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The Death of Turn-Based Strategy Games Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

A post arguing that TBS is far from dead; that, in this time of mobile entertainment, TBS could well see its resurgence.

Back in 2009, Membraine Studios started working on the design for a turn-based strategy wargame called Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire that is now finally nearing its Alpha release.

Being a turn-based strategy wargame, Fractured Empire is already what you might call “a niche product.” Fractured Empire is even more niche though since our game attempts to capture the essence of tabletop (miniatures) wargaming.

You don’t get much more niche than tabletop wargaming.

Now and then, when I’m talking to people about our game, someone will tell me that “Turn-based gaming is dead!” And they usually follow up by saying “You should have made Fractured Empire a real-time strategy game instead!”

It is in response to this “Do Not Resuscitate” line of thinking that I am writing this article. Because not only is turn-based strategy not dead—the genre’s future is a bright and shiny thing. Oh yes. It’s shiny.

Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire screenshot

It’s not news that gamers are increasingly getting their fix on the go using mobile devices like iPad or Android tablets. But whereas action-centric games can really struggle with the touch-based interfaces of these platforms, by contrast, turn-based strategy games really come into their own. This is because turn-based strategy games typically don’t require quick reflexes and speedy interactions, so games like Fractured Empire lend themselves readily to touch interfaces in a way that action-centric games...don’t. In addition, most turn-based strategy games can achieve comparable performance on both high-end and low-end devices (desktops and tablets) due to demanding less of the GPU.

With Fractured Empire, for example, we’ve focused on actively promoted this portability through our PlayOnTheGo™ framework, which allows gamers to play their games of Fractured Empire on multiple platforms, from PC, Mac and Linux desktops to Android tablets and iPads. But we’re not just talking about playing Fractured Empire across multiple platforms; we’re talking about playing the same game across all those platforms.

Imagine starting a game in the morning on your Mac at home, continuing that same game on your iPad as you travel to work on the train, and then finishing the game at lunch on your office PC.

Now...imagine trying to do that with StarCraft 2 or Company of Heroes?

I rest my case.

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