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Tactical role-playing game

Tactical role-playing game

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A tactical role-playing game (abbreviated as TRPG; sometimes referred to as strategy role-playing game, or SRPG) is a type of video game which incorporates elements of traditional role-playing video game
Role-playing video game
Role-playing video games are a video game genre with origins in pen-and-paper role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, using much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. The player in RPGs controls one character, or several adventuring party members, fulfilling one or many quests...

s and strategy games
Strategy video game
Strategy video games is a video game genre that emphasizes skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory. They emphasize strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration...

. In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 these games are known as , a designation which might seem peculiar to native English speakers. This stems from the Japanese usage
Engrish
refers to unusual forms of English language usage by native speakers of some East Asian languages. The term itself relates to Japanese speakers' tendency to inadvertently substitute the English phonemes "R" and "L" for one another, because the Japanese language has one alveolar consonant in place...

 of "simulation" as a short hand for "strategy simulation game". Further, in Japan, the term TRPG refers exclusively to tabletop role-playing games
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

.

Game design


This sub-genre of role-playing game
Role-playing game (video games)
Role-playing video games are a video game genre with origins in pen-and-paper role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, using much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. The player in RPGs controls one character, or several adventuring party members, fulfilling one or many quests...

 principally refers to games which incorporate elements from strategy games
Strategy video game
Strategy video games is a video game genre that emphasizes skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory. They emphasize strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration...

 as an alternative to traditional role-playing game (RPG) systems. Like standard RPGs, the player controls a finite party and battles a similar number of enemies. And like other RPGs, death is usually temporary. But this genre incorporates strategic gameplay such as tactical movement on an isometric grid. Unlike other video game genres, tactical RPGs tend not to feature multiplayer play.

A distinct difference between tactical RPGs and traditional RPGs is the lack of exploration. For instance, Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998...

does away with the typical third-person exploration to towns and dungeons that are typical in a Final Fantasy game. Instead of exploration, there is an emphasis on battle strategy. Players are able to build and train characters to use in battle, utilizing different classes, including warriors
Warrior (character class)
Warrior is a character class found in many role-playing games. This class may also be referred to as Fighter, as in Dungeons & Dragons. The class is sometimes also referred to as a Knight, although in some games this is a separate class with a more chivalric aspect...

 and magic users, depending on the game, Characters normally gain experience point
Experience point
An experience point is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game...

s from battle and grow stronger and games like Final Fantasy Tactics award characters secondary experience points which can be used to advance in specific character classes. Battles will have specific winning conditions, such as defeating all the enemies on the map, that the player must accomplish before the next map will become available. In between battles, players can access their characters to equip them, change classes, train them, depending on the game.

History


A number of early computer role-playing games used a highly tactical form of combat, most notably the 1983 released games Ultima III: Exodus and Bokosuka Wars
Bokosuka Wars
is a 1983 action-strategy role-playing video game developed by Kōji Sumii and released by ASCII for the Sharp X1 computer, followed by ports to the MSX, FM-7, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801 and NEC PC-9801 computer platforms, as well as an altered version released for the Nintendo Famicom console and...

, both of which introduced party-based, tiled combat in America and Japan, respectively. Conventionally, however, the term tactical RPG refers to the distinct subgenre that was born in Japan, where the majority of tactical RPGs originate.

Tactical RPGs are descendents of traditional strategy game
Strategy game
A strategy game or strategic game is a game in which the players' uncoerced, and often autonomous decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the outcome...

s, such as chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, and table-top role-playing
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

 and war games
Wargaming
A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

, such as Chainmail
Chainmail (game)
Chainmail is a medieval miniatures wargame created by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren. Gygax developed the game with fellow Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association member Perren, a hobby-shop owner with whom he had become friendly, and the game was first published in 1971...

, which were mainly tactical in their original form. The format of a tactical RPG video game is also like a traditional RPG in its appearance, pacing and rule structure. Likewise, early table-top strategy wargames like Chainmail are descended from skirmish wargames, which were primarily concerned with combat.

8-bit origins (1983–1990)


During the 8-bit
History of video game consoles (third generation)
In the history of computer and video games, the third generation began on July 15, 1983, with the Japanese release of both the Nintendo Family Computer and Sega SG-1000...

 era, Bokosuka Wars
Bokosuka Wars
is a 1983 action-strategy role-playing video game developed by Kōji Sumii and released by ASCII for the Sharp X1 computer, followed by ports to the MSX, FM-7, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801 and NEC PC-9801 computer platforms, as well as an altered version released for the Nintendo Famicom console and...

, a computer game developed by Koji Sumii for the Sharp X1
Sharp X1
The X1 is a series of home computer released by Sharp Corporation from 1982 to 1988. It was based on a Z80 CPU.Despite the fact that the Computer Division of Sharp Corporation had released the MZ series, suddenly the Television Division released a new computer series called the X1...

 in 1983 and ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America during 1985, in Europe during 1986 and Australia in 1987...

 (NES) by ASCII
ASCII (company)
was a publishing company based in Tokyo, Japan. It became a subsidiary of Kadokawa Group Holdings in 2004, and merged with another Kadokawa subsidiary MediaWorks on April 1, 2008, and became ASCII Media Works. The company published Monthly ASCII as the main publication...

 in 1985, was responsible for laying the foundations for the tactical RPG genre, or "simulation RPG" genre as it is known in Japan, with its blend of role-playing and strategy game
Strategy game
A strategy game or strategic game is a game in which the players' uncoerced, and often autonomous decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the outcome...

 elements. The game revolves around a king who must recruit soldiers and lead his army against overwhelming enemy forces, while each unit gains experience
Experience point
An experience point is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game...

 and levels up along the way. It is also considered to be an early prototype real-time strategy
Real-time strategy
Real-time strategy is a sub-genre of strategy video game which does not progress incrementally in turns. Brett Sperry is credited with coining the term to market Dune II....

 game. Another notable early example released in 1983 was the Koei game Nobunaga's Ambition
Nobunaga's Ambition
is a series of turn-based grand strategy role-playing simulation video games, first released in 1983 by the Japanese video game developer Koei.Games in the franchise have been released on a variety of gaming platforms, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive,...

, which featured a blend of role-playing, turn-based grand strategy
Grand strategy wargame
A grand strategy wargame is a wargame that places focus on grand strategy: military strategy at the level of movement and use of an entire nation state or empire's resources.-Scope of games:...

 and management simulation
Construction and management simulation
Construction and management simulation is a type of simulation game in which players build, expand or manage fictional communities or projects with limited resources. Strategy video games sometimes incorporate CMS aspects into their game economy, as players must manage resources while expanding...

 elements, a trend that continued with its sequels and other Koei games such as 1989's Bandit Kings of Ancient China
Bandit Kings of Ancient China
Bandit Kings of Ancient China, also known as Suikoden-Tenmei no Chikai in Japan, is a turn-based strategy role-playing simulation video game developed and published by Koei, and released in 1989 for MS-DOS, Amiga and the Macintosh and in 1990 for the Nintendo Entertainment System...

as well as the Capcom
Capcom
is a Japanese developer and publisher of video games, known for creating multi-million-selling franchises such as Devil May Cry, Chaos Legion, Street Fighter, Mega Man and Resident Evil. Capcom developed and published Bionic Commando, Lost Planet and Dark Void too, but they are less known. Its...

 game Destiny of an Emperor
Destiny of an Emperor
is a strategy role-playing game by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was originally released in Japan in , with an English language localization released for the North American market in ....

released that same year.

Another notable early example of the genre was Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou , or KSK, is a Japanese game development company founded in 1985 that creates games for many platforms, but focusing mostly on home computers...

's 1988 PC-8801
NEC PC-8801
The NEC PC-8801 was an early Zilog Z80-based computer exclusively released in Japan, where it became very popular, by NEC Corporation in 1981. It was informally called the "PC-88"....

 strategy RPG, Silver Ghost, which was cited by Camelot Software Planning
Camelot Software Planning
is a Japanese video game developer established in 1990 under the name Sonic! Software Planning and to date is best known for partnering with Nintendo on many of Nintendo's spin-off franchise games such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, as well as the role-playing game series Golden Sun...

's Hiroyuki Takahashi as inspiration for the Shining series of tactical RPGs. According to Takahashi, Silver Ghost was "a simulation action type of game where you had to direct, oversee and command multiple characters." Unlike later tactical RPGs, however, Silver Ghost was not turn-based, but instead used real-time strategy
Real-time strategy
Real-time strategy is a sub-genre of strategy video game which does not progress incrementally in turns. Brett Sperry is credited with coining the term to market Dune II....

 and action role-playing game
Action role-playing game
Action role-playing games form a loosely defined sub-genre of role-playing video games that incorporate elements of action or action-adventure games, emphasizing real-time action where the player has direct control over characters, instead of turn-based or menu-based combat...

 elements. It also featured a point-and-click
Point-and-click
Point-and-click is the action of a computer user moving a cursor to a certain location on a screen and then pressing a mouse button, usually the left button , or other pointing device...

 interface, to control the characters using a cursor. A similar game released by Kure Software Koubo that same year was First Queen
First Queen
is a real-time strategy-action RPG video game developed by Kure Software Koubou. It was first released on the Sharp X68000 and NEC PC-9801 computer platforms in Japan in 1988, and then subsequently released on the Super Famicom as First Queen: Ornic Senki in 1994 and Microsoft Windows as First...

