It wasn't until I actually sat down to research and write an article about the biggest JRPGs of 2024 that I fully realized just how many of these games are out this year. I knew there were a lot, but holy crap.
The first month of 2024 was largely defined by survival games, but we've also already seen some massive, critically acclaimed JRPGs such as Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth, and the year's only getting started. Where 2023 was defined by mammoth RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Starfield, or the revitalizing Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, 2024 looks like an oasis for fans of a very specific role-playing package.
February is massive for JRPGs
After the double-whammy of Palworld and Enshrouded, February's kicked off with a one-two punch of JRPGs. Persona 3 Reload and Granblue Fantasy: Relink dropped back-to-back, and both have reviewed encouragingly well.
Persona 3 Reload is a modernized version of the 2009 classic, just with some of its rougher edges sanded down and, in many places, a few bits of Persona 5 Royal grafted on for quality-of-life's sake. It is an enormous game that still stands out as an unflinchingly dour story in the Persona series, now retooled to be as good as longtime fans remember it, and to be much more approachable for newcomers. I look forward to losing another 134 hours to its cleverly intertwined combat and social systems.
Nobody was surprised to hear that the Persona 3 remake is good. Granblue Fantasy: Relink, meanwhile, is kind of a miracle. The game was in and out of various circles of development hell – and various developers – for years, but after a promising demo released a few weeks ago, is finally out. And good! The demo hinted as much, and reviews for Relink confirm what fans were hoping for, whether that's fans of the Granblue universe or lovers of action RPGs in general. Relink is a rock-solid JRPG largely carried by an exhilarating battle system and a colorful world too good to stay confined to one impenetrable gacha game.
We still haven't gotten to the biggest February release, not just among JRPGs but probably of all the games out this month: Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Part two of the storied classic's remake trilogy promises a more sprawling adventure supported by a larger playable cast, and simultaneously looks like more of the same in the best possible way. Speaking as someone who never played the original Final Fantasy 7 but quite enjoyed the first chunk of the Remake, I'm more than ready to pal around with Cloud and the gang for another 50+ hours. It's a shame it'll be a PS5 exclusive for some time.
Just the start of a stacked year
Amazingly, we're not even a third of the way done, and that's not counting the honorable mentions I'm going to sneak in at the end of this. We're still missing exact release dates for a few games, but it's clear that 2024 is going to be packed with JRPGs from beginning to end. Here are the heaviest hitters to keep an eye on:
- The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered - March 22 on PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC: The unexpected return of a 2015 3DS game so niche that even calling it a cult classic feels like a stretch. It wasn't awful by any means, but let's hope the remaster improves more than just the graphics. An intriguing one if nothing else.
- Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes - April 23 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch, and PC: Not to be confused with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, Hundred Heroes is a classical JRPG billed as a spiritual successor to Suikoden, straight from Suikoden writer Yoshitaka Murayama and series designer Junko Kawano. Given its pedigree and enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, Hundred Heroes could end up being one of the defining JRPGs of the year.
- SaGa Emerald Beyond - April 25 on PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC: There may be no better way to describe the impression made by the reveal trailer for SaGa Emerald Beyond, the first non-mobile entry to the SaGa franchise since 2018, than our own Ali Jones' assessment: this JRPG looks like the most JRPG to ever JRPG.
- Sand Land - April 26 on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC: Like some alternate-universe Mad Max or Dune, Sand Land brings an obscure manga from Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama to life as a sandy open-world action RPG, and the resulting aesthetic is absolutely pristine.
- Visions of Mana - Summer on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC: After 16 years away, Mana series creator Koichi Ishii has returned for what seems like a worthy comeback. Visions of Mana's combat looks silky-smooth, and the 3D art style is a lovely fit for the long-running franchise. To my surprise, this one is actually near the top of my personal wishlist.
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak (English) - Summer on PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC: This was technically released almost a year ago, but we're only getting the English version this summer. The Trails series rarely disappoints, and Japanese fans, as well as folks using an unofficial language patch, have generally praised Trails Through Daybreak, so it'll be nice to finally get it in the West officially.
