I won’t lie; I have struggled with this year’s annual predictions. 2023 feels like an late-generation year with big pop off titles announced and a foggy back half. Nintendo is in Year Six of the Switch. Microsoft and Sony are breaking the chains to decade old hardware with fewer cross-generation games.
Microsoft has been in a Game Pass fog with no real first-party substance. Sony is launching a new peripheral in a few weeks with little to no fanfare. Nintendo is quiet beyond Tears of the Kingdom. The companies aren’t giving me fertile soil to plant my annual predictions into this year.
For those that are new to my annual predictions (or for those that need a reminder), I have only one rule to score points in my self-made game:
- Everything written down must come true for the prediction to be counted as correct.
It is an easy rule to follow, but a hard one to nail. I have also have an over-the-top prediction dubbed the “Kiefer”prediction. Named after the wild fact that Kiefer Sutherland was the voice of Venom Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I stole this name from my pal Peter Spezia, who is far more clever than I am.
As is tradition, it is time for me review 2022’s annual predictions and see how I faired. Lord, help me.
- The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches in 2022.
- Game Boy (GB/C/A) games join Nintendo Switch Online.
- A new Donkey Kong game is released on Nintendo Switch.
Well, turns out my plan to out zag Nintendo’s zig turned out with them out zagging me. What I wrote below that prediction was the correct answer.
I actually don’t believe my own first prediction. Zelda games always get hit with delays. But I am playing for points here! If I think Nintendo will delay the game (zig), then I need to say they will release the game on time in 2022 (zag). For points!
For (0) points indeed.
The Game Boy felt like such a slam dunk given the rumors. But somehow Nintendo has the online multiplayer exclusive license for GoldenEye 007. 🤷🏼♂️
Donkey Kong December may have just come to an end, but Nintendo didn’t celebrate at all.
- Insomniac Games will announce a new game for PlayStation VR2.
- Naughty Dog’s new game will not be released in 2022. This is not The Last of Us remake rumor swirling around.
- PlayStation’s Game Pass and xCloud competitor is released at a lower annual price than Game Pass Ultimate. It will include first-party games on “Day One.”
The roll out of PS VR2 news was strange throughout 2022. It’s hard to believe the next gen of virtual reality is just one month away. I still think Insomniac will crank out a VR game given their pedigree and efficient output, but launch was not the time for it.
The Last of Us Part I was released. Thankfully (for point’s sake), Naughty Dog’s multiplayer game did not hit shelves. I suspect we’ll hear more about that game in 2023. I doubt we hear about The Last of Us Part III until 2025.
My prediction was the smart move to make. The new tiers of PlayStation+ are a mess, but Sony gonna Sony.
- Starfield is delayed.
- The Last Night by Oddtales gets a release date and launches in Game Pass.
- Game Pass and/or xCloud will come to a competitor’s platform.
This was a total “knew it in my gut” prediction. No way a Bethesda RPG could have a release date locked before Halo Infinite, which was a 2021 release, had a date. Xbox needs first party exclusives. I hope they turn the ship around in 2023, even if Starfield is not for me.
I give up predicting The Last Night finally dropping. I guess that means it’ll be out this year.
I suppose Samsung is a competitor of Microsoft? Pity point please?
And to round off 2021, here was my Kiefer Prediction:
Both Nintendo and PlayStation will provide access to older games and generations not previously available via their subscription programs.
If I had just dropped the Nintendo requirement…I definitely double dipped with both PlayStation and Nintendo offering more retro games.
All together, I got a merciful 2 out of 10. What an abysmal showing this year. I really need to start doing better. Speaking of this year’s predictions, let’s do it!
- Both the rumored Switch ports for Metroid Prime trilogy and the Zelda HD games will finally be released.
- Game Boy or Gamecube will come to NSO.
- A Kid Icarus game will soar onto Switch.
I had the toughest time cooking up Nintendo predictions. The end of their year is shrouded in mystery. The Switch feels like it is nearing the end of its life, so big pop-off games feel unlikely.
I am banking on the endless slew of rumors surrounding these two ports. Zelda HD does mean Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. If that comes to pass, all of the 3D Zelda games will be on one console. Metroid Prime is also floating out there in space. My order for Metroid Prime 4 – which was placed on August 26, 2018 – was just delayed to arrive on December 31, 2023. Here’s to hoping Nintendo even mentions the game.
I’m really cheesing my way to points with the use of “or” here. There were the rumors of Game Boy titles hitting Nintendo’s subscription service awhile ago. I still find it bonkers that Gamecube has never been apart of Nintendo’s “virtual console” strategy. If Gamecube arrives, the official Wavebird could rise from the ashes. I can’t stand third-party GC controllers.
