Next year is shaping up to be the most important for Xbox ever. A number of significant titles that could finally give Microsoft a foothold during this console generation are scheduled to release in 2023. We’ll also likely learn whether or not Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will go through. As such, there’s a lot for Xbox fans to look forward to in 2023.
Xbox’s 2023 console-exclusive slate is shaping up to be fairly diverse, featuring everything from cinematic platformers to RPGs to real-time strategy games. It’s a far cry from the indie-dominated exclusive lineup of 2022. We’ve rounded up eight games set to define Xbox Series X’s 2023 that fans should keep an eye on going into next year. We’re only counting games with announced release windows, so titles like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II and Avowed won’t show up on this list. Still, there are plenty of 2023 games for Xbox fans to get excited about.
There are several 2D platformers coming exclusively to Xbox systems next year, like Replaced and The Last Case of Benedict Fox. The cinematic platformer that has stood out the most to us, though, has been Planet of Lana. Developed by Wishfully and published by Thunderful, this atmospheric, cinematic 2D platformer is of note because it’s a gorgeous sci-fi adventure about a boy and a cute alien creature trying to survive an invasion. Planet of Lana’s beautiful visuals remind me of Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and its gameplay harks back to Inside, so I’ll eagerly be awaiting its release in spring 2023.
Minecraft Dungeons was an enjoyable Diablo-like spinoff of the Minecraft formula, and now Mojang and Blackbird Interactive are taking a page out of Pikmin’s book with Minecraft Legends. Set to release in spring 2023, Minecraft Legends is a real-time action strategy game where players defend the Minecraft Overworld from Piglins by commanding hordes of recognizable Minecraft creatures. Minecraft Legends looks like it will scratch that real-time action strategy itch as we wait for Pikmin 4, and will likely introduce a lot of new players to the genre. It is a multiplatform release, like all Minecraft titles, but its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass will make it a must-play Xbox Series X and S title in 2023.
Nearly three years after being announced in July 2020, we’ll finally get our hands on the next mainline Forza game soon. It’ll be interesting to see how Turn 10 Studios has evolved the formula in the wake of notable racing titles like Gran Turismo 7 and spinoff Forza Horizon 5. The new Forza Motorsport seems to be going all-out with its visuals, focusing on real-time ray tracing, dynamic time of day and weather, and high frame rates during races. Forza Motorsport will certainly be one of the prettiest games to ever release on Xbox Series X and S, so we definitely have our eye on it heading into its release next spring.
Originally slated to release in summer 2022, Redfall’s delay really hurt Xbox’s first-party prospects this year. That’s one reason why we’re interested to see how this vampiric cooperative shooter from Dishonored and Deathloop developer Arkane turns out when it releases in the first half of 2023. Arkane’s switch from immersive sims to an open-world co-op shooter here is intriguing, so we’re curious to see how they’ll pull it off while still achieving satisfying horror undertones. Being the first brand-new Bethesda game to be an Xbox exclusive post-acquisition, Redfall is set to be a very meaningful release for Xbox Series X and S,
Starfield needs little introduction. Announced in 2018, players have been hyped for this brand-new sci-fi IP from Bethesda Game Studios for years and want it more than ever after its release date of 2022 was delayed. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most influential RPGs of all time, and Fallout 4 isn’t too shabby either, so it’s no surprise that we’re excited to see what that team can do with a sci-fi experience that has taken eight years to create. Starfield is set to be a massive game with thousands of explorable planets, a grandiose story, shipbuilding, base building, and lots of RPG systems and combat. It will be one of the biggest AAA releases of 2023 period, let alone the biggest on Xbox. Even if no other Xbox Series X and S games are on your radar heading into 2023, keep an eye on Starfield when it releases in the first half of the year.
Hollow Knight is one of the best Metroidvania games ever made, so it’s understandable why we’re quite excited for a sequel that follows the character of Hornet in a whole new kingdom. While this game will also be available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PS5, its day one availability on Xbox Game Pass will make Xbox the premier console on which to play Hollow Knight: Sillksong. It appeared during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase this year, suggesting it will release sometime in the first half of 2023 despite developer Team Cherry’s relative secrecy surrounding it. Regardless, anyone who loves of a good Metroidvania will want to check out Hollow Knight: Silksong whenever it launches in 2023.
Although we haven’t heard much about the game, Ravenlok’s unique style has us eagerly awaiting its release on Xbox Series X in 2023. Ravenlok is an action RPG with an Alice in Wonderland-like story where a girl is whisked away to a magical kingdom ruled by a cruel queen. Although its gameplay doesn’t look like anything too out of the ordinary, the game features beautiful voxel visuals that get a shocking amount of detail out of what are normally crude geometric shapes. Ravenlok’s beautiful visuals certainly will keep it on our radar when it launches day one on Xbox Game Pass.
The postapocalyptic shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been a long time coming and will hopefully finally be released in 2022. It’s a survival-horror shooter set in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, following players as they navigate through the radiation and horrific enemies there in search of riches. The looks we’ve gotten at the game so far are thick with atmosphere and appear really promising. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has unfortunately suffered some massive delays due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has severely impacted the development team at GSC Game World. Still, the studio is adamant about releasing it on Xbox Series X and S in December 2023, and we can’t wait to see the results of what this team has been working on.
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