It’s that time of year again
With the New Year ahead of us, and everyone’s 2022 GOTY awards locked in, we’re looking forward to the incredible lineup of games that will be releasing in 2023. We’ve set our sights on what the next year has in store, not just for our normal lives, but for the games industry as well, and there’s some awesome stuff on the horizon. Whether they’re sequels to our favorite franchises, or new properties altogether, it’s all there, and it’s gonna be tough to choose what we want to play first. I’ll admit that it’ll be a bit sad to say goodbye to the year that included the unadulterated joy surrounding Trombone Champ or the mind-boggling beauty of Immortality, but all good things must come to an end, I guess.
As we do every year, we’ve rounded up our writers to ask which games they’re most anticipating in 2023. One of the things I love most about Destructoid is that everyone on our site runs of the gambit of different backgrounds and tastes, so for posts like these, we get a huge variety of genres and vibes represented. If you’re looking for any recommendations for the coming months, or simply want to see if any of us share in the excitement for your favorite upcoming release, check out this list — we’ve got pretty much all of the bases covered! — Noelle Warner
Noelle Warner: Hades II
My highlight of all the Game Awards announcements in December was absolutely Supergiant’s reveal of Hades II. Hades is still one of my favorite and most-played games of all time, because it was one of those games that feels like it was made for me. The Greek mythology setting, the character art, the colors, the music — it felt like they tapped into my brain and figured out exactly what I wanted. It’s also been an influential title for me when it comes to how I approach gameplay because it was the first time I really challenged myself and invested a lot of time and effort to mechanically get a lot better at the game. I ended up beating 32 heat before signing off at around 350 hours, but it’s a game I still think about years later.
Hence my overwhelming enthusiasm when I saw the Supergiant logo come up on the screen. While the game will maintain the Greek myth setting that we know and love, we’re getting a whole new cast of characters, including a new protagonist: Melinoë, who is actually Zagreus’ sister. I’m looking forward to seeing what the developers carry over from the first game, and what they add on to enhance the experience. Either way, this is the first time Supergiant has ever made a sequel to one of their games, and if they’re willing to start now, I have to believe that it’s for a good reason.
Eric Van Allen: Baldur’s Gate 3
This is a legitimately difficult question because next year looks stacked. We have a new Zelda, a new Bethesda RPG, a new Final Fantasy, and even more. But all of that has paled in comparison thanks to Baldur’s Gate 3.
In some ways, I’m really glad I didn’t hold off on the Early Access for Baldur’s Gate 3. The pedigree is certainly there, as Larian has proven itself a few times over with the Divinity series. With Baldur’s Gate 3, though, the studio is firing on all cylinders. There’s a fantastic party of companions, a malleable and strategic battle system, and some solid story beats already present in the first chunks of Act 1. The actual role-playing is engaging, too; as virtual RPGs have been incorporating more and more ideas from their tabletop counterparts, Baldur’s Gate 3 is capturing all the grandeur of a deep, intense campaign and giving the player a ton of ways to manipulate it. Pushing the plot off a cliff feels fantastic.
Picking up the torch of one of the most well-remembered series in western RPG history can’t be easy. But Larian isn’t pulling back on the bat with this one, and I’m hoping we see it knocked out of the park when Baldur’s Gate 3 lands sometime next August.
CJ Andreissen: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Honestly, I feel kind of bad going with Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. As a writer for a gaming website, we get a lot of emails from publishers and developers asking us to include their games on lists like these. And really, the last thing a mega AAA title like this needs is more free publicity from the jackwagons like me. I should be using this space to write about Loop 8 or Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord or Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, which was originally going to be my pick. But I’d be fooling myself if I wrote about any other title in this spot. Because following Final Fantasy VII Remake, there is nothing I want more in the world than to see where this reimagining of Final Fantasy VII goes.
Brett Medlock: The Wolf Among Us 2
It’s kind of a miracle The Wolf Among Us 2 is even in development. As I’m sure you know, the original Telltale Games doesn’t exist anymore. A brand new team under the same name took over the reins of this fan-favorite IP. That alone is scary, but I’m happy they’re taking a swing at it. The Wolf Among Us 1 was incredible and ended on such a major cliffhanger; I’d rather a new team continue the story than get nothing at all.
Thankfully, the first official trailer for the sequel that Telltale shared earlier this year did not disappoint. The art direction retains the exquisite comic book style but offers much more detail in the environments and character models. Not to mention the fact that the performance looked silky smooth in the trailer, an area previous Telltale games lacked in. Adam Harrington is also back as Bigby Wolf. So far, on all accounts, the new Telltale looks to be respecting the original game on all fronts, while also showcasing some exciting new elements.
