I'm writing and article here... and need to consolidate my opinion on some core concepts. If you have a mind or an interest for these things, please comment away:
- One of the probable causes for the Final Fantasy series success is that player character(s) tend to be a part of the story. Contrary to most other RPG games where the player character is often alien to the whole storyline and meant to just progress NPCs own stories and kill things. In Final Fantasy, the player playes the story, in most other RPGs the player tells the story.
- It's possible already to do a plotless RPG game that offers players situations, instead of quests, stories instead of a plot. Where they can truly decided on their own moral path without being tied to a storyline that, no matter how broad it is will always limit their options. A game that doesn't progress towards anything tangible. A game world that is meant to be lived in by the player. As an evil character, as a good character, or as a deeply human character.