RPGamer’s Summer Announcement Highlights

While E3 slumbered for at least another year, the gaming industry ensured that June would remain a month of announcements, reveals, and other hyping up what’s on the horizon. There are certainly still questions to be had after the future of such events going into next year, as  its self-billed replacements feel back into some disappointing habits. However, the games all very much did their part in getting us excited for the future, as many of the supporting acts provided a vibrant and varied selection of now eagerly anticipated titles.

We solicited the RPGamer staff to get some of their favourite titles showcased during the various events throughout the month. You can read about what they’re looking forward to and why in this feature. As usual, this is of course not an exhaustive list and we invite all of our readers to share what games got you excited!

Baldur’s Gate III

Back in the 1980s, I played my first computerized role-playing game, Curse of the Azure Bonds, which was based off of the earlier editions of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game. I fell in love and ended up playing nearly all of the Gold Box D&D computer games. Many years later, BioWare released Baldur’s Gate, which carried the torch to a new generation. While I did not care for the real-time-with-pause combat system, the characters and story far exceeded the quality of its predecessors. BioWare made a name for itself with that title and its sequel, Baldur’s Gate II. Many developers would attempt to make games near that quality of those titles, but few succeeded. One such company was Larian Studios, which released the critically acclaimed Divinity: Original Sin series.

Now, over two decades later, we are finally getting the next iteration of the series, with Larian taking over from BioWare. This fact alone would get me hyped for the new Baldur’s Gate III. However, Larian also announced that it would be using fully turn-based tactical combat, something I constantly longed for while playing the first two titles. The studio has also made great of its Early Access period, something it previously did to great effect with the Divinity: Original Sin games, which has me confident it’ll lead to a high-quality product. I personally have tried to keep on media blackout, as I want to enjoy the game fully upon release, with nothing spoiled in advanced, but the stuff that has got through has kept me excited and I look forward to playing what could quite possibly be the best CRPG every made. — Phil Willis




Plenty of monster-catching games offer the chance for cute critters to beat up one another. Beastieball is one of the rare few that moves the needle to “not beating up one another”. Although the Pokémon-style critters face off in volleyball-style matches with attacks, stamina bars, and other signifiers of turn-based battle, positioning and ball control make these conflicts more than just Digimon brawls hidden behind new terminology. Beasties can wear down the opposing team’s stamina through direct serves and volleys, but they can also slip past them with fancy footwork or tight, controlled shots that take advantage of the other team’s disarray. Positioning also influences beasties’ stats and available moves, giving the player a lot of factors to consider in the heat of the match.

I’m looking forward to seeing the world of Beastieball fill out. The initial beasties are well-suited to the starting area, but most lack the goofy charm of my favorite collectable monsters. Fat lizard Skibble and the round Axoloti are early standouts. I’m also looking forward to learning more about the sports-anime-inspired world, its inhabitants, and just how much friendship can be quantified as a game mechanic. Wishes Ultd. has presented a compelling vision of the world to come at its Kickstarter campaign. — Zach Welhouse



Bloomtown: A Different Story

Bloomtown: A Different Story has the best kind of hook, with a fascinating premise and flair behind it. It takes a Stranger Things-like mystery vibe from having children going missing in a quaint town, mixing in turn-based RPG mechanics, and features a bi-pedal corgiman and one human member summoning a cyborg T-Rex-esque dinosaur with canisters strapped to its back. Other than enjoying the absurd sights there’s a good set-up for an enjoyable story being made.

Why are townspeople glitching around the protagonist as they move around? There’s so much to unpack from this debut trailer that looks to make solving this mystery fun to figure out. The game has many interesting potential directions and I’m incredibly interested in seeing which one the developers at Lazy Bear Games and Different Sense Games go down. — Ryan Costa



Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector

Citizen Sleeper was one of 2022 standout titles; textual density and meaningful choices combining superbly with RPG character management and sim-style management. Its sci-fi setting allowed it to examine some weighty subjects including poverty, corporate greed, the value of community, and transcendence, and the way it managed it using easy-to-understand mechanics, excellent prose, and an understated but atmospheric presentation ensured that it stuck in the memories of those who played it.

