Get those controllers charged and PlayStation updates installed. 2023 is shaping up to be a packed year for video games, as the slate includes a hotly anticipated Zelda sequel, new installments in the Harry Potter, Spider-Man, and Star Wars franchises, and more. Here's a look at what gamers have to look forward to in the new year:
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Ready for Nintendo to once again take your breath away with a new Zelda?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a launch title for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, and after drawing praise for its emphasis on open world exploration, it's still considered one of the greatest games of the past decade. Six years later, Nintendo is squeezing another Zelda in before the Switch's life cycle is over with this long-awaited sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (a.k.a. Breath of the Wild 2). It's set for release on May 12.
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Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi returns for the follow-up, which utilizes the same art style as the previous game. But after trailers showed Link falling through the air and teased a series of floating islands, fans were reminded of another Zelda game: 2011's Skyward Sword, which was also directed by Fujibayashi. Could he be combining ideas from these past two Zelda installments into Tears of the Kingdom, giving us the best of both worlds? And could those fans who have long argued "actually, Skyward Sword is great" finally get some vindication?
"In addition to the vast lands of Hyrule, the latest entry in the storied Legend of Zelda series will take you up into the skies and an expanded world that goes beyond that," Nintendo says.
We don't know much about the plot, though fans have already run wild with speculation based on the footage we've seen, theorizing the game could involve traveling back in time 10,000 years and potentially even playing as Ganondorf. Either way, if Tears of the Kingdom is anywhere near as great as the original masterpiece, the titular tears may belong to every other publisher hoping to win Game of the Year 2023.
Every kid's fantasy of getting a letter from Hogwarts may never come true in real life, but Hogwarts Legacy is set to offer the next best thing.
This highly anticipated role-playing game set in the Harry Potter universe allows players to take control of a student at Hogwarts. Trailers suggest the school has been faithfully recreated based on what we've seen in the movies, though there's a catch: The game isn't set during the time of the films and books, but in the 1800s. After the Fantastic Beasts movies fizzled out, could this be the Harry Potter prequel we really needed?
"Your character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart," per the official synopsis. "Now you can take control of the action and be at the center of your own adventure in the wizarding world."
The game promises an open world that players can freely explore featuring a variety of familiar locations, including Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest. There will also be plenty of customization options, and you'll reportedly be able to play as a transgender character, too. Take that, J.K. Rowling.
Hogwarts Legacy's release date will depend on your console of choice, as it heads to Windows, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X and S in February; PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in April; and Nintendo Switch in July.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
It's hard out here for a Jedi in a post-Order 66 world.
The best Star Wars game we've gotten in the Disney era — and maybe even ever — was 2019's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a story-driven adventure following Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis as he struggles to survive in the aftermath Emperor Palpatine's order to execute all of the Jedi. Electronic Arts is now following the game up with this direct sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
The game takes place five years after the events of Fallen Order. "The Dark Times are closing in — with enemies new and familiar surrounding him, Cal will need to decide how far he's willing to go to save those closest to him," the official plot synopsis says.
Other details about the story haven't been revealed, though one of the antagonists is apparently an Imperial Senator. The trailer also teased Cal coming across a character in a bacta tank, who fans have speculated could be a Jedi from the High Republic — the era in Star Wars history before even the prequels — who was potentially left there for hundreds of years. Just wait until someone catches him up on the latest regarding the taxation of trade routes. The game launches on March 17.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man fans who don't play video games are seriously missing out.
The 2018 Spider-Man game didn't just make swinging through New York City an exhilarating experience; it also included one of the better Spider-Man stories we've seen in any medium in recent years. Developer Insomniac Games released a spinoff, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, in 2020, but we're now getting a proper sequel to the original with Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
We don't know a lot about the plot of the game yet. But we do know Miles Morales will be back alongside Peter Parker, and according to the initial reveal trailer, they'll have to face down Venom, voiced by Tony Todd — and possibly resist the urge for a Spider-Man 3-style dance number.
Unlike the last two games, though, this one will be exclusive to PlayStation 5 and won't get a PS4 release, so fingers crossed it's slightly less impossible to find a PS5 by the time the game launches in the fall.
The makers of Skyrim and Fallout are headed to infinity and beyond.
Starfield is the latest role-playing game from Bethesda, the publisher behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises. Set in the year 2330, players join "Constellation, the last group of space explorers seeking rare artifacts throughout the galaxy," per Bethesda. In other words, "It's like Skyrim in space," Bethesda Executive Producer Todd Howard told The Washington Post, and the outlet noted this will be the developer's first new IP in 25 years.
During a gameplay reveal, Howard also promised this is Bethesda's "most ambitious game ever," featuring its "most flexible" character creation customization options yet and the ability to build your own spaceship.
