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Will JRPGs ever let go of grinding?

Or are fast forward buttons and sending monsters to alternate dimensions the way forward?

Artwork showing the lead character from Mistwalker's Fantastian
Image credit: Mistwalker

Earlier this week, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi unveiled his next RPG, Fantasian. Described as a "diorama adventure", as it uses real, handcrafted dioramas for its various locations, Fantasian looks pretty neat. There's still a lot we don't know about it at the moment, but one thing that really stood out during its initial reveal was its cool-looking battle system, in which you can send any monsters you encounter to an alternate dimension and biff them altogether at a later date so they don't interrupt the flow of exploration. Sakaguchi calls it the "Dimengeon Battle" system, and it sounds absolutely genius.

Alas, the game is only coming to Apple Arcade at the moment, so it may never appear on PC, but the way Sakaguchi describes Fantasian's battle system has been stuck in my head all week. He talks about it specifically as being a "quality of life improvement to the classic JRPG genre," and it got me thinking. When did "quality of life" become such an important part of modern JRPGs, and will it change our relationship with our favourite JRPGs of yore?

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