While there isn’t too much information about Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector at this stage, its announcement had everything it needed to the numerous fans of its predecessor to get excited. We do know players will once again be the role of a Sleeper — essentially a human consciousness transposed into an artificial body — and forced to make tough decisions, and that it almost certainly will be another memorable and emotive experience. — Alex Fuller



Clockwork Revolution

Developer inXile Entertainment, formed from the some of the remnants of Interplay, has primarily gotten by with the success of its isometric CRPGs in the Wasteland series and Torment: Tides of Numenera. As one of Microsoft’s recent acquisitions it is joining its contemporaries at Bethesda and Obsidian Entertainment with its newest title being a first-person action RPG. Clockwork Revolution, however, stands out with a fascinating premise surrounding time-travel as players look to wrest Victorian-era metropolis of Avalon from Lady Ironwood, learning that changing the past is never as straightforward as it seems.

The game is still a decent ways off; it doesn’t even have a suggested launch window yet. However, what to developer has shown of its setting and the time-travel elements indicates a ton of fascinating potential and ways that it can experiment and play with player expectations. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what ideas in can inject into the space. — Alex Fuller



Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince

I vividly remember the last time a Dragon Quest Monsters game was released in the west. It was a dozen years ago; I hadn’t played a video game in two years but hearing that Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 was coming led me to turn on my DS and get back into the swing of things. After the release of Dragon Quest Treasures last year, a game that started its life as a Dragon Quest Monsters title before development issues turned it into its own thing, I figured we were still years away from a new proper Monsters title. Watching the June Nintendo Direct, I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.

Psaro the Manslayer is one of the most iconic of classic Dragon Quest antagonists, and arguably one of the most relatable in the series. He’s a perfect choice to be the main protagonist of the newest Dragon Quest take on a monster-collecting game with a memorable story arc in Dragon Quest IV that still leaves plenty of room for more detailed exploration. Dragon Quest Monsters titles are typically excellent spinoff titles that eschew the genre’s typical 1v1 battles for a full party of monsters vs multiple enemies. Fusing lower-ranking monsters into stronger party members is a highlight of Monsters gameplay and is confirmed to be in this latest entry. With 500+ monsters promised, including many series favorites plus a smattering of newbies, Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince looks set to give the series a glorious worldwide return after the 3DS titles never saw a release outside of Japan. I can’t wait to spend countless hours alongside my son pouring over synthesis trees and planning our perfect parties! — Matt Masem



Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

Like many other RPGamers, I have been eagerly waiting for the second installment of the reimagined Final Fantasy VII trilogy, and it will finally arrive in early 2024. The first entry was an emotive adventure packed full with nostalgia that allowed players to deeply explore Midgar and connect with its citizens while they were mesmerized by the breathtaking views of the city. The reworked battle system and the rearranged soundtrack managed to take this remake to a new level, and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth promises to keep up the good work while expanding upon a portion of the story of the original 1997 game. I’m particularly hyped and curious about what new tweaks are going to be found outside Midgar and how far in the story Cloud and friends will get by the end of this second game.

The trailer assured players that they will have the chance to control other characters that were not playable in the first entry, such as Red XIII. Other iconic characters such as Zack and other party members will hopefully have their share of the spotlight as well, which is highly alluring. It was also shown that Cloud and his gang will embark on fun enterprises such as riding Chocobos, probably to escape from a big viper that only mighty warriors such as Sephiroth can impale. With the new trailer showcasing a very lively world and an emotive soundtrack that will be a treat for the ears, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth promises to be a strong second entry after the trilogy’s very strong opening. — Luis Mauricio



Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Yakuza: Like a Dragon was always set to be a fresh start for the series, Ryu ga Gotoku Studio’s reveal of a turn-based combat system was certainly unexpected. However, the game came and fans instantly fell in love with the oddball, modern day RPG starring Ichiban and his pack of underdogs. However, it’s impossible to keep Kiryu down, and so — following his own spin-off in Like a Dragon Gaiden — he is set to join Ichiban in dual protagonist roles when the next mainline title, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, arrives next year.

