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Esports INQ’s most-anticipated games of 2023

The first month of new game releases for 2023 was interesting, to say the least, filled to the brim with highly-anticipated letdowns, unlikely hits, and bad games that for some reason, couldn’t be evaluated for what they are. Fortunately for all of us, the year still has a long way to go in terms of upcoming games to explore. From blockbuster franchises to anticipated remakes to indie gems, there’s something for everyone on the horizon. Here are the top games to look forward to in 2023, according to your friendly neighborhood Esports INQ writers:

Coral Island

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Release Date: TBA

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Maura Yap: Although a full release date hasn’t yet been announced, Coral Island is just one of those games you can’t help but keep track of. With a vibrant art style, a diverse set of characters, and a relaxing island backdrop, this farming simulator is ready to charm its way into your gaming wishlist. 

Grow durians, take care of luwaks, or meet the elusive oceanfolk residing near the island reefs — Coral Island takes your average farming sim and adds a distinct Southeast Asian flavor. The game is out now on early access if you’d like to dip your toes in the sand a little early! 

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Release Date: May 12, 2023

Maura Yap: A discussion about 2023’s most anticipated game of the year will not be complete without mentioning The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. ****As Majora’s Mask was to Ocarina of Time, Tears of the Kingdom will be to Breath of the Wild — at least, based on the darker, grittier storyline the trailers seem to be hinting at. 

Zelda fans old and new have been waiting six years for the sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild and on May 12, 2023, we’ll all be able to jump, glide, climb, swim, and flurry rush our way back to Hyrule.

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Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Release Date: February 21, 2023

Ralph Grande: Fresh off its successful transition to turn-based combat in Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Yakuza 7), Ryu Ga Gotoku is returning to the franchise’s staple action-adventure format with a remake of 2014’s historical spinoff Like A Dragon: Ishin!. Plenty of Ishin’s characters have been recast to feature stars from the more recent Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 7 games, giving the trailer a crossover sit-com kind of vibe. I actually still can’t wrap my head around the possibility of Kuze Daisuke and Tianyou Zhao sitting in the same room. The tonal contrast aside, I’m definitely looking forward to all the historical drama and funky side-questing Ishin will have to offer.

Zenless zone zero

Release Date: TBA

Gray Giron: This highly-anticipated upcoming Hoyoverse game emanates a futuristic art style set in a futuristic, dystopian metropolitan city. It features anime-inspired character designs that will surely cater to weebs of all shapes and sizes. Based on the trailer, the game features cinematic action-oriented combat and a unique playstyle for every character. Let’s not forget the game already features several visual frontrunners such as the hot butler Von Lycoan and a cute little blue oni Soukaku.

Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection

Release Date: April 14, 2023

Dave Bernasibo: If you were a Gameboy kid, chances are you’ve played the Mega Man Battle Network series. Fast-paced battles, deckbuilding mechanics, and puzzle-solving mixed into a game with equally engaging stories cemented the games’ place in our hearts. That’s why this legacy collection release is something to look out for. Veteran players of the series get to play the games again, while new players will get the chance to play one of the best game titles in the Gameboy era.

The legacy collection doesn’t only contain all 10 of the mainline games, it also promises an online function. While we had to rely on the power of the Gameboy Link Cable in the past, the legacy collection now allows us to connect, trade, and battle with other players all over the world! The collection is expected to release on April 14, 2023, on the Switch and PS4, and will also be available for purchase on Steam.

Metal Slug Tactics

Release Date: TBA

Dave Bernasibo: One classic game after another? What can I say, I’m an old soul. 😜

Metal Slug Tactics brings the iconic squad of Marco, Eri, Fio, and Tarma back as they prevent another war by the power-hungry Donald Morden. The game is basically a nostalgia bomb— Tactics-like gameplay popular in the early console days, and the arcade feel of the Metal Slug series. Seeing the game’s trailer felt like being whisked away into the past, at a time when the only stressor in my life was that one kid who always picked Eddie in the Tekken 2 arcade booths. 

Another Crab’s Treasure

Release Date: 2023

Daryll Galindo: As a kid who frequented the rural side of the country, I’ve always been fascinated by hermit crabs and their life-long search for the perfect shell to reside on. As such, I was filled with much glee when I discovered Another Crab’s Treasure on TikTok! 

