Josh Sawyer, Swen Vincke, and Robert Kurvitz on the Future of CRPGs

Yesterday, we got a chance to check out a Kotaku UK article where Chris Avellone and George Ziets talked about the evolution of the RPG genre over the years. And today, over at PC Gamer, Josh Sawyer, Swen Vincke, and Robert Kurvitz, three prominent RPG developers, pitch in with some of their ideas on where the genre can go from where it currently is.

In short, Sawyer wants to explore more unique settings, Vincke considers settings to be secondary to what you do with them, and Kurvitz wants to turn the whole industry on its head, give it a shake, and see what comes out of it. An excerpt:

Swen Vincke, Larian Studios’ CEO, sees Divinity: Original Sin and Original Sin 2 as steps in the evolution of RPGs, an evolution that will continue well into the future. That doesn’t mean, however, putting the fantasy tropes out to pasture.

“I don’t think that setting is necessarily that important, as long as it’s a setting that appeals to a large enough group of players and generates some initial interest. It’s what you do with a setting that’s important. It’s perfectly possible to come up with a brilliant fantasy game and do something that has never been done before. That’ll be the case forever, I think, and it’s the same for science fiction.”

The sheer number of fantasy RPGs, even if they do tweak the formula, can make the genre seem homogeneous, but Vincke believes that a lot of the fantasy exhaustion is coming from the media. “I think the press doesn’t like fantasy, but our audience does,” he says. For reviewers, at least, the slog is definitely amplified when you’re working through more than the one or two RPGs a year most people have time to play, but everyone is just as capable of growing tired of the overly familiar.

For Vincke, there’s still limitless potential in fantasy, and Original Sin 2 certainly takes the genre to new and weird places, full of empathic, cannibal elves and posh lizards. He doesn’t find fantasy restrictive, then, but that doesn’t stop him from thinking about spreading out.