Valkyrie Profile, Tactics Ogre, and Front Mission are all due out in the months ahead. What year is it again? It’s 2022, and it’s already been glorious for fans of new and classic JRPGs alike. But some of the most exciting stuff is still ahead. Years after the genre was left for dead, it’s never felt more vibrant.
2021 was an incredible year for turn-based grinding, but 2022 is even more stacked. It began in January with the most experimental Pokémon game in years in the open area spin-off Legends: Arceus, and it’ll be bookended by the most anticipated Pokémon game in years in Violet and Scarlet. In between, there’s no shortage of remakes, remasters, re-issues, sequels, and entirely new games. Hopefully their potential measures up to their character art.
Here are all the ones you need to know about.
Live A Live
A Square Enix (then SquareSoft) RPG from the SNES days, few knew about Live A Live outside of Japan, and even fewer thought it would finally get localised and ported decades later. But that’s what the publisher revealed earlier this year during a Nintendo Direct. Not only would the time-hopping anthology get a global release, it would also get overhauled in gorgeous 2.5 HD. The results speak for themselves. “Live A Live is a pixel-art role-playing game that’s here for a good time, not a long time,” Isaiah Colbert wrote in the Kotaku review, praising its brevity and HBO-quality storytelling.
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Digimon Survive was announced four years ago. Myriad delays later, the visual novel tactical hybrid is finally coming. Will it be good? Time will tell. But arriving after the underrated success of RPG spin-off Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, it has the potential to be another intriguing dive down the Digimon rabbithole. The developers are already asking fans not to spoil the game on social media until two months after release.
Platform: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: July 29, 2022
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Twenty-four years after Xenogears, Tetsuya Takahashi is still getting money to make ambitious and overwhelming games about intricate combat systems and existential angst. The reviews are in and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is already being hailed as some of Monolith Soft’s best work on the Switch. Come for dazzling science fantasy vistas and stay for the deep combat customisation.
Release Date: July 29, 2022
Soul Hackers 2
I played a preview of Atlus’ latest Shin Megami Tensei spin-off at Summer Game Fest 2022. While the demo was brief, it certainly made Soul Hackers 2 seem like an approachable half-way point between SMT and Persona. I fought the same demons I’ve been negotiating with for years now, but it oozed style and the colourful cyber-apocalyptic won me over. The landscape was very different back when the original Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers was remastered in 2013, but in a market bursting with new SMT sequels and spin-offs, I think Soul Hackers 2 can carve out its own respectable niche.
Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 26, 2022
If I had bet on Square Enix reviving one one of its dormant B-tier franchises, it wouldn’t have been Valkyrie. I loved Valkyrie Profile on the original PlayStation and…that was about it. There was a mess of a sequel, an uneven tactics spin-off on the 3DS, and an underwhelming collectathon on mobile. Then in a March State of Play, Square revealed Valkyrie Elysium, a real-time action follow-up. I still can’t quite wrap my head around why, but anytime the publisher starts throwing the kitchen sink at the wall I’m here for it. Elysium looks visually unspectacular, but the deluxe version on console comes with the PSP remaster of the original game and that’s worth it for me alone.
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release Date: September 29, 2022 (PS4, PS5) / November 11, 2022 (PC)
Persona 5 Royal
It’s unclear when the rest of the modern Persona games will reappear, but we’re at least getting the previously PlayStation-exclusive Persona 5 Royal on Switch, Xbox, and PC this year. Folks will finally be able to grind dungeons, slack off in school, and break their friends’ hearts in one of the best JRPGs of the last decade. It’ll be followed up by Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable, the latter of which is the isometric demake with improved menus, more difficulty options, and a newadditional protagonist.
Platform: Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 21, 2022
Star Ocean The Divine Force
In a year of classic comebacks, Star Ocean is another extremely unlikely revival. The most recent game was garbage, and the rest of the series remains an acquired taste. But it’s a franchise that’s given me enough special moments that I’ll never give up on it. Tri-Ace still hasn’t said much about Star Ocean: The Divine Force, but trailers show it taking aim at giant Monster Hunter-style creatures and environments. It will either be the start of a beautiful new era in the franchise or the long overdue nail in the coffin. I’m morbidly excited for either outcome..
Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 27, 2022
The DioField Chronicle
For years, Final Fantasy Tactics fans have wanted a spiritual successor. In 2022, we got an old-school reimagining in Triangle Strategy. But we’re also getting DioField Chronicle which looks like the formula on an acid trip. Part turn-based, part real-time strategy, it mashes up Fire Emblem and XCOM into what the developers are calling the “Real-Time Tactical Battle System.” Don’t worry, the story sounds just as inscrutable.
Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Release Date: September 22, 2022
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero
The Trails games are part of the most sprawling and confusing series in JRPG history. It’s technically a spin-off of The Legend of Heroes franchise, but it spans multiple eras and has spawned spin-offs of its own. Trails from Zero represents the third of four arcs in the Trails games. It came to PSP in 2010 but was never localised — until now. You play as a cop investigating organised crime. An attempted religious coup ensues. It’s old-school but dense and will be followed by its sequel, Trails to Azure, some time next year.
Platform: Switch, PS4, PC
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Tactics Ogre: Reborn
While not officially revealed yet, we now know thanks to multiple leaks that the granddaddy of tactical RPGs is getting a remastered re-release later this year. The spiritual predecessor to Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre is full of political intrigue and dense, granular strategy battles. Some of the heroes are also villains and some of the villains are also heroes. Square Enix might be smothering the old pixel art in vaseline, but new quality of life features will make it a perfect fit for modern platforms.
Platform: PS4, PS5 (other platforms TBD)
Release Date: November 11, 2022
Pokémon Violet and Scarlet
It’s always a good year for JRPGs when a new Pokémon is set to arrive, and this year the Switch will get two. But there’s more anticipation around Pokémon Violet and Scarlet than usual. That’s because it brings with it new Gen 9 Pokémon, a new open world, and the freedom to explore it in any order. Fans have already spent the summer soaking up alleged leaks, but what’s been officially shown so far, from the starters to the sun-drenched Mediterranean environment, looks extremely promising.
Release Date: November 18, 2022
Front Mission 1st: Remake
Another series Square ran into the ground, the early Front Mission games remain precious crossovers between turn-based tactics and gritty industrial mech warfare. Front Mission 1st: Remake is a recreation of the first game that came to SNES back in 1995. The environments and mechs lean into 3D realism while the character portraits still channel famed Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano’s beautiful ethereal style. Another strategy game ripe for modern handhelds (the 2007 DS port was also excellent).
Release Date: TBD 2022
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
The PlayStation Portable launched almost two decades ago, but Crisis Core is another cult-hit from its back catalogue that’s getting a second wind. The third Final Fantasy VII spin-off, it fleshes out pivotal flashbacks from the original to expand on the workplace drama around SOLDIER recruits Zack, Cloud, and Sephiroth. The remake is taking that same story and updating the look and action to channel the feel of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Hopefully, it goes just as off the rails.
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X/S, Switch PC
Release Date: TBD Winter 2022