You thought 2017 was ridiculous in terms of RPG output? You have seen nothing yet if 2018 is any indication. This could be one of the biggest years yet for the genre with scheduled releases from key franchises including Dragon Quest, Shenmue, Pokemon (potentially), Monster Hunter, Fire Emblem, Shin Megami Tensei, Ni no Kuni, and so much more.
In the past, we have included our Most Anticipated RPG with our RPG Site Awards ceremony as it simply had its own category. However, we have decided to do things a little bit different this year. We have decided to go ahead and break it out into its very own feature. But don't think the discussions were any less intense!
I feel it's important to note some or maybe all of these games have the potential of being delayed into 2019 or beyond. That's just the nature of the industry, so I would look at this more like what we're most excited to play in the future at some point.
In this article, you will find a Top 5 list of the games we can't wait to get our hands on. Of those five, the first four are considered runner-ups, but all worthy of your full attention. The final game is the one we have crowned our Most Anticipated RPG of 2018.
Without further ado, read on to find out which RPG won. Here's to an amazing 2018!
Shin Megami Tensei V (Runner-Up)
The Shin Megami Tensei series celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017 with the release of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux along with a duo of concert events in Japan. Most importantly, Atlus finally unveiled that the next mainline installment of the series would be coming back to a console.
Teased at the Nintendo Switch’s unveiling back in January, Shin Megami Tensei V is coming exclusively to Nintendo’s new platform built from the ground-up with Unreal Engine 4. We’ve only had a little glimpse, but it’s just enough to leave us wanting a lot more. After all, the last time we saw a main SMT game on a console was with SMT: Nocturne on the PlayStation 2 thirteen years ago! Will Kazuma Kaneko return to do the character designs? What new systems will they introduce this time around?
Whatever it turns out to be, consider us excited. [Josh Torres]
Monster Hunter: World (Runner-Up)
It feels like 2018 will finally be the year that the Monster Hunter series becomes as much a phenomenon in the west as it has been for nearly a decade in Japan. Part of what makes Monster Hunter: World so exciting is how much Capcom has been willing to change the series in this iteration while still staying rooted in the series’ tradition.
Loading zones are gone - maps, while still split into segments, now flow in on themselves seamlessly. Monsters interact with both the environment and other monsters, allowing for hunts to be more dynamic. Alongside a host of new moves for each weapon, the addition of both the slinger and slopes allows combat to flow together more than ever before. It’s been a long time coming since a home console Monster Hunter release could be called technically impressive, yet here we are with not only the most impressive Monster Hunter since the series’ inception but what seems to be one of the most ambitious releases of 2018. [James Galizio]
Kingdom Hearts III (Runner-Up)
Along with Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII Remake, Kingdom Hearts 3 is a part of this trifecta of Square Enix titles which share the same history of long and troubled development periods. Constantly pressured by the high scrutiny of fans who have dreamed of these games with high expectations for many years, each of them almost serves as a great milestone for modern-day Square Enix. With XV being released last year, Square Enix is about to reach its next biggest milestone with Kingdom Hearts 3 due for release in 2018. It still feels surreal it actually has a release window now, and it’s pretty soon.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a special case in that it doesn’t directly follow the events of the second game. It’s understandable that some fans who have been out of the loop and preferred a third mainline entry instead of its numerous spinoffs released in between would be impatient. Kingdom Hearts 2 released in 2005 and Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced 4 years ago, altogether a very long wait on its own. The wait seems to be worth it though as what we’ve seen of the game has been impressive so far, with the reveal of new worlds like Toy Story showing great polish overall as the game apparently benefits from the development being done with Unreal Engine 4. We’ll see fewer but bigger worlds for this new entry, and I for one am very excited to relive my childhood and finally experience a new mainline title from the series again. [Chelsi Laire]
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Runner-Up)
Dragon Quest XI represents a very important moment for the series in the west. For years, it feels like us on the other side of the pond has been drip fed titles from the longstanding franchise. Sure, we got Dragon Quest VIII and IX, but along the way, we were missing out on a number of sequels and spin-offs like Theatrhythm Dragon Quest. It wasn’t until the release of games like Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Builders did Square Enix make it apparent they really wanted to give Dragon Quest another real go in the western hemisphere.
Dragon Quest XI also portrays a rather bizarre scenario where you have a Nintendo 3DS version, but also a PlayStation 4 version. The Dragon Quest series hasn’t been on a Sony platform since DQVIII. Add to that they were both developed side-by-side, and you have something to be excited about. There’s even a Nintendo Switch port in development. After the strong reception Dragon Quest XI received in Japan, 2018 may very well be the biggest year yet for the series in the west. And that hopefully means no more missing out. [Zack Reese]
Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Most Anticipated RPG of 2018 Winner)
When we were deciding which game would win this award, it came down to a small selection of titles. But then we soon realized that Valkyria Chronicles 4 had so much more to prove than the rest.
You see, 2017 has not been kind to the series. When Valkyria Revolution was originally released in Japan back in January, it was universally panned by critics and consumers alike. That carried through to its western release where it was quickly seen in bargain bins across the country (in places that still have bargain bins). In a sense, Sega took a gamble with the series and lost - big time. They likely saw the writing on the wall during their Japanese beta program when there already seemed to be so many issues with core game mechanics.
That leads us to Valkyria Chronicles 4. This is a title that was announced by Sega on a global scale. They even had a teaser site that allowed you to change the language. It’s clear they are taking this seriously in an attempt to make Valkyria Chronicles a flagpole entity for the company. As huge fans of the strategy entries, we want to see Sega succeed in this endeavor. It’s because of these circumstances and what it could mean for the series that we award Valkyria Chronicles 4 our Most Anticipated RPG of 2018. [Zack Reese]