Today is National Video Game Day, and while many may take the time to reminisce about great games over the last several decades, here at CGMagazine, we have decided to look to the future of gaming…for 2023 at least.
We covered our favourite Canadian-made and Canadian-starring games last week for Canada Day. We have covered our favourite Cozy games in the past. We have even covered our most anticipated RPGs, and most anticipated games overall for 2023.
So what is left? Although there have been some massive releases in the past six months, 2023 is only half over. We’ve got another two-quarters of game releases to go, with some insanely popular titles on the horizon. There’s undoubtedly a lot to be excited about.
Here is our National Video Game list of Most Anticipated Games left this year:
Pikmin 4 – July 21
First up is a game releasing in just a couple of weeks, Pikmin 4. Pikmin 3 launched in Japan in July of 2013, so it’s literally been ten years since the last game. Series fans have really had quite a long wait.
Pikmin 4 has some fairly major changes compared to previous entries. Instead of playing as Olimar, players will have to take a customizable avatar into the field to rescue him. While past games forced players to back off once days ended, this time, there’s no rush, and we’ll be able to explore at our leisure alongside a camera that can now be placed much closer to the action. It’ll be interesting to see how exactly these changes shake up the core gameplay, as well as see the world rendered through the lens of more modern visuals as we lead hordes of colourful creatures around.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon – August 25
Speaking of waiting a decade, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is the first entry in the Armored Core series since late 2013. In the interim, FromSoftware has almost exclusively put out Souls-likes—like the wildly popular Elden Ring—or related games (an unrelated VR game was released in 2018). Fans had been wondering for years whether the Armored Core series would ever be heard from again, and this entry undoubtedly has some very high expectations placed on it.
While most big FromSoftware games in recent years have been directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is being headed up by Sekiro’s lead game designer and will see players taking on missions in customizable mechs that they’ll need to upgrade as the circumstances become more demanding.
Immortals of Aveum – August 24
Magic-based first-person shooters used to be a much more common thing. Such games still exist thanks to games like Project Warlock, but they rarely get AAA muscle behind them. Immortals of Aveum is disrupting this, as it’s published by Electronic Arts and is being worked on by a team that’s more akin to an indie dev than a major powerhouse.
Immortals of Aveum is truly promising-looking and features over 25 spells for players to utilize as Jak, a character that strangely shares the exact first name as a separate famous gaming character. The plot details the world of Aveum itself being in great danger, so Jak has to utilize his battlemage skills to stem the tide. The game is being headed up by the creative director behind the original Dead Space, and the game’s flashy magic combat looks absolutely delightful, making for a game that definitely appears worth keeping an eye or two on.
Blasphemous 2 – August 21
The Original Blasphemous became one of my favourite pixel-platformers when it was released a few years ago. Blasphemous 2 clearly aims to build upon what the first delivered with more detailed, grisly pixel art and another large world to explore. The Wounds of Eventide expansion that was added for free to the original game at the end of its life cycle sets the narrative stage for the sequel. It ended with The Heart predicting that something called The Miracle would return, and so the Penitent One was awakened from their slumber and called into action once again.
Blasphemous 2 is set to be even larger than its predecessor, which was already densely packed with mysteries around every corner. The Penitent One will get a lot of new combat options, including new weapons and skills. Plus, there will be even more NPCs to dole out lore and quests. If it’s anywhere near as captivating as the first game, then Blasphemous 2 might be quite the treat.
Starfield – September 6th
One of the biggest releases of the year, Starfield doesn’t need much of an introduction. Directed by Todd Howard of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout fame, the game has been in active development since Fallout 4 released in late 2015. As the name implies, it takes place in space where you’ll play as another customizable character that levels up and learns new skills. But this time, you’ll be able to freely travel to planets.
