Sadly, traditional RPGs really aren't what they used to be. That's true. But there is one phenomenon that may indicate something different…
The first White Knight Chronicles didn't fare so well in the critical world; the Metacritic average sits at only 64, despite many role-playing aficionados defending Level-5's effort. Now, the second WKC is available in Europe (US gamers have to wait until September) and yet again, we're finding the exact same discrepancy between reviewers and fans. And what's the primary source of conflict?
Critic: "Bah, it's just old and outdated. Nobody wants games like this, anymore."
RPG fan: "Um, yeah, we do."
When we awarded the original White Knight Chronicles an 8.5, we knew what we were doing. We knew what type of gamer would enjoy such a production, and we knew there were more of them out there than big publishers – and critics – seem to think. The game wasn't broken or bad; the second probably isn't broken or bad. Both simply seem "old" and the sequel is just "more of the same."
So no wonder developers have no interest in creating traditional RPGs anymore. The critics will hate them, which will in turn have an immediate impact on sales. And if that's going to happen, why bother?
Related Game(s): White Knight Chronicles 2