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RPG Maker, known in Japan as RPG Tsukūru (RPGツクール, sometimes romanized as RPG Tkool), is the name of a series of programs for the development of role-playing video games (RPGs), created by the Japanese group ASCII, succeeded by Enterbrain. The Japanese name, Tsukūru, is a pun mixing the Japanese word tsukuru (作る), which means "make" or "create", with tsūru (ツール), the Japanese transcription of the English word "tool".[1]

RPG Maker
Developer(s)ASCII, Enterbrain, Agetec, Degica
Initial release17 December 1992; 25 years ago (1992-12-17) as RPG Tsukūru Dante 98
Stable release
RPG Maker MV / October 23, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-10-23)
PlatformPC-8801, MSX2, PC-9801, Super Famicom, Microsoft Windows, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Available inJapanese, Chinese, Korean, English
TypeGame creation software

The RPG Maker series has been released primarily in Japan, with later versions also released in East Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia.[2] It is a popular game development engine, with hundreds of games created using RPG Maker released on Steam every year, including hundreds of commercial games.[3]


PC versionsEdit

RPG Maker is a program that allows users to create their own role-playing video games. Most versions include a tile set based map editor (tilesets are called chipsets in pre-XP versions), a simple scripting language for scripting events, and a battle editor. All versions include initial premade tilesets, characters, and events which can be used in creating new games. One feature of the PC Versions of RPG Maker programs is that a user can create new tilesets and characters, and add any new graphics the user wants.

Despite being geared towards creating role-playing video games, the engine also has the capability to create games of other genres, such as adventure games (see Yume Nikki) or visual novels with minimal tweaking.

RPG Tsukūru Dante 98Edit

According to Enterbrain, RPG Tsukūru Dante 98, released on December 17, 1992, was the first software of the RPG Maker series,[4][5] although there were a few versions of RPG making software by ASCII preceding it, dating back to 1988[citation needed]. This, along with its follow-up RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 II, was made for NEC PC-9801, and games created with these programs can be played on a Windows computer with emulators called Dante for Windows and D2win, respectively.[6]

RPG Maker 95Edit

RPG Maker 95 was the first Microsoft Windows-based RPG Maker software. Despite being an early version, RPG Maker 95 has both a higher screen resolution, and higher sprite and tile resolution than the several following versions.

RPG Maker 2000Edit

RPG Maker 2000, also referred to as RM2k, was the second release of RPG Maker for Microsoft Windows and is the most popular and used RPG Maker so far.[citation needed] While it is possible to do more with RM2k, it uses lower resolution sprites and tiles than RPG Maker 95. However, it does not have a noticeable limit of 'sprites'. Unlike RM95, which can only use one 'set', RM2k can use an unlimited number of sprite sheets with specific sizes for each type. The tilesets also have a similar non-limitation. However, because tiles must be entered into a database, there is a limit on tiles. This limit however is rarely a problem (normally 5000), and even when it is, an unofficial patch exists which can bump most limits much higher at the risk of potential game corruption. It doesn't support text output and can program only 2 buttons, Z and X. There is text in dialog boxes, by manner of overlaying sprites, or maps lain with text. But not plainly on the screen.

RPG Maker 2003Edit

RPG Maker 2003, also referred to as RM2k3, and sometimes RM2k/3, is largely an improvement of RM2k. RM2k games can be ported to RM2k3 (but not back to RM2k, the conversion is permanent), and most resources are interchangeable. The main difference is the introduction of a side-view battle system similar to that found in Final Fantasy games on the Super NES. This was the first version made by Enterbrain, which had previously been a part of ASCII.

RPG Maker XPEdit

RPG Maker XP, also referred to as RMXP, is the first RPG Maker which can use Ruby, making it the most powerful, programming-wise. However, many normal, simplified features present in RM2k(3) have been removed. Most of these features, however, have been programmed with Ruby, and distributed online. RMXP runs at 1024x768 resolution (though games made in it run at 640x480), while offering four times the playable area of its predecessors. Additionally, it allows greater user control over sprite size (there is no specific image size regulation for sprite sheets) and other aspects of game design. This more open-ended arrangement, coupled with the inclusion of the Ruby Game Scripting System (RGSS), makes RPG Maker XP more versatile than older versions in the series, at the cost of a steeper learning curve. Upon the release of Windows Vista, many users experienced compatibility problems, although the fix was relatively simple.[citation needed]. XP used a front-view non-sprite battle system that allowed for the use of Battle backgrounds (Battlebacks). Both characters and enemies had static battle sprites, and the interface was quite simple.

