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Taxonomy of RPGs

Today I engaged in an interesting discussion on LinkedIn on RPGs and Immersive Sims. Genre names are useful to identify an audience with its expectations and needs. Often, the market creates a term, not the developer.

The container RPG hosts four main genres: CRPGs, Survival, ARPGs, and Immersive Sims.

There are two dimensions to consider. The first is the dimension of structure versus emergence. We design CRPGs around quests and stories. The Player can feel the push to follow, and see how the story ends.

Immersive sims may have great stories, too, but the way of solving them is not always structured around getting all the pieces.

The second dimension is on motivations to play. What makes these genres popular? I have heard that for CRPGs maps are more important than the characters. I think it was the original creator of Final Fantasy who said that. I agree, in part.

The main driver of fun is the discovery of the World, in CRPGs. The same thing is valid for survival games. When the focus is more on the characters we have action RPGs on one side, and Immersive Sims on another.

Published inGame Design

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