15 RPGs we can’t wait to play – top upcoming role-playing games

FeatureNov 22, 2016 at 4:00a PSTby Vergil

15 RPGs we can’t wait to play – top upcoming role-playing games

„The Golden Age of RPG is upon us”, said Brian Fargo and got busy working on three separate projects. There are, however, many more RPGs worthy of attention out there, so we’ve cooked up a list of the best titles yet to come.

After several slow years RPGs are on the rise again. There are several things contributing to this state of affairs, such as the huge popularity of many Kickstarter projects (spearheaded by Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity), as well as the amazing success of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at the most interesting officially announced productions. While some of them are mere days from launch, others are still in their infancy, and so we’ve listed the games in the summary below by their release date. Check out the upcoming worlds that will suck you in for dozens, if not hundreds of hours.

Divinity: Original Sin II

Divinity: Original Sin II
  1. Developer: Larian Studios
  2. Platform: for now only PC
  3. Release date: 2017 (available in Early Access following September 15, 2016)

Let's begin with Divinity: Original Sin II, the continuation to the warmly-received production, whose creators perfected the flagship elements of the genre: isometric view, turn-based combat, complex story and high level of difficulty. The story will pick up where the plot of the first installment left off, but the title will let the players stand on the other side of the barricade – a thousand years after the events of the first Original Sin, the conflict between the Source Hunters and the faction dedicated to using the power of the Source is in full swing, and we, for a change, will play as a representative of the latter party.

The biographical background we select for our character during creation will affect the game – depending on who we choose, the residents of Rivellon will respond differently and even give us different tasks. This also applies to the multiplayer mode formula implemented in Divinity: Original Sin II, which will enable up to four players to work together – thanks to such treatment, it will be possible for individual members of the team to pursue contradictory quests, injecting a hint of rivalry into the game. As if that weren't enough, the game will also include a PvP mode based on clashes of four-player teams – in addition to classic arena battles, the developers will prepare some variations on the typical multiplayer modes, such as Capture the Flag or King of the Hill.

Not enough for you? Then how about even more depth to the turn-based combat system? This time, the relative vertical position of characters will impact the combat capability of individual heroes and their tactical options – nothing prevents us from climbing a tower during combat, for example, and raining down spells or arrows from there.

The new skills and combinations of elements are worth mentioning, especially in the context of the devastating powers offered by the Source, which are more than able to turn the tide of a battle. The game will be complemented by beautiful artwork, based on the technology of Divinity Engine 3.0, as well as a very atmospheric soundtrack. All this makes the second Original Sin one of the most interesting representatives of the genre, and the attractions prepared by the developers can be experienced right now on Steam Early Access.

You should give Divinity: Original Sin II a shot if:

1. You liked the previous installment in the series;

2. You appreciate sophisticated stories...

3. ...and sometimes you like to pull pranks on the people you're cooperating with.

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon

Pokemon Sun
  1. Developer: Game Freak
  2. Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  3. Release date: November 23, 2016

Pokemon Sun and Moon need no introduction to anyone who is even the tiniest bit interested in contemporary pop culture. Due to the incredible success of Pokemon GO, Nintendo, together with Game Freak – the team responsible for the GB/GBC/NDS Pokemon game series – can be optimistic about the future. The studio will employ the well-known gameplay formula, according to the principle "if it works, don't change it". Thus, we will once again travel to a fantastic land, exploring it as a rookie Pokémon trainer. The objective? To catch ‘em all, train ‘em hard, and have ‘em fight in a turn-based combat system.

What’s more, the fun in Pokemon Sun will focus on exploration of the world and performing various tasks we receive from the NPCs we meet along the way. Keep in mind that it will be a twin game to Pokemon Moon, the latter offering a different selection of monsters. The game(s) have two noteworthy assets: the first one is the so-called Pokemon Bank, through which players owning the 3DS versions of the previous installments (Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Omega Ruby, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y) will be able to easily import the Pokemon they already own; the second one are without a doubt the pretty, cartoon-like visuals, implemented in full 3D.

