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NPR's 24 most anticipated video games of 2024

Clockwise from the top-left: Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, Hades 2, Dragon's Dogma 2, Princess Peach: Showtime!
Square Enix/Supergiant Games/Capcom/Nintendo
Clockwise from the top-left: Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, Hades 2, Dragon's Dogma 2, Princess Peach: Showtime!

It'd take more than a few surprises for the new year to match 2023's deluge of acclaimed games. But while we don't know the precise release date for many of its biggest titles, 2024 will soon grace us with the gargantuan Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, slated to come out on Leap Day, and it'll likely draw to a closewith a console sequel to the Nintendo Switch. But there's a lot to look forward to between and around those bookends — here's what we at NPR have our eyes on this year.

Persona 3 Reload, Feb. 2

I fell hard for Personas 4 and 5 but wasn't hooked by 3. I recognize its importance: it set the current franchise template with its edgy teen aesthetic and weave of social simulation and RPG mechanics. Odd as it was in 2006, perhaps this slick new version will entice the part of me that wants to explore a ghoulish Tokyo with fashionable friends. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Skull and Bones, Feb. 16

Swashbuckling piracy was the best part of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and Skull and Bones is bringing that action to a standalone game, shifted from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean and African coasts. It also promises story-rich quests that give it an MMO vibe as you adventure on your ship. I look forward to seeing how it compares with the more cartoony Sea of Thieves, which was fun to play with and against other players. — Daniel Morgan, systems engineer

Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, Feb. 29

Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth
/ Square Enix
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Square Enix

2020's Final Fantasy 7: Remake opened the door to a radically new retelling of the 1997 original. The sequel, Rebirth, will likely depart even further, and I'm quivering to find out who'll live, who'll die and how I'll take to its hybrid real-time/turn-based combat after growing fond of the fluid action of Final Fantasy 16. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Life By You Early Access, March 5

In 2015, Paradox Interactive took a wild — but ultimately successful — swing at toppling Maxis' famed city-building franchise SimCity by launching Cities: Skylines. This spring, the Swedish publisher wants to unseat another legendary Maxis franchise: The Sims. Led by former Sims head Rod Humble, Paradox's Life By You is also a social simulator focusing on hyper-customizability. Clothing, furniture, houses, businesses, towns, storylines, quests — seemingly nothing is locked away from players to make their own. Let's hope Paradox's bet on customization makes for engaging gameplay, not analysis paralysis. — Alex Curley, product manager, Distribution

Homeworld 3, March 8

Homeworld 3
/ Gearbox Publishing
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Gearbox Publishing

Despite high-profile releases, 2023 didn't satisfy my hunger for an all-consuming real-time strategy game. Enter a new 2024 challenger: Homeworld 3, the space combat RTS from Blackbird Interactive. The first franchise title was revolutionary in 1999, and gameplay footage for this Spring's sequel looks just as promising. Apart from battling for galactic dominance over a dozen or more hours in the main campaign, it allows you and up to two other friends to play roguelike missions in its new War Games mode. We'll see how much Blackbird can appeal to less-experienced players while staying true to Homeworld's roots. — Alex Curley, product manager, Distribution

Unicorn Overlord, March 8

While laden with anime tropes, the narrative ambition of Vanillaware's 13 Sentinels blew me away. I hope their upcoming tactical RPG will do the same — and maybe scratch the Fire Emblem itch, too. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Dragon's Dogma 2, March 22

2012's Dragon's Dogma is one of the most unique action RPGs I've played. Often compared to Dark Souls, which came out the year earlier, the game's nearly as hardcore, with flashier class abilities and a unique pawn system that lets you recruit AI party members created by other players. The sequel will need to refine these mechanics to capture a wider audience, but Capcom's been on such a hot streak that I'm optimistic they can pull it off. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Princess Peach: Showtime!, March 22

Princess Peach: Showtime!
/ Nintendo
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Nintendo

The date 3/22/24 has been ingrained in my mind since Nintendo shared the trailer for Princess Peach: Showtime! last year. While I know that this isn't the first time she's led her own game, this feels like the first time Peach is getting the full Mario treatment with fun transformations and powerups unique to her. Kung Fu Peach? Swordfighter Peach? I can't wait! — Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, project manager, Member Partnership

Rise of the Rōnin, March 22

Last year, Team Ninja took us to China's Three Kingdoms era with Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty for an enjoyable adventure that struggled to stand out in a crowded field of excellent 2023 games. This year, with Rise of the Rōnin, they're taking us back to Japan and back to the team behind the excellent Nioh and Nioh 2 games. Rise of the Rōnin has reportedly been in development for seven years and the studio says it's their "most ambitious and challenging project" to date. If all that work marks a return to the quality of the Nioh titles, this game will be worth exploring. — Justin Lucas, Senior Director, Communications

Manor Lords, April 26

Developer Slavic Magic has been teasing a gorgeous and intriguing strategy game, Manor Lords, for over three years. Set in medieval Europe, the game is at once a city-builder, tasking you with building up manorial villages from empty fields and a strategy sim, having you defend villages from plundering bandits in real-time battles. With a publish date finally set, I'm excited to don my crown as manor lord and see if the game truly lives up to the hype. — Alex Curley, product manager, Distribution

Black Myth: Wukong
/ Game Science
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Game Science

Black Myth: Wukong, Aug. 20

Black Myth: Wukong looks like a AAA soulslike with slick action and terrifically bizarre character design. The game's impressive trailers and gameplay videos generated a lot of buzz for its relatively unknown developer, Game Science. But it's hard to know what to expect from a studio with no other major releases under its wing. If Wukong lives up to its savvy marketing, it could be a breakout success. But it's also possible that the game and the studio will end up standing out for other less favorable reasons, as reports of a culture of sexism at Game Science could sour many who might otherwise have been interested. — Justin Lucas, Senior Director, Communications

