RPG fans ate very well during the Xbox Games Showcase, but do we expect any less from Xbox at this point?

Image of Fable, Avowed, and Dragon Age: The Veilguard characters.
A lot of legendary heroes residing under one roof. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Role-playing games tend to be some of the most wildly ambitious, technically impressive, absurdly in-depth, and ridiculously addictive titles you can play, giving plenty of great reasons for the genre's popularity. There are always enterprising developers seeking to bring something unique to the category, and it seems RPG fans are never short of a new gem to immerse themselves in.

Following the conclusion of the Xbox Games Showcase 2024, that has honestly never felt more true. I already have over a dozen critically-acclaimed RPGs in my backlog (on top of the many RPGs I've already completed), but a lot more are about to join the list. The latest flagship Xbox event may have been packed with well over two dozen games, but a third of those titles can be categorized under the RPG label. It was a mighty meal for the role-playing gamers, but it's also what I've come to expect from Xbox.

Whether you're simply looking for new RPGs to catch your fantasy or you're curious why RPGs feel so at home on Xbox, we have a lot to discuss.

Filling a show with upcoming RPG gems

The latest look at Avowed shows how far the game has come, and I'm ecstatic. (Image credit: Obsidian)

During the biggest Xbox show of the year, the gaming platform showed off a combined 30 video games from all different genres, publishers, studios, and more. 17 came from Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks, and Activision Blizzard, 18 are coming to Xbox Game Pass day and date, and all are arriving on Windows PC. No matter how you slice it, the Xbox Games Showcase featured an impressive lineup that promises great things for Xbox's future.

However, I count up to 11 of those 30 games as RPGs (I say "up to," because the definition of what makes an RPG changes from person to person). Some are upcoming first-party Xbox games, others are updates to existing RPGs, and more still are brand-new announcements we've never seen before. It's an eclectic variety of tantalizing games that helped make this showcase so memorable, and I find it genuinely fascinating to analyze.

You have your more traditional RPGs like Avowed, Fable, and Dragon Age: The Veilguard, action-RPGs like Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, massive multiplayer online RPGs like World of Warcraft and The Elder Scrolls Online, updates to existing RPGs like Diablo IV: Vessel of Hatred, Starfield: Shattered Space, and Fallout 76: Skyline Valley, and even turn-based RPGs like the newly revealed Expedition 33. You could also make an argument that Assassin's Creed Shadows counts as well, since it seems to draw on RPG elements and mechanics like some other recent AC entries.

So far, it seems like Playground is nailing the presentation and atmosphere of Fable. (Image credit: Microsoft)

That's a lot of games that let you customize and grow a character, insert yourself into a vibrant universe, and have an impact on an expansive, dynamic world. It's even more impressive when you consider that all of these games were squeezed into the same two-hour show that millions have watched. Will all of these games have the same effect on the industry or compare directly to legendary releases like Baldur's Gate 3 or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? Not likely, but every single one looked incredible in their own right.

For me, Avowed, Fable, Dragon Age: The Veilguard, Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, Assassin's Creed Shadows, and both the Diablo IV and Starfield expansions are all must-plays for me. No matter that I still need to play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, all three original Dragon Age games, and Fable 2 and 3 (I have a lot of games to play, I know). Ultimately, though, the Xbox Games Showcase was exactly what it says in the title: a showcase of Xbox games.

Amassing RPG legends under one roof

World of Warcraft's next major expansion was revealed during the Xbox showcase... Because WoW is now an Xbox game. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The Xbox family is now comprised of three main groups: Xbox Game Studios, ZeniMax Media, and Activision Blizzard. All three branches bring more RPG magic to the Xbox ecosystem, and there's a ton of legacy here. Under XGS you have studios like Obsidian Entertainment (known for The Outer Worlds, Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, and Avowed), inXile Entertainment (known for Wasteland and Clockwork Revolution), and even Playground Games, which is going beyond its limitations to breathe fresh life into the dormant Fable franchise.

At ZeniMax, you have Bethesda Game Studios (known for Fallout and The Elder Scrolls) and ZeniMax Online Studios (known for The Elder Scrolls Online). Now, Activision Blizzard also rests under the Xbox roof, adding RPG legends Blizzard Entertainment to the mix with World of Warcraft, Diablo, and plenty of other dormant series. That's a lot of RPG talent congregating in one ecosystem. When you consider the sheer number of RPG-centric teams working at Xbox, it's no wonder that the company's shows so often prominently feature role-playing games.

As far as third-party support is concerned, Xbox rarely misses a big RPG launch and is even making up for its previous weaknesses regarding Japanese or Japanese-inspired role-playing games. Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Bandai Namco, Capcom, and many other publishers consistently support the Xbox platforms, while legendary RPG franchises like Final Fantasy, Octopath Traveler, Tales of, Yakuza, Persona, and Mana are slowly becoming more common on Xbox. Combined with backward compatibility all the way back to the original Xbox days giving you access to original Knights of the Old Republic, Fable, Dragon Age, and more classic RPGs, and it's clear why Xbox is one of the best places for RPG fans.

One of the best ways to enjoy the RPG genre

Dragon Age fans are finally getting the sequel they've been waiting years for. (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

I love role-playing games. I love immersing myself in a big, fantastical world filled with an impossible level of detail. I love carving my own path, taking my time to explore every nook and cranny, and helping every person I come across. I love building in power, taking on increasingly challenging foes until the inevitable climax. RPGs are some of the most "gamey" video games, and they hold a special place in my heart.

At the beginning of 2024, I even aspired to complete one RPG every month for the entire year. I had to gently adjust my ambitions, however, once I was reminded how incredibly long many RPGs tend to be. Still, as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of RPGs I haven't yet played that I plan to finish in 2024, like Dragon Age: Origins (and the following two Dragon Age games, if I can), Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Fable 2 and 3, and Cyberpunk 2077.

I can also play all of these games on my Xbox Series X, and many of the RPGs I've enjoyed in the past or are currently in my backlog are also included in the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. That's without even considering the huge number of RPGs Xbox showed off at its latest event, many of which are also landing on Game Pass on day one. Even when it comes to games that are still missing on Xbox, like Final Fantasy XVI, I truly believe it's not outside the realm of possibility to see that change in the future.

Seriously, how many of the best Xbox games are RPGs? A lot, and I suspect that list is about to grow even larger. The Xbox Games Showcase gave us a glimpse at plenty of exciting, interesting, and unique role-playing experiences coming to Xbox, Windows PC, and Game Pass, and I'm very excited to be able to play some of them.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.