The developers of Video Game Fables hope to contribute to the revival of turn-based role-playing games

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The creator of Video Game Fables and Momiji Studios, solo developer Matt Sharp has long been fond of role-playing games. In his youth, being a keen gamer, he discovered that creating games was not an impossible task at all, but quite achievable. Familiarity with RPG Maker was a turning point and forced him to take a course to return role-playing games to their former glory.

Sharpe was particularly intrigued by turn-based role-playing games in which an exciting plot meets strategic battles. Creating a fantasy world is fascinating, but what makes the game, and the turn—based combat system in particular, are the formulas and calculations underlying it all. Some of his early inspirations came from platformers, after all, these were the first games he ever played, but the real influence on the creation of games came from later role-playing games. The culmination of everything was the creation of Momiji Studios, created for his first RPG. Game Rant spoke with Matt Sharp from Momiji Studios about the development of Video Game Fables and the bleak future of turn-based role-playing games.

Conceptualizing fables about video games

The first game he ever created with RPG Maker was a classic turn-based RPG called Lucid Awakening. The game was not widely distributed, and mostly she liked the developer community supporting RPG Maker, which was extremely important for an indie developer trying to create his first game. In the sequel to Lucid Awakening 2, Sharpe wanted to test the waters. The game became his first game on Steam in 2015 and an important milestone in his career as a game developer. It was determined that Momiji Studios would create more role-playing games for the general public.

“I’m just proud that I went through the game from start to finish. I said this to my students when I was teaching game development. Just go and do something… just finish something.”

While teaching game development at Wilmington University of Delaware, he worked on the project of his future game. For several years, the concept of the game slowly took shape. After his job at Wilmington University ended, it was time to focus solely on creating his next game. There is still a lot of work to be done on Video Game Fables, and as an independent single developer working full-time, it was not easy for me. After many years of grueling work, the fruit of labor was ready for publication. In July 2022, the Video Game Fables were released on Steam.

The release of Video Game Fables was the second major milestone of Momiji Studios and Matt Sharp, but was not any conclusion. Sharp started developing turn-based role-playing games, but not to release them on Steam or to gain fame or fortune. Instead, he loves the genre to the core and wants to be one of those who moves them forward. Making games like Lucid Awakening 2 and Video Game Fables gives him pleasure, but there is a broader and more important picture. Turn-based role-playing games have been an important part of gaming culture for decades. Every child of the 90s has their favorites, and gamers should choose from a list of very influential games such as Chrono Trigger, Fallout and Final Fantasy, to name just a few. Sharpe’s first introduction to this genre was the first Dragon Warrior, or Dragon Quest, as it was known at that time only in Japan. The 90s were the golden age of turn-based RPGs and JRPGs, which largely explains why Momiji Studios is the way it is.

Legends of video games and the future of turn-based strategies

However, times have changed in twenty years. The future of turn-based role-playing games does not look as rosy as it used to be when Sharp fell in love with this genre. Companies are abandoning turn-based elements in their role-playing games, and strategy is giving way to possibly brighter real-time combat mechanics. For most of the community, and for Sharp in particular, it was devastating. Developers who were largely responsible for the boom a few decades ago are now turning away fans of turn-based role-playing games. The fact that Square Enix abandoned turn-based battles in Final Fantasy 16 was a huge blow for Sharp.

“They said they want Final Fantasy 16 to attract young people. That’s why they don’t want to do turn-based role-playing games… it hurt me and many fans of turn-based role-playing games.”

There is still room for positivity. Sharp and his community create original turn-based role-playing games, along with other role-playing games, and hopes for AAA games are not lost either. Sharp is happy that the Sega Persona franchise is gaining momentum. Even the new big-budget turn-based role-playing game about superheroes, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, is coming out in December. It’s safe to say that Video Game Fables are not alone in defending the fortress of turn-based games.

Video Game Fables is already available on PC.

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