RPG Site's Most Anticipated RPGs of 2023
With 2022 behind us, we at RPG Site are peeking ahead at what's to come in 2023, and as fans of the role-playing genre, there's quite a bit to look forward to. We wanted to highlight a handful of games we are especially eager to see.
We also asked for input with a public Twitter poll to see what games our readers were looking forward to 2023. What follows below is our staff-selected games, and you can also check the results from the Reader Poll for both Favorite RPG of 2022 and Most Anticipated RPG of 2023.
Our staff criteria for the Most Anticipated selection is fairly loose. In our staff vote, we picked upcoming RPGs that either interested us due to sheer potential, a good pedigree, and/or titles that find themselves with intriguing release situations regarding its development. This year in our internal polling, we saw a breadth of titles getting votes rather than a few titles running away with the tally. So, we have selected a total of 13 RPGs that we are looking forward to.
Note that the list is unranked, with the exception of our overall winner.
Need a refresher on what RPGs are set to release in 2023? We have a list you can check out right here.
RPG Site Staff Picks - Most Anticipated 2023 RPGs
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
With a surprise reveal at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase back in June, the latest title from the team that brought us Nioh is just a few months away. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is not a reskinned Nioh game set in the Three Kingdoms; instead, it takes the responsive action RPG combat in a new direction that focuses on parrying incoming strikes and playing aggressively.
It’s akin to how Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice plays differently to the Dark Souls games. They may share a similar core foundation, but their execution and design philosophies are completely different in action. Many people, including a few of us, got a chance to get to play Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty thanks to the limited-time demo out of Tokyo Game Show. Similar to the previous Nioh games, the development team has taken feedback from the responses to that initial demo to enhance the final game. A lot of us are eager to see if the Nioh team can please action RPG fans yet again this March with the release of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
Sea of Stars
Lined up next to most of the other titles on this list, Sea of Stars is an odd-one-out in a lot of ways. A kickstarted game from an indie studio not known for making RPGs next to the likes of huge publishers Nintendo and Square Enix alongside pedigreed IPs. However, everything we've seen since we first got a first look at the 16-bit stylings of Sabotage Studio's love letter to games like Chrono Trigger looks absolutely immaculate, and with music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda to boot.
In short, Sea of Stars absolutely belongs on our most anticipated list. It is built in the image of the sorts of games that got us to love RPGs in the first place while being something wholly new and unique as well. While looking forward to sequels and spiritual successors is all well and good -- there's plenty of that on this list as well -- there's always something extra special for something completely fresh.
Octopath Traveler II
As the de-facto initiator of "HD-2D" in concept, we have a lot to be thankful to 2018's Octopath Traveler. Soon after release, minds immediately started thinking about what if we saw games like Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger made in that fashion (at the time, who would have guessed Live A Live of all things?). However, Octopath Traveler was not without its faults. The fact that the 8 stories didn't really interconnect in any meaningful way seemed like a missed opportunity, and the lack of significant optional content outside of the very ending was a disappointment. The very idea of an Octopath Traveler II seemed like a sure way to hit on some of these initial misses with a worth successor, and we are only a couple of months away from knowing to what extent a sequel could improve on that foundation.
We've already seen in the early marketing for the game a few ways in which this sequel plans to expand on the scope of the original. The inclusion of a day/night system, latent powers, and multiple path actions should help add a little bit of depth to the basic framework, and the Crossed Paths idea should help the 8 character stories feel a little bit more interconnected. Add in the return of breakout composer Yasunori Nishiki means we have a lot of reasons to be excited for Octopath Traveler II in February.
Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Despite the departure of former studio head Toshihiro Nagoshi and former producer Daisuke Saoto in October 2021, RGG Studio had a very strong year of bombshell announcements in 2022 under the new leadership of Masayoshi Yokoyama. In fact, they had so many announcements to share that they carved out their own event with RGG Summit 2022 back in September.
