January 11, 2024
3 mins

The differences between WRPG and a JRPG

The differences between WRPG and a JRPG

What Is a Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG)?

It's surprisingly easy to identify most JRPGs just from the character style design.
Source: gaijinpot blog

You might be wondering what Japanese RPGs are. This is a valid question because both WRPG and JRPG have originated from tabletop games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, which is why they share an array of similarities. These include:

  • Basic stats in the character menu, such as health, strength, and power
  • Levelling system
  • Equipment
  • Recruitable NPCs or companions
  • Vast world to explore
  • Quests

In his engaging article that attempts to define JRPG, David Erickson critically assesses the following definition of JRPG taken from Wikipedia: “For the purpose of this article, a JRPG is defined as a franchise which: (1) is considered a role-playing game by reliable sources and was made in Japan, or (2) made in another country, but otherwise the franchise would be difficult to differentiate from a JRPG due to having common traits found in JRPG such as: anime/manga character designs, RPG elements, fantasy setting and widely considered as being inspired or influenced by a JRPG.” The problem with this definition is it relies too heavily on people’s consensus about what common traits of JRPG are and whether or not the game was influenced by a JRPG.  Yet, without going too deep into linguistic debates over definitions, we will use the aforementioned definition as a starting point for our discussion.

How Is a WRPG Different from a JRPG?

Western RPGs "action shot". And what an action shot it is! Magic, dragons and cold steel!
Source: Skyrim. Bethesda Studios

In a nut-shell, JRPG differs from WRPG thematically and in how they approach the design of the core game elements.

Gameplay Mechanics

JRPG tend to feature turn-based combat. WRPG instead aspires to make the gameplay experience more challenging for the players by featuring fast paced real-time combat. Our upcoming title will feature real-time combat, which ties it to the WRPG genre. Both genres allow players to assemble parties by teaming up with non-playable characters. JRPG generally allow players to get more members in their teams, while WRPG commonly allow for one or two companions maximum.

In Origins, The Fall of Azoria, you’ll have lots of opportunities to interact with non-playable characters, but you won’t be able to create large parties featuring up to five members...yet! Speaking of teams, another feature that JRPG tend to avoid is multiplayer game format. Perhaps, this is the only item on our list so far that our game would have in common with most JRPG.  Another difference between JRPG and WRPG is that the former takes players through a series of predetermined locations. WRPG games are more heavily focused on providing the players the ultimate freedom to explore the open world around them. Origins, The Fall of Azoria will give you the pleasure of roaming our dream world at your own pace to enjoy discovery and exploration.

Narrative and world building

Both JRPG and WRPG feature narrative, however they approach it quite differently. To begin with, what is a narrative? Merriam Webster gives us two definitions:

  1. “a way of presenting or understanding a situation or series of events that reflects and promotes a particular point of view or set of values”
  2. “the art or practice of narration”

Based on these definitions, we can address two important components of a narrative: a story and storytelling. A story refers to a series of events combined in a coherent way with an intention to achieve a unity of effect, storytelling is an umbrella term that combines all the artistic techniques that writers use to tell a story in a compelling way. This includes character development, world-building, dialogue and plot twists. JRPG tend to focus on the art of storytelling, often using well-known tropes for their stories, such as the story arc of a lonely teenager who ventures out from a small village all on their own.

They compensate for this lack of original stories by focusing on creating compelling characters with complex relationships and unique inner struggles. This leads to less freedom for players to define their protagonists, which is quite an important aspect for WRPG. In addition to letting players define their own hero through choices that have meaningful consequences, WRPG strive to make their games replayable by constructing original stories that have different endings. WRPGs aim to sustain this player freedom by avoiding heavy expositions.

Rather, players discover the unique worlds of WRPG through limitless exploration. JRPG, by contrast, tend to have slow-paced introductions with lots of text-based world-building in the very beginning. In terms of our approach to narrative, Origins leans towards the style of WRPG, giving players the freedom to define their main character through choices and offering replayability through an open-world setting where the world and story unravels as the player chooses the direction they wish to play through story, narrative, dialogue and quests as they venture into the unknown.  

Art Style

Distinctive style of JRPG games is easy to distinguish by the Anime-style character designs of the characters.
Source: Tales of Arise. Bandai Namco Entertainment

Another key difference between JRPG and WRPG is with their art styles. The former have a strong anime influences, and the latter have a tendency towards realism in their character depictions. Similarly, the fighting scenes tend to be far more spectacular in JRPG when contrasted with WRPG. While designing fighting animations for Origins, our team of animators has made sure to design and develop the fight sequences to be as engaging, exciting and as action packed as possible. So, if you prefer realistic combat, you’ll definitely enjoy engaging in combat in our upcoming game.

Cultural Differences

There’s a plethora of cultural differences between JRPG and WRPG. You are highly unlikely to encounter creatures from Japanese folk tales, such as yokai, ghosts, fox-like bosses, or funny companions from the afterlife in WRPG. Usually, JRPG blend together fantasy and science fiction to create unique environments. With its dedication to the theme of spirituality, Origins aspires to appeal to global audiences, leveraging such cross-cultural concepts as harmony and unity.

What Are Some Examples of a JRPG?

American box art for a cult classic Chrono Trigger.
Source: Chrono Trigger. Square Co., Ltd.

If you’re interested to try out some JRPG, Mediawiki has a useful list:

  • Final Fantasy
  • Pokemon
  • Persona series
  • Kingdom Hearts (Action-RPG)
  • Chrono Series
  • Tales Series
  • Megami Tensei
  • Secret of Mana (Action-RPG)
  • Mother Series (Earthbound)
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Dragon Quest Series

Which Is Better: WRPG or JRPG?

The answer to this question depends on your personal preferences. There’s no better way to find out than by exploring games of both genres. Without further ado, happy gaming! Don’t forget to follow us on social media and check out our Fandom pages for regular game updates!

FAQs

What is the most popular JRPG game?

One of the most popular JRPG is Final Fantasy VII. It was developed by Square Enix and released in 1997 for the PlayStation. Since then it has received a remake and some spin-offs. The game is praised for its immersive storyline, memorable characters, and stunning visuals.  

What is the oldest JRPG game?

The oldest JRPG game is debated among gaming enthusiasts, but some consider Dragon Quest (originally released as Dragon Warrior in North America) to be the first JRPG. The game was developed by Enix and released in Japan in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was a massive success in Japan and paved the way for the JRPG genre.  

Are WRPG better than JRPG?

JRPG tend to focus more on storytelling and character development, while WRPG offer more player choice and exploration. Both genres offer unique and exciting gameplay experiences, and it's up to you to decide which one you prefer! You might even become a fan of both!  

About Dreams Quest

Dreams Quest is a diversified entertainment company building fantasy and dream-like content that is both breathtaking and adventurous, driving the soul to learn and explore even more. Through mythology and lore, we tap into your aspirational dreams to build a thriving ecosystem, community and world which is shared through game, film, tv, books and music. We help you see the world differently, or as it really is…

Origins, The Fall of Azoria

You find yourself falling and land into a world that has been torn asunder. What has caused this disruption to take place? And what role will you play in determining the future of Azoria?

Origins is an open-world RPG mobile game full of quests, exploration, challenges and secrets which lay ahead of you. Collect and earn valuable organic matter, crystals, and artefacts in your inventory while seeking the knowledge necessary to unlock hidden secrets long since forgotten. Discover how to wield and master Weka, the life force energy that both influences and sustains the world.

Origins, The Fall of Azoria, is the first experiential fantasy and action-based open-world mobile RPG game where your dreams and subconscious intertwine into an immersive experience.

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