It’s time to lean more towards the present now that 2020 has arrived. If you’re looking for a way out of escape, there are plenty of options.
In recent years, the genre of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) has expanded, so narrowing the list down to just five was quite the challenge — because they look more promising than ever; but ultimately, thanks to games like World of WarCraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Runescape, it looks better than ever.
Blue Protocol, Bandai Namco | PC | 2021
Blue Protocol is a free-to-play MMORPG with an open-world anime-style setting and flashy, fast-paced action.
At first, the prospect of a Western release seemed improbable. The world looks very different now, shortly as the year 2021 begins. Following the success of the Genshin Impact games, Blue Protocol seemed to be in a better position than ever to make a major splash.
Bandai Namco has since explained that it would undoubtedly target Japan first, with other markets, such as the EU and North America, following suit. There is no set release date yet, but late 2021 appears to be a possibility.
New World, Amazon Games | PC | 2021
If you enjoy open-world emergent gameplay with a strong emphasis on players owning territories, fighting other guilds, and waging war on the game world, this is the game for you. The verdict on how appealing it would be in the long run is still out, but it has a strong base with Dark Souls-style action fighting.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, Sega | Xbox, PC | 2021
This is a little tricky. The full version of Phantasy Star 2 has already been published, but the company has prepared an entirely new game that they’ll be launching alongside PSO2 in a “expanded” or “universe” variant as the developer called it.
Even though it was first released in Japan in 2012, PSO2 was amongst one of my most favorite MMO in 2020, and this one looks to be even better. Compared to the vast, online role-playing games, the PSO games have combat mechanics that feels and looks like something out of Devil May Cry. It has a lot of anime-style flair, as well as a wide range of weapons and classes and a lot of content.
Recently we saw how the open world gameplay was implemented in the video. At the time of this writing, there’s no date but it will certainly be released in the first half of 2021 for Xbox One (versions), Xbox X (and/S) and PC.
Crowfall, ArtCraft | PC | 2021-2022
Given the odds, this is one of many Kickstarter-funded MMOs that hasn’t died and vanished into obscurity. Crowfall pits players against one another for possession of a centralized power throne. Huge territories must be regulated, as well as a complex player-driven economy that is constantly shifting in power.
Crowfall has been locked away in production for a long time, so we’re holding off on releasing it until it’s more widely available for people to check out and put through its paces. This same skill-based fighting appears to be a significant highlight.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, Visionary Realms | PC | 2022
This one has been in the works for quite some time, and it is by far the most conventional of the bunch. This is a throwback to the classic MMOs of the early 2000s, which emphasized team-based PvE content including dungeons and raids.
Brad McQuaid, one of Pantheon’s key programmers, died during production in 2019, and he was widely regarded as one of the forefathers of the new MMO, having served as Lead Designer on the first EverQuest with Sony Online Entertainment (now Daybreak Games).
Pantheon was his final project, and I’m looking forward to seeing it completely realized. However, it is most likely still a long way away.
What we can conclude from all of this is that fans who have been waiting eagerly for this year’s and next year’s upcoming MMOs are in for some exciting times. Although we are still waiting for definitive news from all of them, there is plenty of information available to get us excited for the next year or two.