14 Upcoming cRPGS You Need To Look Out For

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The Final Fantasy XV hysteria is finally dying down, and Persona 5 has been out long enough for everyone to put in their hundred or hours or so -- which leaves us in a bit of a no man's land on the RPG front at the moment.

Some big ones have dropped for the PC lately, with Torment: Tides Of Numenera finally arriving nearly two decades after its predecessor -- and it's been a pleasure to see InXile continue to support that sequel with new, free content post-release.

I Am Setsuna also just landed on the Switch, which will hopefully breathe new life into that studio, as Chrono Trigger style entries will always be welcome for a generation of gamers who feel that variety of RPG didn't get enough love.

Looking forward to the end of the year and into 2018, there are 14 RPGs we can't wait to play. Here we'll be focusing on cRPGs that mostly provide a classic gaming experience, with a few twists thrown in on the action RPG or strategy sides for good measure. 

The Bard's Tale IV

Expected Release: October 2017

InXile has been faithfully bringing us new iterations of long-dead classic role-playing titles for several years now. And next up is a reboot of The Bard's Tale, which originally came out in 1985 -- a year before I was even born!

If the name seems familiar, that's because the same developer actually made the top-down action version of The Bard's Tale for consoles a decade back. You may recall that game's claim to fame being Cary Elwes of The Princess Bride cracking jokes and trying to bed wenches the whole time.

This new edition, simply titled The Bard's Tale IV, will ditch that comedic action style and instead provide a more classic, iconic version of game for those who remember loading up floppy disks on the Commodore 64.

The first person combat and party management elements are returning -- and from what's been revealed to Kickstarter backers so far, it looks like a design overhaul will keep the nostalgia while providing a UI that's more friendly to modern gamers.

Wasteland 3

Expected Release: Q4 2019

Another InXile offering, Wasteland 3 isn't actually slated to drop until 2019. But we're eagerly anticipating the finished product at the end of that years-long wait. In this direct follow-up to Wasteland 2, expect more turn-based post-apocalyptic mayhem -- this time in the frozen Colorado tundra rather than the irradiated deserts of Arizona.

Moving away from the blasted gray of Fallout and the endless sandy brown orange of Wasteland 2, this time around InXile is really bringing the "winter" in nuclear winter!

Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire

Expected Release: Q1 2018

It could be argued that Pillars Of Eternity was the first game to really ignite the classic cRPG revival, with a cash-strapped Obsidian Entertainment turning to crowd funding to save both the studio and the whole roleplaying genre.

For all its nostalgic wonder -- giving Baldur's Gate fans everything they wanted in a game -- there was room for improvement, particularly on the stronghold front.

That issue and more are set to be refined and expanded with part two, moving to a new area of Obsidian's original fantasy world. The main storyline of the first game featured a strong element of atheism versus faith, and that theme is very likely to continue in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire -- especially given that the tagline reads: "Hunt a god. Save your soul."

Project Resurgence

Expected Release: Q4 2017 / Q1 2018

We've been following Project Resurgence for more than a year now since it first popped up in our monthly crowd funding reports, and it isn't known yet if the game will remain named "Resurgence" or if its just a placeholder.

Much like Pillars Of Eternity, the goal here is to bring classic Infinity Engine games based around a party to a more modern setting -- and this time around there's more than a little Arcanum influence with the steampunk-meets-magic elements.

Like that classic game, the player decides whether to take combat in turn-based mode with action points, or a more frenzied real-time version. Stay tuned for release info and trailers to arrive sometime around the end of the year.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Expected Release: Late 2018

After Paradox bought up White Wolf, it was only a matter of time before a World Of Darkness game was announced. And the first major outing (aside from two text-based mobile entries that just landed), will be none other than Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

A staple of the World Of Darkness tabletop RPG line that was mostly ascendant in the '90s and early 2000s, I'm proud to say I have several editions of this setting nestled comfortably in my roleplaying bookcase (my personal favorite is the second edition with claw marks torn into the cover so you can see inside to the first page).

The game changed drastically between editions, but in The Apocalypse there was a huge environmental slant, with werewolves acting as protectors of Gaia -- to the point that some of the tribes were active eco-terrorists. It will be interesting to see how that will play out in the cRPG version, and if we'll have some gamergate-style outrage from a certain segment of the gaming community.

Considering how Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines became a cult classic, expect big things from this entry in that same universe. Fingers crossed it means more classic WoD is coming to the computer screen. I've always wanted to see an open world Wraith: The Oblivion that let players go on haunting sprees.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Expected Release: Late 2017

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a cRPG to be on the lookout for if you count yourself among the Mount & Blade crowd. The sandbox style is on full display here, but with a huge focus on realism and historical accuracy. That's right -- its an RPG with no dragons or fairies!

Although I prefer a fantasy or sci-fi slant to my games, I'm looking forward to becoming a despised reaver and conqueror in medieval Europe, putting my peasants to the sword and cutting a bloody swath of terror across the land!

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Release Date: September 14

Arriving even before Pillars Of Eternity, the previous Divinity Original Sin offered an old school approach to the cRPG style with charming graphics, loads of character options, and oddly enough, a whole lot humor. And Divinity Original Sin 2 is looking to continue (most of) that legacy.

