Forgotten JRPGs That Deserve A Reboot

JRPGs offer some incredibly vast worlds for people to explore. Sometimes daunting in the worlds one can travel to within their gaming devices, there have been plenty of fantastic franchises that came out of the genre. Licenses like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy tend to define the genre, but JRPGs can also be as distinctly different as, say, the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Over the years, there have also been plenty of games and franchises that have been left to collect dust.

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There are countless reasons developers and publishers might move past a license, but there are just as many justifications for bringing back these same properties. For one, they typically do have a fanbase, and even if these games are not particularly well-known, they are arguably less of a risk than new IPs. Here are some JRPG franchises that deserve to make a comeback.

Updated April 12, 2022 by Mark Sammut: JRPGS might be a niche genre but it has also proven to be timeless. Something would be amiss with the world if a new Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Shin Megami Tensei game were not in development, and these properties are nearly always in the public discourse. However, for every Persona and Tales of franchise, there are properly 20 JRPG licenses that have been forgotten to time, destined to only be remembered by a handful of people who grew up with a PS2, PSP, or SNES. While some of these games are better left in the past, there are plenty of JRPG franchises that deserve reboots.

12 Shadow Hearts

Games Release Year (JP)
Koudelka 1999
Shadow Hearts 2001
Shadow Hearts: Covenant 2004
Shadow Hearts: From the New World 2005

Starting with Koudelka for the Playstation, Shadow Hearts is a JRPG franchise that specializes in horror. Dealing with elements of the occult, players were treated to a unique battle system on top of a novel setting.

With only four games within the series, Shadow Hearts has been dormant since 2005. That being said, with a game series like Shadow Hearts, it would be fun to see a return once again to this setting.

11 Grandia

Games Release Year (JP)
Grandia 1997
Grandia 2 2000
Grandia Xtreme 2002
Grandia 3 2005

Grandia started back in 1997. A JRPG franchise created by Game Arts, this series was pretty simple but it was also done in a way that ensured the titles were full of fun.

For the most part, one of the general themes behind the Grandia franchise is the observation of the Hero's journey. The games were also known for their great world-building as well as a solid combat system. An HD collection was released in 2019, so hopefully, a proper reboot/sequel is released in the future.

10 Baten Kaitos

Games Release Year (JP)
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean 2003
Baten Kaitos Origins 2006

Producing two Nintendo GameCube releases, Baten Kaitos instantly differentiated itself from other JRPGs by introducing mechanics revolving around cards called Magnus. These cards are not just central to the turn-based combat, where the party members’ actions are determined by the random cards that they pull from a deck, but also the story’s mythos. The franchise comes with deep lore that still has room to grow.

Even though their combat systems can be an acquired taste, both of the Baten Kaitos games are among the best RPGs on the GameCube, and they are also among the most ambitious. A third entry was meant to be in development, but it never came to fruition, and the property has been largely forgotten since 2006. Although not one of the most well-known JRPG series ever, Baten Kaitos is enough of a name to give a reboot a leg up.

9 Wild Arms

Games Release Year (JP)
Wild Arms/Alter Code: F (Remake) 1996/2003
Wild Arms 2 1999
Wild Arms 3 2002
Wild Arms 4 2005
Wild Arms 5 2006
Wild Arms XF 2007
Wild Arms: Million Memories 2018

Essentially a JRPG with heavy influence from the Wild West, the Wild Arms series is often considered a cult classic for many people. The license is also a media franchise as it also has spawned manga and toys.

A reoccurring motif that appears throughout the series was the ARMS and how it plays with the environmentalist themes of the game. With the ARMS themselves acting as representatives of a more destructive age. While a mobile game was released in 2018, the last console entry was the PSP's Wild Arms XF. That debuted all the way back in 2007 in Japan (and in 2008 in North America).

8 Golden Sun

Games Release Year (JP)
Golden Sun 2001
Golden Sun: The Lost Age 2002
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn 2010

Golden Sun is pretty famous among Nintendo fans. Originating from the Gameboy Advance, the Golden Sun franchise is known for simplistic plots that are great for portable devices.

The franchise became good enough that the main character appeared as an assist trophy for Super Smash Bros. That being said, the games have laid dormant since 2010. Considering the fanbase is still clamoring for another entry, a reboot of the series might be the best way to go.

