That's enough holiday procrastination for the time being methinks.
There is an inherent danger when promoting your idea of a Console RPG on the internet. That's because almost every internet nerd everywhere has their own idea for a Final Fantasy-esque RPG. There are various toolsets all over the 'net for just this purpose. Instead, for this Design Genres, I'll just focus on one of my favorite aspects of this genre: Jobs.
Now, I don't just mean the games that allow job-switching and base the game's main strategy and problem-solving on which jobs for which bosses [something that is incredibly hard as a designer to balance by the way. If you have a truly diverse range of powers to choose from, a boss can end up being ridiculously easy or ridiculously difficult if the right/wrong jobs are equipped respectively. Incidentally, I've decided to start using square brackets for when I go off on a tangent like this.] but simply how a character's profession in an RPG that tends to focus on the character's personality itself rather than any predetermined generic fantasy role.
For instance, a fighter template is simple enough. Uses many different types of weapons, can equip armor, high attack power, low (or non-existent) magical power and so forth. The original D&D rules, the basis of many of today's RPGs both Japanese and Western, expanded the fighter template out somewhat by including offshoots like Barbarian (sacrifices high defence for more attack power), Paladins (limited amount of clerical power) and combinations with other classes like Mage or Thief. Eventually these classes were expanded further still to account for any kind of character, be they an evil warlord (various intimidation techniques and strategies that include unscrupulous tactics like sacrificing your own men to do the most damage to your opponent) or a dashing swashbuckler (uses all sorts of charm/humiliation techniques to overcome the opponent's greater fighting skill). Like any DM will tell you, this kind of specialization is the key to making a well-rounded player character, complete with weaknesses and strengths to play to.
While fighters and healers are sort of omnipresent in every RPG (due to them being critical in any combat strategy) and subsequently fulfill the vocations of the main character and main heroine respectively more often than not [which also explains why the plots are always stereotypically centered on the tough, good-hearted rebel falling for the kind, gentle princess], the other player characters are free to follow whatever role they wish, albeit with limited usefulness depending on the current situation. For instance, magic-users tend to vary in power from game to game (or sometimes within the same game, since they often take a while to "power up" to their full potential) and, likewise, thieves aren't that useful to a game unless there are a lot of items to steal, chests to unlock or traps to uncover.
These jobs can get weirder still. A series like Final Fantasy has a number of "unique" career choices, such as a Blue Mage (a magician who can learn enemy magic, but only if they survive it when it is performed on them) or Dancer (someone who can distract the enemies with various status-inducing dances). The mysterious Mime/Mimic can copy anyone's last attack, creating all sorts of opportunities to repeat difficult to master abilities with ease. These jobs usually surface in the job-switching titles mentioned above, like FFIII, FFV, FFX-2 and FF Tactics, and can turn a difficult encounter into a breeze if you prepare for it right.
For some reason, many Console RPG characters use guns. And they're nearly always the ones built up to be incredibly cool, dispatching huge monsters with a casual, over-the-arm shot or a flurry of bullets. While somewhat out of place in most RPG universes (though there's always an evil empire that seems to use thousands of guns against your swords and axes come to think of it), I cite it simply as a demonstration of how a character's fighting style reflects that character's personality and actions in the downtime.
The intention of this update was to introduce a few ideas for these idiosyncratic and highly stylistic fighting-styles and the accompanying characters that use them, but this update's gone on long enough. So I'll make this a two-parter.