One of the games announced earlier that day at a Sony State of Play was a remake for Like A Dragon: Ishin! This entry in the Like A Dragon series (RGG Studio began sunsetting the Yakuza name for the series in 2022 too) originally released 2014 only in Japan. People take control of Sakamoto Ryoma, a samurai who uses a katana, gun, and his fists to take care of any opposition in his way.
Many players who played the original release of Like A Dragon: Ishin! consider it one of the best games in the franchise and for the first time, it will be getting an official western release worldwide simultaneously with the remake this February. It’s being built from the ground-up with Unreal Engine 4 this time around, along with some other enhancements to make this another stellar game in the Yaku- Like A Dragon series.
The name "Diablo" may not have the same reverence in some circles as it once had long ago, but a new mainline entry in this classic fantasy-action RPG series is obviously worth a shout-out here. Whether it's grabbing a friend and a beer and going to town against the spawns of Hell in a casual romp or kitting out your character with the perfect new gear, we could easily see ourselves dropping several hours again without a second thought.
Regardless of the series pedigree, Diablo IV is still admittedly a bit of a black box in terms of what to expect -- and has gone through a bit of development chaos. We saw a change in Game Director back in 2021 following a harassment and discrimination lawsuit, and then the pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft on top of that. To what extent this will have on Diablo IV is hard to say, but it surely compels us to what the end result will ultimately be.
Baldur's Gate 3
Those in the know within the PC CRPG space know that Larian Studios is quietly one of the best studios in all of video games. However, Baldur's Gate 3, or any game that's been in early access for a significant duration, are kinda tricky games to put on a list like this. Baldurs Gate 3 has been playable in a way for over 2 years now, with multiple updates being implemented since October 2020. Some people maybe have already put hundreds of hours into the game by the time it releases in August while others go in far more blind.
Still, a "1.0" release for a mainline entry in a major RPG IP was always going to make this list. For some, the conversion of Baldur's Gate to a purely turn-based experience might still be a sour point. However, the pedigree of Larian Studios and the history of the series itself means that despite the shift in playstyle, Baldur's Gate 3 is building on one of the strongest initial foundations imaginable, and should hopefully provide an experience worthy of being titled as it is.
Atelier Ryza 3
Reisalin Stout’s journey in the Atelier Ryza trilogy is nearing its end with the release of Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key next month. With the return of fan-favorite characters from previous installments and a handful of new faces, the final entry in the Secret series is promising a total of 11 playable characters.
The Atelier Ryza series reached its apex with Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy and surprised many of us in how great it was. We’re hoping that Atelier Ryza 3 is just as good, if not even better. Ryza and her friends have taken players on an incredible ride since 2019, so it’s exciting to see how their adventure ends in this saga of the long-running Atelier franchise.
Fire Emblem Engage
Only announced a few months ago, we are literally only a few weeks away from the next major Fire Emblem release, which makes it quite easy to be very excited about. Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a return to form in a few ways for a lot of longtime fans, and Fire Emblem Engage's celebration of the entire series as a major anniversary title means it is casting a wide net to try to capture fans new and old.
By incorporating past heroes of the whole series as a central component of Fire Emblem Engage, there is a lot of clear focus in the way of delighting fans with their favorite characters, including from a few that never saw official English releases. The last time Fire Emblem got a similar title in Fire Emblem Awakening, the whole series was revitalized for a whole new generation of strategy fans. While we may not see the same impact with Engage, we are eager all the same to see what this newest entry has to offer.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The most exciting thing about Tears of the Kingdom right now is just how little we know. This is one of Nintendo's most big-ticket and certainly prestigious releases - and we're still relatively in the dark about its nature, mere months from release. Sure, we've caught glimpses of the mysterious floating islands about Breath of the Wild's Hyrule map, of Link's ravaged arm, and of a few new Sheikah Slate style powers - but how all this comes together both narratively and mechanically remains a relatively dense mystery.
But also, you know, this is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is hands down one of the absolute very best video games of the last two decades. That's exciting. So too is the fact that the last time the Zelda series had to step out from the shadow of one of the most important games in history it delivered us Majora's Mask, a gloriously off-beat game that probably isn't quite as good as Ocarina of Time, but is certainly more interesting to a degree which makes it excuciatingly hard for many fans to pick between the two.