You should give Pokemon Sun a shot if:

1. You wanted to become a master Pokemon ever since kindergarten...

2. ...but you'd rather stay home than play Pokemon GO.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV
  1. Developer: Square Enix
  2. Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: November 29, 2016

The Final Fantasy franchise is one of the most important RPG series of the last three decades. No wonder – after all, the origins of the series date back to 1987, when Square Enix's first Final Fantasy hit the stores. Leaving aside any perturbations the project encountered over the course of a decade of its development cycle (such as the change of title), Final Fantasy XV is entering the final stretch of its way to the store shelves. Will it be worth the wait? Well, we should be careful with any opinions until after the launch; for now, let's talk about what the creators promise.

And they do promise a lot. Open world (though not fully, because later in the game it will be probably replaced by smaller, linear locations), day and night cycle, tactical real-time combat, extensive character progression options and multi-threaded plot are to be the biggest assets of the new FF. In Final Fantasy XV we play as Noctis, the king's son and heir to the throne of the city-state Lucis. When his homeland is invaded by the militarized Niflheim Empire, the protagonist, along with his three inseparable companions, will not only have to hide from enemies that hunt them, but also try to save their home city.

The gameplay itself looks impressive. The action is shown from the third-person perspective, and both exploration and combat take place in real time. During the skirmishes Noctis uses spells, special abilities and magic swords – he can also teleport over short distances, perform coordinated attacks with the help of his comrades and control vehicles. The role of the classic summons is played by the so-called Archaeans, which can be summoned to the battlefield.

Both combat and completing quests will result in gaining experience points and higher levels – the characters will be able to level up only in special camps, where they can also regain their strength. Thanks to the Luminous Studio technology, the title looks really great, but only on the promo materials from the developer – in practice, slightly less so. However, if the developers manage to retain the visual quality potential, we'll get one of the nicest-looking RPGs of recent years. There's certainly nothing to worry about when it comes to the soundtrack, as the game has Yoko Shimomura working on it – the author of the music for the Kingdom Hearts series.

You should give Final Fantasy XV a shot if:

1. You're eagerly waiting for the big comeback of the franchise...

2. ...but you're not exactly an orthodox fan...

3. ...and not on a crusade against the changes in gameplay formula.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda
  1. Developer: BioWare
  2. Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: March 2017

The story of Commander Shepard is over; we, however, are moving into completely new, uncharted regions of the universe. A space expedition, launched even before the war against the Reapers had come to an end, has finally reached the mysterious Andromeda galaxy. The task awaiting the hero or heroine named Ryder (once again we can play only a human character) is to explore new planetary systems, interact with the races inhabiting them and – ultimately – to find a new home for the human race.

Although the plot is to remain the game's focus, a much larger role than it did in the previous installments of the series will be played by exploration. We will travel across the space in a brand new ship called the Tempest. It will, just like the already iconic Normandy from the previous installments, act as our command center – the place where we build our relations with the other crew members, as well as our forward base for exploring uncharted worlds. Having landed on the surface, we will have to rely on the indispensable Mako, now called the Nomad – a wheeled vehicle appearing in the first part of the cycle, designed to operate in hostile environments. The devs claim to have taken the players’ opinions to heart, which is said to result in certain changes to the vehicle's driving behavior – controls are to be more intuitive.

As usual, there will be a series of main and optional quests waiting for the players – in exchange for completing them we will receive experience points, enabling both the hero and recruited members of his team to level up. We will be able to progress in several directions, and whether we play as a ruthless killer or a person solving conflicts through dialogue will depend only on us. Interestingly, this time the decisions will not automatically label us good or evil, and the nature of our hero will reflect the decisions they make when choosing between two evils (as it is per recent trends).

In addition to the story campaign, the game is to feature an extensive multiplayer mode, based on competition or teamwork; meanwhile, the employed DICE Frostbite technology will allow the developers to significantly improve the visuals. A sample of the graphic capabilities of Mass Effect: Andromeda could be seen on the gameplay footage, which has certainly whetted the appetite of the fans of the series. The launch of the game is expected in March – that's when we will see whether Mass Effect without Commander Shepard is still Mass Effect.

