Games That Are Supposed To Release In 2023 But Probably Won’t
We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.
Video games take time to build. Shocking, we know, but since developers have to code systems, craft visual assets, storyboard, and make sure everything works when put together, games can take years to create. And even when a company announces a release date, it cannot always stick to it.
Delays in the game industry can result from a multitude of reasons. Maybe a title needs a bit more polish before it’s ready, or maybe the publisher has demanded a do-over. And sometimes, a studio needs to decelerate to avoid wearing down employee morale with unrealistic expectations and unnecessary crunch. We can never predict which games will or won’t be delayed, but we can make educated guesses.
2023 is full of highly anticipated games, some of which have been a long time coming; too long, actually. Still, we should temper our expectations. Some titles have been delayed so many times we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be surprised if their development extends past this year. Meanwhile, other titles have languished without any public updates, which calls into question purported 2023 releases.
Here are a bunch of titles that are supposed to release this year, but we have our doubts. We will be overjoyed if any of these predictions are wrong, but we won’t be shocked if they’re right, either.
Skull & Bones
During E3 2015, Rare announced its pirate simulator “Sea of Thieves.” Two years later, Ubisoft revealed its rival for Rare’s game, “Skull and Bones.” Fast forward to 2018 and “Sea of Thieves” released, but “Skull and Bones” didn’t. Several years later, the game still seems no closer to leaving port than the day it was announced.
So far, “Skull and Bones” has suffered numerous delays. Initially, Ubisoft wanted to release the game in 2018, but then it pushed the release window back to 2019-2020, according to Polygon. The studio skipped E3 2019 to focus on development, but that didn’t prevent another delay, this time into the 2020-21 fiscal year (via Engadget). And then again into the 2022-23 fiscal year. Ubisoft finally delivered a November 8, 2022 release date, per IGN, but history repeated itself when the company moved the release back to March 9, 2023. If only that were the end of it.
Ubisoft rang in the new year with some bad news. According to an internal report, the company had canceled many games, some of which had yet to be announced, and also had delayed “Skull and Bones” until “early 2023-24.” While the game could launch late this year, that seems unlikely. Given past trends, “Skull and Bones” probably won’t ship until 2024 at the earliest. Heck, Ubisoft might push the game back until 2025 or even cancel it outright. “Skull and Bones” is a $120+ million abyss, and since many 2022 Ubisoft games reportedly underperformed, resulting in falling market shares, don’t be surprised if the company finally axes this pirate-themed sunk cost fallacy.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
“Assassin’s Creed” is Ubisoft’s cash cow, and the company has milked it more than any of its other franchises. However, that strategy came at a cost to the series’ quality and release schedule. After a few underwhelming releases, Ubisoft scaled back its plans, which eventually revitalized the franchise. But now the company is seemingly returning to its old habits.
During the September 2022 Ubisoft Forward stream, Ubisoft announced numerous “Assassin’s Creed” games, including “Assassin’s Creed Mirage.” This game is supposed to tell the origins of Basim from “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla,” as well as return the series to its non-RPG roots. “Assassin’s Creed Mirage” is also supposed to release in 2023, which sounds implausibly optimistic.
Unlike recent years, Ubisoft is oversaturating the market with “Assassin’s Creed” games. The company is also developing “Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade,” “Assassin’s Creed Codename Red,” “Assassin’s Creed Codename Hexe,” and “Assassin’s Creed Infinity” alongside “Mirage.” Sure, Ubisoft Bordeaux is in charge of “Mirage,” but who is developing the other ones? Ubisoft has multiple core teams (via GDC 2018), but they usually don’t collaborate or work on more than three or four games at a time. Ubisoft might be stretching itself a little thin, so pushing “Assassin’s Creed Mirage” will probably help polish the game and avoid the mistakes of “Assassin’s Creed Unity.” Given the recent fiscal year that convinced Ubisoft to cancel some titles and delay “Skull and Bones,” a delay might be in the company’s best interest, especially if it stretches past the rumored June 2023 release date.
