Sort of.

A lot of early game design was based on necessity rather than design. Game developers worked within the confines that the current technology gave them. Games like Final Fantasy and the original Pokemon Red and Blue broke substantial technological barriers in order to deliver ground breaking mechanics, engaging open worlds, and compelling storytelling. This was all a giant leap forward out of the dark ages of game design when we made games harder simply to eat more quarters.

Despite this leap forward, there is always farther to go.

The Pokemon and Final Fantasy series have always been pinnacles of turn based gameplay, but Final Fantasy continues to be less and less turn based while Pokemon has changed very little.

The question is why?

I don’t believe this is an isolated example. None of my friends on Facebook believe that turned based rpgs are dying, but they all admit that they aren’t what they used to be. It is much more likely that turned based mechanics are doing what they have always done. They are enabling weaker hardware, or these days portable systems.

Final Fantasy is becoming more action oriented because it lives on cutting edge hardware. Pokemon lives on the DS. Portable devices get stronger every day, but they will always be weaker than consoles. Players are more accepting of “old school” mechanics on these devices, so it is here that turned based rpgs will thrive.

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