Developed and Published by indie game developer and publisher Aggro Crab, Another Crab’s Treasure is a souls-like adventure game that is set in a vibrant undersea kingdom on the verge of collapse (no thanks to pollution). It follows Kril the hermit crab, as he goes on his way to buy back his repossessed shell, while also defeating other marine creatures and using all sorts of other stuff (mostly trash in the ocean) as his temporary shell along the way. The game is set to release on the Nintendo Switch and on Steam this year, and you can follow Aggro Crab’s TikTok account if you’re curious about the game’s ongoing development.

Sons of the Forest

Release Date: February 23, 2023

Daryll Galindo: From games to movies, I was never a fan of anything horror-themed in my entire life because I find the genre extremely boring. However, the upcoming PC game Sons of the Forest has piqued my interest with its jaw-dropping design.

Developed by Endnight Games and published by Newnight, Sons of the Forest is a new entry to the budding franchise of The Forest, which was a game released all the way back in 2014. The game’s premise is set on a remote island as you, the player, is sent to find a missing billionaire while trying to survive in the cannibal-infested hellscape. It’s basically a new open-world survival horror game, which reminds me of Valheim, Rust, and Minecraft’s gameplay meshed into one game. The game’s got smart AI attached everywhere, from mutants that learn and adapt to your tricks to NPC companions with their own unique personalities, which will simulate the multiplayer gaming experience even if you choose to play solo. The game will keep you on your wits’ end for sure.

Resident Evil 4 Remake

Release Date: March 24, 2023

XC EnriquezContinuing the horror genre, the upcoming Resident Evil 4 Remake is also a title to be watched. Seeing the nostalgic “over-the-shoulder” Resident Evil gameplay executed with modern technology and graphics will surely be an incredible experience.

If you enjoyed the recent Resident Evil Remakes, then this installment is one you shouldn’t miss. The characters, especially Ashley Graham, will have expanded characterization and be generally more “in-depth,” so this wouldn’t just be an upscale of the original 2005 title. Better graphics in a horror game also means better immersion, and in turn, better scares. It will be available on Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X | S.

Assassin’s Creed: Mirage

Release Date: TBA

Shan Jabagat: Following its biggest launch to date with Valhalla back in 2020, Ubisoft is taking a step back to its original roots with Mirage­­—the next installment in the 15-year-old Assassin’s Creed series. The game was announced during the Ubisoft Forward Stream back in September 2022 alongside numerous future Assassin’s Creed titles as part of an extensive roadmap of the franchise’s future.

Described as a smaller-scale project, Mirage was designed to pay homage to the first Assassin’s Creed game by incorporating a much more linear approach to its storytelling and stealth gameplay compared to its predecessors, which followed an open-world RPG formula.

Set in Baghdad in the Middle East decades before the events of Valhalla, Mirage closely follows the coming-of-age of Basim Ibn Ishaq, where players will learn about his journey from being a street thief to a master assassin under the tutelage of his mentor, Roshan. In addition, Mirage may also feature how Basim comes to terms with his status as the Sage of the ancient Norse Isu God Loki. This upcoming installment will ultimately fill in the gaps of Basim’s past before becoming who he is during the events of Valhalla.

Although Assassin’s Creed: Mirage has no exact release date yet, Ubisoft announces that the game will come in three editions, with the standard edition priced at $50, the deluxe edition at $60, and the collector’s edition at $150.

Minecraft: Legends

Release Date: April 18, 2023

Shan Jabagat: Are you the hero who will protect this gentle land?

This question appeared on the official synopsis of the upcoming action-strategy game Minecraft: Legends, serving as Mojang’s next major spinoff. First announced at the 2022 Minecraft Live, Legends will take on a different approach to the widely-known 3D sandbox game that everyone loves.

With Legends still taking place in the Minecraft universe, the game will feature more of an action strategy gameplay. The game offers a unique plot and some never-before-seen mobs, abilities, as well as items for the players to utilize. Its main storyline will put the gamers into taking control of a nameless hero that is tasked with uniting the Overworld against the swarming invasion of Piglins from the Nether.

Moreover, Legends will also incorporate cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. Players will be put in a randomly generated world where the objective is to build and protect their base and destroy their opponent’s camps in order to win.

Minecraft: Legends is slated to be released on April 18 across PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. The game will also be playable through Xbox Game Pass with no additional cost.

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