D. Bethel jokes that I’m evangelical about Wild Arms 3. It’s not an unfair conclusion to draw. Like we discussed in the podcast, the Wild Arms series is sort of weird. The original was pretty much a fantasy-esque RPG with a little bit of a western look and feel. One of the characters had firearms as a “special power” and another guy looked like he was wearing a duster. It was alright and laid down some of the peculiar tropes that would come later, but I wouldn’t really call it groundbreaking or definitive. My love is for the third entry in the series: Wild Arms 3.
Wild Arms 3 is a peculiarity in the vast history of Japanese RPGs because it feels like the design team was trying to do something different than practically every other JRPG that had come before. I always joke that the page for the game on the website TV Tropes.org sums up a lot of the weirdness:
Wild ARMs 3 gives one the impression that its creators were told to make a JRPG, but had never played a JRPG before. Far from making it a bad game, this means that they approached the genre from a new direction and did a lot to shake up old cliches[.]
Perhaps, given the history of the console role-playing game since the release of Wild Arms 3, what we were witnessing was the JRPG market starting to adapt to the changing player base. Like Dan said, most developers and players have acknowledged that the JRPGs of today have departed heavily from their roots, for better or worse.