It feels like the train of thought is slipping onto the rails towards Harvest Moon / Rune Factory station.
And mind you, they are bloody awesome.
To be honest, as much as I want more games about shopkeeping. I would just like Recettear to be influential in general.
The problem, like many here have stated. Is that influence is one thing. But if something looks like a knockoff, people won't like it. Terraria did very well because it was inspired by Minecraft, but wasn't a Minecraft clone of any sort. While actual Minecraft clones that don't add anything to the equation are usually met with derision. I think there's a great wealth to be explored in the basic idea of Recettear. Very few games delve into the mechanics of shopkeeping as a main source of gameplay or even a large piece of gameplay at all. It's like an almost untapped genre to its own outside of Sim games like "x Tycoon" sorts. So yes, I would say there is most definitely a market for it.
Personally, what I'd like to see is some genre shifts. I'm sick of so many genres just trying the same old things. Having tried MMORPGs I can't help but they've shifted far, far away from the concept of being a role playing game and have become stale. They were truly much more innovative in the early days where you had all sorts of MUDs and MUSHes and MUCKs branch out. And I've heard that Ultima Online, had completely dynamic player housing and players could burn each other's houses or lose on in a town siege or something like that. And had much more emergent gameplay like one would see in something like Dwarf Fortress or something like that. While MMORPGs, sadly, most strongly of the Korean variety, seem to treat everything that doesn't contribute to the typical "Graphical Multi-User Dungeon" formula as non-essential.
I hear some people rally against roleplayers. In game marriage. Player housing. The ability to even walk. Beefy character customization engines. A well written lore and questline. Emotes. And anything that doesn't facilitate dungeon crawling. Which is sad, because dungeon crawlers and role playing games aren't the same thing. I feel like it is multiple things that are to blame for this fact. The standardization of a World of Warcraft model, the tendency to follow tradition, and the cost of building expansive MMORPG worlds with demanding graphics that leaves for little money room for gameplay experimentation and innovation.
And onto the point, when I play games like Recettear, I realize how all genres can learn from each other and be so much more. In the case of Recettear, you essentially see a "class" of sorts, a form of gameplay almost always taken up by the NPCs because it is deemed "too boring" for player characters, or "too realistic" and "not enough fantasy". As if fighting is the only possible form of gameplay in video games, let alone RPGs. In Recettear, you realize we have only touched the tip of a gameplay iceberg in video games where almost all RPGs, Western, Japanese, or online, have not really done much of the gameplay that Recettear has.
And it's sad because here you can see this entire mine of gold that was supposed to be what the RPG was largely about to begin with. I fell in love with the RPG as a kid because I felt like, as someone who grew up with jRPGs(a genre that is like a mixture between the wRPG and the Visual Novel), my feeling of what I liked about RPGs was that they were more to a game than combat, they were a breathing world with a plot. And that combat was tossed aside to place focus on plot development, character development, and character interaction. RPGs were like Visual Novels with deeper and more intricate mechanics. Not a genre whose virtue was combat.
And I hate to repeat such an oftly stated point, but I feel like a lot of genres are stagnating and becoming a bit formulaic right now.
I think that my dream game at this point would be like a mixture of a traditional jRPG and games like Harvest Moon, Rune Factory, Recettear, Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, Animal Crossing,
and so forth. Perhaps throw Atelier games and Cooking Mama in there for good measure.... minus the whole sexist concept of throwing a "mama" in a bunch of stereotypical domestic roles for a bunch of games. And if I was designing an MMORPG, I think I would focus on making it a graphical MUSH rather than a MUD. Not that there wouldn't be tons of dungeon crawling, but I think I would emphasize immersing characters in a world that felt real and their characters actual citizens with a backstory. I think these worlds would be a lot more fun, if you could actually affect the overall plot by playing a unique role in the world like a political figure or a shopkeeper. Or a builder, like in Minecraft. Or a cook, or an alchemist, or any of the things that NPCs do. I have never been able to get past the fact that you don't have any sense of canonical friends or family in the genre.
One of the best parts of Fortune Summoners, a quality experience I've never gotten in an MMORPG before, is the strong sense of friendship and family that exist for my character. In Fortune Summoners, you're not fighting to have the best gear among a group of people saying "o hai we need tank lolz". You're fighting to defend yourself, to grow as a human being, for friends, and for family. I have never experienced that in an MMORPG and it is frustratingly boring and monotonous.
People say this wouldn't work because people only like dungeon crawling and don't like these genres. But people very clearly do want to be the town merchant and so forth, as Recettear has shown. I want more games like Recettear. And I kind of want games like Recettear and even Minecraft to be more influential. The problem is, that usually means cheap clones, like is the case with Minecraft.
I think that's also a part of why I consider Tales and Shin Megami Tensei the true spearheads of the jRPG right now. They are both doing some things very very right. With Persona, they really have embraced the whole Visual Novel and Social Sim mechanic thing and have only benefited from it. Think about how much time in Persona 4 you actually spend fighting. Persona 4 is in many ways basically like your typical school life Visual Novel with a bit extra fantasy thrown in than the usual. Only deepened by jRPG mechanics. It works terrifically and becomes one of the best jRPGs to have ever come out in recent year. Carefully planning your daily schedule, who to talk to, when to study, what to eat, when to actually go to a dungeon, very very useful.
Extra Credits has a good episode about this right here.
Which I think shows a lot of what video games can become if we think outside the box and try to be more like Recettear. It's certainly more of what I want to see out of all sorts of video games genres. But then again I'm a huge fan of those "dating sim" and "social sim" type games a lot of people mock as otaku pandering and embarrassing. And am a hardcore roleplayer who would rather play a graphical MUSH than a graphical MUD.
I don't know, something to think about and very related to Recettear. Sorry for making another wall of text. But at least it is on topic. The mention of Recettear and comparisons to other non-combat oriented games like Harvest Moon gave me a lot to say about the state of gaming, non-combat gaming, and how Recettear relates to it.