Ten Crazy JRPG Predictions For 2013

This is the last new Random Encounters you will ever read in 2012. Shed a tear. OK. Now that you're done crying, let's talk new years. I imagine that 2013 will be an interesting year for JRPG fans in both good and bad ways. So I've drawn up 10 JRPG-related predictions — some ridiculous, others not-so-ridiculous — for the Year Of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen.

Let's go.

1. Ni No Kuni Will Bomb

It makes me sad just to write this, but I think the first big JRPG of 2013 will be a sales flop. Critics will love Ni no Kuni, but it will ultimately fail to garner much of an audience thanks to its strange name and lack of mainstream retail exposure. I imagine I will still enjoy the heck out of the game.

2. Square Will Reveal That Final Fantasy Versus XIII Is Now Final Fantasy XV

They'll realise that the XIII brand is way played out, and show off the newly-named Final Fantasy XV at E3. It will be stunning, and it will hit Durango and Orbis in spring 2014.

3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Will Be Surprisingly Good

I couldn't stand Final Fantasy XIII and I thought its sequel was just as dull, but I have a good feeling about Lightning Returns, despite the tepid reactions it's earned from fans so far. The gameplay sounds unique and interesting. I think it could be a cool game.

4. One Western Developer Will Make A JRPG

Let's take a wild guess and say Naughty Dog. Uncharted 4 will be a turn-based RPG. The pitch of Nathan Drake's voice will be raised five octaves. All guns will be replaced with gunblades. There will be twins for some reason. Nathan will die. (Then come back a demi-god.)

5. At Least One Big JRPG Will Come To Wii U Next Spring

Maybe a Final Fantasy spinoff in the vein of Crystal Chronicles, or maybe even a Tales game. Dunno. But I think JRPG fans with Wii Us will have something to play by the end of 2013.

6. Final Fantasy IV Will Be Released On At Least 7000 More Devices.

Not content with just letting you play Final Fantasy IV on your Super Nintendo, PlayStation, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, DS, iPhone, iPad, WonderSwan, Game Boy Advance, and PSP, Square Enix will re-releases Cecil's adventures. You'll now be able to play Final Fantasy IV on Xbox 360, Xbox 720, PlayStation Orbis, Vita, 3DS, Ouya, PC, TI-84 graphing calculator, toasters, Flash browsers, dogs, coffee mugs, voice recorders, Google+, blueberry pies, packing tape and the Times Square Jumbotron.

7. A Much-Requested Game Will Be Localised

Not a new one, like Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (which, bonus prediction, I think will come to America next summer). I'm thinking an older one, something that most people thought had no chance of ever making it to Western shores. Wild guess: Valkyria Chronicles 3.

8. Square Will Announce A Direct Sequel To Final Fantasy VI

Fans will go crazy. A new story in the world of Final Fantasy VI? Bloody fantastic.

Then Square will announce that it's a free-to-play browser game. Fans will riot in the streets.

9. 2013 Will Be The Year Of Indie 2D JRPGs

More than any year before it, 2013 will see tons and tons of high-quality JRPG-style games made by Western designers. Some will come out of the blue; others will come from Kickstarters launched in 2012. All will add to our ever-growing backlogs.

10. Every Single Kotaku Reader Will Play Suikoden II

Look, everyone needs goals. Mine is to get you to play Suikoden II. So either start now, or wait for the subliminal messages that start appearing in every article I write next year. Your call.

Random Encounters is a weekly column dedicated to all things JRPG.


    I don't understand why Ni No Kuni doesnt adapt a more accessible name for Western audiences.

      The Ghibli films have always used translated titles, but the translation of Ni no Kuni is something like 'The Second Country' and sounds incredibly generic.

        Which is a pity. Otherworld has a similar meaning but definitely more enticing.

      I know what you mean, every time i go to preorder it i keep forgetting how to say it.

    I would argue that if a western developer made a JRPG it wouldn't be a JRPG.

      "in the style of a JRPG" will be a better way to phrase it

      Come to think of it I can't really think of any big (well-known/popular) Western made games that are like that... know of any?

        Nothing well-known or popular. You could make the argument for some older PC games like Anachronox or Septerra Core but I don't think either of them were particularly popular (and Septerra Core wasn't very good either - Anachronox is massively under-loved though)

          I loved the world of Septerra Core!

            Yeah, it had a really interesting setup and stuff. I remember being very disappointed by the actual game though.

          Are you serious, septerra was amazing, only flaw would be the combat and stuff but othervise it was great story vise, loved it.

