Bravely Default Might Be The Only Contemporary RPG We Have
Bravely Default was released in the U.S. this month. But I'm sure you all know that. It was a highly anticipated RPG, praised by many because of its 'old school' feel. Classes and jobs, magic, side-quests, open world, being able to explore places and so on; a lot of people compared it to another classic by Square: Final Fantasy IV. And despite all of that, there is one feature, one simple feature that is also causing an uproar. Bravely Default introduced us to something never seen before: The ability to increase, decrease or completely turn off random encounters. Sounds good at first, right? Well, some people don't seem to agree, swiftly grabbing their pitchforks and torches and claiming that this is not what a RPG should be like. We should be looking forward the the next random encounter. We should respect how RPGs are up until now. We should play this game the way we played RPGs when we were kids. Only problem is...that was then and this is now.
See, back when videogames were not such an accepted form of entertainment as they are now, RPGs (And most genres for that matter) were trying to be innovative. Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Elder Scrolls, they all introduced something new. Now, I don't remember how much of an uproar those games might have caused back then but I'm sure most of used probably scratched our heads in confusion and played those games anyway. We weren't so picky back then. We were eager to try something new. But nowadays, in an age were instant gratification is a must for any service, we are quick to judge something that looks slightly different. But let me go back to that instant gratification topic.
It is precisely because of that that I believe Bravely Default is probably the only contemporary RPG we have. And by contemporary I mean a game that is adapting to this new generation, bringing both old and new elements to the table and combining them successfully. This new generation is used to technology. We want things now. Bravely Default acknowledges that and bring the random encounter feature to the table. Don't feel like running into an enemy every 5 seconds? Turn random encounters off. Feel like leveling up as soon as possible? Turn it up! Don't care much about either one? That's fine too. No more dying in a random dungeon because that pesky lv. 15 enemy won't let you escape and your party is pretty weak. No more losing hours of grinding because you forgot to restock your inventory before leaving home. You literally have control of your time playing the game now.
I really hope to see more RPGs do the same from now on. It's truly an innovative and great feature that, depending on how you play, could completely change the game or be ignored. Simple as that. Of course, some RPGs like Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption would lose a lot of its charm with a feature like that but, again, at least it would be up to the player how to play the game. This generation of new gamers is always on the move and they might not be as patient as some of us HAD to be when we were kids. So appeal to their needs, introduce them to the old ways while acknowledging their likes. I am really proud of Bravely Default and cannot hope to see the effect it has on videogames, not only as a great RPG but because of its one innovative feature.