RPGamer’s Most Anticipated 2019 Games
Like many others, we often like to spend some thought examining what lies ahead. For RPGamer, this has taken various forms over the years, historically as part of our year-end awards before branching into its own features across the past few years. As a prelude to our 2018 awards, which as usual are planned for the end of January, we decided this year to give our writers free reign of selecting some games that they are looking forward to. Some of these will probably not make it in 2019, but we nevertheless felt they were worthwhile inclusions in the feature as games we are very much excited for when they do come out. While this is far from an exhaustive list of the games we are excited for, and there are many that did not make this feature that will be well worth looking into, 2019 looks to be another exciting one for RPGamers.
We hope you enjoy reading out our most anticipated games. Please let us know what games you are looking forward to in 2019!
What is Babylon’s Fall? So far we’ve received a brief teaser at E3 and nothing else since. The teaser has some dates fly by, perhaps forming a narrative for someone willing to pause the video to write all that down before it zooms to the next date. Then, some dark fantasy-looking knight is about to get cut down by a much bigger dark fantasy-looking knight before some red magical wisps come out, take the bigger knight’s sword, and slice the bigger one dead. That’s not much to go on, but what we do know is it is another collaboration between PlatinumGames and Square Enix, a partnership that worked very well with NieR: Automata. While there is no Yoko Taro involved, it will be interesting to see PlatinumGames, one of the best in the industry at designing combat systems, getting another chance on an action RPG. Will it have co-op? That would be cool. Does it have classes or skill trees? Who knows. Will it carry their trademark silliness or will it go for a more serious route? I’ll take either, though it should probably lean on the former. Will I be playing it when it comes out? Yup. PlatinumGames is a company to follow regardless and this time is able to design something new, divorced from the NieR framework. — Zack Webster
I loved Moon Hunters by Kitfox Games. Color me tickled pink in excitement when it announced Boyfriend Dungeon, a game where you can date your weapons. This game is part dungeon-crawler, part dating-sim, and all heart. What has me the most excited is the idea of seeing to what degree I will be allowed to date my weapons, and how hella diverse and queer the game is. The last time we had a dating-sim/weaponsmith style game was Thousand Arms. What Boyfriend Dungeon plans to offer me and others is the chance to go spelunking with my favourite boo, as we hunt for treasure and make history together.
Now the true question is going to be, will it be Isaac, Seven, Sunder, or Valeria that wins my heart over? I guess we will find out in 2019. — Sam Wachter
I have always had a soft spot for the Mystery Dungeon games, especially the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon entries. However, once I caught wind of a Final Fantasy-based Mystery Dungeon, I was rather interested. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!, a remake of the Nintendo Wii title Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon, looks to be a fun romp of a dungeon-crawler. I never got around to playing the original game on the Wii, though that does give Every Buddy! more of a purpose. Perhaps now with a remake for modern consoles, this Final Fantasy spin-off can finally get the attention it deserves. — Jeffrey Wardon
R. Talsorian Games’ Cyberpunk was not the first pen-and-paper RPG to present the wild and wired future to gamers, that was G.U.R.P.S.; it also wasn’t the most successful, that was Shadowrun; but what ‘punk was was the best version of these ideas and these mechanics, bar none, for more than a decade. It had a sense of humour about itself, and every single bit of the game from the front cover to the last sourcebook oozed the style and attitude of the setting. Any game based on these rules and this setting would be worth the hype, but Cyberpunk 2077 is coming from the team that made The Witcher 3. That title still haunts me with the richness of its world and the detail and thought put into its side quests. This team gave me a playable two-hour wedding reception where nothing bad happens and had me on the edge of my seat. Anything it does with one of my favourite properties has my interest and my money. — Scott Wachter
