RPG Site's Most Anticipated RPGs of 2020
With 2019 behind us, we at RPG Site are peeking ahead at what's to come in 2020, 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 eleven 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 2020. 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 2020? 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.
RPG Site Staff Picks - Most Anticipated 2020 RPGs
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza has always been a fun, larger-than-life action RPG series, combining the dramatic tension of the yakuza life with absurd side-stories to break up the moodiness. But Kiryu’s story is over, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon is introducing more than just a new character to the series. Like a Dragon takes on a full turn-based RPG system, complete with bombastic summons, and job system with a humorous take on standard careers, and more. It’ll be exciting exactly how Like a Dragon continues the legacy of Yakuza next year.
CD Projekt Red has been working entirely within The Witcher series since 2002, so the switch to a completely different setting in Cyberpunk 2077 is obviously an interesting shift for the Polish studio. Not only is there a stark change in setting switching from high-fantasy to an alternate future America, but as a first-person RPG that aspires to heavily reflect on player’s choices, Cyberpunk seems to be a different sort of game entirely. Originally making a splash with a moody teaser trailer all the way back in 2013, to finally be less than a year away from getting our hands on Cyberpunk 2077 is a bit surreal, and to know that the pedigree behind The Witcher 3 is behind it all leaves us impatiently counting down the days.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is the very definition of a cult classic. Originally released in 2004 to dismal sales and lukewarm reception, Bloodlines had a troubled development and was hardly a success story, evidenced by developer Troika Games shutting down a mere few months after release. Locked away on a few PC storefronts and bolstered by fan support and unofficial patches, Bloodlines has remained often highly regarded but filled with the caveats of being an unfinished and buggy game that never comes close to achieving its potential. The fact that the stars (and IP rights) have aligned 15 years later such that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 helmed by the same writer and other team members of the original is actually releasing next year is a bit of an understated miracle. We’re excited to see what a modern take on the classic WRPG can accomplish.
The first Nioh, which was released in 2017, has been a great success for Koei Tecmo with over 2.5 million copies sold so far, so it’s not surprising to see Team Ninja working on a sequel. Although Nioh 2 goes backwards in the timeline to cover Koei Tecmo's favorite Warring States era in Japanese history, it will add more customization options for the player, from a customizable protagonist that can morph into a yokai demon, to Soul Cores that lets players unleash attacks based on the beaten yokai enemies. The beta demo already showed much promise, and we cannot wait to see how the full game will look like when it comes out in March.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Details have been somewhat sparse on Granblue Fantasy: Relink ever since PlatinumGames completed their part in its development, but we’re all still quite curious about this upcoming console action RPG adaptation of Granblue Fantasy. Cygames has taken great strides expanding its worldwide presence over the past few years and Granblue Fantasy has gradually captured the attention of RPG fans everywhere. Even the upcoming fighting game, Granblue Fantasy: Versus, will have a dedicated mode for its RPG fans, so we might just check that out as well. Even though the development cycle of Granblue Fantasy: Relink has taken a while, we’re all crossing our fingers that we’ll finally be able to play it in 2020.
Project Sakura Wars
Sakura Wars is a franchise famous to fans of Japanese games and anime. While the series began in 1996 with a game for Sega Saturn, it had been dormant since the fifth mainline game (and the only game brought to the West, as Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love) released for PlayStation 2 in 2005. Sega is finally breaking the absence, bringing the franchise back to life with a brand-new game for PlayStation 4. Despite the gameplay genre shift from strategy to action, it still retains the core steampunk setting that defines Sakura Wars as well as the dating sim-like interactions with the heroines. Although this game has already released in Japan last December as Shin Sakura Taisen, Sega is planning to bring it to the West this Spring with Project Sakura Wars as a working title. We are still waiting to hear more about the localization.
The Digimon series is more than 20 years old now and has a long history of video game adaptations in that time. The series has seen something of a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with the Cyber Sleuth games reaching critical and commercial success and receiving a newly released remaster on Switch and PC. Next year’s Digimon Survive changes things up a little bit, this time taking the mold of a tactical RPG. We’re eager to see how the latest entry in this long-lived series will shape up.