, a unique hybrid between a real-time strategy, action RPG, and strategy RPG. Like an RPG, the player can explore the world, purchase items, and level up, and like a strategy video game
Strategy video game
Strategy video games is a video game genre that emphasizes skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory. They emphasize strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration...

, it focuses on recruiting soldiers and fighting against large armies rather than small parties. The game's "Gochyakyara" ("Multiple Characters") system let the player control one character at a time while the others are controlled by computer AI
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 that follow the leader, and where battles are large-scale with characters sometimes filling an entire screen.

However, the genre did not become prolific until Nintendo
Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

 released and published the game that set the template for tactical
Tactical wargame
Tactical wargames are a type of wargame that models military conflict at a tactical level, i.e. units range from individual vehicles and squads to platoons or companies. These units are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry...

 wargame
Wargame (video games)
Wargames are a subgenre of strategy video games that emphasize strategic or tactical warfare on a map, as well as historical accuracy.-History:The genre of wargame video games is derived from earlier forms of wargames...

 RPGs, Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, created and developed by Intelligent Systems
Intelligent Systems
is a Japanese first-party video game developer and internal team of Nintendo Co., Ltd. It has its headquarters in the Nintendo Kyoto Research Center in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture....

 for the NES. Released in Japan in 1990, Fire Emblem
Fire Emblem
is a fantasy tactical role-playing video game franchise developed by Intelligent Systems , the maker of Advance Wars , and published by Nintendo...

was an archetype for the whole genre, establishing gameplay elements that are still used in tactical RPGs today, though some of these elements were influenced by earlier RPGs and strategy game
Strategy game
A strategy game or strategic game is a game in which the players' uncoerced, and often autonomous decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the outcome...

s. Combining the basic console RPG concepts from games like Dragon Quest
Dragon Quest
, published as Dragon Warrior in North America until 2005,Due to the inconsistent usage by sources since Square Enix obtained the naming rights to Dragon Quest in North America. Dragon Quest has been used by sources to refer to games released solely under the Dragon Warrior titles...

and simple turn-based strategy
Turn-based strategy
A turn-based strategy game is a strategy game where players take turns when playing...

 elements, Nintendo created a hit, which spawned many sequels and imitators. It introduced unique features such as how the characters were not interchangeable pawns but each of them were unique, in terms of both class and stats, and how a character who runs out of hit points would usually remain dead forever. The latter mechanic was used to introduce a non-linear storyline to the genre, where different multiple endings
Multiple endings
Multiple endings refer to a case in entertainment where the story could end in different ways, described as an alternate ending.-Literature:...

 are possible depending on which characters are alive or dead, a concept still used in recent games such as Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, known in Japan as , is a role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. It was released in Japan on 15 January 2009 and was released in North America on June 23, 2009. Its character designs are handled by Suzuhito Yasuda...

, and Final Promise Story
Imageepoch
is a Japanese video game developer based out of Tokyo, Japan. The company, which currently employs about 120 individuals, was founded in December 2005 by Ryoei Mikage. Imageepoch's first release was the turn-based strategy RPG on Nintendo DS, Luminous Arc. Since then the company has expanded into...

. The highly tactical turn-based
Turn-based tactics
Turn-based tactics , or tactical turn-based , is a computer and video game genre of strategy video games that through stop-action simulates the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics in generally small-scale confrontations as opposed to more strategic...

 combat of Fire Emblem is also similar in many ways to the combat in the later third and fourth editions
Editions of Dungeons & Dragons
Several different editions of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game have been produced since 1974. The current publisher of Dungeons & Dragons , Wizards of the Coast, produces new materials only for the most current edition of the game...

 of Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. . The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997...

released in the 2000s, right down to the support for permanent character death, though Fire Emblem is more realistic, as magic users and magical weapons are rare while most opponents are human characters rather than monsters. However, it was not until the release of Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken for the Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance
The is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured, and marketed by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001; in North America on June 11, 2001; in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001; and in the People's Republic of China...

, many years later, that the series was introduced to Western gamers, who until then were more familiar with other tactical RPGs influenced by Fire Emblem, including the Shining and Ogre series, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Nippon Ichi
Nippon Ichi
is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. They are responsible for such titles as Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Phantom Brave, La Pucelle: Tactics and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.-History:Nippon Ichi Software was founded in September 1991 in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, as an entertainment...

 games like Disgaea
Disgaea
is a video game series of tactical role-playing games created and developed by Nippon Ichi. The series debuted in Japan on January 30, , with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, later re-released as Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and Disgaea DS. One of Nippon Ichi's most popular franchises, it has branched...

.

16-bit consoles


During the 16-bit
History of video game consoles (fourth generation)
In the history of computer and video games, the fourth generation began on October 30, 1987 with the Japanese release of Nippon Electric Company's PC Engine...

 generation, among the first imitators was Langrisser
Langrisser
is a five-part video game series created by Masaya, the software division of Nippon Computer Systems created in the early 1990s. The development team working under Masaya is CareerSoft....

by NCS/Masaya, first released for the Mega Drive / Genesis in 1991. It was translated for North American release and retitled Warsong. The Langrisser series differed from Fire Emblem in that it used a general-soldier structure instead of controlling main characters. Langrisser, too, spawned many sequels, none of which were brought to North America. Langrisser set itself apart from other tactical RPGs in its time with larger-scale battles, where the player could control over thirty units at one time and fight against scores of enemies. Since Der Langrisser
Langrisser II
Langrisser II is the sequel to Warsong, and was never released outside Japan. Langrisser II was also remade on the Super Famicom by Masaya as Der Langrisser, which featured multiple paths through the game, greatly reduced difficulty, and improved graphics. A PC-FX port of the SNES version, Der...

in 1994, the series offered non-linear branching paths and multiple endings
Multiple endings
Multiple endings refer to a case in entertainment where the story could end in different ways, described as an alternate ending.-Literature:...

. The player's choices and actions affected which of four different paths they followed, either aligning
Alignment (role-playing games)
In some role-playing games, alignment is a categorisation of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters, non-player characters, monsters, and societies in the game....

 themselves with one of three different factions or fighting against all of them. Each of the four paths leads to a different ending and there are over 75 possible scenarios. Langrisser III introduced a relationship system similar to dating sim
Dating sim
Dating sims are a video game subgenre of simulation games, usually Japanese, with romantic elements. They are also sometimes put under the category of neoromance. The most common objective of dating sims is to date, usually choosing from among several characters, and to achieve a romantic...

s. Depending on the player's choices and actions, the feelings of the female allies will change towards the player character
Player character
A player character or playable character is a character in a video game or role playing game who is controlled or controllable by a player, and is typically a protagonist of the story told in the course of the game. A player character is a persona of the player who controls it. Player characters...

, who will end up with the female ally he is closest with.

Master of Monsters
Master of Monsters
Master of Monsters is a turn-based strategy game created by Japanese software developer System Soft for the MSX and NEC PC8801 later ported to a variety of consoles and PCs including the PC Engine, NEC PC9801, Sega Mega Drive , Sega Saturn and PlayStation...

was a unique title by SystemSoft. Where Langrisser and Fire Emblem used a square-based grid, Master of Monsters used a hexagonal grid. Players could choose one of four different Lords to defend their Towers and areas on the grid by building an army of creatures to destroy the opposing armies. This game had a sequel for the PlayStation called Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia, which had limited success and was criticized for its slow gameplay. Both Warsong and Master of Monsters were cited as the inspirations behind the 2005 turn-based strategy
Turn-based strategy
A turn-based strategy game is a strategy game where players take turns when playing...

 computer RPG, The Battle for Wesnoth.

The first game in the long-running Super Robot Wars
Super Robot Wars
is a series of tactical role-playing video games produced by Banpresto, which is now a Japanese division of Namco Bandai. The main feature of the franchise is having a story that crosses over several popular mecha anime, manga and video games, allowing characters and mecha from different titles to...

series is another early example of the genre, initially released for the Game Boy in 1991. Another influential early tactical RPG was Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

's Shining Force
Shining Force
Shining Force, known as in Japan, and otherwise known as Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention, is a 1992 turn-based strategy role-playing video game for the Mega Drive/Genesis console...

for the Sega Genesis, which was released in 1992. Shining Force used even more console RPG elements than earlier games, allowing the player to walk around towns and talk to people and buy weapons. The game's creator, Camelot Software Planning
Camelot Software Planning
is a Japanese video game developer established in 1990 under the name Sonic! Software Planning and to date is best known for partnering with Nintendo on many of Nintendo's spin-off franchise games such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, as well as the role-playing game series Golden Sun...

