As 2023 comes to an end, it’s time to celebrate the best of video games for the year. This year saw a stacked line-up, unexpected or otherwise, offering plenty of options for gaming enthusiasts. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Final Fantasy XVI, Resident Evil 4 and Alan Wake 2 (Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t a clear-cut AAA contender, with Larian Studios being an independent studio) represented the AAA category, putting forth a strong fight.
But the indie industry showed a lot of promise, too, producing delightful gems like Sea of Stars and Dave the Diver. Through it all, Baldur’s Gate 3 turned out to be the biggest winner of the night, taking home a total of five accolades, including Game of the Year. Alan Wake 2 was a close second, rising above the competition to snag three awards.
The Game Awards isn’t just a prize presentation, however. Like previous iterations, the show floor was graced with a horde of new game projects, release trailers, and first-look footage. Amid the excitement, 10 announcements stood out from the pool, raising hype levels to even greater heights.
Here’s a recap of everything that went down during The Game Awards 2023.
TOP 10 ANNOUNCEMENTS (in alphabetical order)
Black Myth: Wukong
The journey to the west is still a way off, and Black Myth: Wukong is here to tide over the wait with an extended look at its gameplay, worldbuilding, and bosses. The visually striking Soulslike based on classic novel Journey to the West is shaping up to be a promising adventure, sporting fluid combat, sprawling lands, and detailed monster design.
The game releases 20 August 2024 on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
Dave the Diver x Dredge DLC (pre-show)
It’s a match made in heaven! The depths of Dave the Diver will soon be invaded by the monstrous fish of Dredge’s world, as two of the 2023’s indie darlings have announced a collaboration.
Slated for release on 15 December, the crossover update brings a new “fog” weather event, a new night map, the new Drain Gun weapons, unique creatures with diverse attack patterns called Aberrations, and more. A dream crossover for the ages, indeed.
Dragonball Sparking! Zero
It’s been a long 15-year wait for Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi fans, but Dragon Ball: Sparking! Zero will soon be here. The anime fighting title does not yet have a release date, but its announcement trailer promises plenty of excitement in store.
In addition to dynamic, fast-paced action and big destructable arenas, familiar faces spanning the original manga and anime’s history are set to be part of a big poster. Publisher Bandai Namco is also teasing “new genre-defining features” when it releases on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, which only means more hype.
Final Fantasy XVI DLC
What’s better than one DLC announcement? News of two DLC releases! The first, Echoes of the Fallen, is a new story chapter that takes place before the final battle in Final Fantasy XVI, featuring the whole gang (too soon, guys!) working together to investigate more crystals.
Meanwhile, The Rising Tide will see Clive fighting Leviathan, the iconic Eikon that was missing in the base game. Echoes of the Fallen is available right now, with the second expansion scheduled to launch in spring 2024.
God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla
An early Christmas present has arrive for God of War fans! God of War Ragnarok is getting a free DLC titled Valhalla, slated to drop on 12 December. The upcoming expansion features Kratos battling various familiar foes, such as Draugrs, Einherjars, and more, with enemies from Greek mythology (Cyclops, anyone?) expected to make an appearance as well.
Oh, and did we mention that it’ll be a roguelike? Have fun.
It’s no Dishonored 3, but Arkane Studios sure got fans hyped with a surprise announcement of Marvel’s Blade. The game is a third-person, single-player game set in the quarantined area of Paris, with development still in the early stages. As such, no official title or release date has been set.
“As a kid of mixed origins, I felt a special connection to Blade — a hero with a dual heritage himself,” said co-creative director Dinga Bakaba, who asked fans to “let us cook”. “The opportunity to put our spin on this character is a dream of mine and a challenge that our team embraces with a passion. We couldn’t be happier to put players in Blade’s boots, as he becomes the champion of my hometown of Paris, one stake at a time.”
Metaphor: ReFantazio (pre-show)
One word: Glorious. The highly-anticipated high-fantasy RPG from ATLUS is looking all sorts of stylish, featuring the design language of the Persona series, but with an undercurrent of steampunk vibes. In place of high-school students, teachers, or a talking cat, there are fairies, weird boats, and flashy enemies, so expect a different kind of experience.
The turn-based combat, party system, and character bonding system are all familiar sights, however. Metaphor: ReFantazio launches in Fall 2024 on the Xbox X|S and PC.
Monster Hunter Wilds
Things are about to get more wild in the realm of Monster Hunter. Monster Hunter Wilds has been announced for 2025, with its announcement trailer showing off vast landscapes, hunting action, and of course, monsters.
