Are Turn Based RPGs Dead in 2020?

With Final Fantasy VII Remake breaking records, there's a chance that turn-based elements in RPG games are dead.

By JakeJeremy, Posted 30 May 2020

With the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake dominating most of the gaming landscape and news flow; it's still interesting to me how the main core mechanic of the original's gameplay, namely the turn-based combat system, was scrapped for the Remake.

It's fascinating to me because of course many Final Fantasy VII fans have been clamouring for a current-gen version of the classic game for well over a decade now. And yet, arguably the most important aspect of the original has been changed, but the funny thing is? It really is for the better.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake, RPG, PS4,

Yes, I still love the original Final Fantasy VII, but the Remake does combat in a much superior way (to this writer anyway). 

I think that we can look to Kingdom Hearts for when this phenomenon began for Square Enix games. It's still fairly crazy to think that a game where your sidekicks are Donald Duck and Goofy is lauded as one of the greatest RPG series ever. Clearly, Kingdom Hearts IS one of the greatest ever, and although there have been games that adapted the combat style before KH? I think that the major shift away from turn-based occured because of Sora, Donald and Goofy.

Kingdom Hearts made such a massive change to the style of Square Enix games that when the Final Fantasy VII franchise returned with a new game in 2007: Crisis Core? It had adapted to the new system and was incredible.

Turn-based games still have a place, fans of Persona 5 and Disgaea will likely attest to this. But if you are old enough to remember when Final Fantasy VII was first released it was THE top game and a huge selling point for the PlayStation 1 and the then-named SquareSoft.

The original Final Fantasy VII sold in excess of 9 million. NINE MILLION COPIES. That puts FFVII just behind Gran Turismo as the second biggest game of the PlayStation 1 era.

When is the last time that a turn-based RPG game reached those sorts of heights? Well, FF8, FF10 and FF12 sold a huge amount of copies during their lifespan, with Final Fantasy 10 selling around 8 million units, making it the 5th biggest game on PlayStation 2.

But what about right now? What turn-based RPG games really top the charts in the same way that these classics did? Seemingly the last bastion of the genre is the Nintendo mega-franchise Pokemon. But PlayStation and Xbox do not seem to have anything that comes close. And does Pokemon REALLY count as an RPG game? I would say that the games are, but many would disagree.

Even arguably the greatest turn-based RPG game of all time had to ditch turn-based combat for the Remake. 

Where turn-based RPG games used to reach the loftiest heights and be in every console gamer's collection they're now seemingly a niche product with a far smaller (but hardcore) fanbase. What will be interesting though, is to see the reaction from developers with the success of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Will there be even more of a shift away from turn-based concepts for RPG games?

Has there been a huge outroar from fans because the combat system for Final Fantasy VII changed? Not really. Have fans still bought the game in the millions? Absolutely, over 3.5 Million copies have already been sold of the Remake.

Has the Remake of the game that brought turn-based RPG games into the mainstream just killed turn-based combat? It may well have done.

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments


Jake Skudder, Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Genres: RPG
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2020-04-10

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