I suspect it’s a combination of everybody moving on with their lives and RPGs kinda sucking there for a while. Like, everybody says the DS was the place to RP be for it’s generation, but looking back at the system’s library, there’s barely over a handful of titles that were actually good and weren’t just remakes, ports, or games that weren’t actually RPGs like Visual Novels and such.
JRPGs are one of the many genres that large publishers decided pretty much based on assumption are dead, along with survival horror, point and click adventure, and strategy games. We’ve especially seen this with how Capcom keeps trying to CoD-ify all of its games and how Square-Enix keeps trying to buy Western developers. The rationale seems to be that military shooters are popular, therefore, everything else is unpopular.
That trend is already showing signs of collapse though, the budgets are ballooning uncontrollably and the demand just isn’t there. Capcom is already feeling it after DmC underperformed, and the talent haemorrhage many big-name studios have had in the last few years is startling. If the big Kickstarter projects like Mighty No 9, the new Torment and Star Citizen actually yield results, things should be getting interesting pretty soon. At the very least I’m looking forward to Project Eternity, Torment and whatever the hell Lord British is doing.
The problem is with RPGs you need it to be really good on the level of Chrono Trigger or FFVI (and Tales of Phantasia THERE I SAID IT) for it to have any replay value whatsoever, and that even that doesn’t make the company any money whatsoever. A similar budget can be used to develop like a shittier MMORPG or just something with DLCs and companies can rake in way more cash for a lot less effort. Plus it’s hard to put multiplayer into a purely story-driven RPG. Bethesda is pretty much the only really consistently successful company that’s still doing this that I can think of.
It also helps if the game is either fairly short or easy. The last thing I want to do is slog through another 80 hours to view the maybe five additional scenes that don’t really add anything or just makes things even more confusing.
But yeah, right now a lot of developers have retreated to micro-transaction based CCGs [STRIKE](with jiggling boobies)[/STRIKE] for quick and dirty money.
What happened is that some key personalities, Sephiroth Katana, Merlin, Mazrim Taim, and Cidolfas, all left. The people still here are very smart, but the dynamic is different, and it seems harder to get discussions going. Maybe we can make it as good as it was.