You should give Mass Effect: Andromeda a shot if:

1. You spend your evenings gazing at the starry sky;

2. You have the blood of an explorer flowing in your veins;

3. The 7th of November is more important to you than the 4th of July.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
  1. Developer: Ubisoft Studios
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: March 2017

South Park: The Stick of Truth had some flaws, but overall it was a good production, which could appeal not only to the fans of the cult TV series. The developers did a fine job translating the cartoon original to video game mechanics, so Ubisoft decided to adopt the proven formula... and pass the new project to a different studio. The new developers, assisted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, seem to know what they’re doing, so the new adventures of Cartman and company have a chance not only to fix the issues from the previous game, but also to be a breath of fresh air to the series. Once again we will visit the eponymous town only to witness a raging civil war between the various heroes, once united under the banner of Coon & Friends. Our character will join the team to face the villainous Professor Chaos. Interestingly, the players will be able to choose the gender of the protagonist – we don’t know, however, how the creators intend to introduce a female main character in a world where sexist jokes are the order of the day.

Generally speaking, South Park: The Fractured But Whole looks like The Stick of Truth on steroids. The action is presented from the side perspective, the city is open for exploration, and there's a variety of side missions next to the main quest. Combat, the essence of the gameplay, continues to take place in a turn-based system, and its participants employ an absurd set of weapons and superpowers – except now they can freely move around the battlefield to, for example, hide from an enemy attack behind a trash can. Interestingly, in the case of fights taking place on the streets, the characters will often have to evacuate from the roadway to avoid getting run over by an oncoming car.

When talking about South Park: The Fractured But Whole you can’t forget two things. The first is, of course, the somewhat evocative title of the game itself. The other are the ever-present farts – many things stink in this game, so the creators were tempted to launch an unusual promo campaign, allowing the participants of gamescom 2016 to take advantage of the capabilities of a certain special device. Nosulus Rift, although never intended to go on sale, offers an experience you won't find anywhere else because what other video game in the world would allow you to sample the smell of the heroes' farts?

You should give South Park: The Fractured But Whole a shot if:

1. You don’t mind smelling farts;

2. You laugh at sexist jokes;

3. You want to become a superhero... like the Human Kite.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Torment: Tides of Numenera
  1. Developer: inXile Entertainment
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: March 2017

The spiritual successor to the iconic cRPG Planescape: Torment, developed by inXile Entertainment – the team known, among other titles, for the warmly-received Wasteland 2. Due to the fact that the developers failed to acquire the rights to the Planescape brand, the action of this title is set in the universe of Numenera, which was created by Monte Cook – the author of countless additions to the pen & paper edition of Planescape and the co-creator of the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The new Torment will take us into the future – one billion years from now, when Earth looks like in the Middle Ages, and the only things suggesting that the ancient civilizations were technologically advanced are the artifacts known as the Numenera. The character we control – the Last Castoff – is an almost indestructible being who doesn't remember anything from his past. The goal of the game is not only to get rid of the effects of amnesia, but also to discover our links with the so-called Changing God, as well as the reasons why we are being followed by The Sorrow – a being existing outside space and time.

Those of you who have played Planescape: Torment, will feel at home. The creators will leave a six-member party at our disposal, as well as various locations, countless major and minor tasks and tons of immersive, sophisticated dialogue. Interestingly, the authors have even adopted some of the solutions known from gamebooks, leading to many events being described only in the form of text or illustration. In addition, next to the extremely complex system of moral choices, there will also be the option of talking the enemy into submission – if we properly lead a conversation, we can avoid a direct, turn-based confrontation.

The visuals are, without a doubt, among the game's assets. The title employs a variant of the Unity technology, developed by Obsidian Entertainment for Pillars of Eternity. The game's two-dimensional, hand-drawn backgrounds look outstanding even as static pictures, pleasing the eye with original aesthetics and unusual, fantastical architecture. If we decide to fight, we will see a whole range of various effects, and the fully three-dimensional character models should hardly raise any objections – after all, let’s remember that graphical bells and whistles are not the reason why we play this game. The right atmosphere, in turn, will be aided by a soundtrack composed by Mark Morgan – author of the music not only for the original Planescape: Torment, but also the classic, isometric Fallouts and Fallout: New Vegas.

