The partial collapse of genre differences has made it difficult to cleanly categorize every game. Is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey an action game, an action-adventure, an RPG, or something else altogether? If a game’s any good (and Odyssey was), it doesn’t really matter, but as we look ahead to the RPGs of 2019, we’ve picked games that have an RPG feel in our view. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks great, for instance, but doesn’t quite scratch the roleplaying itch that say, The Outer Worlds might. We’ve excluded games like Anthem, too, which gets talked about enough.
For a broader preview of the year, check out our list of all the PC games of 2019—at least, all of those that are confirmed so far. There’ll be many surprises throughout the year, and we’ll update this article as new RPGs are announced. For now, here’s how we expect to get our roleplaying fix this year:
The Outer Worlds
2019 | Obsidian Entertainment | Preview
Last year, Wes got a look at the next RPG from Fallout designers Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky. He described it as a “first-person RPG shooter, with a focus on roleplaying above all else.” There are multiple paths through every scenario—fight, talk, sneak—and an emphasis on player choices. And, since it’s a Tim Cain game, you can play as a dumbass and be gifted with appropriate dialogue options. Check out Wes’ preview for all the other details we have so far.
August 27 | Ys Net | Official site
It’s really happening. We’re fans of the Dreamcast classics Shenmue and Shenmue 2, for reasons Andy describes well in his 2018 Personal Pick, in which he calls Shenmue “a singular game with a bold vision, and one of the most powerfully atmospheric things I’ve ever played.” It’s slow, and that’s its strength: The mundanity of feeding your cat is at the core of Shenmue’s appeal, even as a revenge story burns at the edges. Finally, that story will be concluded. And hopefully the cat is alright.
2019| inXile | Official site
This time, it’s cold. Wasteland 3 borrows Torment: Tides of Numenera’s dialogue system, adds vehicles, and moves the party-based RPG to Colorado, where even post-apocalyptic thugs have to bundle up to stay cozy. One reason we’re especially looking forward to Wasteland 3 is the addition of two-player co-op, which sounds like it may not always be strictly cooperative, a la Divinity: Original Sin 2.
TBA | ZA/UM | Official site
There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here. For one thing, Disco Elysium goes the modern urban fantasy route with its setting, a reprieve from the high fantasy spires and post-apocalyptic bunkers we’re so accustomed to. Also, your skills talk to you. For an explanation of how the hell that works, check out our preview from last year. What we’ve seen so far is weird, inventive, and unlike any other RPG we’ve played. We’re sufficiently intrigued.
2019 | Spiders | Official site
At the end of the universe, there will be two news stories. One, it’s the end of the universe. Two, Spiders is developing a new RPG. While the indie dev’s previous endeavors have been of mixed quality, there’s always something to like about its somewhat-janky adventures. Greedfall pits firearm-wielding colonizers against the magically-inclined inhabitants of a remote island, which is a perilous subject, though if it’s handled at all in the vein of, for instance, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, it could work.
Boyfriend Dungeon: Just like any other dungeon crawler, except you can date your weapons. Hell yeah. Boyfriend Dungeon may be more action-ey than RPG-ey, but the possibility of having love affairs with swords makes it worth calling out.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Cyanide is building the new videogame version of White Wolf’s warewolf RPG. There’s not much to go on yet, and the release date is still TBA.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG: We’ve been seeing this “surreal Japanese-style RPG” for quite a while now: our first preview is from four years ago. On January 17, we’ll finally know if it was worth the wait for its weirdness.
Possible 2019 RPGs (but don’t hold your breath)
Cyberpunk 2077: Of course we’re excited for CD Projekt’s next epic, but we’re not convinced it’ll release this year. Here’s everything we know about Cyberpunk 2077 so far.
Starfield: We know that Bethesda plans to release this sci-fi RPG before it gets around to The Elder Scrolls 6, though we aren’t certain it’ll happen this year. Here’s what we know about Starfield so far.
Persona 5: It could happen!
The new Dragon Age: The Dead Wolf Rises, but when? No idea, as all we have to go on is a teaser shown at the 2018 Game Awards. It’s pretty unlikely we’ll be playing it this year, but we bet we’ll at least see a proper trailer.
Witchbrook: With the recent popularity of Little Witch Academia and, for some reason, the continued popularity of Harry Potter, Witchbrook was announced at the perfect time. Chucklefish’s magic school RPG is questionable for 2019, but it looks charming as hell, so here’s hoping we see it sooner than later.
Barkley 2: Will we ever know the power of the Chaos Dunk again?