Our Most Anticipated Games of 2023

Games Lists
Our Most Anticipated Games of 2023

If you dug through our back catalogue and compared our annual list of the most anticipated games of the year with our annual list of the best games of the year you wouldn’t always see a lot of overlap. A big part of that is because many games on the anticipated lists simply don’t come out those years; there’s a certain sequel that I’m pretty sure is on our list for the fourth year in a row. And it’s not just because very often a game that looks interesting or exciting in trailers and in previews can’t live up to the hype once we actually play it. A third reason those lists don’t always jibe is because very often the best games of the year are ones we aren’t even aware of when the year starts. Surprises come out every year; at this point in 2022 we weren’t anxiously waiting to play Norco or Citizen Sleeper or Signalis, and those are some of the very best games of the year. So take this list with a few grains of salt. We absolutely can’t wait to play all 10 of these games, but that doesn’t mean they’ll wind up being all that good or memorable. They might all be great, they might all disappoint, but until we actually play ‘em it’s all waiting to be seen. As of today, though, we’re looking forward to ‘em all. Here they are, in alphabetical order: Paste’s most anticipatd games of 2023.

AEW: Fight Forever

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: First Quarter

Ask any wrestling game aficionado what the genre’s peak is, and they’ll most likely give you one of two answers: either the long-running Japanese series Fire Pro Wrestling, or the beloved wrestling games AKI and Asmik Ace developed for the Nintendo 64 in the late ‘90s. The latter are especially popular in the States, where they were released under licenses with WCW and then WWF at the summit of the cable TV pro wrestling craze. Wrestling fans have been clamoring for over a decade for a new licensed wrestling game that feels and plays like those N64 classics, and from day one All Elite Wrestling, a young promotion that offers a major league alternative to WWE, has promised that with its first game AEW: Fight Forever. Videos have highlighted a grappling system that recalls the AKI games, while also promoting a variety of minigames and large selection of in-match weapons. Those who’ve played it at trade shows like Gamescom have generally had positive things to say, and any wrestling fan whose longed for a spiritual successor to those Nintendo 64 games should keep an eye on Fight Forever.—Garrett Martin


Alan Wake 2

Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC, PlayStation 5
Release Date: TBD

Almost a decade before Control strapped Remedy’s interest in esoteric history and conspiracy theories onto a top-notch action game, the studio gave us the twisty, mind-bending Twin Peaks / Stephen King homage known as Alan Wake. A fascinating deep dive into metafiction and the space between reality and imagination, Alan Wake is an Obama-era Twilight Zone you could play, with the structure, pacing, and “OH MY GOD!” cliffhangers of one of those Lost wannabes that regularly came and went from network schedules in the late ‘00s. (It was better than all of those shows, of course.) If there was a knock against Alan Wake, it was the repetitive action, which often felt like killing time between story beats. Will Alan Wake 2 expand and improve on that part of the game? Will it even matter, if the storytelling is as great as it was in the original and in Control? We should find out at some point in ‘23.—Garrett Martin


Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

Platforms: Switch, PC
Release Date: TBD

Let me tell you: the streets have been clamoring for another Jet Set Radio game. Since Sega outright abdicated the throne, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is out here taking over in 2023 instead. Hideki Naganuma is back on the ones and twos and bringing life back to the streets. It’s funky, it’s bass-pounding, it makes me want to dance and I don’t know how to. We can skateboard, BMX, and inline skate now, and tagging looks more simple, propulsive, and violent than ever. And of course, that classic Jet Set drip has never looked better. I want this game so bad and we only have to wait till this summer to get in on it.—Moises Taveras


El Paso, Elsewhere

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBD

The thing about Xalavier Nelson and his studio Strange Scaffold is I’ve got no damn clue what they’re doing at almost any point in time. Even the weirdest of their games are smashing successes though, so they’ve got all the good will and trust I can possibly muster. Luckily, their next game, El Paso, Elsewhere is entirely up my alley. A third-person “bullet-time” shooter a la Max Payne, El Paso Elsewhere lets players shoot their way through a motel that seems to descend into Actual Hell and ultimately face off against their demonic evil ex. My favorite bit of it all? They’ve made an original hip-hop concept album for the game that I’m dying to hear more of.—Moises Taveras


Hollow Knight Silksong

Platforms: PC, Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: First Half of 2023

