A new year means a heap of promising titles to look forward to. From RPGs to FPS, passing by racing genres that I don’t personally play a great deal of, here are seven titles penned for 2023 that are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
Release date: 2023 | Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux | Pre-order from Amazon
Mirage marks a return to traditional Assassin’s Creed roots with a more linear game focusing on storytelling, which was the wish of many fans who quickly tired of the RPG-focused Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla. Offering a compelling story in a rich and vibrant world, Ubisoft has announced Mirage will have a smaller map in comparison to the latest AC games.
In Assassin’s Creed Mirage, you play as Basim, a thief who joins the ancient assassin organisation in 861’s Baghdad. As usual, Basim will have a large arsenal of weapons and equipment at his disposal, including the signature Assassin Hidden Blade and smoke bombs.
This new installment should provide a new parkour system allowing for a seamless traverse of Baghdad’s open world. Like AC Unity, the character automatically blends with the masses if there are three people in the vicinity, leading to more immersive, stealthy gameplay. If the older games are anything to go by, the city will probably be full of details, from merchants shouting about their products, to citizens telling each other about their daily lives. Start sharpening your blades!
Release date: February 21, 2023 | Developer: Mundfish | Pre-order from Amazon
Atomic Heart is a first-person shooter taking place in an alternative universe of the Soviet Union in 1955, with much more advanced technology than what was actually available in that period. Autonomous robots, holograms, and, most notably, a proto-Internet called the Collectiv 1.0, which links all robots to a hivemind, already exist in this unusual world.
Here you play as a mentally unstable KGB special agent called Major Nechaev, nicknamed P-3, who is sent by his contractor to keep the situation at Facility 3826 under control. The game has a strong BioShock/Prey vibe and features some outstanding graphics – at least from what the developer has shown.
The game further offers a bunch of improvised weapons made of machine parts in order to get rid of enemies that seem to vary from full-on mechanical androids to half-organic, half-mechanic monsters. If Atomic Heart delivers on its promises, we are in for an awesome time.
Release date: 2023 | Developer: Studio Wildcard | Pre-order from Amazon
ARK 2 is a sequel to ARK: Survival Evolved, a sandbox survival game in which you wake up in a primitive world filled with dinosaurs and humans fighting for dominance. As if a huge T-Rex and raptor herds were not enough, another tribe called Aratai is also determined to cause trouble.
Gameplay-wise, ARK 2 will no longer offer a first-person view, instead opting for a third-person perspective, but with more traverse mechanics like climbing, parkour, and stealth. The latter includes both visual camouflage as well as smell suppression. Fighting will feature multiple types of close combat, from fast but weak attacks to slow but devastating swings, with more to unlock via a skill tree. Finally, the main character, Santiago, is none other than Vin Diesel, so the story probably involves family.
A surprise trailer back in 2020 had our attention, but with so little info since then, one can only hope ARK 2 doesn’t slip into 2024. Fingers crossed on this one.
Company of Heroes 3
Release date: February 23, 2023 | Developer: Relic Entertainment | Pre-order from Amazon
Company of Heroes 3 will be the first of this RTS series to also release on consoles, promising bigger and better World War II battles. This time around, we are in the Mediterranean theatre, meaning many Italian and North African cities primed to be blown up by tanks, artillery fire, and bomber squadrons.
The game will have co-op skirmish, competitive multiplayer, and story mode. The dynamic Italian campaign provides a multi-layer affair in which you make decisions on where to go, and what perks to unlock, in order to accomplish the mission of reaching Rome. Units are said to have way more control options, adding further flexibility to what they can do and the destruction they can cause. Check your parachutes, landing is planned for February 23.
Dead Island 2
Release date: April 28, 2023 | Developer: Dambuster Studios | Pre-order from Amazon
Soon to see the light of day after a tumultuous development cycle, Dead Island 2 is an open-world zombie action game taking place in a tropical location inspired by Los Angeles. To survive the zombie outbreak, players will have to fight hordes of zombies using makeshift weapons, from hammers and wrenches, all the way to bats and swords.
The developer is placing extra emphasis on the game’s gore system, with an apparently extreme level of detail and dynamism to how zombies’ bodies react to attacks. Talking to Eurogamer, James Worral said, “It’s just fully anatomically correct models, we’ve basically done everything from hair, skin, fat, muscle, bones, and all the organs are stuffed in there.”
There will be six playable characters already infected by the virus, meaning they all have Fury Modes ready to be unleashed on zombies. The game upgrades from buffs to abilities and perks use a card-based system, encouraging deck switching to find the best gameplay style for each player. All in all, seeing how well Dying Light 2 turned out to be, we can’t wait to play this one.
Release date: June 6, 2023 | Developer: Blizzard Entertainment | Pre-order from Amazon
Diablo IV needs no introduction, but on the off chance you’ve just returned to Earth following a very long hiatus, it’s an action RPG/hack-and-slash set in an open-world environment. Better yet, it’s the first of the series to be open, allowing players to tackle campaign missions in whatever order they see fit. Apparently, there will be over 140 dungeons to explore using the barbarian, sorceress, druid, rogue, and necromancer character classes.
Alongside the usual co-op and PVP modes, the game’s shared online world will also feature many encounters, requiring teamplay to win. Once the primary story has been completed, nightmare dungeons will be available for those looking for more challenges and loot.
For abilities, players can use what is called the Book of the Dead, which leaves more flexibility regarding summoned trolls. Players will have the choice between bone golems that can sustain damage as tanks, blood golems that can steal health, iron golems that charge into battle, and more.
Tailoring the character’s play-style to each one’s liking is also part of the game, and from gear to customisations, everyone should find something to appreciate. Finally, Blizzard is planning on adding content to the game, from cosmetics to fully-fledged extensions as time goes.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Release date: March 17, 2023 | Developer: Respawn Entertainment | Pre-order from Amazon
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is an action-adventure and a sequel to the well-received Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, taking place five years after, but this time with a bigger world, more enemies, and most importantly, mountable creatures. Needless to say, this is far from the best period to be a Jedi.
The story follows Jedi Knight Cal Kestis as he tries to survive against a hostile Galactic Empire after Order 66. To do so, he has access to five sabre stances, three of which are brand new. There is the akimbo dual-wield, the blaster/sabre combo, and the claymore, which is a Kylo Ren-style cross-guard lightsabre with high damage but slow attacks.
There is also a new stasis Force ability freezing enemies and blaster shots, similar to the one used by Kylo Ren, plus team combos executed by the companion character in what appear to be cool-looking finishing moves. We’re also getting some new exploration capabilities using a grappling hook, alongside enemy dismemberment which was missing in Fallen Order. Channel the inner Force, readers.
Seven games I’m genuinely looking forward to, and yet we’ve barely scratched the surface of all that’s coming our way. Starfield and STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl could easily be added to the list, Skull and Bones should also still be arriving this year, and our very own Potterhead Blair Jacobs wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t mention Hogwarts Legacy.