The Best of 2023

5 min readJan 6


A look ahead at the best gaming content scheduled for the first half of 2023

This article is an extract from The Week in Games. Sign up for free here

Well here we are. A new year and another 12 months of magic and madness to look forward to from an always unpredictable industry. This year should be a good one though, with PS5 and Xbox consoles more plentiful and developers finally leaving old tech behind in favour of the new.

This is the first of a two-part feature looking at some of the most exciting gaming launches of the year. This issue focuses on content currently scheduled for the first half of 2023, and next week’s issue will focus on the second half.

Hopefully you’ll agree that we have a pretty exciting year ahead of us. Starting with…

The Last of Us

HBO/Sky Atlantic — 15th/16th Jan (US/UK)

Flying out of the gates early this year is the hotly-anticipated The Last of Us TV series in mid January. Video games have had varying degrees of success adapting to non-interactive forms, but if any property can do it The Last of Us is surely it. Naughty Dog’s masterpiece is renowned for its narrative, complex characters and production values, so it should be perfectly suited to a big-budget serial adaptation.

Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with that scene — well, those scenes really, since the game is packed with so many affecting moments — but with Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin and Naughty Dog’s own Neil Druckmann at the helm (not to mention the might of HBO behind it), this one has real pedigree. Add this to the pitch-perfect trailers released so far and fans have every right to be very excited indeed.

PlayStation VR2

PlayStation 5–22nd February

The first major hardware release of the year sees Sony’s latest attempt at a virtual reality headset in the form of the PS VR2. The company’s first attempt was a brilliant combination of accomplished technology and beautiful (and comfortable) hardware design that launched back in October 2016 to much acclaim. It had its faults, sure — most notably its cumbersome add-on unit and unwieldy cables — but it launched at a competitive price and successfully introduced ‘true’ VR to a whole new audience.

PlayStation VR2 is a huge leap forward in terms of tech. It adds inside-out tracking, new controllers, twin OLED screens, haptic feedback, 3D audio, 4K HDR visuals and requires just a single USB-C cable to connect to your PS5. If this all sounds a bit too good to be true then you can probably guess what’s coming next… yep, the price has increased. From a rather generous £350 to a far less friendly £530. In fairness, the new price tag fits the tech on offer, but Sony’s decision to go full-on high-spec makes its latest hardware venture a much harder sell to the masses. Especially to those yet to sample just how good VR can be, or indeed those yet to pick up the required PS5 to make it work.

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Switch — 12th May

Open world games were hardly new in 2017, but none were quite like Breath of the Wild. Its free-form climbing mechanics and glider were a revelation compared to most open world games’ stilted, rigid and often frustrating traversal, but its real leap forward came in the form of its spectacular physics system; one so robust and playful it allowed for freedom on an unprecedented level, and for staggering examples of player skill that even Nintendo’s own designers surely never anticipated. It’ll be fascinating to see how Nintendo has expanded on a formula they got so incredibly right the first time round.

Not a great deal is known about Tears of the Kingdom yet, but a new Zelda is always a major event on the industry’s calendar, and with Nintendo’s track-record we have every right to expect another monumental entry in this landmark series. An obvious inclusion perhaps, but it’s unlikely that many games this year will be bigger or better than this. And it would take a brave soul indeed to bet against it ending up right at the top of most game of the year lists come December.

Planet of Lana

Xbox, PC — Spring 2023

There may be more high-profile game launches throughout 2023, but Planet of Lana is featured here because there’s a concern that too many people still don’t know about it. And because, well because just look at it.

Swedish indie studio Wishfully haven’t shown off too much of the game yet, but every time they do it looks bigger and better than before; showcasing a combination of both scale and restraint that few developers get right. It’s dripping with style and atmosphere, and possesses a cinematic flair that any developer — be it indie or major — would be proud of. A mix of Ori, Inside and Rayman Legends with an art style and score this good? Lana deserves to be on everybody’s radar in the run up to its release this Spring.


2023 also looks set to be some year for horror fans, and things kick off early on January 27th with the Dead Space remake. Dead Space is one of the genre’s best, and hopefully the obvious effort that has been poured into this new version will please both long terms fans and turn the heads of those who missed it first time round. Even bigger than that could be Resident Evil 4. The best game in the series (hate mail to the usual address) is getting its own remake in March, and it looks suitably spectacular. Fingers crossed it’ll keep Capcom’s recent run of good form going strong.

Of course, we also have Starfield to look forward to, which is still officially on track for the first half of 2023 following its high-profile delay last year. A new Bethesda game is always an event, but they rarely launch trouble-free and this one is more important than most. The now Microsoft-owned studio’s games are eagerly awaited for good reason and Starfield is about as big as they come, but with Xbox long criticised for its lack of first-party games and following a particularly lean 2022, there’s a lot riding on this one.

Other notable games due the first half of the year include the wonderful looking indie game Season: A Letter to the Future in January, Deliver Us Mars (the sequel to 2018’s excellent Deliver Us the Moon) in February, Ubisoft’s Black Flag-alike Skull and Bones in March, Hogwarts Legacy (unfortunately hitting the headlines more for the Harry Potter author’s views than the quality of the game) in early April, and — delays notwithstanding — the heavyweight trio of Final Fantasy XVI, Street Fighter 6 and Diablo IV in June.

Not a bad start to the year by any standard I’m sure you’ll agree. For video game fans everywhere, I think it’s safe to say that 2023 is going to be a good one.

This article is an extract from The Week in Games. Sign up for free here