Details about the upcoming entry are scarce, but more news is expected in the summer of 2024. When it eventually launches, PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X|S owners can expect “a new level of detailed creatures and ecosystems,” as described by longtime franchise producer Ryozo Tsujimoto in a separate video.
The revered Hideo Kojima is back with another horror adventure, and he’ll be taking Lights Out director Jordan Peele along for the ride. A star-studded affair, the trailer for OD stars Sophia Lillis, Hunter Schafer, and Udo Kier repeating the same lines, before ending off with a haunting scream.
The game is billed as a third-person survival horror game, although Kojima remained tight-lipped on the scope and definition of it, saying that OD is “a game, don’t get me wrong; it’s a movie, but at the same time a new type of medium”. Yeah, totally cryptic.
The hotly anticipated team-based multiplayer shooter, The Finals, has finally arrived! A surprise shadow drop, its Season 1 teaser goes full out on the chaos and action, driving home the point about inflicting maximum destruction.
It will feature four maps at launch, including one based on Las Vegas, as well as the Cashout and Bank-It modes. There are also ranked and unranked tournaments, a practice range, and a battle pass that players can use to unlock currency and various cosmetics. The shooter is available now across PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X.
Pony Island 2 Panda Circus
Hailing from the creator of Inscryption, Pony Island 2 Panda Crisis inherits the same pixel-art, inky aesthetics as its predecessor, Pony Island. Daniel Mullins Games describes the sequel as “a phantasmagorical voyage through time, myth, divinity, and video games” that is “not a game about ponies.” Hah!
There isn’t a release date set yet, but the trailer suggests a eclectic mash-up of 2D-mounted archery, minigolf, puzzling, and computer-hacking. Oh, and there are some live-action segments featuring voice actor SungWon Cho playing an antagonistic overlord named “King Yan”, so it looks like players will be in for a wild ride.
The Rise of the Golden Idol
The Rise of the Golden Idol is the sequel to the excellent 2022 detective game, The Case of the Golden Idol, and it keeps up the series’ stylish, phenomenal art. Instead of a pixel-focused design, however, the game seems to lean into a painting aesthetic, which is a very good look on it.
The follow-up is launching on PC, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and as part of Netflix’s mobile offerings in 2024, and will feature 15 cases.
Summer break is looking a little different in Usual June. The third-person action-adventure game follows June, a college student who can talk to ghosts, as she investigates the town’s secret history, explores a multi-dimensional continuum, hangs out at the cemetery (yes, really), and more. There also seems to be familiar sleuthing elements, alongside hack and slash combat, and stylish aesthetics.
The upcoming adventure is coming to PC in 2025, and promises an “original conspiracy story that is equal parts terrifying, funny, and sweet.”
Harmonium The Musical
Told entirely through American sign language, Harmonium The Musical stars Melody Mecato, a young deaf girl and musician who loves performing. Bringing it to life is The Odd Gentlemen, a company committed to accessibility in their projects, and who has incorporated a Disney-esque flair and interactive musical numbers to go with.
The melodic adventure title is coming to Xbox (and Game Pass), as well as Netflix sometime in the future.
An eye-popping, lively trailer for a fast-packed, visually striking game. Windblown is the next game from Dead Cells creator Motion Twin, and it looks to ramp up fighting intensity on the battlefield – in more ways than one. Set to bring “a whole new level of speed to the action rogue-like genre,” it sees players controlling characters called Leapers, who “absorb the memories of the fallen warriors who came before, learning how to master the fighting styles of their predecessors to unleash their full potential.”
The game is scheduled to arrive in early access on PC in 2024, cel-shaded look and all. It will also feature multiplayer, so you won’t have to die alone all the time.
This one’s for anyone with the need for speed. Thrasher combines spatial audio and haptics to create a sensory experience, which involves taking control of a space eel and mastering “fast-paced gesture controls” to evolve it into a megabeast. Add to a pulsating soundtrack to the mix, and the adrenaline is bound to rocket sky-high.
The cosmic racer title is coming to Meta Quest and other VR platforms in 2024. It will be available on consoles and PC at a later date.
World of Goo 2
A surprise reveal for the night, World of Goo 2 comes 15 years after the original. The sequel hails from 2DBoy, the team behind the first game, and sports the same look and puzzling fun (or frustration, depending on your viewpoint) that fans have come to love.
A 2024 release window was announced, with no particular date specified.
Exodus isn’t here to play. The sci-fi RPG featuring Matthew McConaughey is billed as “next-generation, story-driven RPG that marries cinematic storytelling with deep emotional impact featuring broad player agency and modern AAA gameplay,” placing a heavy emphasis on exploring the butterfly effect.
