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The rise and fall of the turn based rpg

Turn based rpgs were at one point the height of video games. Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are some of the most well known, as their success lead to huge franchises that continue today, but there were also many more inspired by them or experimenting on their format.
Turn based rpgs still exist today – just look at the sweeping success of Undertale, or at strategic turn based rpgs like XCOM or Darkest Dungeon. But turn based rpgs are no longer at the forefront of gaming, instead primarily being a genre used by nostalgic games or indie projects.
Even Final Fantasy, a game that was once synonymous with the turn based rpg, no longer uses that play style. The popular Fallout series did similar.
This article would discuss the turn based rpg, why it was so popular in its heyday, and why many major studios moved away from it.

  • This could be a very interesting topic to discuss. I think it's important to focus on the fact that the turn-based RPG stems from the Dungeons and Dragons model of pre-video game role-playing games. The evolution (for better or worse) has evolved as technology has allowed for more immersive experiences for the gamer. On a personal note, I still love playing FFX, but as much of a huge FF fan I am, there's still a reason they added fast-forward modes on the other ports. – A G Macdonald 1 year ago
  • You also can't ignore the pokemon games, probably the most popular turn based RPG that's still doing numbers, even if it isn't exactly the same vein as FF. – Cedarfireflies55 1 year ago
  • Miitopia, which originally came out in 2016 and was re-released in 2021, is an interesting game to consider because it uses a very simplified turn-based combat system. The player can control their avatar in battle, but the turns of the NPC party members are all controlled by AI. If the player wants to, they can even select an option that allows AI to control their avatar’s turns as well. While this is just one game (and it has more in common with Pokémon than Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy), Miitopia’s simplified turn-based combat system could suggest that even when contemporary games do use turn-based combat systems, they are not the intensely strategy-focused systems of the past. – Magnolia 1 year ago
  • Another thing to consider is that is wasn't just rpgs that were turned based; essentially every video game was, even platformers--you lose your lives and go back to the beginning of the level/game or hand the controller over to your friend. This could be because the notion of what constituted a "game" was perhaps more rigid then. Games were primarily competitive and turns where part of ensuring fairness. So, pretty much all games were turned based. Even solitaire had turns. If anything, it might be rpgs and their focus on narrative experiences that helped evolve the idea of what a game is, which, maybe ironically, led to the downfall of turn-based rpgs. – zmedlin 1 year ago