's Hiroyuki Takahashi, cited Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou , or KSK, is a Japanese game development company founded in 1985 that creates games for many platforms, but focusing mostly on home computers...

's 1988 tactical RPG, Silver Ghost, as his inspiration. One game released solely in Japan for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia , and South America between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the , or SFC for short...

 (SNES), Bahamut Lagoon
Bahamut Lagoon
is a Japanese tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Nintendo Super Famicom on February 9, 1996.It was never officially released outside of Japan, but it was unofficially translated into English...

, began Square's
Square (company)
was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1983 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 and became part of Square Enix...

 (now Square Enix
Square Enix
is a Japanese video game and publishing company best known for its console role-playing game franchises, which include the Final Fantasy series, the Dragon Quest series, and the action-RPG Kingdom Hearts series...

) famous line of tactical RPGs.

Four games from the Ogre Battle
Ogre Battle
"Ogre Battle" may refer to:*Ogre Battle , a song by English rock band Queen from their album Queen II.* The Ogre Battle series of tactical role-playing games, which include:**Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen...

series have been released in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. The first was Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
is a 1993 real-time strategy role-playing video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, directed by Yasumi Matsuno with artwork by Akihiko Yoshida...

was released for the SNES in 1993 and was more of a real-time strategy
Real-time strategy
Real-time strategy is a sub-genre of strategy video game which does not progress incrementally in turns. Brett Sperry is credited with coining the term to market Dune II....

 RPG in which the player forms character parties that are moved around a map
Overworld
An overworld is, in a broad sense, an area within a video game that interconnects all its levels or locations. They are mostly common in role-playing games, though this does not exclude other video game genres....

 in real-time. When two parties meet, the combat plays out with minimal user interaction. The game is notable for introducing a moral alignment
Alignment (role-playing games)
In some role-playing games, alignment is a categorisation of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters, non-player characters, monsters, and societies in the game....

 system that not only affects the gameplay but where tactical and strategic decisions have an impact on the outcome of a non-linear branching storyline, which is affected by factors such as the moral alignments of the troops used to liberate a city, whether to keep certain liberated cities guarded, making popular or unpopular decisions, concentrating power among just a few units, making deals with thieves, and a general sense of justice. These factors lead to one of 13 possible endings, alongside other factors such as how many and which units are used, how battles are fought, the army's reputation, player character's alignment and charisma, and secrets discovered.

The sequel, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, was originally a 1995 SNES game that was not released outside of Japan. It was later ported to the PlayStation
PlayStation
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

, along with Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. Both of the PlayStation re-releases were marketed in North America by Atlus
Atlus
is a Japanese computer and video game developer, publisher, and distributor based in Tokyo, Japan, best known for developing the console role-playing game franchise Megami Tensei. The first Megami Tensei was a Nintendo Entertainment System video game published by Namco based on a trilogy of...

, as was Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
, sequel to Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, is a real-time strategy role-playing video game developed by Quest and published by Atlus for the Nintendo 64 in 2000. Though basically similar to the original Ogre Battle, it has borne some notoriety for significant game play tweaks that...

for the Nintendo 64
Nintendo 64
The , often referred to as N64, was Nintendo′s third home video game console for the international market. Named for its 64-bit CPU, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America, March 1997 in Europe and Australia, September 1997 in France and December 1997 in Brazil...

. Tactics Ogre's gameplay is more similar to the genre of tactical RPGs that Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998...

belongs to (which was developed by former members of Quest
Quest Corporation
was a Japanese video game company founded in 1988. They were originally known as Bothtec, which had developed The Scheme, a Metroidvania-style open world action role-playing game featuring music by Yuzo Koshiro, that same year....

 and created/written/directed by Yasumi Matsuno
Yasumi Matsuno
is a video game designer. He is one of a few designers to have two games receive a perfect score by Famitsu magazine. Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII were critically acclaimed by the magazine with a 40/40 score.-Early projects:...

), complete with battles taking place on isometric
Isometric projection
Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions in technical and engineering drawings...

 grids. It was also the first to bear the name "Tactics" in the title, a term gamers would come to associate with the genre. Not only are characters moved individually on a grid, but the view is isometric, and the order of combat is calculated for each character individually. The game also expanded the non-linear alignment system of its predecessor, with three types of alignments for each unit: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaos, neither of which are portrayed as necessarily good or bad. The game gives players the freedom to choose their own destiny, with difficult moral decisions, such as whether to follow a Lawful path by upholding the oath of loyalty and slaughter civilian non-player character
Non-player character
A non-player character , sometimes known as a non-person character or non-playable character, in a game is any fictional character not controlled by a player. In electronic games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence...

s on the leader's command, or follow the chaotic path by following a personal sense of justice and rebelling, or instead follow a more neutral path. Such factors affect the game's ending, which is also affected by decisions such as whether to obtain the most powerful class, which can only be acquired by making a tragic sacrifice. Another feature was "Warren's Report", a type of database
Database
A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality , in a way that supports processes requiring this information...

 on the land, people, encounters and races of Valeria (similar to, but much more expansive than, the troves of knowledge in Mass Effect
Mass Effect
Mass Effect is an action role-playing game developed by BioWare for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows by Demiurge Studios. The Xbox 360 version was released worldwide in November 2007 published by Microsoft Game Studios...

). Although this game defined the genre in many ways, it was not widely recognized by American gamers because it was released to American audiences several years later. Final Fantasy Tactics shared some staff members with Tactics Ogre and shares many of its gameplay elements. A prequel to the original Tactics Ogre, Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
is a tactical strategy game developed by Quest. It was originally released by Nintendo in Japan in 2001 on the Game Boy Advance, then later released by Atlus in North America in 2002....

, was later released for the Game Boy Advance. A remake of "Let Us Cling Together" was later released for the PSP
PSP
PSP most commonly refers to the PlayStation Portable, a handheld game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment.PSP may also refer to:-Computing and programming:*Corel Paint Shop Pro, a graphics editor...

 in 2011.

In 1996, the tactical role-playing game Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu also featured a non-linear branching storyline, but instead of using an alignment system, it used a relationship system resembling dating sims that gave players the ability to affect the relationship points between different units/characters. This in turn affected both the gameplay and storyline, with the different possible relationships in the first generation of the game's plot leading to different units/characters appearing during the second generation, ultimately leading to different possible outcomes to the storyline.

32-bit consoles


The 32-bit
History of video game consoles (fifth generation)
The fifth-generation era refers to the computer and video games, video game consoles, and video game handhelds available at stores...

 era saw many influential tactical RPGs, such as Konami
Konami
is a Japanese leading developer and publisher of numerous popular and strong-selling toys, trading cards, anime, tokusatsu, slot machines, arcade cabinets and video games...

's 1996 Vandal Hearts
Vandal Hearts
is a turn-based tactical role-playing video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo for the PlayStation and later ported to the Sega Saturn by Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya. The PlayStation version was distributed in Japan, North America, and Europe. The Saturn version was...

 series
, which feature branching storylines that can be altered by the player's dialogue choices that lead to different endings, as well as Sega's 1997 Shining Force 3, SCEI
Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony...

's Arc the Lad Collection
Arc the Lad Collection
Arc the Lad Collection is a compilation of the Arc the Lad RPG games for the PlayStation. The games were localized by Working Designs, which closed in December 2005. Plans to localize the games had been fostered by Working Designs since the late 1990s, however it wasn't till the new millennium that...

(1996–1999), and Square's 1997 Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998...

and 1999 Front Mission 3
Front Mission 3
is a tactical role-playing game for the PlayStation developed by and published by Square Co., Ltd., and was released in Japan on September 2, 1999, and later in North America on March 22, 2000, and in Europe on August 11, 2000. Front Mission 3 is the third main entry and the fifth entry overall in...

. Konami's Vandal Hearts
Vandal Hearts
is a turn-based tactical role-playing video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo for the PlayStation and later ported to the Sega Saturn by Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya. The PlayStation version was distributed in Japan, North America, and Europe. The Saturn version was...

was an early PlayStation title that helped popularize tactical RPGs in the US. It was released by Konami
Konami
is a Japanese leading developer and publisher of numerous popular and strong-selling toys, trading cards, anime, tokusatsu, slot machines, arcade cabinets and video games...

 and featured a 3D isometric map that could be rotated by the player. A sequel was subsequently released, also for the PlayStation, and Konami has announced a third title in development for the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

.

One of the first 32-bit tactical RPGs, Guardian War
Guardian War
Guardian War is a console RPG or tactical role-playing game released for the 3DO console. It is notable for its use of 3-D animation which was uncommon for console RPGs at the time...

, was developed by Micro Cabin
Micro Cabin
Micro Cabin Corporation was a Japan-based video game developer and publisher incorporated in 1982, who grew from the Ōyachi Electrics Microcomputer Club. Micro Cabin has developed/released games for the: 3D0, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, MSX2, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Saturn,...

 and released in 1993 on the Panasonic 3DO
3DO Interactive Multiplayer
The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer is a video game console originally produced by Panasonic in 1993. Further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company, and were originally designed by...

