Now that we’re halfway through April, it’s getting to be a particularly busy time in the world of games.
Already, we’ve had the likes of the Canadian-made Dead Space, Fire Emblem Engage, Hi-Fi Rush, the PlayStation VR2, Metroid Prime Remastered, Hogwarts Legacy, Octopath Traveler II and Resident Evil 4, as well as successful adaptations like The Last of Us and The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but that was just the prelude. From the latest entries in several beloved long-running franchises to promising new IPs and major events, there’s a lot to forward to over the next couple of months alone. You might even say it’s the ‘2023 Summer Game Season.’
Read on for a highlight of what to expect:
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Release date: April 28th
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
We’d be remiss not to mention that the de facto start to the busy mid-year stretch has to be Respawn’s sequel to its hit 2019 action-adventure game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Set five years after the events of that game, Survivor follows Cal Kestis as he continues his battle against the Galactic Empire with the Jedi all but decimated. Gameplay-wise, the sequel offers a variety of improvements, including new lightsaber stances and Force powers and more open and expansive level design (with fast-travel!). The Force is looking pretty strong with this one.
Release date: May 2nd
Platform: Xbox Series X/S, PC
Arkane (Dishonored) is here with a new first-person shooter IP that’s all about vampire slaying on an island town in Massachusetts. Whether solo or in co-op, you can control one of four unique characters — cryptozoologist and inventor Devinder, telekinetic student Layla Ellison, combat engineer Remi and supernatural sniper Jacob. While there’s been some controversy surrounding the lack of a 60fps option at launch, Arkane’s pedigree certainly speaks for itself.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Release date: May 12th
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Over six years after the beloved Breath of the Wild, Nintendo is finally here with a direct sequel. This time around, Link must traverse both the land and skies of Hyrule to stop a malevolent force from rising. Between the darker tone, new floating islands to explore and inventive new abilities (weapon-fusing! rewinding time!), it’s shaping up to be another Nintendo game of the year contender.
In related news, MobileSyrup and Nintendo of Canada are running a contest until April 20th where you and a friend will be flown to New York City for the launch of Tears of the Kingdom. Full terms and conditions are available here.
After skipping 2022, PlayStation’s next big showcase will be held on May 24th. Running for a little over an hour, the presentation will offer a look at first- and third-party PS5 and PS VR2 games. It’s likely that we’ll see Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, considering that was revealed — and last seen — way back at September 2021’s PlayStation Showcase, and it’s possible that The Last of Us‘ standalone multiplayer suite and the long-rumoured Metal Gear Solid 3 remake could also appear.
Street Fighter 6
Release date: June 2nd
Platforms: PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X and S, PC
Capcom’s iconic fighting game series is back in Street Fighter 6. The game features 18 fighters, including new and fan-favourites like Ryu, Chun-Li and Cammy, as well as three distinct game modes: World Tour, Fighting Ground and Battle Hub. Moreover, it marks a return to Xbox consoles after Street Fighter 5 controversially was a PlayStation 4 console exclusive. All in all, the series looks to be in fighting form.
Release date: June 6th
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S
Eleven years after Diablo III, Blizzard is back with a full-fledged entry in the action-RPG series — no smartphone required. So far, it’s been a big hit with fans, especially after a well-received beta. The game takes place 30 years after the events of Diablo III and sees players having to face off against Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto. It’s also worth noting that Canada’s Rod Ferguson, a key player behind the Gears of War series, now serves as a producer on the Diablo franchise.
Summer Game Fest Live Showcase
See what’s next in video games when @summergamefest goes live!
— Summer Game Fest (@summergamefest) March 30, 2023
Date: June 8th at 12pm PT/3pm ET
Where to stream: Summer Game Fest website
A few weeks ago, the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) was cancelled, confirming weeks-long rumours that the show would be scrapped amid minimal publisher interest. At the same time, Geoff Keighley, the Markham, Ontario-born creator of The Game Awards, promised a bigger-than-ever Summer Game Fest event, including a first-time physical component in Los Angeles. Keighley created the show in 2020 as a digital alternative to E3 during the COVID-19 pandemic, but with E3 tapering off, it looks here to stay. Expect to see game reveals from dozens of companies.
Devolver Direct: The Return of Volvy
June 8 at 3PM Pacific
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) May 30, 2023
Date: June 8th at 3pm PT/6pm ET
Where to stream: Summer Game Fest website
Indie publisher Devolver Digital is holding its latest ‘Devolver Direct’ stream as part of Summer Game Fest. The quirky label is promising “new game reveals, announcements and surprises.” Devolver’s presentations typically satirize the gaming industry, and this year’s show seems no different with the promise of the “return” of Volvy, the company’s mascot that was actually only just revealed as part of this show announcement.
Xbox Games Showcase + Starfield Direct
While E3 has been called off, Xbox is still holding its traditional June gaming showcase. It’s unclear exactly what we’ll see there, but potential titles include Ninja Theory’s Hellblade II, Rare’s Everwild, Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport and Obsidian’s Avowed. What we do know, though, is that Bethesda’s highly-anticipated Starfield is getting its own dedicated ‘Direct’ presentation directly after the Xbox Games Showcase.
Date: June 12th (time TBA)
Where to stream: TBA
Ubisoft has been pretty quiet as of late, with 2022 being a fairly light year for the publisher outside of Just Dance 2023 and Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. Instead, the company has largely been producing a variety of live service experiences, including the crossover shooter XDefiant and multiple Assassin’s Creed titles. Presumably, this Ubisoft Forward will offer a better look at many of these, as well as the likes of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and Assassin’s Creed Mirage.
Final Fantasy XVI
Release date: June 22nd, 2023
Platform: PlayStation 5
How do you follow up on one of the biggest comeback stories in games, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? You make the next mainline single-player entry in the venerable 35-plus-year series. Over the past several years, Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit III has been toiling away at a darker, politically-charged Final Fantasy action-RPG that aims to marry the mature storytelling of FFXIV with the tight and stylish combat of Devil May Cry. Indeed, the story actually hails from Kazutoyo Maehiro, writer of the award-winning Heavensward, while the combat is being spearheaded by DMC alum Ryota Suzuki. Just one month after Tears of the Kingdom and we could very well be getting another Game of the Year contender.
That would be a solid lineup in any year, and the fact that it all spans just two months is particularly impressive. If we look a bit further into the year, we’ll also be getting Nintendo’s Pikmin 4 (July 21st), Canadian-made RPG Sea of Stars (August 29th), Larian’s Baldur’s Gate III (August 31st), Starfield (September 6th) and Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (TBA fall, possibly September), among other games.
What are you most excited to play? Let us know in the comments below.
Image credit: Nintendo, Square Enix
Update: 17/05/2023 at 12:38pm ET — Updated with confirmation of the May 24th PlayStation Showcase.
Update 2: 30/05/2023 at 1:38pm ET — Updated with confirmation of the June 8th Devolver Direct.