exodus imo: CRPG means “in the style of old PC games aimed at beardy types who like TTRPGs.” Obviously every videogame RPG (vrpg????) ever is downstream of TTRPGs, but there’s a few where that’s the central focus, and which take a pretty specific, Ultima-y route to get there. Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Wasteland, Divinity, isometric Fallout, etc. You make some “creation”-y decisions about The Player Character, you make Choices that reflect that character, the game reacts to that in some way, and then you’re actually doing combat now (bunch of dicerolls strung together with Bird’s-Eye View Tactical Decision Making, a la playing D&D on a table). Yes, that describes a lot of console games. It’s a holdover from the late 80s, the time where people still said stuff like “FRP,” and was mostly only useful to tabletop people in that era until Kickstarter happened. Dragon, not GamePro, basically. Those guys still do not know what SaGa is and they don’t care. Plus that nerd thing where “it has to be REALLY GOOD and FOR ME to be part of a genre I’ve decided I like, if I don’t think it’s good then it’s a different genre that’s also bad by default because I decided I don’t like it.”
Like, the click-and-loot sort of action RPG has a lot of these traits BUT it comes from roguelike lineage, via Diablo. RPG Codex posters are to intelegint for Diablo, so they would probably get mad if you called Dungeon Siege a CRPG. (I am reading a thread on there, started by Felipe Pepe, and people are doing the “actually it’s not a CRPG it’s a different genre that abbreviates to a slur (which is my funny way of saying it’s bad)” bit. In 2021! I’ll let you guess what they think of Dungeon Siege 3, lol.) Dragon Age might get a “yes,” but they’d only want to acknowledge Origins, and these days probably only after an exaggerated sigh. Mass Effect has design that acknowledges console games, automatic no. It’s very “Smash isn’t a Fighting Game™ because it’s too many steps removed from SF2.”
The Wizardry, Etrian Odyssey, “DRPG” thing is also a different strain. Lot of people who only play those and don’t care about anything else. Like, they know THAC0, but because of Elminage, not Icewind Dale or whatever. Also a lot of people who have played All The Classic RPGs except the Wizlikes…. which sounds weird until you compare them to Ultima and realize they’re totally different things, even though they’re both ripping off the same thing, because nobody has ever been sure what the thing it’s ripping off actually is. Weird sentence. Whatever. I’m going to bed now.