JRPG as an Apparatus of Experience

Table of Contents

As “free-to-play” game apps have expanded globally, Persona 5 which was released by Atlas in 2016 became a worldwide hit, despite being a consumer game. Furthermore, Persona 5 has inherited the game-style of “JRPGs,” which are unique to Japan. In this interview, critics Sayawaka and Hiroki Azuma speak with game creator Katsura Hashino, a leading figure in JRPGs, about his works and the status of JRPGs as a whole.
The interview begins with an analysis of Hashino’s works. Sayawaka asks why Hashino’s RPGs such as Persona 5 deal with social and political issues of the real world. Hashino reasons that these elements are necessary to build a narrative in which protagonists of the games can experience growth. Additionally, he argues that JRPGs should ideally function as an “apparatus of experience” in which players can also experience growth by way of learning things through the game.
Azuma later asks Hashino why he chose games as a narrative medium. In reply, Hashino references the fact that players are asked to make important narrative decisions as an element unique to games, which is lacking in films and novels.
In closing the interview, Hashino discusses his views on the future of JRPGs. He believes that JRPGs will succeed if they can distinguish themselves through unique content.