Basically, the Zelda series has form for taking big swings following games as earth-shattering as Breath of the Wild. Whatever Tears of the Kingdom is like, it feels safe to bet it'll be mind-blowing in some way or another. Sure, its RPG credentials are on the light side - but we're still obsessively excited for it.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Suikoden fans have a lot to look forward to in 2023. Not only was there a later 2022 announcement for Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars, but several fans have had their eyes on Hundred Heroes for a couple of years now. We were able to get a little bit of an early story taste for the game with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, but Hundred Heroes was always the main course we were truly looking forward to.
While Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising looked fine, Hundred Heroes has an HD-2D-esqe artstyle that looks like a faithful-but-modern interpretation of our favorite 16-bit titles. 2022 gave us lots of footage and some excellent trailers for Hundred Heroes which got us all the more excited to see a release in 2023. Alongside titles like Sea of Stars, 2023 is looking like an excellent year for retro-inspired RPGs as well as the biggest hitters on this list.
Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake (Wishful Thinking Pick)
Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake was the “Wishful Thinking Pick” in last year’s Most Anticipated List and we didn’t get any new news or significant updates at all for it in 2022. Still, it’s hard not getting excited to see how one of the most popular entries in Dragon Quest (especially in Japan) gets the HD-2D treatment. Several titles in 2022 saw some HD-2D delights with Triangle Strategy and the Live A Live remake.
It was especially interesting to see how the varied sights and gameplay experiences of Live A Live were reimagined in HD-2D. The developers of Octopath Traveler II aim to showcase how the HD-2D graphics engine has evolved since its inception from the first Octopath Traveler. It’s clear that HD-2D is here to stay for a while and we’re excited to see how it further develops as developers become more familiar with it.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (Wishful Thinking Pick)
Let's be honest. This one probably actually isn't coming out in 2023. Square Enix has been pretty careful to frame the second part of the FF7 Remake saga as coming out 'Next Winter' - and officially in the Northern Hemisphere countries where that statement will have been drafted and approved, Winter is typically considered the months of December, January, and February - which means statistically, this game is probably more likely to land in 2024. That doesn't even account for it potentially seeing a delay. So, let's call this a deep wishful thinking pick.
But - isn't it exciting? Thrilling? FF7 Rebirth has been officially confirmed as the middle part of a trilogy - and the wonderful thing is we don't quite know where things will go. The trailer shows imagery that largely mirrors the original FF7, while voice-over and context from the first game tell us this will not be the story as we previously knew it. We're going to see familiar places, faces, and events - and yet this is still an unknown journey. And given the prediliction for winding, complex narratives creative director Tetsuya Nomura and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima have shown in other projects together, including Kingdom Hearts, Stranger of Paradise, and Dissidia, who knows where things might end up? It'll be enthralling to finally see - be that in 2023 or 2024. Fingers crossed for the former.
Final Fantasy XVI (Staff Choice for Most Anticipated 2022 RPG Winner)
We're wearing our hearts on our sleeves on this one. Final Fantasy XVI has been on RPG Site's official Most Anticipated list three times now: it was our 'Wishful Thinking' pick for 2021, and also made our list for 2022. However, this is actually the first time that it's received the highest number of votes from our staff and contributors to actually top our list as our Most Anticipated RPG of the next year -- having a concrete release date was always going to rachet up the anticipation meter to a new level.
In the last year, we've learned a whole lot about Final Fantasy XVI: from the talent on the development staff such as Creative Director Kazutoyo Maehiro to the complete cast of characters themselves and the story premise of the crystals and Eikons. We've seen a lot of gameplay footage, heard tons of music, and now we want our hands on it. We know the talent is there, and the major obstacles and pitfalls of the previous mainline entry have seemingly been avoided this time around.
More than ever, it feels like we are due for a new fascinating entry in what is ostensibly the biggest franchise for RPG Site, and all of the pieces are coming together for it to be the epicenter of RPG releases for 2023.