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Thursday, February 2, 2023

The 12 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2023

2023 is shaping up to be a huge year for gaming, with almost wall-to-wall releases coming out at least once a month, though in some instances more like once a week. The new year could potentially bring on record-breaking sales, although delays of some of the year’s biggest games are always on the table, given the crowded release schedule.

It’s always difficult to predict where industry trends may head, but E3 will finally return to its in-person event format in mid-June, giving us all a better understanding of what to expect from video gaming not only over the second half of the year, but the next couple years as well. Hopefully fans will get some inkling of what’s next from Naughty Dog, Bioware, Square Enix, and video gaming’s other most popular developers, along with cool new indie titles that are a little harder to predict this far out.
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It’s also shaping up to be a big year for video games in film and television: January will see the release of the highly-anticipated HBO series The Last of Us, an adaptation of Naughty Dog’s iconic game, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. March will see the release of Tetris, a bio-drama starring Taron Egerton, centered on the legal battle to obtain the rights to one of video gaming’s earliest properties. And in April, the CG animated film The Super Mario Bros. Movie starring Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, and Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong will attempt to give Nintendo a film franchise. Neil Blomkamp will bring Gran Turismo to the big-screen, with a film based on a true story in which a teenager graduates from the GT Academy and starts on the path to becoming a professional race car driver. The film is set to star David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, and Djimon Hounsou.

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But of course, the thing we’re all most looking forward to are the new game releases that will give us hours of entertainment, challenge our motor and critical thinking skills, and hopefully bring experiences that will haunt, inspire, and encourage creativity and empathy. So, let’s get into it!

Read more: The 10 Best Video Games of 2022

Dead Space Remake (Jan. 27)

It’s been nearly a decade since a new Dead Space hit consoles. Rather than opt for a fourth entry, EA is returning to the game that started it all with a remake of 2008’s Dead Space. Set in the 26th century, the game follows engineer Isaac Clarke who, after receiving a distress call from his girlfriend, boards the mining ship the USG Ishimura and finds most of the crew horribly mutated by some unknown force. The original, inspired by the works of sci-fi greats including Ridley Scott, John Carpenter, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, is notable for being one the best horror games, and the remake looks to improve upon its visuals and mechanics and give fans both new and old a new reason to fear the dark.

Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

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Hogwarts Legacy (Feb. 10)

Warner Bros. Interactive is taking gamers into the Wizarding World with an open-world single player RPG that will allow players to customize a character and attend Hogwarts as a fifth-year student in the 1890s. Beyond attending classes, learning spells, taming fantastic beasts, and exploring both the familiar and unfamiliar areas of Hogwarts, players will find themselves in the midst of a dark conspiracy that threatens the magical community. The game is not without its share of warranted pre-release controversy. Though J.K. Rowling was not directly involved in the game’s development, lead designer Troy Leavitt was associated with the right-wing, anti-progressiveness campaign Gamergate, and eventually left the project and the studio. Additionally, the game’s partial focus on the Goblin Rebellion and players being tasked with suppressing it has garnered concern given the antisemitic tropes that the goblins have been criticized for exhibiting in the source material. While there’s no denying the online enthusiasm for the game, and the diverse background of its team of developers, your feelings of magic may vary.

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (March 17)

The force is strong with Respawn Entertainment and EA’s sequel to 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Survivor once again finds Jedi Knight Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan) attempting to restore balance to the galaxy five years after the events of the first game, and 10 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. While the first gameplay trailer released at the Game Awards last week was cagey with plot details, Kestis will face new adversaries as one of the most wanted men in the galaxy and will have access to new lightsabers and animal companions this time around. Like the first game, Survivor is firmly established in continuity, which means Star Wars fans can expect plenty of Easter eggs and connective tissue tying the game to the ever-expanding Star Wars franchise across film, television, books, and comics.

Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

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Resident Evil 4 Remake (March 24)

Capcom has been on a roll with remakes of their iconic Resident Evil series, and now they’ve reached the entry that most fans consider the best of the survival-horror franchise. Resident Evil 4 sees the return of protagonist Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 2, now a U.S. agent tasked with rescuing the President’s daughter from a Spanish village controlled by a parasite-infested cult. Like the previous RE remakes, Resident Evil 4 will retain the same basic story of the original while reimagining some elements, delivering new puzzles, boss battles, and locations. Given the success of the original, this may be Capcom’s best RE game yet.

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (May 12)

Nintendo’s long-anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild (2017) has remained largely shrouded in mystery. Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma will be utilizing story elements and concepts they weren’t able to implement in the Breath of the Wild DLCs. While the story has yet to be revealed, Tears of the Kingdom will find Link exploring the open-world floating islands above Hyrule, and traversing the skies by soaring from island to Island. Undoubtedly, the puzzles, side-quests, and emphasis on exploration that made its predecessor one of the highest-rated and best-selling games of all time will be present here, and find new and creative ways to challenge players.

Available on Nintendo Switch

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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (May 26)

After years of rumors and false starts, Rocksteady finally returns with another game set within their popular Batman: Arkham franchise. This time around, the developer is expanding beyond the world of Gotham and Batman by introducing the Suicide Squad and dropping them square in the middle of Metropolis. There, they must face off against the Justice League, who have been brainwashed by Brainiac, who has designs on invading Earth. Players will be able to switch between playable characters Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark in single-player or co-op. Set after the events of Batman: Arkham Knight, the game will prioritize open-world exploration and combat, with challenges and side missions related to DC Comics’ extensive comic book lore. The game will also feature the final vocal performance of Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne following his tragic passing in November.

Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

Diablo IV (June 6)

The latest installment of Diablo from Blizzard Entertainment continues the battle between Heaven and Hell, this time adding a new wrinkle in the form of the Nephalem, a race of angel and demon hybrids to which the game’s protagonist will belong. Diablo IV will once again allow players to pick their class—Barbarian, Sorceress, Druid, Rogue, and Necromancer, but with more options to customize their character. Following the formula of the previous game, players will hack, slash, and loot their way through dungeons, obtaining better gear and weapons and facing tougher enemies. At the end of that list of enemies is Lilith, Daughter of Mephisto, who is resurrected and has her sights set on the world of Sanctuary. Unlike the previous games, Diablo IV will be open-world, and online-only, allowing for player versus player interactions. The only downside is the inclusion of micro-transactions for cosmetic items, which may make for a whole other type of hell for gamers who want to take full advantage of the customization options.

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

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Final Fantasy XVI (June 22)

Square Enix’s 16th installment in the long-running Final Fantasy franchise is set in the world of Valisthea, controlled by six factions whose long-held peace collapses with the arrival of the Blight and the involvement of monsters called Dominants that manifest through humans. Like the previous mainline entries in the Final Fantasy franchise, the latest game stands on its own and will tell its own complete story. In other words, newcomers to the series shouldn’t feel daunted by the those looming Roman numerals. Expect a lore-heavy game like the previous entries. But one significant change will be a refined action combat system instead of the turn-based combat of the previous entries, which will likely give XVI a larger appeal and undoubtedly attract gamers who are looking for the next great fantasy RPG following Elden Ring.

Available on PlayStation 5

Alan Wake II (TBA)

Thirteen years after the release of the mind-bending original game, Remedy Entertainment will return to the story of Alan Wake, a thriller novelist whose attempt to uncover the mystery of his wife’s disappearance in the town of Bright Falls saw the plot of his latest come to life around him. The original game, which drew inspiration from the works of Stephen King, The Twilight Zone, and Twin Peaks, has amassed a cult following since its release. Remedy, along with the game’s writer Sam Lake, has continued Wake’s story in DLCs, and the 2019 game Control, which formed a Remedy shared universe. Announced two years ago at the Game Awards, Alan Wake II will, according to Lake, venture further into the realm of survival horror as Wake finds himself at the center of a new mystery. As with the first game, a large part of the anticipation for the sequel comes from the intrigue surrounding the game’s plot, certain to feature many twists and turns. In what’s shaping up to be a great year for survival-horror, Alan Wake II stands a strong chance to be among the best of next year’s releases.

Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

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Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (TBA)

Not content to rest on their laurels after winning game of the year for Elden Ring, FromSoftware is engineering a new installment of the Armored Core series. In Fires of Rubicon, players take control of an Armored Core, vehicular combat mech, and take on various jobs as a mercenary on Rubicon 3, a flaming planet in search of a new energy resource. Directing the latest entry is Masaru Yamamura, lead designer of FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. In other words, expect a challenge. It’s been a decade and two console cycles since the last Armored Core game, meaning Fires of Rubicon will be many players’ first exposure to the franchise. The series, infamous for its multitude of button-mashing combos and emphasis on trial and error, could be the science fiction answer to Dark Souls gamers have been searching for.

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

Spider-Man 2 (TBA)

Insomniac’s Spider-Man (2018) and Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020) are two of the best superhero games ever made, perfectly capturing everything fans love about the characters, and offering unique abilities, unlockable costumes, hundreds of Easter eggs, and reimagined antagonists and supporting characters that still retain the element of surprise no matter how big of a Spidey fan you are. There’s little doubt that the upcoming sequel will fall in the same arena. Peter Parker and Miles Morales will both take center stage as Spider-Man in the sequel, presumably with specific story missions and side quests pertaining to each character. The central villains of the game will be Kraven the Hunter, and Venom, voiced by the legendary Tony Todd. While it’s been over a year since the first teaser trailer, Insomniac has assured fans that big things are coming. The anticipation is enough to get anyone’s Spidey sense tingling.

Available on PlayStation 5

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Judas (TBA)

The biggest moment of the 2022 game awards came with the reveal of Bioshock creator Ken Levine’s new, single-person, first-person shooter, Judas. Developed by Ghost-Story games, Judas appears to take elements from the Bioshock franchise, and System Shock before it, with a variety of weapons and upgradable powers. The game, set on a starship seemingly overrun with animatronics, will find players in control of the mysterious Judas, who must make and break alliances in order to survive. The synopsis suggests there will be elements of choice, possibly to an even greater significance than the Bioshock trilogy. Design elements and the trailer’s song choice, the sea shanty “Leave Her, Johnny” suggest elements of nostalgia, which was also a major theme in Bioshock. But of course, this is a Ken Levine game we’re talking about, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Judas is sure to push the storytelling merits of first-person shooters forward yet again.

Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

from TIME
via Time.com

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