It will be a bittersweet ending to hand-drawing dungeon maps on my 3DS, but I’m extremely excited about the upcoming release of Etrian Odyssey Nexus, the final Etrian adventure for the system. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the Etrian dungeon crawlers and am looking forward to the culmination of the series. Returning labyrinths include fan favorites from the likes of Etrian Odyssey III, such as the Waterfall Wood and Undersea Grotto, and these are mixed in with the new labyrinths players can explore over the large overworld map, itself a new feature to the series. The returnng dungeons aren’t the only callbacks to look forward to as there will be nineteen characters classes available, from the Landsknecht and Protector of Etrian Odyssey I to the Cestus and Harbinger of Etrian Odyssey V to the new Hero class debuting with this game. With likely excellent music selections from composer Yuzo Koshiro to listen to as well as memorable character and NPC designs from Yuji Himukai, artistically Nexus should be amazing. Long-time fans of the series have a lot to look forward to, while newcomers will experience what has made many gamers fans of this dungeon crawling series for the past decade. Whichever side you fall into, Etrian Odyssey Nexus should prove to be a wonderful experience. — Matt Masem
I’ve relayed this factoid about myself a few times in the past, but Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played. It’s possibly the oddest title in the franchise to start with, but I loved it so much and still have a shine for the game to this day. The soundtrack is still its strongest aspect, and it is only recently that I’ve come across RPG music that I consider to be superior. I also really enjoyed the game world’s lore and history, which is quite rich despite the main plot being rather light. Perhaps there’s a bit of a rose tint to my lenses, but I’m excited to play Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered on a modern console with other people, many of whom may be experiencing it for the first time. — Cassandra Ramos
About six months have passed since Fire Emblem: Three Houses was named and shown during the Nintendo Direct E3 2018, and there still haven’t been any updates. There have been no additional screenshots, trailers, or other information since then. Sure, it’s just a few days from January 2019 at the time this is being written, so we’re probably due for another trailer in the next Nintendo Direct. Even so, I can’t help but be impatient over learning more, never mind for the game itself. Seeing those fully 3D characters and objects on battle maps makes it so reminiscent of Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, the former of which is currently tied with Shadows of Valentia for my favorite in the whole series. When exactly in spring the game will drop is anyone’s guess, but I’ll be waiting with baited breath. — Cassandra Ramos
After crafting some of the most interesting and emotionally challenging visual novels of the past few years, such as Analogue: A Hate Story and Ladykiller in a Bind, Christine Love has turned her creative energies to the RPG genre. Get in the Car, Loser! is a self-described lesbian road trip RPG. Evil Cultists are trying to summon the Machine Devil so the intrepid heroes have stolen the Sword of Fate and set out on a road trip to stop him and his followers. With an interesting active-time battle system meshed with Christine’s always sharp and inciteful writing that incorporates a visual novel-style dialogue system, Get in the Car, Loser! is topping the list of games I’m looking forward to in 2019. — Joshua Carpenter
I’m more of a narrative-focused RPGamer, which goes some of the way to explaining my enjoyment of the God Eater series despite having virtually zero interest in Monster Hunter. However, the existence of a story isn’t the only thing God Eater has going for it, as it uses a cool setting and anime aesthetic very nicely along with rollicking music from Go Shiina — who is now freelance but appeared to have contributed his efforts to both this and Code Vein before his departure. The gameplay of the series is excellent throughout and there are many who consider this Monster Hunter‘s greatest challenger as it encourages a high-paced back-and-forth with players switching seamlessly between ranger and melee attacks, the former enhanced by an undersold but immensely useful bullet creator. There was a time when it looked like the series would stay dormant in the west, but Bandai Namco has stuck with it and hopefully the efforts will be rewarded with another strong showing in February when God Eater 3 hits. — Alex Fuller
Judgment is a game that truly stood out to me the first time I saw it. The game looks like it has a lot of charm and has a keen attention to detail. Sega has a knack for making unique experiences with its games, and Judgment is no exception. Set in the same world as the Yakuza series, Sega’s Judgment is a crime thriller that tells the story of private eye Takayuki Yagami and puts him on the trail of a serial murder case in Kamurocho. Judgment‘s combat looks likely to fall closest in line with Yakuza 0, where in both games players can shift between fighting styles on the fly. Yakuza creator and Judgment director, Toshihiro Nagoshi, says that while some aspects of the two games are similar, Judgment will deliver a completely new experience and it’s exciting to see what that experience will be. — Jeffrey Wardon