You should give Torment: Tides of Numenera a shot if:

1. You like to read...

2. ...and muse;

3. You fell for Planescape: Torment hook, line and sinker.

Elex

Elex
  1. Developer: Piranha Bytes
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: summer 2017

This summary wouldn't be complete without a mention of the team at Piranha Bytes, which has been working on a new project for quite some time now. Elex contains elements characteristic of fantasy, science fiction, and even post-apocalypse, and has a good chance of serving the players an experience completely different from any other production. The action takes place on the planet Magalan, which was hit by a meteorite not long before the events shown in the game. The event spawned two major side effects: almost complete destruction of the resident civilization and the appearance of the eponymous new substance. Elex helped the remaining survivors arm themselves in new weapons and endowed them with magical abilities – its dubious charm, however, lies in the fact that extended usage leads to the degeneration of the body.

Four groups fight for absolute control over the new resource, each of them intending to use it for different purposes. The Albs, who, due to the aforementioned downside to using elex, have lost their humanity, display very imperialistic tendencies and act like unscrupulous machines. Opposing them we have the Berserkers, living in harmony with the nature, the Clerics, who possess highly-advanced technology despite rejecting elex consumption, and the independent, free group of Outlaws – we can definitely see some similarities to the first Gothic and its world, divided into three warring factions. The player will play as an amnesiac Alb general betrayed by his comrades. From the very beginning, the game will give us a free hand, allowing us to complete interesting quests and join one of the factions while we try to figure out what provoked the hero's kinsmen to such a disgraceful act.

The gameplay in Elex will focus on open-world exploration, taking part in various quests and fights. In combat we will use both melee weapons and firearms, and avoid enemy attacks (but also explore the environment) using a jetpack. Interestingly enough, we will not be condemned to a solitary adventure, because the protagonist will be able to recruit NPCs to his party. The spirit of Gothic will be felt not only in the clunky combat system (which for some can be an advantage), but also in the absence of any form of level scaling – the opponent’s level will not adjust to that of our hero's, so many of our enemies will be a natural barrier of sorts, preventing the players from entering a territory where the game doesn't want them at that specific stage of the game. As for the visuals – well, the launch is scheduled for next year, so a lot can still change, but despite the overall mediocre performance, even the visuals have their moments, thanks to the original concept behind the setting. For the fans of Gothic the game is a must-have, but will other gamers have any business here? This we will probably find out in the coming months.

You should give Elex a shot if:

1. You are a fan of the Gothic franchise...

2. ...and you're not above turning a blind eye to unpolished gameplay...

3. ...bonus points if you'd kill for a ticket to the Valley of Mines.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  1. Developer: Warhorse Studios
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: 2017

“Dungeons and no dragons” is the sound bite advertising the game by Warhouse Studios. The independent team decided to take the plunge and create an RPG set in the 15th-century Central Europe. We will play as Henry – son of a blacksmith, whose village has been ransacked in a raid. The protagonist needs to avenge his friends and relatives, thus fulfilling his father’s last wish. However, soon enough he becomes entangled in a political intrigue, and finds himself in that well-known place where you have to help the rightful heir to the throne take back power and restore law and order in the whole country. The most interesting part, though, is that players will get a chance to participate in historical events – even in battles known from the school textbooks. There’s no doubt that this concept is truly original, and the list of ideas that subvert the typical formulas of the genre is much longer.

For starters, the game will run on CryEngine, which will ensure high-quality graphics and a complex, open world at the same time. The developers also want to maintain high realism – the protagonist will be able to wear multiple layers of clothes; no more steel armor worn on bare skin – you have to begin by putting on a shirt, which prevents burns and blisters, then you put on a chain mail, and only then you can flaunt your plate armor and see the peasants go jealous. The combat system will be just as complex. By learning about the medieval fencing techniques and consulting specialists in the area, the developers were able to craft intricate mechanics, which allow to hit different parts of the body, as well as to block, parry, and deflect the opponents’ blows.

As if that weren’t enough, the player will need to keep in mind certain needs of our hero, such as their health, fitness, hunger or sleep. There will also be a crafting system based on minigames that will allow creating various parts of equipment and food. In exchange for completing quests, the player will receive XP, making it possible to choose any direction for our character – their development system is open and classless, so there’s nothing standing in your way if you want to play as a master-of-the-sword thief. And all that is set in an environment where nearly every aspect and element is historically accurate. The developers took a lot upon themselves – let’s hope they manage to fulfill their promises, and that all the delays will ultimately work in the game’s favor.

