Last year proved to be an eventful one in the world of video gaming, as 2023 saw the release of games such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a follow-up to the title that helped bolster sales of Nintendo's Switch, and Baldur's Gate 3, which inspired a slew of TikTok homages and even fan-made art and fiction. It was also a year dimmed by devastating layoffs in the industry. The Los Angeles Times reported that about 6,500 video game workers were laid off in 2023, affecting video game development schedules.
Despite this industry-wide setback and barring any consequent delays, this year promises yet another batch of exciting game titles from sequels, remakes, original content, and exclusives of all kinds. Already, the likes of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Persona 3 Reload, and Granblue Fantasy: Relink, have been published, but the year is just getting started.
Anticipated games rack up hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of views on YouTube and Twitch. They might even have thousands of users on Twitter (now called X), Discord, or Reddit before launch. Sometimes, this could be because their publishers or developers have a reputation for quality, or maybe the game is the next installment of a popular series. Some games have yet to receive an official release date, though some on this list are formally confirmed for 2024. Developers sometimes even opt for a shadow drop, where games are released immediately after they're announced.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the second part of a trilogy that covers and expands on the content from the original Final Fantasy 7 for PlayStation. Rebirth picks up from where Final Fantasy 7 Remake left off, continuing Cloud and his friends' fight against the Shinra Corp. after leaving Midgar.
The popularity of Final Fantasy 7 Remake stems from its source material. Remake itself sold 5 million copies within four months of its release, a record-breaker for Square Enix. It follows a ragtag group of misfits trying to take down a company that's destroying the planet with pollution and unethical experimentation on humanoids, among other crimes.
Reviewers also praised the graphics and the combat system in addition to the expanded story. Now, thanks to the remakes, new players can experience the same magic in a more modern form.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth launches on Feb. 29, 2024, for the PlayStation 5.
Princess Peach: Showtime! stars the Mario series' iconic princess in her own theatrical adventure game. As explained in Nintendo's trailer with 2 million views, Peach shows up to attend a show at Sparkle Theater when Grape and their underlings, the Sour Bunch, interrupt the performance with their own plans. Peach teams up with Stella, the theater's guardian, to save the theater from the villainous bunch.
Through puzzle-solving and light platforming gameplay, Peach takes the stage in a number of outfits that give her special abilities and fun challenges to delight players.
This is Peach's first time as the lead character since Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS in 2005. She often appears as a playable character in party games like Mario Strikers: Battle League, Mario Party, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it's rare to see her as the protagonist of her own game like Mario in Super Mario RPG or Luigi in Luigi's Mansion.
Princess Peach: Showtime! launches for the Nintendo Switch on March 22, 2024.
Stellar Blade, formerly known as Project Eve, takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where NA:tive aliens have taken over the Earth and wiped out most of humanity. Paratrooper Eve, a space colony soldier tasked with fighting against these invaders, embarks on a mission to take back the planet and ends up teaming with human survivors to make it happen.
In a Japanese-language Famitsu interview (via Gematsu), Stellar Blade director Kim Hyung Tae confirmed NieR: Automata as a major inspiration for his game, which fans can see in the gritty cyberpunk atmosphere, photorealistic graphics, and hack-and-slash combat. The original Project Eve reveal trailer sits at nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
Stellar Blade launches as an exclusive for the PlayStation 5 on April 26, 2024.
Black Myth: Wukong introduced itself with a 13-minute long gameplay trailer, teeming with dreamy settings and slick combat. Thanks to that heavy-handed intro, Black Myth earned itself a million views on YouTube and a spot on many most-anticipated lists.
The game is heavily inspired by "Journey to the West," an iconic Chinese novel referenced in famous works like "American Born Chinese" and "Dragon Ball." As the game's title might suggest, it follows the story of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. "Journey to the West" follows Sun Wukong's pilgrimage to the West in search of Buddhist scriptures, but it's more about the journey than the destination. On the journey, the monk learns new things about himself and the nature of the world, much like you should expect to encounter in Black Myth: Wukong.
Black Myth: Wukong launches for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on Aug. 20, 2024.
The Indiana Jones series finally continues its story with Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, a collab between Bethesda Softworks and Lucasfilm Games, developed by MachineGames. Like the "Indiana Jones" movies, Great Circle adds to the episodic stories in Indiana Jones' long lifetime of treasure hunting and myth busting.
