The ability to change your weapons in a video game without pausing or using a PowerUp to change them. Usually this is accomplished by using one or two buttons, for one or two way switching respectively.

This usually involves a tradeoff of convenience and versatility, since pausing gives time to choose almost any weapon, while this trope usually limits the weapons in order to save for time. The latter is of course necessary in many multiplayer games (especially online games), where pausing isn't even possible, so menus leave players vulnerable. That reason makes this trope ubiquitous in {{First Person Shooter}}s and {{MMORPG}}s.

Also, in an FPS, the [[StockControlSettings most common forms]] are the scroll wheel and/or number key with PC games or the D-pad with home console games. Or just a single button if a character is only capable of carrying a handful of weapons.

The name comes from the {{E3}} 2006 {{Sony}} conference that also gave us the trope names GiantEnemyCrab, AttackItsWeakPoint, and ForMassiveDamage; the topic of "Real Time Weapon Change" was touted as a "great [[OlderThanTheyThink new]] feature" of ''{{Genji}} 2''.

Compare ChangingClothesIsAFreeAction.

Contrast RealTimeWithPause.

Not to be confused with MidfightWeaponExchange (where you switch weapons with someone else).
!!First Person Shooter and MMORPG examples should be limited to notable forms and aversions:

* In the game ''{{Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom}}'' for the [[NintendoEntertainmentSystem NES]] featured such, with the player having to hold Select and pressing a direction of the D-Pad to switch weapons during gameplay. This was notably the only way to switch weapons in the game.
* When they came on the {{SNES}} and {{Playstation}}, both ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' and ''[[VideoGame/MegaManX X]]'' added a function for the shoulder buttons to switch weapons (with the pause menu still there of course).
** ''MegaManZX Advent'' uses the touchscreen to switch forms without pausing. The original forced you to use a ring menu which paused the game.
** VideoGame/RockMan4MinusInfinity, lets the player do this by using the A and B buttons on the second controller[[note]]easier than it sounds, on account of emulators letting you map each controller's buttons to whatever keys you want[[/note]].
* ''ThunderForce'', although you start out with one choice until you grab a PowerUp.
* ''VideoGame/GateOfThunder'' also allows you to switch once you have enough power ups.
* ''EliminateDown'' had a three-weapon system that could be changed without pausing: a forward SpreadShot, a back ReflectingLaser SpreadShot, and a four-way diagonal that shot surface-crawling missiles.
* ''{{VideoGame/Hellfire}}'' allowed you to change the direction of your weapon, ahead, behind, two-way vertical, or four-way diagonal.
* Each ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' game has at least one alternate melee weapon that you can switch between on the fly.
* This trope is often found in {{Action RPG}}s:
** It was added to ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' with the ExpansionPack. It also resulted in the addition of eight cells of wielded item HammerSpace which could be used to lug around items too.
** ''VideoGame/{{Torchlight}}'' allows you to switch between one set of equipment and another.
** Likewise, ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'', with the caveat that you can only use the active ability gems slotted into the currently active weapon set, but not the other one. In other words, you switch not only between weapons but also spell/ability sets.
* Likewise, in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', you could switch between two weapon sets (alternatively: weapon+shield, two-handed weapon, [[DualWielding two weapons]], or bow), though it took time as the character had to sheathe the old weapon and draw the new one. Too bad this option was only useful for Arcane Warriors (who could switch between a MagicStaff and a melee weapon) and for transporting bulky weaponry, which took up space in the inventory but didn't encumber the character "wielding" it. This option was removed from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''.
* In the ''CastlevaniaSorrow'' games, playing in the Julius modes lets you switch between sub weapons.
** Starting with ''DawnOfSorrow'' you can switch between equipment sets when you get a certain soul, although the sets were still chosen by a menu.
* ''GuildWars'' lets you create up to four "weapon sets" that you can freely switch between.
** In GuildWars2'', each profession (except engineers) may quickly swap between only two weapon sets. Since the skill system is a bit different than in the prequel, utilizing this feature is practically required for chaining skills and waiting out long skill cooldowns. Elementalists may also change between elemental attunements, giving them eight different weapon skill sets to choose from in any given battle.
* The original ''DevilMayCry'' allowed you to switch between the Alastor sword and the Ifrit gauntlets by clicking the right analog stick.
** ''DevilMayCry 3'' lets you switch melee weapons while attacking for awesome combos.
** ''DevilMayCry 4'' allows both weapon and ''[[StanceSystem style]]'' switching for even more awesome combos.
** The reboot ''VideoGame/DmCDevilMayCry'' allows Dante to RTWC between Angel weapons (area attacks), Demon weapons (power attacks), and Human weapons (guns and bombs). It's vital to complete the platforming section.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' allows a player to make macros to change gear on the fly. However, because swapping out any weapon causes your LimitBreak gauge to be instantly depleted, this is actually used more often for clothes, leading to bizarre circumstances where a character will be seen to briefly put on a specific pair of pants while activating an ability, only to remove them immediately afterwards.
* ''PhantasyStarUniverse'' and ''PhantasyStarOnline'' allow the player to choose weapons to switch in real time. In [=PSU=] you assign weapons to one of 6 rows of equipment slots and change them by holding down a button and using the D-Pad/arrow keys. [=PSO=] has you hit a button combination and sort through a small window with the name of every weapon in your inventory using the D-Pad/arrow keys. Of course, being an MMO all equipment changes are in real-time; this just bypasses going to the equipment menu.
* In ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle'', Travis has apparently wised up and keeps all of his beam katanas on him. That they all have their own battery meters and he is invulnerable while changing swords makes this option capable of making certain attacks piss easy to avoid or absorb.
