This was an interesting point and got me thinking. Do you think its the sheer scale of things to consider in making an old school RPG that is a major reason why there are not made that much anymore? I mean seems much easier to just throw in a ton on monsters and make every linear.
Seems like much more time and planning needs done to create a fully interactive world experience.
How did they get made in the past then? Was it not as much pressure from editors? Didnt used to be all about the money?
In the past, the game industry was not a multi-billion dollar industry like it is today, studios were small and founded by people passionate about what they were making and publishers weren't as greedy. It was more common for a developer to also be the publisher. As the industry grew, those small outfits got devoured by larger corporations and essentially gutted and destroyed.
Today, games are rushed out the door and must cater to the lowest common denominator to make a profit, and because games are so expensive to make the cycle just degrades.
There's so much demand placed on graphics now and that, I believe, eats into the time that could be spent on actually making the game, and when you've got an RPG, there are so many bugs that need being worked out, a publisher wanting it released so they can hit their quarterly profits, it's pretty easy to see why so many RPGs are bug-ridden messes at release.
I realise most dev teams have dedicated story people, graphics people, mechanics people, but I don't know if that actually works as intended.
But the main reason, I think, that we don't see complex interactive RPGs these days is because they don't sell as well as the big flashy action shooters and whatnot. Publishers don't want to lose money on funding a "niche" game and most aren't even going to consider a developer's proposal unless it looks like a good seller.
We do seem to be experiencing a small surge in indie developers making the games they want, however. Eschalon from Basilisk, Age Of Decadence from Iron Tower, Broken Hourglass from Planewalker and there are a few more popping up whose names escape me at the moment. The technology has reached the point now that allows some pretty nice graphics for a budget price, graphics that most of us find quite acceptable.
Combined with the growing popularity of direct downloads, things look pretty good for the indies finally.
I liked these pieces especially as its exactly how I feel.
"There's so much demand placed on graphics now and that, I believe, eats into the time that could be spent on actually making the game"
"But the main reason, I think, that we don't see complex interactive RPGs these days is because they don't sell as well as the big flashy action shooters and whatnot"
All of this really reminds me of the short term mentality society we live in now.
Look at movies, they are mostly special effects garbage. Wouldnt it make more money in the long run to make a film like Star Wars, Raiders of the lost arc...etc? Long term sales would be better I would think. Those types of frachises still make money today. But like you said I guess they dont want to gamble so just stick to what sells, the crappy first person shooters that sell well and are easy to make.
Music industry is the same way.
I have always said that really good creative ideas and art forms come from a few people or a small groups vision, and I think truly good rpg's are an art form.....