RPG Maker VXEdit

RPG Maker VX, also referred to as RMVX, its Japanese release date was Dec. 27 2007, and official release date in America was February 29, 2008. In this new maker, the interface is more user-friendly, allowing new users to create games with ease. The framerate was increased to 60 frames per second, providing much smoother animation in comparison to RMXP's often-choppy 40fps. The programming language Ruby is still implemented, and the game's default programming has been overhauled to allow more freedom to those scripting in new features. New editor and a new RTP are included, this time in a much simpler "blocky" style. The battle system is comparable to that of the Dragon Quest series or its predecessor RM2k, with a frontal view of the battlefield and detailed text descriptions of each action taken. One notable disadvantage from the previous version, however, is the lack of support for multiple tilesets when mapping, leaving the player with only a finite number of unique tiles with which to depict all the game's environments. Multiple player-made workarounds exist, but this remains a sore point among many RMVX users.

RPG Maker VX AceEdit

RPG Maker VX Ace, also known as VXAce or simply "Ace", was released by Enterbrain in Japan on December 15, 2011.[7] It was released in the United States on March 15, 2012 as a digital download. It was later made available through Steam, and is also now available as a physical CD.[8] RPG Maker VX Ace is essentially an overhauled version of RPG Maker VX, and removes the issue with multiple tilesets. Battle backgrounds were re-introduced, and are separated into top and bottom halves. Spells, skills, and items can all now have their own damage and recovery formulas, although a quick calculation method reminiscent of the older RPG Makers is available. The VX RTP was redesigned for VX Ace, and a new soundtrack featuring higher quality techno-pop tracks was included. With the release of VX Ace came a large quantity of DLC Resource Packages, officially offered by Enterbrain, and also available through Steam.

RPG Maker MVEdit

Released by Degica on October 23, 2015, RPG Maker MV includes a number of improvements over previous versions, having multiplatform support, side-view battles, and high resolution features.[9] It is also the first engine in the series to use JavaScript instead of Ruby, with the addition of plugins. Completed games can also be played on a mobile device. RPG Maker MV also goes back to layered tilesets, a feature that was removed in RPG Maker VX and VX Ace.[10]It also came out on consoles under the name RPG Tsukūru MV Trinity. It was originally announced to only be on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch but was later announced to also be on the Xbox One. It was released on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in Japan on November 15, 2018, and will be released worldwide in 2019.[11]

Console versionsEdit

RPG Tsukūru Super DanteEdit

Victor Reetz created the first console RPG Maker, RPG Tsukūru Super Dante, which debuted in 1995 for the Super Famicom, as a port of RPG Tsukūru Dante 98.[5] RPG Tsukūru Super Dante was later broadcast via the Super Famicom's Satellaview accessory.

RPG MakerEdit

In 2000, RPG Maker was released for the Sony PlayStation, however, only a limited number of copies were made for releases outside of Japan. The software allowed user-made characters, and monsters through Anime Maker which was separate from the RPG Maker, which required saving to an external memory card. However, there was a limit to how many user-made sprites and monsters could be used in RPG Maker. Also, in Anime Maker, the user could create larger sprites for a theater-type visual novel in which the player could animate and control characters, but these sprites were much larger and unusable in RPG Maker.

The RPG Maker interface was somewhat user-friendly, and battles were front-view style only. Item, Monster, Skill/Magic, and Dungeons had a small limit cap, as did the effects of any given Item, Magic or Skill (9,999). Items were all inclusive; Weapons and Armors were created in the Items interface. The types of items were as follows: None (mainly used for Key Items), Weapon, Armor, Key (up to eight sub types), Magic (for binding Magic created in the Magic interface to an item), Healing, and Food (which raises stats and EXP, or experience points in which this particular software is the only one of the series to do so natively).

Events were a separate save file from the System file, and are referred to as Scenario files. This is how the user could make multiple parts to one game, provided the user had enough memory cards and card space to create the files.

