump to their move. Waiting for the ATB to fill is slow…
If you add timed commands, including timed defenses, ala Mario RPG/Paper Mario… the timing and slowness of the ATB takes on a more tactical feel. You aren’t just waiting for your ATB to fill up; you are watching for an enemy to attack so you can defend yourself.
Touchscreen JRPGs with timed hits is part of my recipe for an RPG engine. And, in fairness, large parts of the recipe will have to depend on the story and game in question. But wait: there’s more.
I can steal from Earthbound here: what if a hit doesn’t take effect until the heart finishes draining?
Oh, that desperate last attack when you already know you’re mortally wounded!
A word of caution is useful.
If I am to make my Licensed JRPG engine, it will have to be more than just a means to an end. I will need a story to RPGitize.