Undated 2024

Avowed

Obsidian Entertainment has commanded respect for RPGs like Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2. Their upcoming first-person fantasy game set in the Pillars of Eternity universe should be no exception. It wouldn't be surprising if Avowed not only provided a capable substitute to hold players over for the long-awaited Elder Scrolls 6 but also raised the bar for Bethesda as they worked on their follow-up to Skyrim. — Corey Bridges, assistant producer, The Indicator

Baby Steps
/ Devolver Digital
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Devolver Digital

Baby Steps

The ever-brilliant Bennett Foddy (of QWOP and Getting Over It fame) is back with another impish physics game. Billed as a "literal walking simulator," Baby Steps has you independently control each of the player character's legs, forcing you to think through locomotion you'd normally take for granted — to what I'm sure will be hilarious results. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Camper Van: Make it Home

Camper Van: Make it Home looks like the quintessential cozy game — chill music, a calming color scheme, and a simple premise that offers so much space for customization and control. I don't know about you, but I've always dreamed of just unplugging and traveling the world in my own personal camper van, and soon, I will be able to do so from the comfort of my couch. — Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, project manager, Member Partnership

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

We've seen little about this upcoming expansion to 2022 masterpiece Elden Ring, other than that it appears to feature Miquella, a character shrouded in mystery so deep it makes the game's obtuse lore look transparent by comparison. But FromSoftware has a reputation for incomparable DLC, so I'm confident it'll give me more than enough reason to return to the Lands Between. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Frostpunk 2

Developer 11 Bit Studios is upping the scale of their award-winning city-builder with Frostpunk 2. Set 30 years after the apocalyptic events of Frostpunk, the meager colony of the first game has grown into a full-blown metropolis, shifting the focus away from mere survival and ensuring its stability. It's a change that will transform gameplay mechanics critics fell in love with to something more akin to Tropico 6 or Civilization 6 — a notable risk for a franchise with a winning formula. In any case, I'm excited to return to the outskirts of nuclear winter London to test my mettle again. — Alex Curley, product manager, Distribution

Hades 2 Early Access

Hades 2
/ Supergiant Games
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Supergiant Games

Will 2024 be the year we actually get Early Access to Hades 2? Supposedly! It's hard not to be impatient as I write up my most anticipated games blurb for the same game two years running, but honestly, I'll wait however long it takes. From indie studio Supergiant, Hades 2 promises to bring the same enthralling romance and combat as its 2020 predecessor, Hades. This time, we'll join a new hero in Melinoe, our de-facto princess of Hell, as she embarks on a mission to kill Chronos, who is technically her grandpa. But while I love some Greek mythology, what made me really fall in love with the series is Supergiant's commitment to a gorgeous style that drips out of every conversation and combat arena. Early access release is set for Q2 2024, but whenever it drops, I'll be here ... waiting. — Megan Lim, All Things Considered Producer

Hollow Knight: Silksong

There's more discourse than news about this sequel to indie darling Hollow Knight, which was also one of our most anticipated games of 2023. Team Cherry's social media pages haven't been updated in a long time, but I'm still hopeful. Game development is tough, and I'm content to wait while the studio takes its time to make Silksong as beautiful and visceral as the first game. — River Williamson, Software Engineer

Last Time I Saw You

I'm a huge fan of publisher Chorus Worldwide. The trailer for Last Time I Saw You brought back such fond memories of 2023's A Space for the Unbound that I immediately wishlisted it on Steam. I'm looking forward to gorgeous artwork, a mesmerizing soundtrack and an emotional rollercoaster of a story. — Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, project manager, Member Partnership

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
/ GSC Game World
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GSC Game World

After many delays, the latest in this Tarkovsky-inspired shooter series may arrive by the first quarter of this year. It is made by Ukrainian developers who have kept at it despite the encroachments of a very real war. — James Mastromarino, NPR Gaming lead and Here & Now producer

Star Wars Outlaws

While the Star Wars brand is reaching the point of oversaturation, I'm admittedly excited about the prospect of a truly open-world Star Wars game where I'm not playing as someone with force sensitivity (at least as far as I know). If Ubisoft can pull off what's looking to be a grounded single-player adventure game and provide a captivating story, it has a chance of being one of my favorite pieces of Star Wars media ever. That's a big if, but I hope Star Wars: Outlaws lives up to the hype. — Corey Bridges, assistant producer, The Indicator

Stormgate

We already knew about Stormgate before this winter's Game Awards. But it felt much more real when actor Simu Liu appeared onstage on Dec. 7 to tease his role in Frost Giant's upcoming competitive real-time strategy game. It's obvious that Stormgate's developers, which include Starcraft veterans, are trying to position the game as the next big esports RTS in a market where decade-old titles have stagnated. With the promise of more responsive gameplay and modern netcode, I'm curious to see if they'll actually succeed. — Alex Curley, product manager, Distribution

The Casting of Frank Stone

I'm a sucker for the kind of interactive horror movies that Supermassive Games makes in titles like The Quarry and Until Dawn. I was pleasantly surprised that they're now teaming up with the studio behind Dead by Daylight for a new horror mystery story. I'm looking forward to putting in multiple playthroughs and seeing how the story can play out. — Corey Bridges, assistant producer, The Indicator

The Wolf Among Us 2

The Wolf Among Us 2 was on mymost anticipated games list for 2023, and Telltale Games has indicated that they're now targeting a 2024 release. Ten years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but I'm a huge fan of the Fables comics and can't wait to return to Fabletown. — Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, project manager, Member Partnership

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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.
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