Considering that the next generation of gaming is looming large, I figured I'd dedicate at least one topic to all you avid role-playing buffs out there.

There's no denying that RPGs have undergone continual transformations over the years. This will undoubtedly continue as the industry keeps shifting about; Japanese developers continue to try to cater to growing Western audiences, old-fashioned mechanics are dying (or dead), and the current trends include social/multiplayer elements, open-world and sandbox constructs, and choice and freedom superseding linearity and storytelling.

So that being the case, what should we expect from the next-gen RPGs? Should we simply anticipate something larger and more detailed than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ? Will they continue to expand in terms of size, scope, and lore, but at the expense of a central plot and a protagonist that actually develops? See, you can't really have a character with no writing behind him; if it's all up to the player, that character must be faceless, so we can have the most amount of freedom possible. The more we script that character, the less the player will be able to do. I like that, but most don't.

And what about gameplay? It seems that just about every genre has elements from other categories of gaming, which is why the genres seem to be bleeding together. My guess is that it will become increasingly difficult to correctly apply the "role-playing" label in the new generation. Then again, maybe they'll be so markedly different from other titles, it still won't be that tough to spot an RPG. What say you on this subject?