You should give Kingdom Come: Deliverance a shot if:

1. You’ve had enough of the generic “killing dragons and saving the world from ancient evil” pattern.

2. You value realism.

3. You have a knack for swordplay, smithing and cooking.

SEVEN: The Days Long Gone

SEVEN: The Days Long Gone
  1. Developer: Fool’s Theory
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: 2017

A blend of Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed and Thief with isometric perspective – that’s SEVEN: The Days Long Gone in a nutshell. The game by Fool’s Theory, developed with the help of IMGN.PRO, will let us play as Teriel – an apprentice pickpocketer operating in a penal colony called Peh. The events unfold in a fantastic realm that was ravaged by a terrible catastrophe a millennium ago. As a result, a highly advanced civilization went back to the level of the Middle Ages. From its ashes, emerged a new civilization –Vetrall.

The similarities to the mentioned titles become apparent right at first glance: the post-apocalyptic setting and cartoon graphics are taken straight out of Borderlands, the protagonist’s profession and the stealthy action is a thing every fan of Thief knows well; there’s also some parkour known from the famous Assassin’s Creed series. The world supposedly has a multi-level open structure, so there’s nothing stopping us from searching for vantage points on rooftops. The quests are also said to be non-linear, allowing the player to either do things silently, without spreading unnecessary chaos, or to approach matters more directly, alerting guards and running for our life through crowds of angry citizens.

All player’s activities will be constantly monitored, and experience points will be awarded for certain actions – character development will be limited due to the protagonist’s profession. An interesting variable will be introduced to the game by the day-night cycle and dynamic weather conditions. For example, if you happen to step into a puddle of water, you will alarm the guards –head-on confrontations are not the most brilliant idea in SEVEN. Considering that Fool’s Theory studio consists in part of the makers of the second and third Witcher as well as Kholat, we don’t have to worry about the quality of design. We’ll see next year how this unusual blend of three genres fares.

You should give SEVEN: The Days Long Gone a shot if:

1. You like the idea of a blend of Thief and Assassin’s Creed in a post-apocalyptic setting.

2. You’re not afraid to get your hands dirty...

3. ...but you value cool head and tactics more than berserk rage.

The Bard’s Tale IV

The Bard’s Tale IV
  1. Developer: inXile Entertainment
  2. Platform: currently only PC
  3. Release date: 2017

The fourth installment in the series of dungeon crawlers, and at the same time the second game by inXile Entertainment included in this list of games. Brian Fargo and the rest of his team want to create a truly photorealistic game – the Unreal Engine 4 and photogrammetry were of course mandatory. The title will feature extremely detailed 3D graphics, both in open environments and in locations enclosed within countless ruins and dungeons.

In The Bard’s Tale IV we will get back to the world known from the previous installments, inspired by Celtic culture. The game begins in the city of Skara Brae, where an expedition full of adventures will begin. The developers will let us control a team of humans, elves and half-orcs. Interestingly, the choice of the team members will influence the attitude of NPCs towards the player, as well as the range of available quests. How the story unfolds will depend on the decisions made throughout the game.

Let’s also point out that locations in The Bard’s Tale IV will have a grid, and the movement of every character will be determined by it. The game will also use a phase-based system (as opposed to a turn-based or real-time system) – all characters will simultaneously execute actions planned by the player, which will allow to integrate their attacks into effective and spectacular combinations. The profession of the protagonist is meaningful, too, and the battles can often take different turns thanks to the music played by them; the ballads will have a Gaelic feel to them. What could possibly go wrong? Well, right now we know so little about this game that we can only wait with our fingers crossed. InXile Entertainment have already proven they know how to get things done.

