If you're a fan of massive RPGs, then 2023 should have you hyped beyond belief. Not only are we getting Skyrim in space, we're finally getting a new Final Fantasy game. (We've been waiting ages for this one.) We here at TheGamer are particularly fond of the kind of experiences a good RPG can give us, which is why next year has many of us excited.
There's nothing we enjoy more than being able to immerse ourselves for weeks on end in a carefully crafted world, building up our characters and making impactful choices that will shake the narrative up. Read on to discover what upcoming RPGs of 2023 we're most anticipating.
Even if RPGs are deeply rooted in the fantasy genre, I’ve always preferred a sci-fi environment for these titles. I will take Mass Effect over Dragon Age any day of the week. As a result, when I look at next year and think about what RPG I’m going to sink my entire life into, the answer is quite clearly Starfield. If Bethesda pulls it off, Starfield is set to be the Skyrim of this generation. By which I mean it will stay relevant far past its initial release, and we’ll have a gazillion ports of it as time goes on.
Snarkiness aside, I’m here for it. I want Starfield to succeed. I want to get lost in a universe of danger-filled planets and zany, star-crossed adventures. I want to immerse myself in a new sci-fi setting, where the far reaches of space are my horizon. But mostly, I just want to have Starfield be the game that consumes me body and soul come 2023. Is that too much to ask?
Dragon Age: Dreadwolf
Are we still optimistic that Dragon Age: Dreadwolf will launch next year?
I mean, we can only hope, right?
Sure, why not. Let’s live in hope. Despite the ups and downs of its development, I’m still very much looking forward to Dreadwolf, and I’m hopeful for a worthy successor to everything that Inquisition delivered. Well, not everything. Multiplayer got dropped — good riddance.
I’m hoping for another big open world to explore, an interesting new protagonist, a really good story, and of course, to be able to slap old baldy Solas around the head and knock some sense into him. Give me Tevinter and plenty of returning characters, throw in some new faces, make it both hilarious and heartbreaking, and I’ll be happy. There are a lot of high expectations on Dreadwolf’s shoulders, so in all honesty, if it gets bumped from next year to ensure it’s decent, I wouldn’t complain.
Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora
While technically Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is on track for a 2023 release, I am less optimistic than Meg and expect it to be delayed. It’s one of the few ‘pure’ RPGs I love, so even though I don’t think the Avatar game needs RPG elements, the fact it will have them means I am forced to select it as my most anticipated RPG. It’s a funny old world. I recently rewatched Avatar, seeing it in 3D and at the cinema for the first time, and found it to be far better than I remembered it. I also found that literally everyone was wrong about it.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
I’ve written about this one before, and a part of me wants to acknowledge one of the other wonderful RPGs releasing next year. Like Sea of Stars, which looks incredible, or Baldur’s Gate 3, which is almost certainly going to be an instant classic.
But Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a special project. It is being helmed by the key players from the original Suikoden team. And, unlike so many of the games that serve as spiritual successors, it is visually reminiscent of Suikoden 2, while looking better than it in almost every way. It has embraced the HD-2D style and is quite possibly doing it better than any other game that has used this aesthetic.
We have seen a lot of Eiyuden at this point, and everything looks incredible! The character designs? Lovely and classic—these designs largely eschew the worst qualities that have poisoned modern JRPG character designs. The compositions? The tracks we have heard sound incredible. Lastly, the battle engine looks snappy, the sprite work is expressive and detailed, and the script is being handled by Murayama himself. He’s the guy that just so happens to have been responsible for the best-written Suikoden games.
Honestly, I believe in this product in a way that is hard to express. I think this may truly end up being one of the best JRPGs ever made. Mark your calendars, RPG fans, Eiyuden is going to show us the way!
