Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A turn-based tactical revival

If you ask fans of the genre to list great turn-based tactical games, you will almost invariably end up with a list of titles running on consoles, most of them handheld. On the PC the arrival of real-time strategy games in the 90's pretty much killed the turn-based genre, except for a few classics like Heroes of Might & Magic that kept producing sequels. But in the last couple of years something happened to the world of video games: The rise of the small game development studio. Both Steam on the PC and the App Stores for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 created viable distribution channels for cheaper games. And that changes what kind of games are getting made.

If you are planning to make a multi-million dollar triple-A PC or console game that will cost $60, and you market research tells you that 70% of players prefer real-time over turn-based, you are likely to make your game real-time strategy. Because that is what you think your customers want, what will sell more copies. But if you are a medium or small game development studio and realize that you can't compete with Starcraft II, you might go for the underserved 30% market instead. Today we live in an overcrowded market for games, there are too many games chasing too few customers, and not doing what everybody else does makes eminent sense.

An additional factor is nostalgia, with Kickstarter showing everybody very clearly how popular some old brands still are. And so there is a kind of revival of turn-based tactical games on the PC as well as on tablets. XCOM was a hit. Battle Isle is bound to make a comeback on the iPad. Ubisoft announced Might & Magic X: Legacy, a tile-based tactical role-playing game. I've already written a lot about Card Hunter. And now even Skulls of the Shogun, which originally weirdly was a Windows 8 exclusive, has been announced to come to any PC via Steam. So I am looking forward to playing a lot of turn-based tactical games on the PC and iPad in the future. Turn-based is back!

Of course turn based is back. I only say wow battle pets. :-)
Some of us have been playing Blood Bowl for the last few years - a really excellent turn-based game.
MechWarrior Tactics needs to be made into a mobile game (as it's unity, the leap shouldn't be as great as starting from scratch either).

Blood Bowl is great and I'm really looking forward to Space Hulk, Slitherine's 40k hex game and WH Heroes.

I got Final Fantasy tactics on the iPad (it was discounted 50%). I haven't played it on PS(P), so I'm loving it.

Needless to say, I loved Xcom (the reboot).

It's a great time for TBS when you have something to play on every platform.
Me thinks a key part of the turn based revival is aging gamers :)

I used to love rts' when I was in my 20's and 30' that I'm over 40...

All I can say is turn based games allow me to use my increased wisdom over my decreasing reaction time :)
Don't forget games like Warlock: Master of the Arcane, Fallen Enchantress, and Endless Space. They may not be as high profile as Xcom was, but they're still there and part of a flood of Turn based games we've been getting for the past 6-12 months.

These days it's RTS games that seem like a dying breed. You have Starcraft II, which was ok, and . . . ? Each C&C sequel seems to be worse than the last, and all the other RTS games I can easily thing of are getting old.
As a roguelike enthusuiast, I say turn-based never went away!
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