Few, if any, other games on this list carry with them as heavy a burden of expectations as Kingdom Hearts III undoubtedly does. It’s a sequel fans of the series have been clamoring for over a decade. For many years after the release of Kingdom Hearts II, it seemed fans’ cries were falling on deaf ears, until Square Enix finally confirmed the sequel in 2013. Now, with the release almost upon us, Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s story finally continues in earnest, with all the Disney flair we’ve come to expect from the mash-up franchise. Hercules, Jack Sparrow, and characters from Toy Story and Monsters Inc. will join the player party, while well-known Disney theme park rides serve as inspirations for all-new summon attacks. The past few years and various collections have given player many opportunities to catch up on the series in anticipation for Kingdom Hearts III. For Kingdom Hearts fans, 2019 is definitely starting off on the right foot. — Pascal Tekaia
Long Gone Days is one I took note of when it was first announced in 2016 but admittedly forgot about as it went through the various phases of development and Early Access. However, its appearance during the Kinda Funny Games Showcase rekindled my interest in the title, which was helped by the reveal of a firmer release date of April 2019. I always like to see how RPGs handle a modern-day setting, and Long Gone Days looks to explore some fascinating themes including war, language barriers, and the emotional struggles that come from those. How much I end up liking the game is likely going to come from how well it handles those elements and the narrative of those, but what I’ve seen so far has me highly intrigued. — Alex Fuller
My Time at Portia is a bit of a sneaky one as I’ve already put a lot of time into it at the end of 2018, with the game available on Steam Early Access. I’ve never been hugely into crafting or life-sim games but My Time at Portia has done a great job getting me hooked. With an incredibly charming world and characters and an simple but pleasantly deep crafting system, the time I’ve spent in Portia so far has been thoroughly enjoyable, with its full release coming early this year on PC to be followed later on consoles. It’s definitely one that fans of crafting and life-sim style games should check out. — Alex Fuller
I had the chance to try Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists back when I visited Japan last September. I hadn’t been impressed by the Mysterious subseries, so I have been somewhat concerned with my current relationship status with the Atelier series. Let’s be real for a second — it’s complicated. Playing the demo at TGS for Nelke was a breath of fresh air. Not only did it bring the kingdom building aspects back from Atelier Meruru, but it offered more simulation options, which the series has been sorely lacking as of late. It’s nice to see the new and the old mix together, and I can’t wait to see Marie and all the heroines from the previous games interact together. While I wasn’t wowed by the battle system, I am super hopeful that Nelke will be the game that rekindles my love for the series again. — Sam Wachter
SWDTech’s Pixel Noir looks right up my alley. It gives me Shadowrun vibes, with a hint of Persona influence, and even the Mana series’ composer, Hiroki Kikuta is adding music to this little gem. Players take control of a private eye that’s barely making ends meat, who dealt with a bizarre circumstance in his past that he can’t escape. To clear his name he will have to face his inner and outer demons as he explores and uncovers the vast secrets that Pinnacle City is hiding. It’s not been a stranger to delays, but look for Pixel Noir to hit shelves in 2019, at some point. — Ryan Radcliff
While not much is known about the upcoming Pokémon Generation VIII games releasing in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, The Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara has assured fans that they will be “in the tradition of Pokémon X and Y and Sun and Moon.” That’s excellent news as I’ve taken a hard pass on revisiting the Alola region a year after my first visit or seeing the Kanto region yet again in 2018. I want a brand new adventure with brand new Pokémon in a brand new area, and Generation VIII seems ready to deliver that on the first mainline game designed for a home console. Every generation of Pokémon seems to move the series forward, so I’m very interested in seeing what subtle improvements to the tried and true formula Game Freak implement this time. I’m not an RPGamer out to catch ’em all, but I enjoy scouring all the new locations and features of a new generation to their fullest! — Matt Masem
For those who may have had the privilege of playing the first two Shenmue games, it is pretty easy to see why Shenmue III made my list for most anticipated game of 2019. Fans of the franchise know that Shenmue was originally supposed to be sixteen chapters long, and the first two games only cover five of those chapters. This is likely due to the exorbitant budget of the two games, coupled with the slow and steady demise of Sega as a hardware developer (RIP Dreamcast, your time came too soon). Shenmue brought a very different gameplay experience that, much like the rest of the games on the Dreamcast, were ahead of its time and foreign to most consumers. The story was packed to the brim with drama, revenge, and a sense of urgency, while maintaining a carefree, explore-at-your-own-pace feel. Combat was free form in some fights, coupled with a heavily used QTE system in others, as well as having mundane, albeit fitting mini games that allowed you to feel fully immersed in the main protagonist’s world. My only hope is that this third installment will allow me to feel like I am living a true-to-life part in the East Asian culture once more, and I may finally understand the meaning behind the ambiguous ending of the second title. — Peter Thomas
