Top 20 Upcoming RPGs You Need to Play

Top 10 upcoming rpgs to play

Role-playing games (or RPGs) have long been a staple of the gaming world, and the broad genre encompasses a wide variety of sub-genres that virtually guarantee something for every type of gamer. RPGs are simply story-driven games that enable the player to assume the role of a character or characters within a given narrative, usually in a fictional or fantasy setting; beyond that, the range of possibilities is endless.

From tapletop RPGs to console RPGs to MMORPGs, at the heart of every role-playing game is a story that you, as the player, get to watch unfold. Often your actions influence the outcome in some way, giving you varying degrees of control over the world in which the game takes place. RPGs have come a long way since they first began, and there are many exciting things on the horizon for the popular genre; read on for our list of the 20 most anticipated upcoming role-playing games of 2016 and beyond.


1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Developer: Eidos Montreal, Nixxes Software BV
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 23, 2016

Cyberpunk-themed stealth action RPG Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the upcoming sequel to 2011 hit Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the fifth installment in the series. It takes place in the year 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, when mechanically augmented humans now live as outcasts from the rest of society after the infamous “Aug Incident”, a massive attack at the hands of augmented humans. You will once again play as mechanically augmented covert operative Adam Jensen as he attempts to unravel a widespread conspiracy, beginning with an investigation into the terrorist attack that required him to be augmented in the first place. The gameplay combines first-person shooter elements with an RPG-like upgrade system for a unique overall experience.

Buy Deus Ex: Mankind Divided here.


2. Skyrim Special Edition

Developer: Bethesda
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 28, 2016

It was announced at Bethesda’s E3 conference this year that the critically acclaimed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim would be getting a remake for current-gen consoles and PC. The remastered version will be called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and will transport fans back to Tamriel in more detail than ever. Although Bethesda won’t be adding any new content to the game, the updated graphics look gorgeous, and this is a great opportunity to both those who are new to Elder Scrolls and the many fans who have been hoping for a next-gen console port for Skyrim.

Pre-order Skyrim Special Edition here.


3. Dishonored 2

Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: November 11, 2016

Action-adventure stealth RPG Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after the original game, which released in 2012 and met with rave reviews. The protagonist of Dishonored, Corvo Attano, returns as a playable character, along with then-princess Emily Kaldwin, who has since grown up, become Empress and lost her throne to an “otherworldly usurper“. Now she is a supernatural assassin bent on taking back her throne with Corvo’s help; you can choose to play as one or the other for the duration of the game. The new and improved upgrades trees give players plenty of choices, and allow you to decide whether you want to carry out your objectives in a more lethal or non-lethal manner. Also, the character you select and decisions you make throughout the course of the game will impact the perspective, how the story plays out, and the ending.

Pre-order Dishonored 2 here.


4. Pokémon Sun and Moon

Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: November 18, 2016

It’s been 20 years, and the Pokémon franchise is still going strong; and thanks to the overwhelming success of Pokémon GO, Pokémon Sun and Moon may be the most anticipated installments to date. Both games will take place in the never-before-seen region of Alola (an archipelago of tropical islands based on real-life Hawaii), introduce a plethora of new Pokémon (as well as new forms of first-gen Pokémon), debut a new villainous team, and include some brand-new features such as Z-moves. They will also feature something called Poké Ride, in which you can call on Pokémon that aren’t members of your team to help you reach game locations you wouldn’t be able to normally. Of course, as has been the case since Pokémon Crystal, players can choose to play as a male or female and name their character whatever they like.

As of right now, Sun and Moon have only been announced for the 3DS, but there is some speculation that they could be released for the upcoming Nintendo NX as well.

Pre-order Pokemon Sun and Moon here.


5. Final Fantasy XV

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: November 29th, 2016

Final Fantasy XV is easily one of the most highly-anticipated games of the year, and could provide the longstanding franchise with a much-needed refresh. This action RPG features an open world and Active Cross Battle system similar to Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy Type-0. Players will control Noctis, the prince of Lucis, as he sets out on the road with his best friends, bound for the city where his wedding to Lady Lunafreya is taking place. On the way, they find out that a peace treaty struck between Lucis and Niflheim was a ploy for Niflheim to invade and steal Lucis’s crystal, and it is up to Noctis and his friends to fight back.

