Lets Talk Mechanics: Should MC’s Be Required To Live?

The JRPG genre is one that is built on tradition. Many big titles still rely on the tried and true turn-based combat system. Grinding has remained a staple unwritten requirement for progression. The team healer is almost ALWAYS the weakest link. This is a genre littered with tropes and for the most part hardcore JRPG fans wouldn’t have it any other way. However there are certain traditions that can stand to be forgotten.

In just a few days a crowdfunding campaign will launch for a Valkyrie Profile inspired game by the creators of Skull Girls called INDIVISIBLE. Recently while viewing a live stream of the games prototype I discovered that it’s developers have decided to adopt an old rpg mechanic I personally haven’t seen used in quite some time although I’m sure this is hardly the most recent implementation. That mechanic being the fail condition that results from the death of the player character regardless of your remaining parties status.

As I’m sure you’ve already gathered this article will contain my own personal bias regarding this topic. This is not a mechanic I have ever been a fan of for a number of reasons. It severely limits the amount of ways a player can approach each battle, almost forcing you to prioritize the safety of one character. It discourages development of intelligent enemy AI. Why teach them to adapt when your opponent always has an Achilles heel? The challenge it provides isn’t rewarding but a hindrance and deterrent to strategic planning.

If you’ve never played a game like this, just imagine, you’ve been fighting a boss for the past 25 minutes. Its down to the wire, it’s remaining health is but a blip on the screen but your own team isn’t looking so hot either. It’s the bosses turn and you know that the odds of all your team surviving the next attack are very small but all you need is for 1 to survive and the battle can be yours. The boss strikes and of your 4 team members only one dies. Great right? Unfortunately no because the fallen hero was the main protagonist. START OVER!

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I think you get the picture but I’d like to hear all of your thoughts on this ESPECIALLY those of you who may disagree. Please leave your comments below.