While the studio has stated that Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth will keeps with the turn-based combat, its title reveal trailer chose to show a completely naked Ichiban waking up on a beach surrounded by locals speaking English. It’s clear that series won’t be abandoning its tongue in cheek, oddball scenarios. Outside of the title reveal trailer, the development team held its own summit presentation, during which it showed off a cutscene featuring Kiryu and Ichiban, highlighting the series latest graphical improvements while showing it will still offer plenty of depth with its storytelling. Every little bit we see is getting fans excited for its early 2024 release window. — Andron Smith



Metaphor: ReFantazio

The bigger-budget, high profile turn-based RPG has been somewhat in decline over the past few years as studios and franchises focus more on bringing the action. Atlus has been one of those last turn-based bastions and been rewarded with the popularity of Persona and other Shin Megami Tensei titles over the last years. It brings hope that more titles can be made with higher budgets and maintaining a classic feel to them. That’s what makes Metaphor: ReFantazio so intriguing, as it has a lot of the hallmarks of a Persona title, while being set in a brand new fantasy world.

Taking this gameplay and throwing it into a brand-new setting, complete with a bond system and a world that feels like something new can be around every corner is an exciting decision. Since being first announced as Project Re:Fantasy in 2016, there’s been a lot of time for this game to become truly special. Exciting turn-based RPGs with this level of production are a rarity so I’m greatly looking forward to its 2024 release. — Ryan Costa



Paleo Pines

I would like to go on record as being 100% in support of the recent farming game renaissance. We are spoiled for choice amid this bumper crop of games, but few if any in the genre have chosen to lean into the dinosaur theme. Paleo Pines intends to correct this glaring oversight by offering a slew of prehistoric pals for players to befriend, tame, and care for.

These adorably toy-like animals really steal the show, getting involved in everything from tilling the fields and watering crops to clearing debris from the land. Developer Italic Pig has put a lot of attention into making sure each dino feels like a unique individual, with an elaborate taming process, species-specific habitat needs, and personal favorite foods. I like what I’ve seen so far and look forward to growing crops and completing quests on my ultimate dinosaur sanctuary. — Casey Pritt



Persona 3 Reload

Persona 3 is a classic that has had several iterations throughout the years. Even though its Persona 3 Portable remake was ported to newer consoles early this year, it definitely deserves a version tailor made for these platforms that can exploit all the possibilities of their hardware. Persona 3 Reload is the perfect opportunity for Atlus to have a polished reimagined Persona 3 that is visually at the same level as its latest entries and has a better UI. The lack of the female protagonist featured in Persona 3 Portable is a questionable call, but the developer hopefully has other surprises to make up for that absence.

Veterans will have another chance to revisit the Dark Hour and traverse a reworked main dungeon, while newcomers are in for a treat with a gripping story and a fantastic cast. For what was shown in the trailer, the character models look beautiful and fashionable. Persona 3 Reload may not be a fresh mainline entry in the series, but it will surely be magnificent with its take on the game’s incredibly emotional journey. The developer hasn’t revealed a lot of details, but I can’t wait to see how this precious gem gets even more refined. — Luis Mauricio



Persona 5 Tactica

Persona has already done its takes on fighting games, first-person dungeon-crawling, rhythm games, and Musou action. Now it’s time for the series to try its hand at turn-based tactics with Persona 5 Tactica. The Phantom Thieves are very much looking to further utilise their popularity with a take on the small-party tactics that Mario + Rabbids series has utilised to good effect.

Persona 5 Tactica looks set to have its own self-contained story and its graphical style certainly evokes memories of the previous Persona Q spin-offs, which gives an indication of plenty of amusing character interactions between the group. It’s always been interesting to see how the Persona combat mechanics have translated into other genres and combat styles, and this latest title gives Atlus another opportunity to experiment. With the Persona style in full effect and plenty of past spin-off success from Atlus, Persona 5 Tactica promises to be another fun experience. — Alex Fuller




I’ve always been interested when RPGs try and take on non-traditional areas, particularly sporting contests. While some games have met with success branching into football and golf, for example, racing is still ripe for experimentation. Long Way Home’s Resistor looks to take influences from numerous places with a narrative adventure RPG set in an open world themed around vehicular combat.

So far we don’t know how exactly its racing and combat mechanics are going to work, though the trailer indicates it’s definitely not aiming for full sim realism! Nevertheless, the setting of a future corporate-ruled world divided between those living in the cities and the outside wastes holds a lot of promise, as does the initial introduction to protagonist Aster. I’m excited to learn more about the game as it branches across multiple interests of mine. — Alex Fuller



Sand Land

Akira Toriyama has created worlds and characters that have become iconic, whether it be gaming, manga, or anime. Toriyama’s Dragon Ball franchise has been in the mainstream for almost three decades now, with the franchise getting plenty of fighting games and most recently an RPG. During Summer Games Fest, we were treated to the reveal of one of Toriyama’s lesser-known works being adapted as an action RPG in Sand Land.

