The Witcher – RPG or Not
Those of you who are looking forward to the North American release of The Witcher tomorrow may be interested in a recent editorial on Rock, Paper, Shotgun that endeavors to answer the question “Which sort of RPG is the Witcher?” The key here is defining the prime elements of an RPG. For example, is a game considered an RPG if you can’t create your own character?
Weighing in personally, this was something that came up on last week’s podcast. Ron and I debated the impact of MMORPG’s and the question of what makes an RPG was high on our list of debates. With most games containing elements of traditional RPG mentality – like statistic leveling, skill advancement, etc. it’s becoming harder and harder to draw a straight line in any genre. Oblivion is in many ways a fantasy FPS, but we classify it as an RPG. Consider that the latest Tiger Woods could in many ways be considered an RPG in its career mode – you develop and train up your golfer by playing, choose appearance, etc. Aspects of games that traditionally would be considered an RPG. The question becomes more how the “story” is told and what the aim of the gameplay is that keeps anyone from calling that game or Madden an RPG.
The debate is one that is a hot topic in the video game industry. Check out many of the definitions of RPG on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. For another take on RPGs download the latest File-n-Forget podcast, “Multiple Roles, Singular Worlds”.
I’ve only spent a few hours with The Witcher at this point and I’d call it a great example of an RPG. It has a strong central plot, a character whose skills and abilities develop at my whim and through my actions, and character advancement that is integral to telling the story of the game and directly tied to gameplay.
What defines an RPG for you?