While 2022 turned out to be an amazing year for JRPG fans, gamers who prefer the Western variety will get a big smile on their faces when looking at this most anticipated roleplaying games list for 2023, which is dominated by Western RPGs. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of interesting titles due this year being developed in Asia, but 2023 will see the return of many big developers like Bethesda and Blizzard and franchises like Baldur’s Gate, not to mention the first true open world triple-A RPG set in the Wizarding World.
If BioWare managed to release Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and Square Enix launched Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth this year, too, then 2023 could truly become one to remember in the history books of the genre.
Also in Wccftech’s Most Anticipated Games of 2023 lists: Fighting
Starfield (1H 2023 – PC/XSS/XSX)
Bethesda Game Studios is making its big comeback to single player games eight years after Fallout 4. In addition, Starfield will be the studio’s first new IP in twenty-five years. Those two factors alone would be enough to propel its hype to the stars, but fans also saw a juicy gameplay demo at not-E3 2022, where Todd Howard demonstrated a highly ambitious game that spans a thousand fully explorable planets. Starfield also marks Bethesda’s return to its old-school roleplaying games design roots, giving players plenty of ways to express themselves both visually and functionally.
The dialogue-based persuasion system has been designed to be more natural, romantic relationships will be more complex, and the voice lines count is through the roof. But the game also includes space flight, space combat, spaceship building, smuggling, as well as disabling, boarding, and even stealing enemy spaceships. All player characters will initially belong to the explorer faction called Constellation, though it is possible to join other major factions, including the Crimson Fleet pirates. Following a delay into the first half of this year, fans are counting the days until the next showcase, which could include the final release date.
Baldur’s Gate III (August – PC/Mac)
The third installment in the most beloved cRPG series ever made is finally coming to fruition this August after nearly three years of early access development. Building upon the incredibly successful release of Divinity: Original Sin 2, Larian Studios has greatly expanded its manpower to create the most complete video game rendition based on D&D’s 5th edition. The developers are also trying to marry a strong cinematic approach with the full-fledged player agency that Dungeons and Dragons is known for. The combat system and roleplaying options have been enhanced even further since the already lofty heights of Divinity: Original Sin 2.
Players can select one of the available Origin characters or just create their own. Either way, the narrative takes place roughly a hundred years after the end of Baldur’s Gate II, shortly following the Descent into Avernus tabletop adventure. The dreadful mind flayers have launched an invasion of Faerûn, abducting several people and implanting them with Illithid tadpoles, parasites that can be a source of power but also eventually turn the host into a mind flayer. Following a chaotic escape enabled by a Githyanki assault, the player character joins other wreckage survivors who share the same life-or-death situation: how to remove the tadpole without dying.
Hogwarts Legacy (February 10 PC/PS5/XSS/XSX; April 4 PS4/XB1; July 25 Nintendo Switch)
No matter your views on the legacy left behind by the author, Avalanche Software’s take on the tumultuous tuition of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is already shaping up as one of the best AAA blockbuster roleplaying games to arrive in 2023. Set in the late 1800s, far before any of the books or movies released to date, Hogwarts Legacy features a fifth-year student protagonist who arrives late to the magic school for unknown reasons and has to catch up with the other students. More importantly, the protagonist harbors a secret, being able to manipulate an ancient but dangerous type of magic that other parties are trying to harness for their own means.
Players will get to create their witch or wizard (including transgender options), select their House, and attend various classes such as Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, and Potions. Over the course of Hogwarts Legacy, they will grow their abilities and learn powerful spells.
The beloved castle is fully recreated in the game, though the developers confirmed that other locations will be available for exploration, such as the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, and Hogsmeade. Travel methods include broom flight (with optional broom race challenges) and the ability to tame, mount and ride a series of magical beasts.
Diablo IV (June 6 – PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSS/XSX)
The king of hack-and-slash roleplaying games returns to heat this year’s Summer up to hellish standards. While Diablo III was successful in its own right, Blizzard is taking feedback from the franchise’s most hardcore aficionados by going back to the signature darkness of Diablo II and greatly improving core gameplay mechanics like the skill system, character progression, and itemization.
Blizzard said there are over 150 dungeons in the game, and more will be added post-launch. Diablo IV also incorporates seamless open world design and some MMO-like elements, such as PvP and PvE events (for example, joining up with nearby players to take down a roaming boss). For the first time in a Diablo game, there will be full cross-play and cross-progression between all supported platforms, PC and consoles.
Plot-wise, player characters will have to confront their creator, the demon Lilith, who spawned the Nephalem race by uniting with the rogue angel Inarius. The feud between the two will be at the center of the narrative.
Final Fantasy XVI (June 22 – PlayStation 5)
The only example of Japanese roleplaying games on this year’s list, this is the first numbered Final Fantasy game launched since Final Fantasy XV. While that game was slightly divisive due to the shift from turn-based ATB into proper real-time combat, Square-Enix’s Creative Business Unit III has already had a positive showing with the next evolution of action combat under the production guidance of Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida. During certain segments, the protagonist Clive Rosfield can become the host of an Eikon, a summoned monster from Final Fantasy lore such as Phoenix. Eikon vs. Eikon battles have dedicated mechanics.
Set in the world of Valisthea, FFXVI is not an open world game. Yoshida-san famously said it would have taken Square Enix around fifteen years to make it an open world title. Final Fantasy XVI earned a mature rating, though it’s too early to tell if the darker narrative will hurt or help the experience. This year the game will only be available on PlayStation 5, but PC gamers can hope to get their hands on the title by early 2024 if the six-month exclusivity window is any indication.
As mentioned above, there are so many interesting roleplaying games currently scheduled to release in 2023. Below we listed another ten that you should keep track of.