Interestingly enough, the trailer exudes a strong Mass Effect influence – perhaps carried over from the team’s previous experience? After all, the director of the original Knights of the Old Republic is helming the project, alongside several BioWare veteran. No release date has been announced yet, but it’s confirmed for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
No more honk, only walk. The developers of Untitled Goose Game is back with another silly, entertaining game called Big Walk, and guess what? It involves taking a big walk. A cooperative multiplayer title, it sees planners and their friends strolling through the Australian bushland, where they will explore, solve puzzles, and put their communication skills to the test.
The game is planned for release in 2025.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
There’s still no release date for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, but one thing’s for sure – the highly anticipated sequel will be a powerful and intense undertaking. The new trailer offers an even closer look at some of the cinematics and gameplay, with Senua narrating in an eerie voice: “I can feel them on my skin. Each death, inked in blood. I won’t stop fighting for them until the very last beat fades away.”
Yup, that about confirms it.
Kemuri is the next project from the ever-delightful Ikumi Nakamura, and it looks as gorgeous as one’d expect. Teasing a futuristic Japanese metropolis, the game’s trailer follows a team of heroes, who are seemingly armed with different tech and manual weapons, and hunting for strange creatures.
There seems to be heavy traces of Japanese mythology as well, but we’ll have to wait a while for more information, as it’s likely in the very early stages of development.
No Rest for the Wicked
A fresh foray into a new market, No Rest for the Wicked represents Moon Studios’ first attempt at creating an ARPG – more in the vein of Diablo 4 than the flashy, hack and slash flair. It’s a far cry from the Ori games that the team is known for, sporting significant verticality, intense combat sequences, and plenty of quests.
The game will also feature online co-op, packing everything nicely into a beautiful, painting-like world. Early access is being planned for Q1 2024, with the full game coming later to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X and S.
The Casting of Frank Stone
Horror enthusiasts are certainly being treated well. A collaboration between Supermassive Games and Behaviour, The Casting of Frank Stone brings an original story with brand new characters, alongside the promise of “a gruesome mystery”.
As seen from the trailer, the game features four young friends who discover the “blood-soaked legacy” and “violent past” of Frank Stone, whose shadow looms over the town of Cedar Hills. Just one thing to note, though – doesn’t Frank Stone sound a bit like Frankenstein? Guess we’ll find out the truth when it hits PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in 2024.
Visions of Mana
Now, this one certainly wasn’t on our Game Awards 2023 bingo card. Nonetheless, Visions of Mana is certainly a welcome announcement, considering how the last mainline game in the series was 15 years ago. Not much was shown about the game, but it appears to be a colourful 3D adventure, and will follow protagonist Val as he accompanies his friend on a pilgrimage to the Tree of Mana.
Expect tons of sword and magic action when it heads to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in 2024.
Rise of the Ronin
Team Ninja’s open-world samurai title, Rise of the Ronin, turns back the clock to Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate. A visual delight, it shows off some sleek cinematics, visceral combat, and an intriguing plot – the perfect blend of ingredients that sets it up to be an enthralling dance of katanas, firearms, and everything in between.
The action RPG slices its way to PS5 in 2024.
Jurassic Park Survival
Park builders are all well and good, but when you have too many of one thing, you end up wanting more. Good news, then, for Jurassic Park fans – Saber Interactive has announced Jurassic Park Survival, a first-person action game set in the famous universe.
Set on Isla Nubar, just one day after the events of the original Jurassic Park, the upcoming title introduces Dr. Maya Joshi as the protagonist, who’s seen escaping famous dinosaurs like the massive T-Rex in the trailer. Not much else is known about the project, but it will release on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC with both stealth and action gameplay.
Warframe: Whispers in the Wall
Warframe is getting a new update, and with it comes a healthy dose of star power. The Whispers in the Wall expansion will take players back to Deimos to explore the hidden Orikin labs buried within the meteor, with new missions, NPCs, bosses, factions, and more set to follow.
More notably, it heralds the arrival of the long-awaited cross-save feature, set to be rolled out in phases. Ben Starr and Neil Newbon of Final Fantasy 16 and Baldur’s Gate 3 fame respectively are voicing their own NPCs as well, so players can look forward to a good time on 13 December.
Tales of Kenzera: ZAU
Magical battles, aerial stunts, and side-scrolling action run the show in Tales of Kenzera: ZAU. Made with help of the Ridley Scott Creative Group and celebrity tabletop crew Critical Role, the game follows a young shaman who bargains with the God of Death to save his father from oblivion.