. While the game lacked in story, it included many game mechanics that are seen throughout many of the 32-bit tactical RPGs; like isometric camera rotation, interchangeable and hybridization of "jobs" or "classes" for each character, the combination of moves between characters, and the capture of NPCs and having them play on your side.

Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

's Sakura Wars
Sakura Wars
is a Japanese media franchise created by Ouji Hiroi, and is developed and owned by Sega and licensed by Red Entertainment and Sega. The franchise centers on a series of dramatic fantasy and science-fantasy tactical role-playing adventure video games, which consist of tactical wargame and dating sim...

, released for the Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console that was first released by Sega on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe...

 in 1996, combined tactical RPG combat with dating sim
Dating sim
Dating sims are a video game subgenre of simulation games, usually Japanese, with romantic elements. They are also sometimes put under the category of neoromance. The most common objective of dating sims is to date, usually choosing from among several characters, and to achieve a romantic...

 and visual novel
Visual novel
A is an interactive fiction game featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art, or occasionally live-action stills or video footage...

 elements, introducing a real-time branching choice system where, during an event or conversation, the player must choose an action or dialogue choice within a time limit, or not to respond at all within that time. The player's choice, or lack thereof, affects the player character
Player character
A player character or playable character is a character in a video game or role playing game who is controlled or controllable by a player, and is typically a protagonist of the story told in the course of the game. A player character is a persona of the player who controls it. Player characters...

's relationship with other characters and in turn the characters' performance in battle, the direction of the storyline, and the ending. Later games in the series added several variations, including an action gauge that can be raised up or down depending on the situation, and a gauge that the player can manipulate using the analog stick
Analog stick
An analog stick, sometimes called a control stick or thumbstick, is an input device for a controller that is used for two-dimensional input. An analog stick is a variation of a joystick, consisting of a protrusion from the controller; input is based on the position of this protrusion in relation...

 depending on the situation. The success of Sakura Wars led to a wave of games that combine the RPG and dating sim genres, including Thousand Arms
Thousand Arms
is a role-playing video game for the Sony PlayStation released by Atlus in 1998. Thousand Arms follows the goggle-sporting protagonist Meis Triumph as he chases cute girls and a dark villain across the world, eventually concluding with a classic role-playing game ending...

in 1998, Riviera: The Promised Land
Riviera: The Promised Land
is a console role-playing game originally produced in 2002 by Sting Entertainment for WonderSwan Color as the first episode of the Dept. Heaven series of games. The game was later introduced to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance in 2004, which Atlus USA released in North America in 2005...

in 2002, and Luminous Arc
Luminous Arc
is a tactical role-playing game from Marvelous for the Nintendo DS. Luminous Arc was released in Japan on February 8, 2007 and August 14, 2007 in North America by Atlus. The game was released in Europe on October 12, 2007 by Rising Star Games....

in 2007.

Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998...

was arguably the most responsible for bringing tactical RPGs to North America. Developed by former employees of Quest
Quest Corporation
was a Japanese video game company founded in 1988. They were originally known as Bothtec, which had developed The Scheme, a Metroidvania-style open world action role-playing game featuring music by Yuzo Koshiro, that same year....

, the developer responsible for the Ogre Battle series, it combined many elements of the Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy
is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and is developed and owned by Square Enix . The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science-fantasy role-playing video games , but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise...

series with Tactics Ogre-style gameplay. It also expanded on the isometric grid combat of Tactics Ogre by allowing players to freely rotate the camera around the battlefield rather than keeping the camera in a fixed position. The storyline of Final Fantasy Tactics was also more linear than its predecessor, in order to provide a deeper epic narrative. It also successfully implemented a modified job system, previously used in Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy V
is a medieval-fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1992 as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game first appeared only in Japan on Nintendo's Super Famicom . It has been ported with minor differences to Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance...

, which allowed the player to change a unit's character class
Character class
In role-playing games, a common method of arbitrating the capabilities of different game characters is to assign each one to a character class. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also sometimes detail aspects of background and social standing or impose behaviour...

 at any time during the game and learn new abilities from job points earned with each class. The game was acclaimed for both its highly tactical gameplay and its well-written storyline that touches on issues such as class, privilege, religion, and politics. The game's reputation led to other developers adding the word "Tactics" to their titles to indicate the tactical RPG genre. It was later ported to the PSP
PlayStation Portable
The is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Corporation Development of the console was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on , 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004...

 as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the Sony PlayStation Portable and iOS. The game is an updated version of Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation video game console....

and is still regarded as one of the greatest tactical RPGs of all time.

Sixth generation


On sixth-generation
History of video game consoles (sixth generation)
The sixth-generation era refers to the computer and video games, video game consoles, and video game handhelds available at the turn of the 21st century. Platforms of the sixth generation include the Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Xbox...

 consoles, a loyal American fan-base has been established by Nippon Ichi
Nippon Ichi
is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. They are responsible for such titles as Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Phantom Brave, La Pucelle: Tactics and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.-History:Nippon Ichi Software was founded in September 1991 in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, as an entertainment...

, makers of the popular PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 games La Pucelle: Tactics
La Pucelle: Tactics
La Pucelle: Tactics, released in Japan as , is a tactical role-playing game for the PlayStation 2, developed by Nippon Ichi Software. It was released in Japan in January 2002, and in North America by Mastiff in May 2004...

and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
is a tactical role-playing video game developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by Nippon Ichi Software in Japan, Atlus USA, Inc. in North America, and Koei in Europe for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console...

. Of these games, Disgaea has been the most successful to date, and was the second Nippon Ichi game released in North America, the first being Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, released in Japan as is a console role-playing game for the PlayStation from Atlus USA and Nippon Ichi Software, the creators of Disgaea, and is part of the Marl Kingdom series....

(published by Atlus), even though La Pucelle was developed and released first in Japan. Throughout this generation, companies have recognized the large audience and popularity of these types of games, particularly Atlus and Nintendo. La Pucelle: Tactics and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, which Atlus re-released due to high demand, have become cult hits for the PlayStation 2.

In 2001, Sakura Wars 3
Sakura Wars
is a Japanese media franchise created by Ouji Hiroi, and is developed and owned by Sega and licensed by Red Entertainment and Sega. The franchise centers on a series of dramatic fantasy and science-fantasy tactical role-playing adventure video games, which consist of tactical wargame and dating sim...

for the Dreamcast introduced a new combat system that incorporates action
Action game
Action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes diverse subgenres such as fighting games, shooter games, and platform games, which are widely considered the most important action games, though some...

 elements, and abandons the use of grids in favour of allowing each character to move around freely across the battlefield but with a limited number of moves each turn illustrated using a bar at the bottom of the screen. This type of combat system would later be the basis for the combat system in Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game was released in 2008.The game is set in Europa, loosely based on Europe in 1935...

, developed by much of the same team in 2008. The Sakura Wars series would not be released in the West until the fifth game, Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
is a tactical role-playing game with dating sim elements. It was developed and published by Sega, and licensed by Red Entertainment, as the fifth title in the Sakura Wars series for PlayStation 2 and Wii...

(2005). The Front Mission series also continued on to the PlayStation 2, with Front Mission 4
Front Mission 4
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix Co., Ltd., and was released in Japan on December 18, 2003 and in North America on June 15, 2004. Front Mission 4 is the fourth main entry and sixth entry overall in the Front Mission series...

and Front Mission 5, the latter of which never saw a Western release, but a fan translation.

The Game Boy Advance would also see the release of Rebelstar: Tactical Command
Rebelstar: Tactical Command
Rebelstar: Tactical Command is a Game Boy Advance turn-based tactical video game developed by Codo Technologies in 2005.The game was created by Julian Gollop, who designed the X-COM games...

(2005) by X-COM
X-COM
X-COM is a series of strategy games created by Julian Gollop. In 2010 2K Marin announced the official reboot of the series, entitled simply XCOM. The original game has a cult following.- Original series :...

creators, Nick and Julian Gollop
Julian Gollop
Julian Gollop is a British designer of strategy video games and founder of the defunct game studios Mythos Games and Codo Technologies.Gollop's career spans over 25 years, during which he has designed games for numerous systems over the years, from the early 8-bit home computers to 32-bit PCs...

. The game would be highly praised for adapting the combat mechanics of the highly detailed and acclaimed PC strategy series; but would also receive criticism for sub-par presentation, a lackluster storyline, and lack of link-mode support. The game ended up receiving an average score of 78% at Game Rankings
Game Rankings
GameRankings is a website that collects review scores from both offline and online sources to give an average rating. It indexes over 315,000 articles relating to more than 14,500 games.GameRankings is owned by CBS Interactive...

. In early 2006, Idea Factory
Idea Factory
is a Japanese video game developer and publisher founded on October 26, 1994 headed by company president Koichi Ota and vice president Shingo Kuwana.-Games published:-Games developed:-External links:* * * * from IGN* from GameSpot...

