It’s been a strange ninth console generation so far, but finally, video games are looking to pick up in 2023!

After COVID-19-related production issues, component shortages, lack of promotional events like E3, and distribution difficulties, the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles are slowly becoming easier to find, just in time for their game libraries to gain some serious traction this year. The Nintendo Switch also continues to hang on, despite its age beginning to show at the fast-approaching six-year mark, though even then, Nintendo’s own hybrid console no doubt has plenty on deck itself this year. Speaking of decks, PC gamers ae enjoying their own hybrid at this point to boot, as the Steam Deck is now widely available, thus allowing PC gamers to more easily take their experiences on the go. This is on top of cloud services like NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Gaming also continuing to gain more users, despite the imminent shutdown of Google’s cloud gaming service, Google Stadia, and the largely unremarkable soft release of Amazon’s competitor, Luna.

With gaming fully ready to bounce back in 2023, there’s naturally a lot to look forward to this year, regardless of your platform of choice. Thus, I’m counting down my Top Ten Most Anticipated Video Games of 2023, with the usual caveats in place; No remasters, ports, special editions, or anything that brings back a gaming experience from a previous year. This is only new games, though with that being said, I do want to give honourable mentions to a handful of remakes that I’m excited to play this year, even if they weren’t eligible for the list proper:

 

HONOURABLE MENTION #1: Resident Evil 4

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S

Release Date: March 24th

WHY: To be clear, 2005’s original build of Resident Evil 4 remains easily one of the greatest horror video games of all time. It arguably doesn’t need a remake. Even so, Capcom’s ambitious effort to overhaul and modernize the experience is certainly bold, and I have to admit, everything I’ve seen of this remake so far looks pretty promising. Even a smoother, more refined variation of Resident Evil 4’s gameplay, with some potentially expanded or newly-added story segments, is more than enough for me to be excited about this remake, even if it’s not one I necessarily needed. I just hope that the president’s daughter gets a little smarter in 2023 than she was in 2005. Ashley just had to ruin a nearly perfect video game…

 

HONOURABLE MENTION #2: Dead Space

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S

Release Date: January 27th

WHY: One strange theme that 2023 seems to be sporting is high-powered horror video game remakes, with Dead Space arriving ahead of Resident Evil 4 in just a couple of short weeks at the time of writing. Dead Space is a criminally underserved EA property that has lain dormant since the end of the Xbox 360/PS3 era, and finally, it will be taking another shot at the limelight early this year. This remake promises to leave most of the original game’s storyline intact, but with a modern overhaul to the gameplay. Seeing as outer space-themed horror also seems to be in vogue again, between the recent Returnal and The Callisto Protocol from last year, Dead Space’s return timing feels apt, and here’s hoping that it finds success, so this IP can once again join EA’s finest triple-A offerings for single-player gamers!

 

HONOURABLE MENTION #3: Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Release Date: February 21st

WHY: Set to officially kick off the Yakuza franchise’s name change to its Japanese namesake, Like a Dragon in international markets, Like a Dragon: Ishin! promises to bring a formerly Japan-exclusive spin-off to the West. Set in Edo, Japan during 1866, this samurai-themed spin-off provides a new historical spin to the familiar action-RPG gameplay of Yakuza/Like a Dragon, telling a sidestory that recasts familiar personalities from the franchise in new roles. Staple franchise modes and gameplay are maintained here, and frankly, the core concept of a Yakuza/Like a Dragon game set in 19th Century Japan is enough to have me intrigued. While this is technically a remaster of a Japanese PS3/PS4 game from 2014 as well, it’s more or less considered an all-new release for English-speaking gamers like myself, since this will be the first time that we’re able to experience this interesting side chapter in the Yakuza/Like a Dragon canon. I’m glad that Sega is now pledging to bring this ‘lost’ game in the franchise outside of Japan for the first time, something that definitively proves just how popular Yakuza/Like a Dragon has become outside of its native country, since the series’ humble origins on the PS2.