FFXV is the fifteenth main entry in the series and represents a notable shift from the previous games due to its realism, modern setting, and darker atmosphere. There will also be a day-night cycle and weather system that significantly affect the gameplay, in addition to new elements like camping and cooking. The game is also notable in that it is preceded by an anime miniseries, Brotherhood, and a full-length CGI movie with an all-star castKingsglaive.

Pre-order the Final Fantasy XV Deluxe Edition here.


6. South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Developer: Ubisoft, Ubisoft San Francisco, South Park Digital Studios LLC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: December 6, 2016

South Park: The Fractured But Whole was teased last year at E3 2015, and then further detailed this year during Ubisoft’s conference. It is the sequel to the award-winning South Park: The Stick of Truth, but will boast more than twice the amount of content. Whereas The Stick of Truth was fantasy-themed, The Fractured But Whole pokes fun at the current popularity of superhero movies. The children are playing Superheroes, and they end up splitting into two groups and engaging in their own Civil War. Gameplay will combine elements from The Stick of Truth with new, tabletop game-inspired combat mechanics. You will be playing as the New Kid again (a new New Kid), so character creation is completely up to you; along with customizable superpowers, you can choose to play as a boy or a girl and the game will react to you accordingly. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been heavily involved in the game’s development, so players can count on lots of laughs as they direct the New Kid to save South Park.

Pre-order the Fractured But Whole Steelbook Gold Edition here.


7. Tyranny

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platforms: PC, Linux, Mac
Release Date: TBA 2016

Tyranny is a departure from the “traditional” RPG because instead of centering around the conflict between good and evil, it takes place in a world where evil has already triumphed. You will play as a Fatebinder, a high-ranking officer in Overlord Kyros’s military who has the power to act as judge, jury, and executioner; your choices, therefore, will shape the course of the game and influence entire nations. Various factions exist throughout the world, some rebels and some that support Kyros, it’s up to you to decide where your allegiance lies. Unlike other RPGs, Tyranny’s developers wanted to create a game with “more nuanced evil. One where the choices players make aren’t so obviously black and white.”. Their ultimate goal is “a highly reactive game that you can play multiple times. Each time seeing how the world changes as you make different choices.”


8. Persona V

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus, Deep Silver
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Release Date: February 14, 2017

Persona 5 is the sixth entry in the highly popular JRPG series, which is a spin-off of Atlus’s Megami Tensei franchise, with defining features including a high school setting, students as protagonists, a and strong social component. Persona 5 specifically takes place in the urban setting of Shujin High School in Tokyo. In similar fashion to previous Persona games, you will play as a new transfer student to Shujin (whose name you get to pick).. Once there, he befriends several other students, along with an anthropomorphic feline creature known as Morgana. Together they discover their Persona powers, form a group known as the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts”, and explore a supernatural realm called “Palace”, which is a world created by the corrupt minds of adults. The Personas are aspects of each characters’ inner psyche, which can be summoned during the turn-based battles to fight supernatural enemies. In The Palace, the Phantom Thieves must steal special treasures (hence their name) in order to reform the adults’ minds.

Pre-order the Persona 5 Take Your Heart edition here.


9. Horizon Zero Dawn

Developer: Guerilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Release Date: February 28, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn is a Sony exclusive from the creators of Killzone. This post-apocalyptic action/adventure RPG is set 1000 years in the future and centers around a hunter and archer named Aloy, who lives in a world overrun by robots. She is an outcast member of one of the indigenous tribes that now populate the earth and hunts the mechanical creatures with a bow and arrow. Players will explore the gorgeous open world (featuring a dynamic weather system and day/night cycle) with Aloy and uncover its secrets, including clues to the past such as ancient artifacts, crumbling ruins, and advanced technologies. The mysterious robot apocalypse that occurred a millennium prior essentially hit the reset button on society, and as Aloy, players will slowly piece together exactly what befell mankind.

Pre-order Horizon Zero Dawn here.