's Blazing Souls
Blazing Souls
is a tactical role-playing game developed by Idea Factory and released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006. It was ported to the Xbox 360 in 2007 as and to the PlayStation Portable in 2009 as . The latter version was published in North America by Aksys Games in 2010....

featured nonlinear gameplay that allows the player to progress through the game and the story in whatever order they wish. In addition, instead of having separate screens or maps for exploration and battle, the game features a seamless transition between exploration and battle.

Seventh generation



On seventh-generation
History of video game consoles (seventh generation)
In the history of video games, the seventh generation of consoles is the current generation , and includes consoles released since late by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony...

 consoles, Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

's Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game was released in 2008.The game is set in Europa, loosely based on Europe in 1935...

(2008) for the PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 utilizes the seventh-generation console processing power by using a distinctive anime/watercolor art style, as well as incorporating third-person
Third-person shooter
Third-person shooter is a genre of 3D action games in which the player character is visible on-screen, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.-Definition:...

 tactical shooter
Tactical shooter
A tactical shooter is a subgenre of shooter game that includes both first-person shooters and third-person shooters. These games typically simulate realistic combat, thus making tactics and caution more important than quick reflexes in other action games...

 elements. After selecting a character in the overhead map view, the player manually controls him/her from a third-person view. This mechanic allows for, among others: free movement to a certain range, manual aiming
Free look
Free look describes the ability to move the mouse to rotate the player character's view in video games. It is almost always used for 3D game engines, and has been included on role-playing games, real-time strategy games, third-person shooters, first-person shooters, racing games, and flight...

 with extra damage for headshots, a limited cover system
Cover system
A cover system is how a video game lets a virtual avatar avoid dangers usually in a three-dimensional world. This method is a digital adaptation of the real-life military tactic of taking cover to dodge enemy gunfire or explosives. Similar gameplay elements can be traced back to as early as 1986,...

, and real-time hazards, such as interception fire and landmines. The game has been described as "the missing link between Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998...

and Full Spectrum Warrior
Full Spectrum Warrior
Full Spectrum Warrior is a real-time tactics videogame. It was developed by the Institute for Creative Technologies in association with Pandemic Studios and published by THQ. It was released on June 1, 2004 for the Xbox, September 21, 2004 for Windows and on March 23, 2005 for the PlayStation 2...

."

In 2004, Konami
Konami
is a Japanese leading developer and publisher of numerous popular and strong-selling toys, trading cards, anime, tokusatsu, slot machines, arcade cabinets and video games...

 released Metal Gear Acid
Metal Gear Acid
is a turn-based collectible card video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan for the PlayStation Portable handheld game console. The game was first unveiled at E³ 2004 in May, and was released in Japan on December 16, 2004, in North America on March 22, 2005 and in Europe on...

, which combined the stealth game elements of the Metal Gear
Metal Gear (series)
is a series of stealth video games created by Hideo Kojima and developed and published by Konami. The first game, Metal Gear, was released in 1987 for the MSX2. The player takes control of a special forces operative Solid Snake who is assigned to find the eponymous superweapon "Metal Gear", a...

series with turn-based tactical RPG gameplay of games like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Disgaea, along with the random-draw, forethought and resource management appeal of card battles like in Konami's own Yu-Gi-Oh games (1999 onwards). Developer Kuju Entertainment
Kuju Entertainment
Kuju Entertainment is an English computer and video game corporation consisting of three studios, two of which are located in the UK: Zoë Mode , Headstrong Games , and one in the Czech Republic: Vatra games...

 released Dungeons & Dragons Tactics
Dungeons & Dragons Tactics
Dungeons & Dragons Tactics is a tactical role-playing game released on the PlayStation Portable handheld video game console. It is set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons and uses a strict interpretation of the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition rule set.-Overview:In the campaign storyline, players lead...

for the PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Portable
The is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Corporation Development of the console was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on , 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004...

 in 2007. The game intended to adapt the rules and mechanics of the popular table-top role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. . The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997...

, but suffered from a poor interface and awkward camera controls.

The Atlus
Atlus
is a Japanese computer and video game developer, publisher, and distributor based in Tokyo, Japan, best known for developing the console role-playing game franchise Megami Tensei. The first Megami Tensei was a Nintendo Entertainment System video game published by Namco based on a trilogy of...

 title Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, known in Japan as , is a role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. It was released in Japan on 15 January 2009 and was released in North America on June 23, 2009. Its character designs are handled by Suzuhito Yasuda...

(2009) blended together both traditional and tactical RPG gameplay along with non-linear adventure game
Adventure game
An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving instead of physical challenge. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media such as literature and film,...

 elements. It also featured an innovative demon auction system and a death clock system where each character has a specified time of death, with the player's actions and choices having consequences on who lives and dies.

Radiant Historia
Radiant Historia
is a role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for the Nintendo DS. The game's development team mostly consists of Atlus staff who previously worked on Megami Tensei games like Persona 3, Strange Journey, Nocturne and the Etrian Odyssey series. The development team also includes...

, released by Atlus for the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

 in 2010, combined the gameplay of traditional RPG titles with a highly tactical grid combat system, with several unique features such as a queue allowing party members to switch turns and perform combo attacks when near each other on the queue, and the manipulation of enemy positions by knocking a target onto another grid space and attack multiple targets when enemies fall onto the same grid space. The game is most notable for its unique take on the concept of non-linear branching storylines, which it combines with the concepts of time travel
Time travel
Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space. Time travel could hypothetically involve moving backward in time to a moment earlier than the starting point, or forward to the future of that point without the...

 and parallel universes
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

, expanding on the Chrono series. Radiant Historia takes it much further by giving players the freedom to travel backwards and forwards through a timeline to alter the course of history, with each of their choices and actions having a major impact on the timeline. The player can return to certain points in history and live through certain events again to make different choices and see different possible outcomes on the timeline. The player can also travel back and forth between two parallel timelines, and can obtain many possible parallel endings
Multiple endings
Multiple endings refer to a case in entertainment where the story could end in different ways, described as an alternate ending.-Literature:...

. Square Enix
Square Enix
is a Japanese video game and publishing company best known for its console role-playing game franchises, which include the Final Fantasy series, the Dragon Quest series, and the action-RPG Kingdom Hearts series...

's PSP version of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, released around the same time, featured a similar "World" system that allows players to revisit key plot points and make different choices to see how the story unfolds differently.

Imageepoch
Imageepoch
is a Japanese video game developer based out of Tokyo, Japan. The company, which currently employs about 120 individuals, was founded in December 2005 by Ryoei Mikage. Imageepoch's first release was the turn-based strategy RPG on Nintendo DS, Luminous Arc. Since then the company has expanded into...

's upcoming Saigo no Yakusoku no Monogatari (Final Promise Story) for the PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Portable
The is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Corporation Development of the console was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on , 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004...

 has a strategic command-based battle system where enemies learn from previous skirmishes. The characters can also die permanently during gameplay which in turn has an impact on the game's storyline.

Personal computers (1994–present)


Many Western PC games have utilized this genre for years, as well. They tend to have a greater tendency toward stronger military themes without many of the fantasy elements often found in their console (and mainly Japanese) counterparts, as well as greater freedom of movement when interacting with the surrounding environment. Notable examples include the Jagged Alliance
Jagged Alliance
Jagged Alliance is a tactical role-playing game released in 1994 for MS-DOS and in 2009 for the Nintendo DS. It is the first game in the Jagged Alliance series, and was followed by Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games and Jagged Alliance 2 .-Plot:Jagged Alliance takes place on the fictional south...

series (1994) and Silent Storm
Silent Storm
Silent Storm is a tactical role-playing game for Microsoft Windows, developed by Russian developer Nival Interactive and published by JoWood in 2003. The game is set in World War II Europe. The player commands a team of up to six elite soldiers on the Axis or Allied side, undertaking a variety of...

series (2003), with many titles owing considerably to X-COM
X-COM
X-COM is a series of strategy games created by Julian Gollop. In 2010 2K Marin announced the official reboot of the series, entitled simply XCOM. The original game has a cult following.- Original series :...

(1994) and its sequels. In fact, Western PC games in the genre were largely defined by X-COM: UFO Defense in much the same way as Eastern console games were by Fire Emblem. Outside of consoles, new tactical and squad-tactics games are few and far between, however.

Incubation: Time Is Running Out (1997), part of the Battle Isle
Battle Isle series
Battle Isle is a series of turn-based tactics computer games developed in the 1990s by Blue Byte Software. The settings are wars on a fictional planet, Chromos.-Storyline:...

series, was one of the first strategy
Strategy game
A strategy game or strategic game is a game in which the players' uncoerced, and often autonomous decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the outcome...

 titles to use fully 3D graphics
3D computer graphics
3D computer graphics are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images...

 and support hardware acceleration on the 3dfx Voodoo. Other titles in the series were tactical wargames featuring vehicle combat and base capturing. The game was generally well-received by critics.

Gorky 17
Gorky 17
Gorky 17 is a turn-based tactics computer game developed by Polish developer Metropolis Software and published by Monolith Productions for Windows in 1999. The game was later ported to Linux by Hyperion Entertainment and published by Linux Game Publishing in 2006...

