Final Fantasy producer believed the term JRPG was 'discriminatory'
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Square Enix producer and director Naoki Yoshida (also known as Yoshi-P), who’s arguably best known for his work on Final Fantasy XIV, has revealed that the term ‘JRPG’ used to be considered “discriminatory” by many developers in Japan, and it may still “trigger bad feelings” for some to this day.
In an interview with Skill Up, Yoshida said that although JRPG has “better connotations” today, it was originally used in a much more negative way. Ultimately, he added, developers such as himself never considered that they were creating so-called JRPGs, but RPGs.
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“This is going to depend on who you ask but there was a time when this term first appeared 15 years ago, and for us as developers the first time we heard it, it was like a discriminatory term,” he explained. “As though we were being made fun of for creating these games, and so for some developers the term JRPG can be something that will maybe trigger bad feelings because of what was in the past. It wasn’t a compliment for a lot of developers in Japan. We understand that recently, JRPG has better connotations and it’s and it’s being used as a positive but we still remember a time when it was used as a negative.”
He continued: “I remember seeing something 15 years ago which was basically a definition of what a JRPG was versus a western RPG, and it’s kind of like FFVII, and it has this type of graphics, this length of story, and compartmentalising what we were creating into a JRPG box. And I took offence to that because that’s not how we go into creating. We were going in to create an RPG, but to be compartmentalised, we felt that was discriminatory.”
It’s certainly something to keep in mind going forward that many developers may not consider ‘JRPG’ to be a favourable term, even if it’s not being used with the intention of causing offence.