You should give The Bard’s Tale IV a shot if:

1. You’re a seasoned dungeon crawler veteran.

2. You’re well-versed in Brian Fargo’s games.

3. You crave a classic RPG with a modern touch.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord:
  1. Developer: TaleWorlds
  2. Publisher: TaleWorlds
  3. Platform: PC
  4. Release date: 2017

The next item on our list is the second installment in the Mount & Blade series, subtitled Bannerlord. TaleWorlds studio decided not to alter the proven formula, hence it will be a complex RPG with elements of action and strategy. The first game was dubbed “medieval lord simulator” for a reason – the player will become a landlord from the Middle Ages, who struggles to establish a strong position amidst a convoluted political situation. In a (very tiny) nutshell, this game will be about managing your estates, assembling increasingly large armies, and taking an active part in real-time battles – all this in order to enhance your area of influence and gain more power in the society. The developers, however, didn’t just warm up an old meal in a microwave.

Perhaps the most outstanding novelty will be the system of capturing enemy strongholds. In the campaign map, we’ll be able to get familiar with the basic info about the current situation in the castle, make certain preparations, and perform a provisional siege to make a breach in the wall, which will make it much easier to enter the fortress. Then, it will be time for the main course, i.e. participating in the battle in third-person-perspective. Thanks to the revamped game engine, the combat will be more realistic – there’s going to be more animations and more attention to detail, e.g. swords recoiling off walls. In the armory, you will find both ranged and melee weapons; there will also be siege machines that the players will be able to handle personally. If the player finally manages to break the defense and capture the enemy stronghold, they will be able to see a summary of the battle via a special screen and… a “highlights” video of sorts.

It’s also worth noting that the player’s actions will impact the political situation in the whole region. If you decide to starve an army stationing in a castle, it could impact the local economy. Capturing a lord during battle will be a good deal, since it can yield a nice ransom. The last thing we ought to mention is the vast world containing many different and active factions. As you can see, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord should be a heck of a game – the question is when will the developers actually let us play it. This is another case of a game being constantly delayed – let’s just hope that it will manage to hit the shelves somewhere in 2017.

You should give Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord a shot if:

1. You liked the first game;

2. You’re interested in medieval politics...

3. …and medieval battle strategies.

Vampyr

Vampyr
  1. Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
  2. Publisher: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: 2017

Do you remember Life Is Strange? Perhaps you’ve played Remember Me? If so, what do you think about Dontnod Entertainment heading into the realm of dark and brutal RPGs? So far it seems they are doing just fine. Vampyr takes us to London and is set during the 1918 flu pandemic. The protagonist is Jonathan E. Reid – former military medic, whose bravery was recognized during the Great War. His willingness to help the sick and find a remedy for the crisis becomes much more difficult since he discover that he was turned into… a vampire.

One of the game’s main themes is supposed to be the struggle between the two natures of the protagonist – it will directly influence the story. Each of the characters encountered in the English capital has their own story, and killing them will alter the situation in the city; dining upon a wanted bandit who forces “protection” on a local store may allow the shopkeeper to lower prices and enhance the stock, but will also mean death for the sick kid of the bandit. There will be plenty of moral choices, which will never be black-or-white, and which can even lead to an outbreak of violence and a complete demise of a given district.

Still, Vampyr is supposed to be a purebred action RPG. There aren’t too many original ideas concerning the gameplay model – exploration, finishing main and side quests, and fighting enemies. Jonathan will face not only humans, but also other vampires. In combat, he’ll be able to use bare fists, firearms, and melee weapons – sinking his fangs into an enemy will also be an option. Apart from that, the protagonist will also have a set of vampiric powers available. The graphics already look awesome – the only thing that stands out are clunky animations and combat. There’s a lot of time left until the release, though, so the devs can still introduce improvements. The game runs on Unreal Engine 4, so there’s a lot of potential here.

You should give Vampyr a shot if:

1. You prefer warm, fresh blood to wine;

2. You don’t find deciding on someone’s life and death problematic...

3. ...much like choosing between two evils.

Wasteland 3

Wasteland 3
  1. Developer: inXile Entertainment
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: 2019

It’s the third game by inXile Entertainment on our list. The devs are not messing around, are they? In this installment of the popular post-apocalyptic RPG series they substituted the overused Arizona desert with icebound Colorado. The main character of Wasteland 3 will be the sole survivor of the massacred Team November. Our main task will be to reestablish the rightful status of the Wasteland Rangers. The quest will not be easy, because the inhabitants of that frosty land have never heard of the faction maintaining law and order, so we’ll have to start from scratch.