I can’t wait to see how Snow and Bigby’s relationship is handled in The Wolf Among Us 2. For now, there’s no release window aside from a big ol’ “2023”. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later!
Timothy Monbleau: Final Fantasy XVI
Once upon a time, Final Fantasy set the standard for all console RPGs. When a new game in the series came out, anyone making RPGs took notes to copy its success. This trend tapered off after Final Fantasy X, and now the series is in a full-blown identity crisis. Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels were massively divisive. Final Fantasy XIV was so bad at launch that its remnants still haunt it years later. And Final Fantasy XV wasn’t even originally intended as a numbered Final Fantasy!
For me, Final Fantasy XVI is a do-or-die moment for the series. Naoki Yoshida and Creative Business Unit III hold nearly all the goodwill this series has, and they have a lot riding on this title. Optimistically, this is the team to get Final Fantasy back on track. Final Fantasy XIV has successfully intertwined nostalgia for the classic games with fresh new ideas, and this approach could make Final Fantasy XVI a trendsetter we haven’t seen since the PS2. Pessimistically, Square Enix is a mess. Between multiple live service failures and a ridiculous fixation with NFTs, it’s like the company is trying to speedrun its own demise so Sony can buy them out of pity.
I don’t know if Final Fantasy XVI will be my favorite game of next year, but I’m deeply curious to see how it’ll turn out. I’ve had an incredible time playing Final Fantasy XIV, so I want to believe Final Fantasy XVI will be the one to get me excited for single-player Final Fantasy games again. If Creative Business Unit III isn’t just an MMO one-trick pony and upper management can get out of its own way, I think Final Fantasy XVI can pull it off. Otherwise… well, maybe they can get Tomoya Asano to rebrand the next Bravely Default as Final Fantasy XVII.
Zoey Handley: Pikmin 4
At this point, I’ve been anticipating Pikmin 4 for so long, I don’t feel I could rightly choose anything else. It was first announced back during the Wii U days, where we were told it was totally almost done. Then we were later told that, yeah, Nintendo was just waiting for the right time. Now we’re deep into Switch territory, and finally, we’re being told that it’s going to drop.
Of course, despite the protracted development period, the only information we have to go on is that there will be a new camera angle. You know what? That’s a good start. I’m not a fan of the top-down perspective. I think having it lower to the ground can only increase the wonderment of being a tiny being in a big world. As for what I’m hoping for; I’d like to see co-op make a return. I also want to see the purple Pikmin back with more prominence in your ranks.
Now whether or not it actually makes the 2023 release period is up in the air. Nintendo can be kind of hit-and-miss with these things, and, again, all we’ve seen are a teaser and a screenshot.
Sam Arthurs: The Last Case of Benedict Fox
I cannot wait to play The Last Case of Benedict Fox. Maybe it isn’t the most anticipated game of the year for the gaming world, but it has everything that draws me to a game. So much so that it kind of feels like someone asked what my favorite game elements are and then made a one out of them.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a Lovecraftian Metroidvania that follows the unofficial detective, Benedict Fox, and his demon companion. The two solve murders by visiting the memories of the victims, slipping between deminsions and collecting clues. They will also have to fight off monsters and cult members.
As usual, the art draws me in first. The electric purple, red, and black of the demon and monsters give it a dark, otherworldly feel, but then it’s grounded by the Gothic style of the house and Benedict’s outfit. It looks like dark academia but warped. The Gothic manor looks overly large, but even that seems to add to the appeal for me, as the mansion seems foreboding. Then the alternate dimension Benedict explores is surreal and teeming with Lovecraftian monsters. I dig it so much.
I’m also a fan of Metroidvanias and murder mysteries. While I completely understand why people enjoy open worlds, when there’s a story involved, I like how a Metroidvania will lead you through it. It’s this nonlinear but purpose-driven “find the clues and fight the bad guys” style that will be more likely to keep me in my seat for hours. And I’m really looking forward to exploring that big house.
Finally, I’m a fan of the Lovecraft-inspired weirdness. I have a friend who likes to listen to Lovecraft audiobooks while we draw or color, and it’s honestly one of the most fun hangouts I look forward to. And I’m really looking forward to this game too!
Sorrel Kerr-Jung: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Final Fantasy VII Remake is a very special game – in fact, it’s one of my favorite AAA titles of the last several years. I love Final Fantasy VII, I love stories about stories, and I love the works of Tetsuya Nomura, so it was always going to connect with me. I have basically no idea what Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is going to be, but I’m along for the ride no matter what.
