AFK Journey: Release date, beta and everything else we know so far

AFK Journey: Release date, beta and everything else we know so far

While it’s been a pretty depressing January for game closures so far, don’t let that distract you from some amazing upcoming releases! Chief amongst them is Lilith Games’ hotly anticipated spiritual successor to the hit game AFK Arena, AFK Journey.

Here’s everything we know so far about AFK Journey, as well as its reported upcoming release date…

What is AFK Journey?

AFK Journey is the spiritual sequel to Lilith Games’ AFK Arena. This hugely popular tactical RPG has been a mainstay of the idle sub-genre and has also seen several high-profile collaborations with famous franchises like The Witcher.

Like its predecessor, AFK Journey is an idle RPG where players recruit characters and journey around the world, but have characters battle it out automatically when or if they encounter enemies. However, players can still give specific orders and activate each character’s particular abilities to create a sense of tactical depth and synergise with each particular set of heroes you might recruit.

The AFK part comes in as the appeal of idle games such as these is that you not only receive rewards when actively playing but also when you’re away. Assuming it functions the same as in AFK Arena, when players log in - depending on the time that they’ve been away - they’ll be able to claim a chest full of goodies to make up for lost time.

Meanwhile, unlike its predecessor, AFK Journey features a full-fledged 2.5D world to explore. Although it will take place in the same world of Esperia, and feature some returning heroes for players to recruit, as far as we know it will be its own separate story.

The World

If you’re familiar with the standard JRPG-esque format, you likely know what to expect with AFK Journey. You take on the role of amnesiac mage Merlin in the world of Esperia, one which in ages past saw heroes gifted magical swords by the Gods to combat evil. After having lost your memories, you’re tasked to recover your powers and fight a new evil plaguing the world by recruiting various heroes fit for the task.

Players will interact with, and recruit characters from, numerous factions in the world of Esperia. This includes the noble and goody-two-shoes Lightbearers, the tree-hugging Wilders, the marauding Maulers and Graveborn; who aren’t ‘undead’ but just stuck between life and death.

Players will also get to explore a variety of locations ranging from bustling towns to wild forests and open desert terrain. The official AFK Arena Twitter account offers tantalising glimpses of what these locations look like, as well as short lore drops about their history.

Yes, it’s not exactly Shakespeare, but if not in essence then in execution AFK Journey looks to be an intriguing plot. We’ve already gotten hints of a wider conflict, and the memorable characters that are set to return - as well as a whole new roster to boot - are sure to see just as many fans as AFK Arena’s did. Boasting a more strange and esoteric world with a unique cel-shaded art style that promises to immerse players in this fantastical fight against evil, AFK Journey looks to be a major step up in what Lilith Games can accomplish in their AFK universe.

Bullet Timing

As revealed in showcases, the gameplay of AFK Journey has evolved not just in perspective but also in mechanics as Lilith Games has added a new concept called ‘bullet timing’. Similar to the film technique of the same name, or gameplay elements such as V.A.T.S. in the latter Fallout games, Bullet Timing seems to allow for manual control of characters as time slows - but does not halt completely - letting you precisely time abilities to interrupt enemies or synergize with your other characters.

Release date

Sadly, if you were hoping to get involved in the beta voyage the registration period for it has now closed, as of the 24th of January 2024. However, given that this next beta runs through the end of February we’ve already got a rough date for the 27th of March, that is, without any delays to the release date.

In the same gameplay showcases that mechanics like bullet timing were revealed in, Lilith Games also said that they have a long-term plan to add new story-based content every four months to expand the world. This would indicate that they’re hoping not just to match but exceed the success of AFK Arena and have this game be the fully-formed realisation of what they first accomplished with that game.

And that’s everything we know about AFK Journey so far! Excited to know more? You can check out their official ‘X’ page here, as well as their official website for more glimpses of the game. And while you’re at it, why not check out our list of the finest idle games on Android to tide you over until release?

Iwan Morris
Iwan Morris
Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the Pocketgamer.com editorial team in November of 2023.