In terms of big video games, 2023 will be a hard act to follow. Still, the calendar for this year is already half-full with potentially incredible adventures staking their claim to certain release dates.

Like last year, 2024 will see many remakes and collections of celebrated games, and doubtless several big hitters that are yet to be revealed. But below we’ve collected some exciting known prospects which are slated to hit shelves this year.

Alone in the Dark

Described as a love letter to the classic 1992 horror game of the same name, this reimagining has stars Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and David Harbour (Stranger Things) investigating a gloomy psychiatric hospital in the gothic American South. The game has already been delayed twice, which you could interpret as a bad sign, but it comes from an all-star team of artists and early looks have been suitably spooky.

Avowed

Some of US developer Obsidian’s most fondly remembered games have been closely related to Bethesda’s Fallout series, including the official entry Fallout: New Vegas and the spiritually similar Outer Worlds. But with Avowed it’s taking inspiration from Bethesda’s other big franchise, The Elder Scrolls, to create a Skyrim-like set in its own Pillars of Eternity universe. Put simply: it’s first-person swords and sorcery in a plague-filled high fantasy world.

Black Myth: Wukong

Based on the classic novel Journey to the West, Black Myth made an impact with its first trailer in 2020, featuring incredible graphics and combat reminiscent of Dark Souls. Fan anticipation has only grown since then, as each new trailer features more complex visuals, leading some to describe the game as the first AAA blockbuster out of China since the country lifted its ban on game consoles in 2015.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

You could make an argument this is technically a remake, as it’s the middle third of a massive project to reimagine Square’s classic 1997 RPG. However, those who played the first part will know there’s more going on here than just a straight retelling. Rebirth is an incredibly ambitious open world game featuring the series’ most iconic characters, yet one that has openly declared its intentions to surprise and subvert.

Hades II

Supergiant made a string of cult favourites in the 2010s, including Bastion and Transistor, but 2020’s Hades – a stylish and sexy rougelike with a Greek myth underworld theme – was a massive mainstream hit and hailed as one of the greatest games ever made. The developer is taking it slow with Hades II, aiming to make a PC early access version available in the second quarter this year to gather feedback.

Harold Halibut

Here’s a game that’s been in development for more than 10 years, but there’s a good explanation. Harold Halibut’s graphics are almost entirely handmade, using puppets, sets of metal, wood and textiles and Aardman-style stop-motion animation. It looks incredible, but as a narrative adventure game it also has a standout premise: it’s set on a human spaceship, marooned for centuries in the ocean of a distant water planet.

Metaphor: ReFantazio

The creators of the most recent Persona games are bringing their inimitable style and deep RPG systems to a brand new, more fantastical setting in Metaphor. Following a king’s assassination, the protagonist needs to compete in a deadly tournament and save his friend (the prince) from a curse. Every frame of this game shown off so far, even the menus, looks like a heart attack of Japanese urban art.

Mina the Hollower

NES-style hit Shovel Knight set an extremely high bar for faux-retro throwbacks in 2014, and developer Yacht Club has spent most of the decade since crafting excellent spin-offs and additions. But this adventure – starring the mouse-like Mina in a ghostly Victorian-style setting is a brand new game with a different old-school style, emulating top-down Game Boy Color classics like The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages.

Penny’s Big Breakaway

Gorgeous, colourful and incredibly fast, Penny’s Big Breakaway is a yo-yo-powered 3D platformer with an emphasis on escapes. Looking perfect for speed-runners and those who love stringing together combos and honing their skills, it’s the first game from a new studio founded by Australian developer Christian Whitehead, known for his work on official modern adaptations of classic Sonic the Hedgehog games, as well as the original 2017 hit Sonic Mania.

The Plucky Squire

From a new studio founded by Australian developer Jonathan Biddle and former Pokémon designer James Turner, The Plucky Squire is one of those games that hooks you right from your first glance. You play as storybook hero Jot who ventures beyond his pages to the real-world beyond, with all the surprising new challenges that brings, and the blend of 2D and 3D animation is absolutely delightful.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

For decades Prince of Persia has been a 3D series with a focus on parkour and acrobatic combat, but now Ubisoft Montpellier – the studio behind Rayman Legends – is taking it back to its 2D side-scrolling roots with a fresh twist. The Lost Crown is a sprawling, secret-filled and upgrade-gated adventure in the modern “metroidvania” style, with fast-paced combat offset by more methodical map exploration and time-altering powers.

Princess Peach: Showtime

It’s been too long since Nintendo’s leading lady had a game all of her own, and this one looks promising indeed. After a magical attack during a visit to the theatre, Peach gains access to a range of special abilities as she changes costumes. Footage so far has shown her as a sword fighter, a chef, a Kung Fu fighter and a detective, with the gameplay style changing to match.

Rise of the Ronin

Set in 1863 Japan, amid Western incursions and the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, this open world souls-like comes from the team behind Nioh and Ninja Gaiden. Early looks at Rise of the Ronin have shown off period appropriate weaponry and firearms but also more fantastical samurai elements such as a cloth glider and fire magic, with real historical figures but also player choices that affect the story.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a revelation in 2017, presenting a main character suffering psychosis as only a video game could; with near-constant whispering, commentary and advice heard from all directions as you play through an illusory Celtic tale of trauma and loss. The elements of action, combat and cinematic presentation seem bigger in the sequel, but the development of the mental illness angle is being kept tighter under wraps.

Shantae Advance: Risky Revolution

Famed work-for-hire studio Wayforward released Shantae for Game Boy Color in 2002, hoping to create its own hit franchise. It was incredible, but it flopped, and the team had to cancel its in-development sequel for the Game Boy Advance. But half-genie Shantae has become a cult favourite heroine in the years since, starring in four popular hair-whipping, transforming, women-dominated entries. So now the lost Shantae Advance is finally being completed.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl

The development of this anticipated sequel to a 2007 horror shooter was scuttled in the home stretch, as Ukrainian studio GSC Game World found itself embroiled in a real disaster when Russia invaded its homeland. Having escaped to the Czech Republic, the team now plans to finish it this year. Trailers have shown a dark science post-apocalypse with a decidedly Eastern European flair, not to mention scores of grotesque mutants.

Star Wars Outlaws

Ubisoft has been handed the reins to a galaxy far, far away. As you might expect from the company behind dozens of Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Tom Clancy games, Star Wars Outlaws is a stealthy and violent open-world adventure. It follows young scoundrel Kay Vess as she unwittingly becomes one of the galaxy’s most wanted, and has to juggle relationships with the various syndicates operating under the Empire’s rule.

Still Wakes the Deep

The latest from British developer The Chinese Room – known for atmospheric first-person games Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the RaptureStill Wakes the Deep is an immersive disaster story set on a collapsing oil rig. All lines of communication have been severed. While trailers have focused on survival and exploration – and Scottish accents – there are hints that something otherworldly is behind the chaos.

Ultros

I’m a sucker for a surrealist psychedelic aesthetic, and they don’t get much better than this. From new Swedish studio Hadoque and renowned painter El Huervo, Ultros takes place in a giant cosmic uterus which carries an ancient evil entity. The mysterious trailers have shown elements of time loops, brutal combat and even tending to alien plants, all drenched in El Huervo’s singular style and a mystical soundtrack.

Visions of Mana

The beloved Super Nintendo RPG Secret of Mana was, unbeknownst to most Westerners, the second entry in a Japanese series called Seiken Densetsu. The last main entry was in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, but now it’s returning. Details are scarce beyond what can be gleaned from the trailer – vibrant landscapes, wonderful anime art style – but combined with the pedigree that’s enough to start getting excited.

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