RPG Maker FesEdit

A version for the Nintendo 3DS was released by NIS America on June 27, 2017. While it remains portable on a small screen, users can create games on-the-go and also download games to play as well. The game received some criticism, with NintendoWorldReport writing that "Ultimately, it’s hard for me to recommend RPG Maker Fes to anyone but the most hardcore of RPG fans that have always dreamed of creating their own game."[12] Games completed can be uploaded to the world for those to download and play on their own systems. It is the first RPG Maker to receive a limited edition which includes a cd soundtrack in a jewel case containing all the soundtracks in the game, and a full-color paperback artbook. It's also the first RPG Maker on consoles/handhelds to receive a digital release.

English versionsEdit

Historically, few early RPG Maker versions had official English releases. Each Windows version has, however, been subject to unlicensed distribution through the internet in some form or other.[13] RPG Maker 95, as well as translation patches for the Super Famicom titles RPG Maker Super Dante and RPG Maker 2, were translated and distributed by a group called KanjiHack. In 1999, KanjiHack closed upon receiving a cease-and-desist e-mail from ASCII's lawyers. RPG Maker 95 was re-released with a more complete translation under the name RPG Maker 95+ by a Russian programmer, under the alias of Don Miguel,[14] who later translated and released RPG Maker 2000. Later versions, RPG Maker 2003, and RPG Maker XP, were similarly translated and distributed by a programmer under the alias of RPG Advocate.

The first official English release of the PC series was of RPG Maker XP on September 16, 2005. The next two versions of the software, RPG Maker VX and RPG Maker VX Ace both received official English releases. Since 2010 English versions of RPG Maker have been published by Degica, who have also officially released English versions of the older titles RPG Maker 2000 and RPG Maker 2003.

The first official English language of a console version was the PlayStation version in 2000, simply called RPG Maker, by Agetec. Agetec also localised RPG Maker 2 and RPG Maker 3.


Since its first release, the series has been used to create numerous titles, both free and commercial. According to PC Gamer, it has become "the go-to tool for aspiring developers who want to make a game and sell it", due to being "the most accessible game engine around".[3] A number of developers who have created notable games via an entry in the series include:

By August 2005, the series had sold more than two million copies worldwide.[4] In addition to games, the series has been used for other purposes, such as studies involving students learning mathematics through the creation of role-playing games,[16] and programming[17]