Kid Icarus feels like an end-of-console IP these days. Sorry to sound harsh. There were rumors that the 3DS game was being remade in HD for the Switch. I would love to see Nintendo start remaking 3DS games for modern hardware now that the stores are shut down.
- Dreams comes to PS5, PS VR2, and PC.
- Bloodborne is announced for PS5.
- Resistance is revived as PS VR2 game.
My PlayStation predictions are shorter than last year’s guesses, but they are clear in their conciseness.
Dreams feels like a slam dunk “I guarantee it” kind of prediction. I’m shocked it hasn’t happened yet. Sony’s embrace of the PC market could help Dreams excel in a way it can’t on PS4 and PS5 alone. More robust tools and features could be implemented. Sony invested so much into developing Dreams and letting Media Molecule spend years doing so. They need to spread the toolset and platform around.
I’m giving into the people’s dreams here. With Elden Ring cleaning up so well last year, I feel like Sony could fill the 2023 void by offering exclusive FromSoftware action. I am playing it safe with my language here. “Announced” could indicate a PS5 patch, version, remake, or sequel. It’s one of my carefully worded predictions of the year. The risk is all in the IP. I gotta try and get some points.
This is my double-down prediction. I believe Insomniac is working on a PS VR2 game. They have the talent and knowhow. I like to think Sony cares about PS VR2, despite the lacking promotional campaign and news. So I went specific with what Insomniac could be making. Resistance 3 supported 3D and the PS3 Move Sharp Shooter. That’s sort of half-way there?
- Game Pass has a price increase.
- Starfield launches in the summer.
- We FINALLY see Perfect Dark.
I promise I came into this year wanting to make positive predictions for Xbox. Let’s start with the sole negative one.
Game Pass Ultimate is not sustainable at $14.99 a month. Word is Microsoft is getting ready to cut 5% of their staff. Microsoft needs to cut cost and increase revenue. Game Pass cannot be cheap for Microsoft either. So I suspect that alongside the $70 Xbox games, Game Pass will also bump up in price.
Time for positivity! I think Starfield hits the front half of the year. I could even see it landing the week of E3, close to Final Fantasy XVI. Now, searching for confirmed launch windows did crop up a rumor that Starfield has been internally delayed to the latter half of the year. I’ll stick to my guns, but Bethesda probably needs all the time they can get. Xbox needs this one.
I just really want to see what The Initiative has been cooking. Come on.
Kept you waiting, huh? It’s time for my Kiefer-level prediction!
Both the Factions multiplayer game and The Last of Us Part II launch on PC, with Factions launching day-and-date with the PS5 version. Factions will have both a free-to-play element and a physical version (for PS5). There will be a season pass. The main narrative of Factions will be 20+ hours of game play.
It is the tenth anniversary of The Last of Us this year. Part I hits PC in March and I think Part II is not far behind. Sony has embraced the PC market. It will have been three years since release and Naughty Dog’s engine has now been piped over to PC. With the show, the remake, and the anniversary, I feel like this year is the time to complete the pair on the PC market.
I also think the Factions game is due out in 2023. It has been in development alongside Part II, coming up on seven years of active work. Sony is planning on releasing 12 live service games by 2025. This is one of them. I believe that a PC audience is vital to reaching critical mass for these types of titles. The best way to reach that audience is to launch alongside the console versions. Hermen Hulst suggested that launch day-and-date would be possible for their live games in October 2022.
“I think going forward, we’ll see at least a year between our own platform, PlayStation, and on the PC platform…possibly with the exception of live service games.”
Another critical angle is free-to-play. Look, I will happily give Naughty Dog $70 for Factions, but I don’t know a single PC gamer that will pay full price for anything(?), especially from AAA developers. I suspect Steam has influenced the “games gotta be cheap” mindset. There should be some sort of free hook to snag players. Sony will be competing for players’ time from games like Fortnite. Competing with free is difficult. Revenue can (and will) come through enticing players and season passes are a part of that. Gotta look good in your post-apocalyptic game.
The last element is the Factions narrative. I think this game is huge. I expect all the traditional Naughty Dog trappings of cutscenes and set pieces. Multiplayer story moments can hit hard, even when they are primarily gameplay focused. The raids in Destiny come to my mind. I don’t expect Naughty Dog to have puzzle-filled raids, but bringing players together to experience moments like that can be powerful. Those moments are also a goal for the studio.
“It might start with an idea world or an idea of a mechanic or, even more recently, a certain feeling that we’re after. And then we will explore, okay, ‘what kind of world can evoke that feeling? What kind of mechanics can evoke that feeling? What kind of psychological situations can we put multiple people in that speak back to the theme that we’re after…”
Buckle up for Naughty Dog to go hard in the paint.
That will do it for my 2023 predictions. I feel confident, but I feel that way every year. We shall see how the year shakes out. Here’s to a big, bold 2023!