After a ruthlessly crowded year for video games, you’d think I’d be ready to slow down and take a breather. Unfortunately for me, the video game industry rests for no one. 2024 is right around the corner, and it’s already filling up with new game releases — some of which threaten to be 100-hour affairs that could keep players occupied for an entire year.
- Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown — January 18
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth — January 26
- Final Fantasy VII Rebirth — February 29
- Princess Peach Showtime! — March 22
- Tales of Kenzera: Zau — April 23
- Animal Well — Early 2024
- Flock — Spring 2024
- Metaphor: ReFantazio — Fall 2024
- Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 — TBA 2024
- Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story — TBA 2024
While 2023’s big releases were set in stone before the year even began, 2024’s release calendar is more of a mystery. We know what’s coming in the first few months and have a vague idea of some games that’ll drop through the year, but it’s not quite clear what the big breakout releases or holiday system sellers will be yet. Instead, we’re sitting on a pile of high-profile RPGs, niche projects, and eye-catching indies. Any of those games could be topping year-end lists 12 months from now.
From Princess Peach’s first solo adventure in almost 20 years to the long-awaited sequel to one of my favorite games of all time, these are the 10 games we’re already looking forward to in 2024.
I was already sold on Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown from its first trailer this summer. A return to the series’ 2D roots seemed like a perfect way to revisit the classic series, especially as its Sands of Time remake remains in development limbo. My anticipation would only double after going hands-on with it and finding one of the biggest, most polished Metroidvanias I’ve seen yet. Based on its early hours, The Lost Crown is already shaping up to be a spectacular 2D platformer with varied combat, tons of optional content, and a massive world to explore. If the full 20 to 25-hour adventure is as good as what I’ve already played, we may be looking at 2024’s first Game of the Year contender within weeks.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon took me by surprise in 2020. It was my first introduction to the wild world of Yakuza, and it would suck me in immediately thanks to its lovable hero, Ichiban Kasuga. Its sequel, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, promises to deliver even more of what I loved about Kasuga’s story with even more emotional weight. With a loaded story about Yakuza protagonist Kazama Kiryu battling cancer, Infinite Wealth seems poised to deliver an emotional story on top of its winning, turn-based combat. It doesn’t look like it’s skimping on the series’ signature silliness either, as the Hawaiian adventure will bring some truly eclectic side content, like a full Animal Crossing-like life simulation mode.
Let me put it plainly: Final Fantasy VII Remake is one of my top 10 favorite games of all time. While it may be polarizing, I adore the way it subverts all expectations to deliver a meaningful reimagining about characters — and their creators — battling their predetermined fates. While I’m not expecting the much bigger Final Fantasy VII Rebirth to be as thematically focused, I’m more than willing to continue Cloud’s unknown journey and see Square Enix’s new take on characters like Vincent Valentine. If it can deliver the same balance of playful goofiness and high-concept meditating on heady themes, it should be another smash hit.
It’s been a very long time since Princess Peach has gotten her own adventure. 2005’s Super Princess Peach would try to turn the character into a leading lady but draw criticism for building its gameplay around her “emotional” nature — a move that played into tired stereotypes about women. It’s far too early to say if Princess Peach Showtime! will rectify that awkward moment, but it’s always exciting whenever Nintendo starts playing around with an entirely new series. All we know so far is that Peach will get an array of costumes that give her different powers, from a swordfighter to a detective. Hopefully, that idea will build on Nintendo’s success with Kirby and make for the kind of fresh franchise her royalty has always deserved.
Out of everything revealed at this year’s Game Awards, Tales of Zenzera: Zau has stuck with me the most. That’s largely thanks to the passionate introduction Surgent Games’ founder Abubakar Salim gave before its debut trailer at the show. Salim set the stage for an emotional game built to help him process his grief after his father passed away. That alone was enough to pique my interest, but the footage that followed showed what looks like a slick and thrilling 2D action-adventure game with a wealth of powers to discover. The fact that it also looks to deliver a raw, personal story only makes that pitch stronger.
Animal Well has been on my radar ever since it was first announced last year. The visually distinct Metroidvania has players exploring a dark, pixelated world full of animals. When I played it last year at Summer Game Fest, I was instantly drawn in by its mysterious, atmospheric world. What intrigues me most of all is that developer Shared Memory teases that the 2D world is loaded with secrets – some of which it doesn’t expect players to find for years after some collaborative sleuthing. If it can live up to that promise, I think you’ll be looking at an indie game that gets the same warm reception as last year’s Tunic.
I played a lot of games at an in-person Day of the Devs event this month, but there’s one I can’t stop thinking about: Flock. The latest game from the folks behind Wilmot’s Warehouse feels like it was tailor-made to my interests. It’s a nature-watching game where players fly around on the back of a bird and categorize a bunch of goofy critters. It’s a mix of a 3D adventure and a clever deduction game with players observing a colorful world and identifying its creatures based on context clues. It seems like the exact kind of relaxing experience I’m always eager to sit down with come spring.
If it wasn’t already clear that 2024 is going to be the year of the RPG, look no further than Metaphor: ReFantazio. The new project comes from the creative minds that brought us Persona 3, 4, and 5, which is a strong enough pedigree to get us excited. The gameplay trailers we’ve seen so far tease a sweeping fantasy story filled with the same stylistic touches that have made modern Persona games such a phenomenon. Even more exciting is that much of it remains a mystery. Its latest trailer includes a host of oddball images, from a walking ship to a battle against an egg with legs. Say no more; we’re in.
If you’ve yet to play Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, then you might not realize why Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is such a big deal. The action-adventure game is one of Xbox’s finest exclusives, presenting the raw story of a character living with psychosis. It’s a challenging work that actively antagonizes players in all the right ways. While it’s unclear if Hellblade 2 will take that exact same approach, developer Ninja Theory has proved that it has something special on its hands with the series. The more cinematic sequel should raise the bar for Hellblade with a wider scope, more cinematic storytelling, and an improved combat system. My only hope is that it holds on to the same raw exploration of an under-discussed condition that made the first game so vital.
Over the last year, developer Digital Eclipse has done something that I never really expected: It perfected the interactive documentary. Both its Atari 50 collection and 2023’s fantastic The Making of Karateka have redefined the idea of a video game remaster, finding creative ways to preserve historical context alongside old games. Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story is set to take that to the next level. The digital doc will explore the works of developer Jeff Minter, bringing over 40 of his games together in one eclectic package. That’ll be bundled with rare archival footage and documentary featurettes that tell the story of a wildly creative artist trying to create in the grips of an industry that isn’t kind to outside-the-box thinking. It’s an entirely left-field premise for Digital Eclipse’s Gold Master series, but one I can’t wait to check out.
That’s only a tiny taste of what’s to come. Dragon’s Dogma 2 looks like it’ll be a breakout sequel. Avowed could be Xbox’s next big exclusive, and Star Wars Outlaws should be a space-faring blast (if it actually launches on time). With a release calendar that’s only just beginning to fill up, we’re already clearing out a lot of gaming time for 2024.
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- New Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 video details game’s development progress