Final Fantasy 16
David W. Duffy
Maybe it's just me, but FF16 seems like a make-or-break entry in the main numbered series. Between the continued success of FF14 and the hype around FF7 Remake/Rebirth, there's every chance that FF16 could get lost in the mire if Square Enix doesn't manage it well. There doesn't appear to be the excitement for a new Final Fantasy as there once was, and FF16 not being well received could just force Square Enix into a cycle of remaking their older titles (which they know would sell bucket loads) for an extended period, instead of driving the series forward.
Giving Naoki Yoshida the reins could be an inspired choice, so it's going to be fascinating to see how it turns out. I know what to expect with FF7 Rebirth, but I much prefer the intrigue around an unknown quantity.
Final Fantasy 16
First, some honorable mentions. For brevity’s sake, I’ll stick with stuff I suspect will be out by mid-2024. Starfield and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes are my big 2023-confirmed runners-up. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and Dragon Age: Dreadwolf are coming a little later on. All shall be played. But this isn’t about them. This is about a next-summer superstar that I am convinced will be an absolute banger bursting with that most delicious blend of thoughtful sociopolitical commentary and jaw-dropping audiovisual spectacle.
I have faith that Square Enix Creative Business Unit 3, helmed by Final Fantasy 14 legend Naoki Yoshida and such industry icons as Hiroshi Takai, Kazutoyo Maehiro, and Hiroshi Minagawa, is the perfect team for a fresh take on Final Fantasy that nevertheless gets to the heart of what put the series on the industry radar so many years ago.
Sea Of Stars
The Messenger is one of my favorite indie games of all time, so when Sabotage Studio announced Sea of Stars, I was immediately on board. Of course, it also helps that the game looks stunning and is inspired by some of the best classic RPGs out there, with Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda even having worked on the soundtrack.
From Sabotage’s previous work, I’m expecting witty dialogue, lovable characters, and a scintillating story, but what interests me more is how it will provide its own unique spin on classic turn-based gameplay. Whatever the case, I’m confident that Sabotage will not only be able to create a fantastic game inspired by RPG greats, but make one that can sit proudly beside them.
I’ve been following the development of this Pokemon-like RPG for a few years now, and finally got to jump into the demo during Steam Next Fest. It’s a game designed specifically for me: the region is named after the place I grew up, the developers are based in Brighton, where I lived when the game was announced, and it’s a bloody pixel art Pokemon-like based on collecting monsters in cassette tapes. It’s got some new mechanics as well – catching is different and, dare I say, improved, from Pokemon – and I can’t wait to get stuck into the full game.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Souls-likes are a dime a dozen. For every Nioh, we have ten Lords of the Fallen, with none really managing to capture the charm and feel of a FromSoft game. It’s like getting Aldi coke — yeah, it’s coke, but it’s a bit naff. Team Ninja is different. It’s the only studio to reach the same levels as Dark Souls and Bloodborne with its games, and I’ve no doubt Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will do the same. And as someone who has put far too many hours into Souls and Nioh, I’m excited to spend hundreds doing the same here.
There are simply too many aspects of this game that check off my list of my favorite game components. Aside from a personal love for the sci-fi genre in general, especially when it sits somewhere between realistic and space fantasy, Bethesda has an established record of creating narrative environments that balance perfectly between the serious and the silly. There are faction wars and political struggles, but there’s also a giant snake cult addicted to warp jumping and little office mugs that say “liquid happens” on them.
Throw in plenty of landscapes to explore, give me a base and a ship to customize how I see fit, and I can imagine myself spending more time than I should deep in the space-paint, as they probably say. Bethesda knows what I like, and I’m fairly confident they will deliver, planet express style.
I know. I know. I get it. I understand. This is forever going to be the “I’m talking to a cuff” game, and I’m fully expecting the writing to not get much better in the full game. And yet there’s something about Forspoken that appeals to me.
Whether it’s the whole Isekai angle, the fantasy setting, the high degree of mobility, or the action-based combat, I’m not sure, but I find myself spending more time thinking about this game than anything with a trailer that infamous really deserves. Is this a bit of a backhanded compliment? Probably, but I do get major Dragon’s Dogma vibes from it being a chore to listen to but a lot of fun to play.
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