(1999, a.k.a. Odium) is a tactical RPG by Polish developer Metropolis Software featuring elements of survival horror. It is also the first title in a series featuring the main character, Cole Sullivan. Later titles in the series were third-person shooter
Third-person shooter
Third-person shooter is a genre of 3D action games in which the player character is visible on-screen, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.-Definition:...

s. The game's reception was mixed.

Shadow Watch
Shadow Watch
Shadow Watch is a 2000 computer game by Red Storm Entertainment. It is a turn-based tactics game in which the player fights a conspiracy to halt construction of an international space station. It is based on the Tom Clancy's Power Plays novel "Shadow Watch".The player's team consists of six...

(2000) is a video game adaptation of the Tom Clancy's Power Plays
Tom Clancy's Power Plays
Tom Clancy's Power Plays is a novel series created by authors Tom Clancy and Martin Greenberg. Each entry in the series is written by Jerome Preisler.-Novel series:The books in Tom Clancy's Power Plays, so far:-Video game series:...

 novel of the same name developed by Red Storm Entertainment
Red Storm Entertainment
Ubisoft Red Storm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ubisoft Entertainment, specializing in video games and related merchandise, mainly based on the works of the writer Tom Clancy. The company develops and markets their own CD/DVD-ROM games...

. It has also been compared to X-COM, though it features a different action point system and is missing the latter game's upgradable units. The game's reception was also mixed.

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, better known as simply Fallout Tactics, is a turn-based/real-time tactical role-playing game based in the post-apocalyptic Fallout universe. Developed by Micro Forté and published by 14 Degrees East, Fallout Tactics was released on 14 March 2001 for PC...

(2001) is a spin-off
Spin-off (media)
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...

 of the Fallout series of CRPGs by Interplay Entertainment
Interplay Entertainment
Interplay Entertainment Corporation is an American video game developer and publisher, founded in 1983 as Interplay Productions by Brian Fargo. The company had been a quality developer until they started publishing their own games in 1988, like Neuromancer and Battle Chess. The company was renamed...

 developed by Australian company Micro Forté
Micro Forte
Micro Forté now known as Micro Forté Studios, is an Australian electronic entertainment company with development studios in Canberra, Australia and Sydney, Australia...

. Unusual for the genre was the option to choose between real-time or turn-based play. Included with the game was a table-top miniatures game based on the Fallout universe, called Fallout: Warfare
Fallout: Warfare
Fallout: Warfare, also known as FO:W, F:W or simply Warfare, is a science fiction tabletop miniature wargame developed by Christopher Taylor. Based in the Fallout series universe, Fallout: Warfare simulates group combat and uses cut-out models based upon the art of Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of...

. The game received generally favorable reviews from critics, though was not as well received as the series' traditional RPG titles.

Soldiers of Anarchy
Soldiers of Anarchy
Soldiers of Anarchy is a 2002 squad-based real-time tactics computer game released by Simon and Schuster. Gameplay involves squad tactics, vehicles, and a wide variety of weapons and ammo.-Plot:...

(2002) is a squad-based real-time tactics
Real-time tactics
Real-time tactics or RTT is a subgenre of tactical wargames played in real-time simulating the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics...

 computer game by German developer Silver Style Entertainment
Silver Style Entertainment
Silver Style Entertainment is a video game developer based in Berlin, Germany, founded in 1993. In 2006, the company was taken over by The Games Company, and became an in-house development studio...

. Gameplay involves squad tactics, vehicles and a wide variety of weapons and ammunition. The game received mixed reviews from critics.

Freedom Force
Freedom Force (computer game)
Freedom Force is a real-time tactical role-playing game developed by Irrational Games and published by Electronic Arts and Crave Entertainment in 2002. The player guides a team of superheroes as they defend Patriot City from a variety of villains, monsters, and other menaces. A sequel, Freedom...

(2002) and its sequel, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich
Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich
Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich is a real-time tactical role-playing game developed and published by Irrational Games. In this sequel to Freedom Force, the player guides a team of superheroes as they travel back in time and help overthrow Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II...

(2005) - both by Irrational Games
Irrational Games
Irrational Games is a video game developer founded in 1997 by three former employees of Looking Glass Studios: Ken Levine, Jonathan Chey, and Robert Fermier as Irrational Games...

 - are some examples of comic book super hero tactical RPGs that are played in real-time instead of turns. Both games received favorable reviews from critics.

Paradise Cracked
Paradise Cracked
Paradise Cracked is a single-player turn-based cyberpunk strategy video game. It was created by MiST Land South for Microsoft Windows and released in 2002...

(2003), COPS 2170: The Power of Law (2005), Metalheart: Replicants Rampage (2004) and Shadow Vault (2004) are poorly-received tactical RPGs by MiST Land South
MiST Land South
GFI Russia is a Russian video game developer. It was founded in 1996 as MiST Land South by a group of friends and located in Zelenograd, Moscow...

, Akella
Akella
Akella is a Russian software company specializing in the development, publishing and distribution of computer games and multimedia products. The founders of Akella met in 1993 and decided to start a company together, and in 1995 formed Akella...

 and Mayhem Studios of Russia and Slovakia, respectively. Paradise Cracked was inspired by cyberpunk
Cyberpunk
Cyberpunk is a postmodern and science fiction genre noted for its focus on "high tech and low life." The name is a portmanteau of cybernetics and punk, and was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title of his short story "Cyberpunk," published in 1983...

 works such as The Matrix
The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...

, Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Blade Runner is a 1982 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K...

, Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell
is a Japanese multimedia franchise composed of manga, animated films, anime series, video games and novels. It focuses on the activities of the counter-terrorist organization Public Security Section 9 in a futuristic, cyberpunk Japan ....

, and Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
Philip Kindred Dick was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments and altered...

 novels; and Metalheart: Replicants Rampage is a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk
Cyberpunk
Cyberpunk is a postmodern and science fiction genre noted for its focus on "high tech and low life." The name is a portmanteau of cybernetics and punk, and was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title of his short story "Cyberpunk," published in 1983...

 tactical RPG inspired by Jagged Alliance, Syndicate
Syndicate (computer game)
Syndicate is an isometric real-time tactical game from Bullfrog Productions created in . It is the first title in the Syndicate series. An expansion pack, Syndicate: American Revolt, and a sequel, Syndicate Wars, have also been released...

, and Fallout. COPS 2170: The Power of Law is set in the same "Reality 4.13" universe that first appeared in Paradise Cracked.

Hammer & Sickle
Hammer & Sickle
Hammer & Sickle is a tactical role-playing game for the PC, co-developed by the Russia-based companies Novik&Co and Nival Interactive and published by CDV in 2005...

(2005) is a tactical RPG co-developed by Russian companies Novik & Co and Nival Interactive, and published by CDV. It is set in the Silent Storm universe and follows the events in the main series. This was followed by Night Watch
Night Watch (computer game)
Night Watch is a tactical role-playing game developed by Russian developer Nival Interactive, and based on the Russian novel and the film of the same name. It features a group of Light Others trying to combat the schemes of Day Watch.The game was released in Russia in 2005 and the United States by...

(2006) and its sequel, Day Watch (2007), also by Nival Interactive, but instead based on the Russian novels and films of the same name. All three games received mediocre-to-poor review scores despite re-utilizing the highly regarded Silent Storm engine
Silent Storm engine
The Silent Storm engine is a turn-based tactics game engine developed by Nival Interactive for their video game Silent Storm. The engine was reused for Silent Storm: Sentinels, Night Watch, Hammer & Sickle and Day Watch...

.

Other titles inspired by Jagged Alliance include Brigade E5: New Jagged Union
Brigade E5: New Jagged Union
Brigade E5: New Jagged Union is a real-time tactical role-playing game game developed by Russian developer Aperion. It was released in 2005 in Russia, and on 17 October 2006 in North America. It has received poor reviews and has a rating of 41 out of 100 from Metacritic...

(2006) by Russian developer Apeiron and its sequel, simply titled 7.62 (2007). The series incorporates an innovative hybrid system the company calls "Smart Pause Mode" in an attempt to add further realism to the genre. Further, Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge (2007) by GFI Russia began its life as Jagged Alliance 3D before Strategy First withdrew the rights to the series name; and Jagged Alliance: Back in Action by bitComposer Games is a 3D, real-time remake of Jagged Alliance 2 currently in development.

The UFO series of games - UFO: Aftermath
UFO: Aftermath
UFO: Aftermath, is a 2003 real-time strategy game with real-time tactical battles from ALTAR Interactive, being a homage to the X-COM series of games. It started as The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge, an abortive project by the Mythos Games, original developers of the X-COM series...

(2003), UFO: Aftershock
UFO: Aftershock
UFO: Aftershock is a computer real-time tactical strategy game created by Altar and released in 2005. It is a squad combat game at its core with overlying strategic elements and a clear debt to the lauded classic X-COM: UFO Defense , though a smaller one than that of its predecessor, UFO:...