The PlayStation 5 reveal stream tried to put its best foot forward by showing off the console and its games. The video introduced viewers to titles such as “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart,” “Forspoken” (then known as “Project Athia”), and “Stray.” The stream also revealed Capcom’s next project, “Pragmata,” which is still a mystery, and probably will remain one for the rest of the year.
The trailer for “Pragmata” didn’t reveal much, but it did hook audiences. Viewers fell in love with its spacesuit-wearing protagonist (at least we think they’re the protagonist), its android girl, and its lunar colony metropolis. But what was the premise? What would the game play like? Capcom didn’t say, and the company refused to talk about the game until it revealed the release date had been pushed back from 2022 to 2023. Not exactly the best of introductions.
While we would love to see “Pragmata” release this year, we are curious why Capcom hasn’t shown more of the game. Meanwhile, a newer upcoming Capcom title, “Exoprimal,” has undergone its own arc. When the game was announced, audiences thought it was the long-awaited return of “Dino Crisis,” and they were understandably disappointed when a 2022 trailer revealed it wasn’t. But several trailers, gameplay previews, and network tests later, audiences have warmed up to “Exoprimal.” Capcom worked hard to prove the game was fun and well on its way to a 2023 release, but “Pragmata?” It’s almost as if Capcom is avoiding discussing that game, possibly because it can’t meet the new 2023 deadline.
Gamers are certainly excited about “Starfield.” Audiences have anticipated the game ever since Bethesda announced it in 2018, but recent developments have tempered gamer expectations. These developments also made us rethink whether the game is ready for release, not because we know more about “Starfield,” but because we know more about its developer.
“Starfield” is the newest IP by Bethesda in a long time, which by itself is an enticing concept since the studio has relied on “Fallout” and “The Elder Scrolls” for decades. However, after the announcement trailer, Bethesda fell radio silent until 2021 when it released a cinematic trailer that teased the game’s graphics engine and not much else. Also, the director, Todd Howard, told The Washington Post that “Starfield” is “like ‘Skyrim’ in space,” which excited some gamers. Fast forward to 2022, Bethesda at long last posted a gameplay trailer. In 2021, Bethesda planned for a 2022 release date but then moved it back to 2023. And now rumors are swirling that “Starfield” has been delayed again.
According to game leaks, Starfield has been delayed to the final quarter of 2023, but history has taught us Bethesda games need to cook longer than even the developers want (via Dexerto). “Fallout 76,” for instance, was a mess at release and the product of oppressive crunch. Bethesda’s employees required two years to finally turn the game around (via Kotaku). Assuming the company learns from that mistake, Bethesda will likely push the game into 2024 to decrease the odds of “Starfield” turning into a repeat of “Fallout 76” in the worst way possible.
Ys X: Nordics
The “Ys” series has grown in popularity recently. “Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA” and “Ys IX: Monstrum Nox” have let gamers discover what used to be an obscure action JRPG. Okay, the franchise is still kinda obscure, but it’s successful enough to warrant another entry to celebrate its anniversary. At least, that was the plan.
In 2022, the President of Nihon Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo, stated in an interview that his studio wanted to release “Ys X” that year to celebrate the franchise’s 35th anniversary (via Noisy Pixel). Instead, the company had to settle for an announcement. So far, all we know is the game’s title, “Ys X: Nordics,” and basic plot premise. Moreover, Nihon Falcom plans to release the game in 2023 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
Given the “Ys” franchise’s rising popularity, a Western launch is a foregone conclusion, but will we see it in 2023? Probably not. We have no idea how long Nihon Falcom has been working on “Ys X,” but we know rushing games to meet an anniversary deadline never ends well — just look at “Sonic 06.” Even if Nihon has been diligently developing “Ys X” ever since “Ys IX” launched, localization takes time. Unless Nihon Falcom is scheduling a simultaneous worldwide release, we can probably expect a localized version several months behind the Japanese launch, which could push the game into 2024 for non-Japanese audiences.
Metroid Prime 4
Generally, Nintendo follows Shigeru Miyamoto’s mantra of “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” Every now and then, Nintendo abandons that ideal to predictably lackluster results (e.g., “Pokémon Scarlet/Violet”), but usually the company gives a project the time it needs. But how much time is enough — or even too much?
