2020’s most anticipated RPGs
2020 is looking to be a good year for RPGs. There are a lot hitting store shelves next year… I mean a whole lot. In fact, there are so many RPGs coming out between anticipated AAA titles, high profile indie games, remakes, re-releases, and plain old interesting projects coming out of left field that we had to limit ourselves to just ten entries on this list or else it was going to rapidly grow out of control.
If you don’t see a title you are looking forward to on this list, that’s not necessarily because we think it’s going to be worse or inferior. We just had to make some decisions and so many of these games had similar levels of hype that plenty of titles were just going to miss out by a fraction of an inch.
But that’s a good problem to have, right? If more RPGs than we could ever write about are hitting the shelves, then you can be sure you’ll have an RPG to play that suits your tastes in just about every month of the New Year.
Speaking of too many RPGs, there are more than 40 indie RPGs coming out next year and that’s just the ones we know of now. Give it a little time and we will be drowning in them. We had to chop the list down, so we eventually only considered games that had active demos… and even then it was way too many to choose from.
We eventually landed on Cris Tales because its demo really wowed us. It’s this interesting combination of Paper Mario and Chrono Trigger with a neat time-hopping mechanic that sections off portions of the screen as existing in the past, present, or future. Its art style is this neat combination of contemporary American cartoons with classic fantasy tropes. It has a really neat story with a mystery aspect to it that can only be unraveled through previously mentioned time-hopping powers. The demo even had a great deal of really well done voice acting.
We aren’t saying Cris Tales will be the best indie RPG of 2020, or even that it was necessarily the best demo we played, but it was certainly the one demo that most left us wanting more. It left us anticipating its release, thus it gets on this list.
From the indiesphere to one of the most high profile AAA projects in the industry, Cyberpunk 2077 is a roleplayer’s RPG. It’s made by CD Projekt Red, the same people behind The Witcher, it’s based on an old tabletop game, it has a ton of character creation options letting you play the game in any way you want, and of course, it has Keanu Reeves.
Cyberpunk 2077 breaks the mold of what the gaming world expects from RPGs. We haven’t seen many deal with Cyberpunk settings. The entire game is done in first-person which is a style usually reserved for dungeon crawlers, yet this will follow an open-world formula. Everything feels just a bit off from genre conventions, but feeling a bit off is what Cyberpunk is all about.
How will you navigate the bleak corporate owned future? Will you help those in need? Turn to crime? Cybernetically augment your body? Or maybe you’ll just rock out and start a wicked techno punk band? The choices are yours.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII is a name that is practically synonymous with the RPG genre. It was one of the first successful RPGs to use polygonal graphics, CD-based media, pre-rendered cutscenes, high quality non-synthesized music, and much more. It also had a plot that stuck in our minds and hearts, from the death of beloved character to the cold stare that Sephiroth gives you as Nibelheim burns down.
But RPGs have changed a lot since then, and so the Final Fantasy VII remake seeks to update this classic for a modern day audience. From its action based battle system to its fully voice acted dialog to its high definition models that don’t have grotesque Popeye arms, this is a contemporary RPG for all intents and purposes, yet it still holds the spirit of the goofy JRPG adventure that was the original.
The biggest change, however, is that this game will come out in parts. Next year we are only getting the adventure up to the end of Midgar. That might seem fairly small, but Square Enix said that this part alone will be as long and deep as any other modern day RPG. We will then get similar games of similar lengths for every other chapter of the story.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 is one of the most beloved RPGs of recent times. We gave it a perfect 10/10 when it first released. What could Atlus possibly do to make it better?
The same thing they always do when they re-release one of their major RPGs: add more content! Persona 5 Royal will include a brand new character, an expanded plotline for Goro Akechi, a whole new semester of school, new confidants, new personas, new dungeons, new post-game content, and much more. They’ve basically tacked on an entire other half of a game to the end of the original Persona 5 along with adding some new stuff in the middle… and this was already a game that could easily take you 150 hours to complete!
Can Atlus improve on perfection or will this re-release come off as too bloated for its own good. We are excited to find out.
There’s a pattern here. Many of 2020’s most anticipated RPGs are remakes or re-releases of classic properties that we loved in the past and System Shock is no different. But once again, this isn’t just going to be an HD texture touch-up. This is being built from the ground up with industry vets from Bioshock, Fallout, Mass Effect, and even the original System Shock itself.
