Philosophy and metaphysics don’t exactly come to mind when most people think about gaming. And yet, when I was having a conversation with author/developer Kyle Muntz about his Indie RPG, The Pale City, mostly what we talked about was philosophy, David Lynch, and recreating literature through gaming. At one point, he posed a question: “Is grinding still an integral aspect of RPG gaming?” which set off a whole discussion about what makes an RPG a RPG. I did this preview/interview with Kyle for his game at the Kotaku blog and had a great time doing so.
One of the reasons I loved Persona 3 so much was that once you got stronger, weaker enemies would actually run away from you. In Earthbound, weaker foes were automatically killed upon confrontation. Both games acknowledged the tedium of grinding and found a sleek way to deal with it in a way that didn’t get overly-cumbersome. Muntz is contemplating taking this a step further and eliminating it altogether from an RPG, almost in the fashion of Shadow of the Colossus.
And to quote Kyle directly:
“I’m aiming for a structural approach to the narrative that hasn’t been done (except maybe in Planescape), which appeals to me as a storyteller though I’m still trying to cater to people who, you know, want to fight. For the most part, things are written so that there are lots of boss fights (or just generally hard fights: you fight one enemy or a small group for ideally storytelling related reasons), so in my head what it does is get rid of the grinding element.”
Check it out!