The subtitle Great Circle comes from a real-life legend about multiple ancient sites across the globe that form a perfect circle when connected on a map. However, the true value of the circle hasn't been revealed. This Indy game racked up over 7.7 million views from the trailer on Bethesda's channel alone, showcasing the cinematic settings, first-person perspective gameplay, and puzzle solving.
Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is currently in development for PC and Xbox Series X|S.
Silent Hill 2 isn't a new game, but it might as well be with how long ago Konami published the original. An offshoot of the 2006 movie "Silent Hill," James Sunderland endures the dreadful horrors of Silent Hill searching for his deceased wife after supposedly receiving a letter from her calling him to the haunted town.
Instead of bringing back Team Silent, the company is working with Polish game developer Bloober Team to recreate the horror classic. Horror enthusiasts can look forward to the Silent Hill 2 gameplay shot as if the camera were over the character's shoulder, which will make it easier for modern audiences to immerse themselves in the game. The Silent Hill 2 remake will also be the latest installment in the main Silent Hill franchise since Silent Hill Downpour, which received a 64 from critics on Metacritic.
The Silent Hill 2 remake is currently in development for PC and the PlayStation 5.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl comes more than 15 years after its predecessor, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. The first-person-shooter survival horror puts players in a post-apocalyptic world. You play the role of a "stalker," a specialized soldier trained to study the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone and combat any dangerous anomalies inside it.
According to a Game Rant report, Ukrainian developer GSC Game World announced plans for a sequel as far back as 2010. However, layoffs, financial troubles, and war in Ukraine pushed back plans for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl will launch as a Microsoft exclusive for PC and Xbox Series X|S on Sept. 5, 2024.
Zenless Zone Zero is HoYoverse's latest addition to its mobile gaming portfolio, and it already has fast-paced combat and stylish presentation in its favor. ZZZ welcomes you to the futuristic city of New Eridu, a place overrun with dangerous dimensions called the Hollows.
You get to play a Proxy, a guide that leads bounty hunters and other types of clients through these dimensions. While you're not personally involved in the complex affairs of the city, you start to build a picture of what's going on in the political climate through your dealings with clients.
HoYoverse reached the global mainstream with Genshin Impact, reportedly the fastest mobile game to reach $5 billion in revenue, according to data.ai Intelligence. HoYoverse then followed up this success by releasing the role-playing game Honkai: Star Rail. It remains to be seen whether Zenless Zone Zero will reach the same numbers, but it's worth watching to see whether a company that's successfully launched two hits in a row can pull it off a third time.
Zenless Zone Zero will launch for PC, iOS, Android, and the PlayStation 5 in 2024. However, if it's anything like Honkai: Star Rail, the console version might come later than the rest.
"Star Wars," the highly successful sci-fi film franchise, also has a line of critically acclaimed games. Star Wars Outlaws, Ubisoft's latest collaboration with Lucasfilm Games and Massive Entertainment, blends new and old settings together in the first open-world Star Wars game. The last two Star Wars games starred Cal Kestis and his personal journey, but Outlaws changes the pace with a new protagonist. Con artist Kay Vess will do anything to escape her crime-ridden life in the criminal underworld. That's why she can't refuse when she receives an offer from a mysterious benefactor to embark on her riskiest mission yet.
Ubisoft and Disney haven't specified a release date outside of the 2024 window. Star Wars Outlaws is currently in development for PC, the PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.
Last but not least, Hades 2 stands out as one of the most anticipated indie sequels coming this year. The trailer itself has over 5.8 million views on Supergiant Games' YouTube channel.
Hades 2 follows Melinoë, Hades' daughter and Princess of the underworld, fighting against the mythical Titans to save her home and family. Her brother Zagreus starred as the protagonist of the original game, which won multiple awards for its challenging, roguelike combat and unique narrative design that unlocked more of the story for each attempt you make at escaping the underworld.
While Hades 2 doesn't have an exact release date, Supergiant Games confirmed it would launch for early access in the second quarter of 2024. Steam Early Access doesn't count as the final build of the game, but if it's anything like the first game, it should still give fans plenty to look forward to before the true launch.
Hades 2 will launch for PC via Steam Early Access in 2024.
Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. Photo selection by Lacy Kerrick.