With 2018 coming to a close, we at RPG Site are peeking ahead at what's to come in 2019, and as fans of the role-playing genre, there's quite a bit to look forward to. We wanted to highlight a handful of games we are especially eager to see. We ended up choosing nine RPGs as our Most Anticipated for the upcoming year.
In addition, we also asked for input with a public Twitter poll to see what games our readers were looking forward to 2019. What follows below is our staff selected games, followed by the results from the Reader Poll.
Need a refresher on what RPGs are set to release in 2019? We have a list you can check out right here.
Our staff criteria for these selections is fairly loose. In our staff vote, we picked RPGs that either interested us due to sheer potential, a good pedigree, and/or titles that find themselves with intriguing release situations regarding its development.
Note that the list is unranked, with the exception of our overall winner. Selections were also limited to 2019 games with confirmed English versions.
RPG Site Staff Picks - Most Anticipated 2019 RPGs
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
This one is an interesting case, to be sure. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order marks a revival of a solid co-operative action RPG that hasn't seen an entry since 2009, back when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still in its infancy. Both of the previous primary developers of the series - Raven Software and Vicarious Visions - remain with Activision working on other projects. That leaves Ultimate Alliance 3 with a new developer in Team Ninja (Nioh, Fire Emblem Warriors). That's a change of developer but also a change of region, from Western studios over to Japan, which certainly could be interesting in design terms - especially if Team Ninja hold on to ideas and designs introduced in previous games. On top of all of that, the game is set to release exclusively on Nintendo Switch. We haven't seen a whole lot yet, but with the Marvel brand now bigger than ever, this is a title to keep an eye on.
Several games have tried to emulate the combat and exploration stylings of RPG classic Valkyrie Profile, but none have seemed to really hit the mark. Lab Zero Games (Skullgirls) is next up to bat with their upcoming sidescroller RPG Indivisible. Crowdfunded on Indiegogo back in 2015, Indivisible will finally see its release in 2019, and if anything, its visual presentation seems absolutely stellar with stunning animation work. We came away with positive impressions from our hands-on at PAX West, and we can't wait to check out the final release in 2019. This will be Lab Zero Game's first stab at a game such as this, but here's hoping it's something special.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Announced at Las Vegas FanFest late this year, Final Fantasy XIV's next expansion, Shadowbringers, is arriving in the summer of 2019. With the first half of Patch 4.5 just around the corner, this next part of FFXIV's story can't come soon enough. With the addition of another race, new jobs, and the expansion on Garlean Empire and the truth about Hydaelyn, Shadowbringers is ready to set the stage for the next piece of XIV's intricate narrative. While little outside of the information provided at Las Vegas FanFest and an incredibly interesting teaser trailer has been given thus far, we're eagerly awaiting to learn more about gameplay changes and new story elements behind this immensely popular MMORPG - especially with reveals at the European fanfest event in February.
Hot off the releases of Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6, Judgment is slated to come Westward in summer of 2019. Much to the surprise of long-time Yakuza fans, this series-adjacent title will be coming West less than a year after the Japanese release. It's also coming over with a full English translation that includes voice acting - the first time in years for this series. Judgment puts players in the shoes of freelance private detective Takayuki Yagami as he investigates a series of murders in the fictional red light district of Kamurocho. Judgment has been described as more of a paralegal drama in contrast to Ryu ga Gotoku Studio's Yakuza, which explored the seedy underworld of Japan in the fashion of a playable crime drama. With all of the positive reception to the Yakuza series over the past year, it's no surprise that we're excited to see what Judgment will have to offer and what narrative twists and turns this new title by Ryu ga Gotoku Studio.
The Outer Worlds
The development team at Obsidian Entertainment has been a sort of darling developer for some RPG fans, known especially for their solid story writing and character dialogue. Previous generation titles like Fallout New Vegas and Alpha Protocol are generally well received or have garnered a bit of a cult following. But It's been several years now since Obsidian has worked on an RPG away from the isometric 'CRPG' style of Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny - well-written RPGs in their own right. Backed under Take-Two's new publishing arm Private Division, The Outer Worlds is a first-person RPG poised to fill a void by the troubled release of Fallout 76 and the dormant Bioshock series. We liked what we saw when we visited Obsidian's studio, and we can't wait to see more.
Early in 2019 we will see BioWare debut Anthem, a co-operative online action RPG. Not only is this style of RPG a departure from what BioWare has historically done, but it also comes off the studio's stumbling continuation of the Mass Effect franchise in 2017. While BioWare has tried to address concerns about playing the game solo or about the game's story content, there is still, appropriately, hesitation about BioWare's newest property. The game is definitely something we are eager to try, and absolutely one of the more interesting RPGs to follow in 2019 when considering the studio's position as one of the preeminent western RPG developers.
Kingdom Hearts III
We thought Kingdom Hearts III would release in 2018, but a small delay into 2019 allows it to once again grace our Most Anticipated list. Its inclusion here is a no-brainer, really. A hypothetical Kingdom Hearts III has been on the minds of fans for more than a decade - and many spinoffs and re-releases later, we finally get to see it actualized. Square Enix has offered no shortage of information and trailers regarding what will surely be one of the biggest releases in 2019. We are, of course, excited to see how all of our favorite characters and stories resolve in this seemingly climatic conclusion to this weird but delightful franchise.
The next generation of Pokemon is still very much a mystery to us. In fact, of all the titles included on this list, Pokemon for Switch is something we practically don't know anything about. However, this upcoming mainline title(s) certainly has a lot of potential. Pokemon Sun and Moon have already begun ditching and modernizing series conventions, and while the Gen VII games aren’t perfect, there’s a lot Game Freak can learn from the Alolan titles into the Switch games. Even the spin-offs/Pokemon Yellow remakes Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee have new twists on the Pokemon formula that would be great, such as seeing Pokemon on the field. Whatever Game Freak has in store for us for Pokemon Switch, it’s bound to be exciting.
Out of all the games RPG Site Staff voted on for Most Anticipated RPG in 2019, one title stood above the rest. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is our winner for Most Anticipated RPG of 2019. While we have not seen all too much of the upcoming strategy RPG, what has been shown of the game intrigues us greatly. A return to a graphical style resembling the console Tellius series of games - only now bolstered by HD presentation. We also see snippets of footage showing what seems to be more tactical-style gameplay featuring squad formation and larger army battalions, as well as some exploration of a castle-town, elements that the series has not seen before. Of course, the game also features components we expect to see from the series, such as relationship building between characters and turn-based SRPG-style gameplay. The Fire Emblem series has been on a decent streak of late, and from what we've seen so far Three Houses has a high ceiling of potential. We certainly can't wait to get our hands on it.
10. Monster Hunter: World Iceborne - 2.3% (Capcom)
9. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - 2.6% (Artplay / 505 Games)
8. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - 2.6% (Square Enix / Nintendo)
7. Code Vein - 2.8% (Bandai Namco)
6. The Outer Worlds - 4.0% (Obsidian Entertainment / Private Division)
5. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers - 4.6% (Square Enix)
4. Pokemon Switch - 6.1% (The Pokemon Company / Nintendo)
3. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition - 6.3% (Bandai Namco)
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - 11.5% (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
1. Kingdom Hearts III - 27.1% (Square Enix)
Additional Facts and Comments
- This is RPG Site's first time polling our readers for their Most Anticipated RPG of the upcoming year. Several thousand of you voted, and after some obvious vote duplication was removed, these were the results.
- Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition was a big vote-getter for readers that our staff excluded from our picks. It looks like there is a strong desire to see those long-awaited PS3 additions to the game in English, finally.
- Narrow misses for the reader top ten Most Anticipated include Shenmue III, Judgment, and 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.
- BioWare's Anthem struggled to pick up votes from readers and was not close in making the top ten of the Reader Poll. That lends credence to how hesitant people might be when it comes to the developer's upcoming project. That leaves The Outer Worlds as the only Western-developed RPG to find the top in the Reader Poll (although Wayforward has recently joined in developing Bloodstained)
- When it comes to crowdfunded RPGs, we included Indivisible in our list of nine, while readers included Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
- Dragon Quest Builders 2 snuck into the top ten, although it has yet to be officially announced. Its localized release was outed by supplemental information in an Earnings Release for Nintendo, stating a 2019 launch. In any case, it seems people are eager to revist the Dragon Quest building RPG spin-off.