7 Growlanser

Games Release Year (JP)
Growlanser/Growlanser (PSP Remake) 1999/2009
Growlanser 2: The Sense of Justice 2001
Growlanser 3: The Dual Darkness 2001
Growlanser 4: Wayfarer of Time/ Over Reloaded (PSP Version) 2003/2011
Growlanser 5: Generations / Growlanser: Heritage of War 2006
Growlanser 6: Precarious World 2007

This tactical JRPG series produced a lot of games in a relatively short time span, and most of them were pretty good additions to the genre. However, as Growlanser went on, some of its sequels started to remain in Japan and, eventually, the franchise just faded away and stopped producing new content. With so many titles to its name, Growlanser can seem overwhelming to jump into; however, the games are largely stand-alone, so newcomers can just pick the one that is most convenient to them.

While by no means terrible, the Growlanser games are quite dated, and they have not aged as well as some other JRPGs released during the 2000s. A reboot would give the franchise a fresh start, although a remaster of the Growlanser Generations compilation would also work. If Langrisser can make something of a comeback, then there is no reason Growlanser cannot do the same.

6 Breath Of Fire

Games Release Year (JP)
Breath of Fire 1993
Breath of Fire 2 1994
Breath of Fire 3 1997
Breath of Fire 4 2000
Breath of Fire 5 2002
​​​​​​​Breath of Fire 6 2016

The Breath Of Fire series is one of the premier franchises by Capcom. Similar to the Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest games, each Breath Of Fire game has its own story with some even having a completely different setting. The unique thing about these games though is the dragon mechanics as well as the great characters that appear within each entry.

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Unfortunately, the franchise has not produced a proper JRPG entry since 2002's Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter. The latest entry, the poorly received Breath Of Fire 6, was a multiplayer mobile game littered with microtransactions.

5 Suikoden

Games Release Year (JP)
Suikoden 1995
Suikoden 2 1998
Suikoden 3 2002
Suikoden 4 2004
Suikoden 5 2006

If Breath Of Fire was the Capcom RPG, then Suikoden would be considered the JRPG for Konami. Totaling up to five mainline entries along with a bunch of spin-offs, Suikoden was particularly known for having war and conflict as the central theme.

By collecting over 100 characters, players get to experience a story unlike any other. In fact, to this day, Suikoden 2 is held in high esteem by JRPG fans. Nonetheless, not much has been heard since 2012, however, a spiritual successor called Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is currently in development.

4 The Legend Of Dragoon

Games Release Year (JP)
The Legend of Dragoon 1999

The Legend of Dragoon was created by SCE Japan Studio. Being a 3D JRPG, it was designed by the developers with player immersion in mind. Whether that's from its realistic world or cinematic presentation, Legend of Dragoon wowed its cult audience with its gameplay and world.

This JRPG offers a unique blend between classic turn-based gameplay and cinematic real-time commands. A reboot really needs to happen with a game with this much potential.

3 Dark Cloud

Games Release Year (JP)
Dark Cloud 2000
Dark Chronicle 2002

Dark Cloud is the JRPG created by Level-5 studios, the same company responsible for games like Dragon Quest VIII and Ni No Kuni. Dark Cloud is an action JRPG that stars Toan who was given the stone of Atlamillia, allowing him the power to rebuild lands that have been destroyed.

The series currently has only two games, including the fantastic Dark Chronicle, and the studio is now focused on its other JRPG titles. It would be fun to journey back into the world of Dark Cloud once more.

2 Phantasy Star

Games Release Year (JP)
Phantasy Star 1987
Phantasy Star 2 1989
Phantasy Star 3: Generations of Doom 1990
Phantasy Star Adventure 1992
Phantasy Star Gaiden 1992
Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millennium 1993

Phantasy Star might be a controversial choice, as the franchise is currently pretty well-known thanks to the MMORPG scene. However, at the cost of the constant attention on Phantasy Star Online 2, some might forget that the series was originally a traditional JRPG series.

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With Phantasy Star, the last game in the series came out all the way back in the '90s. Phantasy Star was one of the original pioneers in the industry, so having the game series return to its roots once more would be honestly quite fantastic.

1 Skies Of Arcadia

Games Release Year (JP)
​​​​​​​Skies of Arcadia 2000

Originally coming out for the Gamecube, Skies Of Arcadia follows Vaan and the sky pirates as they go up against the Valuan Empire that is seeking to revive ancient weapons capable of destroying worlds.

Although this gem is fairly recent compared to some entries on the list, the game's unique setting, exploration, and gameplay make it deserving of a remaster of some kind. That or a complete reboot that holds all the best parts of Skies Of Arcadia.

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