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The Evolution of the Videogame RPG [2015]

22 Jan 2015

Join host Chris Crowell and special guest Mike Breault, as designer and author Patrick Holleman presents this fascinating look at RPG history. The Role Playing Genre has become a hugely popular one in the videogames market because of titles like Skyrim, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft. The history of the videogame RPG, however, is a long and strange one. The RPG was born and grew up in the tabletop space in the unforgettable form of Dungeons & Dragons. The design work in Dungeons & Dragons was so incredibly comprehensive that videogame designers attempting to make their own RPGs had to employ unusual strategies to distinguish their games. Usually this meant focusing on one aspect of the D&D source material and embellishing it. This produced many of the classic RPGs that we revere. But what happens when a new generation of designers comes along and takes the descendants of Dungeons & Dragons as their foundation? Then we start to see what happens when a specialization is taken to a wholly new extreme. We’ll take a look at the two major waves of videogame RPG history and how designers have dealt with the inescapable influence of their tabletop forebears.

About Patrick Holleman

Patrick works as a creative producer for the indie studio Synaptic Swtich. From day to day he is a designer, writer, producer composer, sound engineer and whatever else the team needs. He is also a scholar of videogame design history, having written three books and numerous articles about the historical development of videogame design. You can find his books online at http://thegamedesignforum.com, his compositions at https://soundcloud.com/pat-holleman, and the game he has worked on at synapticswitch.com

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