It’s almost 2021, and thanks to the whole global pandemic disaster thing, a lot of games were delayed from planned 2020 release dates. So even though we’re a ways away still, 2021 is looking packed already. That holds especially true if, like me, you’re really into Japanese RPGs. There’s an absolute deluge of JRPG content planned for 2021, and that’s only the stuff we know about. Who knows what could happen as the year goes by? 2021 may very well go down as the Year of the JRPG.
Is 2021 Year of the JRPG?
January is going to be a month to pay attention to, and it’s all because of Atelier Ryza 2. Gust’s Atelier series has been running forever, but the whimsical JRPG series seems to have hit a high point with Ryza. The first game was a surprise hit, and Koei Tecmo can barely keep up with demand for physical copies. It looks like Gust is capitalizing on that demand, and going all in for the sequel.
- Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy - Jan 26
- Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne - Jan 28
February is going to be ludicrously busy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another delay or two just to spread things out. We have Bravely Default II and Persona 5 Strikers hitting within days of each other, and these are two games the people have been screaming for. A big, new Ys game is set to make a splash as well, and current-gen upgrades for the Nioh series is icing on the cake.
- Ys IX: Monstrum Nox - Feb 2
- Nioh 1 and 2 Remastered - Feb 5
- Persona 5 Strikers - Feb 23
- Bravely Default 2 - Feb 26
Things just keep rolling into March, where we’re pretty sure more real estate will be filled. That is, at least until the end of the month when Capcom drops a nuclear bomb in the form of Monster Hunter Rise. This is the first new game in the series following Monster Hunter World, which was a phenomenon. It won’t be as grand as it’s a Switch game, but that doesn’t matter to the MonHun crowd.
- Saviors of Sapphire Wings & Stranger of Sword City Revisited - March 16
- Monster Hunter Rise - March 26
April is an intriguing one for sure. Poison Control is a totally new IP from Nippon Ichi Software, and it looks to have some pretty unconventional action/RPG mechanics. Will it be good? Who knows! Either way, Poison Control is followed by a remake of the first Nier game, which will absolutely get attention due to the wild success of Nier Automata.
- Poison Control - April 13
- Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139… - April 23
That’s all we have so far… with release dates. 2021 is locked and loaded with JRPG content volume, but due to… you know, there aren’t many final dates. We’re absolutely running the gamut of hard-hitters in 2021 though, as you can see. All in one year we’re going to see more Monster Hunter, SaGa and The World Ends With You from Square Enix, Digimon, Shin Megami Tensei, and a full relaunch/remake of Phantasy Star Online 2 (the recipient of a 2020 Game Awards for Videogame Excess and Excellence award from yours truly). Even the Neptunia series is showing up with multiple launches.
2021 No Release Date (Quarter(s) noted where applicable):
- Cris Tales Q1/2
- Digimon Survive
- Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny - Q3
- Dragon Quest Tact - Q1/2
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV PC/NS
- Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin - Q2/3
- NEO: The World Ends with You - Q2/3
- Neptunia ReVerse
- Neptunia Virtual Stars
- Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
- Re:Legend - Q1/2
- SaGa Frontier Remastered - Q2/3
- Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster - Q1/2
- Shin Megami Tensei V - Q1
- Rune Factory 5
In addition to all the titles coming to North America, Japan will be seeing some new releases as well. These are games that are set to drop in Japan in 2021, and have no North American release date or confirmation of a localization. It certainly isn’t unlikely we’ll see these, but even if we do they’ll be showing up at a later date. The only one I’m concerned about not seeing is Surge Concerto. So if any Koei Tecmo folks are reading this, help your boy out, yeah?
- Surge Concerto
- Void Terrarium Plus
- Infinity Strash – Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai
As of December 2020, this is the list of notable JRPGs that we know are coming out (or supposed to be) in 2020. This doesn’t account for further delays, announcements that haven’t been made yet, or anything I accidentally left out. I’m only human after all, and I’m already shook by the numbers here.
Are you excited for any of these games in particular? Anything you aren’t familiar with you’re seconds away from Googling? Is there a game on this list you’ll avoid on purpose? Let us know what you think over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!