The new year has begun, and this week I’ll be offering three lists of our most anticipated titles of the coming year in the fields of movies, television and video games, which will hopefully help serve as a practical preview of what’s to come.
We begin with gaming today, with 2023 looking to be a bumper year following a quite solid 2022. Last year saw impressive titles arriving, with PlayStation delivering two great exclusives “God of War Ragnarok” and “Horizon: Forbidden West”. Crossplatform-wise, the year was all about the Soulsborne genre breaking out big time with “Elden Ring”.
There were also some stellar indie titles too, like “Stray,” “Tunic,” “Sifu,” “Norco” and “Cult of the Lamb” along with great remakes like “The Last of Us Part I” and “The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe”. It was a year that also saw excellent PC ports of former PlayStation exclusives like “God of War” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man”.
2023 sees Microsoft, who barely made a whimper in 2022 beyond corporate acquisition headlines, come back into the fight in a big way with two massive Bethesda exclusives and a ramping up of its Game Pass titles. Sony isn’t taking it lying down with the year’s biggest superhero game, whilst Nintendo is waiting in the wings with the year’s most anticipated title.
So here’s a list of our twenty most anticipated titles and a further twenty-five honorable mentions. Due to personal preference, the focus here is mostly on single-player titles, with only a few co-op and multiplayer titles. There’s also not a lot of FPS and no real live service games either, but there’s a good mix of AAA and indie titles across platforms.
If this were restricted strictly to a ‘day one buy’ only list, then it’d be much shorter and would likely consist of the new “Spider-Man,” “Alan Wake,” “Legend of Zelda” and “Star Wars: Jedi” sequels along with “Starfield” and the “Dead Space” and “Resident Evil 4” remakes. But reviews, new trailers and all sorts of other factors come into play when purchasing, so that list could easily change:
“Assassin’s Creed Mirage” (2023)
A return to old school “Assassin’s Creed” with far fewer role-playing elements and a focus on simpler, linear storytelling and stealth gameplay in a 15-20 hour campaign. This time the action is set in 9th-century Baghdad during the Islamic Golden Age and will follow a young Basim Ibn Ishaq and his mentor (voiced by the wonderful Shohreh Aghdashloo) as he trains to become an assassin.
“Alan Wake II” (2023)
Remedy Software’s famed 2010 mystery thriller title, which shares a universe with “Control” and got a pretty good remaster last year, returns with a long-awaited follow-up. The title looks set to explore what happened to the novelist in the wake of that first game’s ending and his appearance in the “Control” DLC and will boast more of a survival horror vibe than the action-heavy approach of the original.
Jeppe Carlsen, the lead designer of Playdead’s highly acclaimed indie titles “Limbo” and “Inside”, returns with this new Danish indie puzzle adventure title from Annapurna Interactive, with players having to unravel a cosmic mystery. To do so, they must leap across worlds that exist within orbs you carry on your back.
“Dead Space” Remake (January 27th 2023)
A ground-up remake of the iconic 2008 space horror title, the entire game has been lovingly rebuilt in the Frostbite engine, with the developers paying meticulous attention to detail and showing great respect for the original. The results look very loyal but with a very next-gen look and some big quality-of-life improvements.
“Diablo IV” (June 6th 2023)
First revealed back in 2019, the release of a fourth full title in the “Diablo” series is finally upon us as players take on the new threat of Lilith. There are five character classes, five regions to visit, and some open-world elements. However, there’s still a sour taste in many people’s mouths over Blizzard and the recent mobile game’s microtransaction controversy, so there’s some understandable hesitation here.
“The Expanse: A Telltale Series” (2023)
A collaboration between “Life is Strange” developer Deck Nine Games and Telltale Games; this is a prequel spin-off of the highly acclaimed Syfy-Amazon sci-fi TV series that wrapped last year. The episodic narrative game follows Cara Gee’s memorable Belter character Camina Drummer whilst she served as XO aboard the scavenger ship Artemis in the Asteroid Belt. During that stint, a bloody mutiny breaks out.
“Final Fantasy VII Rebirth” (Winter 2023) &
“Final Fantasy XVI” (June 22nd 2023)
A double dose of “Final Fantasy” this year. On the one hand comes the middle chapter of the three-part “Final Fantasy VII” remake with ‘Rebirth’ which leaves Midgar and goes out into the wider world. On the other comes the sixteenth numbered instalment, which boasts a European medieval gothic vibe and a major conflict between multiple nations.
“Horizon: Forbidden West – Burning Shores” (April 19th 2023)
“Horizon: Call of the Mountain VR” (2023)
Guerrilla Games builds out “Horizon: Forbidden West” with the ‘Burning Shores’ DLC pack in which Aloy heads further south and encounters a sinister threat on a treacherous volcanic archipelago that was once Los Angeles. If it’s as good as the first game’s ‘Frozen Wilds’ DLC, it’ll be a must-play. In addition, they’ve built the VR game ‘Call of the Mountain’ which looks like an essential launch game buys for anyone getting a PSVR2 whenever it arrives.
