With 2018 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to turn to the year ahead. As an RPG fan, it’s always important to plan accordingly, since these games require time and commitment. As we get closer to wrapping up this console generation, developers are getting in their last efforts, and some are keeping tight-lipped about the future. However, that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to be excited about on both the Japanese and Western fronts. Popular series such as Kingdom Hearts and Wasteland have new entries alongside new titles, such as Pokémon developer Game Freak’s Town and Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds. Find out about these RPGs and more coming in 2019 below.
Note: Entries are listed in alphabetical order
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
We were hoping Biomutant would launch in 2018, but the extra time hasn’t dulled our enthusiasm for the open-world action/RPG being billed as “a post-apocalyptic kung-fu fable.” Biomutant lets you navigate a vibrant landscape as a raccoon-like creature whose abilities and appearance can be modified with mutations, bionic prosthetics, and weapons. The depth doesn’t stop there, as you can also enhance your character with everything from claws to robotic limbs. Combat combines shooting, melee, and powers from your mutations. Better yet? The game also boasts branching storylines with karma and companion systems. You can even navigate the vast world via air balloon, jet ski, or mech. It’s ambitiously intriguing.
Etrian Odyssey Nexus
Release: February 5
Nintendo’s handheld has been the perfect destination for this dungeon-crawling, map-drawing series, and now it’s saying goodbye to the 3DS with this final entry for the platform. For this reason, Atlus is going all out. You can recruit explorers from many classes spanning the entire series (18 in total) to help you defeat the baddies and discover the treasure that awaits. The game houses plenty of labyrinths, and is also bringing back hero classes from Etrian Odyssey IV. This really feels like a greatest hits title for the franchise, and we can’t wait to enjoy Etrian’s best innovations in this new standalone story. Now to prepare for those nasty FOEs and make sure our map-drawing skills are on point.
Fire Emblem Three Houses
Since 2012’s Fire Emblem Awakening, this strategy/RPG series has seen a surge in popularity thanks to a clever relationship-building system and the addition of MyCastle to watch your headquarters grow. However, outside of the Fire Emblem Warriors spin-off, the series has been relegated to the 3DS for the last few years. This is the first mainline entry to hit the Switch, and we’re guessing it’s going to debut on the console with a bang. Set in a new world called Fódlan, anything is possible. While Nintendo has kept a lot under wraps about the new game, we know Intelligent Systems always has some unique ideas up its sleeve.
Iceborne (Monster Hunter: World Expansion)
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Last year, Monster Hunter: World made waves, finally capturing a large North American audience with a major console release. With smoother controls, more reactive monsters, and the series’ calling cards of great customization and intense fights, Monster Hunter: World kept us logging in. Now it’s giving us more reasons to hunt when the Iceborne expansion launches this autumn. If you’ve been looking for a reason to return, this would definitely be it, as Iceborne has a brand-new biome alongside new monsters, story beats, and gear. While not as big as the base game, Iceborne is a pretty hefty expansion, and Capcom took fan feedback into consideration when crafting this experience. We can’t wait to slay massive beasts and wear their parts as fashion once again!
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
From the creators of Skullgirls, Indivisible is taking inspiration from plenty of classics, such as Valkyrie Profile’s combat and Metroid’s exploration. The unique RPG/platformer hybrid has a story influenced by the mythology of southeast Asia. You play as tomboy Ajna, searching for answers about her newly awakened mysterious powers. As your progress, you recruit other eclectic heroes while learning new powers for battle and traversal. As a bonus, the game features beautiful 2D hand-drawn animation and a soundtrack created by none other than iconic Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta. Considering Lab Zero Games’ success with Skullgirls, we’re eager to see what it can do with a different genre.
Kingdom Hearts III
Release: January 29
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
With just a couple of weeks until launch, we really hope this is the last time we see Kingdom Hearts III on an anticipated list, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less excited to enter brand-new Disney worlds like Monsters Inc and Toy Story while concluding the Xehanort arc. After years of side stories, it’s time to get back to a big mainline entry that could change everything. Director Tetsuya Nomura has spent years crafting plot twists, teasing what’s to come for this important game. With keyblade transformations, flashier moves, bigger worlds, and more Disney characters to meet, we’re excited to finally see if it was worth the wait.
The Outer Worlds
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Headed up by two former developers from the original Fallout, The Outer Worlds launches you into space to explore another solar system in an alternate timeline. In it, you uncover a corporate conspiracy that threatens everything humanity has worked for, but it’s not all serious business, as the narrative has its share of dark humor. So far it looks like the game has all the makings of a great RPG: exploration, recruitable characters, and most importantly, plenty of options for choosing how you play. You may want to charm your way out of some situations, while others might allow you to sneak and bypass combat altogether. If you want to fight, you have ranged and melee options at your disposal. Obsidian has a built a name for itself with RPGs, launching games like South Park: The Stick of Truth, Pillars of Eternity, and Fallout: New Vegas, and it’ll be interesting to see what it does with a new IP.
Game Freak has certainly been busy with Pokémon games, but that’s not all the talented developer has been working on. Town (a working title) is a turn-based RPG that takes place entirely in one village that once enjoyed everlasting peace… until gigantic monsters suddenly appeared. It’s up to you and your townspeople to restore order to your beloved homeland, battling these creatures using smart tactics via turn-based commands. We haven’t seen Town since its announcement trailer, but seeing Game Freak do something new, and for the Switch at that, has us intrigued.
Untitled Pokémon RPG
Release: Late 2019
We don’t know much about Game Freak’s next Pokémon game, except that it’s for Switch and it’s our introduction to generation eight, but that’s still exciting in its own right. While the game is due out in 2019, we still haven’t seen anything yet. We’re guessing we won’t see much until we get closer to E3. Still, the mystery is part of what keeps us on edge. In an interview with Famitsu, Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara said it’s going to be a game for longtime fans to look forward to, so it’s clear the company has been considering its hardcore fanbase when creating the game. After all these years, we haven’t been able to stop catching ‘em all, and we expect this entry will only keep that desire going.
Release: Late 2019
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
The Wasteland series returned to glory with a new entry back in 2014 thanks to Interplay founder Brian Fargo’s inXile Entertainment. After its success, we’re set to see another sequel this year. Get ready to squad up in the freezing wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Colorado. You fight in turn-based battles in this party-based RPG that’s out to capture the tactical decision making and story reactivity that made its predecessor shine. As the leader of your base, you’ll make decisions about how to run it, and your reputation will precede you. Wasteland 3 is also upping the ante by having vehicles at your disposal and environmental hazards to get through. It also features synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer to embark on adventures with others. Special care is being put into the story, with a newly revamped dialogue system allowing for plenty of choices and consequences to those actions. What type of leader will you be?