Is Heropath a CRPG?

I’ve defined what a Heroic Strategy-Adventure in a previous post and in many ways it looks like what a Computer Role-Playing Game (CRPG) is. So I thought it would be useful to define CRPG and see if Heropath fits in that genre. Here are some of my favourite definitions of what a CRPG is:

A game is a computer RPG if it features player-driven development of a persistent character or characters via the making of consequential choices.Sinister Designs.

A computer role-playing game (CRPG) is an approach to ludic narrative that emphasizes computational simulation of the storyworld over set-piece, “canned” design and narrative elements. The CRPG generally offers the player a much wider field of choice than other approaches, albeit often at the cost of narrative depth and the scope of narrative possibility it affords to the designer.Digital Antiquarian

1. There must be some form of character development, which might include increases in hit points, spell points, experience, levels, attributes, or skills. Basically, the character has to get intrinsically stronger and tougher as you play the game. Improvements in inventory do not count.
2. Combat effectiveness (including accuracy and damage) must be dependent to some degree on character attributes. Again, these could include standard Dungeons & Dragons-style characteristics, like strength and dexterity, or a skill-based system as in Skyrim. Combat effectiveness based solely on inventory or player dexterity with a controller does not count.
3. Characters in the game must have flexible inventories that are not based around solving puzzles. Characters should find some variety of weapons, armor, potions, and magic items during the game, and the player should be able to choose what the character wields and when he uses various items.
CRPG Addict

Western CRPGs & JRPGs: These will be treated as strategy games with an added exploration aspect… Insomnia via

I’ve long believed that CRPGs are fundamentally strategy games where resources are gathered through world exploration from the perspective of the protagonist. So with those definitions being laid out, I’d like to offer my own:

CRPGs are strategy games that emphasize protagonist trait-advancement, tactical combat resolution, inventory management, and world exploration.

So will Heropath be a CRPG given my definition? It won’t be in the beginning.

Heropath will definitely have CRPG elements in later chapters but like all Video Games it will emphasize certain certain motifs to create a distinct presentation. Heropath will differ from CRPGs in the following ways:

  1. You will command larger units in future chapters: CRPGs typically leave out control of larger units like squads, armies, castles, cities, and kingdoms. You visit these things but you don’t usually control them. Heropath eventually will expand to allow you control of more than your avatar.
  2. Dexterity challenge resolution in the beginning chapters: CRPGs can incorporate dexterity/action resolution (known as Action RPGs) and Heropath will follow those games to start with. Defeat of obstacles through character levelling, spells, and defeating monsters will not be Heropath’s initial focus.
  3. Deconstruction of the genre: One of the core design ideas for Heropath is to deconstruct what a CRPG is. I plan to break the genre down to its essential building blocks to savour these ingredients being added over time. I appreciate CRPGs like Challenge of the Five Realms that adopted interesting mechanics like having an end-of-the-world timer and allowing you to recruit groupings of a units. That game feels more like a Heroic Strategy-Adventure because of those added elements.

In summary, Heropath will be start out as a Heroic Strategy-Adventure, but will adopt some CRPG traits as the game advances. While those two genres share aesthetic treatments they emphasize different mechanics which is where I hope to have Heropath distinguish itself.

What is a Heroic Strategy-Adventure?

Heropath is a Heroic Strategy-Adventure game, an obscure sub-genre of Video Games. The Strategy-Adventure genre is unique, innovative, and contains some lost design and game mechanics that I think are wonderful and worth mimicking.

Strategy is one of the most popular video game genres and entails thinking, planning, and executing with your available in-game resources. Adventure is a genre that rarely stands on its own and usually is blended into Action and Role-Playing games via in-game world exploration. Being a Strategy-Adventure game, Heropath would contain both strategic planning meshed with in-game world exploration.

I would like to expand the definition of Adventure to be more than visiting different places in-game. In addition to different places, I’d like to also explore different game mechanics in-game. I loved staged poly-mechanic games like Beach Head , Beach Head II , Raid Over Moscow, and Spore that linked diverse mini-games through in-game narrative. While nobody called such games Adventure games, I think exploration can be expanded to include a series of narrative-linked game mechanics. Heropath will contain both exploration of in-game worlds and poly-mechanic stages.

So I’ve defined Strategy-Adventure but what do these two mean when you combine them with ‘Heroic’? To be a heroic game, the game must be played through an in-game avatar. Heropath will be a Strategy-Adventure game played from the perspective of your in-game avatar, thus adopting the Heroic Strategy-Adventure definition.

The game that best represents Heroic Strategy-Adventure is Cryo’s Dune. That game’s perspective was focused through your role as Paul Atriedes but game mechanic expansion such as troop command and terraforming were only accessed as Paul discovered them in-game. Dune was one of best narratively designed video games ever and I aim to have Heropath duplicate its inspired design.