2023 is going to be a huge year for Xbox players. 2022 has been a bit of a disappointment for the console, with numerous titles getting pushed back to next year. But, that means 2023 is going to be one of Xbox's most epic years ever.
High-profile releases combined with all the big games that were supposed to come out this year, 2023 will be a smorgasbord for Xbox gamers, serving up an endless buffet of fantastic titles, from franchise favorites to long-awaited sequels, new IPs, and more.
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Taking place in a gritty, post-apocalyptic setting, this cinematic platformer infuses a retro aesthetic with cutting-edge graphics, creating a 16-bit-looking game that feels as though it was made by Steven Spielberg. In Replaced, gamers play as an AI that has been unwillingly transferred into a human's body. Greed, scandal, and crime fill the city streets and players must figure out who (or what) is behind it all.
Replaced will be especially appealing to fans of retro cinematic platformers and games from the SEGA CD era, as inspirations from titles like Flashback can be heavily felt throughout.
The Last Case Of Benedict Fox
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a fantasy Metroidvania that's already been making waves. At the 2022 Gamescon awards, it won the "Most Wanted Xbox Game" award thanks to its vibrant colors, action, and compelling story. With influences of Southern Gothic storytelling and Lovecraftian monsters, the game walks a thin line between crime story, fantasy, and horror.
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The overarching plot follows an investigator who comes across an old mansion where a couple was murdered and their child abducted. From there, players embark on a journey through a mystical world to find out what happened.
The first ARK was somewhat of a divisive game, with some players praising its open-world gameplay, massive dinosaurs, and survival aspect, while others criticized its difficulty, excessive grinding, and lackluster story. Its sequel, ARK II seems to be taking the game in a whole new direction.
Now, with more of a story-based gameplay, ARK II will star Vin Diesel (a choice that's already polarizing amongst gamers) as he fights to protect his daughter. The game will still have lots of massive dinosaurs and the graphics look fantastic thanks to its use of Unreal Engine 5. If nothing else, ARK II is sure to at least be a visual spectacle.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart Of Chernobyl
Tragically, this year has made S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 more relevant. The game series was originally influenced by the film Stalker, which was critical of Russia's totalitarian and ruthless ways, and centers in and around Chornobyl, the nuclear power plant that suffered a meltdown in 1986 in present-day Ukraine (It was the SSR in 1986) due to a lack of safety oversight. On top of all that, the game is currently being developed in Ukraine, despite the war forcing the gaming studio to flee its offices (per PC Gamer).
On the surface, it's a first-person shooter exporting the remnants of a radioactive and dangerous land...but with the current war, the game's roots, meaning, and impact go much deeper. It's a story of resistance and resilience.
The Outer Worlds 2
Xbox owners rejoice! The follow-up to 2019's action RPG hit The Outer Worlds is an Xbox exclusive! In the distant future, mega-corporations have begun terraforming planets with the hopes of profiting from them. Infused with satire and humor, players navigate the open-world galaxy which leads to an endless series of adventures.
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While much of the plot is being kept under wraps, Obsidian promised the sequel will center around a new star system and new crew, and the reveal trailer has gone down as one of the funniest in gaming history, promising that the sequel should be just as cutting and hilarious as the first.
Redfall has already built up a bit of a reputation, with some saying it's going to be a game similar to Back 4 Blood, except this time, the co-op team will be facing off against paranormal entities instead of zombies. Action-packed gaming and some genuinely terrifying jump scares have already gotten people excited about the release.
It's also going to be an improvement upon the Left 4 Dead-style gameplay because Redfall appears to be solidly rooted in a plot, something many players wish games like L4D and World War Z would have had more of.
Everwild is a game that could go either way - it could be an epic hit...or an overworked disaster. The game, created by Rare, will be the first since the studio resurrected itself from obscurity with 2018's Sea of Thieves. Everwild's trailer shows a lush and vibrant fantasy world filled with stunning and majestic animals.
However, that trailer was first released in 2019. Since then, it's rumored the game has been completely revamped and rebooted with a hopeful *fingers crossed* 2023 release date (though some are already saying it could end up a 2024 release.) Still, considering Rare's recent success and how gorgeous the game looks, gamers are wishing for the best.
Fable (or, Fable 4 as some are calling it), is the long-awaited continuation of the Fable series – the last game came out in 2010. The new game will be an RPG and is rumored to be a mix of a reboot and sequel, adding in many new story elements to the world. Plus, many gamers will likely be delighted to see Fable in a whole new way.
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The last game came out in the 360 era, and numerous graphical advancements have evolved since then, meaning fans of the series could be in for a real treat when they see one of their favorite series revamped in a whole new shiny, shimmery package.
After being initially announced at 2018's E3 and then suffering numerous delays, Starfield is another 2023 release that gamers have been waiting years for. The action RPG is a space odyssey set in the future that looks like a combination of Halo and Call of Duty, and sees players embark as a member of the Constellation – a group dedicated to exploring the universe – as they traverse the galaxy in the aftermath of a giant civil war.
Because of its lengthy delays and epic plot, Starfield has become one of the most highly anticipated video game releases of 2023, and a lot is riding on it. Xbox has been working hard to find its new Halo-level epic, and, if done properly, Starfield could be that hit.
One of Xbox's bestselling franchises returns next year with Forza Motorsport. To an outsider, the series might seem like just a bunch of racing games, but in reality, Microsoft often uses the Forza titles to show off the true power of their consoles. Graphically stunning, with smooth and stable controls, and superb sound quality, the Forza games are as much of a showpiece as they are racing games.
The 2023 game is a reboot of the series, being built from the ground up on a proprietary game engine called ForzaTech (the same engine being used to build the new Fable game as well), and Xbox is looking to wow and impress gamers – especially Xbox X owners – to show that their console truly is the most powerful around.
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