RPG Grind Time – The E3 2017 RPG Forecast
Another E3 is on the horizon, which means we’ll soon be treated to a bevy of announcements, new trailers, and impressions of anticipated games. What will it hold for RPG fans? This year might not have an abundance of triple-A games, but there’s more than you’d think at first glance. For this Grind Time, I wanted to break down some my predictions, sharing my expectations and hopes for the show.
Square Enix Set For An Off Year
Let’s address the elephant in the room. I don’t expect many of Square’s big RPGs to be on the show floor. If anything, Square is going to use the show for announcements and new trailers. With the news of Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake launching in “the next three years or so” I don’t have high hopes to see them at the show. If we’re lucky, we might get new trailers, but I don’t even expect those to show off anything substantial. This morning, Square announced Dissidia Final Fantasy NT for PS4, which I suspect will be a big part of the show. It’s possible we’ll also get a look at the next character DLC for Final Fantasy XV.
I am hoping Square uses E3 to announce Dragon Quest XI for North America. With a July 27 release date locked for the PS4 and 3DS versions in Japan, it seems odd that the game hasn’t been announced for the West. Square Enix brought the Dragon Quest Heroes spin-offs to North America, but Nintendo has handled the recent handheld releases. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo, which needs more in its Switch library, announces the Switch and/or 3DS version for North America at its Nintendo Spotlight. We also have more to hear about Project Octopath Traveler. Outside of that, Square Enix recently revealed Tokyo RPG Factory’s (the creators of I am Setsuna) next game, Lost Sphear. The release date is early 2018, but with its other projects even further out, Square would be wise to leverage this time to shine a big spotlight on it.
Nintendo Should Cater To RPG Fans
Speaking of Nintendo, it’d be nice to hear updates and get more concrete info on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Switch, and the new SMT for Switch. Both Fire Emblem and SMT are early in development, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is still set to release this year in Japan, making it the most likely for Nintendo to show off. Nintendo still hasn’t said anything about a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 release date for North America, so this would be a good time for a new trailer and release window. Nintendo dashed some hopes in its Pokémon presentation yesterday – only revealing "ultra" versions of Sun and Moon for 3DS alongside Pokkén Tournament for Switch. We're all still pining for a new Pokémon game for Switch. If anything, we’ll probably also see more Skyrim on Switch at E3. Hopefully, some surprise RPG announcements are thrown in there for good measure.
Some Triple-A Delights
As for some bigger triple-A titles, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony reveals Bloodborne 2 or a new From Software project, as rumors suggest. CD Projekt Red has been knee-deep in getting Gwent out the door, but we haven’t heard or seen anything much for Cyberpunk 2077. After the success of the Witcher 3, people are even more interested in the developer’s next game, but sadly, CD Projekt Red has stated that the game will not be at the show. With South Park: The Fractured But Whole around the corner, it will most likely be a big part of the show for Ubisoft, although I feel like we’ve seen a lot of it and people know what to expect at this point. With Mass Effect Andromeda out in the wild, BioWare will most likely start peeling back the curtain on its new IP, which is said to be an action/adventure game with all the character and story development BioWare is known for. Back in January, general manager Aaryn Flynn posted on BioWare’s blog that more info would be revealed “in the coming months,” making E3 the most likely place. While it’s likely something Dragon Age-related is also in the works now that Inquisition is a few years old, I don’t think we’ll hear about it this E3. I’d guess BioWare would want to focus on one project for the show and the new IP seems further along.
Don’t Count Out Smaller Publishers
I also think more niche publishers will bring the excitement. Bandai Namco has Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom, Code Vein, and Digimon Story Cybersleuth Hacker’s Memory in the works. Ni No Kuni 2 is launching this year, so it’s likely to be a big part of the show. Bandai Namco also said it was working on something in its Tales series for Switch. It’s a long shot, but it’d be great to finally see what that is. I’m hoping it’s not just a port of a previous entry.
Now that Persona 5 is out in all its glory, I imagine Atlus will focus on its other franchises. The publisher already revealed a bunch of games before E3, so I suspect it will show off Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, and the Radiant Historia remake, Perfect Chronology. Speaking of localization news, we haven’t heard much about Vanillaware, the developer behind Dragon's Crown and Odin Sphere, since its TGS 2015 announcement for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. Atlus also just announced it's publishing it in the West, so there's a good chance we'll get an even better look at it at E3. Let's also not forget Capcom and its Monster Hunter franchise, which has Monster Hunter XX (an enhanced version of Monster Hunter Generations) for Switch and Monster Hunter Stories for 3DS coming soon.
THQ Nordic also has its share of RPGs in development: Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Elex (from Gothic and Risen developer Piranha Bytes), and Darksiders III. Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Elex will most likely be there with their release dates this fall, but I’m not as confident about Darksiders III. Although after Darksider III’s recent reveal, you would think it’d be in THQ and Gunfire Games’ best interest to show more of the game.
At first, I wasn’t sure this year had much to offer in terms of RPGs, but I think it’s going to be a better year than you’d think. My favorite part of E3 is those announcements you don’t see coming, so I’m hoping I’m totally blindsided by some surprise reveals that make me jump from my seat with joy. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated from the show floor next week. Enjoy the show!