Most Anticipated Games 2013

Most Anticipated Games 2013
By RPGFan Staff
January 14, 2013 – It's January, so it's that time again for the RPGFan staff to discuss what games we're looking forward to getting our paws on during 2013. For our third annual Most Anticipated Games feature, we narrowed down our selections to the following thirteen titles. As usual, we also have a handful of titles that we hope to see, even though we don't know if we will. There's a few games carried over from last year on here; see if you can guess them!

Enjoy, and let us know both what you think of our choices, and what you are looking forward to this year!

Titles are listed by their mostly vague release dates.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)
January 22, 2013
We were excited for this game last year, and our enthusiasm has not been dampened in the interim. Thankfully, the long wait is almost over, as Ni no Kuni is scheduled to finally release later this month. The magic of Studio Ghibli appears to have successfully made the jump from the movie screen to the Playstation 3, with vibrant colors and a whimsical aesthetic that appeals to the adventurous child in all of us. Better still, Namco Bandai has rewarded our patience over the last year with the collectible Wizard's Edition, a package that includes an English Wizard's Companion tome and a plush of Welsh-accented fairy Drippy, among other goodies. Ni no Kuni may not aim to reinvent the wheel, but it doesn't need to — it has already captivated us in typical Ghibli fashion. The other world awaits.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen

Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
February 4, 2013
As one of Nintendo's most beloved 'second-stringer' franchises, it was an agonizing and uncertain wait for those of us hoping to see this one come stateside. Announced mostly by accident after E3 2012, Fire Emblem: Awakening has had an oddly quiet localization process. That hasn't stopped many of us here at the 'Fan from being totally stoked to finally play it this year, and with the promise of a number of new features, slick 3D graphics, and a solid chunk of substantial DLC on the way, it's not hard to see why. Strategy RPG fans (and masochists alike!) should have plenty to celebrate this February.

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (3DS)
February 26, 2013
The 3DS is quickly becoming a haven for solid RPGs that scratch any number of itches. If the itch in question is of the "die a lot and draw maps and customize the bejeezus out of your characters" variety, Etrian Odyssey IV will undoubtedly deliver. Offering up a new selection of classes and a whole new world to explore, EOIV looks like it will make many people very happy indeed. The game's also got a spiffy, fully orchestrated soundtrack and 3D models for the monsters this time around, so it definitely looks like it'll be taking advantage of the extra horses under the hood, too. File this one under "can't wait."

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink

South Park: The Stick of Truth (PS3/360/PC)
March 5, 2013
On the surface, a South Park RPG must seem like a crazy idea to most people, but fans of the show have been watching Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Eric play games for years. From Chinpokomon to the time Cartman froze himself rather than wait three weeks for a Wii to the Emmy Award-winning episode on WoW, South Park is absolutely a show that loves video games. And even non-video game-related episodes like Good Times with Weapons (where the boys pretend to be ninjas) lay a significant amount of groundwork for the upcoming game The Stick of Truth. Only time will tell whether the execution matches the potential, but there's certainly a lot of potential for greatness here. The only worrisome element is whether this game will appeal to anyone who is not a fan of the TV series. From what we've seen in the trailer already, it's clearly not the type of game you can afford to let your mom (or your youngsters) watch you play.

Writeup by John Tucker

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Soul Hackers (3DS)
Spring 2013
Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is a cyberpunk RPG with a complex plot, great music, and old-school "talk to demons" gameplay that classic Shin Megami Tensei fans will eat up. Screenshots so far indicate that the game is an enhanced port rather than a full-on remake, but that suits us just fine, and will satisfy the long-time Shin Megami Tensei fans who would prefer not to see a beloved classic extensively tampered with. The 10+ year wait for an English release of Soul Hackers has been agonizing, and now the pipe dream is about to become reality.

Many of us remember back in the late 1990s when the Playstation version of this Saturn classic was rejected for US localization by Sony Computer Entertainment America for reasons many gamers deemed superficial. Times are different now, however, and Shin Megami Tensei enjoys popularity enough to warrant more extensive localizations. The time is right for lucky 3DS owners to at last experience Soul Hackers in English.

Writeup by Neal Chandran

Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter (PC)
Early 2013
In terms of settings, there are few as lush and full of detail as the Forgotten Realms (just ask anyone with experience battling Sarevok or hanging out in Athkatla!), which makes the idea of an MMO based in Neverwinter a tantalizing proposition indeed. It certainly doesn't hurt, either, that the game is being developed by Cryptic Studios, who has plenty of experience in running MMOs. The game is said to be very heavily steeped in story and not at all structured like the traditional MMO experience. That, combined with the promise of a system called Foundry that will allow players to create their own adventures (a la Bioware and Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights series) makes this one adventure that we're going to be watching very closely.

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink

Pokémon X & Pokémon Y (3DS)
October 2013
Next month will mark the 17th anniversary of Pokémon Red and Green's original Japanese release. In the intervening years, the series has spawned plenty of spinoffs, but the games that follow the original formula have always been the best sellers. And while fans have enjoyed most of the "enhancements" to that formula, there's been one consistent complaint: the battles fall visually flat. The game world has gotten progressively more visually impressive with each generation of games, but battles still use pixelated 2D sprites that never come in contact with one another.

With the announcement trailer for Pokémon X and Y, it looks like some of that's finally going to change. The game world looks even better than before, and the new starters look great, but most importantly, the battles use 3D models similar to the Pokémon Stadium series. The gameplay will probably be very similar to generations past, although the trailer's comment that "The more you battle together, the stronger your bond will become" and the brief glimpses of the main character running with a Pokémon on his shoulder are certainly interesting hints that this generation's changes aren't as simple as a visual overhaul. Yep, it's been 17 years, and we're still excited for new Pokémon games.

