Xbox consoles are starting strong next year. The continual rise of Xbox Game Pass and a growing slate of new IPs launching on Microsoft’s platforms makes owning one of them a must. It also makes deciding what games we most want to play that will be released on the Xbox Series X|S a wildly tough decision.
Are we most excited about a new Bethesda launch? Or are we most excited about the fantastic indie games that are set to sprout as day-one titles, courtesy of Game Pass? The answer is obviously a mix of both! Our staff here at TheGamer consists of die-hard Yakuza fans, RPG completionists, Metroidvania lovers, and more. Read on to discover what Xbox Series X|S games we can’t wait to play in 2023.
At this point, Limbo and Inside are well-known indie titles that have garnered massive praise. So when someone tells you that the lead designer for those games is making a new one, you pay attention. So far, we’ve only had a reveal trailer from the Xbox & Bethesda Game Showcase this past year, but everything I’ve seen so far has got me excited for Cocoon.
It looks as if Super Mario Galaxy combined with a minimalist art style to create an amalgamation of a puzzle platformer game. And all that platforming is done as a strange butterfly-human type of creature. It’s eerie. It’s zany. It’s undeniably mystifying. I can’t wait to play it next year.
Folks are worried about Bethesda marketing thousands of visitable worlds for their Next Big Thing, and you know, I get it. What do such claims even mean if there’s barely anything of note on most planetary surfaces, and what reason do we have to suspect otherwise? The thing about Bethesda’s RPGs, at least for me, is that I’m often just as enamored with aimless strolls through gorgeous, though hardly content-packed, environments as I am fulfilling any epic quest.
In The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, my journey truly is my destination. Now, add to this the fact that I’m hopelessly in love with space operas. Do you want to be forced into Star Trek fandom? Grab a coffee with me. Starfield is in space, in case you weren’t aware, and while I’m not looking forward to another round of inevitably dicey gunplay sandwiched into my role-playing sessions, I have a lot of faith in this game hitting all my most important beats to become a GOTY contender right out the gate.
The Last Case Of Benedict Fox
Axel Nicolás Bosso
Just like what happened with our previous list, my first pick would be different from the one I actually chose. Yes, I’m looking at you, Silksong. But selecting Hollow Knight’s sequel after only one trailer out of nowhere and years of silence doesn’t sound good. Fortunately, there are a bunch of other titles coming to our Xbox Series that are confirmed for 2023.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is perhaps the most interesting one of them all, with an artistic direction so astonishing that I don’t know how my mates have the audacity to pick anything else. Let’s hope that this Metroidvania just plays as good as it looks.
Redfall, on paper, is not a game that would necessarily interest me. Not that I would be opposed to playing something along those lines—I enjoyed Left 4 Dead, and I had a great time playing the Vermintide games—it just isn’t the type of game that I would pay a whole lot of attention to pre-release. But one thing I have learned is that when Arkane makes a game, they do it right.
The Dishonoured games are some of the best stealth games ever made. Prey? One of the best immersive sims ever made. Deathloop? One of the most enjoyable online experiences I have had in years. Arkane makes bangers, people! When Microsoft bought Bethesda they instantly grabbed hold of a huge number of top-tier developers, and Arkane is quite possibly the best of the bunch. Redfall is going to be great. Mark my words!
Layers Of Fears
Layers of Fears might not actually be my most anticipated Xbox game of 2023, but a) I’m trying to put a different game in each list, after putting the same game in every list last year only to see it delayed, and b) I think the original Layers of Fear has become a bit of a meme to dunk on. Most people did not play it and yet everyone has an opinion on it.
Tight, claustrophobic, and intimidatingly confusing, it was a much better experience played on a big TV in the dark than it is via streamer failcomps on Twitter. Smaller games have been the best games for the last few years, and I’m expecting that to continue into 2023.
Like A Dragon: Ishin
Fans have been asking for Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin to come to the West for years, so I’m beyond stoked that we are finally getting it. Not only that, but it’s not just a port, but a Kiwami remake with new content, such as characters from Yakuza 6 and 7 both appearing — as historical character equivalents, of course. It’s safe to say that one of my all-time game wish list entries has been ticked off with this. Ishin is arguably one of the best Yakuza games to date and will offer a fresh new twist for Western fans with its historical setting.
It’s not just about being able to play Ishin that excites me, but also what its launch could mean for the future of the series. If Ishin does well at launch and there is a demand for the older spinoffs, perhaps Kenzan will eventually get the same treatment, or we might even see the Black Panther spinoffs get some love and be reborn as fully-fledged titles.
Planet Of Lana
David W. Duffy
A puzzle-adventure that reminds me of both Inside and something like FAR: Lone Sails, Planet of Lana is probably going to be the calmer experience I’ll need after going through hefty games like God of War Ragnarok, Pokemon Violet (the only right choice), and the three hundred Square RPGs that are releasing this winter. Graphically, it looks delightful, and unlike some other side-scrollers of its ilk, it doesn’t look bleak in its hand-painted colour palette. Sure, there are some giant creepy bugs and giant mech things, but I can always play with the lights on.
Seeing as someone already said Starfield (mentioning no names, Quinton), I’ll plump for its indie sibling, The Invincible. Based on Stanisław Lem’s sci-fi novel of the same name, we’ll have to navigate hostile planet Regis III, uncover its secrets, and make it home alive. Hopefully.
Unlike the sprawling galaxy of Starfield, The Invincible looks to be a much more contained experience, and the retrofuturistic robots that populate the planet look like they’ve come straight off a ‘70s speculative fiction novel cover. The Invincible has old school sci-fi vibes, and I can’t wait to dive head-first into its mysteries, even if the book has already spoiled the ending.
Minecraft has been bobbing about since I was 11 — I remember setting up my first private server with my brother and a mate in primary school, building a floating castle in the sky while they slapped down obscene designs in the scenery. I kept playing through secondary, making online friends and strengthening real-life friendships — it’s been a big part of my life for years, even keeping relationships going during the pandemic.
Dungeons was no different, even if it was a Diablo-like spin-off, and I can’t wait for that torch to be kept lit with Legends, an all-new RTS. Minecraft is great, but I’m certainly feeling burnout from over a decade of playing, and I’ve already run Dungeons into bedrock, so I can’t wait for a new Minecraft experience to freshen things up.
Next: TheGamer Staff’s Most Anticipated Games Coming 2023