I just recently got into the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games with IV and Nocturne. The series is notably darker than its well-known spin-off Persona, and I feel that gives it an interesting edge. Rather than the “good” and “bad” endings of Persona, players are given a choice of three alignments: Chaos, Neutral, and Law. This allows for more nuance in the mainline games’ storytelling, as none of the alignments are the “right” choice. Fortunately, Shin Megami Tensei V is looking to continue that trend in addition to the tradition of turning Japan into a hellhole. Demons will be running amok, and it will be the player’s job to recruit, fuse, and slay them. However, not much else is known outside of the initial reveal trailer that was released last year. Also, continuing the recent trend of Nintendo exclusivity, Shin Megami Tensei V is set to release solely for the Nintendo Switch. Many fans, both old and new, are looking forward to this next installment launching in 2019, hopefully. — Jeffrey Wardon
While Compile Heart and Idea Factory have developed a loyal subset of RPGamers with its offerings, I’ve found the few games of theirs I tried to be only somewhat entertaining. After a 2018 that found me playing and enjoying a couple different turn-based, side-scrolling, 2D RPGs with platforming elements, Super Neptunia RPG has caught my attention headed into 2019. Perhaps teaming up with Quebec-based developer Artisan Studios is what is needed to make a better and fresh style of Neptunia RPG. The graphics I’ve seen so far are excellent and the gameplay looks legitimately good. Combining those with the expected humor inherent in a Neptunia release, Super Neptunia RPG could easily be an enjoyable all-around RPG that I look forward to giving a fair shot this year. — Matt Masem
After beating Tales of Vesperia on the 360 back in 2008, I wanted more. Unfortunately at the time, the version that offered more was not translated and it seemed unlikely that Bandai Namco would port over the PS3 version that had all the extra content. Fast forward to 2019 and Bandai Namco has ported over that version on modern consoles. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition will come packed with extra characters not playable in the 360 version as well as extra scenes, skits, specials, and costumes. For the fans that missed out on the 360 release, this is the perfect time to grab a copy and enjoy one of the better Tales experiences. — Ryan Radcliff
Obsidian has had a wild decade. From the fallout of Fallout: New Vegas to its Kickstarter successes to its purchase by Microsoft, these past nine years have proven a turbulent time for the company. The Outer Worlds represents one last hurrah before it’s folded into the Microsoft umbrella. This is also the first time since the aforementioned New Vegas or the unfortunately overlooked Alpha Protocol that the company is working on a larger scale than the throwback titles like Pillars of Eternity or Tyranny. Those games are great in their own way, but its nice to see one of the premier RPG developers work with a much bigger space. It helps that the title feels like a good use of the company’s abilities. While colorful post-apocalypses are nowhere near in short supply, ones that can back up their lofty ambitions with a solid writing team are. It also helps the game will not be open world, leaving more time for Obsidian to fit as much as it can to the game’s unique hubs. Obsidian never went away, but its nice to see it get to flex more of its technical muscle once again. — Zack Webster
Yo-kai Watch 3 is an early 2019 release I cannot wait to get my hands on. When the first game in the series came out years ago I distinctly recall telling others how much better it was than Pokémon. After how much I enjoyed Pokémon Sun & Moon, I can say “better” may not be the most accurate descriptor, but “more fun” definitely still fits. The battle system for the series has most definitely been more interactive and addicting to play around with, so I’m looking forward to what improvements were made in that regard as grids and yo-kai maneuverability have been added. While the main story I’m sure will be of some slight interest, I’m more looking forward to all the great little, often humorous, sidequests Level-5 loves to pack into these games. Finally, one of my favorite things about the Yo-kai series has always been the puns, so being able to explore a new town punnily named after my hometown is an extra bonus! — Matt Masem
Again, we hope you enjoyed reading out our most anticipated games. Please let us know what games you are looking forward to in 2019 either through the comments, social media, or our dedicated Discord server!