These planets were mostly procedurally generated and then had human-made content added to them, so it’s going to be interesting to see how unique everything feels. Although, Daggerfall did do something similar, so this isn’t exactly uncharted territory. What is quite new is how the game seems to be taking inspiration from No Man’s Sky, as there will be a heavy focus on gathering resources and crafting. Whether or not Starfield lives up to the hype remains to be seen, but we’re excited to see how it turns out.
Mortal Kombat 1 – September 19
Although the Mortal Kombat series famously went back to basics by returning to 2D planes with its ninth installment, which acted as a soft reboot, Mortal Kombat 1 is returning to a similar well, taking us back to the original tournament. Only this time, things are very different. For instance, Raiden is now a human, and Liu Kang is the god overseeing the event. Additionally, Sub-Zero and Scorpion are now siblings.
The game will feature tag battles and allow players to summon characters for extra attacks, and the series’ trademark combination of technical gameplay and violent fatalities have all returned with aplomb. The way that the cinematics are so impressively attached to the gameplay also makes for a compelling bit of spectacle, so it’s easy to be excited about this newest entry.
Forza Motorsport – October 10
Considering how important the Forza franchise is, it’s surprising that it’s been six years since the last Motorsport entry. On top of that, Forza Motorsport 7 was pulled from sale some time ago, so it can’t even be purchased digitally. The upcoming Forza Motorsport is technically a reboot according to naming conventions, and it’s the next step in the evolution of Microsoft’s racing series.
The base game is set to feature 20 tracks, including ones that are new to the series. What’s more, players will find over 500 cars included in the game by default. There’s also a brand-new single-player experience called the Builder’s Cup Mode, which is sure to give even multiplayer-averse fans plenty to sink their teeth into, as well as over 800 parts that can be used to customize vehicles. The new game will have a whole lot to live up to, but it’ll be great to put the pedal to the metal in another track-based Forza game.
Sonic Superstars – October 17th (Rumoured)
You really didn’t think you’d seen the last of Classic Sonic, did you? Well, he’s bringing the whole classic gang along in Sonic Superstars, including Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose. After the throwback character was so well-regarded in Generations (and then unceremoniously shoehorned into the much-maligned Sonic Forces), he and his cohorts are getting their own game, which will be fully 2D and attempt to once again recapture the magic of the Genesis games.
What’s more, Sonic Superstars’ stages are going to be brand new instead of recycling classic levels. Considering how much fun the cyberspace stages in Sonic Frontiers were, it’s probably not a stretch to imagine that some of that magic will be captured when the game releases later this year. But Sonic is going to be going head-to-head with his old meta arch-enemy again for the first time in a long time.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder – October 20
It seemed as though Nintendo had put its side-scrolling Mario games to rest, considering 3D Land and World. But the Mario brothers are once again moving exclusively to a 2D plane with Super Mario Bros. Wonder. The New Super Mario Games were all fine for what they were, but a common criticism against them was that they played things too safely without making much of an attempt to innovate, despite some really fun power-ups.
This time, Nintendo seems to be looking to shake things up more in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, with a total of six playable characters, including Yoshi’s first appearance as a playable character in a mainline Mario game in years. New power-ups include animal transformations (Elephant Mario, anyone?) or spawning a bunch of pipes. The level design also appears as if things are going to be considerably more surprising this time around.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – October 20th
This list wouldn’t be complete without what is easily one of the most anticipated games of the entire year. The first game is not only arguably the best Spider-Man game in general, but Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 seems poised to massively up the ante. Peter and Miles are dual protagonists this time, which builds off the game’s previous expansion.
The big difference is that Peter is now host to the symbiote and wears the black suit, complete with new abilities that will bring him some parity with Miles’s bio-electricity. Considering how spectacular the plot was in the first game, hopes are high that Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will do a bang-up job of adapting one of the most beloved plotlines in the comics. At least, far better than Spider-Man 3 did.
And there you have it — our top 10 most anticipated releases for the second half of 2023 in time for National Video Game Day! It’s going to be jam-packed with great releases, so we’re all going to have to do our best to find time to fit everything in.