We've previously looked at how big changes are coming to the franchise, with the laughs notably being dampened down this time around. But other than that, everything is shaping up to be bigger, better, and grimmer in this turn-based sequel -- now confirmed for a mid-September 2017 release date.

Cyberpunk 2077

Expected Release: Sometime before the Earth plunges into the sun?

As a Shadowrun devotee, the glitzy lights of a dystopian cyberpunk future have had me eagerly waiting for this CD Projekt Red entry since it was first announced. 

I won't ever forget the date: it was January 10th, 2013 when an astonishingly detailed trailer arrived for Cyberpunk 2077. At the end of that trailer, a small line of text revealed the game would be coming "when it's ready."

"Good," I thought to myself, "make sure its polished and perfect." Now here we are more than four years later. And while the hype is still alive, it's increasingly exceeded by annoyance. Five months back, we rightfully asked Where The Hell Is Cyberpunk 2077 Already?!?

The answer is still: who the hell knows? Maybe we'll see something concrete around E3 this year? Probably not, though.

Considering the quality of The Witcher 3, it's a foregone conclusion something amazing is coming. But this studio seriously needs to get on revamping its advertising strategies here, as it feels like that 2013 trailer should have just dropped this year instead.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor Martyr

Expected Release: Q4 2017

I'm the first one to point out that Warhammer 40,000 already has way, way too many games, and that Games Workshop needs to stop handing this license out like candy to anyone who happens to walk by.

That being said, we're getting something a bit different than usual with Warhammer 40,000: Inquisition Martyr, which is taking an action RPG route that brings to mind Diablo, Grim Dawn, or Space Siege -- but with the addition of cover points and a sandbox world.

That style hasn't been done much in the Warhammer universe, and it could be a fresh new take. But personally I'm still holding out hope we get a dialog-driven true RPG in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium one of these days soon.

Stygian: Reign Of The Old Ones
Expected Release: Q4 2017 / Q1 2018

Stygian is nothing less than pure '90s RPG awesomeness distilled into Lovecraftian horror form. If you grew up on Infinity Engine games and turn-based fantasy strategy, you want in on this one.

An indie offering that was crowdfunded, Stygian takes the map exploration style and dialog system from Baldur's Gate, adds in the turn-based, grid combat of Heroes Of Might and Magic, and then pulls its story from the Cthulhu mythos. 

It's New England in the 1920s -- a favorite haunt of the mythos -- only this time around Cthulhu and the rest of the Old Ones have risen, and humanity is on its way out the door. 

Between the style and themes, I'm expecting this to be GOTY for me. If Cultic Games screws this up, I foresee the developers being sacrificed to Hastur by a horde of crazed gamers.

Arakion

Expected Release: Q4 2017 / Q1 2018

Described as Bastion meets Legend Of Grimrock, this is another instance where crowdfunding resulted in classic game fans getting what they want when big name publishers won't offer it -- in this case, an old school dungeon crawler.

Rather than being set in the typical cramped dungeons, though, Arakion has a wide open above-ground world to explore, with unexpected elements like town building and non-traditional leveling.

Vampyr

Expected Release: Q4 2017

We may be getting Werewolf instead of Vampire next in the World Of Darkness, but Dontnod -- yep, the folks behind the groundbreaking Life Is Strange -- will soon be offering up some gothic, blood-sucking entertainment.

Although there's lots of action RPG elements on display, what's intriguing about Vampyr is the focus on investigating your targets in the mist-shrouded streets of London before draining them dry.

It also appears that the physician main character doesn't particularly enjoy being a blood sucker, and that it's actually possible to finish the game without killing anyone at all.

Underworld Ascendant

Expected Release: Sometime in 2018

The Ultima Underworld games are some truly classic RPG dungeon crawler. And while series like Legend Of Grimrock have aimed to modernize that style, we are long overdue for a true follow-up.

Ascendant has been in development for quite some time, and frequently feels like it's dead. But thankfully a new developer update just arrived earlier this month.

The draw to this particular underground crawler above any other is in its focus on "unexpected customization". The game is designed around the player discovering many different ways to tackle any problem, even using methods the developer doesn't intend.

Pyre

Release Date: July 25

Pyre is coming from the makers of Bastion and Transistor, so we already have a very good idea of the art style and base gameplay -- although this time around there's a team RPG element added in.

Its looking like the oddity and thematic elements of those previous games will be taken even further here, so expect something truly unique. A firm release date of July 25th has been revealed, so there's not much longer to wait and see what sort of odd wonderland Supergiant delivers this time.

A whopping 14 cRPGS will offer a whole lot of hours of gaming in the not too distant future -- which one of our picks are you most looking forward to losing yourself in?

Of course, there are certainly more roleplaying games than just these entries currently in the works. Let us know which titles we missed that we should be looking out for in the next year or two!

Published Jun. 5th 2017

Featured Contributor

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction, covering underground black metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. As much as digs the latest shooters, he thinks gaming peaked with Planescape: Torment.


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