 

 

Alright, with that out of the way, it’s time to count down my list proper. Here are my Top Ten Most Anticipated Video Games of 2023:

 

 

#10: Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Release Date: TBA 2023

WHY: Back in the day, there was a lovely little RPG series I enjoyed called Suikoden. Then Konami stopped making Suikoden games after the PS2 era (save for one Nintendo DS offshoot), and I was very sad. Then, Suikoden’s creators formed a new development studio, Rabbit & Bear Studios, and announced a Kickstarter campaign for a spiritual successor, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a project that was funded in just a few hours, and hit all of its stretch goals. Because a lot of people like Suikoden.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is finally due for release in 2023, after releasing an action-RPG predecessor, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, last year. Like Suikoden, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes promises a retro-style console RPG experience with a hundred characters’ worth of recruitable personalities, realized within an all-new franchise and universe, one independent of the clutches of Konami. We may not know much about Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes at this point, but just the fact that I can finally relive one of my favourite childhood RPG’s allowed it to squeak onto the bottom of my list. In a move that I’m sure is entirely coincidental to boot, Konami also happens to be remastering the first two Suikoden games for modern platforms later this year, giving me even more ways to relive some fond memories. 2023 is looking like it may be another strong year for my RPG itch, and as much as the genre has advanced radically with cutting-edge action-based RPG’s like Final Fantasy VII Remake and NieR: Automata, I’ll always have a craving for old-school RPG’s, turn-based combat and all.

 

#9: Assassin’s Creed Mirage

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Luna

Release Date: TBA 2023

WHY: I admit, I’ve fallen out with the Assassin’s Creed franchise lately. A lot of that is due to the outrageous time sink that the series has become as well, especially for someone like me that can’t easily devote all their time to just one video game. Fortunately, Assassin’s Creed Mirage seems to be the answer to this problem that I, and many others have developed with the series’ enormous recent entries.

Originally spawning from an aborted DLC expansion to 2020’s previous Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Assassin’s Creed Mirage ultimately evolved into a full-fledged standalone video game release, starring Assassin’s Creed Valhalla supporting character, Basim Ibn Ishaq within 9th Century Baghdad. The game promises to shirk the open-world, RPG-focused style of the past few entries, in favour of a shorter, more stealth-focused action title that harkens back to the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s roots. Thus, it could be an ideal excuse for people like me to catch up with the Assassin’s Creed series, something I’m fairly excited to do this year, considering that I sunk entirely too much time into games like Assassin’s Creed II back in the day. If Assassin’s Creed Mirage can take me back there, perhaps I can finally reignite my strained love affair with Ubisoft’s flagship modern IP.

 

#8: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S

Release Date: March 17th

WHY: 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order dared to ask the question, “What if EA just published a good single-player Star Wars game that people would like?” As it turns out, the multi-million-selling game was so enjoyable and so commercially successful that it appeared to restore EA’s faith in single-player games, making it no wonder that EA and developer, Respawn Entertainment would want to fast-track a sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Despite being a bit glitchy, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is probably the most fun I’ve had with a Star Wars game since the turn of the millennium. It finally gave franchise fans like me a strong, single-player-focused offering that expanded Disney’s Star Wars canon with a cool side story, one surrounding a, well, survivor of Order 66’s Jedi extermination, Cal Kestis. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor picks up five years after the events of the original game, promising refined lightsaber combat, new enemies, and another thrilling side story in Disney’s Star Wars universe. Even if this is just a mere refinement of the same high points from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, I’m nonetheless looking forward to another quality adventure with Cal, as he continues teasing the foundation for more all-new single-player games set within the Star Wars universe. We could definitely use more of them!

 

#7: Hollow Knight: Silksong

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Release Date: Spring 2023

WHY: Hollow Knight is one of the best indie games you can play. A ‘Metroidvania’-style action-adventure game set in a bleak, beautifully animated world, Hollow Knight is a gorgeous, challenging gauntlet that will finally be expanded upon with a follow-up in 2023.

Starring a new protagonist, Hornet, a former enemy from the original game, Hollow Knight: Silksong tweaks the gameplay with a speedier, more challenging new setting, as well as altered mechanics built around the use of silk. Kidnapped and placed in a foreign land, players are charged with climbing through the mysterious land of Pharloom, in order to get to a citadel at its peak. How? Why? I guess those answers are something to look forward to later. This is another game that I’m excited to play largely because its predecessor was just so damn good, but every bit of footage shown so far for Hollow Knight: Silksong also seems to prove that it will be just as impressive and rewarding as its 2017 predecessor. As much as I love many indie games, few have managed to compare to Hollow Knight, and I feel certain that developer, Team Cherry will make a great thing even better with Hollow Knight: Silksong later this year.

