I’ve felt for a long time that the video game industry peaked in the mid-1990s. I’m sure there’s a lot of great work being done, but it feels like there are a lot of me-too FPSes and sports games.
When games went to 3D around ‘97, I realized that there was no turning back. And yet most of the games that were great as games were done in the five-year period before that, because 3D is really hard (with the bar being raised every year, and with trailers driving sales, and with 8-figure budgets) and that was when games as technology/graphics and games as games seem to have diverged.
Just as there is, as a matter of statistical certainty, more great art being made today than the Renaissance (even though the trendy “modern art” is garbage, there are people producing great stuff in obscurity every day) I am sure that there are great 2D RPGs being made all the time, probably most of them getting less than 100 plays. Unfortunately, it’s harder to find them, and none are going to get that same central cultural currency that, say, Final Fantasy 6 or Chrono Trigger had.
Most likely it’s them doing what the movie industry is doing: avoiding risks in favor of remixing or updating stuff that made good money before. Then, their profits are higher.
Perhaps, but I think that 3D has pushed games toward being more like movies, heavy on cut scenes and explosions but light on graphics.
My theory is that when we go from 2D to 3D, we get beyond what we can visualize and end up having to work with in-world objects empirically rather than being able to design things from first principles, just because the geometry is a lot hairier, especially when dealing with complex artifacts (as opposed to 2D sprites or simpler 3D shapes). This drastically limits the gameplay exploration that is possible, at least on a typical time budget.
Have fun with your Quake engine knockoffs I guess…?