Note: Although this guide is supposed to be only composed of games that will be released on 2016, I will start it by mentioning one that is coming this month.
Platforms: PS4, PSVITA
Western release date: December 17, 2015
It still baffles me that not many rpg fans are aware about this game, especially considering that this is in fact the successor of the Valkyrie Profile series, sharing the same gameplay elements and featuring a similar plot involving life beyond death. So far the gameplay footage that the developers have released into the public shows that the game will be a side-scroller, but the fights within the game will be turn based and the story goes around the main character dying and instantly appearing on a strange alternate dimension. What is different between Valkyrie Profile and Exist Archive is that the side-scrolling exploration on this one has a lot more interaction and will probably have backtracking and puzzle elements similar to a "metroidvania" game, which is something that will add a lot to the overall game. This one is coming up soon, so prepare those wallets.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
Western release date: TBA 2016
This one began as a simple tease by Square Enix where they published an enigmatic website sometime ago, but finally after a long stream of trollings and false hopes, a new Star Ocean game was actually announced. If you look at the gameplay video, you can see that the game will take sort of an action rpg-ish style, but at the same time it keeps all of the original goodies that we are accustomed to when we talk about a Star Ocean game. The game has no specific release date for the west, but considering that the Japanese version of the game will be released on February, I'd say we will probably be playing Star Ocean by Summer.
Western release date: TBA 2016
The first Nier game was released in 2010 and while it may have passed unnoticed for some, it gained quite a following and had a good reception between those who played it. Now Square Enix joins up with Platinum Games and they are going full force with it's sequel, side named "Automata". This new Nier game seems to be featuring the same action rpg mechanics and open world of the last one, but this time it looks like the game will be a lot more focused and solid. It is also worth noting that this time, the game will jump a little into the futuristic side where the main character has to deal with all sorts of robots and machines in an earth that has been invaded by a mysterious race of mechanical based life forms. No official release date has been announced, but we could try to guess and say this one could be on shelves by late Summer or early Autumn 2016 although we could be surprised with an earlier date as new announcements are made.
Bravely Second: End Layer
Western release date: Spring 2016
Called by some "the Final Fantasy of these modern times", Bravely Default is known to be the game that brought Square back to the JRPG scene and it's sequel will come to the west in 2016 to the delight of all jrpg fans in this part of the planet. The game promises to have the same goodies that the first one delivered, but a lot of new and awesome things to add up. I expect another epic story and a bigger world than the previous game so this is definitely the one Japanese rpg to have on a handheld console, mostly because real classic JRPG experiences are kind of scarce on that type of platform.
Western release date: Summer 2016
This one needs no introduction to any JRPG fan and it will (hopefully) be released on Summer 2016. Last thing we knew was that the game had been delayed (again) and while we got a few nice trailers, most of us felt like this was the jrpg to have this Christmas. From what we have seen from the game since it was first announced, it will feature the same mood and atmosphere that the Persona games are famous for, but it will also have an added layer of exploration where you will have to actually run and even jump on things in order to get ahead in certain areas. This one seems pretty strong, so I'm sure that all this waiting game was actually worth it.
Wrapping things up
Well ppl, there you have 5 Japanese RPGs to keep you busy in 2016. It is important to state that this is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other games like these coming in 2016 and if I had kept going, the list would had been bigger than planet Mira on Xenoblade Chronicles X, so yeah that's quite big. If you want to see a full list of the JRPG games coming on 2016 you can check it HERE. I know I've been ranting a lot about the lack of this genre in the past, but I think this is it. 2016 is the year of the JRPG and the future looks awesome!