2022’s Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion really sold me on Zack Fair, and I’m especially fond of his relationship with both Aerith and Cloud. The first trailer for Rebirth suggests that it’ll dive a little deeper into Zack’s character and those dynamics, so I’m pumped to see what happens there.
I also can’t wait to see a little more of the world of Final Fantasy VII. Midgar is great, but we’ve been returning to Midgar for a while, and I’m ready to revisit spots like Wutai and the Gold Saucer. I’d also be down to finally catch a chocobo, if Square Enix would be so kind.
Mostly, though, I’m just excited to spend more time with the Final Fantasy VII Remake party. I think the first game has some truly incredible character writing, both adapting and elevating the already phenomenal Final Fantasy VII crew, and I can’t wait to just settle in and spend a few dozen more hours with them. I’m particularly fond of what they’ve done with Barret, whose brazen eco-terrorist streak has taken center stage, but I also love emo nice guy Cloud, certified homie Tifa, and Aerith, who is always great. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get some more Yuffie and a bit of Vincent this time around. Part of me is already dreading the third game. I don’t want to say goodbye to these folks!
Anthony Marzano: Like a Dragon: Ishin
Like many others, I used Yakuza 0 as my entry point into the long-running titular series. Even though it took me almost two years to beat, it converted me into a fan of the series. Its amazing ability to jump from searing crime drama to a lighthearted slice of life made it a go-to for me when I needed some joy while also getting the grit I craved. So when I, a lifelong fan of jidaigeki saw that we were getting a remake of what is essentially Yakuza: Samurai, I was over the moon. Doubly so since Sony refuses to bring Ghost of Tsushima to PC, leaving me in a barren wasteland with no interactive samurai kino.
It’s also nice that we got the exciting announcement nary a few months before the planned release. Only have to make it halfway through a long Midwest winter, then it’s comfy time as I slice through dishonorable men. While I’m not expecting Kurosawa levels of storytelling here, just the ability to roam around a late Edo period hub-world is enough to make Ishin my most anticipated game of the year. Still waiting on word about if we’ll have any type of management mini-game in it though…
Jonathan Holmes: Resident Evil 4 Remake
Horror games are all about building anticipation and then releasing that pent-up energy with a big intense moment. The Resident Evil 4 remake has already done a great job of instilling that feeling of anticipation in players, and it’s not even out yet. The original game is one of the most respected, and successfully re-released games of all time, having been ported to every major console of the past 20 years. People already know it and love it. The highly successful Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes used it as a blueprint, as did the Resident Evil Revelations side games in the franchise, so for fans of the franchise, the game is practically a religious text. And for this writer, a 46-year-old man who aged out of the target demographic for AAA games about 15 years ago, Resident Evil 4 was the last AAA game that I felt was truly made for me.
So will Capcom be able to bring me back into the AAA fold with this loving reimagining of my all-time favorite Survival Horror title? Like Leon cautiously walking forward in a decrepit European Village adorned with bear traps and insect-infected farm hands, I’m both dreading and delighting at the possibilities of what lies around the corner. My cold, calloused hands haven’t felt much from a big blockbuster game in almost two decades (unless you could count well-known but not well-played niche franchises like Bayonetta and No More Heroes) but if things go my way, the Resident Evil 4 remake will blow minds with new content while still sticking to script enough to feel like a sweet homecoming.
Chris Moyse: Street Fighter 6
Anyone frequenting Destructoid this past year will react with zero surprise to my entry. I first approached Capcom’s mysterious announcement of a new Street Fighter with understandable trepidation, given the juggling of management behind the scenes and with the terrible launch of Street Fighter V still fresh in my mind. But, with each new trailer, announcement, and sneaky leaky, I became more and more intrigued — convinced that perhaps the veteran developer had learned from its past mistakes.
And then I got my hands on the title, (and, importantly, on my gurl Juri) and that intrigue turned to raw excitement.
From demos played at trade shows, to two betas in the comfort of my own home, I am incredibly confident in Capcom’s handling of Street Fighter 6. From its dazzling visuals and smooth movement, (thank you, RE Engine) to its excellent online functionality, and plethora of promised modes, features, and side activities, Capcom appears to have taken all of the vitriol rightly directed at SFV‘s launch to heart, and seems determined to prove exactly why Street Fighter is, after all of these years, still the title to defines the genre. Surrounded by so much positivity it seems Capcom’s game to lose. Stay the Course.