Best Upcoming RPGs 2021

Do you love role-playing games as much as we do? If so, check out our list of the best upcoming RPGs of 2021.

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, which is 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 highlight the best upcoming RPGs releasing in 2021 and beyond in order of release date.

We’ll be updating this list with new titles in the future, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite upcoming RPGs!

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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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous sees you embarking on a quest to seal an interdimensional rift and slay all of the demons that have crossed through it.

The game comes from indie developer Owlcat and is a spiritual sequel to Pathfinder: Kingmaker even though it doesn’t follow the same story.

In it, you’ll create a unique character based on 25 different classes and 12 races pulled directly from the Pathfinder First Edition tabletop game.

Combat allows you to swap between real-time and turn-based battling to take advantage of advanced maneuvers such as mounted attacks.

If you’re a fan of farming sims, cute cats, or robust RPG mechanics, then Kitaria Fables has you covered with all three.

In it, you play as a customizable furry feline armed with a sword, bow, and spellbook to aid them in fighting against a dark force spreading throughout the land.

You’ll plunder dungeons in search of magic relics and crafting resources to improve your skills and obtain powerful new gear for the challenges ahead.

There’s flexibility with carving out your hero’s playstyle, allowing them to focus on melee combat, ranged attacks, or spellcasting to defeat mobs of enemies and formidable bosses.

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

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

Tales of 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.

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.

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 stories to tell.

Set in a grim hand-drawn world plagued by war, Tails of Iron sees you embarking on an RPG adventure with punishingly brutal combat inspired by games like Dark Souls.

In it, you play as Redgi, heir to the Rat Throne and future savior of the broken Kingdom that’s been in conflict with the Frog Clan for as long as he can remember.

Joined by a diverse cast of unique companions, you’ll set out to defeat the Frog Clan and their ferocious leader Greenwart, and restore the Rat Kingdom to its former glory.

Throughout your journey, you’ll encounter a host of challenging foes that can only be defeated by crafting increasingly powerful weapons and armor to unlock new deadly abilities.

Diablo fans eager to return to the mystical realm of Sanctuary will finally have a chance to when Diablo II: Resurrected releases this year.

Updated for consoles and Windows PC, Resurrected includes many quality-of-life improvements despite retaining the original’s structure, gameplay, and save format.

This means you’ll be able to transfer an old save and pick up right where you left off or start a new adventure with your friends.

Diablo II casts you as a hero on a quest to eliminate the titular prime evil Diablo once and for all, though we have a hunch things won’t go so smoothly considering Diablo III and IV already exist.

Rogue Lords is an upcoming dark fantasy RPG roguelike where you get to play as the devil leading a team of evildoers with magical abilities.

Each run has you managing a team of evil geniuses as they encounter randomized challenges and engage in tactical turn-based battles.

Along the way, you’ll discover synergies between party members and unlock new skills that can be used to turn any situation in your favor.

Teams are comprised of three disciples determined by the player, with appearances from Dracula, the Headless Horseman, Bloody Mary, Frankenstein, and more.

Releasing exclusively for Nintendo Switch, Shin Megami Tensei V is the latest entry in the popular JRPG series by Atlus.

Set in modern-day Tokyo, it has you playing as a high-school student who gets transported to an alternate world overrun by demons.

In order to survive, he fuses with a superbeing named Aogami, granting him special powers capable of defeating threats throughout the world.

The game is designed as a hybrid between Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei IV and includes familiar features such as raising and fusing demons to make them stronger.

Long shrouded in mystery, Elden Ring‘s appearance at E3 2021 came as a relief for fans who have been eager to learn more about From Software’s next open-world action RPG.

Aside from its dark fantasy lore being penned by George R.R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s role as director, we’ve also learned more about how the game will play.

Elden Ring’s combat draws inspiration from previous From Software games, namely the Souls series, but with a bit more verticality akin to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

There’s also a horse you can ride throughout the open world, seemingly even during battles, and it can jump really high.

Based on the popular MOBA franchise, Ruined King sees you uniting a party of League of Legends Champions to explore the bustling city streets Bilgewater and the mysterious Shadow Isles.

The reason for doing so is to investigate the deadly Black Mist that’s plaguing the lands and put a stop to whatever evil force is behind it.

Setting itself apart from LoL, Ruined King features a new Lane Initiative System that has each Champion taking turns casting lane, instant, and ultimate abilities.

Additionally, party members can use items and trigger passive abilities during combat to gain the advantage and swing the odds in your favor.

Usurper: Soulbound is a challenging action RPG roguelite that has you taking on the role of a spirit forced to possess physical bodies in order to escape the underworld.

Harnessing the power of the Usurper, you’ll fight your way through dark and mysterious dungeons battling and possessing enemies to undo your fate.

The game takes a souls-like approach to combat that emphasizes dodging and timing, along with abilities gained by possessing different NPCs.

Lastly, its roguelite design relies on a mix of hand-crafted and randomly generated environments to keep the adventure feeling fresh and exciting.

Sporting a similar retro-inspired art style to that of Undertale, She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal RPG about dreams and their connection to reality.

In it, you play as Thalia, a comatose woman suffering from anxiety as she sets out to confront her demons and awaken once and for all.

Despite being a narrative-driven experience, the game also features a turn-based battling system that pits you against a host of nightmarish monsters.

Thalia can recruit characters to join her party and strengthen her bond with each using a “Connection” system.

Jack Move is a pixel art JRPG that draws inspiration from the classic Mega Man Battle Network games while telling an original cyberpunk story.

In it, you take on the role of Noa, a rogue hacker who finds herself thrust into a world of murder, kidnapping, and twisted research after her father mysteriously disappears.

Combat is turn-based and provides countless opportunities to devise unique strategies by customizing Noa’s Cyber Deck mid-battle.

This allows her to switch roles and adjust her mix of offense, defense, and buffs in combination with hardware upgrades that increase stats and unlock new abilities.

The next entry in Square Enix’s “HD-2D” series is currently in production under the working title Project Triangle Strategy.

While the game shares many similarities with Octopath Traveler, it’s currently being touted as a successor and not a direct sequel.

In it, three nations vie for control over scarce resources and find themselves thrust into tactical turn-based battles.

Combat draws influence from classic strategy RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, complete with positional advantages, follow-up attacks, and elemental chain reactions.

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 that the developer has been exploring some new ideas in hopes of shaking up the metagame in Darkest Dungeon II.

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.

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

Judging by the reveal trailer, the next entry will maintain BOTW‘s art style while sporting 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.

Bethesda announced Starfield back in 2018 with a teaser trailer and we haven’t heard much aside from some small leaks of info leading up to an update during E3 2021.

We now know the game will be releasing exclusively for Xbox and PC and coming to Game Pass on launch day.

Similar to previous Bethesda RPGs like Skyrim, Starfield will see players embarking on an epic open-world adventure, only this time in space.

There’s still some mystery surrounding what mankind is turning to the stars in search of, though if we had to wager, it probably has something to do with aliens.

Even though Bethesda is more occupied with Elder Scrolls: Online, they still like to occasionally remind us Elder Scrolls VI is coming.

That being said, we haven’t received an update since 2018, so it’s likely Bethesda will have something to show before the year is through.

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.

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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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