* The ''AceCombat'' games allow players to change between standard missiles and special weapons with just one button press.
* The ''NavalOps'' games put all of your ship's weapons (guns, missiles, torpedoes, etc.) on a menu on one side of the screen and you can go up or down in real time.
* To avoid exploits with macros, ''{{World of Warcraft}}'' puts a 1.5 second (1 for Rogues) cooldown on all ability use immediately after changing weapons in combat.
* Like any normal FPS, ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' only lets you choose from a set amount of weapon slots; generally 3 (a primary, a secondary and a melee), but 4 for the Spy (disguise kit) and 5 for the Engineer (build/destroy panels). The point where this trope becomes relevant is when you start getting dropped weapons to swap the default out with; they can be switched around through a less-streamlined menu, but only actually swap at a resupply cabinet (or after dying), while swapping between active weapons is, comparatively, this trope. Further, there is a button for switching from the current weapon to the next most previously equipped weapon, allowing a player to quickly toggle between a pair of weapons. Many players will cycle through their weapons after spawning to set up a pair of weapons that they expect to need to switch between most frequently. Some alternative weapons even include faster weapon switching as advantages of equipping them, encouraging the player to use them in quick combination with other weapons. For example, The Reserve Shooter is a shotgun that does bonus damage to aerial targets, but requires another weapon to get them airborn first.
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory'' allows switching weapons real-time or through the inventory.
* JaggedAlliance 2, which, though being a turn-based game (in combat), allows you to switch weapons on the fly.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life 2}}'', you can use the number keys or mousewheel to switch weapons as usual, but you can also hit G to swap between the Gravity Gun and your previous weapon - because you're going to be using [[IconicItem the Gravity Gun]] ''a lot''.
* In ''[[VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice American McGee's Alice]]'' you can use the number keys to switch between weapons.
* The Strikeforce spinoff installment of DynastyWarriors give the ability to switch weapons not only in the middle of combat, but in the middle of a combo. This is kept and improved upon in the seventh game.
* The first two ''MetroidPrime'' games let you select both beams and visors by means of the C-stick and d-pad respectively. ''Corruption'' instead had the player select visors by holding the minus button, hovering the cursor over the desired visor, and releasing the button; the beam selection system was replaced with a beam stacking system.
** ''Metroid Prime Trilogy'' ported Prime 1 and Prime 2 to the Wii. Beam switching is similar to Corruption's visor change, except you use the plus button to bring up the beam menu.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'', which utilized the touchscreen by having all the items in the lower left corner ready for use with a quick tap. The small number of items in the game compared to other ''Zelda'' games was actually more conducive for this.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' has a system similar to that used for the visors in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime 3: Corruption''.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' Altair can change weapons in real time by pressing up (Hidden Blade), left (Dagger), right (Longsword), or down (Fists) on the D-pad. Ever since ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' the player can set their own shortcuts, with the default arrangement swapping the Dagger/Short Blade for Medicine. Weapons or tools not assigned to a shortcut can be manually equipped from a radial menu; one in [=AC2=] and ''[[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood Brotherhood]]'', and two (for primary and secondary weapons) in Revelations. Trying to equip something that's already equipped will cause the character to sheath/unsheathe their weapon, pound their fists or flick their Hidden Blade(s).
* The original ''RedFaction'' had real-time weapon change with ''no'' limit on the number of weapons available. You'll often have a dozen on hand, making this awkward, especially since you have to recognize the weapons by profile if you want to swap quickly. Later games like ''Red Faction Guerrilla'' did limit how many you could hold.
* In a variation, some turn-based JRPG like ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' or ''BreathOfFire'' let you change your weapon and shield during your turn, in case the one you have equipped matches the opponent's elemental affinity poorly. Sometimes you can even still attack afterwards.
* The "Quick Select" menu in the ''RatchetAndClank'' games can usually be set to pause or not, although the first game didn't have pausing as an option.
* In the NintendoDS versions of the ''RuneFactory'' series, you can bring up menus for your weapons, items and magic using the shoulder buttons.
* ''EscapeVelocity'' had a key to rotate through secondary weapons.
* The ''VideoGame/DeadRising'' games let you choose your weapon or health item by pressing the shoulder buttons.
** ''VideoGame/DeadRisingChopTillYouDrop'' lets you use the d-pad to chose which of your four gun types to use, while in aiming mode.
* ''PerfectDark'' actually has ''three'' ways to change weapons: simply pressing A to select the next one in your inventory, holding A to choose from a HUD menu or pressing start to choose from the list in the pause menu.
* The {{Real Time Strategy}} games ActOfWar and EmpireAtWar feature units that can switch from machine guns to missile launchers and back; a suit of PoweredArmor in Act of War, and a Rebel tank in Empire at War.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'' and ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' utilize this system.
* Despite being a roguelike, ''VideoGame/{{Nethack}}'' has a variant; you can assign a primary and secondary weapon and switch between them at the press of a single hotkey.
* Some of the modal units in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer Red Alert 3'' act in this manner, such as the Guardian Tank (which switches between a standard gun and a targeting laser) or the Peacekeeper (ShortRangeShotgun vs. [[LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe riot shield]]); others are more of a SwissArmyWeapon or full-on TransformingMecha.