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NPR's most anticipated video games of 2023

<em>Marvel's Spider-Man 2</em>, <em>The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, </em>and <em>Final Fantasy XVI. </em>
Insomniac Games, Nintendo, Square Enix
Marvel's Spider-Man 2, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Final Fantasy XVI.

2023 would be a notable year for video games on the strength of a Tears of the Kingdom release alone. But that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild follow-up isn't the only massive title delayed by the pandemic to have a credible release date in the coming months. Here are the games our staff most look forward to, in order of when they (should) come out.

Fire Emblem Engage (January 20th)

I played Fire Emblem: Three Houses twice all the way through, savoring each character's dialogue and obsessively tracking their relationships with each other. This entry looks more brash and candy-colored, but if it delivers the tactical depth and quality cast I'm hoping for, I'll be well-engaged indeed. -James Mastromarino, Join the Game editor and Here & Now producer

Forspoken (January 24th)

It's been a long time since Square Enix debuted a brand new IP, and I'm hoping Forspoken will bring a fresh twist to the action RPG genre. It's developed by Luminous Productions, which was assembled from the team that worked on Final Fantasy XV — a game I loved for its beautiful environments, snappy gameplay, and overall charm. Forspoken also gathered formidable writing and soundtrack talent, including Bear McCreary, who just won Best Score and Music at The Game Awards for God of War Ragnarök. Amy Hennig, one of the main writers, lead the 150-person team behind the legendary Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Long story short, Forspoken has a lot going for it, and if it all comes together, I'll have a great time playing it. -Andy Bickerton, Senior Digital Analyst

Dead Space (January 27)

Dead Space upped the game for space survival horror all the way back in 2008. With visual enhancements and other quality of life improvements, I can only hope this remake of Isaac Clarke's harrowing journey lives up to the original. -Bryant Denton, Grove Support Associate for Member Partnership

Season: A Letter to the Future (January 31)

<em>Season: A letter to the future </em>bills itself as an "atmospheric adventure bicycle road trip game."
/ Scavengers Studio
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Scavengers Studio
Season: A letter to the future bills itself as an "atmospheric adventure bicycle road trip game."

The games I've been playing lately are far from peaceful. Biking around while quietly documenting a pre-apocalyptic, Miyazaki-esque landscape sounds like a nice vibe to kick off the new year. -Justin Lucas, Director, Communications and Audience Relations

Hogwarts Legacy (February 10)

Many Harry Potter fans soured on J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World after the author started loudly defending her transphobic views. Despite calls for a boycott, Hogwarts Legacy has already climbed the sales charts ahead of its release. The game presents an intoxicating escape to a magical place entire generations grew up with — and while Hogwarts Legacy explicitly allows you to play as a transgender character — time will only tell how fun and inclusive it really is. -James Mastromarino, Join the Game editor and Here & Now producer

Horizon Call of the Mountain (February 22)

<em>Horizon Call of the Mountain </em>gives you a first-person view of its hulking dinosaur-robots.
/ Sony Interactive Entertainment
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Sony Interactive Entertainment
Horizon Call of the Mountain gives you a first-person view of its hulking dinosaur-robots.

Horizon Call of the Mountain is a launch title for Playstation's VR 2, a headset that promises to go toe-to-toe with beefy hardware like the Valve Index. If Call of the Wild can make you "feel" like you're in Horizon's robot dinosaur-filled world, then maybe PSVR2's $550 price tag might just be worth it. -James Delahoussaye, TED Radio Hour Producer

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (March 3)

The success of Elden Ring will probably put wind behind other studios' Souls-like titles and I'm here for it. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty's trailer includes a nod to FromSoft's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and will likely build off of the Team Ninja's own Nioh titles (which may not have been GOTY material, but were very enjoyable). Plus, there will be co-op! -Justin Lucas, Director, Communications and Audience Relations

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (March 17)

