Best Upcoming RPGs 2021 (And Beyond)

Many of the best role-playing games are massive timesinks that require upwards of hundreds of hours to complete.

That’s a big commitment for a lot of gamers and probably why so many RPGs end up in the growing pile of games we swear we’ll get around to “someday.”

Will things ever change? Probably not, seeing as 2021 is packed with some of the best-looking RPGs we’ve ever seen. 

In this list, we’ll be highlighting the best upcoming RPGs of 2021 in order of release date.

If we forgot to mention your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list in the future.

Related:Best Upcoming MMORPGs 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming Game Remakes 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming Open-World Games 2021 (And Beyond)

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Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly has partnered with Square Enix to release Outriders, an upcoming action RPG designed with co-op in mind. The game sees you creating a custom character called an Outrider before selecting from four distinct classes.

Each class comes with upgradeable skills that operate on cooldowns. Players also use an array of guns such as assault rifles and shotguns, which can be augmented via weapon mods.

While it’s been compared to games like Destiny and The Division, the developer maintains Outriders will have a clear start and finish for players who just want to experience the story.

With that said, the game still gives off major ‘looter shooter’ vibes and its cooperative design will no doubt attract multiplayer-driven audiences.

In true Square Enix fashion, the company is planning to release a sequel to 2012’s Bravely Default even though one already exists called Bravely Second: End Layer.

The sequel will introduce players to a new world, story, and characters, namely the latest incarnation of the Heroes of Light, a team of courageous fighters who travel the world in search of four magical crystals.

We’re just glad the company has opted from using their standard (and confusing) game naming system and is keeping things simple with Bravely Default II. It’s being developed by the original BD team and features music from the series’ composer, Revo.

While the Switch’s limited hardware capabilities mean we’ll probably never see Monster Hunter: World ported to the console, as always Capcom has a few tricks up their sleeves. Their solution is to release a standalone MH game designed exclusively for the Switch.

Monster Hunter Rise will see you battling massive monsters using various weapons, tools, and environmental traps alongside your ‘Palamute’ canine companion.

The game will feature the seamless map design introduced in MHW along with expanded traversal, allowing you to scale cliffs and climb structures.

Cris Tales is a love letter to classic JRPGs that’s managed to pique our interest due to its gorgeous 2D visuals and clever implementation of time travel mechanics. T

he story revolves around an orphan named Crisbell, who becomes a time mage tasked with saving the world from calamity. 

While playing, you’ll be able to access past, present, and future versions of Crisbell’s world simultaneously while making decisions that affect each version of her world.

Still no word on a release date but in the meantime, there’s a Cris Tales demo you can check out to get a feel. 

Indie developer Picogram has partnered with Rose City Games to publish Garden Story, a hybrid social sim/adventure RPG with farming sim mechanics. 

The game sees you controlling an adorable-looking grape named Concord who’s just been crowned village guardian. Embracing his new title, Concord sets out to restore Grove Island to its former glory by identifying the source behind a mysterious Rot destroying the land. 

With help from his friends and neighbors, he’ll travel to new regions, solve puzzles, and cure the forest. Throughout the story, you’ll get to know the many creatures that call Grove island home by completing favors and adding memories to Concord’s scrapbook.

2019 came and went, and we still don’t have an exact release date for THQ Nordic’s upcoming action RPG, Biomutant.

The game is currently in development by Stockholm-based Experiment 101, a studio founded by former Avalanche Studios creative director Stefan Ljungqvist, best known for the Just Cause Series.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Biomutant sees you playing as a raccoon-like creature with the ability to acquire mutations and attach bio-mechanical body parts that affect combat and traversal. 

It seems likely the game will be released sometime in 2020, according to a financial report from the publisher’s parent company.

Eastward proves it’s possible to have nostalgia for a game you haven’t even played, evoking memories of Saturday morning-cartoons and retro 16-bit video game soundtracks.

This is further complemented by a striking pixel art style that makes for charming characters and interesting environments.

The game is described as an action-adventure RPG and closely follows an unlikely pair as they embark on an emotional adventure to uncover the truth behind their pasts and the universe.

As you journey across the decaying cities of a post-apocalyptic world, you’ll encounter a colorful cast of strange creatures and humans with their own story to tell.

Bloodlines 2 has been in development for so long that it was only a matter of time before it got confirmed for next-gen consoles. The sequel builds upon the 2004 game in several ways, most notably in the visuals department, showcasing a fully-realized open-world based on modern-day Seattle.

