1st Edition

Game Design Deep Dive Role Playing Games

By Joshua Bycer Copyright 2024
    230 Pages 124 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    230 Pages 124 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Game Design Critic Josh Bycer is back with another entry in the Game Design Deep Dive series to discuss the Role-Playing Game genre. Arguably one of the most recognizable in the industry today, what is and what isn’t an RPG has changed over the years. From the origins in the tabletop market, to now having its design featured all over, it is one of the most popular genres to draw inspiration from and build games around. This is a genre that looks easy from the outside to make, but requires understanding a variety of topics to do right.

    • A breakdown of RPG mechanics and systems, perfect for anyone wanting to study or make one themselves
    • The history of the genre – from tabletop beginnings to its worldwide appeal
    • The reach of the genre – a look at just some of the many different takes on RPGs that have grown over the past 40 years
    • An examination of how RPG systems can be combined with other designs to create brand new takes



    Social Media Contacts

    Additional books



    Chapter 1 Introduction

    1.      The goal of Game Design Deep Dive RPGs

    2.      The Breadth of RPG Design


    Chapter 2: The Tabletop Beginnings

    1.      Discussing Dungeons & Dragons

    2.      Examining Tabletop Design


    Chapter 3: The Foundation of CRPG Design

    1.      The Legacy of Ultima

    2.      Delving Into Dungeon Crawlers

    3.      Origins of Open World CRPGs

    4.      The Success of the Elder Scrolls

    5.      The Retro Future of Fallout

    6.      Bioware’s Redefining of CRPGs

    7.      Morality Trends

    8.      A Quick Collection of CRPGs



    Chapter 4: JRPG’s Takeover of the Console Market

    1.      Dragons and Fantasy

    2.      The Golden Age of JRPGs

    3.      Pokémon’s Pop Culture Dominance

    4.      JRPG vs. CRPG


    Chapter 5: Basics of RPG Design

    1.      Abstracted vs. Reflex-Driven Gameplay

    2.      Class-based Design

    3.      What is RPG Progression

    4.      Asymmetrical Balance

    5.      Examining Equipment and Items

    6.      Is Grinding Good?


    Chapter 6: Subgenres of RPGs

    1.      The Experimentation of RPG Design

    2.      Devilish Action RPGs

    3.      Strategy RPG

    4.      When RPGs got Massive

    5.      The Height of Immersive Sims

    6.      Creature Collectors


    Chapter 7: Modern RPG Design

    1.      The Blurring of CRPG/JRPGs

    2.      Studying Soulslikes

    3.      RPG Action Games

    4.      RPG Maker and Indie Development

    5.      The Wonders of the Witcher

    6.      The Unique Indie RPGs of the 2010s

    7.      What Do RPGs Look Like Today?



    Chapter 8: Putting RPGs Everywhere

    1.      How and When Everything Became an RPG

    2.      The Impossible Balance Between Action and Abstraction

    3.      The Mobile RPG Market



    Chapter 9: Advanced RPG Design

    1.      Understanding the Market for RPGs

    2.      Creating Choices Through Customization

    3.      Combat System Creation

    4.      Enemy and Encounter Design

    5.      Advanced RPG Progression

    6.      Basic Rules of RPG Balancing

    7.      To Break or Not to Break Your Design

    8.      UI (and UX) by the Numbers

    9.      RPG World Design

    10.  A Primer on Subsystems

    11.  No Rules to the Rules



    Chapter 10: Conclusion

    1.      What Does “RPG” Mean Today?

    2.      Potential Trends

    3.      Wrapping Up


    Joshua Bycer is a Game Design Critic with more than 7 years of experience critically analyzing game design and the industry itself. In that time through Game-Wisdom.com, he has interviewed hundreds of game developers and members of the industry about what it means to design video games.