Although I grew up loving Dragon Ball Z as a battle-heavy story, I have since become more fond of the adventure focused story from the original Dragon Ball. Sand Land looks to lean more on adventure then super-charged powers and that is more than enough for me. The trailer did a great job of conjuring that feeling of adventure as it showed tank warfare, exploring depths, zip-lining through the desert, battling giant monsters, and more packed into it. The best part is that you will get to do all of that in a gorgeous world built with Unreal Engine 5. While it may not end up as a groundbreaking game, it’s the kind of adventure I crave in RPGs and this one gets to adapt an adventure from one of the best to ever do it. — Jon Jansen



Silent Hope

I’ve become a fan of action RPGs with roguelike elements and Silent Hope’s presentation at the recent Nintendo Direct surprised me. It’s a new title, albeit set in the same universe as Rune Factory, with a unique premise of the world trapped in silence where only the crystalized Princess can communicate with the world’s heroes. The dungeon aesthetics and chibi art style helps to give it character and show the quality of the game’s approach to the action RPG genre. Not to mention the interesting crafting and item customizations elements the trailer shared in the Nintendo Direct.

I’m hopeful for this game’s release for Nintendo Switch and PC in October. The game’s premise could bring some interesting ideas as it the relates to the story. Either way, Silent Hope is a game I’m looking forward to playing to uncover the mystery and restore balance for all that inhabit the world. — Jared Prewitt



Star Ocean: The Second Story R

After coming into it somewhat late, I’ve had a mixed relationship with the Star Ocean series. The latest two entries have gone past me and been swiftly forgotten, while Star Ocean: The Last Hope managed to combine utterly fantastic combat with one of the most frustrating casts I’ve stuck around that long with. However, the first one I tried — Star Ocean: Second Evolution, a PSP remake of the second game — managed to hit all the right boxes.

Widely considered the series zenith, it’s probably not surprising that this is the game Square Enix has chosen to experiment with for this new remake. Rather than go either full 3D or the 2D-HD routes, Square Enix has elected to combined 2D sprites with a 3D world. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but its reveal trailer shows it a look that Star Ocean: The Second Story R has the potential to pull off. It’s been a long time since I visited the planet Expel, but I’m incredibly tempted to head down come November. — Alex Fuller




The last Bethesda Softworks RPG I touched was Skyrim, back at its original release in 2011. As the studio’s Fallout games largely left me cold, I’ve been waiting patiently for its next ambitious project. The prospect of not just a new game but a brand-new setting from the development team has always been appealing, but it was this summer when it showed an extended showcase for Starfield that I finally got a good idea of what that game would actually be, and I’m all in.

Even in the long decade of open worlds left and right, no company has even attempted the sort of character-driven RPG systems and lived-in worlds Bethesda trades in, especially at this scale. And that scale has found the appropriate venue as it shifts to a harder sci-fi edge and tackles the vastness of space. Am I expecting the usual Bethesda jank? Yes. Will characters lock their dead eyes to the center of the screen while they talk at me? Very likely. Will the main storyline probably be cliché-ridden and underwritten? Sure. But in spite of all that I can’t wait to get lost in another giant Bethesda adventure. — Zack Webster



Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

There aren’t many truly new ways to tell an RPG tale anymore. A roleplaying musical, well that’s definitely not common. Summerfall Studios’ Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is about crafting a tale through music that provides the player plenty of divergent storylines through choices. These choices have been displayed in a familiar dialogue wheel fashion for players to think and decide on new ones.

The gameplay is relatively simple, but that just means it’s very easy to jump into and enjoy the high caliber voice work and detailed visuals. Seeing how the story of Grace unfolds as she deals with Greek Gods in the modern era will be a treat. As a fan of musicals and dialogue heavy narratives this is going to be a spectacle worth seeing. It is also unlikely to take up much time as a thirty-hour musical would be ambitious, but its choice mechanics and the different ways each song can go leave open the option for plenty of replays to eat up that time. — Ryan Costa



Super Mario RPG Remake

Of all the games Nintendo announced during its latest Direct presentation, Super Mario RPG’s remake was the one that had me racing to my phone to bombard a buddy with texts filled with joyous expletives. For those who may not have had the chance to experience the magic of this title, Super Mario RPG is a turn-based RPG developed by Square and Nintendo for the Super Nintendo. It stars the usual Mushroom Kingdom roster of Mario, Peach, and Bowser with original characters sprinkled in.

