Ignis Studios will be releasing three new RPGs early in 2018, with another massive multiplayer online RPG Seed of Lux in development. While RPGs for mobile games are a relatively new phenomenon, the concept goes back decades to when kids rolled dice and battled on park benches with Dungeons and Dragons. With the release of Mercenary Squad, Die Zombie Nation, and Crime Rivals also on the horizon, let’s look at the history of RPGs to map out how we got from boards to mobile games.

If we really want to go back to the beginning, the origins of RPGs begin with games like Chess and Stratego that require forethought and strategy. Instead of just reacting to the actions of other players, these games wanted each person to have a plan and handle unexpected twists. Games involving a storyline and characters were thought up in underground circles, but in 1974, RPGs went mainstream with the release of Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons, from which many features of Seed of Lux pay homage to, is a fantasy game with wizards, orcs, and other mythical creatures. Each character has their own story – you can choose one of many pre-determined adventures or forge your own tale. The manufacturer, Tactical Studies Rules, Inc (TSR) originally expected to sell 50,000 copies at most. But by 1981, over three million people had played Dungeons and Dragons in some form. With that, the RPG genre was born.

RPGs gained a hold in the world of computer and console gaming with titles like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Ars Magica. In 1988, Ars Magica began to focus more on character development and storylines than fighting battles. Using this mold, RPGs began to focus on world-building and creating compelling stories. The games soon became not about mastering weapons and defeating enemies, but growing as a character, meeting new friends, and solving problems. And yes, these problems still involved fighting enemies who didn’t agree with your view of the world. RPGs reached perhaps their pinnacle of popularity with Final Fantasy Seven in 1997. In FF7, the medieval world of most RPGs was updated to a modern setting, with a greedy corporation sucking the life out the planet. (Perhaps mirroring the real life concerns of gamers). This surge in popularity led to the development of life action RPGs like Silent Hill, where players are in the first-person shooter perspective but still follow a storyline.

Games like Starcraft and World of Warcraft popularized the strategy RPG genre, where storyline is still important, but characters build armies and nations instead of small groups. Ignis Studios saw the potential of strategy RPGs and that’s why all four upcoming titles have elements of both storytelling and nation building. Like the games that preceded them, you’ll take control of complex characters with their own needs and desires. But unlike previous games, you’ll get all these features right on your smartphone.