2023 will have many surprises in store! That’s why throughout this week we will publish several entries compiling dozens of interesting titles scheduled for release during the next twelve months (or beyond, you know how these things go). To organize it better and make room for more, we will divide them by genre, a tricky subject because it is often difficult to say where one begins and where another ends. So if you miss any name, don’t worry: it’s possible that it will appear another day in action, RPG, or horror.
This Barcelona studio debuted in 2019 with Arise: A Simple Story, a contemplative adventure of great beauty to which After Us now gives continuity with a post-apocalyptic proposal, but also serene and surreal. In the skin of Gaia, the spirit of life, we will explore depopulated and melancholic landscapes with platforming, some action and puzzles to rescue the souls of extinct animals. After Us is about just that: the world that will remain after humans, and the player's efforts to give it a second chance.
Another Crab’s Treasure
And from saving animals, we go on to take control of one of them. Specifically, a hermit crab that will kick its way through the seabed to recover its stolen shell. During its journey, it will be able to equip over fifty replacements such as cans or cups, which will protect it against its enemies. And you will need them, because according to its creators, Another Crab's Treasure will be an aquatic Souls, with demanding combat, a large world full of mysteries and dangers, as well as the usual bosses to face. So don't be fooled by its colorful and endearing appearance.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
Assassins, parkour and stealth are back.After several years of creating action RPGs on a colossal scale, Ubisoft returns to the origins of the saga to propose an adventure centered on the key elements of the first game: Mirage will take us to Baghdad in the ninth century to investigate, pursue targets and throw us on them an acrobatic bird of prey. The company has also assured that the present plot will be anecdotal, and the same with the mythological elements of recent installments, which should favor historical immersion.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Continuing with Ubisoft, another open-world adventure that remains to be seen whether it will be released in 2023 or 2024 is the Avatar game, originally planned for 2022, in time for the release of The Way of Water. Frontiers of Pandora will tell an independent and complementary story, which will not simply adapt the events of the first and second film, but will allow us to explore a part of the planet never seen before. A bit like Horizon Forbidden West of this franchise, only with a first-person perspective.
And now we move on to a cooperative adventure inside and outside the game itself. In the wake of hits for two players like A Way Out or It Takes Two, Blanc proposes a multiplayer experience where each person will embody one of the two main animals: a fawn or a wolf, both lost after a heavy blizzard, in search of their respective families; and both with their own skills that the other will need to progress through the levels. Without the need for texts, and coming to life through hand drawings, the game promises to stand out from other couch-based games (although it will also have an online mode).
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Speaking of distinctive aesthetics, it never hurts to remember how groundbreaking was in its day Jet Set Radio, the punk adventure about roller skating, graffiti painting, and gang fights with Cel Shaded graphics released on Dreamcast. Since then, games as diverse as The Wind Waker and No More Heroes have borrowed from its visual tricks, but its cool gameplay was "lost" after its Xbox sequel, Jet Set Radio Future. Luckily, now the indie studio Team Reptile wants to take up the baton, also adding bicycles and counting on Hideki Naganuma, the original composer, to create a soundtrack to match this spiritual return.
Chants of Sennaar
Continuing with striking aesthetics, even more original than the usual Cel Shaded, we come to Chants of Sennaar. A game inspired by the biblical myth of the Tower of Babel, where men built so high that they became more and more distant, began to speak different languages and stopped understanding each other, which ended up frustrating their plan to reach heaven. Our role will be precisely of an adventurer willing to decipher these ancient languages to solve puzzles, progress carefully through guarded labyrinths and discover the enigmas behind this cultural separation in order to restore the previous balance.
Jeppe Carlsen, one of the main architects of the design of the indie hits Limbo and Inside, has left Playdead behind and has been immersed in the development of this peculiar game for several years. With worlds within worlds where we will take on the role of a sort of insectoid protagonist and drive special orbs to activate all sorts of alien mechanisms. These orbs are the key to the puzzles and the worlds that we enter once solved, descending a spiral of increasingly intricate puzzles, with different environments, mechanics, and even guardians to defeat in combat.
Deliver Us Mars
Deliver Us Mars is the sequel to Delivers Us The Moon, a lonely and fascinating sci-fi adventure released in 2018 where we embodied an astronaut to investigate the lunar base on which the Earth's energy depended in the not too distant future. Now we jump a decade in time and to another planet in space, as the new mission takes us to Mars to expand the scale and playable possibilities. Of course, here we won't be killing little Martians, as KeokeN is looking for a more realistic and grounded-in-reality experience, based on exploration and the collection of the pieces that make up the narrative puzzle.
The solitude and mysteries of space can be intimidating, but the seabed is not far behind. Dredge is a fishing game in which we will manage and improve our little boat to navigate around some mysterious islands, catching more than a hundred different aquatic species to then sell them and get more improvements or fulfill missions with more specific objectives. Of course, when we say aquatic species and not simply "fish" is because this archipelago hides other things. Bigger, more dangerous, and prone to surface at night. So watching the clock is also important.
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
The creators of Ashen, one of the most interesting heirs to the Souls formula we have seen in recent years, are trying to increase the scale and level of detail in Flintlock, an open-world action-adventure in a land inhabited by gods that we must challenge. Speaking of gods, this time the possible influences of the Norse God of War are also hard to ignore, either by the theme, the shift towards a more realistic aesthetic, the greater forcefulness of the attacks, and even the axe as the main weapon. Although, if Ashen serves as a reference, it is quite likely that Flintlock will end up consolidating its own identity.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
The most anticipated Metroidvania, and for two reasons. First, the first Hollow Knight took the genre to new heights thanks to its setting, design, scale, and even difficulty. And second, because this sequel has been so long awaited that every passing year increases the curiosity: initially planned as an expansion to play with Hornet, a secondary character of the original, Team Cherry saw so much potential in the changes (platforming and more agile combat, crafting, new quest system) that they decided to turn it into a full game. Since then almost four years have passed and we still have no exact date, although they have assured that it will arrive in 2023.
Horizon Call of the Mountain
Almost at the beginning we talked about how the new Avatar game almost sounded like a first-person Horizon, and right here we have just that. Call of the Mountain is the third installment of the saga, although it does not work as a new chapter of Aloy's adventures, but rather as a spin-off with new characters to harness the upcoming PS VR2. Expect some limitations with the change of format, but the game will still offer key elements of the Horizon formula such as climbing, crafting, and even combat from this more immersive perspective.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum
We rescued one that was supposed to debut in 2022, but unfortunately was delayed. Although the release of The Rings of Power series provided a good opportunity to capitalize on the new surge in popularity, the studio decided to postpone its release date in order to polish it and improve the experience. So here we are still waiting, to relive the misadventures of this creature on his journey back and forth to Mordor in search of a certain Baggins and his ring. Stealth will be his best weapon, and his dual personality will give rise to a morality system in which the player will be able to choose between the cautious Smeagol or the treacherous Gollum.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Two years ago, PlayStation 5 arrived with Spider-Man: Miles Morales as one of its debut games. It was a transition between generations, and also between releases. Despite its unquestionable quality, the game devoted more effort to introducing the title character -and his entourage- to the known world than to building something really new. Now, in 2023, is when it's time for the real sequel, the next chapter of the story began in 2018: the two Spider-Man, Peter Parker and Miles Morales, will share adventure and rivals in a game that according to Insomniac's words will offer a somewhat darker tone than the PS4 original.
Mina the Hollower
After almost a decade immersed in Shovel Knight expansions and spin-offs, Yacht Club Games is finally ready to turn the page and give it a try with a new license. The knight with the shovel replacement will be Mina, a little mouse that will star in a clear adaptation of the Zelda formula as Shovel Knight did in the past with retro action platformers like Mega Man and DuckTales. The 8-bit aesthetics of Link's Awakening and both Oracles (the Game Boy Color installments) have already been nailed; it now remains to be seen how they handle the world map and dungeon design, as well as the use of items to solve puzzles and combat.
And from a game with Nintendo flavor, to one created by Nintendo itself. We do not know much about the new installment of the franchise, except that it has been announced and will arrive in 2023. We also know that it will feature a new perspective, closer to the ground to look at the world at the same level as the Pikmin and increase immersion. Considering that Pikmin 3 dates back to 2013 and had its origin on Wii, it is likely that Pikmin 4 will benefit more from Switch's capabilities, so the increase in the quality of textures and general level of detail has surely been another encouragement for this new perspective.
Another title with an original aesthetic and a game proposal. And what is a Schim, some of you will surely ask? According to the creator of this game, the spirit of any object, animated or inanimate. And in SCHiM we will play with that of a human, who has lost his body and must return to it before it is too late. Our goal is to jump from shadow to shadow, either from static objects or from people, animals and moving vehicles to advance through the levels without falling into the parts bathed directly by the light.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
Categorizing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is complicated since it counts as an adventure, First Person Shooter, and Survival Horror all at once thanks to its survival mechanics and the masterful setting of The Zone, an enclave of several kilometers affected by radioactive anomalies. That ambition in world-building was what took its toll on the original 2007 game, delayed for years and released with some bugs; but it also allowed its fans to see through its limitations and turned it into a cult work. After a couple of sequels following in its wake, Heart of Chornobyl aims to take that experience to the next level and finally earns the 2 in the title.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Another game that did not come out in ideal conditions, but won the hearts of many gamers was Jedi: Fallen Order. It is no secret that its development was shortened to arrive in time for the Christmas campaign, but now Respawn (creators of Titanfall) will be able to get even with the sequel. Its proposal with touches of Souls and metroidvania, and all the extra possibilities offered by the Star Wars universe (the mythology and aesthetics, the soundtrack, the use of the force and lightsabers), will have more time and space to shine, adding new features such as a wire to enhance the platforming or the possibility of wielding blaster pistols.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The quintessential adventure game. After a very long wait (six years), Zelda fans will be able to play another major installment of the franchise. The fact that Breath of the Wild was one of the most celebrated games in history probably added pressure to what, from the outside, seemed like an easy job. Tears of the Kingdom will be a direct sequel, in the same Hyrule (or so it seems, the footage is so sparse that they can play it off-guard) and with the same Link; but quite a lot has changed since 2017, and this time the focus seems to be on exploring the sky and the floating islands that will rise in it.
Under the Waves
We close for today with a diving adventure set in the depths of the North Sea, though not only aimed at recreating the flora and fauna of this cold, dark, and remote part of the world. While all that is included in the bundle, the studio strives to build a satisfying aquatic exploration, with facilities, caves, shipwrecks to investigate and even small doses of crafting. But Under the Waves is also an exercise in thought-provoking storytelling as focused on the beauty of the sea itself as it is on the anxieties of its protagonist, whose memories begin to manifest as he descends.