10. Mass Effect: Andromeda

Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: March 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a hybrid action RPG/third-person shooter that takes place in a separate galaxy from the original Mass Effect trilogy, as well as centuries into the future. You will be part of a team of explorers searching the universe to find a new home for humanity. Although creative director Mac Walters told Polygon that “there are strong ties to the original trilogy that players will recognize”, it’s also a great place in the series for new players to jump in. He went on to say that the team is working hard to recreate that feeling of newness associated with the first game. This means that whatever ending you experienced in Mass Effect 3 will have no effect on Andromeda. The new protagonist’s name is Ryder, and like Commander Shepherd, you will have the option of making Ryder male or female. Unlike Commander Shepherd, though, Ryder doesn’t start out as a hero from the get-go; rather, you have to help them become one.

Pre-order Mass Effect Andromeda here.


11. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Wii U, Nintendo NX
Release Date: TBA 2017

Although an exact release date has not been announced for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, many are predicting that it will be a Nintendo NX launch title. Little is known about the story at this point; in the demo Nintendo showcased at E3, Link is shown waking up in a temple from a century-long sleep to find Hyrule taken over by Calamity Ganon. That may sound like the start of a standard Zelda game, but there are several things that set Breath of the Wild apart from previous titles, such as the expansive open-world map that is completely accessible from the beginning. Link can explore the map by riding around on Epona, paragliding, jumping, and even climbing mountains. He will also acquire a device towards the beginning of the game known as the Sheikah Slate, which will allow you to use runes to craft special items and generate abilities. Instead of the hearts players are used to, Link will now use food to regenerate health, which you will have to hunt, gather, and cook. Also, in true RPG fashion, you will be able to collect gear with actual stats instead of just wearing Link’s trademark green tunic.

Pre-order The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild here.


12. Scalebound

Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

Scalebound, the Xbox-exclusive action RPG from PlatinumGames, was first announced at E3 back in 2014. The story centers around a character named Drew, a man in his early 20s who is pulled from the world we know and transported to a parallel one known as Draconis. Players will embark on an epic adventure with Drew as he traverses across Draconis with his dragon companion, Thuban, the last of his kind; together they must try to save this wondrous world from a dark force that threatens it, as well as Earth and all parallel worlds. It was recently announced that your dragon companion will be highly customizable and that you will be able to control him in battle with an ability called Dragon Links. Although Thubin doesn’t speak any human language, he and Drew slowly bond and forge a connection during their adventures together. Little else is known at this point, but the heartwarming relationship at the core of the game combined with the beautiful landscapes make Scalebound look absolutely breathtaking.

Pre-order Scalebound here.


13. Vampyr

Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

The studio behind the popular episodic game Life is Strange returns next year with an entirely different offering in the form of action RPG Vampyr. This gothic vampire tale is set in Spanish Flu-ravaged London during the early 20th century, where you play as eminent doctor-turned-vampire Jonathan E. Reid as he struggles to come to terms with his new condition. As a doctor, he is sworn to save lives, but as a vampire, he must kill in order to survive; it falls on you as the player to choose who to feed on and who to spare, and your choices will affect the course of the game as well as your character progression. Killing makes you more powerful, as human blood imparts new vampiric abilities, so players must strike a balance between morality and character strength. Game Director Philippe Moreau said on the PlayStation Blog, “One of the most interesting things is that everyone you meet in Vampyr could be a target, if you want. But each kill will have consequences.”


14. Pyre

Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

In Pyre, the third title from Transistor developer Supergiant Games, you lead a band of exiles across a wasteland seeking escape and participating in a competitive dodgeball-like arcane rite. According to Kotaku, it’s essentially a party-based sports RPG, where teams of three will face off against one another in an arena and try to get the orb into their opponent’s pyre by jumping, dashing, passing, and stealing. Whoever prevails will be absolved and allowed to return from exile; you meet a variety of characters and learn what awaits them, and your actions help decide whether they go or stay. Between matches, you will be able to do things such as scavenge for supplies, traverse the world, and interact with your party members.


15. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Developer: Warhorse Studios
Publisher: Warhorse Studios
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Linux, Mac
Release Date: TBA 2017

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a realistic open-world sandbox RPG that takes players to Medieval Europe – the Kingdom of Bohemia, specifically – and focuses on historical accuracy. You play as a character named Henry, a young blacksmith who loses his home and family at the hands of the mercenary army belonging to the king’s half-brother Sigismund. As the game is focused on realism, there won’t be any magic or dragons or other fantastical elements, but there is no shortage of epic battles, authentic weapons and combat, and political intrigue. According to the Kickstarter page, the non-linear story lets you choose to play as a knight, rogue, or bard, as well as whether you want to be a hero or villain; there are multiple ways to solve each quest, and every choice you make in-game, including dialogue, will affect your reputation.


16. ELEX

Developer: Piranha Bites
Publisher: Nordic Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

ELEX (which stands for “eclectic, lavish, exhilarating, xenial”) is an open world post-apocalyptic science fiction RPG set on a planet known as Magalan. After Magalan is hit with a meteor, the surviving population must decide how to best allocate the most precious resource at their disposal, Elex, which arrived with the meteor and is capable of powering both technology and magic, as well as being consumed to heighten strength and logic. According to the official site, “ELEX offers one of the widest selection of weaponry in the history of role-playing”, and the classless system allows you to choose which skills to level up by locating an appropriate instructor.The open-world map gives you access to all five areas from the beginning, and there are multiple factions to choose from, all of which have different attitudes towards Elex and how it should be used. Your choices, therefore, will help decide the fate of the world.


17. Divinity Original Sin II

Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Platforms: PC
Release Date: December 2016

The Kickstarter-funded project Divinity: Original Sin 2 reached over $2 million in funding, making it one of the crowdfunding site’s most funded games. It’s easy to see why; it’s predecessor, Divinity: Original Sin, was named Gamespot’s 2014 PC Game of the Year. The sequel promises to take many of the fan-favorite aspects of the original and improve upon them, as well as add innovative new features; for instance, a new dialogue system offers many more options, a new crafting system provides more incentives, and the new Skill Crafting mechanic allows for the combination of skills and spells to create new ones. Multiplayer mode will allow up to 4 players to play either competitively or cooperatively. The already-challenging combat will be further improved with things like push-pull mechanics and a cover system to benefit rangers and casters. Although it doesn’t officially release until December, you can play the game via Steam Early Access beginning on September 15, 2016.


18. Final Fantasy VII Remake

Developer: Square Enix, Epic Games, CyberConnect2
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Release Date: TBA

Since remastering popular games seems to have become a trend, fans of the longstanding Final Fantasy franchise have been clamoring for a remake of Final Fantasy VII for years, and it was finally announced at this year’s E3 conference that it would be a reality. Instead of one game, however, it will be delivered as a multi-part series consisting of several full-length games. Director Yoshinori Kitase, who was also worked on the original game, said in the PlayStation Blog that this would allow them to “expand the original story and turn it into an epic experience for fans and new gamers alike.” He went on to explain that this has taken so long due to the size of the undertaking; rebuilding a game like FFVII from the ground with the current technology is no small feat, and they also didn’t want to have to cut any content to fit the game into one installment. It is arguably the most beloved game in the series, and the development team wants to make sure they do it justice.


19. Kingdom Hearts 3

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA

It’s likely that Kingdom Hearts 3 is still a ways off, considering that Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue doesn’t even have a concrete release date yet. The progression of Kingdom Hearts titles can be rather confusing, as there are multiple spin-offs, remasters, and collections (VG247 explains the timeline here), but this will be the third main game in the highly popular series that combines Disney characters with elements of Final Fantasy and other JRPGs. Based on the trailer, it looks as though Sora and friends will explore worlds based on Tangled and Hercules, but that’s about all we know at this point. More information will be added as it becomes available.


20. Cyberpunk 2077

Developer: CD Projekt, CD Projekt RED
Publisher: CD Projekt
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA

Currently, we know very little about CD Projekt RED’s project Cyberpunk 2077; it was announced back in 2012, and all we have so far is a teaser trailer. Studio Head Adam Badowski revealed at CD Projekt RED’s 2015 financial results conference that Cyberpunk will be a “huge game” with a “much greater” magnitude than The Witcher 3. They have, in fact, said it is “far bigger than anything else that CD Projekt Red has done before.” They’ve also made it clear that a game of such magnitude will take time, though, so there is currently no release window. More details will be added as they become available – which may not be until next year.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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