Over on his blog, Coyote has a short piece on some remarks made by Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian regarding the single-player RPG. Feargus is worried that the current trend towards MMOGs may be the death of solo gaming.

I think he’s right to be concerned. These days, it seems there are more announcements for new MMOGs than anything else. Everyone has dollar signs in their eyes and dreams of unseating WoW as the top online game.

Certainly, there’s big money to be had for any online product that can catch the players’ fancy, even if it isn’t “the next Wow”. The trick is whether any of the upcoming games can do that.

In the meantime, single-player games languish. Only two big names are out there: D&D and Elder Scrolls. Those are established lines with a ready market. Anything else is a risk, and the majors don’t like to take risks.

That leaves us with the smaller companies, but most of what they’re doing is labeled as “action/rpg”. The most recent to show up is something called “Avencast”, from an Austrian studio.

You have to worry when they say, “What differentiates Avencast most from other games would be the combat and general style of action, which draw heavy inspiration from beat ’em ups, shooters and the like, rather than classical RPGs.”

Yeah, seems like the emphasis is on action, all right. Of course, that one doesn’t sound much different than a few others out there, or what’s to come.

So right now, it’s rather depressing. On the one hand, there’s the “endless grind” MMOGs, and on the other, more Diablo clones from smaller companies.

So is this future of RPGs? I sure hope not. The real question is whether a market exists for the more traditional style, such as Neverwinter Nights. A big enough market, that is.

Unless one of the major companies wants to give it a try – which I consider unlikely – we have to hope that a smaller one will have a big success. Enough that it might spark some interest in doing a game that isn’t MMOG or Diablo.

So yeah, at the moment, the RPG doesn’t look very healthy. On the other hand, the fat lady isn’t singing, either (quick, someone cut her vocal chords ;).

Why Make Single RPGs on Coyote’s blog