Square Enix may have delayed Final Fantasy XVI and Dragon Quest X, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t holding any cards. With pandemic-related delays rampant, gamers can still breathe a sigh of relief as there is still plenty to look forward to in 2022.
Taking a look at Square Enix in particular, with the Final Fantasy series being their bread and butter with the wildly popular MMO Final Fantasy XIV and a strong showing with the previous story-driven RPG, Final Fantasy XV. This is by no means their only IP, with some old and some new coming your way in the near future.
Developed by Platinum Games, this new title puts you in the shoes of a prisoner who is granted unbelievable powers by virtue of a device implanted in his back.
For gamers that enjoy fast and fluid combat, Babylon’s Fall may be tempting since it comes from the developer of Nier: Automata and Bayonetta, releasing 3 March 2022. This title will be available on PS4, PS5 and PC, allowing you to team up with up to 3 other players as you take on the tower of Babylon and will feature a variety of customizable weapons that players will be able to use in a variety of loadout configurations.
Fans of hack n’ slash games should keep an eye on this one, with Platinum involved you can rest almost entirely assured that it will feature some excellent and responsive action. Hopefully, this will be a welcome new addition to the genre.
I’ve always been a fan of Platinum’s combat, listing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance among my all time favorite games. Unfortunately for Babylon’s Fall, it seems to me from the trailer that the story is something of an afterthought – that said, Platinum’s combat is so good that it may just carry this title if the story is as weak as it seems already.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
In what some might consider a return to the roots of the series, Stranger of Paradise is essentially a retelling of the original Final Fantasy premise: There are 4 elemental crystals that are being corrupted by an evil force, and the 4 heroes of light have to save the word. Only this time, it’s an action-packed and frankly gorgeous-looking ARPG.
This game also features co-op with up to 3 other people, and promises challenging and intense gameplay. The job system is also featured, albeit in a modified form that depends on which weapons are equipped to your character, and allows you to acquire new job-specific abilities. Stranger of Paradise releases on 18 March 2022, just a few weeks after Babylon’s Fall. It looks like it may just be worth the wait, and will be available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
There are a variety of pre-order bonuses, including early access that will allow console gamers to play the game from 15 March. Sadly for PC gamers the early access window is only 24 hours. There are a handful of other pre-order bonuses, including some missions if you purchase the digital deluxe edition.
Unlike some other games on this list, Stranger of Paradise has a great name in my opinion. I can appreciate that this is essentially a reimagining of the original game, as well – but I am somewhat concerned that the story might not be as interesting as we hope because of this fact. The combat and visuals look fantastic, and with the dramatic scoring we hear in the trailer, this game is shaping up to be a great title to look forward to in early 2022. Locking DLC behind pre orders aside, that is.
Another new IP, this time developed by Luminous Productions (the Final Fantasy XV team) and developed primarily for the PS5, but also listed for PC, this game presents an exciting look at what Sony’s console can really do. Forspoken will have players take control of Frey, a young lady from New York transported to the world of Athia and granted magical powers. Admittedly, the story details are a little loose for now but with May 24th just around the corner, we should find out more about this game soon.
This game looks like an impressive tech demo, and it will be interesting to see if it plays and performs as good as it looks when it comes out in a few months. While the movement in this game looks brilliant, Forspoken will have to do a little bit more than look good to win me over. I am curious to see what the FFXV team can do when they are working on a title that has not been stuck in development hell, that we know of anyway.
Star Ocean: The Divine Force
The sci-fi RPG series is back, like never before! Last appearing back in 2016, Star Ocean is one of those series that I had grown used to thinking of as one of the past, the tri-Ace developed series is alive and well, looking better than ever. It’s still too early to tell if this game will live up to the hype generated by the trailer, and with 2022 fast approaching it almost certainly won’t be too long before we learn more about this title.
Coming to current- and previous-gen consoles as well as PC, it’s exciting to see this franchise get some love after what seems like forever. The last console release, Integrity and Faithlessness, was all the way back in 2016 on the PS3. This game continues the trend of Action RPGs we’ve been seeing headed into 2022. From the trailer, The Divine Force appears to feature (at least) a semi-open world and real-time combat.
As a lover of all things science fiction, a JRPG with a spacey twist is tugging at my heartstrings. I would love to see more before jumping to conclusions, but this is definitely one I will be keeping an eye on as the year unfolds. On paper, The Divine Force is exactly the kind of game I would enjoy, and the developers do seem very passionate about their game, so I do have a cautious optimism for this title.
If you have been itching for a new Final Fantasy Tactics, this Nintendo Switch exclusive might be just what you are looking for. With a planned release date of March 4, you don’t have long to wait to find out. It’s not impossible that we will see this title ported to other platforms in due course, as we saw with Octopath Traveller, but for now Switch owners will be happy that the popular hybrid console will continue to get the full support of major developers going into 2022.
I sincerely hope that the gameplay and story are more creative than the name, which until I did some research for this article I thought was still the working title. Perhaps the team developing this game has reserved their creative energy for other things. Nonetheless, this is a breath of fresh air amongst all the ARPGs that seem to be the standard for 2022 already.
The popup-style graphics are as charming as they were with Octopath, and I’m sure many will welcome another game in this style. Personally, I love this genre and am looking forward to a couple of games in this vein going into 2022. I just hope that the lazy name isn’t a sign of what to expect – Octopath looked great, but by the time I had played through the demo I had had enough. This is strange because demos are supposed to convince me that I actually want the game.
2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year in gaming. There are many other developers, with dozens of other interesting games of their own competing for your time and money. As we wrap up 2021, it’s a good time to start mapping out the next year of video games.
It’s also probably a good idea to manage your expectations, as for most of these titles there is a lot we still don’t know. For some of them, like Star Ocean, we don’t even have a hard release date – but once again, it surely won’t be long before we hear more about these games as we head into the new year. With that, we have a mix of games from franchises old and new which will hopefully soften the blow dealt by Final Fantasy XVI’s delay, and keep us going until we hear more about it in Spring.