Obsidian's Chris Avellone is of the belief some of the mechanics implemented in RPGs over the years have "undermined" the genre, making it more about convenience than "the thrill of victory and discovery."
"I'll say the 'advances' have been more for player convenience, sometimes good, sometimes bad, in my opinion," he told IndustryGamers. "Journals, quest compasses that point directly to the goal and show you the route, auto-maps, etc. are helpful, but, at the same time, I think it undermines the thrill of victory and discovery and a lot of what makes an RPG an RPG (exploration, notably)."
Avellone, who has works on a number of RPGs such as Fallout 2 and Icewind Dale, does seem pleased with advances in "non-interface" elements such as consequence systems and fully voice-acted characters - all which are bleeding over into other areas of gaming.
"I enjoy the fact that role-playing game mechanics are bleeding into other genres, and the 'genres' aren't as clear-cut any more," he said. "Developers are seeing the worth in customization, levelling, dialogue, choice and reactivity and other elements that would normally be considered RPG mechanics and introducing them into multiple titles."
Obsidian has various titles in the works at the moment, and was announced recently as the developer behind the South Park RPG.