2010 was a huge year for RPGs. Major titles in the Final Fantasy, Fallout, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fable, Warcraft, and Dragon Quest lines were released. Solid portable titles such Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Valkyria Chronicles II and Lunar: Silver Star Harmony were also released.
2011 doesn’t seem to have quite the star studded power of the 2010 lineup, but there are still a number of huge games on schedule for 2011. While some of the games below have not been announced for release in 2011, based on some information available, there is a belief they are queued for release in 2011. So you won’t see Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Square Enix “can’t commit ourselves to 2011”) or Persona 5 (no screen shots or trailer yet).
The following are the most anticipated RPGs for 2011.
10) Tales of Graces (Wii) / Tales of Graces F (PS3)
The Tales series isn’t the most famous RPG series out there, but it’s been a solid series for a number of years. Tales of Vesperia on the Xbox 360 was well reviewed and got a solid 81.64% aggregate rating on Gamerankings. The twelfth entry in the Tales series, Tales of Graces, should be another solid title in the series. For those who aren’t aware, a HD port called Tales of Graces F has been developed and released in Japan. The Wii version is scheduled for a North American release in 2011, but the PS3 version has not yet.
9) Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Debut Trailer (YouTube)
Some of you may have not yet heard of this game. It doesn’t have as much attention as many of the games below, but the people working on it should get your attention. Comic artist Todd McFarlane (Spiderman, Spawn), developer Ken Rolston (Elder Scrolls III and IV), and R.A. Salvatore (Forgotten Realms novels) are the key designers, writers, and developers on this game. While the pedigree of the team developing this game is great, given this is the first game from a new studio does give pause and make the game fall down the list a bit.
8) The Last Story (Wii)
Debut Trailer (YouTube)
When Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator behind Final Fantasy is creating a new RPG, RPG fans take notice. There was a lot of hope for this RPG on the Wii (a system that has lacked some quality RPGs), however the debut trailer failed to capture a lot of excitement. While Hironobu Sakaguchi and his studio Mistwalker have had some pretty big successes (e.g. Lost Odyssey), they’ve had some pretty decent disappointments too (e.g. Blue Dragon series). It’s hard to put this game higher with the lack of uncertainty around it.
7) Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
I have to admit, I’ve never played the previous titles in this series. However, it has an incredible reputation. The original Deus Ex on the PC holds a 91% rating on Gamerankings. The sequal, Deus Ex: Invisible War, holdes scores ranging from 82 to 85 across all platforms. It’ll definitely be a game RPG fans should have on their radar, but fans should be weary. It’s the first Deus Ex game in 8 years and Warren Spector, the Deus Ex series creator, isn’t involved in the game.
6) Ni No Kuni (DS, PS3)
DS Trailer (YouTube)
PS3 Trailer (YouTube)
There isn’t even an official title for a North American release, let alone a release date, but with the DS version being released in Japan in late 2010, it’s a reasonable guess that it’s on schedule for a North American release in 2011. This title is a joint effort between RPG veteran Level-5 (Dragon Quest VIII/IX, Professor Layton) and animation studio Studio Ghibli (Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away). If you haven’t yet seen the PS3 trailer for the game, be sure to take a look. The HD visuals are stunning.
5) Diablo III (PC)
Diablo III is the highly anticipated sequel in the famed PC dungeon crawler series. It doesn’t have a release date yet, and as with all Blizzard games, it won’t be released “until it’s done.” There’s a pretty good chance it’ll be released in 2011. Starcraft II was announced in the middle of 2007 and released three years later in 2010. Diablo III was announced in the middle of 2008, so 2011 is the three year mark.
4) Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC)
“Hope” Trailer (YouTube)
“Jedi vs Sith” Trailer (YouTube)
There really isn’t much to say to understand why this upcoming MMO is so highly anticipated. One, it’s Star Wars. Two, it’s Bioware, the company behind Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Baldur’s Gate, and Neverwinter Nights. It’s one of the most storied and epic franchises made by one of the best RPG studios on the planet. Normally, this might put the game over the top and make it number one. However, because it is BioWare’s first foray into MMOs, it drops it a slight amount. It is a tad of an unknown product for them.
3) Dragon Age: Origins II (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Debut Trailer (YouTube)
Extended Debut Trailer (GameTrailers)
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Dragon Age: Origins was an absolute hit, selling over 2.5 million copies on the Xbox 360 and PS3 alone. BioWare doesn’t have to do much to make this game an absolute hit. Another quality story with a deep engaging experience will have everyone wanting it.
2) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Platforms TBA)
Debut Trailer (Gametrailers)
In any normal year, The Elder Scrolls V should be the #1 most anticipated RPG of the year. It’s the follow up to the critically acclaimed Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which many consider one of the best games ever created. It created one of the largest and most expansive worlds to explore that people had ever seen in a game. People will expect nothing less from the sequel.
1) Mass Effect 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Debut Trailer (Gametrailers)
What needs to be said that makes this the most anticipated RPG of 2011? Mass Effect 2 was one of the best reviewed games (let alone RPGs) of all time. So expectations for Mass Effect 3 should be through the roof. Mass Effect 3 should also conclude the Mass Effect storyline for Commander Shepard.
Disgaea 4 (PS3)
The next game in the strategy RPG series is scheduled for release in February 2011 in Japan. It took about 6 months to localize and bring Disgaea 3 to North America, so we’ll assume that’ll be the same for this game and we’ll get to see it in the states in 2011. For those who don’t know about the game, the series always takes an over the top look at RPGs, often mocking the genre at its core. For example, you are capable of leveling up your characters to level 9999.
Valkyria Chronicles III (PSP)
Valkyria Chronicles III was announced at TGS 2010 for an early release in January 2011. With such an early release date, we’re going to assume that it’ll be ready for a North American release in late 2011. Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 has become a cult classic amongst RPG fans. The PSP sequel was solid, although a bit disappointing in that it couldn’t live up to the original. There’s hope for the third entry in the series as it appears to have a tone that’s more in line with the original.
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie (DS)
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie is the remake of the classic Dragon Quest title originally released on the Super Famicom. It was released in Japan in early 2010, so it’s a pretty safe bet it’ll be coming in 2011. The likely reason it’s been delayed is because of the release of Dragon Quest IX in mid-2010.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is a remake of the original Tactics Ogre game on the Sega Saturn and Playstation. It’s considered one of the best strategy RPGs ever created. The team that developed the Tactics Ogre and Ogre Battle strategy RPGs went on to develop the Final Fantasy Tactics series.
Best RPGs of 2010
Most Anticipated Video Games of 2011
Best Video Game Trailers of 2010
“Ni No Kuni”, Wikipedia
Brian Ashcraft, “When Will Final Fantasy Versus XIII Be Out? One Day”, Kotaku
“Deus Ex: Human Revolution”, Wikipedia
Michael McWhertor, “All The News, All The Trailers From The Spike VGAs”, Kotaku
“Mass Effect 3 Launch Details Confirmed”, Gametrailers