2019's Fallen Order offered a great cast and story. The combat and exploration didn't quite hit the highs of the games that clearly inspired it (Dark Souls and Uncharted), but Fallen Order laid a promising foundation for Survivor to build on. Give me more force powers! -James Delahoussaye, TED Radio Hour Producer

Resident Evil 4 (March 24)

I fell head over heels for the series' trademark schlock and mayhem over the pandemic — and I look forward to seeing the beloved Resident Evil 4 get the meticulous remake treatment that so improved Residents Evil 2 and 3. It's sure to be gorgeous and gorey — and I hope it preserves the campy spirit of the original voice-acting too. -James Mastromarino, Join the Game editor and Here & Now producer

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (May 12)

The many floating isles of <em>The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.</em>
/ Nintendo
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Nintendo
The many floating isles of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

I'm not the most experienced gamer, but I've spent 560+ hours playing Breath of the Wild over the past two years. I've found most of the Korok Seeds, solved most of the shrines and completed most of the quests. I still scream in fear when I encounter a Lynel in the world, and can still taste the accomplishment and empowerment I felt when I beat my first one. If Tears of the Kingdom gives me more of that feeling, I'll be entertained for years to come. -Natalia Fidelholtz, Talent Development Manager

Diablo 4 (June 6)

In a world where angels and demons run rampant, Actvision Blizzard offers a big-budget return to the dungeon crawling series that kicked off in 1997. While critics cried foul at the monetization trickery behind 2022's Diablo Immortal, Diablo 4 could restore the franchise to its glory days. -Bryant Denton, Grove Support Associate for Member Partnership

Final Fantasy XVI (June 22)

<em>Final Fantasy XVI </em>features intense magical duels.
/ Square Enix
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Square Enix
Final Fantasy XVI features intense magical duels.

Final Fantasy XVI could be a return to form for the franchise while also taking the storied RPG series to new heights. It's the first mainline title to receive a Mature rating, and its trailers have drawn comparisons to Game of Thrones, but with the series' memorable monster summons taking center stage. It's sure to be the blockbuster gaming event of the summer, and I'm looking forward to immersing myself in yet another breathtaking fantasy world from the imaginative minds at Square Enix. -Lindsay Totty, Morning Edition Producer

Starfield (Undated 2023)

I obsessed over Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4 when they first came out. I've beaten them a dozen times combined, with hundreds of hours played. While their engine and mechanics now feel dated, developer Bethesda promises a whole new upgrade for Starfield. I love open-world games, so the promise of over a thousand planets to explore has me hopeful it'll be just as immersive as Bethesda's other titles. -Adam Winters, Quality Assurance Manager

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (Undated 2023)

Insomniac Games revolutionized web-slinging with 2018 and followed up that feat with a Miles Morales story that had all the flare and personality we can expect from his take on Spider-Man. I'm hyped to see this sequel bring both Peter Parker and Miles together against the comic's most beloved villains. -Jamal Michel, It's Been a Minute Intern

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (Undated 2023)

A scene from <em>Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon'</em>s first trailer, which debuted at The Game Awards 2022.
/ Bandai Namco
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Bandai Namco
A scene from Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon's first trailer, which debuted at The Game Awards 2022.

I haven't played any of the previous games in FromSoft's giant robot series, but I'm looking forward to checking out Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon this year. I trust anything the studio puts out: I was blown away by the first Dark Souls when I picked it up in 2012 (around when the last installment of Armored Core was released) and have enjoyed every game they've made since. While Fires of Rubicon feels like a departure from the studio's most recent work, I still look forward to dying a bunch — this time in a mech suit. -Justin Lucas, Director, Communications and Audience Relations

AEW Fight Forever (Undated 2023)

When a wrestler (Kenny Omega) who loves video games is helping oversee the production of a wrestling game, I can't help but be intrigued. Omega is a huge fan of the Fire Pro Wrestling games, considered some of the best in the genre. With previews revealing an engine that runs similar to 2000's classic WWF No Mercy, there's a chance this could be the best wrestling game of the year. -Matt Adams, Audience Engagement Supervisor

