Set aside some money now because 2023 is about to be a wild year for gaming.
While there are rarely bad years for gaming, this year is shaping up to be an unusually exciting one. Several major franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy are coming out of years-long hibernation cycles, while new franchises like Starfield and indie darlings like Hollow Knight promise to grace our consoles and PCs, as well.
But let’s not waste any more time. Here are 10 super-exciting games coming out in 2023.
Like a Dragon: Ishin!
The first choice is a little bit of an oddity, but bear with me because it looks rad.
Originally released in Japan only in 2014, Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a goofy spin-off of the series largely known as Yakuza in the west. It’s set in Japan in the 1860s (other Yakuza games are mostly modern day) amidst a time of great cultural change, as the nation wrestles with staying in self-imposed isolation versus integrating with the rest of the world.
Where it gets weird and awesome is the part where many of the characters are real historical figures as played by characters from the Yakuza series. For example, franchise protagonist Kiryu Kazuma is recast here as legendary samurai Sakamoto Ryoma. This is a full, from-the-ground-up remake of a game western fans have been begging for since 2014, and I can’t wait for it.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Release date: Feb. 21
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the greatest video games ever made, single-handedly elevating the launch of the Nintendo Switch console into a can’t-miss event. That was nearly six years ago and if you haven’t processed that a real sequel is coming out in May, you’re not alone.
Tears of the Kingdom is still mostly shrouded in mystery. The scant few trailers Nintendo has released indicate that it’s at least partially set in the same magnificent open world as its predecessor, with the addition of floating sky islands. I love floating sky islands. Link’s got some kind of weird corrupted arm and he appears to now have the power to reverse the flow of time.
Aside from that, the world knows next to nothing about Tears of the Kingdom. Honestly, that’s fine. I’ll still obsess over it for an entire month anyway.
Release date: May 12
Final Fantasy XVI
Credit: Square Enix
Nearly seven years after the divisive Final Fantasy XV, developer Square Enix is giving its flagship series another go this summer.
FFXVI brings the series back to its roots a bit, with a traditional, dark fantasy setting involving warring kingdoms, mountainous crystals, and Godzilla-sized versions of classic summons like Ifrit and Shiva. One thing that’s decidedly not traditional is the game’s combat. This looks like a fast-paced, skillful combination of Final Fantasy and Devil May Cry, complete with launchers, air combos, and all sorts of cool magic spells you can use to pulverize goblins and whatnot.
Oh, and since it’s a true next-gen exclusive, it also looks fantastic. At the very least, FFXVI is sure to be a showcase for that new 4K TV you just got over the holidays.
Release date: June 22
Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth
We’re not done with Final Fantasy just yet. While the second part of the ambitious Final Fantasy VII Remake series isn’t officially confirmed for 2023, Square Enix gave us a vague release window of “next winter,” so we’ll go with that for now.
There isn’t really much more to say about this one because we know so little about it. FFVII Remake was a super pleasant surprise back in 2020, successfully breathing new life into a classic with seriously satisfying action combat, incredible music, and stunning visuals. Its ending also suggested that this may not be a straight remake after all, so Rebirth is one of the most intriguing big-budget games coming out in the next year.
Release date: “Winter”
Street Fighter 6
After the not-beloved-by-everyone Street Fighter V, series developer Capcom is looking to rebound with Street Fighter 6. The good news is that the game is looking pretty fresh.
For one, the urban graffiti art style looks dazzling. Punches and kicks land with some real visual panache that the last game in the series lacked. Beyond that, though, Capcom has also given players some simplified control options to make pulling off tough combos easier for people who haven’t been obsessed with the franchise for 30 years.
Combine all of that with a goofy looking open-world story mode, customizable characters, and a deep online lobby system, and SF6 could be the return to form the legendary fighting series has needed.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Release date: June 1
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Credit: Team Reptile
If you never played Jet Set Radio on Sega Dreamcast (or its sequel on the original Xbox), just know that it was totally sick. Its cartoony visuals were novel at the time, its music was as catchy as could be, and the unique combination of trick-based roller-blading, graffiti art, and avoiding the cops made for one of the most memorable games of its era.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk from developer Team Reptile is an unofficial indie revival of Jet Set Radio that looks pretty faithful to the original. Heck, they even brought in OG series composer Hideki Naganuma to write some fresh tracks for the game. If you’ve ever wanted to bring a little color to the world while sticking it to cops, this is the game for you.
Platforms: Switch, PC
Release date: Summer 2023
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order shouldn’t have worked, but it did. The developers of Titanfall and Apex Legends made a Dark Souls-style action game in the Star Wars universe to great success. The combat was challenging and deep, the worlds were fun to explore, and the story was surprisingly compelling.
The sequel, due out later this year, won’t have the element of surprise anymore, but it looks pretty sweet all the same. Dual-wielding lightsabers, additional traversal mechanics, and a sick beard for protagonist Cal Kestis make this one of the more exciting sequels of 2023.
Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release date: March 17
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Credit: Team Cherry
Back in 2017, the original Hollow Knight generated a ton of goodwill among gamers. Its open-ended, side-scrolling structure was reminiscent of classic games like Super Metroid, complete with a near-total lack of hand-holding and a darkly sharp visual style.
The sequel Silksong has been shrouded in mystery since its announcement three years ago, but its summer 2023 launch date is tantalizingly close. What little we’ve seen of Silksong suggests the visuals are even nicer, the combat is even deeper and more challenging, and the platforming is even more hellish. Sounds about right.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Release date: First half of 2023
Starfield is the next game from the people who made Skyrim. I’m tempted to just leave it at that because by now you already know if you’re excited for it or not.
But with a NASA-core sci-fi setting, customizable spaceships, and over 1,000 planets to explore, Starfield promises to be substantial, if nothing else. This is a game you’ll be able to lose yourself in for dozens or even hundreds of hours, just like Skyrim. It remains to be seen how it stacks up narratively or if all 1,000 planets are actually interesting to run around on, but regardless, Starfield is going to be a huge deal.
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release date: Sometime in 2023
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
The 2018 Spider-Man game from developer Insomniac Games delivered a beautiful virtual New York City to explore, the best web-swinging mechanics ever, and a touching story about everyone’s favorite wall-crawling superhero. Its 2020 sequel Miles Morales was even better. Naturally, it’s easy to be excited about a sequel that brings the two games together.
We still know very little about Spider-Man 2, but I trust Insomniac on this one. All I ask is that players can explore virtual Queens and/or Brooklyn this time instead of just Manhattan. Sure, it’s hard to swing around when every building is four stories tall, but the outer boroughs are great for walking!
Release date: Sometime in 2023