(2005) and UFO: Afterlight
UFO: Afterlight
UFO: Afterlight is a 2007 strategy computer game and the third in Altar's UFO series. Like its predecessors UFO: Aftermath and UFO: Aftershock, it combines squad-level tactical combat with overlying strategic elements in a manner that's deliberately very much like the major 1994 classic X-COM: UFO...

(2007) - and UFO: Extraterrestrials
UFO: Extraterrestrials
UFO: Extraterrestrials is a Microsoft Windows game aimed to be a spiritual sequel to the highly acclaimed UFO: Enemy Unknown . Developed by Chaos Concept, the game incorporates a twist of the aliens defeating the humans on Earth...

(2007) are two X-COM-inspired tactical series by Czech developers ALTAR Interactive and Chaos Concept. The former features real-time play, and the latter received only mixed reviews. A number of additional modern homages to X-COM are also in production, including the open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 Project Xenocide and UFO: Alien Invasion
UFO: Alien Invasion
UFO: Alien Invasion is an open source strategy video game in which the player fights aliens that are trying to take control of the Earth. The game is heavily influenced by the X-COM series . It is based on a modified id Tech 2 engine, and runs on Linux, Microsoft Windows, AmigaOS 4, and Mac OS X...

, as well as Isochron and Xenonauts
Xenonauts
Xenonauts is an upcoming turn-based tactics science fiction video game in development for Microsoft Windows. It is the maiden title of Goldhawk Interactive, a London-based independent game studio, in development since 2009...

by JSeuss Software and Goldhawk Interactive.

Finally, Vantage Master
Vantage Master
is a tactical RPG game developed and published by Nihon Falcom in 1997. The game was never released outside of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Falcom released a sequel, Vantage Master V2, a few months after the first game's release, featuring new maps and adjusted character balance but unchanged...

is a series of tactical RPGs similar to Master of Monsters
Master of Monsters
Master of Monsters is a turn-based strategy game created by Japanese software developer System Soft for the MSX and NEC PC8801 later ported to a variety of consoles and PCs including the PC Engine, NEC PC9801, Sega Mega Drive , Sega Saturn and PlayStation...

developed and published by Nihon Falcom for Windows beginning in 1997. The first game in the series was never released outside of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. The latest game, VM Japan, was published in 2002. This was followed more recently by The Battle for Wesnoth (2005) an open source, multi-platform tactical RPG also inspired by Master of Monsters and Warsong.

Genre blurring


Other games feature similar mechanics, but typically belong in other genres. Tactical wargames
Wargame (video games)
Wargames are a subgenre of strategy video games that emphasize strategic or tactical warfare on a map, as well as historical accuracy.-History:The genre of wargame video games is derived from earlier forms of wargames...

 such as the Steel Panthers
Steel Panthers
Steel Panthers is a series of computer wargames, developed and published by several different companies, with various games covering battles from 1930 to 2020. The first game was released in 1995, and the most recent was released in 2006 and is still updated regularly. Players control individual...

series (1995–2006) sometimes combine tactical military combat with RPG-derived unit advancement. Avalon Hill's Squad Leader (2000), a man-to-man wargame utilizing the Soldiers at War
Soldiers at War
Soldiers at War is a turn-based tactics game set in World War II. You take control of eight-man squads through the campaign of fifteen historically-based missions, starting in north Africa and ending in Germany. Your soldiers become more experienced and can take items with them onto the next...

engine, has also been compared (unfavorably) to X-COM and Jagged Alliance. Rebelstar (1984) and Laser Squad
Laser Squad
Laser Squad is a turn-based tactics computer game, originally released for the ZX Spectrum and later for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Amiga and Atari ST computers, as well as PC computers. It was designed by Julian Gollop and his team at Target Games and published by Blade Software...

(1988) were precursors to X-COM
X-COM
X-COM is a series of strategy games created by Julian Gollop. In 2010 2K Marin announced the official reboot of the series, entitled simply XCOM. The original game has a cult following.- Original series :...

created by the same developer, Julian Gollop
Julian Gollop
Julian Gollop is a British designer of strategy video games and founder of the defunct game studios Mythos Games and Codo Technologies.Gollop's career spans over 25 years, during which he has designed games for numerous systems over the years, from the early 8-bit home computers to 32-bit PCs...

. They did not, however, feature the (admittedly minor) statistical character development
Experience point
An experience point is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game...

 and strategic map of the later series.

Bokosuka Wars
Bokosuka Wars
is a 1983 action-strategy role-playing video game developed by Kōji Sumii and released by ASCII for the Sharp X1 computer, followed by ports to the MSX, FM-7, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801 and NEC PC-9801 computer platforms, as well as an altered version released for the Nintendo Famicom console and...

(1983), a game regarded as the progenitor of the strategy/simulation RPG genre, is also difficult to clearly define. While often referred to as a strategy/simulation RPG, it is also sometimes referred to as a prototype real-time strategy
Real-time strategy
Real-time strategy is a sub-genre of strategy video game which does not progress incrementally in turns. Brett Sperry is credited with coining the term to market Dune II....

, an early reverse tower defense
Tower defense
Tower defense is a subgenre of real-time strategy computer games.The goal of tower defense games is to try to stop enemies from crossing a map by building towers which shoot at them as they pass. Enemies and towers usually have varied abilities, costs, and ability costs...

 game, and an early action role-playing game
Action role-playing game
Action role-playing games form a loosely defined sub-genre of role-playing video games that incorporate elements of action or action-adventure games, emphasizing real-time action where the player has direct control over characters, instead of turn-based or menu-based combat...

. Nobunaga's Ambition
Nobunaga's Ambition
is a series of turn-based grand strategy role-playing simulation video games, first released in 1983 by the Japanese video game developer Koei.Games in the franchise have been released on a variety of gaming platforms, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive,...

(1983) and later Koei titles as well as Capcom's Destiny of an Emperor
Destiny of an Emperor
is a strategy role-playing game by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was originally released in Japan in , with an English language localization released for the North American market in ....

(1989) have blurred the line between a role-playing game, turn-based grand strategy wargame
Grand strategy wargame
A grand strategy wargame is a wargame that places focus on grand strategy: military strategy at the level of movement and use of an entire nation state or empire's resources.-Scope of games:...

, and simulation video game
Simulation video game
A simulation video game describes a diverse super-category of computer and video games, generally designed to closely simulate aspects of a real or fictional reality.-Sub-genres:-Construction and management simulation:...

. Similarly, Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou , or KSK, is a Japanese game development company founded in 1985 that creates games for many platforms, but focusing mostly on home computers...

's Silver Ghost (1988) combined elements of both tactical RPGs and action RPGs, while Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
is a 1993 real-time strategy role-playing video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, directed by Yasumi Matsuno with artwork by Akihiko Yoshida...

(1993) blurred the line between a tactical RPG and a real-time strategy. Metal Gear Acid
Metal Gear Acid
is a turn-based collectible card video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan for the PlayStation Portable handheld game console. The game was first unveiled at E³ 2004 in May, and was released in Japan on December 16, 2004, in North America on March 22, 2005 and in Europe on...

(2004) blurs the line between a stealth game, a genre the Metal Gear
Metal Gear (series)
is a series of stealth video games created by Hideo Kojima and developed and published by Konami. The first game, Metal Gear, was released in 1987 for the MSX2. The player takes control of a special forces operative Solid Snake who is assigned to find the eponymous superweapon "Metal Gear", a...

series is normally known for, along with tactical role-playing inspired by the likes of Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics, infused with card gameplay found in games like Konami's own Yu-Gi-Oh series.

Some full-fledged CRPGs, such as parts of the Ultima series beginning with Ultima III: Exodus (1983); Wizard's Crown
Wizard's Crown
Wizard's Crown is a 1985 top-down computer role-playing game published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. . It was released for the Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, IBM PC, Apple II and Commodore 64. Its sequel, The Eternal Dagger, was released in 1987....

(1985) and The Eternal Dagger
The Eternal Dagger
The Eternal Dagger is a 1987 top-down computer role-playing game published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. as a sequel to Wizard's Crown, which was released in 1985...

(1987); Return to Krondor
Return to Krondor
Return to Krondor is a computer role-playing game set in Raymond Feist's fictional fantasy setting of Midkemia. A sequel to 1993's Betrayal at Krondor, it was released for Windows 95 on the PC in time for the 1998 Christmas season...

(1998); and the Gold Box
Gold Box
Gold Box is the name for a series of computer role-playing games produced by SSI. The company won a license to produce games based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game from TSR, Inc...

games of the late '80s and early '90s (many of which were later ported to Japanese video game systems); also featured a heavy form of tactical combat. More recent examples include Troika Games
Troika Games
Troika Games was a video game developer created by the key people behind the first of the critically acclaimed Fallout series of games. The company was focused on role-playing video games between 1998 and 2005, best known for Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and Vampire: The Masquerade –...

