Even with high-octane action, competitive shooters, and western RPGs out in the market, the JRPG subgenre is thriving in 2022, as evidenced by the recent release of Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for the Nintendo Switch. The year is entering its latter stages, but there are still some noteworthy JRPGs coming out for fans to keep an eye on.
Likewise, there are already a few high-profile games poised to launch sometime next year. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will undoubtedly be the biggest mainstream commercial hit in late 2022, but Square Enix has plenty of major Final Fantasy titles on the horizon as well.
Final Fantasy XVI
After garnering a tremendous amount of goodwill for turning Final Fantasy XIV into one of the most compelling MMORPGs and stories in the series, producer Naoki Yoshida and co. have set expectations high for the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI. The game looks inspired by Devil May Cry‘s pulse-pounding combat, and its setting seems to be influenced by medieval dark fantasy.
Political intrigue and character drama are at the forefront of the game’s trailers so far, as well as the roles of this world’s summons — Eikons — in the story and lore. It seems to have the makings to be one of the best modern Final Fantasy games, and XVI launches in summer 2023 for PlayStation 5.
Soul Hackers 2
Atlus has exploded the popularity of its Shin Megami Tensei spin-off series Persona out west, but along with that newfound success come revivals of other subseries. After around 25 years, Souls Hackers 2 — the sequel to the PS1’s Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers — is finally around the corner.
This game takes a heavy and vibrant sci-fi twist to its setting, with Soul Hackers 2 taking place during a war between two Devil Summoner factions, as two supernatural and digital beings descend upon the world to save humanity from cataclysm. Gameplay will be expectedly turn-based, mixing physical and magic-based attacks in tandem with summoned demons, as well as some social simulation elements outside of battle. Soul Hackers 2 releases on August 26th, 2022 for PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S, and PC.
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
After Pokémon Legends: Arceus gave the mainline series of games a much-needed creative jolt, the upcoming Scarlet and Violet are looking to expand its predecessor’s exciting new formula. This pair of games will be the first two in the Pokémon’s 9th generation, and it will feature a seamless open-world setting for the first time in the series since Arceus used more Monster Hunter-like segmented zones.
In addition to meeting a new batch of original species and alternate forms, players will also be able to tackle the Gym Leader challenges in any order they want and take part in cooperative gameplay during the story. These games have a lot to live up to become some of the best mainline Pokémon games, but it’s great to see the series finally getting more ambitious. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet release on November 18th, 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
Despite its short length, Square Enix’s recent Final Fantasy VII celebration stream proved to be quite eventful. On top of the long-awaited reveal of the sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake, a surprise announcement of a remaster for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII also thrilled fans.
The original PlayStation Portable version was already one of the best Final Fantasy spin-off games, and the remaster — dubbed Reunion — is looking impressive for a remaster. Many fans likely thought the game was officially lost to time, but Zack Fair will get the second lease on life he deserves before Rebirth. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion releases in late 2022 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, and PC.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn
Commonly cited as one of the most influential games of the subgenre, tactical RPG Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was critically acclaimed during the PS1 era. It was later remade on the PSP in 2010, and that version is now set for a remaster this winter.
Titled Tactics Ogre: Reborn, Square Enix is looking to enhance the game’s visuals, introduce quality-of-life features to streamline the experience and make the game more accessible without losing its depth. The story takes place in the fantasy archipelago called Valeria, where its single kingdom is thrown into civil war following the king’s death. Tactics Ogre: Reborn releases on November 22nd, 2022 for PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC.
Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake (Speculation)
Though it’s been unfortunately quiet on news behind Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake, the initial look given in last summer’s reveal appeared stunning as is. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age helped propel the series’ popularity on a more global scale, as it was praised for blending modern JRPG mechanics with classic ones.
Somewhat similarly, the warm reception to 2018’s Octopath Traveler ignited an excitement behind the “HD-2D” aesthetic for JRPGs in the modern age, so Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake seems like a great idea to capitalize on both fronts. Modernized 16-bit pixel art and gameplay features are to be expected, and it’s possible the remake could fit in late 2022 or next year’s slate of games.
The Diofield Chronicle
While Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are certainly Square Enix’s bread and butter, fans have also been happy to see the publisher put out new, smaller-scale IPs in between. And with the resurgence of tactical RPGs, thanks to the successes of the likes of Fire Emblem, Square Enix’s in-house development studio are teaming up with Lancarse to release The Diofield Chronicle.
Set in an original fantasy world mixed with industrial-era elements, the player will follow a group of mercenaries hired to fend off the invasion of the emboldened Trovelt-Schoevian Empire. To change things up, the gameplay isn’t limited to tile-based movement. Rather, it’s more free-flowing and turns are played out in real-time. The Diofield Chronicle looks promising, and fans won’t have to wait long since it releases on September 22nd, 2022 for PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S, Switch, and PC.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Of course, the announcement of the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was the main event of the anniversary stream. It was a long wait between the reveal of Remake and its 2020 release, and fans are pleasantly surprised to hear the release window for the sequel.
FFVIIR was strongly received for its excellent real-time action combat system, expanding on the Midgar portion of the story, and fleshing out the colorful cast of characters. Some longtime fans admittedly felt taken aback and apprehensive over the potential plot changes, but many are surely eager to see where Final Fantasy VII Rebirth takes the story when it releases in winter 2023 for PS5 — assuming it isn’t delayed.
Persona 3 Portable (Port)
Persona 5 Royal was the shot in the arm for the series in the west and that success carried over to 2020’s PC port of Persona 4 Golden. And after years of waiting and fans’ pleading for more ports, 4 Golden and 5 Royal will make their way to other platforms, as well as the first port of Persona 3 since its PSP release.
The original version was praised for its characters, story, turn-based combat, and the now widely beloved social simulation element. Persona has always dripped with stylish anime artwork, and if the aforementioned 4 Golden port is anything to go by, Persona 3 Portable should satisfy longtime fans and prospective new ones when it releases in 2023 for PS4, XBO, XSX|S, Switch, and PC.
Sea Of Stars
On the indie front, Sabotage Studio’s Sea of Stars was revealed as a JRPG love letter to the classic 16-bit days of the subgenre. It takes some creative cues from the likes of Square Enix’s Chrono Trigger while making its own mark on classic gameplay conventions.
Following the two Children of the Solstice, as they fend off the attacks of a villainous alchemist, players will engage in creative turn-based combat that incorporates attack combos and rewards timing. It also rewards exploration through various means, and players will be able to dive into this fresh adventure when Sea of Stars launches in 2023 for PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC.