The RPG genre is in a funny place right now, and it looks like it’s going to be even odder in 2019. Every game under the sun has stolen the character progression, levelling up, grinding and incremental gear improvements that you’ve come to know as the bedrock of the RPG, crowbarring them into whatever genre they please. That’s left the traditional RPG out in the cold, and a cursory glance at the current release schedule sees few highlights for ardent fans. However, there are a few bright spots that should stave off total disaster – and that’s on top of one or two exclusives like Fire Emblem that appear elsewhere.
Kingdom Hearts III
Platforms: PS4, XBO – Release: 29/01/19
Easily one of the most anticipated sequels out there, and with an achingly long development coming to a close, the mixture of Square Enix’ RPG stock with Disney’s colourful cast of characters has been a winning formula for many years, and that’s despite its story making as much sense as an elderly relative after they’ve been at the festive sherry trifle. Still, the action-heavy combat remains just as thrilling as wandering through sets from Toy Story or Winnie The Pooh, and last year’s 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue showed quite how stunning the whole thing is going to look with the power of modern day consoles.
One thing to be wary of with Kingdom Hearts 3 is leaks. The game’s out at the end of January, but some rapscallions have already got their hands on copies of it and there’s the risk that you might bumble your way into a few spoilers. Be safe out there, kids!
Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC, Mac, Linux – Release: 2019
Coming from inXile, this follow up to Wasteland 2 (how surprising), looks as though it’s going to remain true to the series legacy, with an overhead view of all the post-apocalyptic turn-based action and branching storylines. Just as with the first sequel number three has been crowdfunded, showing that there’s a clear desire for more from the talented team, and for this style of game.
It’s looking great so far, and the trailer below gives you a taste of what you can expect.
The Outer Worlds
Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 2019
“If you build it, they will come” could well be the adage that Obsidian, the developers of The Outer Worlds, have been repeating to themselves. Coming from the designers of the original Fallout games, The Outer Worlds looks as though its been made purely as an answer for the recent mishandling of the Fallout franchise.
With a resolutely single player sci-fi experience on the cards, that looks as though it’s going to have bags of heart and character, this could be one of 2019’s most important RPGs.
Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: Summer 2019
We may well be stepping on the action adventure category’s toes here, but so long as you accept this game in the ‘action RPG’ genre’, Biomutant looks like a hell of a lot of fun. You create your own furry little mutant, with your physical build dictating your beginning stats. From there you can subsequently replace various parts of your anatomy with cybernetic or cloned material to further change your character’s abilities, which in turn will likely allow access to new areas in the vibrant open world that Experiment 101 are building.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Platforms: PS4, Switch – Release: 2019
Dragon Quest X Minecraft sounded like a cheap knock-off designed purely to make money when Dragon Quest Builders was first announced, but in a pleasant surprise to everyone it turned out to actually be pretty good! Mixing the classic RPG with a Minecraft-esque construction kit made for a wonderfully robust and enthralling experience and it obviously did well enough to warrant a sequel. Just as the first one took place in an alternate timeline to the original Dragon Quest, Builders 2 does the same with Dragon Quest II, and fans can expect plenty of knowing nods and nostalgic callbacks to the sounds and sights of the elderly sequel.
Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 2019
Alongside Wasteland 3, it looks as though the isometric RPG is at least in better heath than some other aspects of the genre. Warhammer: Chaosbane sees you entering Games Workshop’s compelling fantasy world, and you take control of a band of heroes as you attempt to free the Empire of Man from the hideous clutches of chaos.
You can probably expect different character classes and races, and for them to level up along the way, in a dungeon crawler that may or may not bring back memories of Diablo. No matter what it at least means there’ll be plenty of creatures to destroy along the way.
That’s it for this selection of games. Be sure to keep an eye out over the coming week, in and around Christmas and the New Year for the rest of our lists, where we’ll start to delve into more platform-specific titles. See you then!