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & butterfly (Undated 2023)

Toge Productions' Coffee Talk was my favorite game of 2020. Two years later, I'm still replaying it because the characters, story and music are so good! I can't wait to see where they go with Hibiscus & Butterfly in 2023. -Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, Member Partnership Project Manager

Redfall (Undated 2023)

<em>Redfall </em>features a colorful cast of characters and cooperative combat against vampiric enemies.
/ Bethesda Softworks
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Bethesda Softworks
Redfall features a colorful cast of characters and cooperative combat against vampiric enemies.

Arkane Studios has helmed GOTY contenders for years. It surprised no one that Redfall drew hella praise for its 2021 reveal trailer alone. It had an audacious and diverse cast, as well as a horrifying display of vampiric enemies in the titular Redfall, Massachusetts. Stan Layla Ellison! -Jamal Michel, It's Been a Minute Intern

Stellar Blade (Undated 2023)

Stellar Blade (formerly titled Project EVE) is a futuristic hack-and-slash announced at the PlayStation showcase in 2021. Although details have been sparse, the gameplay previews show off stunning visuals and fast paced combat in a new IP. -Bryant Denton, Grove Support Associate for Member Partnership

The Wolf Among Us 2 (Undated 2023)

I've been waiting since 2014 for Telltale Games to release a sequel to The Wolf Among Us. I loved the Fables comics it was based on and the original game provided such an engaging way to interact with those characters. Nearly a decade later and after the studio's collapse and revival, I can't wait to get back to Fabletown. -Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, Member Partnership Project Manager

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl (Undated 2023)

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has always been hard to sum up: a cult-favorite, magically-real, survival horror, first-person shooter series, loosely based on a 1979 Tarkovsky movie? The game's development had stuttered for years — and then when a release finally looked plausible, the Ukrainian company making it faced a very real war. I hope these incredibly resilient folks have all the time and funding they need, and I'll play whatever they end up shipping. -James Mastromarino, Join the Game editor and Here & Now producer

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (Undated 2023)

2020's Final Fantasy VII Remake opened the door to a radically-new retelling of the 1997 original. The sequel, Rebirth, will likely depart even further — but it's also likely to get delayed to 2024. -James Mastromarino, Join the Game editor and Here & Now producer

Hollow Knight: Silksong (Unconfirmed)

<em>Hollow Knight: Silksong</em>, like its acclaimed predecessor, pits its nimble hero against huge insectoid opponents.
/ Team Cherry
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Team Cherry
Hollow Knight: Silksong, like its acclaimed predecessor, pits its nimble hero against huge insectoid opponents.

2017's Hollow Knight may be the best Metroidvania ever made — and that includes the Metroid and Castlevania games! That feat is even more impressive since it came from a small indie studio. Silksong looks like it will deliver another beautifully-illustrated and vast world, complete with deep combat and traversal mechanics. Needless to say, there's a lot to look forward to in this sequel — which is rumored to finally come out this year. -Jeff Choi, Product Designer

Hades II (Unconfirmed)

Hades II should get an early access release this year and it's hard to overestimate my expectations for it. I fell in love with the first game for the same reasons as everyone else: the sumptuous art, rich mythology, finely-tuned combat... and obviously, the romance! Hades II has already promised almost all that and more (though I haven't seen any romancing yet). There's still plenty we don't know about our new protagonist Melinoë and the band of gods, witches, and miscellaneous creatures who will join her, but what we have seen looks like a perfect second invitation to the underworld. -Megan Lim, All Things Considered Producer

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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James Perkins Mastromarino
James Perkins Mastromarino is Here & Now's Washington, D.C.-based producer. He works with NPR's newsroom on a daily whirlwind of topics that range from Congress to TV dramas to outer space. Mastromarino also edits NPR's Join the Game and reports on gaming for daily shows like All Things Considered and Morning Edition.