2018 was a pretty lackluster year.
It was filled with half-assed releases like Neowiz’s Bless Online which is shutting down, Gameforge’s Soul Worker which has merged all their servers together to attempt to survive, and Playwith Interactive’s Warlords Awakening.. which is shutting down.
Then in 2019 we had.. uhh, wait, what MMOs released this year again?
Oh right, DK Online was re-released and within the few months it’s been online it’s down to a concurrent playerbase of.. 20 people.
Gameforge re-released Guardians of Ember which died shortly after its launch, KurtzPel wasn’t an MMO but a 2-player co-op brawler, Legends of Aria I guess is going into Early Access this month..
2019 was filled with a lack of new releases all together. Thankfully this year was salvaged by expansions like Shadowbringers, Elsweyr and the upcoming WoW: Classic.
But disregarding those, there really hasn’t been much of anything to really shake the genre. 2020, however, is finally looking to change that.
Yes, we have a lot of indie developers that are trying to produce good MMOs like Crowfall, Pantheon, Chronicles of Elyria and the like but with setback after setback playing any of those in 2020 doesn’t look all that promising.
And although I’m not one to put too much faith in Eastern MMOs we do finally have some that look like they’ll be launching next year, 4 of them having Western launches, and one being… well, uncertain right now.
And they’re what I’d like to talk to you all about. So with that out of the way, let’s jump right in.
Phantasy Star Online 2
I would’ve been crazy to have not started this video off with what is possibly one of 2020’s hottest, most anticipated MMOs: Phantasy Star Online 2.
If you guys weren’t already aware, then at E3 this year Microsoft announced that Japan’s most popular MMORPG – which players have been eagerly waiting for for almost a decade now, is finally getting a North American release.
A worldwide release is unconfirmed right now as the PSO2 website stated officially that the game would be coming to North America in Spring 2020, with Microsoft themselves publishing it.
Initially, the game will launch onto both PC and Xbox One with PS4 and Switch ports expected down the line as well. When specifically is unknown but nevertheless, we’ve all been waiting on this one for a very long time.
Maybe too long, depending on who you ask.
Microsoft went on to elaborate that we will be receiving the game in its entirety, meaning every single individual piece of story content available in Japan will be translated and available for us.
This means we won’t be far, if at all, behind the Japanese version of the game.
One thing worth noting however is that Microsoft don’t have rights on a lot of the cross-promotional outfits and events over in the US so a lot of events, including costumes and items will likely not be available.
But those aside, we’re looking to get a full Western localized version of the game. Transfers of your characters are likely not an option for those of you that seem to be under the impression that it will be.
PSO2 is still generally regarded as one of, if not the greatest Anime MMORPG.
Ascent: Infinite Realm
Ascent: Infinite Realm has been hyped up for a while now. It’s the next “big” MMO out of South Korea after Bless failed.
I say “big MMO” because honestly, although Astellia is slated for release this year, I don’t think it’ll be nearly as large as A:IR.
A lot of people were under the impression that A:IR would have a release, or at the very least, a beta slated for this year. The team behind A:IR ran in to a lot of problems though that prevented that from happening.
Which is fine. Honestly, I’d much rather they work out their issues before the game gets a beta over here because we MMO gamers are an unforgiving lot.
And while this meant that no 2019 release would happen in the West, it was revealed that both Thai and South Korea would have versions of the game enter beta this year at the very least.
A North American and European release in some form is expected to happen in 2020 though so long as nothing happens to further hinder A:IR’s progress, a 2020 release should be in our sights.
I played the Thai version of the game, and although there were some optimization issues, and a little stiffness in terms of character movement and combat, the game was very alike to the current ArcheAge MMO.
Which was surprising to me – ArcheAge looks and plays amazingly, so using that as inspiration was a good idea.
Okay, so Temtem isn’t an Eastern MMO but it feels like an Eastern MMO. Not that it’s grindy, but its’ Anime-esque visuals. Which, I might add, are very Pokemon-inspired.
Now if you’re not a Pokemon fan then this may not appeal to you as it follows the same fundamentals that the Pokemon games do.
