Features: Why Not Create a Fitness RPG?
Posted by James Newton
When genres collide!
Recent comments by Yoshinori Kitase about the Move's unsuitability for RPG play due to masses of motion-controlled fighting over 40 or 50 hours of gameplay got us thinking here at Movemodo.
Some games are marketed purely on the level of their physical exertion and its benefits – Zumba Fitness will no doubt fit into this category – others shy away from the idea. What if the two worked together – what about an RPG that made fitness a part of the gameplay? Imagine a fitness game with a story that used familiar game elements to represent your progress.
The Joy of Stats
Numbers are the best part of any RPG: HP, MP, ATK, EXP and more allow you to track your hero's progress from lowly swordsman to world-conquering giant slayer. Once certain milestones are passed, you advance to the next level and stage of difficulty, yielding greater rewards, so you're always making progress forward.
Athletes and those into personal fitness recognise that keeping tabs on your performance allows you to keep moving forward too, progressing from short bursts of exercise to longer periods of exertion as your fitness – let's call it the FIT statistic – improves. If your FIT isn't high enough, you won't be able to last long enough in battle to defeat enemies and reap the rewards; the fitter you are, the more ass you'd be able to kick.
Battles Are Changing
RPGs have been using menu-based battles for years, but with the advent of motion control there's a chance for new, more varied battle sequences to take place. Combining these with a fitness game also subscribes to the theory of "burst training", where periods of low exertion are punctuated with short bursts of strenuous exercise, like a random battle in the field.
Move can be used to represent a sword or a gun, has a wide range of motion for a series of magical attacks and much more, so would be a perfect fit for almost every RPG battle system ever devised as well as plenty of new ones.
The Story of Fitness
Many people drop out of exercise regimes due to boredom; a lack of progression can hurt your ambitions. The same can be said of RPGs, but by providing an overarching story perhaps the genre could boost commitment from players: objectives and missions to be completed would provide tangible milestones, helping players to recognise their achievements.
By the time you reach the final epic battle your party's FIT would have reached a high enough level to allow you to defeat the evil overlord and end the world.
That's a good question. You've trained long and hard over hours and hours, coming from a lazy nobody to a fitness powerhouse; you've saved the world and recovered the ancient artefact. What comes next?
Fitness is a long-term goal, not a finite experience. How would players react to completing the story and finishing their training? Would they be satisfied or eager for more; would they see their exertion as something worthwhile outside of the game or just another form of controlling the game?
What would it take for you to play an RPG with motion controls? Would you play a fitness game if it had a story and interesting characters?