The Biggest Games of 2023 – Part Four
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Release Date: 04.28.2023
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC
With Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn delivered the best Star Wars game in recent memory. Now, the studio is headed back to a galaxy far, far away to continue the story of Cal Kestis, one of the few Jedi to survive the Empire’s purge.
This next chapter picks up five years after the first game, with an older, more confident, and newly stubbled Cal taking on the Empire across planets both familiar and new to the Star Wars canon. Allies like droid-buddy BD-1 and Cere Junda return, alongside new characters like the mercenary Bode Akuna and a mysterious, imposing, ashen-skinned figure Cal rescues from a bacta tank.
On the gameplay front, players can expect the solid, timing-based lightsaber combat of the first game to return, though in a greatly expanded form. In addition to a larger suite of Force abilities, Cal now has access to five different lightsaber stances, including dual-wielding, using a lightsaber in one hand and a blaster in the other, and a heavy stance making use of a Kylo Ren–style crossguard saber.
With shows like The Mandalorian and Andor bringing the magic of Star Wars back in a big way, we’re excited to see if Jedi: Survivor can keep up the winning streak.
Street Fighter 6
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PS4, PC
Release Date: 06.02.2023
When Capcom released Street Fighter V back in 2016, the game attempted to reshape the fighting game franchise in bold new ways. While it would eventually go a long way toward achieving that goal, its early days were marred by a lack of single-player content and a smaller player base due to console exclusivity.
As we approach the release of Street Fighter 6, things are looking very different. Even at launch, you’ll have a plethora of modes to take on, including the new World Tour where you can create your own custom fighter and then learn to be the best around from familiar Street Fighter cast members. If you prefer human opponents, then the Battle Hub will provide a massive community space where you can meet other players, jump straight into online matches, compete in tournaments, or even relax with a variety of classic Capcom arcade hits.
What might be most exciting about Street Fighter 6, however, is just how fresh and energetic it feels. The stages, soundtrack, and overall style offer nods to hip-hop and street culture, and there hasn’t been a single one of the surprisingly large roster of new faces that we haven’t liked so far. If Street Fighter V was a reworking of the present state of the series, then SF6 seems to be laying the groundwork for a brave new future.
Final Fantasy XVI
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Creative Business Unit III
Platforms: PlayStation 5
Release Date: 06.22.23
While the Final Fantasy series has changed a lot over the years, the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI looks back to the past while keeping one foot firmly planted in the present.
One way that XVI harkens back to the series’ roots is in its setting, returning to a more medieval-style fantasy compared to the more modern Final Fantasy XV or sci-fi infused VII Remake. Specifically, it takes place in Valisthea, a land where six mountainous Mothercrystals tower over each of its realms, blessing them with aether that allows them to thrive. The six realms have settled into an uneasy peace when the game begins—that is, until a dark force called the Blight threatens to throw the world back into chaos.
The story of Final Fantasy XVI follows brothers Clive and Joshua Rosfield, the latter of whom just so happens to have a special being living inside of him called an Eikon that can crush entire nations, and their confidant, Jill, as they embark on a mission of revenge after a tragic event upends their lives.
While the tale feels like classic Final Fantasy, the gameplay is anything but. XVI looks to build upon the more action-based combat of more recent entries and even introduce gigantic, Godzilla-like Eikon battles. Between the epic story and the intense gameplay, Final Fantasy XVI will hopefully live up to the fans’ massive expectations.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Arkane Studios
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release Date: TBD 2023
Redfall might not technically be the biggest game that Bethesda Softworks is publishing this year, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Simply knowing that it’s from Arkane Austin—the studio behind two of the best first-person action games of the last decade in 2012’s Dishonored and 2017’s Prey—should be enough to get you to want to play it.
If for some reason you still need convincing, let’s try this: Redfall takes place in the titular New England island town where vampires have invaded and blocked out the sun, creating a utopia for bloodsuckers. Playing as one of four characters trapped within Redfall, it’s your job to use your firepower and your distinct abilities to take out the vamps (and their sycophantic human followers) and maybe even turn the lights back on.
The catch with this game is that, unlike previous Arkane titles, you don’t have to go it alone. In Redfall, up to four players can join forces and cooperate to take the town back. Arkane has described the game as “story-driven” with elements of stealth and all-out action, as well as some Deathloop–style looting and upgrade mechanics. We’ve never been so excited to be hunted for our blood.