"For me, 'Starfield' is the Han Solo simulator," Bethesda Managing Director Ashley Cheng also told the Post. "Get in a ship, explore the galaxy, do fun stuff." Hopefully, Bethesda is leaving out the "get murdered by your son" part of the Han Solo experience.
PlayStation users without a gaming PC will be out of luck with this one, though, as Starfield will be exclusive to Microsoft Windows and Xbox.
Fans of cute little guys, we've got great news: A new Pikmin is coming.
The Nintendo strategy game franchise, which sees players direct a legion of "Pikmin" creatures, hasn't had an installment made for the Switch yet, as its most recent main entry was Pikmin 3 on the Wii U. But after a decade-long wait, a fourth entry is finally debuting sometime in 2023.
A first look was shown during a 2022 Nintendo Direct presentation, and it revealed … virtually nothing. But Nintendo game director Shigeru Miyamoto did tease that you'll be able to play "from the Pikmin's perspective near the ground" this time. "Nintendo Switch has made controlling the game simpler, meaning you can further concentrate on the core essence of Pikmin gameplay," he added.
Hopefully it's worth the long wait for Pikman fans, who were anxiously anticipating updates ever since 2015 when Miyamoto claimed the game was "very close to completion." Clearly, he graduated from the George R.R. Martin school of meeting deadlines.
Street Fighter 6
Prepare yourself for flashbacks to digging through your pockets for quarters and taking down your best friend with a masterfully timed Hadouken, as the Street Fighter franchise has a new entry slated for 2023.
Street Fighter 6 will be the fighting series' first main installment since 2016. Notably, though, this entry actually features an open-world single-player story mode, which is fairly unique for a fighting game. There's also a new mechanic called the Drive System, which players utilize to "perform five different techniques that can easily enhance your offense or defense," per Capcom.
A closed beta was held ahead of the game's launch, and IGN gave it a rave review. "Street Fighter 6's closed beta was the best fighting game beta I've ever played," wrote IGN's Mitchell Saltzman, describing the game as "hard-hitting, fast-paced," and "powered by the excellent Drive system that opens up a whole world of new tools and options for every character."
Street Fighter 6 is being released on a variety of platforms including Xbox Series X and S, and there will be both a PlayStation 4 and 5 version. It launches on June 2, at which point the age-old "Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat" debate can pick back up.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
The video game industry is in a similar position as the film industry was in the 2000s: Remakes are all the rage.
But 2023 will see the release of an especially highly anticipated remake of arguably one of the greatest games of all time: 2005's Resident Evil 4. Widely considered the best entry in the Resident Evil series, the original survivor horror game sees the player try to rescue the president's daughter after a cult kidnaps her.
The remake, set for March 24, looks like it will be fairly faithful to the original with spiffy new graphics to give it a modern look. But Capcom has said that while this remake "preserves the essence of the original game," it will also be "introducing modernized gameplay" and a "reimagined storyline," in addition to the "vividly detailed graphics."
We already know about some minor changes, including the fact that while the original game featured a moment where you can help a dog stuck in a bear trap, the remake appears to have tweaked this so the dog is dead already when you find it. #JusticeForTheBearTrapDog!
Hollow Knight: Silksong
If you find getting hopelessly lost frustrating, the original Hollow Knight may not have been the game for you.
But otherwise, the Metroidvania from 2017, which has players explore an underground kingdom, is considered a modern 2D classic, and 2023 will see it get a follow-up, Hollow Knight: Silksong. According to developer Team Cherry, the "very large" sequel will include over 160 new enemies, and it will "evoke the feeling of exploring a vast, surprising new world; one that matches (or exceeds) the scale and diversity of" the original.
"As Hornet, princess-protector of Hallownest, adventure through a whole new kingdom haunted by silk and song," Team Cherry also said of the plot. "Captured and brought to an unfamiliar land, Hornet must battle foes and solve mysteries as she ascends on a deadly pilgrimage to the kingdom's peak."
The game was originally intended to be downloadable content for the original, but it grew too large for that during the development. It will hit pretty much every platform imaginable, including PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, sometime before June 2023.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
It's simple … we kill the Justice League.
Rocksteady Studios has released a string of acclaimed Batman games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, but this time, they're turning focus to the Suicide Squad instead. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a new action-adventure game that's part of the Batman: Arkham series, but the plot revolves around the Suicide Squad, who are sent by Amanda Waller to take down the Justice League because they've been brainwashed by Brainiac.
Though it's a narrative game, Rocksteady has teased it's set in an "expansive open-world" in Metropolis. You can switch between Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and King Shark while playing by yourself, or you can play co-op with friends who each control a different Suicide Squad member.
Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman will all also be featured in the game, which launches on May 26. We look forward to the thrilling conclusion where the player must defeat final boss David Zaslav to prevent him from erasing the Suicide Squad from history for a tax write-off.
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