Landmark year(s) for RPG gaming?

Some of the release dates are a bit hazy but it’s looking to be interesting year for RPG video games. I’ll start with the big two:

Dragon Age, Bioware
I was initially put off this long developed title thanks to a crappy “story” trailer. I was later sated by the awesome gameplay trailer that looks like a 3D version of an old Infinity Engine game:

Great stuff. Release Date? Early 2009 is the best Bioware has offered. Far enough away for me to enjoy other gaming goodness coming down the pipeline. Check out the recent interview with Greg Zeschuk, Co-Founder, BioWare over at MTV Games.

Diablo 3, Blizzard
I shouldn’t have to say much here. Unlike some fans, I think that Diablo 3 looks pretty frickin’ cool. The major downside here is that lack of release date. Looking at the gameplay trailer for Dragon Age above and the Diablo 3 gameplay trailer I wouldn’t be surprised if an early (winter or spring) 2009 release date isn’t in the cards:

So what else is coming worth looking at?

NWN2: Storm of Zehir, Obsidian
Much like Dragon Age, the latest Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion plays to the fans of the old school Bioware/Black Isle games offering full-party customization (like Icewind Dale) and free-form dungeon exploration (like Chapter 2 of Baldur’s Gate 2 with its bajillion and a half side-quests). The wiki entry mentions it foreshadows the big cataclysmic events that precede the change to 4e Forgotten Realms. It is from the wiki entry so I don’t know how much stock to put into that. On the other hand Wizards of the Coast hasn’t announced any info on where the D&D video game license is going with the advent of 4e so tying the game closer to the Pen and Paper FR might make sense. Release date is supposed late 2008 but I wouldn’t be surprised by early 2009 as well.
Divinity 2, Larian Studios
The original game, Divine Divinity, was heckled for its rather silly name and accused of being a Diablo clone. The former I can’t argue against but the latter was rather unjust. Divine Divinity had more in common with Baldur’s Gate than it did with Diablo thanks to its focus on character and story over intense action. I never did beat the game, it was pretty massive, but certainly have fond memories of playing (and dying, frequently) and of the solid music backing the game. No release date as of yet.
The Witcher: Expanded Edition, CD Projekt
The game already came out in the states once already but the folks at CD Projekt weren’t happy with how things turned out so they decided to patch things up, fix the translation, throw in some new content and release the game. It’ll be available as a full retail product and, I think, as an expansion for current owners. A dark, adult oriented action RPG it was a game I wanted to play but missed out on in it’s initial release that I hope to catch again. Release date is mid-September.
Fallout 3, Bethesda
I’ve mentioned it before, if you don’t know about it you should.

There are other titles that I didn’t mention here like Fable 2, Too Human and a new game from old Gothic team, and I wouldn’t be surprised by new announcements and sleeper titles over the next few months but the above titles represent the titles I am most excited about.

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