' The Temple of Elemental Evil
The Temple of Elemental Evil (computer game)
The Temple of Elemental Evil is a computer role-playing game by now-defunct Troika Games. It is a re-creation of the classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure of the same name using the 3.5 edition rules. The game was published by Atari, who then held the interactive rights of the Dungeons & Dragons...

(2003), which featured an accurate implementation of the Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. . The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997...

3.5 edition ruleset; Knights of the Chalice (2009), which implements the D20 Open Game License; and Pyrrhic Tales: Prelude to Darkness (2002).

Tir-nan-óg (beginning in 1984) is a series of role-playing video games that premiered in Japan on the PC98 and later released for Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

. The latest title in the series is also being released for the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 and PSP
PlayStation Portable
The is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Corporation Development of the console was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on , 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004...

. The X-COM series also possesses a strategic layer, complete with strategic map and research tree; and Jagged Alliance 2 features a strategic world map with roving bands of enemies that must be defeated before entering the final sector. Knights in the Nightmare
Knights in the Nightmare
Knights in the Nightmare is a strategy-shooter role-playing game hybrid from Sting Entertainment, and the fourth episode in the Dept. Heaven saga...

(2009) combines elements of traditional tactical RPGs with bullet hell–style shoot 'em up
Shoot 'em up
Shoot 'em up is a subgenre of shooter video games. In a shoot 'em up, the player controls a lone character, often in a spacecraft or aircraft, shooting large numbers of enemies while dodging their attacks. The genre in turn encompasses various types or subgenres and critics differ on exactly what...

 gameplay. Heroes of Jin Yong
Heroes of Jin Yong
Heroes of Jin Yong , first published in 1996, is a tactical role-playing game based on the storyline and characters in Jin Yong's Wuxia novels, developed by Heluo ....

(1996), a Taiwanese role-playing game based on the popular historical novels by Jin Yong, featured a number of melee and ranged kung fu skills to train and develop, as well as a grid-based movement system.

Sega's Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game was released in 2008.The game is set in Europa, loosely based on Europe in 1935...

(2008) blurs the line even further by incorporating tactical RPG gameplay with both real-time strategy and third-person
Third-person shooter
Third-person shooter is a genre of 3D action games in which the player character is visible on-screen, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.-Definition:...

 tactical shooter
Tactical shooter
A tactical shooter is a subgenre of shooter game that includes both first-person shooters and third-person shooters. These games typically simulate realistic combat, thus making tactics and caution more important than quick reflexes in other action games...

 elements, including over-the-shoulder manual aiming
Free look
Free look describes the ability to move the mouse to rotate the player character's view in video games. It is almost always used for 3D game engines, and has been included on role-playing games, real-time strategy games, third-person shooters, first-person shooters, racing games, and flight...

 and a cover system
Cover system
A cover system is how a video game lets a virtual avatar avoid dangers usually in a three-dimensional world. This method is a digital adaptation of the real-life military tactic of taking cover to dodge enemy gunfire or explosives. Similar gameplay elements can be traced back to as early as 1986,...

. This has led to the game being described as "the missing link between Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998...

and Full Spectrum Warrior
Full Spectrum Warrior
Full Spectrum Warrior is a real-time tactics videogame. It was developed by the Institute for Creative Technologies in association with Pandemic Studios and published by THQ. It was released on June 1, 2004 for the Xbox, September 21, 2004 for Windows and on March 23, 2005 for the PlayStation 2...

." Radiant Historia
Radiant Historia
is a role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for the Nintendo DS. The game's development team mostly consists of Atlus staff who previously worked on Megami Tensei games like Persona 3, Strange Journey, Nocturne and the Etrian Odyssey series. The development team also includes...

(2010) also blurs the line between traditional RPGs and tactical RPGs. Infinite Space
Infinite Space
, initially announced as "Infinite Line",. is a science-fiction role-playing game developed by Nude Maker and Platinum Games for the Nintendo DS. It was the third of a four game publishing deal with Sega...

(2010) by Platinum Games is a hybrid of tactical RPG, real-time strategy, and space simulator
Space flight simulator game
A space flight simulator game is a genre of simulation video games that lets players experience space flight. Highly realistic examples lacking any sort of combat include Orbiter and Microsoft Space Simulator...

. The 3rd Birthday
The 3rd Birthday
is an action role-playing game develpoed HexaDrive and published by Square Enix. The game was made for the PlayStation Portable and marks the third entry in the Parasite Eve series...

(2010), the third game in the Parasite Eve series, features a unique blend of action role-playing game
Action role-playing game
Action role-playing games form a loosely defined sub-genre of role-playing video games that incorporate elements of action or action-adventure games, emphasizing real-time action where the player has direct control over characters, instead of turn-based or menu-based combat...

, real-time tactical
Real-time tactics
Real-time tactics or RTT is a subgenre of tactical wargames played in real-time simulating the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics...

 RPG, survival horror and third-person tactical shooter elements.

Massively multiplayer online gaming


Several MMOGs have combined multiplayer online gaming with tactical turn-based combat. Examples include, Dofus
Dofus
Dofus is a Flash based massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed and published by Ankama Games, a French computer game manufacturer. Originally released solely in French, it has since been translated into many other languages. It is primarily a Pay to Play game, though it still...

(2005), The Continuum
The Continuum
The Continuum is an online strategy game that combines turn-based war gaming with role-playing game-like character development and the collectability of a tabletop miniatures game. It takes place in the Crossworld, a new reality formed from the collapse of several formerly separate worlds that...

(2008), and the Russian game Total Influence (2009?). Tactica Online was a planned MMORPG that would have featured tactical combat, had development not been cancelled. Strugarden is a Japan/Korea-exclusive 3D MMORPG which uniquely employs separate movement and attack rounds. Gunrox
Gunrox
Gunrox is a multiplayer-only turn-based strategy "squad tactics" game that went live in 2008. The game was created by Enkord, a company known for their flash games.- Squad tactics :...

(2008) and Poxnora
PoxNora
PoxNora: Battlefield of the Immortals is a multiplayer online game that combines a collectible card game with a turn-based strategy game in a fantasy setting. PoxNora was originally launched via Java Web Start through a browser and can be played on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux...

(2006) are some other recent examples.

Popularity



Many tactical RPGs can be both extremely time-consuming and extremely difficult. Hence, the appeal of most tactical RPGs is to hardcore, not casual, computer and video gamers. Tactical RPGs are quite popular in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 but have not enjoyed the same degree of success in North America. The audience for tactical RPGs has grown substantially after the mid-90s, and PS1
PlayStation
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

 and PS2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 titles including Suikoden Tactics
Suikoden Tactics
Suikoden Tactics, originally released in Japan as , is a tactical role-playing video game developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 console as part of their Suikoden series. Initially released in Japan and North American in late 2005, the game was later made available in Europe and...

, Vanguard Bandits
Vanguard Bandits
Vanguard Bandits, known in Japan as , is a tactical role-playing game for the PlayStation. The game was developed by Human Entertainment and originally released in Japan on July 30, 1998...

, and Disgaea
Disgaea
is a video game series of tactical role-playing games created and developed by Nippon Ichi. The series debuted in Japan on January 30, , with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, later re-released as Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and Disgaea DS. One of Nippon Ichi's most popular franchises, it has branched...

have enjoyed a surprising measure of popularity, as have hand-held war games including Fire Emblem. Older TRPGs are also being re-released via software emulation
Emulator
In computing, an emulator is hardware or software or both that duplicates the functions of a first computer system in a different second computer system, so that the behavior of the second system closely resembles the behavior of the first system...

, such as on the Wii's
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

 Virtual Console
Virtual console
A virtual console – also known as a virtual terminal – is a conceptual combination of the keyboard and display for a computer user interface. It is a feature of some operating systems such as UnixWare, Linux, and BSD, in which the system console of the computer can be used to switch between...

. Japanese console games such as these are no longer nearly as rare a commodity in North America as they were during the 1990s.

Western tactical RPGs are mostly produced for PC and few in console platform, however it was less popular. Most western developers argue it still belongs in other genres. The term also was unwidely use for some western tactical RPGs video game, mostly they are labelled as strategy game
Strategy video game
Strategy video games is a video game genre that emphasizes skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory. They emphasize strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration...

. According to some developers, it is becoming increasingly difficult in recent years to develop games of this type for the PC (though several have been developed in Eastern Europe with mixed results); and even Japanese RPG developers are beginning to complain about a supposed bias against turn-based systems. Reasons cited include Western developers' focus on developing real-time and action-oriented games instead.

See also

  • Action role-playing game
    Action role-playing game
    Action role-playing games form a loosely defined sub-genre of role-playing video games that incorporate elements of action or action-adventure games, emphasizing real-time action where the player has direct control over characters, instead of turn-based or menu-based combat...

  • History of role-playing video games
  • Role-playing battle systems
  • Role-playing game tabletop
    Role-playing game
    A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

  • Role-playing video game
    Role-playing video game
    Role-playing video games are a video game genre with origins in pen-and-paper role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, using much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. The player in RPGs controls one character, or several adventuring party members, fulfilling one or many quests...

  • Chronology of tactical role-playing video games