 

#6: Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S

Release Date: May 26th

WHY: When 2015’s Batman: Arkham Knight appeared to wrap up its fan-favourite DC video game franchise, developer, Rocksteady went dark. They wouldn’t emerge again for many years, until they finally revealed that they would remain at work on DC Universe-inspired video game properties, while also continuing their Batman: Arkham universe with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

The hook is pretty much perfectly indicated in the game’s title; Taking control of regular Suicide Squad members, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark and Captain Boomerang, players are tasked with exploring Superman’s home city of Metropolis, after the Justice League ends up being brainwashed by Superman villain, Brainiac. With a desperate government forced to take drastic measures, the Suicide Squad is thus literally tasked with killing the Justice League, taking on turned DC heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and even Batman. On that note, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League also marks the final voiceover performance of regular Batman voice actor, Kevin Conroy, who sadly passed away in November 2022, after voicing various animated Batman portrayals since the early 90’s.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a co-operative action-adventure game wherein players can either swap between, or assemble a simultaenous multiplayer squad of the four playable characters, with many gameplay details still shrouded in mystery at this point. Even so, the game’s ingenious hook has me absolutely tickled as a longtime DC fan, not to mention that I’m very eager to revisit the Batman: Arkham canon. It will be bittersweet for the game to feature the final Kevin Conroy performance, perhaps before DC starts allegedly re-inventing their video game slate to better share continuity with their upcoming movies and TV shows (as teased by DC Studios co-head, James Gunn), but as someone who has developed a bit of a love affair with the Suicide Squad in recent years, this is a game I’ve been waiting for since before it was even announced. Now, to see which of my friends are willing to brave it with me…

 

#5: Starfield

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X|S

Release Date: Spring 2023

WHY: Xbox finally looks to be taking some serious steps when it comes to correcting its IP problem this year, with Starfield finally promising to pioneer a truly robust single-player experience that the Xbox community can be proud to call its own.

Standing as the first new Bethesda IP in decades, Starfield is a sci-fi RPG set in 24th Century deep space. Unfolding in a similar style as Bethesda’s flagship Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises, players can create a custom character and enjoy a lengthy adventure full of space exploration, combat and what promises to be a more relatively grounded take on space navigation compared to most video games. Once again, Bethesda is currently keeping many elements of Starfield’s gameplay a secret, but I’m just happy to finally have a more single-player-focused Xbox IP to enjoy in the near future, something that Microsoft hasn’t effectively delivered since the days of Fable. Even the fundamental idea of ‘Elder Scrolls in space’ is enough to have most of us gamers sold though, regardless of which platform it’s planning to call home.

 

#4: Hogwarts Legacy

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Release Date: February 10th (PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S), April 4th (PlayStation 4, Xbox One), July 25th (Nintendo Switch)

WHY: I’m amazed that the Harry Potter/Wizarding World franchise hasn’t made a more aggressive expansion into mainstream video games before now. Finally, developer, Avalanche Software and Warner Bros. aim to change that with Hogwarts Legacy, under Warner Bros. Games’ new Wizarding World-focused Portkey Games label.

Set in the late 19th Century, Hogwarts Legacy goes back even further in the franchise’s timeline than the recent Fantastic Beasts movies. Players design a custom student character in their fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, one that is capable of, “Manipulating the mysteries of ancient magic.” From there, players become involved in elements of the Harry Potter franchise’s distant backstory, such as the Goblin Rebellion, and the initial rise of what seems to later become the Death Eaters, complete with players even being able to wield dark magic of their own, if they so choose.

Hogwarts Legacy is the most ambitious, large-scale virtual recreation of the titular wizard school to date, and while I’m not a massive Harry Potter enthusiast myself (especially compared to my highly devout friends!), even I’ve been incredibly impressed with what I’ve seen of this game so far. Everything from the spell-based combat, to the recreation of Hogwarts, to the appearance of legacy characters like Nearly Headless Nick and Peeves, feels very true to the Harry Potter universe, as well as a crafty new spin on action-RPG gaming in general. Even though I favour many other fantasy franchises ahead of this one, perhaps now is the time for my Harry Potter fandom to kick into a higher gear, hopefully signaling a promising debut for an all-new future for the franchise in triple-A gaming.

 

#3: Final Fantasy XVI

Platforms: PlayStation 5

Release Date: June 22nd

WHY: 2023 is so far looking surprisingly light on first-party PlayStation exclusives. Still, Sony appears to be compensating with a handful of third-party exclusives this year, with the biggest of which arguably being Final Fantasy XVI.