“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” (May 12th 2023)
The long-awaited and much-anticipated sequel to the game-changing “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” it’s easily the most hyped release of next year and will see the game world of ‘Breath’ expand – especially vertically with a lot more locations in the sky as Link and Zelda set out to save Hyrule.
“Like a Dragon: Ishin!” (February 21st 2023)
A full-blown Unreal Engine 4 remake of the Japanese-only PS4 launch title, this is a spin-off of the “Yakuza” franchise (ala “Judgement”) but is set during Japan’s Bakumatsu period (1853-1867). It follows real-life samurai Sakamoto Ryoma as he ventures to Kyoto to find his father’s killer and ultimately end up helping push Japan into the modern industrial era.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” (Fall 2023)
Set to be 2023’s biggest PS5 western exclusive, this continues Insomniac Games’ acclaimed “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and its subsequent “Miles Morales” spin-off with a full-blown second entry that sees both Peter Parker and Miles Morales involved along with Venom (voiced by Tony Todd). The new title was designed for PS5 from the ground up, so we should see enhancements that go beyond the earlier titles.
“Resident Evil 4” Remake (March 24th 2023)
After a superbly received full-blown remake of “Resident Evil 2” (and, to a lesser extent, RE3) that played pretty loose in terms of faithfulness, Capcom takes on the challenge of a modern-day remake of the franchise’s most beloved entry. So far, the footage suggests this is sticking much more to the original in terms of spirit and look but with some serious visual upgrades.
“Starfield” (Early 2023)
Bethesda’s long-in-the-works space-exploration title marks the “Doom” and “Elder Scrolls” company’s first new intellectual property developed at the studio in over 25 years. The biggest Xbox exclusive of the year (though it’s PC also), it can be played in either first or third-person perspective and is a blend of action and RPG as you explore star systems in the 24th century.
“Star Trek: Resurgence” (April 2023)
After so many space combat, strategy or lacklustre Kelvin timeline games based on this franchise, here we finally get a slightly retro, third-person, narrative-driven tale with events taking place one year after “Star Trek: Nemesis” with a post-Dominion War Federation. The clips show a feel akin to late TNG/DS9 era Trek, which is only a good thing, even if the graphics are oddly clunky.
“Star Wars Jedi: Survivor” (March 17th 2023)
This is a direct follow-up to the very well-received 2019 single-player title “Star Wars Jedi – Fallen Order”. Set five years later, Jedi Knight Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan) seeks to survive against the hostile Galactic Empire at its height. The game will include new combat capabilities, and as it’s a next-gen-only title, it has been built with ray tracing in mind and faster load times.
“Street Fighter VI” (June 2nd 2023)
After a widely panned fifth entry, which was semi-fixed with the ‘Arcade Edition’ (that introduced a whole different problem), the sixth main entry in the series finally seems to get things right from the get-go. There’s a new Drive Gauge mechanic that’s been well received, a lovely looking new art style, a roster filled with both classic fighters and some fresh faces, customisable characters and a proper single-player campaign.
“Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League” (May 26th 2023)
Arriving eight years after their last game, “Batman: Arkham Knight,” Rocksteady Studios finally returns with the frequently delayed title, which will be set in the same ‘Arkham’ universe. Here the team of super-criminals are sent to Metropolis to stop Brainiac, who has brainwashed members of the Justice League. The project also marks Kevin Conroy’s final voice performance as Batman.
An intriguing-looking indie game inspired by the culture of New Caledonia. You play a young girl who must rescue her father from the cruel tyrant who rules the archipelago. As the girl, you have the ability to take control of any animal or object you can find in an effort to climb, glide, swim, and sail around the beautiful islands – solving puzzles, free climbing and more.
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (2023)
Games based on film and TV properties often talk about their faithfulness to the source material. Gun Interactive has gone above and beyond here, with accurate recreations of Tobe Hooper’s film setting down to the tiniest details. The asymmetrical multiplayer title has you playing either members of Leatherface’s family or their five potential victims and involves stealth, cunning and a whole lot of tension.
“Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty” (March 3rd 2023)
A Later Han Dynasty China-set dark fantasy action RPG that hails from “Nioh” developers Team NINJA, the title follows a nameless militia soldier fighting for survival across a demon-plagued Three Kingdoms. The style of gameplay very much evokes “Nioh” with a blend of brutal melee combat, exploration and RPG, along with a more acrobatic protagonist.
“Aliens: Dark Descent” – A squad-based, isometric single-player action game that puts you in control of a group of hardened Colonial Marines trying to stop a terrifying Xenomorph outbreak (and a new threat) on Moon Lethe.
“Amnesia: The Bunker” – The fourth entry in the first-person horror series unfolds within a desolate WW1 Bunker where terrors stalk the dark corridors. Use whatever tools are handy to persevere and make your way out alive.
“Arctic Awakening” – Evoking “Firewatch” in its look and style, this first-person indie narrative adventure sees you, lost in the Alaskan wilderness after a plane crash caused by… something, with your only companion, a court-mandated therapy bot.