The gameplay in Wasteland 3 is based on the three pillars known from the previous part, however the devs introduced many upgrades. Vehicles will let you travel faster and take more resources for your trips, and the turn-based combat situations were enhanced with team skills. The plot will be mostly presented via dialogues with NPCs; the conversations were also modified, and are now more similar to those known from Torment: Tides of Numenera. As a result, the dialogues can be navigated in different ways, with the use of different skills. Our Rangers will get headquarters, which we’ll have to raise from the very foundations – we’ll find resources there and it’s also where diplomatic relations with all kinds of factions can be developed.

Wasteland 3 will feature much better graphics than the previous installment, and the new, snowy environment will surely make it all better. The fans of the previous installments in the series will not be the only ones who should feel at home; another such group will be the players familiar with movies such as Extinction or Snowpiercer. The amount of money collected for the game indicates that the players have a lot of trust in the title – and for good reasons, too. For now, we have to wait for the next portion of information.

You should give Wasteland 3 a shot if:

1. You’ve had enough of sandy wastelands;

2. You’re a fan of Wasteland 2;

3. You have no choice because you’ve already backed the devs.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077
  1. Developer: CD Projekt RED
  2. Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  3. Release date: TBA

Thanks to the third Witcher, CD Projekt RED entered the RPG hall of fame. And no wonder – the last part of Geralt’s story didn’t become the most awarded game in history for no reason. Time doesn’t stand still, however, and the devs know it – hence the decision to drop the fantasy setting for the sake of a more Blade Runner-ish one. Cyberpunk 2077 remains a mystery, although some light has been shed by the information that has recently – and quite accidentally – surfaced. The Night City will introduce us to the gloomy world full of intrigue; it’s also supposed to be a living organism, run by artificial intelligence.

That’s not all. The developers also mentioned a particular system allowing to create “complex body and facial animations”, as well as the ambiguous “Cinematic Feel”, which is supposed to provide a “cinematic experience in RPG games with open world”. The gameplay foundations will be based on the tabletop Cyberpunk, which means that we should be able to develop our characters in many ways by using different upgrades, such as implants and enhancements, or other modifications of the body. The story is still one big mystery; however – knowing the REDs – we should expect a multi-thread and complex plot, where more than once we’ll face not-that-obvious moral choices.

If that’s not enough for you, the devs also want to prepare a multiplayer mode with support for different game modes. The multiplayer has been recently described as “seamless”, which suggests it will be similar to that in Watch Dogs, for example. The game will run on an amped-up version of the Red Engine, which did a great job in the last part of the White Wolf’s adventures, so we shouldn’t worry about the graphics. It’s also worth noting that currently there’s more people working on the game than there ever were on The Witcher 3. Among them is one of the designers of Quantum Break, and a former employee of Rockstar North.

You should give Cyberpunk 2077 a shot if:

1. The name Blade Runner rings a bell.

2. You’re a fan of CD Projekt RED’s games.

3. You’re not afraid of people with metal and wires beneath their skin.

Pillars of Eternity II

Pillars of Eternity II
  1. Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  2. Platform: for now only PC
  3. Release date: TBA

You may be surprised that we’ve included Pillars of Eternity II – a game that’s not even announced yet – on our list, but in an interview with Feargus Urquhart, CEO of Obsidian Entertainment, we’ve heard the following statement: “Eternity II is not announced, [but] it seems silly for me not to acknowledge it, though”.

So, we can speculate whether it will be a direct continuation of the story told in the first Pillars of Eternity, and the gameplay, instead of focusing on fast-paced and spectacular action, will rather provide us with another near-literary experience. I’d also expect some upgrades in combat and character development, but that’s just speculation. Obsidian know their onions – we can be sure they will let on more information once they’re done with Tyranny. They’ve also admitted they’re experimenting with Unreal Engine 4… did they bid farewell to 2D graphics?

You should give Pillars of Eternity II a shot if:

1. You crave another “spiritual heir of Baldur’s Gate”;

2. You’re devouring Tyranny;

3. Dozens, or even hundreds of hours spend in a virtual world are not a big deal.