    Yeah, they're crazy. Everyone knows Versus won't be finished until after FFXV

    Played the Ni No Kuni demo, seemed to me like never ending story meets pokemon.
    I thought it would be more open world though, seems a bit restricted. The enemies are too small and innocent looking with the exemption of two shown in the demo they don't seem to vary in size either.
    It was cool being able to run around in combat but I Just don't get any sense of accomplishment from bashing tiny helpless creatures you'd see on a children's morning program trying to teach abcs.
    I think this article is right, it wont sell so well.

      I've got the full game (Jap). There's a few bosses but for the most part they're tiny. And combat might get better later but the first few hours are really bland. Gorgeous graphics but dull gameplay.

      And yet Kirby seems to do just fine, with all those adorable monsters who appear to do nothing but scamper about... and then you eat them or kill them with Kirby gut stars.

      Also the demo pretty much has you on super easy mode, especially on the volcano level (from what I hear, you're not even supposed to have those familiars at that point).

    ALL jrpgs will have a dual audio so we can play them as they were intended to and not have to sit thru the horrible english dubs. LOL, no.

    At Least One Big JRPG Will Come To Wii U Next Spring

    Monolith Soft's new Wii U game!

      I don't have a Wii U yet, but I will when that comes out!

    This is the last new Random Encounters you will ever read...
    in 2012.

    I shed a tear.

    Sadly, I think he's right about Ni No Kuni. Apart from the people currently looking to buy it, it's just gonna get glanced over because of its name. It's okay, you can join the shelf with Okami :)

    my prediction? square won't announce anything about final fantasy X HD, because i have a feeling they want to sweep that under the rug and pretend it was never announced...

    Crap predictions. They don't seem very serious. For so I don't like them.

    1. Unfortunately that will probably be the case
    2. Not gonna happen, Versus is still in the same universe revolving around the same mythos. With some connection to Etro, l'cie and fal'cie I believe.
    3. It will be as good as the rest of them. People will love it and hate it, it cannot turn into a sudden smash hit with everyone now though, not after the first two.
    4. No
    5. Now that's just a random bet. I say 2 new FPS will come to the 360 spring.
    6. It's good to see old classics being shared around. Not everyone has or wants an iPhone or DS
    7.I I doubt an old much requested game will come. A new one such as Type-0 has a higher chance of being announced.
    8. Unlikely
    9. Yes but just as all the other western made old style rpgs they will all be run off of micro transactions to buy items gold and premium content. O.o
    10. -


    Crazy indeed.

      So I’ve drawn up 10 JRPG-related predictions — some ridiculous, others not-so-ridiculous — for the Year Of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen. (Emphasis mine)

    I was rather disappointed with the Ni no Kuni demo. The music felt like it was just music, with no connection to the mood or setting, and the animated style characters clashed with the "realistic" style of the environment. It also felt a bit empty, but that could have been because there was no real context to it all. I'm going to skip it I think.

    I'm actually optimistic about FFXIII-3 despite the fact they insist on perpetuating the XIII universe. It sounds like it might be an interesting direction for Square to explore to get out of the rut they're in. It just depends on whether they continue to try and keep being as close to action-based combat as possible without abandoning turn-based combat...

    I reckon no. 4 would be more in Bioware's domain. ME3 actually felt more like a JRPG with its God Child/Will of the Universe, the Haunted Hero, party members with personality quirks, recurring bad guys, mechs, and the whole "Fight with friendship, not power" thing (ie. Uniting all races of the universe to beat the dark forces through charisma and charm). Well, at least that's how my playthrough felt.

      It's very hard not to see the JRPG (and Visual Novel-ish) influences that have slowly crept into Bioware's games over the years. I agree, I think ME2 and ME3 (and DA2 even more so actually, given its more linear nature) felt very much like they were attempting to straddle the JRPG/WRPG line. It's very evident in their push toward more character-driven narrative. What separates JRPGs and WRPGs for me is that Japanese games are developed from the inside out, with the characters designed first, and a world and setting that makes sense for those characters fleshed out afterwards, wheras western RPGs are developed from the outside in, beginning with the design of the world and then building characters that fit inside that. If you listen to the way Bioware talks about their character design nowadays, it seems they're swinging more toward the other side.

    Suikoden II was a great game, I wish there was more rpgs like it..

    I really need to get around to learning Japanese, all these games that don't get released in english is driving me mad.

    First post! Woohoo! Enjoyed the predictions. Anyways, I would love to see Lightning, if she is fighting on her own using 'styles', to be utilising some form of 'ex-quip' like technique as used by Erza in the Fairy Tail anime/manga. Imagine Lightning switching outfits/armour/weapons in mere seconds and fighting with a different battle style. Cool! Would pay the dollars for that for sure!

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