Is Everything Kind of an RPG These Days?


What do you think?

The Question

With genres becoming bigger and better, each passing year is making them harder to label. What really makes a Role-Playing Game? The upcoming Attack on Titan game from Koei Tecmo and Omega Force got the Twinfinite staff into a bit of a tussle. How many side quests, choices, and abilities does an RPG make? Check out our discussion, and add your own below.




Ishmael Romero: Attack on Titan is probably my favorite anime game in a long time, but I’m not sure it counts as a true RPG.

Sharon Coone: Doesn’t seem like it.

Yamilia Avendano: Why not, ya level up characters, stats increase, money is earned, items and weapons are bought. Ya learn new moves.

Ishmael Romero: Their stats don’t change, and max level is 7.

Sharon Coone: It’s more like unlocking set paths than role-playing one.

Yamilia Avendano: I’m confused what an RPG is then, because if Witcher 3 is an RPG, so is Attack on Titan.

attack on titan vs witcher

Ishmael Romero: No, not comparable at all lol.

Yamilia Avendano: How so?

Hayes Madsen: AoT seems more like an action game with role playing elements.

Yamilia Avendano: Ya learn moves, ya buy shit, ya wear shit, ya have stats, ya level up.

Ishmael Romero: The Witcher has fully fleshed out RPG mechanics. You make decisions, level up, full crafting, quest lines, character development, etc. AoT has RPG elements.

Yamilia Avendano: What makes a game not an RPG if it has the elements for it? AoT has side quests. It has missions–

Ishmael Romero: Side missions. Quests are different, I feel. Usually more involving. If I was to say AoT is an RPG, that opens the floodgates for a lot of action games.

Yamilia Avendano: Just because they’re bad side quests and repetitive missions doesn’t make them not viable to count as RPGs. Otherwise Eternal Sonata definitely isn’t an RPG. ‘Cause that game blew.

eternal sonata


Ishmael Romero: I wouldn’t call Deadpool an RPG, and it has the same systems AoT has.

Yamilia Avendano: That’s how I’ve felt about Witcher 3 for like the longest time. Why call that an RPG if games like AoT and Deadpool aren’t? It’s an action game.

Sharon Coone: There’s a lot of role-playing in it.

Ishmael Romero: Witcher 3 is a clear Action-RPG. You cannot progress without using its RPG elements. I think that’s the big difference.

Yamilia Avendano: But Attack on Titan can’t be an ARPG?

Ishmael Romero: You can beat all of Attack on Titan’s stuff without leveling up anything.

Yamilia Avendano: You can beat Dark Souls without leveling up; It’s still an RPG.

Ishmael Romero: You have to go through its RPG motions though, I feel.

Hayes Madsen: Yeah, with Witcher, generally, the role-playing elements come first and then action is layered on top of that.

Sharon Coone: Almost every game these days has a level up/skill and quest system, so that’s not a good basis for black and white RPG categorization.

Yamilia Avendano: Right so why do we even call games RPGs? RPGs as a genre make no sense anymore.

Ishmael Romero: 90% of action games now have RPG elements.

Ishmael Romero: If you wanted to water it down completely, almost every game is an RPG, even fighting games have RPG elements now.

Yamilia Avendano: Exactly.

harley quinn injustice 2

Ishmael Romero: But I think if you take the ones that hold those mechanics to a higher standard, then those are RPGs. It’s not just an added on mechanic. It’s the core of the game.

Yamilia Avendano: That sounds weird to me because it puts something that’s in every game to a high standard. We don’t do that with any other mechanics.

Ishmael Romero: The Arkham series is classified as Action, but has a lot of RPG mechanics. Same with recent Tomb Raiders.

Yamilia Avendano:  I think RPG should describe mechanics, but not be a genre.

Sharon Coone: The Witcher 3 is based on making decisions that alter the world, and forming a character from those decisions. Without the entire game being built around that, sure it’d be just an action game.

Ishmael Romero: Yeah, I guess at the very least, choices should have an effect on the game world.

Hayes Madsen: I always felt like an RPG is more focused on you developing your character/characters and world, and adds elements on top of that to complete itself.

Sharon Coone: It comes down to role-playing.

Yamilia Avendano: But then are Telltale games RPGs? We call those interactive dramas.

Ishmael Romero: No character progression, only narrative.

Yamilia Avendano: You said if you water it down, every game is an RPG.

Sharon Coone: But we also feel a difference.

Telltale Games Collection, Game of Thrones, Tales from the Borderlands, The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead

Ishmael Romero: Yeah, if you just pick the most base mechanic: you can level up. But you can level up in Tetris now.

Hayes Madsen: I agree that genres lines get all blurred these days.

Yamilia Avendano: You can level up, craft, go on missions, side quests, learn new moves, equip – What does this sound like?

Ishmael Romero: No side quests, side missions. They don’t take you anywhere or offer a new story. All leads to the same point – mission success lol.

Yamilia Avendano: Doesn’t everything lead to mission success? Unless it’s The Walking Dead and everyone dies.

Ishmael Romero: I think the best way to choose is, which mechanics and or genre features stand out most? AoT’s action stands out above everything. People who don’t like bona fide RPGs will not be turned away from it at all. So yeah, it can be action and RPG. But if you have to pick one, it’s action for sure.


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