The enormity of Baldur’s Gate 3’s briefly stirred up anxieties over raised expectations for future games: Are we going to feel let down by every subsequent RPG that can’t match BG3’s scope and complexity?
Even if we did start insisting that every RPG must include several dozen hours of voiced dialogue, I doubt we’d go hungry for long. Making games bigger—more dialogue! more square kilometers!—has been the go-to move for big-budget game makers since big-budget games started being made. Here are a few upcoming RPGs that we expect to be very sizeable, even if we otherwise know very little about them:
Cyberpunk 2077 sequel: All we really know is that it’s in the worksThe next Witcher: CD Projekt has confirmed that a whole trilogy of new Witcher games is in developmentDragon Age: Dreadwolf: BioWare has promised a full reveal this summerThe next Mass Effect: The teasers we’ve seen point to a return of original trilogy cast members, but we don’t know much elseFable reboot: It was teased in 2020, but we haven’t heard anything sinceThe Elder Scrolls 6: All we have so far is a teaser and lots of speculation, but I somehow doubt it’ll be a tight 10 hours
I’m not sure that size is going to be Baldur’s Gate 3’s primary legacy, though. It’s the characters and their excellent actors, the romances, the choose-your-own-tragedy storytelling, and the systems-driven sandbox design, which fills it with creative opportunities and surprise outcomes, that have earned Baldur’s Gate 3 its armfuls of GOTY awards.
It’s true that no new RPG will likely surpass Baldur’s Gate 3’s significance in the near future—it is an exceptional game—but the things we like about it are hardly unattainable. It did after all draw many of its best qualities from existing CRPGs and tabletop games (and arguably its worst, depending on how keen you are on D&D 5e’s clunky combat).
Along with those above, here are 11 upcoming RPGs that, however big or small they end up being, might scratch the itch for another experience like Baldur’s Gate 3 in one or more ways. Many of them are out this year, too:
Coming this year
Release date: January 15, 2024 | Developer: Crimson Herring Studios | Link: Steam
A steampunk RPG that takes after Disco Elysium, and replaces dice rolls with tarot cards to really steep you in the Victorian atmosphere. It’s narrative focused, so it’s not going to scratch an itch for more turn-based combat, but for character-driven roleplaying, its “orphaned minotaur magician” and other fantasy protagonists look promising.
Release date: January 25, 2024 (early access) | Developer: Spearhead Games | Link: Steam
A sandbox RPG whose big idea is to offer “unparalleled freedom” within the context of a fantasy world designed by Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms D&D setting (which happens to be where the Baldur’s Gate games take place). Fraser tried Unforetold: Witchstone out recently and said that its flagship feature, an influence system that governs your relationships with NPCs, “captures the wild flexibility of D&D.”
Release date: Early 2024 | Developer: Drop Bear Bytes | Link: Steam
Broken Roads is a party-based RPG with turn-based combat set in the Australian outback, and lists classic CRPGs including the original Baldur’s Gate among its influences. It was going to release last year, but was delayed to early this year. I’m not instantly in love with the post-apocalyptic setting, but its “Moral Compass” system, which sticks your character somewhere in a mix of utilitarianism, nihilism, humanism, and Machiavellianism has me curious.
Dragon’s Dogma 2
Release date: March 21, 2024 | Developer: Capcom | Link: Steam
At a time when so many RPGs are iterating on the likes of Bethesda, BioWare, and Blizzard’s glory days, Dragon’s Dogma 2 genuinely looks to be staying the course with its own blend of action combat, climbing, and customizable AI party members called “Pawns.” In his hands-on preview late last year, Robin was delighted to discover that Dragon’s Dogma 2 is just as weird as its 2012 cult hit predecessor. Baldur’s Gate 3 fans may be attracted to its systems-driven combat, where enemies can be thrown at each other, knocked into gorges, or sent plummeting by cutting a rope bridge.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
Release date: 2024 | Developer: The Chinese Room | Link: Steam
We’re not sure what happened behind the scenes that led Paradox to scrap parts of developer Hardsuit Labs’ original work on this long in-development vampire RPG and have it finished by The Chinese Room. Whatever went on, it’s finally coming out this year (for real this time, apparently), and we’re excited to see what The Chinese Room—known for Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture—has done with the classic World of Darkness tabletop setting.
Ted brought us up to date on the latest Bloodlines 2 news back in September. No longer a fresh “thin blood” vampire, we’ll be playing an Elder—a vampire who was turned at least 300 years ago.
Release date: 2024 | Developer: Obsidian | Link: Steam
A first-person action RPG that’s much more in the tradition of Bethesda games than of Larian’s party-based CRPGs, but Obsidian is one of the best RPG storytellers in the business, and we hope Avowed sucks us into its fantasy world—the same setting as Obsidian’s excellent Pillars of Eternity CRPGs.
Release date: In early access now| Developer: Lovely Hellplace | Link: Steam
This first-person RPG about a medieval society clinging to a collection of asteroids takes its biggest inspiration from The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, but there’s a lot here for the Baldur’s Gate 3 liker. Dread Delusion’s world has that same open-endedness, lack of loading, and verticality that makes Baldur’s Gate 3’s best areas (like Rivington) feel so special, and it’s a game where you see your choices affect the world in real time, like a settlement you doomed having its palace collapse and citizens fall into a panic. It’s in early access now, with the 1.0 release date still TBA.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
Release date: PC release TBA | Developer: Square Enix | Link: Official site
FF7 Rebirth is out in February on PlayStation 5, but alas, no PC release date has been announced yet. It might not even be out on PC this year, but when it is, we expect it to be more sandboxy than FF7 Remake, and in terms of cutscene animation, voice acting, and overall production values, it’ll bring that big cinematic epic vibe.
Where Winds Meet
Release date: TBA | Developer: Everstone Games | Link: Official site
What’s exciting to me about this open-world wuxia RPG are its opportunities for roleplaying the everyday and mundane—or at least things that qualify as mundane in a fantasy version of 10th-century China. In an interview last year, its developers said that players will be able to do things like “become an orator who uses the power of words to convince NPCs to follow their advice” and “become a bodyguard who protects players or NPCs from assassins.”
The Wayward Realms
Release date: TBA | Developer: OnceLost Games | Link: Steam
A throwback to the original Elder Scrolls games, Arena and Daggerfall, made by two of the key developers behind those classics. It looks the part: The trailer and screenshots show vast landscapes with simply-modeled but attractive forests, mountains, and ruins, instantly giving the impression that this is a game that’s first and foremost about scale.
According to the developer, The Wayward Realms will include “big cities with hundreds or thousands of NPCs, deep, dark, dangerous forests, gigantic mountain ranges, sprawling swamps and marshlands, vast oceans, and more, brought to life through dynamic, procedural generation.”
Lightforge Games’ social RPG
Release date: TBA | Developer: Lightforge Games | Link: Official site
(Image credit: Lightforge Games)
This unnamed game is a bit of an outlier on this list, in that it sounds more like a platform for collaborative roleplaying. In a recent article, Fraser described it as “a chimaera that draws from tabletop RPGs, sandboxes like Minecraft, platforms like Roblox and CRPGs like Baldur’s Gate 3, with powerful but accessible creation tools that call to mind games like The Sims.”