Tales of Arise
Not including remasters, it’s been a while since the most recent entry in the long-standing Tales series of JRPGs, as Tales of Berseria was released in Japan in 2016 as a cross-gen title for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Set for a worldwide release next year, Tales of Arise will be the first franchise title made for current-gen consoles, and our early look seems to offer a JRPG with larger, more detailed environments than ever before seen in the series. Set in a solar system with two neighboring planets, the game tells a story of a chance encounter between protagonists Alphen and Shionne, born in different worlds. We’re definitely eager to learn more about these characters when the game launches in 2020.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Xenoblade Chronicles became something of a landmark JRPG when it originally launched on Nintendo Wii in 2010. Of course, the game would not actually see a release in North America until two years later, following an outcry on social media asking for a localization of the game. Despite a fantastic art style and impressive environments, releasing in a new era of HD games, Xenoblade struggled to technically compare to its RPG peers, at least on original hardware. Nintendo recently announced that the team at Monolith Soft will be giving Xenoblade the glow up its been waiting for, with the Definitive Edition bringing in all-new character models and more. The announcement trailer also seems to tease the inclusion of some of the content cut from the original release. We’ll gladly revisit Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition when it relaunches next year.
Rune Factory 5 (Wishful Thinking Pick)
It’s been five or more years since Rune Factory 4 released in the west, and we are hungry for more. For a short while, it seemed like the series was dead in the water, with original developer Neverland filing for bankruptcy shortly after RF4 released in Japan. However, against the odds, Marvelous swooped in to hire many of the Rune Factory development staff, including producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto. Rune Factory 5 was finally teased in early 2019 and while we haven’t seen a hair of the game yet, we’re eager to learn more about it. While planned for a 2020 Japanese release, Rune Factory 5 may not see release in the west in 2020 and its inclusion on this list is largely wishful thinking. At least in the meantime, we’ll have Rune Factory 4 Special to tide us over during the wait.
Of course this game tops this list. Was there ever any question? Final Fantasy VII Remake is going to be a fascinating game no matter how it turns out. It’s a big-budget bet for one of the most prolific RPG publishers and series’ around, but to fans, it’s far more than that: it’s a reimagining of something precious, and a unique chance to really rethink one of the most iconic games of a generation. That makes this game quite unique: it’s scientifically interesting to see how Tetsuya Nomura and his team approach the recreation of a classic, but also emotionally very exciting to see these characters in a new and more detailed format. There’s a lot of exciting things happening in the world of RPGs in 2020 - but this game is certainly a lock to be one of the most talked-about games of the year.
10. Bravely Default II - 1.7% (Nintendo / Square Enix)
9. Rune Factory 5 - 1.8% (Marvelous)
8. Tokyo Mirage Sessions#FE Encore - 2.3% (Nintendo)
7. Digimon Survive - 2.5% (Bandai Namco)
6. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - 3.7% (Sega)
5. Tales of Arise - 6.4% (Bandai Namco)
4. Persona 5 Royal - 7.0% (Sega)
3. Cyberpunk 2077 - 10.2% (CD Projekt)
2. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition - 10.7% (Nintendo)
1. Final Fantasy VII Remake - 18.7% (Square Enix)
Additional Facts and Comments
- This is RPG Site's second time polling our readers for their Most Anticipated RPG of the upcoming year. Several thousand of you voted over December 2019, and after some obvious vote duplication was removed, these were the results.
- Most of the selections made in the Reader top ten were also included in the Staff selections. However, Readers included Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore and Persona 5 Royal in the vote while the Staff including selections like Project Sakura Wars and Nioh 2.
- Despite being announced late into the voting period, Bravely Default II snuck into the Reader top ten in the tenth spot.
- Narrow misses for the reader top ten Most Anticipated include Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, and Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers (even though this has not yet been confirmed for localization).
- While the RPG Site Staff picked Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 as one of our selections, it fell short of making the Reader top ten. That leaves Cyberpunk 2077 as the only Western-developed RPG to find a top spot in the Reader Poll.