Nintendo initially announced “Metroid Prime 4” during the E3 2017 Nintendo Direct, but after that, nothing. It was as if all news had been consumed by a black hole, and in 2019, we learned why. Turns out Nintendo wasn’t pleased with the work produced by the original studio (rumored to be Bandai Namco) and decided to restart the project. And this time, the team behind the original “Metroid Prime” trilogy, Retro Studio, would be in charge.
Officially, Nintendo has yet to announce a release date for “Metroid Prime 4,” but sites such as Amazon have provided a tentative release date of December 31, 2023. However, this seems unlikely. Despite Retro Studio officially taking over the project in 2019, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of any progress. Then again, when Nintendo announced the developer baton pass would mean “restarting development from the beginning,” they probably meant it. Nothing of the original will probably be used in Retro Studios’ take, including levels and story beats. The company has likely spent most of its time so far conceptualizing what the visual artists and coders will eventually produce. While we would love for a 2023 release date, that just seems unrealistic.
Mina the Hollower
Yacht Club Games introduced itself to the world with “Shovel Knight,” a Kickstarter project that eventually evolved into a beloved pixelated platformer. The company turned to Kickstarter again to create its latest title, “Mina the Hollower,” which is why we doubt the company can keep its delivery date promises.
When Yacht Club Games pitched “Mina the Hollower,” the studio promised a cross between classic “The Legend of Zelda” and “Castlevania” titles, powered by chiptunes and a Game Boy Color’s limited color palette. Those pledges, combined with Yacht Club’s experience creating award-winning games, convinced backers to help the studio raise over $1 million dollars in funding (full disclosure, I was one of the backers). Yacht Club Games even promised a 2023 release date, but since when has a Kickstarter video game ever shipped on time?
For one reason or another, video games funded by Kickstarter almost never release by the dates provided in the projects. “Darkest Dungeon” was promised to release January 2015, but it didn’t launch until February, while Koji Igarashi’s “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night” was supposed to ship March 2017 but was held back by two years. As for “Shovel Knight,” Yacht Club Games launched its crowdfunding campaign with a September 2013 release date, but it didn’t launch until June 2014. Given this track record, it’s almost a foregone conclusion “Mina the Hollower” will not release on the Kickster’s promised date of December 2023. Even if the game is only held back a month, it will still release in 2024, but that’s a generous estimate at best.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Nobody expected “Hollow Knight” to achieve anything more than moderate success. After all, the game began life as a Kickstarter project for a fresh, unproven developer. Despite all of their later accolades and profits, the developers of “Hollow Knight,” Team Cherry, ironically never managed to fulfill all of their project’s stretch goals, at least not yet.
“Hollow Knight: Silksong” is the highly anticipated sequel to “Hollow Knight” that will let gamers play as the original’s recurring character/boss Hornet. Originally, though, this sequel was supposed to be the aforementioned DLC, but in 2019, Team Cherry announced they changed direction and turned the bite-sized mode into a standalone adventure. The most recent update we’ve heard on the game didn’t come from Team Cherry but Microsoft, as the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022 included a trailer stating the game would come to Game Pass. A Tweet from Microsoft’s social media account later confirmed “Hollow Knight: Silksong” would release June 12, 2023 at the latest. But is that a realistic goal?
During a 2022 AMA with games journalist Geoff Keigley, he stated he has kept in touch with the people at Team Cherry and that, unfortunately, they were hit pretty hard by the Covid pandemic. He didn’t quantify how hard, but he did remind audiences that Team Cherry is a small indie studio and that they had to take their time as a result. Given Keigley’s statement, the June 12, 2023 release date sounds less like a promise and more like an optimistic goal, one that might have to be pushed back to 2024 due to Team Cherry’s tiny size. Here’s hoping the studio won’t have to, though.
https://news.detroitdailynews.com/2023/02/06/games-that-are-supposed-to-release-in-2023-but-probably-wont/ Games That Are Supposed To Release In 2023 But Probably Won’t