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From ‘Blade Runner’ To ‘Bebop’, 2022 Is Full Of Licensed RPGs

5 Minute Read
Jan 18 2022

With games like Avatar Legends and a Blade Runner RPG in the works, 2022 is going to be full of familiar worlds.

Copyright law in the United States is a labyrinthine mess from which there is no escaping. All so that the Mouse can eventually own everything. It’s only a matter of time before two media companies own everything. In the meantime, everyone is scrambling to expand their fictional universes in as many directions as possible.

Nowhere is far enough. That battlestation has hyperdrives.

Back in the early days of the internet, this was called Transmedia. Nowadays it’s just business as usual. Every fictional series that does even remotely well gets a series of graphic novels, animated reboot, or live-action reimagining. And that includes roleplaying games.

Now, licensed settings are nothing new to RPGs. RPGs and existing fictional worlds have come together many times–and often with astounding results. West End Games’ Star Wars RPG carved out the expanded universe as we know it. Everything from Twi’leks to Bacta owes its existence to the original RPG books. Even today these books are used in current projects.

And then of course there’s the Indiana Jones RPG. It was so bad that remaining copies were destroyed and a scrap of it remains as the “most prestigious” award in RPG. Until they lost it.

The point is licensed works and RPGs can be a mixed bag. And with 2022 full of them, here’s what we have to look forward to.

Avatar Legends

Avatar Legends broke records for successful tabletop RPGs on Kickstarter. They came within spitting distance of Critical Role’s animated series Kickstarter. The RPG based on Avatar: the Last Airbender and Avatar: Legend of Korra will take you inside a world of four nations, depending on when you play. Using the Powered by the Apocalypse framework, the Avatar RPG promises action, animal companions, and the destruction of every cabbage cart you come across.


Magpie Games is excited to bring you Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game, the officially licensed tabletop roleplaying game set in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra! With over a decade of roleplaying design and publishing expertise, Magpie Games has created an innovative system that brings the world of the Four Nations to life in a tabletop roleplaying game that captures the heart of the Avatar franchise: balance, heroism, and the power of friendship.

Blade Runner the RPG

This is the BLADE RUNNER roleplaying game – a neon-noir wonderland that’ll take your breath away. One way or another. An evocative world of conflicts and contrasts that dares to ask the hard questions and investigate the powers of empathy, the poisons of fear, and the burdens of being human during inhumane times. An iconic and unforgiving playground of endless possibilities that picks you up, slaps you in the face, and tells you to wake up.

Time to live. Or time to die.

Then there’s the Blade Runner RPG, which builds on Free League’s Year Zero Engine. You can see that system in action in games like Tales from the Loop or Alien. It looks promising for the setting, though the devil is in the details. Especially in a setting so nuanced and flavorful. No one’s been able to agree on how get it right in seven different versions of the original movie.


The official Blade Runner RPG will propel players into the streets of Los Angeles as Blade Runners with unique specialties, personalities – and memories.

The core game and its line of expansions will push the boundaries of investigative gameplay in tabletop RPGs, giving players a range of tools to solve an array of cases far beyond retiring Replicants. Beyond the core casework, the RPG will both in setting and mechanics showcase key themes of Blade Runner – sci-fi action, corporate intrigue, existential character drama, and moral conflict – that challenge players to question your friends, empathize with your enemies, and explore the poisons and perseverance of hope and humanity during such inhumane times.

Cowboy Bebop the RPG

Hey remember when Cowboy Bebop’s live action anime adaptation was a thing? The Cowboy Bebop RPG has little enough to do with that. The game uses a new engine to give players control of bounty hunters in a space full of jazz, adventures, and weird Italian clown-villains.

Mana Project Studio and Don’t Panic Games, in partnership with Sunrise, are proud to introduce to you Cowboy Bebop, the Role-Playing Game: the official tabletop role-playing game of one of the most beloved anime of all time!

In Cowboy Bebop: The Role-Playing Game, players will live through their own stories of bounty hunters in space, in a jazzy universe blending Western, Film Noir, and buddy cop movies, accompanied by one of the best anime soundtracks in history.


The game will be designed by the award-winning Italian authors Fumble, who won the prestigious Italian Game of the Year award in 2020 for Not The End. It will reach Kickstarter in 2022 and hopefully hit shelves by the end of the year. Its initial launch will feature English, French and Italian languages.

Dark Souls the RPG

Not many details about this one, other than that it exists and is en route for 2022. You can sign up for a mailing list to learn more. All we really know is that the trailer features the full set of polyhedral gaming dice, including a bonfire-themed d20.

“Roll your dice beside the bonfire and link the flame. Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game is coming. If you, too, would like to learn what lies in the heart of Lothric, add your name to the ranks of the Unkindled!

Lupin the 3rd

Yet another classic anime with an RPG coming up. Originally intended for the 50th anniversary, there’s been little about the RPG other than a blurb about its engine:

The game will be published under Magnetic’s gaming imprint, Magnetic Press Play, and will utilize their unique “Magnetic Variant (D6MV)” ruleset built upon the classic D6 System made popular by West End Games with their original Star Wars and Ghostbusters RPGs.


And a release in 2022.

And that’s just scratching the surface!

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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