My experience with Japanese games in 2019 has been… well, quite not what I had expected. Back in the 2016-2017 period, after the hundred of hours spent grinding Persona 5 Confidants skills, as well as my utmost attempts to look up to 2B’s skirt in 2017, I have been struggling to find newer Japanese games that intrigued me enough to lock myself inside and grind them out.

As a result, I have been on a constant hunt and lookout for new Japanese upcoming releases that would potentially excite my picky nature for video games. While there certainly are more mediocre and generic Japanese games than unique ones, here is my list of the Top 8 Upcoming Japanese Games of the 2019/ 2020 period.

8. Granblue Fantasy Versus

Granblue Fantasy Versus is a spinoff of the original Granblue Fantasy series, developed by Cygames, as a gacha JRPG and could be found on mobile as well as web browsers platforms.

Different from the original JRPG however, Granblue Fantasy Versus is a side-scrolling fighting game, similar to the Guilty Gear series. The spinoff features the 11 core characters from the original storyline and 5 extra to-be-revealed DLC characters. (Would be awesome if Beatrice was on the list).

7. Guilty Gear 2020

For all the Guilty Gear fans out there, myself included, the Guilty Gear series would be receiving a sequel by 2020 that comes with multiple fixes and big changes, such as minor randomicity, to the current gameplay mechanics/meta.

Though these changes may make or break the game, personally, I think that removing many of the random variables of the current games is a great thing, especially for newer players, as it prevents them from being overwhelmed with the in-depth gameplay mechanics that Guilty Gear has to offer.

For a more detail overview of the changes, check out this video below here.

6. Azur Lane: CrossWave

This new release came off as most surprising for me, but at the same time considering how well Azur Lane is doing on its mobile platform, this could not come as anymore exciting. Though the original Chinese version was released in 2019, the English version is anticipated to be released in 2020.

For all who doesn’t know about the original game, Azur Lane is a side-scrolling RPG developed by Chinese developers Yongshi and Manjuu (cite), which continued to rise in popularity despite competing with Kancolle, an infamous web browser DMM game where Tanaka is always the final boss of every event (hated that game yet could not stop playing).

The game featured fully 3D graphics as well as, so now I can see Ayanami in all her loli- I mean DD glory.

5. Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Making the Top 5 of this list is Yakuza: Like A Dragon. The new release marks the eighth game of the Yakuza series (citation). Unlike the hack and slash combat of previous Yakuza games, however, Yakuza: Like A Dragon features a unique turn-based combat system.

Though I might have mixed feelings about the new implementation of a turn-based combat system for this new Yakuza releases, nevertheless, my previous experiences with the Yakuza series’ stories and humor would prompt me to buy and test out its eight release.

4. Final Fantasy VII Remake

For those who are more familiar with the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VII was originally released in 1997 as a turn-based JRPG and was instantly regarded as a top hit.

Although I have not played the original version, despite it being one of the most successful releases of the series for its era, the remake version of this game, in my opinion, looked absolutely stunning. Ditching the old turn-based combat of the original game, Square Enix’s approach to Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat is similar to that of Final Fantasy XV’s, featuring a more hack and slash playstyle. With a new combat overhaul and gameplay mechanics, players can now experience Final Fantasy VII’s story in an alternative perspective different from that of its original game. 

3. Nioh 2

Having played Nioh myself, I could say that the first game was definitely an immersive and challenging experience. Similar to the Dark Souls and Bloodborne series, Nioh’s gameplay proved challenging for most. Bosses fights are often difficult if not outragedly brutal, and I could not count the number of times I mis-timed my block and dodges to Hino-Enma charged strike, resulting in hours of grinding just for that one victory (much salt).

Having said all that, the upcoming release of Nioh 2, despite being a sequel to the first game, is one of my most awaited games. One of the special changes implemented by Team Ninja on this release is the option for character customization, in which players could alternate between male and female, in addition to choosing their own unique in-game appearance.

Furthermore, Team Ninja has significantly improved the combat mechanics of Nioh 2. The skill tree is expanded, and players are now able to transform into Yokai and use unique skills not available in their human forms. All in all, the hype is real for this game, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this game next year.

2. Persona 5 Royal

Having put in hours and hours into the original Persona 5 grinding the storyline as well as confidants’ skills, I could confidently say that Persona 5 Royal is worth the buy, even if it meant playing Person 5 all over again.

Persona 5 Royal comes with many new changes in addition to the original game, the more significant being the playability of a new spring term with a new storyline and 2 additional confidants, Takuto Maruki (School Counselor), and Kasumi Yoshizawa, a brand-new member of the Phantom Thieves.

In addition to an expansion of the storyline, Persona 5 Royal also offered players with new hangout locations and personas that players can collect. Overall, considering the addition of various contents, I am estimating a total of 100+ hours for just completing the storyline, which is a ridiculous amount of playability for a single game.

Though the Japanese version has been released in 2019, the English version would be released somewhere early 2020.

1. Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers

Making Top 1 of my list is Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers. Along with a brand-new storyline, the Phantom Thieves would strike again, traveling back into the Metaverse, this time in a new setting and mission set out to save the world from collapse.

This new release would prove to be a significant breakthrough to the Persona 5 series, featuring a fast-paced hack-and-slash experience rather than its original turn-based combat mechanics.

In addition, Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers offered two new main characters for its players, Sophia and Zenkichi (though there isn’t any information about the two except Sophia being a new Phantom Thieves member).

As an avid fan of the original Persona 5 series, I could say that this is my most hyped upcoming release of Japanese games and merchandise, and I am hoping that Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers contain as much quality contents, if not more, than the original Persona 5.


And there we have it, my top 8 upcoming Japanese game release of 2020. Whether you are a hardcore anime lover, gamer, or simply looking for something to pass time, try experimenting with the games on this list. You certainly would not regret it.

An anime enthusiast who writes about things he likes