Writeup by John Tucker

Dragon Age III: Inquisition (TBD)
Late 2013
Despite a weak second outing — with reactions ranging from mild disappointment to complete outrage — a new Dragon Age is still something to be excited about. We haven't heard much about Dragon Age III, but we do know it's in development and has been for some time. We expect a new tale with few ties to the Warden's and Hawke's stories, likely set in the French-inspired country of Orlais. We hope for less repetition in combat and level design, a more organic experience, and a coherent story. We like exciting combat, but we also enjoy tactical combat. In short, we hope for a proper synthesis of the best elements of the first two games. Dragon Age III: Inquisition, as it's being called, could be a return to form for BioWare, a company currently on the gaming mass's bad side. It will be judged harshly, no doubt, and if the developers make one wrong move, it could mean the return of some very vocal critics. Nevertheless, we still await the next Dragon Age with impatience. We want dragons, dungeons, and brilliant inter-party dynamics, and we want it now. It's okay if it's not in The Forgotten Realms. Thedas is just fine.

Writeup by Kyle E. Miller

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC/PS3)
TBD 2013
There's no denying that Final Fantasy XIV was in rough shape when it first launched in 2010. We've talked plenty about how the game failed to deliver a high-quality Final Fantasy experience, and we're ready for those bitter memories to be washed away when A Realm Reborn arrives in just a few short months. With passionate director Naoki Yoshida at the helm, nearly everything related to the game has been rebuilt from scratch, from completely redesigned areas to a new combat system and beyond. It honestly feels like Square Enix has taken the criticisms of FFXIV to heart, and that in itself is no small miracle for a company that is notoriously clandestine in their development process. By incorporating tons of throwbacks to classic FF titles and listening extensively to fan feedback from Alpha/Beta testing, A Realm Reborn is poised to suck us back into Eorzea for the kinds of adventures that only Final Fantasy can provide.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen

Phantasy Star Online 2 (PC)
TBD 2013
The original PSO was many console gamers' first foray into the vast and addictive world of online loot hacks, so there's certainly quite a bit of pressure on the sequel to measure up. The Universe/Portable titles weren't bad, but they were ultimately a bit different in terms of flavor from their Online predecessors. PSO2 looks to capture the magic of the original, but has much prettier graphics, more fluid character motion, and lots of other new bells and whistles to make the game feel like a true sequel. It's gone totally free to play, but the developers have made a commitment to ensuring that the game plays great and doesn't go down the dark and spooky pay-to-win road. With the low, low price of zero, there's really no reason not to check this one out when it launches later this year.

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink

The Elder Scrolls Online (PC)
TBD 2013
The only thing stopping fans from playing an Elder Scrolls game forever is a lack of content, but The Elder Scrolls Online might remedy that. Fans eagerly await Zenimax Online Studio's MMORPG to see if they can properly meld multiplayer with what makes an Elder Scrolls game special. Running around Skyrim, Morrowind, and Cyrodiil with friends has long been on the mind of series' fans, but they also need those personal Elder Scrolls stories that can be shared in the brief breaks between marathon gaming sessions. It's not just about familiar sights, weapon types, and races — it's also about making strange discoveries along the countryside and encountering odd interactions between NPCs, enemies, and glitches no one else has. If Zenimax Online can combine all these elements with panache and skill, we might have a powerful contender in the ever-WoW-dominated MMO competition. You can look forward to saving Nirn itself sometime this year if early announcements can be believed.

Writeup by Kyle E. Miller

Tales of Xillia (PS3)
TBD 2013
After being out of the North American spotlight for years, the Tales series is at last receiving the attention it deserves on this side of the Pacific. Last year, we saw the release of Tales of Graces f and Tales of the Abyss 3DS, both of which were welcome treats for starved fans. The series' trademark blend of frenetic combat and deep characterization is reportedly at its best in Tales of Xillia, an opinion shared by our very own Ashton Liu, who gave the game an Editor's Choice award in his import review. The inclusion of a dual-perspective storyline, one belonging to medical student Jude and the other to mysterious summoner Milla, hearkens back to Star Ocean 2 and adds a welcome wrinkle to the narrative as well as enhanced replay value. We may be a little behind in terms of schedule, seeing as Tales of Xillia 2 has already been released in Japan (also to critical acclaim, we might add), but hopefully this title does well enough to warrant the localization of its sequel.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen

Dark Souls II (PS3/360/PC)
There seem to be several emotional stages associated with the announcement of Dark Souls II.

We weren't expecting a sequel to the magnificent Dark Souls so soon, much less an awesome trailer and a stunning level of enthusiasm from the gaming public. The first game carved out a nice niche as the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, and we're all excited to see where the franchise goes.

Hearing that series director Hidetaka Miyazaki will be acting in a limited role as a supervisor over at From Software is enough reason to shudder with fright, and words like "accessibility" being thrown around by the new guy on the block make it sound like things are heading in the wrong direction. There's also the possibility that we won't even see the game in 2013!

The released artwork and reassurances in further interviews gives the impression that everyone knows what they're doing and what the fans really want. Things may change slightly with Dark Souls II, but we're guessing players will still get a wonderfully dark fantasy world with tons of great combat to experience and secrets to uncover.

Writeup by Robert Steinman

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