You’re a kid that sets out on a journey to capture Temtem while attempting to become a Temtem master, defeating Dojo leaders – which are identical to Gym leaders and leveling your Temtem along the way.
Every Dojo leader, and dojo itself has its own unique element and.. well, it’s just like Pokemon. Your Temtem level, learn new abilities, evolve and the like.
What’s important to note though is that this is a full MMORPG. I encountered hundreds of other players while out exploring the world. I saw them doing battle, chatting amongst each other, and even had a few recognize me.
Since it’s an MMORPG you’d expect to be able to play it with other people, and although you’re playing alongside hundreds of other players, you’re limited to partying with up to one other player only.
This can, of course, make it feel less MMO-esque but you can team up with a friend to tackle the entire game, end even other players in PvP.
Unfortunately co-op play wasn’t possible when I did a video on the game but regardless, I look forward to getting my wife in to help me out.
Temtem has an expected release date of May 2020.
Kingdom Under Fire II
Although we’ve spent most of this year without, we did get a few interesting announcements.
One, after almost a decade we’d be getting PSO2, and two, after almost a decade – yeah, it’s been that long, we’d be getting Kingdom Under Fire II.
Although the game was first announced in 2008 and went into beta testing in 2011, it holds up fairly well. Yes, the game itself looks and feels a tad bit dated but given when this game was made, you’d expect as much.
Now, we’ve been waiting for this game for as long as PSO2 and Gameforge – yes, that Gameforge have announced that after it had been shut down everywhere else around the world, they would be localizing it for a Western release.
But is it too late?
The game clearly shows its age, it isn’t nearly as fast or action-packed as action titles released in the last few years and the strategy aspect may be lost on this generation that are more interested in flashy effects and instant results.
For those of us interested in strategy, for those of us interested in the Total War franchise, for those of us that have just been waiting an eternity to finally get our hands on this, well, here we are.
It’s a little weird that Gameforge would pick up an MMO that has been shown to have little interest still shown in it and overall, no lasting value as the game is no longer worked on, but hey. It’s money.
I’m still excited because it’s an MMO I was highly anticipating years ago and I couldn’t be happier to finally get the chance to see if it plays as I’d always expected it to.
If not, that’s fine. It’ll be free-to-play regardless so the largest investment you lose is your time.
I saved Blue Protocol for last because it’s the most recently announced MMORPG in this list, and probably the most recently revealed MMO of this year. As in, it was just announced last month.
I know you’re all very, very excited for the game. I was barely able to contain my excitement for it – so much so that I actually went ahead and made a Subreddit for it and like.. 3 or 4 videos since its announcement.
It’s a game out of Japan that is perhaps the most beautiful Anime-inspired MMO I’ve ever seen. From what we’ve all seen via gameplay, trailers and screenshots, it’s every one of us Anime fan’s dream MMO.
However, it also has no confirmed Western release date – yet.
While Bandai Namco have yet to publicly announce an English release for the game, people did find English translated game files which leads others to suspect there may be an announcement sooner rather than later of a certain.. nature.
Regardless, with the game that has yet to launch in Japan, it’d be inane to expect a Western release. However, as the game is expected to launch in 2020 in Japan, we’ll likely be able to access it via VPN for the time being.
You know, like we have PSO2 the last several years. Until Bandai Namco realize to what degree we’re all anticipating it.
Blue Protocol is probably my most anticipated Anime MMO. Ever.
There aren’t really any other MMOs that are confirmed to be releasing in 2020 that I think will really.. garner a following, I guess.
I could be completely wrong, of course, but if there’s anything I’ve learned after running an MMO channel for the last 2 and a half years, it’s that we’re all thirsty for something new to grab and hold our attention.
Yes there will likely be other MMOs to release next year – probably other indie developed games that launch into early access and underwhelm, or other re-releases like Guardians of Ember or DK Online.
But these games, these right here are games that I forsee lasting at the very least the course of the year. Depending when they release, anyway.
If not, then oh well. If at least 3 of them perform above expectations then we’ll have a very good year with new MMOs to play.
Or, we’ll be playing Classic WoW or Final Fantasy XIV or.. any of the other large MMOs left alive. Who knows.