- Metaphor: ReFantazio - Fall on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC: Key developers from Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5 have teamed up under Atlus for a new game that couldn't look more like Shin Megami Tensei if it tried. It's exciting to see a team like this tackle a new universe, and with the Avengers of JRPG devs onboard, this may be one of the biggest releases of the year.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Remake - TBA on Switch: Even Nintendo is getting in on the JRPG jamboree, finally bringing what many regard as the best Paper Mario game to a platform that people actually own. First Super Mario RPG, now The Thousand-Year Door. Can we get a Mario & Luigi RPG collection next, please?
- Suikoden 1 & 2 HD Remastered - TBA on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and Switch: I'm kind of cheating here because we don't actually have a release date for the long-awaited Suikoden collection, but we can safely expect it this year after it was just barely delayed out of 2023. Between this two-pack and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, fans of Suikoden are eating well.
Oh yes, there's more. We've hit the big-ticket, written-up-in-lights JRPGs, but 2024 will also see plenty of, well, let's just call them adjacent games that I didn't want to ignore. Some of these brush up against the design conventions of JRPGs, others are already out but coming to more platforms this year. My point is, if you're interested in the games we've talked about so far, some of these might catch your eye too.
- Dragon Quest Builders - February 13 for PC: For some reason, Dragon Quest Builders isn't on PC yet, even though Dragon Quest Builders 2 came out, on PC as well, years ago. Oh well. The original whip-smart block-building RPG is still well worth playing. Check out our Dragon Quest Builders review for more details.
- Ex Astris - February 27 on mobile: This one is a little more speculative, but I want to highlight it because it's such a fascinating anomaly. Chinese Arknights developer Hypergryph – or rather, publishing arm Gryphline – is using its mountain of gacha money to fund an honest-to-god $10 "real-time/turn-based hybrid" RPG, and even as someone who never plays games on his phone, I desperately want it to be fun if only to encourage gacha big-wigs to use their powers for good. I might get an Android emulator just for this.
- Unicorn Overlord - March 8 on PS5, Xbox Series X, and Switch: Less of a JRPG and more of a 'Vanillaware does Fire Emblem,' but if you like anime strategy RPGs as much as I do, this is one to salivate over.
- Ys X: Nordics - March 13 for PC (hopefully English soon): The latest Ys game looks good, but an English release for Nordics hasn't been announced yet. Let us pray for good news this year, even if we may well end up having to wait until 2025.
- Octopath Traveler 2 - Early 2024 for Xbox: Loads of people (though not enough) have already gotten to play one of the best JRPGs of 2023, and soon Xbox owners can join in on the fun of Octopath Traveler 2. And those Xbox owners should, and they should also do the right thing by picking Throné as their main character.
- Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail - Summer on Final Fantasy 14: Is Final Fantasy 14 an MMO or a JRPG masquerading as one? It's an MMO, obviously, but I'm still gonna put its next expansion on this list because it's Final freakin' Fantasy, and 14 is still one of the best games in the series even if you play it mostly solo.
- Blue Protocol - TBA on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC: This is another one that's actually an MMO, but I'll be damned if it didn't look and feel like a JRPG – specifically the Tales of series – when I tried it last year.
- Project Mugen - Potentially 2024, platforms TBA: Chinese dev Naked Rain is cooking up an extremely anime open-world RPG with Spider-Man-inspired movement and lovely urban vistas, and I'm hoping we get a beta or release date this year. We spoke to the devs about it last year, and at least on paper it seems quite promising.
- Arknights: Endfield - Potentially 2024 on PS5, PC, and mobile: This is another stab in the dark, and another surprising game from Gryphline. Arknights: Endfield is an open-world RPG with Xenoblade Chronicles vibes that's secretly also a shockingly deep base builder in the style of Factorio, and there's a non-zero chance we get it, or another test period, this year.