RPG Maker series timelineEdit

Japanese title English title Developer Platform(s) Japanese release date English release date Publisher(s)
Mamirin PC-8801 1988 ASCII
Dungeon Manjirou[18] MSX2 1988 ASCII
RPG Construction Tool: Dante[19] MSX2 February 8, 1990 ASCII
Dante 2[20] MSX2 February 8, 1992 ASCII
Chimes Quest[21] PC-9801 1992 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru Dante 98[5] PC-9801 December 19, 1992 ASCII
Dungeon RPG Tsukūru Dan-Dan Dungeon[22] PC-9801 April 28, 1994 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru: Super Dante Kuusou Kagaku Super Famicom, Satellaview March 31, 1995 (Super Famicom)
April 4, 1996 (Satellaview)
RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 II[5] PC-9801 July 14, 1996 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 2 Kuusou Kagaku Super Famicom, Satellaview January 31, 1996 (Super Famicom)
April 22, 1996 (Satellaview)
RPG Tsukūru 95 Microsoft Windows March 28, 1997 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 95 Value! Microsoft Windows November 21, 2001 Enterbrain
Simulation RPG Tsukūru Pegasus Japan Sega Saturn, PlayStation September 17, 1998 ASCII
Enterbrain Collection: Simulation RPG Tsukūru Pegasus Japan PlayStation November 29, 2001 Enterbrain
Simulation RPG Tsukūru 95 Microsoft Windows May 29, 1998 ASCII
Simulation RPG Tsukūru 95 Value! Microsoft Windows November 21, 2001 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru 3 RPG Maker Kuusou Kagaku PlayStation November 27, 1997 October 2, 2000 ASCII (Japan)
Agetec (North America)
PlayStation the Best: RPG Tsukūru 3 Kuusou Kagaku PlayStation November 19, 1998 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru GB Kuusou Kagaku Game Boy Color March 17, 2000 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 2000 RPG Maker 2000 Microsoft Windows April 5, 2000 ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 2000 Value! Microsoft Windows May 14, 2003 July 7, 2015 Enterbrain (Japan)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru 4 Agenda[23] PlayStation December 7, 2000 Enterbrain
Uchūjin Tanaka Tarou de RPG Tsukūru GB 2 Game Boy Color July 20, 2001 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru 5 RPG Maker 2 Kuusou Kagaku PlayStation 2 August 8, 2002 October 28, 2003 Enterbrain (Japan)
Agetec (North America)
RPG Tsukūru 2003 RPG Maker 2003 Microsoft Windows December 18, 2002 April 24, 2015 Enterbrain (Japan)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru α[24] Microsoft Windows, Mobile phone December 18, 2002 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru Advance Game Boy Advance April 25, 2003 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru XP RPG Maker XP Microsoft Windows July 22, 2004 September 16, 2005 Enterbrain (Worldwide)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru RPG Maker 3 Run Time PlayStation 2 December 16, 2004 September 20, 2005 Enterbrain (Japan)
Agetec (North America)
RPG Tsukūru for Mobile Mobile phone April 17, 2006 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru VX RPG Maker VX Microsoft Windows December 27, 2007 February 29, 2008 Enterbrain (Worldwide)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru DS[25] Nintendo DS March 11, 2010 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru VX Ace RPG Maker VX Ace Microsoft Windows December 15, 2011 March 15, 2012 Enterbrain (Worldwide)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru DS Plus Nintendo DS December 15, 2011 Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru MV RPG Maker MV Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux December 17, 2015 October 23, 2015 Kadokawa Games
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru Fes RPG Maker Fes Nintendo 3DS November 24, 2016 June 23, 2017 Kadokawa Games
NIS America (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru MV Trinity RPG Maker MV PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One November 15, 2018 February 26, 2019 Kadokawa Games
NIS America (Worldwide)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Outline of Tsukūru at the official Tsukūru website (in Japanese) (Retrieved on 2010-3-6)
  2. ^ "International Licensing Business" Archived 2007-09-23 at the Wayback Machine. at Enterbrain's website
  3. ^ a b "The surprising explosion of RPG Maker on Steam". PC Gamer. April 12, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Enterbrain (2005-8-16) 『RPGツクールXP』英語版 海外サイトにてダウンロード販売を開始 Archived 2006-12-08 at the Wayback Machine.(in Japanese)
  5. ^ a b c d "RPGツクールの歴史" (History of the RPG Tsukūru) Archived 2007-08-25 at the Wayback Machine. at the official Tsukūru website (in Japanese)
  6. ^ [1](in Japanese) at Digital Famitsu Homepage
  7. ^ [2] Archived January 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "RPG Maker VX Ace Release | The Official RPG Maker Blog". Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  9. ^ RPG Maker MV Announced
  10. ^ "RPG Maker MV | RPG Maker | Make Your Own Video Games!". Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  11. ^ Romano, Sal. "RPG Maker MV for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch launches November 15 in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  12. ^ "RPG Maker FES Review - Review. (2017, June 20). Retrieved December 05, 2017,".
  13. ^ "Sad Fact" at Enterbrain's website
  14. ^ A look at RPGmaker 2000, translated by Don Miguel at (archived copy)
  15. ^ a b c Degica (2012-08-05). "Degica RPG Maker Web Store". Degica, Co., Ltd. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
  16. ^ Marcus Vinicius Maltempi and Maurício Rosa. "Learning Vortex, Games and Technologies: A New Approach to the Teaching of Mathematics" (PDF). Universidade Estadual Paulista. Retrieved 2007-06-09.
  17. ^ Tiffany Ralph and Tiffany Barnes. "The Catacombs: A study on the usability of games to teach" (PDF). Colorado State University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-09. One of the versions was developed using RPG Maker XP and provides students with a more exploratory gaming experience than the other, which was created using the BioWare Aurora Neverwinter Nights Toolset and has the user follow linear stages of game play.
  18. ^ Dungeon Manjiro at Generation MSX
  19. ^ Dante at Generation MSX
  20. ^ Dante II at Generation MSX
  21. ^ "RPGツクールでつくーる"(in Japanese)
  22. ^ "yananayika" (The Tsukūru Museum) Archived 2007-08-23 at the Wayback Machine. at the official Tsukūru website (in Japanese)
  23. ^ Agenda-Game: Products Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine. (in Japanese). Retrieved on 2010-11-10.
  24. ^ RPGツクール2003製品情報 at Enterbrain's website (in Japanese)
  25. ^ RPGツクールDS(in Japanese) Retrieved on 2010-1-12.

External linksEdit