The main character is voiced by Abubakar Salim, the founder and CEO of developer Sergent Studios. Opening up about his late father, the voice actor of Assassin’s Creed Origins‘ Bayek said, “He passed away awhile back and I’ll tell you what, I’m still figuring it out. But four years ago, I decided to try and process my grief in a way that felt true to me and him.”
The metroidvania will be available 23 April 2024 on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Lost Records: Bloom and Rage
From the folks behind Life is Strange comes Lost Records: Bloom and Rage, described as “a story-driven journey through time.” It follows a group of friends, Swann, Nora, Autumn, and Kat, who reunite after 27 years of no contact to “confront a long-buried secret that made them promise to never speak again”.
Putting them side by side, it does seem the upcoming game shares some thematic and narrative similarities to the Life is Strange series, focusing on player choices and time-hopping, non-linear storytelling. Lost Records: Bloom and Rage is coming in late 2024.
The First Berserker: Khazan
The First Berserker: Khazan paints a familiar image for ARPG or Soulslike enthusiasts – execute combos, kill bosses, get equipment, unlock moves, rinse and repeat. It pairs all of that sleek hack and slash action with a gritty presentation, stylish takedowns, and customisation, but more notably, seems to place more emphasis on dodging and precision parrying.
The single-player title will launch on the PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC sometime in the future.
Honkai: Star Rail
Choo-choo! The Astral Express is headed to Penacony next, and developer HoYoverse has given a sneak peek of it. Featured alongside the new planet are new Honkai: Star Rail characters Black Swan and Acheron, with the former character having noticeably more screen time than the other.
Lightspeed LA’s debut game, Last Sentinel, is set to take players to a future dystopian Tokyo, where motorcycle-riding heroine Hiromi Shoda fights for the freedom of her people. Her fighting prowess quickly becomes apparent, as she makes short work of a group of troopers terrorising young school children and rescues them.
Steve Martin, who previous worked at Rockstar Games and EA, is leading the studio, which also includes industry veterans from The Last of Us and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. No release date was announced for the open-world title.
The First Descendant
A free-to-play looter shooter, The First Descendant has dropped a fresh look at its third-person shooting and RPG mechanics. The game assigns players to the role of Descendants, a group of unique characters that have distinct individual abilities and movesets, where defending the planets from invaders called Colossi serves as the main goal.
The exact date of release is still up in the air, but it’s expected to launch next Summer.
Den of Wolves
Den of Wolves is what you’ll get by mixing Payday with Cyberpunk 2077 – well, sort of. The co-op heist game hails from GTFO developer 10 Chambers, and features a bunch of influence from Inception, The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, and Blade Runner, such that narrative director Simon Viklund calls it “mindf**k sci-fi (via PC Gamer)”.
In addition to classic bank robbery themes, fans can look forward to more flexible elements, including corporate espionage, sabotage, and assassinations. The shooter will land on PC via Steam Early Access, with a console port already planned. Presently, there’s no release window for it.
In Exoborne, mastering the apocalypse is key. The open-world extraction shooter from Sharkmob has both PvP and PvE elements, and features an apocalyptic U.S. setting transformed by extreme forces of nature. Players won’t have it easy in this world – on top of navigating an unstable weather conditions, they will also need to adapt to the ever-changing battlefield while fending off hostiles from the different warring factions.
The game doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s eyeing a beta test rollout sometime in 2024.
Asgard’s Wrath 2
Explore massive realms, dominate in physical combat, and forge your fate in Asgard’s Wrath 2, the VR action RPG from developer Sanzaru Games. As straightforward as that may sound, the evil chaos that is Trickster God Loki stands in your way, so the fight ahead is anything but smooth sailing.
The game is slated for launch on 15 December for Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, and Meta Quest Pro.
Light No Fire
A game about adventure, building, survival, and exploration, Light No Fire promises “the first real open world” with no boundaries. The project has been in development for the last five years, with No Man’s Sky studio Hello Games at the helm.
It does share some visual similarities with the former, but the gameplay makes the classic fantasy influence more prominent. Expect to ride dragons and swim underwater when it releases sometime in the future.
Behold, the first real-time strategy (RTS) game on the list. Stormgate is currently running its closed beta, but developer Frost Giant Studios has a whole more to share, including the addition of Simi Liu to the cast list. The Barbie and Shang-Chi star will lend his voice to a playable character called Warz, the leader of the Infernals faction.
The title will be free-to-play when it launches in early access next summer. On top of its competitive modes, players can look forward to a “living campaign”, where new chapter missions are regularly added. Each faction is set to have its own unique campaigns, which can be complete solo or in co-op.