I’ve adored the Final Fantasy franchise throughout my whole life, so it was inevitable that Final Fantasy XVI would place high on this list. While it will be maintaining the action-focused combat that I continue to have mixed feelings about, the game nonetheless looks absolutely gorgeous, while also presenting a darker, more mature story for the franchise. Taking place in the fictional new world of Valisthea, players control protagonist, Clive Rosfield, bodyguard to Joshua, a ‘Dominant’ that controls the ‘Eikon’, Phoenix. Being rather transparently inspired by Game of Thrones, Final Fantasy XVI features a variety of kingdoms that are themed around the Final Fantasy franchise’s familiar ‘summon beasts’, from the ice queen, Shiva to the earth giant, Titan to the fire demon, Ifrit, among others. Inevitably, war will break out between these nations, Joshua plays a big part in that, and the plot appears to build itself around Clive’s quest for vengeance amid growing political unrest, eventually resulting in direct battle between the Eikons.

Unsurprisingly, publisher, Square Enix doesn’t want to reveal much about Final Fantasy XVI’s story before release, but I absolutely love the concept, and feel much more grabbed by it than I did the past few entries in the series. Its dark, medieval tone feels like a callback to the underappreciated Final Fantasy XII, and the heavy integration of the summon beasts into the storyline is music to the ears of longtime fans like myself. I’m also very intrigued to see the mainline Final Fantasy series take on a darker tone here, complete with a confirmed M-rating, a first for the series’ mainline titles. I may not be entirely sold on some of the series’ modern gameplay, but Final Fantasy nonetheless holds a special place in my heart, and I’ve been looking forward to what’s next for the series’ mainline offerings since I first brought my PS5 home.

 

#2: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Platforms: PlayStation 5

Release Date: Fall 2023

Among the paltry known lineup of PlayStation exclusives in 2023, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is easily the most exciting, especially for an avid Marvel enthusiast like myself.

The original Marvel’s Spider-Man was easily one of the best overall games of 2018, let alone PlayStation games, finally delivering a truly next-gen, triple-A experience for the Web-Slinger. While little is known about Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 at this point (surprise), it is expected by the end of this year, and will seemingly feature both Peter Parker’s and Miles Morales’ Spider-Men as playable characters. The game will also seemingly feature iconic anti-hero, Venom as an antagonist, as revealed by its initial teaser trailer.

I’d be hard pressed to name a better Spider-Man game than Marvel’s Spider-Man, so to have Sony and developer, Insomniac Games back at a sequel is already enough to get me and many others excited. The inclusion of Venom as either an enemy or a third playable character (perhaps both?) is all the better, even though many of the Marvel Universe’s best Spidey foes were already featured in some form during the original Marvel’s Spider-Man. We’ll have to see what else this sequel can come up with, but even with barely a scrap of teaser footage released so far, I’m already confident that this will be one of the best games of 2023, as it seems poised to take an excellent single-player action game foundation, and make it even better!

 

#1: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Release Date: May 12th

WHY: It’s been a staggering six years since the Nintendo Switch launch, and the initial release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Finally, in 2023, that highly beloved Nintendo Switch launch title will be getting its long-awaited sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Featuring a robust open-world akin to the one offered in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom seems largely built off of unused ideas from its 2017 predecessor, but when that game already feels like such a masterstroke of open-world game design, it’s tough to complain. Indeed, Nintendo has already proven that their often eccentrically brilliant unused ideas can sustain a pretty fantastic video game on their own, as 2010’s Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii, easily one of the best mainline Mario games ever made, was only produced because its developers had so many ideas for the original Super Mario Galaxy’s gameplay that they couldn’t ultimately use, due to time and storage constraints.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom seems to include another time travel element, a regular staple of the franchise, as well as more vertical exploration of its new setting. Beyond that, not much is currently known about the game (I’m sensing a theme among 2023’s upcoming game promotion…), but any Legend of Zelda fan can certainly tell you that Nintendo is definitely not of the habit of disappointing within this all-star franchise. As a massive enthusiast of the series myself, I’m extremely excited to see its next major evolution. The Nintendo Switch may be getting a little long-in-the-tooth by 2023, but it still seems to be trucking on with some exciting exclusives, and after the Legend of Zelda series’ outstanding pedigree, it’s simply no contest; This is my most anticipated video game release of 2023!

 

What are your most anticipated video games of this coming year? Did I miss anything exciting? I almost certainly did, as this looks to be the first truly outstanding year for the current generation of gaming platforms, despite the relative secrecy surrounding many upcoming titles, likely due to the recent lack of major gaming showcase events caused by COVID-19. Either way, here’s to an exciting new year for video games, and a year of consoles that we can actually find in stores for the first time.

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