In it, you play as a recently-turned vampire who joins up with one of five different clans. Each family offers unique perks, one of the driving aspects of Bloodlines 2’s role-play design. Aside from factions, you can also determine your character’s backstory and vampire playstyle.

While roaming the streets, you’ll have to be careful not to get caught feeding on humans. There will also be other obstacles and enemies to deal with such as members of rival vampire families, werewolves, and the occasional demon.

A follow-up to 2016’s Darkest Dungeon is confirmed to be in development at Red Hook Studios. The sequel looks to maintain the dark and atmospheric tone of the first game while introducing new improvements to the original’s turn-based combat system.

It appears the developer has been exploring some new ideas in hopes of shaking up the metagame in the Darkest Dungeon 2. Judging by the teaser, players can expect to tread new grounds as the original six characters can be seen standing before a series of snow-capped mountains.

We look forward to guiding our party down even more treacherous paths while dealing with obstacles like hunger, stress, and disease along with any enemies who dare cross our path.

During BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard officially unveiled the next mainline Diablo game, which is currently entering development. While there’s currently no release date, the game was confirmed for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

This is an interesting decision considering next-gen consoles are scheduled to launch near the end of 2020. The most likely scenario is that Diablo IV will end up being a cross-gen title and launch for both Xbox One and Series X.

Although no gameplay footage has been shown, a cinematic trailer depicts Diablo IV as being a dramatically dark and gory game, even by Diablo standards.

Heading into 2021, EA and BioWare have maintained radio silence in regards to the next Dragon Age RPG confirmed to be currently in development.

While we would typically chalk this up to the ongoing disaster that is Anthem, that doesn’t appear to be the case as both games are being worked on by two separate teams.

Considering how critical fans have been of both companies in recent years, Dragon Age 4 may end up being the tipping point for not only the series but also the future of BioWare.

Arguably one of the biggest surprises to come out of E3 2019 is Nintendo’s announcement that production on a sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild has already begun.

The first game was praised for its detailed world, open-ended gameplay, and would go on to receive multiple awards, including several “Game of the Year” honors. Judging by the reveal trailer, the next entry will maintain BOTW‘s art style while taking on a much darker tone.

At one point, we’re able to see Ganondorf’s reanimated corpse before the camera switches to an exterior shot where Hyrule Castle is seen rising into the air.

Fans have already begun comparing the sequel to Majora’s Mask, another heavy hitter in the Zelda series known for its darker themes and mature undertones.

Even though the next Tales game has already been delayed beyond 2020, we’re sure it’ll pay off for Bandai Namco in the long-run.

Tales of Arise is by far the most ambitious-looking entry in the series and plans to push the envelope when it comes to graphical quality, evident by the stunning presentation of the game’s 2019 announcement trailer.

Following in the footsteps of 2016’s Tales of Berseria, the game takes place on the planet Dahna, which has had its natural resources depleted and its people subjugated by a neighboring planet called Rena.

Arise will focus on two characters, one from Rena and one from Dahna, who join forces in hopes of changing the world for the better.

Chances are we won’t receive an update regarding Bethesda’s latest project for at least a few years as the company already has enough on their plate with the upcoming Elder Scrolls VI.

This leads us to believe Starfield will most definitely release on next-gen consoles, which includes Xbox Series X and PS5. All we can say at the moment is that it’s a single-player RPG set in outer space. 

Additionally, Starfield will be Bethesda’s first new IP in over 25 years and has the potential of becoming the third pillar in their RPG catalog along with the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises.

Even though Bethesda is more occupied with Elder Scrolls: Online and the latest flavor of the month Fallout 76 controversy, they still like to occasionally remind us Elder Scrolls VI is coming.

That being said, we haven’t received an update since 2018, so Bethesda will likely have something to show before the year is done. Whether it’s a release date, gameplay, or another cinematic, rest assured the game will be coming to next-gen consoles.

Current speculation suggests ES6 might be set in the Skyrim-adjacent region High Rock based on the announcement trailer depicting a mountainous northern province. It’s also rumored that the ongoing conflict with the Thalmor may be a key element in the game’s plot.

We don’t have a lot of data concerning FromSoftware’s next endeavor, aside from knowing George R.R. Martin was brought in to create the game’s overarching lore and world-building.

Additionally, Hidetaka Miyazaki is the game’s director and responsible for converting Martin’s contributions into a workable plot.

Similar to previous FromSoftware titles, Elden Ring will contain elements of “dark fantasy,” and allow players to create their own characters.

Gameplay details are vague at the moment but it’s being suggested that players will be able to ride horses and explore dungeon-like ruins where they’ll encounter enemies.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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