The original Hollow Knight is my favorite game of all time and the more I look at the internet’s fervor over the sequel, this seems to be just as true for many others. For good reason too, since Hollow Knight is just one of the finest games I’ve ever played. Every bit of it feels purposeful and honed to a razor sharp edge, from the difficulty to the map and layout of the world, and Hollow Knight: Silksong looks like it’ll be no slouch in these departments. Silksong will let folks play as Hallownest’s nimble and crafty guardian Hornet as she explores a brand new kingdom and that’s about all I need to know. If I’m being honest, that’s actually more than I needed to know.—Moises Taveras


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Platform: Switch
Release Date: May 12

This is the third or fourth straight year we’ve put the follow-up to Breath of the Wild on this list, and hey, eventually it’s gonna have to come out. Right? Now that it has an official title and an announced release date, we’re feeling pretty bullish about being able to play this one in the calendar year of 2023—even if it does get delayed again, a May release date gives it a full seven months to still hit in ‘23. It has a lot to live up to, of course; Breath of the Wild was a game changer for open world games and the Zelda franchise, and despite being a launch title is still the best game on the Switch. Will Tears of the Kingdom try to add on to what made Breath so special, or will it be content to just let us hang out in its version of Hyrule for another 100 hours or so? We can’t wait to see either way.—Garrett Martin


Nine Sols

Platforms: PC
Release Date: Second Quarter 2023

Red Candle Games is widely known for their wildly beloved horror games Detention and Devotion, and their third game couldn’t be more different. Nine Sols is instead a 2D platformer that features “Sekiro-style deflection” and feels absolutely phenomenal to play. Think Katana Zero meets a Souls game and you’ve begun getting why this game rules so much. The art style and lore are inspired by Asian fantasy and myths, yet are adapted to a shockingly sleek sci-fi world that seems to have quite a few secrets to tease out. Nine Sols actually has a demo available on its Steam page so just go play it and thank me later when we’re all raving about this game when it comes out later this year.—Moises Taveras


Pikmin 4

Platform: Switch
Release Date: TBD

Sorry to be the sequel squad over here, but that’s the thing about anticipation: it’s easier to look forward to what you’re familiar with than something brand new. Pikmin has never really been a smash for Nintendo, but it’s had a cult following and been a personal favorite of mine since the GameCube, and I can’t wait to see how Pikmin 4 iterates on the basic concept of sending adorable little plant beings who worship me like a god to their grisly demise. As I wrote here about Pikmin 3 in whatever decade that was released, beneath its cheery, colorful exterior Pikmin might be the saddest and most shameful games I’ve ever played; I shed a tear whenever their little ghosts float off the screen. I can’t wait for Pikmin 4 to hurt me.—Garrett Martin


Sea of Stars

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Switch, PlayStation 4
Release Date: TBD

I’m literally playing through Chrono Trigger and just gushed about it, and here’s a game pretty directly in the vein of it and reminds me a lot of Golden Sun, which was my favorite RPG growing up. Yasunori Mitsuda, who primarily scored the Chrono series, actually guest composed a number of tracks for this game, in case you needed any more reason to give it a shot. Sea of Stars looks more and more gorgeous every time I see it, and just captures the vibrancy of a light-hearted fantasy adventure with all the fluidity and expansiveness of a modern game, which I’m increasingly in the mood for this year. And best of all, the developer behind one of 2018’s funniest games, The Messenger is behind it, so I actually trust Sea of Stars to be as charmingly written as it looks.—Moises Taveras


Street Fighter 6

Platforms: PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation, Xbox One
Release Date: June 2, 2023

I’m always going to look forward to a new Street Fighter; it remains the cream of the crop of the fighting realm, the rare game with a storied history and beloved cast of characters that has never stopped innovating. Three days with the Street Fighter 6 beta last fall ratcheted up that anticipation, though. New characters like Kimberly and Jamie offer exciting and unique new ways to play, while the new Drive mechanic is a fluid and wide-ranging tool that seems to fit seamlessly into almost any fighting style. I couldn’t get enough of that beta, and can’t wait to get the final product onto my gaming console of choice in June.—Garrett Martin


Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.

Moises Taveras is the assistant games editor for Paste Magazine. He was that one kid who was really excited about Google+ and is still sad about how that turned out.

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