We don’t know much about this reboot, which is a shame. It’s had a troubled development that stretches back all the way to 2012. It had a bunch of crowdfunding campaigns, plenty of hiatuses, several restarts and refocusings, and even a fully playable demo. We’ve also had a lot of promises of new content, new storylines, new mechanics, and lots of new features. However, the project has been restructured so many times it’s hard to tell what the final product will look like. Maybe that’s why we want to get our hands on it so badly.
Tales of Arise
Bandai Namco’s Tales series is one of the oldest RPG franchises out there, stretching all the way back to the SNES. It continues to prosper, reinventing itself time and time again, while other old school JRPGs have slowly faded with time. It’s this exact dedication to reinventing itself that makes us excited for each new Tales release.
We know a bit about the story of Tales of Arise. In classic Tales fashion, this puts a medieval style civilization up against a more modern one. It also appears as if the game will be far more open-world than Tales games of the past. Beyond that, we have very few details though.
What will it play like? How will combat work? Will there be a crafting system? Will there be multiplayer or even online play (please Bandai Namco, make it happen!) We have seen some great games come from the Tales team, from the last major project Tales of Berseria to the spectacular re-release of Tales of Vesperia. Let’s hope that Bandai Namco can keep up this streak.
Trials of Mana
Speaking of old franchises, the Mana series is coming back pretty strong these days. While the remake of Secret of Mana didn’t go over very well, this new version of Trials of Mana seems to be a much bigger production. For one, this game has full voice acting. Considering that you get to choose your unique party from six possible party members, this must have been a massive undertaking.
If you never played the original, Trials of Mana is notable for this party choosing system. You not only get to choose your protagonist, you also get to choose their two companions and later you get to change their classes in interesting ways. Once again this will be updated in the remake in order to fix with a revamped real-time battle system.
While we think this game will be fun to play on its own, we might be anticipating Trials of Mana to see if the Mana franchise might experience a sort of grand revival. While it was one of the most well-known franchises in the 16-bit and even early Playstation eras of gaming, most mana titles these days have been handheld or mobile productions. It’d be great to see them end up on mainstream consoles once more.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting is in the spotlight once more. Just this month we saw a text-based adventure game set in the Vampire universe and next year we are seeing a Werewolf game come out as well. However, this sequel to a cult-classic RPG seems to be the biggest upcoming World of Darkness release.
It really captures the soul of the tabletop game, as VTM: Bloodlines 2 will ask you to create a character not just as a fangy superhero, but first and foremost as a human. You create your character, get a thinblood discipline, and then eventually join one of five clans (with more clans planned as DLC). You’ll also have to juggle your morality, as you feed off of humans to survive. On top of all that, you’ll have to uphold the masquerade and refrain from using your supernatural powers in front of witnesses.
All of this together will create yet another RPG where the possibilities are endless. You can stick to the shadows and pull social strings to rise in vampire society, or you can grab a shot gun, eat some rats, and terrify humans as Steve McWildFang, the crazy vampire hobo. Who you are, what you do, and how it has an impact on vampire and human society is totally up to you.
Wasteland 2 was one of Kickstarters first video game success stories. Is it any surprise that it’s follow-up is yet another crowdfunding success?
In Wasteland 3 you’ll take control of the last surviving member of Team November, a Ranger Squad. You’ll have to gather supplies, build a base, round up a party, and work together to survive the frozen lands of post-apocalyptic Colorado. You’ll even be able to play the whole RPG co-op with a friend. On top of all that, there will be new vehicles, weapons, a deeper combat system, and a fully voice acted plot with a heavy emphasis on moral choices. If you are a fan of classic isometric party based RPGs, then definitely keep your eyes out for this one.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Finally we have the weirdest entry on our list. This game takes the open world Yakuza formula and turns it into a turn-based RPG. Goofy? You bet it is! Strange? Absolutely! Filled with tons of distractions like karaoke bars and gacha machines? Would it be a Yakuza game without them?
Frankly, it’s hard to not be excited about this game because it’s unlike anything we have seen before. What other RPG uses modern day organized crime drama as its backdrop? None until now. This will be a great game both for fans of the Yakuza series and for RPG fans who have never given it a try.
What 2020 RPGs are you excited for? Let us know in the comments.