Last week we awarded CVG's Site of the Week to a pair of Lonely Wizards who's off-the-wall gaming podcast and aspirations for a home-made jam empire caught our eye.
This week we're honing in on one of gaming's most hardcore genres as we enter the world of RPG.
We're not fearful though because we're here to visit a site that feels more than comfortable with hardcore RPGing. In fact, RPG Site offers some of the most hardcore RPG content we've seen in the virtual woodland.
We took a pulled up a tree stump with RPG Site's senior editor Alex Donaldson to ask him all about it.
What sets RPG Site apart from other sites?
The obvious answer comes in the name, I suppose! We offer content on RPG titles that is presented like 'proper' games sites and magazines as opposed to a fan site, but we still hit the bases of the kind of in-depth detail and niche content that RPG fans wouldn't get from those bigger sites.
We know we can't cover everything or do it quickly so we focus on quality and detail in our stories instead, and we've found people love that. At E3, we had a Final Fantasy XIII-2 Preview that we think is the most detailed online clocking in at 3000 words and an interview with the Director and Producer of the game that asked more hardcore - but not obscure - questions than anywhere else. That's what we're mostly about.
We've also got an amazing, 100% custom back-end to the site which allowed us to build what we call the Media Vault. That's is a great big database of screenshots, videos and artwork from RPGs. The Artwork section in particular is really cool, as if you want a super high res piece of Final Fantasy XIII CGI artwork or a massive picture of Mass Effect 2's Omega to print as a poster or as a PC wallpaper you can find huge, uncompressed images over in the Media Vault.
What would you say you specialise in?
RPGs, of course - but more than that, we specialise in serving that hardcore RPG fanbase. We know Darksiders isn't really an RPG for instance, but what we also know very well is our audience and we know that the majority of them will probably enjoy its lateral thinking and its RPG elements like the character progression- so we'd take a look at that in a review and mark it on the site as not being an RPG but being a game that RPG fans will likely enjoy. We do this for a lot of titles, and again, it works well for us.
Our real bread and butter is the traditional RPG, though. Right now our biggest hitters that readers seem most excited about are Mass Effect 3, Skyrim and Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Type-0, and so we're of course really concentrated on that core stuff. What's important to us is to widen the scope of the site without losing sight of what we set out to do, which is provide really good coverage of the RPG genre.
We do all the things everyone does - news, previews, interviews, reviews, articles and so on - but our aim is to go into much more detail than everyone else, be it with hugely lengthy previews and reviews, niche news stories out of Japan or ridiculously high quality artwork images in the Media Vault.
What do you have planned for the future?
Some people are saying RPGs are on their way out, but we think differently - we think they're actually becoming omnipresent. Ten years ago the XP and Level Up systems in Call of Duty would've been solely the realm of RPGs, but now such systems from morality and dialogue to RPG-style character progression are creeping in everywhere. While the Japanese side is struggling, we think the future for the wider genre is bright.
In terms of the actual site we're planning to set up a proper-regular podcast and ramp up our video content as well as our import coverage of games that release in Japan well ahead of time. This year we'll be taking import looks at Final Fantasy XIII-2, Type-0 and Tales of Xillia amongst others. We're also planning tighter links with our sister sites which include TheGamingVault.com (general gaming) and UFFSite.net (a Final Fantasy fansite).
Finally, we've always been UK-based, but we've taken on a few amazing US people now who are helping us to beef up our presence and coverage from that side of the pond. We continue with what's already successful from us, but want to have more of it, more often, from more places!