Okay so here’s the deal. Everyone is going to be looking forward to see exactly what new games they should be excited for over the coming twelve months. That’s understandable, it’s a new year and we should expect big things. 2023 was a huge year for big releases with many claiming it the best year in a long time, if ever. I have no idea how you could say it’s the best year ever. It’s all so subjective, especially when you start talking to us old people about gaming. We remember the times of what is now called retro.
Anyway, there are no doubt a lot of big announcements of games coming out during the year we don’t yet know about, and most likely one big new console reveal and a possible pro model for another. I’ll talk about those two later because it helps make the article longer and makes me look like I know what I’m talking about.
So first, the games we know about that are actually worth looking forward to. At least to me and I’ll chuck in some that the media seem to think is exciting. Again, adds to the length of the article and keeps people happy.
ALONE IN THE DARK
Ah yes, one of a few games that should have been already out in the wild but then got a delay. Normally a publisher delays a game and there’s the expectation it’s just not ready for release. It happens. And it happens more often as development gets bigger. Alone in the Dark was delayed, apparently, to get out of the way of other big releases such as Alan Wake 2.
Maybe I’m being cynical but when a game is delayed because of another game in the same genre, it says more about the lack of faith in what you are releasing than anything. Of course then you realise it’s being published by THQ Nordic and they’re owned by the financially troubled Embracer Group and suddenly it all makes sense.
Interestingly, Alone in the Dark maybe one of a few games that seems to have gotten away from all the problems that are hitting other developers at the company. Though, after the failure of Saints Row, perhaps I shouldn’t speak too soon. If this game reviews poorly then this maybe another developer to get the axe.
PAPER MARIO: THOUSAND YEAR DOOR
For years Nintendo fans were crying out for Nintendo to remake, remaster or just straight up port this game to a modern console. So, now finally Nintendo revealed they were doing just that. A remake of a game everyone wants. Though apparently everyone is crying because they didn’t want this game but instead a new game in a similar mould. Sometimes you just can’t win. And by sometimes I mean most the time.
Originally released on the GameCube, this is seemingly said to be the best in the Paper Mario franchise. Though judging by what comes afterwards, that’s not necessarily a high bar.
Will be interesting to see how closely Nintendo sticks to the original game in this remake. If it’s anything like Super Mario RPG, it’s going to be very close.
I dunno what everyone sees in this game. Is it because it’s a Xbox first party game? Is it because it’s on Game Pass day one? Is it just that it has ultra realistic graphics? I really don’t get the hype. But it’s included because people seem excited. Let’s hope it’s not another dud for Microsoft.
FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH
Remember how excited everyone was when it was revealed that Square Enix was remaking Final Fantasy VII? And then it came out for the PS with a PS5 version once the console released? And remember how Xbox fans said it will definitely come to the Xbox One or Series X/S? And remember how the second game got announced for the PS5 but nothing about the first game coming to Xbox? Well, that second game is coming next year and is sure to spark more debate around Sony paying for exclusivity over certain games and franchises. You know, because Microsoft never did that… oh.
Anyway people seem excited for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth though I’m surprised there’s not Final Fantasy fatigue setting in yet after the fact a new game launched just this year. But apparently not.
PERSONA 3 RELOAD
There’s no doubt about it, Persona 3 Reload is going to be a big game. After the huge success that was Persona 3 and Royal on the PS3 and PS4, the franchise has really become transformed from a niche series to a mainstream property, at least within the realms of the JRPG genre. And of course, when it finally went to Xbox and Switch, those sales continued to balloon.
So yes that’s really why I included this game. It’s a remake of a really old, and I assume really outdated game so I fully expect this to be more in line with what Persona 5 had to offer in terms of gameplay as that’s what a lot of players in the series first got into. So it makes sense.
TOMB RAIDER I-III REMASTERED
I’m really interested to know how this will shape up when it releases. Not only did it somehow survive all the things happening at Embracer Group, but also it’s a bit of an odd choice to remaster. Surely the Crystal Dynamics PS2 reboot would have made more sense? Or are those next on the list? This does have cash grab all over it.
Also those tank controls are not going to go down well. Just saying. They really need a new control method for those of us unwilling to rage trying to learn barbaric mechanics just to try enjoying three PS1 game. You know, the time everyone was trying to figure out what worked for the coming of 3D polygon games.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE LOST CROWN
Since Prince of Persia: Sands of Time appears to have just gone into development hell, it’s probably a good thing that Ubisoft also had a new 2D game in development too. And despite the anger that arose across the internet, which just makes me reminiscent of the age of magazines, I actually really love the look of this game. It’s a real throwback feeling to the original Prince of Persia game although, you know, with a shit tonne more action and speed.
Lucky for us, The Lost Crown is not indefinitely delayed and is coming real soon. And it seems previews were all on Switch, which makes sense. I think it was revealed in a Nintendo Direct. But at least it also shows that early previews shows this is going to be a good game. I know what you are thinking. I’m praising not just a new game, but a Ubisoft game. It’s a new year so this is their free thumbs up. Though I do love the Mario & Rabbids games.
BROKEN SWORD: SHADOW OF THE TEMPLARS REFORGED
Yes, of course I was going to include the remake of one of my all time favourites. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars Reforge is based on the original game and not the director’s cut which means it’s going to be even better. I mean what more am I supposed to say? It’s coming out soon for all current consoles and PC.
Ah the rumours of a pro PS5 is just like, what the hell? Why do we need a pro model for the PS5? It made sense with the last generation. Neither Sony nor Microsoft launched a particularly powerful system in 2013 when you look at the hardware inside consoles both previously and currently at launch. In addition, there was a major shift towards 4K TVs on a consumer level as that generation progressed.
However, the current generation launched right in the middle of a pandemic. The PS5 and Xbox whatever were incredibly difficult to find for nearly three years and we have seen the longest cross generation games release probably ever. Only really this year and certainly going into next, have we started to see actual games only coming to current generation consoles.
There’s nothing about this generation that screams we are heading towards a half way point, or that the hardware is starting to show its age. Also there’s no significant change in the TVs people are purchasing. So a PS5 pro makes zero sense.
One of the biggest expectations for 2024 is that Nintendo will reveal the next console, likely something along the lines of Switch 2, or at least carrying the Switch name. I’m calling it Switch 2 as it makes most sense as a marketing tool and because it’s easier to distinguish between the next console and current system.
Whatever it is, rumours circulating the World Wide Web is that it’s based on a newish Nvidia chipset, which I really don’t understand, but am told it’s somewhat in the region of a base PS4 only with the capacity to do ray tracing. Remember that Nintendo will be using a custom version of this chipset so things like ray tracing will most likely not be included for a cost and performance factor. It’s a handheld that just so happens to plug into your TV after all. Also the power is again going to be downclocked like with the Switch so even in docked mode, it may end up being somewhat less powerful than a PS4.
Things like RAM and storage… who knows. It depends if Nintendo listened to third party developers or just went and spoke to internal teams.
The biggest problem facing Nintendo is the fact they are no longer alone in this market. Steam Deck is the biggest obvious competitor but there’s others out there too, and whatever specs the Switch 2 will have, the others will be constantly releasing newer versions with more power leaving Nintendo in a very worrying spot. The Steam Deck for example is kinda in the PS4 ballpark already, so whatever Valve does next is going to be a lot more powerful and perhaps for a similar price to the Switch 2.
But, we will see what happens this year. Nintendo can’t wait too much longer no matter what they think. Times are changing and they are no longer the obvious king of handheld.