What a decade the '00s was! For RPGs, it was ten years of transition, featuring the rise and fall of the Playstation 2: the genre's most dominant system to date, and in its later years, a big upswing in the popularity of Western RPGs. In addition, as gaming hardware grew more powerful, many games started stepping outside of the rigid genre boundaries of the past, adding "RPG elements" to their gameplay.
Of course, change is not necessarily a bad thing. RPGFan reviewed 643 games released between 1/1/2000 and 12/31/2009, and there are more than enough great games to keep you busy year round, no matter what flavor of RPG you prefer. Beyond great games, though, are the classics: the games on our Top 20 list. Every one of them comes with RPGFan's stamp of love, not just approval.
You may wonder how we made this list, so we thought it'd be a good idea to fill you in. After all, this was 10 times the challenge of our annual Game of the Year proceedings and, with such a huge pool of outstanding games to choose from, we had to do things a little differently. In fact, even the procedures for making the list underwent quite a bit of friendly debate. Here's how it all shook out in the end, though.
First, each participating staff member made a list of their personal top 10 games. For some, that meant their favorite games, and for others that meant determining which games they thought were objectively the best. Those may sound like the same thing, but they're not – all gamers have a special place in their heart for a terrible game. No matter how they made their lists, though, doing so was tough.
Then, one of us gathered the lists together and assigned scores to each game selected. 10 points for 1st place, 9 points for 2nd place, down to 1 point for 10th place. Don't let that fool you into thinking that our individual lists simply contain a bunch of votes for the games you see above, though! 74 games received votes, and they are all deserving.
After tallying up the points and sorting out the best, we had a few ties, so we voted on those spots one last time. Fallout 3 and KotOR was a particularly hard-fought battle – the revote almost ended in a tie as well.
The results of that final vote are what you see here. The 20 games that RPGFan deems the best of the '00s. The next 10 years may bring a lot of things, but if they bring as many great games as the last 10 did, our gaming calendars are going to stay mighty busy.