E3 2016 was a show filled with reasons to be optimistic about RPGs in the coming years, and Game Rant has assembled a list of the genre’s most exciting upcoming titles.
While it used to be common practice to bemoan the state of the modern RPG, the past couple years in video games have changed things. 2015 was full of incredibly strong RPG titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Fallout 4, and 2016 has a few massive genre releases on the horizon.
That being said, however, the state of any genre can be dramatically influenced by its representation at E3. The long-running gaming showcase sets the tone for the rest of the year, and while many have already called E3 2016 a polarizing event, the RPG genre looked stronger than it has in a decade. Fans of skill trees, quest dialogue options, and hours upon hours of content have never had it so good, and Game Rant has put together a list of some of the most exciting options revealed at this year’s E3.
Bethesda didn’t pull any punches with its E3 2016 presentation, showcasing a lot of promising titles (one of which that makes an appearance later in this list). That just goes to show exactly how much faith the publisher has in Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2, which closed out the Bethesda presentation with an incredible gameplay trailer featuring Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano wreaking havoc on the tropical city of Karnaca.
Dishonored 2 is exciting because it offers a wider spectrum of supernatural powers that will make the game’s open-world action RPG concept even more intriguing to explore. That, coupled with the decision to move the series from the dreary, Gothic city of Dunwall to the colorful and vibrant Karnaca, should excite gamers who might worry Bethesda wouldn’t take any chances on a proven IP like Dishonored.
Final Fantasy 15
What more is there to say about one of the most heavily anticipated game releases in recent memory? Final Fantasy 15 has been covered extensively since its announcement and reveal, and Square Enix has done nothing to convince critics in the last year that the title won’t be as good as advertised. Square showcased an exciting Final Fantasy 15 gameplay trailer that featured a battle with a giant Titan enemy and announced that Final Fantasy 15 would be getting a VR experience post-release – not a bad couple of reveals for a game that has a lot expected from it when it releases on September 30, 2016.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn was already tabbed by many to be one of the most exciting games featured on the E3 2016 showfloor, and the new IP did not disappoint. Guerrilla Games’ new action RPG was one of the most talked about features of the Sony presentation. The game is still a ways out – it won’t release until February 28, 2017 – but the new Horizon: Zero Dawn E3 2016 gameplay trailer should be enough to tide fans over until it finally hits Sony consoles exclusively. Between the protagonist’s ability to “uncorrupt” machines and make them her mounts and the gorgeous destructible environments demonstrated in the latest video, Horizon: Zero Dawn looks to be bringing something innovative to the RPG table.
Skyrim Special Edition
It’s hard to believe that it has been six whole years since Bethesda first released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on PC and then-current consoles PS3 and Xbox 360. Part of that disbelief comes from the fact that the game is still immensely popular in 2016, with an incredibly dedicated fan base and a hard-working modding community forming the foundation of a title that has continued evolving long past receiving official support from Bethesda itself.
Until now, that is. Bethesda announced at E3 2016 that it would be releasing a remastered, upgraded version of the game called Skyrim Special Edition for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The re-release will feature a top-to-bottom graphics overhaul, a free release for PC users who have already purchased the original game and all of its DLC, and “should” allow Skyrim Special Edition PC users to transfer their old saves over to the remastered version. It’s not a new Elder Scrolls game, but it’s a welcome addition to the series’ library that should have fans reprising their roles as the Dragonborn in the near future.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
South Park: The Stick of Truth was an unexpected surprise in 2014, a deeply satisfying RPG experience from a license that had only produced video game disappointments up until that point. South Park: The Fractured But Whole looks to capitalize on that success by reprising the same turn-based combat system and 2D aesthetic that made the first game so fun, swapping out the medieval fantasy roleplaying of the first game with the superhero movie craze .
The more surprising news stemming from South Park‘s E3 2016 presentation is that series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone hinted that gaming might be the future for South Park as a franchise. Gamers will be able to test that theory on their own, and fight evil alongside Cartman and Butters, on December 6, 2016.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
E3 2016 was a bit of a weird experience for Nintendo fans. The company announced it had little interest in bringing any new games to the presentation outside of the new The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but later revised its approach by also featuring a painful thirty minute demo of Pokemon Sun and Moon to break up segments of the Breath of the Wild demo.
While the presentation was odd, however, the game itself was breath-taking. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks like someone painted an open-world RPG, and it features all the charm and innovation fans have come to expect from the popular Nintendo franchise. Game Rant went hands on with Breath of the Wild, and from what we’ve seen, the game is a serious contender for Game of the Year when it finally releases in 2017.
Although it may not have as much hype as the other games on this list, Tyranny is still an RPG worth keeping an eye on. In another year, Obsidian Entertainment’s new isometric role-playing game had the potential to steal the show from some of the AAA games on offer – that’s just how good the pedigree is for the team behind Tyranny, who also developed the critically-acclaimed Fallout: New Vegas.
The big draw behind Tyranny surprisingly isn’t the mechanics, which fans have come to expect will be excellent as long as Obsidian Entertainment maintains its current development form. Instead, Tyranny is fascinating because it tasks players with inhabiting the role of an evil overlord who has already defeated the era’s greatest heroes and is looking to cement their status as an immortal tyrant. Gamers will have the chance to explore the game in greater depth soon, as Obsidian Entertainment is targeting a 2016 release.
What were your favorite RPGs on display during E3 2016? Did we miss any obvious ones? Let us know in the comments below.