RPG defined?

What defines a computer/video role-playing game (RPG)?

From Wikipedia:

in all RPGs, the player assume the role of a character (often in a fantasy world or science-fiction world) and takes control over many of that character's actions.

Would this make almost every video game a RPG?

What if the main character is immersed in some well-defined world, involving a "Quest" or mission? Would this make it an RPG? We could also apply this to many videos games that are generally not considered an RPG, Halo for instance. Halo does have a storyline and you must complete missions, but would generally not be considered a role-playing game.

When Googling "RPG game", the top results are... Skyrim, Diablo 3, Final Fantasy VI, Fallout 3 and Dragon Age... All of which have a character advancement (leveling) system and involve completing quests or missions.

Adventure games often blur the line with RPGs. Take Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for example. There is a strong story and as you play you select force abilities to advance your game character. Contrast this with a well known RPG World of Warcraft (WoW). In WoW there is also a storyline, but your character is named by you. The focus is stronger on character advancement. There is also many different character classes to select from allowing the player to select a character "Role" to play as.

What do you think defines an RPG game?


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