Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: Android, iOS
The Elder Scrolls is one of gaming’s longest-lived worlds (yes, I can’t believe I’m that old now), and we’ve seen the RPG on just about every platform known to humankind (I keep expecting to play Skyrim on my Samsung refrigerator someday). But it’s never had a made-for-mobile game before (and The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a card game, not an RPG, so it doesn’t count here), and I’m excited to explore Tamriel on my phone. I don’t expect a full Skyrim-type experience, but today’s phones can pull off games like The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (the series’ best) without a hitch. Blades could be an exciting entry in The Elder Scrolls as long as it avoids the free-to-play nonsense of timers and paid advancement.
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Switch
Nintendo’s Switch is proving to be a fantastic console for co-op and multiplayer games. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is a GameCube co-op RPG from way back in 2003, and it’s different because you use those funky GameBoy Advance cables to connect the handhelds as controllers. Now, I doubt that you’ll need to unearth GBAs to play this remaster. I’m looking forward to this one because Diablo III, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Super Mario Party show that the Switch is fantastic for playing games with other people, and the Switch could use more co-op RPGs. Also: Crystal Chronicles is an odd-but-kinda-lovable offshoot for Final Fantasy, and I’m excited to explore this world again (we last saw it in 2009 with The Crystal Bearers on Wii).
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Platforms: Android, iOS
Warriors of Waterdeep will be Dungeons & Dragons‘ first mobile game since Arena of War, which released in 2013 and fizzled out years ago. While that game was an Angry Birds-like take on dungeon exploring and combat, Warriors of Waterdeep is an RPG. You get missions from Larael, the open lord of Waterdeep (a hub of adventure on the Sword Coast in the Forgotten Realms setting), and you earn cards that enhance your characters (and yes, you buy these, too). I’m looking forward to getting some D&D action on my phone — right now, Lords of Waterdeep (a worker-management board game) is the only D&D game on mobile.
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
Developer: Lancarse, Spike-Chunsoft
Platforms: PS4, PC, Vita
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is unique, something that’s rare in gaming these days. It’s a survival-RPG that mixes aspects of Etrian Odyssey-style exploration with survival games. Oh, and it involves cloning. It tells the story of a group of characters, who are born, live, and die in 13-day cycles. As this happens, you try to survive in a flooded world after the end of civilization.
Oh, and it has sheep, too.
Developer: Kitfox Games
Publisher: Kitfox Games
Some players develop attachments to their weapons in RPGs. In Pillars of Eternity, I enchanted a pole-axe and used it for most of the game because I loved this weapon so much. In Boyfriend Dungeon, you can … romance your weapons. It’s a quirky premise, and I’m excited to dive into this. I’ll have an interview with Kitfox about their approach in mid-January.
Developer: InXile Entertainment
Publisher: InXile Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Before Fallout, we had Wasteland, the groundbreaking postapocalyptic RPG from 1988. InXile brought the series back, put it on Kickstarter, and released Wasteland 2 in 2014. It retained the old-school RPG design of the original open-world game, but it added better tactical combat, a deep story, and a range of new character options. Wasteland 3 builds on this, adding a more chilly atmosphere in the frozen wastes. Wasteland 2 has some of the most challenging tactical combat I’ve ever encountered,
The D20 Beat is GamesBeat managing editor Jason Wilson’s column on role-playing games. It covers video games, the digital components of traditional tabletop RPGs, and the rise of RPG streaming. Drop me a line if you have any RPG news, insights, or memories to share … or just want to roll a digital d20 with me.
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