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Why are there so many roguelikes these days?

bv728

Was he a violent man?
Validated User
And I managed to miss all of them. :) But I see FTL is at -75% at humble, perhaps it's time to give it a try.
If I can digress slightly, I find it somewhat amusing that very few of the modern generation of rogue-likes are actually... well, Rogue. They take the fundamentals (permadeath, strong randomization) and apply it to another style - Spelunky is a Platformer, FTL a Ship-Management game, Binding of Issac is Body-Horror Gross Out Legend of Zelda, Enter the Gungeon is a Bullet-Hell Shooter, Slay the Spire is a Deck-builder, Dead Cells is a Metroidvania... There's plenty of Rogue-style games, sure, but it's interesting how much of the larger success stories just aren't Rogue.
 

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
The original version of Spelunky was (and is) freeware so you can try out the gameplay and see how it is.
Wait, looking at the screenshots, I think I actually did play Spelunky. Must have been ages ago, and I remember almost nothing but that I lost interest in about half an hour. :) Never even realized there's anything roguelike-like about it. It reminded me of old ZX Spectrum games I played as a small kid - I guess that's what my brain connects with short, hard and random games.

If I can digress slightly, I find it somewhat amusing that very few of the modern generation of rogue-likes are actually... well, Rogue. They take the fundamentals (permadeath, strong randomization) and apply it to another style - Spelunky is a Platformer, FTL a Ship-Management game, Binding of Issac is Body-Horror Gross Out Legend of Zelda, Enter the Gungeon is a Bullet-Hell Shooter, Slay the Spire is a Deck-builder, Dead Cells is a Metroidvania... There's plenty of Rogue-style games, sure, but it's interesting how much of the larger success stories just aren't Rogue.
Which runs around back to my original point, that roguelikes (of the original kind) are a niche thing.

Even Tales of Maj'Eyal, which is most traditional new roguelike I know, has a lot of departures from ZAngband and the like. All the unlocks, for one. Also, my first character survived beyond level 3 - that often took five to ten tries when I first played old roguelikes... It's difficult in a very different way.
 

Rabbit Éclair

high in vital bunnytonium
RPGnet Member
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Even Tales of Maj'Eyal, which is most traditional new roguelike I know, has a lot of departures from ZAngband and the like. All the unlocks, for one. Also, my first character survived beyond level 3 - that often took five to ten tries when I first played old roguelikes... It's difficult in a very different way.
Most more recent games smooth out the difficulty curve quite a bit, yeah... which I can't really blame them for. I've managed all-rune clears of DCSS, so I like to think I'm decent at it, but I don't really savor the 'try to get past level 3 when one in eight spawns can rip you to shreds' stage of things.
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
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I think the term is being overused a bit as well. Games have largely trended towards reloadable saves, checkpointing and other means of avoiding a permanent game over screen, so a lot of things that would not normally fall under the traditional roguelike umbrella are labelled that way simply because a game can end in defeat.
 

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
I think the term is being overused a bit as well. Games have largely trended towards reloadable saves, checkpointing and other means of avoiding a permanent game over screen, so a lot of things that would not normally fall under the traditional roguelike umbrella are labelled that way simply because a game can end in defeat.
So basically, "roguelike" now means the same "hardcore" did in Diablo etc?
 

Vargen

Registered User
Validated User
I think part of the success of Rogue-like games has come from making the metagame and player-skill progression explicit, systemized parts of the game. In Nethack you didn't unlock anything on your account, but you would "level up" as a player by learning which monsters to eat for which immunities and other bits of knowledge about how the world and game systems worked. In Rogue Legacy they take some of that meta-progression and put it in the castle building/skill tree interface, which means a lot more players notice it.
 

TheGrog

Registered User
Validated User
A lot of rogue-likes are also cheap to make. You don't need level or environmental designers to make Skyrim-sized areas, quest & NPC designers to populate it, and so on. You just need to tweak the procedural generation methods until you have what you want, and that requires a much smaller pool of employees.

It's not easy to make a rogue-like, but you also don't need somebody who's sole job is to populate the world with livestock either.
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
As a player who doesn’t armchair analyze well? I can say that there’s one genre that helped prime me for my stints in FTL, Rogue Legacy, etc...

MMORPGs.

I started with WOW and City of Heroes. The idea of always progressing forward, even if I died, got over my head, whatever, became an expectation of that genre. I could even ignore my primary goal in order to grind up so I could improve myself before going after X.

Probably other genres did the same, but that got me. Having rogue like elements in other genres/presentations helped too.
 

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
As a player who doesn’t armchair analyze well? I can say that there’s one genre that helped prime me for my stints in FTL, Rogue Legacy, etc...

MMORPGs.

I started with WOW and City of Heroes. The idea of always progressing forward, even if I died, got over my head, whatever, became an expectation of that genre. I could even ignore my primary goal in order to grind up so I could improve myself before going after X.

Probably other genres did the same, but that got me. Having rogue like elements in other genres/presentations helped too.
I'm not sure I follow. Traditionally, in roguelikes you die, you lose everything, unlike Diablo and (almost all but the earliest) MMOs where you just wake up in town with a small penalty...
 
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