RPGs That Blend Magic And Technology


  • RPGs like Final Fantasy and The Witcher blend magic and technology, creating intriguing world-building and gameplay experiences.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic combines the Force and advanced technology to give players a mastery of both.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura explores the conflict between magic and science, raising questions about progress and society.

World-building is a core foundation of role-playing games. It is vital in immersing fans in a particular setting and the story within. Of course, those settings come in all shapes and sizes. Developers may opt for a fantastical realm inspired by medieval Europe. Alternatively, they might go for a sci-fi approach. Both aesthetics are valid and rife with potential, but who says they have to be mutually exclusive?

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Certain RPGs mix magic and tech. That mixture often informs the in-game history, laying the foundation for intriguing world-building. It also makes gameplay a breath of fresh air. Both of these outcomes are enough to pull players in, which isn’t something they’d expect. After all, magic and science clash on a fundamental level, but fusing those contrasting elements can create a more compelling whole.

6 The Final Fantasy Series

Magitek armor in Final Fantasy 6

Though it started in medieval settings, Final Fantasy has incorporated sci-fi into more and more of its mainline entries. The heroes still cast Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and other spells. They just happen to live in industrial or futuristic cityscapes. This is the case in Final Fantasy 8, 12, and 13. These elements are sometimes intertwined. In Final Fantasy 7, for instance, people mine the planetary energy called mako, which both powers machines and facilitates the use of spells. The relationship isn’t always so harmonious, though.

Entries like Final Fantasy 6 revolve around the conflict between the two forces. Magic is largely gone from the world thanks to the Gestahlian Empire’s actions against the mythical Espers. The despotic organization maintains its power through magitek: a technological substitute used to oppress any opposition. With these radically different approaches, Final Fantasy always keeps fans guessing which roles magic and technology will play.

5 The Witcher Series

A mutation lab in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

In both the books and games, The Witcher is mostly a world of high fantasy, albeit one rife with racism. It has humans, elves, dwarves, and other denizens. Despite their prejudices, one thing they all have in common is that they’re plagued by monsters. That’s where the science comes in.

In the early days, mages began experimenting to create enhanced warriors as a means to fight said monsters. They injected various herbs and mutagens into the subjects’ bodies. Their efforts eventually yielded witchers: enhanced humans with increased strength, senses, and reflexes. The practice was so successful that it continued for years to come. It’s why witcher sanctuaries like Kaer Morhen have fully-stocked laboratories. Unfortunately, this can easily go wrong, damaging subjects beyond repair. Because of that, the labs were long since wiped out or hidden.

4 Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic

Force Lightning in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

A galaxy far, far away is among the most iconic sci-fi settings in all of fiction. Star Wars has countless planets with civilizations at all levels of advancement. They have starships, hovercrafts, laser blasters, and other staples of the genre. Of course, the trademark toys are lightsabers: laser swords wielded by the noble Jedi Knights. The blades aren’t their mightiest weapons, however.

These guardians subsist on the Force. This mystical energy field binds the galaxy and all living things within. The Jedi draw on it to enhance their agility, techniques, and reflexes. Moreover, it lets them manipulate the world around them. Their tricks range from levitating objects to shooting lightning. Such abilities command fear and respect.

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Fans feel both in Knights of the Old Republic. In this game and its sequel, they master the Force on a level seldom seen. This mastery lets them triumph over their enemies. How they use that power can inspire loyalty from their allies, who boast their own skills in both the Force and technology. With a well-rounded party, KOTOR players can enjoy the advantages of each.

3 Arcanum: Of Steamworks And Magick Obscura

A battle and a Dwarf in Arcanum

The Industrial Revolution was a significant time in the real world, so it would naturally have the same effect on a fictional realm. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura presents a setting where magic slowly gives way to science. It sports a slew of spells, but it also has a wealth of innovations like trains, zeppelins, and firearms. These aren’t just set dressing, though.

The game actively explores the divide between these forces. Each side has its own circles, with members looking down on outsiders or opposing parties. Machines rely on harnessing natural forces to produce a desired result; magic breaks those natural laws and must be condemned. At the same time, people who built their societies on sorcery feel that the animosity and rejection weaken their standing in the world. These issues and more flood Arcanum as they would any growing civilization. Discovery often brings dangerous change and countless questions.

2 World Of Warcraft

A Gnome in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft


November 23, 2004



Spun off from the Warcraft series, World of Warcraft is another title that wears its high fantasy influence on its sleeve. It has several variations of humans, elves, orcs, and other exotic species. Most feature their brands of spellcraft, but some find an alternate path.

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In keeping with their genre reputation, Dwarves and Gnomes are mechanically inventive people. In lieu of axes and shields, they can fire pistols, rifles, and other guns. This helps them truly compete against sorcerers. More importantly, it inches WOW away from its medieval roots and closer to modern warfare.

1 The Phantasy Star Series

The party in Phantasy Star Online 2

The Phantasy Star series bears many similarities to Star Wars. It’s another galaxy with advanced tech permeating the plethora of planets. In addition, magicians make up a portion of the population. That said, magical ability is usually the result of genes. Those versed in sorcery pass that trait down their family line. Everyone else must settle for science: guns, bombs, energized swords, and other gadgets. Such escalation is expected, but it goes further than simple tools.

As it’s gone on, Phantasy Starhas introduced new methods of advancing its world. On top of androids, the characters have created genetically engineered humans. These specimens come with the usual increased abilities, including an aptitude for magic. After improving their tech, it was only a matter of time before people did the same to themselves.

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