A new year may mean short-lived resolutions for some, but for us, it means fresh new releases coming to our consoles and PCs! And if there’s one thing that warms this gamer girl’s heart, it’s a woman protagonist: there’s nothing quite like seeing someone who reminds you of yourself on screen. Here are a few early 2023 new releases to look out for that feature female (including two WOC!!) main characters.
SEASON: A Letter To The Future
Released in late January 2023, SEASON: A Letter To The Future is already making waves in the indie gaming scene for its stunning visuals and vibrant storytelling. The main character, Estelle, takes it upon herself to explore and document her world in her scrapbook journal after one of her friends has a doomsday vision. Her bike, instant camera, journal, and tape recorder are her precious tools; in third-person control, you guide her journey through the Tieng valley and have her meet a wide cast of colorful characters, in a melancholic study on identity and memory. This game is all about atmosphere and vibes, making it perfect for all cozy gamers out there.
Credit: Scavengers Studios
While it was initially announced to release in 2022 (as we’d excitedly told you in our new releases’ blog last year), the adventure game Forspoken was postponed to 2023 and just released in January. The open-world role-play game tells the story of Frey Holland; originally from New York, she is transported to the fantastic world of Athia and must find her way back home by learning magic. Frey is a reluctant hero, but she finds herself entwined in Athia’s politics and corrupted land with the help of a snarky sidekick, a magic bracelet aptly named Cuff. The game has received mixed reviews, but if you love fantasy and magic-driven combat, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for in Forspoken.
Credit: Luminous Productions
ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree
Steeped in Norse mythology, the narrative-driven adventure game ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree centers on Estra, a young woman on a quest to restore balance to Midgard’s energy. You travel through the world to reach the Elder Tree and encounter beings infected by the Blue Vein, a curse said to have been unleashed after the gods abandoned Midgard. The story handles heavy and emotional themes through varied gameplay including combat, puzzles, and exploration, as well as numerous characters with whom to talk and hidden paths to discover. The game’s visual style is striking and beautifully complemented by a great soundtrack: another must for cozy gamers.
Credit: Wildboy Studios
Deliver Us Mars
A sequel to Deliver Us The Moon: Fortuna, the atmospheric sci-fi adventure game Deliver Us Mars, which is being released on February 2nd, 2023, takes place ten years later as a young astronaut named Kathy Johanson takes on a mission on the red planet. She’s tasked with retrieving colonization ships that were stolen from Earth by her own father a decade prior: Kathy’s mission is a last-chance bid to save humanity from extinction as the home planet is dying from pollution. The ships, called ARKs, were believed to be lost until a transmission confirming their integrity, and Kathy’s father’s survival, is received. The gameplay trailer released in June of last year shows a third-person perspective complete with a quirky robot sidekick, as well as impressive landscapes and spacescapes.
Credit: KeokeN Interactive
It’s not really a brand new release: Returnal was first released for Playstation back in 2021, but it has now been announced to release on PC on February 15, 2023. The roguelike third-person shooter follows the space pilot Selene Vassos as she’s stranded in a time-loop on an alien planet named Atropos. She crashed her ship after she decided to investigate a strange signal, going against her superiors’ orders: unable to communicate with them after the crash, she’s forced to explore the planet and track the mysterious signal. She stumbles on her own corpses, which signal the beginning of the time loop. Every time she dies, she’s brought back to her crashed ship and has to start exploring all over again; the planet also seems to change between every loop, proving to be unpredictably dangerous. It had received great reviews when Returnal was first released, with high points given to the combat and art style and the overall difficulty level.
Do you remember what was the first game you played with a woman, or woman of color, protagonist? Let us know in the comments!