“Atomic Heart” – A wild FPS set in an alternate 1955 Soviet Union. You play a mentally unstable KGB agent who must take down robots that went haywire along with failed biomechanical experiments. It could be great, but reports on gaming forums about conditions at the developer aren’t good.
“Dead Island 2” – The long-in-the-works full sequel to the 2011 zombie game hit, events take place in an open-world Los Angeles and San Francisco a decade later. The game has seen multiple developers come and go but appears to be on its way in 2023 finally.
“Flashback 2” – Microids is still developing this follow-up to the iconic 1993 video game thirty years later. It’s a whole new adventure for Conrad B. Hart with action, puzzles and infiltration of Neo Washington, Neo Tokyo, the jungle and a space station.
“Forspoken” – Whilst a recent demo was met with a mixed reception, interest is still high in the fantasy open-world game involving a girl from New York thrown into a realm of magic. There’s a solid pedigree behind it, but it’s a ‘wait for the reviews’ title.
“Hogwarts Legacy” & “The Lord of the Rings: Gollum” – Two games based on two of Warners’ most famous franchises, and yet both have seen multiple delays and, in the case of ‘Potter’, controversy over comments made by those involved. Gameplay videos show both titles have some interesting approaches but can they survive a tough marketplace?
“Hollow Knight: Silksong” – A sequel to the award-winning action-adventure, this time you play as Hornet – princess-protector of Hallownest. Hornet battles over 150 new enemies as she sets out on a deadly pilgrimage to the kingdom’s peak.
“The Invincible” – Polish developer Starward Industries is adapting Stanislaw Lem’s 1967 novel into a first-person game about a spaceship crew landing on a planet and must deal with hostile robots leftover from a dead civilisation.
“Judas” – “BioShock” creator Ken Levine’s first video game in a decade boasts a similar feel if narratively quite different and a more challenging approach. Highly unlikely to make it in 2023, but you never know.
“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” – This weird 1988 cult film gets an asymmetrical multiplayer game adaptation based on the film, with Teravision Games developing the title. There’s also a surprising amount of loyalty to the original film’s design.
“Lies of P” – The Pinocchio story by way of “Bloodborne”. This NeoWiz title unfolds in a dark Belle Epoque world overrun with bloodlust. Pinocchio, a puppet mechanoid, sets out on an unrelenting journey to become human and find the mysterious Mr. Geppetto.
“Octopath Traveler II” – The follow-up to 2018’s best-selling title, the game again fuses retro pixel art and 3D CG and sees you play one of eight new travellers exploring the steam-powered sea-faring civilisation of Solistia.
“Oxenfree II: Lost Signals” – A follow-up to the acclaimed choice-driven indie, the new one takes place five years later as Riley returns to her coastal hometown of Camena to investigate mysterious radio signals.
“Planet Of Lana” – There’s a rather lovely looking hand-painted visual style to this narrative platformer which follows a young woman, and her newfound alien friend, who work together and traverse a rocky forest world invaded by alien robots.
“Redfall” – Arkane Austin, best known for the “Dishonored” and “Prey” games, is behind this open-world first-person shooter that can be both single-player and co-op as you and your team of varied backgrounds, fight against vampires who have taken over a Massachusetts island town following a failed scientific experiment.
“Replaced” – A pixel art-styled, narrative-driven, 2.5D sci-fi retro-futuristic action platformer, the game sees you play as R.E.A.C.H – an artificial intelligence trapped in a human body against its own will in a dystopian alternate 1980s.
“Robocop: Rogue City” – This first-person title puts you in the driver’s seat with graphics that look loyal to Verhoeven’s style while Peter Weller also returns to voice the character. But it’s from the team behind the woeful 2014 “Rambo” game and the mixed “Terminator: Resistance”, so… approach with caution.
“S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl” – Despite the number, this is technically the fourth game in the FPS survival horror series and the first new chapter in thirteen years. Developed, cancelled, and restarted in Unreal Engine 5 and facing development issues due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, it’s reportedly on track for 2023.
“Season: A Letter to the Future” – A third-person atmospheric bicycle road trip game in which you collect memories on your journey before an “impending but mysterious” event changes everything around you.
“Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II” – The Unreal Engine 5-created title follows up 2017’s acclaimed “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” and should hopefully arrive this year, but its status remains frustratingly unknown. No doubt the visuals will be gorgeous, and the story should be compelling.
“Skull and Bones” – Ubisoft’s long-in-development and often retooled multiplayer title could go either way at this point, but it does offer a high-seas pirate adventure that’s less comical than “Sea of Thieves” and more akin to the sailing sections of “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag”
“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake” – The developers of the very solid ‘Rehydrated’ remake of “Battle for Bikini Bottom” get to develop a whole new game set in the SpongeBob world – this one with a bigger focus on boss fights and a slightly different style.
“The Wolf Among Us 2” – A decade on and resurrected after a cancellation, Telltale Games follows up one of their best episodic graphic adventure games with this sequel set six months later. Once again serving as a prequel to the “Fables” comics, this was made with AdHoc Studio’s help – a developer made up of former Telltale staffers.