While the original certainly holds up to this day, the incoming remake should make both newcomers and veterans excited for the changes in store. The remake features heavily updated graphics and new full-motion cutscenes, while retaining the gameplay elements that helped make the original title beloved. Super Mario RPG has always had a warm place in my heart as it was the game that got me hooked on RPGs. I’m excited for fans new and old to experience a bit of that magic for themselves. — Andron Smith


Bonus Selections

There were also a few additional upcoming titles some of our writers selected as they became excited for what lies in store in the near future. Although these did not themselves were not subject to particular announcements during the various events, we have included them here.



Cuisineer immediately caught my attention with its cozy, cute visuals and delicious-looking food. “Wholesome” seems like the perfect word to describe this game’s particular blend of restaurant simulation and dungeoneering, but the sight of the cat girl protagonist wielding an oversized spatula against a giant chicken boss is a good sign that saccharine flavor won’t overpower the dish.

So far, the gameplay loop appears to revolve around venturing into dungeons to collect ingredients and then hauling those choice finds back to the restaurant to cook them into dishes that you serve up to customers. Throw in a dash of socializing with the townsfolk in between time spent upgrading and decorating the restaurant, and it sounds like a recipe for fun! Cuisineer has the potential to be one of those games that keeps me coming back for more. — Casey Pritt



Defender’s Quest II: Mists of Ruin

Defender’s Quest II has been in the works for a while, but the soul still burns. This tower defense RPG builds on everything that worked in the original, including the addictive, fast-paced combat. Hordes of enemies march down predetermined paths, waving their claws and tentacles like they just don’t care. If you get hit, it’s your own fault, really. The best way to hold back their violent ends and protect your armored megafauna base is through careful positioning and capitalizing on synergies between characters’ abilities.

The story, which revolves around bounty hunters and pirates defending their homes from giant insectoid creatures, promises an enjoyable blend of darkness and humor. The zany elements and witty repartee from the original are present and polished, but the protagonists are also marked by doubt and obsession. With all that and a giant crab tank, I’m looking forward to spending more time with Level Up Labs’s latest. — Zach Welhouse




Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles

Many years ago I picked up Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure and found it to be a fun and quirky title. Fast forward about seven years and scrolling online I found out that the game had two sequels, however neither of them were ever localized. I was immensely sad that such a fun and quirky game didn’t get its follow up games released in the US.

However, following the recent re-release of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, NIS America has deigned to bring both Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess and Rhapsody III: Memories of Marl Kingdom to the west for the first time. Rhapsody II follows directly from the events of the first game where you are now playing as Cornet’s daughter on her own adventure, while Rhapsody III explores multiple different parts of the Marl Kingdom’s story. I’m glad that the re-release of the first game garnered enough interest in bringing over the other two titles for the first time and they are on the short list of games for me to play this fall. — Robert Albright



Sea of Stars

Sabotage Studios knew what it was doing when it brought Yasunori Mitsuda onboard Sea of Stars. It knew darn well what it was doing when it added a fishing minigame, giant floating crystals, and a whimsical blend of humans and animal people to a colorful fantasy world with bespoke animation. It’s crafted a bomb intended to shatter the cynical shell of the most nostalgic gamers, returning them to a 16-bit yesteryear that never actually happened. Come August, I look forward to skirting the edges of every town and multi-level dungeon, tapping A steady as breathing to find all the secrets.

Combat is a familiar turn-based affair, but it’s basted with enough modern flavors to have its own unique taste. Many enemy attacks have countdown timers that are attached to weakness icons. Striking the enemies with those weaknesses before the timer hits zero weakens the attack, similar to Octopath Traveler’s break system. Timing is also important for heroes, whose attacks and defenses can be bolstered with appropriately timed button presses. Between timed attacks and the ebb-and-flow of MP and powerful combo attacks, battles have a tangible sense of rhythm. — Zach Welhouse




Alex Fuller

Alex joined RPGamer in 2011 as a Previewer before moving onto Reviews, News Director, and Managing Editor. Became Acting Editor-in-Chief in 2018.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply