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Visual Initiative Queue

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So the next six turns are The Hero, Boss, The Lancer, Black Magician Girl, White Magician Girl, and The Hero again.note 

"An incredibly convenient meter at the top right tells you when everyone in the combat will go in turn."

When the turn order in a video game, usually strategy or RPG, is shown in a way that tells the player the next several turns of (usually) everyone involved in a battle or challenge. The form is usually a stack or line of headshots of the characters and enemies.

Thus if Alice and Bob are at the first and second positions respectively, and the Blob Monster they are fighting is third, then Alice will get the first move, Bob will get the second, and the blob will go third.

This can have a number of effects:

Some games, at certain times, will even let you preview how turn order will be changed. Say if you select an action, but have not confirmed it, the queue will change order to show what will happen.

These can involve various amounts of Real-Time with Pause.

A Sub-Trope of Action Initiative.


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    Eastern RPG 
  • Final Fantasy X uses a vertical bar to show turn order for everyone on the battlefield. When selecting a command, it also shows how much of a delay that move is going to cause. Limit Breaks, for instance, carry a penalty of a few turns to balance their powerful effects.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia uses a horizontal bar to similar effect, manipulating turn order using the "break" mechanic is an important consideration in choosing targets and defending.
  • Nostalgia (Red Entertainment) uses a vertical bar on the lower screen.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant and Shadow Hearts: From The New World have a horizontal line of icons on top of the screen, labeled "Turn Priority". It's far more useful in the latter game, which allows the player to plan around the new Stock system, and make characters deep in the queue act immediately. It also shows if someone's Sanity Meter is about to run dry, by coloring the character's icon red.
  • Neptunia
  • Atelier Series (and just about every modern Gust Corporation game):
    • Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny This concept is implemented at a bar with pointers siding along the bar indicating the action order. This was also the first game in the series to use the concept.
    • Atelier Iris 3 Uses a queue of "action cards" rather than the bar from the previous game.
    • Ar tonelico Classic horizontal cards in the top left of the battle screen featured in most Gust Corporation games.
    • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis 16 horizontal cards at the top left of the battle screen.
      • Interestingly, Roxis has a few abilities that target and manipulate these cards, and it is possible to insert cards that take preset actions automatically.
    • Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy Uses a rotating ring of bubbles.
      • Much like Roxis from the first game, Enna can shoot down enemy time spheres, and Ulrika can clear them completely. The final boss in Raze's route and in the True End route can screw with players by blocking out the entire ring.
    • Atelier Totori
    • Atelier Meruru
  • Hexyz Force uses a vertcial bar.
  • The Xenosaga trilogy. This had the added twist of having certain turns on the turn wheel grant special effects, such as double experience if you defeated an enemy that turn. It also had a Boost mechanic that would allow a character to "cut" in line and take their turn next.
  • Radiant Historia uses the top screen to list the next 9 moves. After a little bit, you can even swap any two turns (hero or monster) to extend chains.
  • Wild ARMs uses this for certain fights:
    • Wild ARMs 3 implements this when battling using the sandcraft.
    • Wild ARMs 4 uses this for all battles.
    • Wild ARMs 5 shows the characters and enemies attack order in the top right of the screen.
  • Sands of Destruction for the DS puts the character portraits of the party and enemies in order of their turn, but since most bosses can get multiple turns without the queue reacting to it until it's actually their turn and because the party members' ridiculously lenghty attack combos only count as a single turn, it tends to serve very little purpose in battles where it might actually be important.
  • In Blue Dragon, the top of the screen tells the turns of the player and the monster.
  • Persona 3 and Persona 4 both let you view the order of turns by pressing a button. It then shows an overhead view of the battle, with whose turn is when displayed above the figure. However, while Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES would display the order of the next complete turn of actions, Persona 4 and Persona 3 Portable only show the immediate next character to act.
  • All of the Trails Seriesnote  have a stack showing everyone's turn order for (depending on how many enemies are present) two or three 'rounds', and highlights where a character's next action will be after taking their turn (which varies depending on what they do). It also has icons next to some turns indicating that whoever acts then will get a bonus effect, such as a STR boost or guaranteed Critical Hit. Since the Limit Break style attack can be triggered at any time and allow the user to act immediately, it's useful to deny an enemy such a bonus and make use of it yourself.
  • Arc Rise Fantasia features a downplayed form of this. Small icons on the bottom right of the screen to reflect action point decisions and give you an idea of how the battle will play out before you commit to the round, but you otherwise can't plan out the battle in other forms of this trope.
  • Skies of Arcadia, this happens with guns during ship battles, sort of. Whose action goes when is visible, and select-able, but you can't tell whether the opposition or you will go first in any given turn.
  • MARDEK uses this trope as well, displaying several turns worth at the top of the screen at a time.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, the Chip Challenge is built on this idea.
  • This feature is also in Mega Man X: Command Mission, aligned along the bottom of the screen. It doubles as a quick-glance health bar for each unit.
  • Grandia has the "Action Bar", wherein characters' icons slide across said bar in the bottom right corner of the screen until they reach the right end that's marked with ACT, at which point they, well, act and their icon is reset to the left end. When a party member's icon reaches the COM mark about 2/3 way to the right, the game pauses, letting you select the action to be carried out when it reaches the right end. If you use a special attack with a "Cancel" property on an enemy whose icon is between COM and ACT, you cancel their turn entirely.
  • Omega Quintet uses a bar at the side of the screen to display upcoming turn order. It also shows the "empty" turns where nobody's ready to act yet, which is important because Harmonics "consecutive turns" strictly means "one beat after the next".
  • Evolution: The World of Sacred Device and its sequel Evolution 2: Far Off Promise has a vertical totem in the upper right-hand corner with the party represented by mugshots and enemies represented via a generic icon. In the sequel, it plays a secondary function of alerting the player to when a party member or an enemy is low on health or has a status effect such as poison.
  • Octopath Traveler has one of these at the top of the screen that shows the turn order for the current round as well as the next. When a party member uses a Skill that makes them go earlier or forces an enemy to go last, the queue changes to reflect the new order.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon does not change the order of character icons, but instead writes NOW and NEXT beside the relevant ones.
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus has a turn list on the right of the screen whose order changes depending on what attacks are used. Fast hitting attacks like Quick Attack are more likely to let the user's next turn come up sooner whereas heavy hitting attacks like Hyper Beam may delay the user's next turn. Using an Agile version of an ability will be weaker but lets the user's next turn come up sooner. Using a Strong version of an ability will do the opposite. Both styles will also consume 2 PP instead of 1.


    Strategy RPG 
  • Mobile game Alchemist Code runs on this system, with the next five turns visible to the player on the top left corner of the in-game battle UI.
  • Phantom Brave uses a vertical bar.
  • In the Final Fantasy Tactics series, pushing a button allows the player to see a list displaying the order the units will take their turn as well as when charged abilities like spells will go off.
  • Devil Survivor and Devil Survivor 2 when moving around the map. Generally, the more actions you perform (among moving, the attack command, and using a spell once per turn), the further back on the queue your team will be sent.
    • This can be abused on one map in the first game, where the game challenges you to defeat a certain number of demons within a certain number of The Protagonist's turns. The demons in question stay put, so the time limit is quite tight. Spamming spells with the Protagonist's demons on purpose will make his turns come slower, giving your other teams more time to act.
  • Monsters Den Book of Dread shows the queue with text instead of headshots. Monster's Den Chronicles shows the queue with headshots.
  • Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth
  • Gungnir. Though it's unique in that there's only one icon for the player (who can choose which unit to move and/or attack, instead of being forced to use only one) and that all player-controlled units have their own icon that says how long they have until the act again. Though the player can move anyone before the icon lights back up again, it reduces vitality temporarily.
  • Project × Zone displays a lineup of units whose turns are coming up on the 3DS's bottom screen. In addition, each unit has a number over its head indicating its position in the queue.
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark displays the turn order as a line of portraits along the top edge of the screen.
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad features this (complete with top-right timeline) as the departure from the "all units from your force moves, and then all units from enemy forces moves, taking alternating turns" standard of the previous XCOM games. In addition there are abilities that could alter the timeline to your advantage.

    Western RPG 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age: The turn order is represented by headshots of the party stacked on top of each other.
  • Penny Arcade Adventures 3 and 4 has a variation where every character's icon runs along the top of the screen and they get to go once they reach the edge (being turn based, everyone else freezes until that character makes a move). Speedier characters move through this queue faster and can overtake slower characters, so it's not always easy to eyeball who will be next.
  • Temple of Elemental Evil
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance
  • Divinity: Original Sin and Original Sin II both show the character portraits of all combatants in a row across the top of the screen during a fight, along with their Life Meter and Armor Meters. The player can select a portrait to view active status effects, access other information that's available, and target that character.
  • Child of Light has a bar at the bottom of the screen, divided into "wait" and "casting" sections. All combatants have a portrait that moves along the bar each round. The player choses their attack when they reach the beginning of the "Casting" section, and attack when they reach the end. Notably, the game incorporates a fair few ways to manipulate this system. Igniculous can blind monsters, causing their portraits to move slower, and executing an attack on an enemy that is in the casting section will knock them back to the wait section. In a well-executed battle, the player won't get attacked once.
  • Solasta: Crown of the Magister has a bar at the top left of the screen as to who gets to act in a certain order, just like in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, when played in turn-based mode, shows the turn order at top of the screen. In keeping with the tabletop rules, units can choose to delay their turn until later in the queue.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Forgotten Waters: The player with the highest "Infamy" rank goes first when choosing an action to take each round. Infamy is tracked openly on the Quartermaster Board and the game begins with players randomly assigned a ranking. Players are encouraged to collect (or steal) treasures and choose actions that can boost their Infamy rank.
  • Mice and Mystics: When the heroes first enter a map region, they and the enemies present there have their initiative cards shuffled and laid out to determine the order of combat. Any enemies who might arrive later are added to the bottom of the queue, and some hero and enemy abilities let them modify the queue mid-fight.
  • "Virtual tabletops" such as Roll20 tend to add this feature to the typical tabletop RPG, making it easier for the GM and players to keep track of the turn order.