Happy New Year, gamers! We have left 2022 behind and have reached the next level, 2023. What a great year 2022 was for gaming, wasn’t it? We got some of the best AAA and indie games throughout, with tons of surprises and long-awaited sequels. As good as that year was, it’s time to move on, and I am sure 2023 will be no different. It’s already looking jam-packed with more games than we’ll have time to play, and let me tell you, my backlog won’t be too happy about it. While there are tons of games coming out, 46 of which we covered in our 2-part series that you can check out, I wanted to focus on a handful of big-budget AAA games that’ll be launching on Xbox Game Pass Day one.
What is Xbox Game Pass? It’s a subscription service from Xbox where, for $9.99 a month, you can download and play upwards of 400 games from the catalogue. New games are added, and old ones are removed every month, and while the subscription advertises 100 games that you can play, there are well over 400 to choose from at this point. If you want even more out of your subscription, you can get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $14.99 a month, which gives you Xbox Game Pass, PC Games Pass, EA Play, which includes most of EA’s games, and Xbox Live Gold, all for an extra $5! Game Pass is by far the best deal in gaming and is often referred to as “the gift that keeps on giving” or “the Netflix of games” by the fans. Xbox Game Pass also comes packed with Xcloud, which lets you stream games on your phone or tablet, which is crazy.
One defining feature of Xbox Game Pass is the addition of a few games to the service on day one. That means you are free to download and play this new and freshly released game the moment it drops without having to buy it. This is great because you can try the game out or even fully complete it to see if it’s worth your money. All the games that are released by Xbox’s first-party studios always release day and date on Game Pass, but over the last couple of years, Game Pass has been adding a ton of third-party titles to its day-one release catalogue as well. From big-budget AAA blockbusters to a whole bunch of indie darlings, the value this service provides is unmatched by anything else on the market. Let’s take a look at some of the games that have been confirmed to be joining Game Pass on day one in 2023. A quick thing to note is that these are just a handful of games, and there are more already confirmed to get added, while I am sure a lot more will be announced with the passage of time. This list will also only focus on AAA games; we’ll make another for indie titles later. Let’s see what Game Pass has in store for us in 2023.
Being developed by Mundfish, “Atomic Heart ” is an open-world first-person action game with super fast combat, crazy boss battles, and weird-looking powers that you’ll be using. The game takes place in an alternate Soviet-Union-inspired dystopia of sorts, and from the looks of it, it has a retro-future theme going for it. Everything about this title looks weird, from its setting to the enemies you’ll encounter to the powers you’ll be using to everything else that falls in between. The combat also looks incredible, with incredibly fast gunplay and heavy and brutal melee combat featuring incredibly unique weaponry. The game also seems to be taking heavy inspiration from “Bioshock” with the addition of weird powers using your left hand. The world itself looks bizarre, with animatronics, weird architecture blended with nature, and tons of old yet futuristic-looking machinery. The cherry on top of this is that the music of the game is being scored by the legendary composer, Mick Gordon himself, which means the combat will be a beautiful ballet of bullets and adrenaline-fueling action. That part alone is reason enough to be excited for this game if you ask me. “Atomic Heart” is weird, one of a kind, and looks phenomenal. It is coming out on February 21, 2023.
Monster Hunter Rise
“Monster Hunter: Rise,” the next entry in Capcom’s long-running JRPG series, came out on the Nintendo Switch last year and is now finally coming out on other platforms. The game builds on top of the “Monster Hunter World” formula and pits us against giant, hulking monsters in a beautiful and varied open world. There’s not a lot that needs to be said about this game as pretty much everything is known at this point, so feel free to check this one out when it arrives this month, on January 12, 2023.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
TeamNinja is back with a new IP in “Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty,” a fast-paced Soulsborne that builds on top of their previous franchise, “Nioh,” and this game takes palace in Chinese myth. I played the demo for this game, and I got my butt handed to me in no time, so I can confidently say that the Soulsborne crowd is going to have a field day with this one. You can create your character here and pick and choose between a few classes, each with its own fighting style, and embark on this incredibly brutal yet very rewarding journey. The combat here is fast-paced and has a ton of flashy moves, and the game will also feature a ton of boss battles that are sure to test your skill and patience. I may not be a Soulsborne guy myself, but games like this and another one we have on this list sure make me want to try them and get better at them. “Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty” comes out on March 3, 2023.
Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn
A44 Games, the guys behind the stunning “Ashen,” are back with their new title, a new IP that is bigger than anything they have done before, “Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.” You play as Nor Vanek in this open-world game with one mission in mind: to kill the gods who forsook this world and left it in shambles. You’ll be joined by Enki, a fox- or bird-looking adorable creature who has weird mystical powers of his own that will aid you on your journey. This game also looks like Soulsborne, but I am not sure, so I’ll reserve my judgment on that. It will feature over-the-shoulder third-person melee combat with some ranged elements. The aesthetics are very steampunk-inspired here, and the world looks like it’ll be quite fun and unique to explore. It also seems like the game is taking heavy inspiration from other games of this kind, like “God of War,” to deliver the best possible narrative and gameplay experience. “Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn” comes out sometime in 2023.
Lies Of P
Remember how I cheekily mentioned another Soulsborne game on this list? “Lies of P” is that, and it looks, as the French say, Magnifique. Being made by Round 8 Studio, “Lies of P” is a dark and gritty re-telling of the liar Pinnochio himself in a steampunk-inspired world. Everything about this game looks phenomenal, from its art style to its tone, from its music to its gameplay—all of these things look downright incredible. The characters and world design also deserve special kudos for being familiar while at the same time having their own gritty flair. This game looks straight-up gorgeous, and I hope I can muster the courage to play it and beat it, as it’d be criminal not to do so. “Lies of P” arrives sometime in 2023.
Of all the games on this list, this is the one I don’t care about at all, but hey! “Minecraft” has a huge audience, and I know a few people personally who are eagerly waiting for this one. Developed by Mojang, “Minecraft Legends” is a new game in the “Minecraft” universe and will be an action strategy game with a narrative. Look, as I said, this is not my cup of tea, and I don’t know much about “Minecraft” or strategy games, so I’ll leave this at that. “Minecraft Legends” comes out sometime in 2023.
Turn 10 Studios are getting ready to get back on track with the next iteration of their critically acclaimed racing-sim series, “Forza Motorsport.” The 8th installment in this beloved series will also act as a reboot of sorts and is bringing with it some massive changes that fans have been asking for for years. Dynamic time of day and weather will now affect your grip on the track while new things like tyre and fuel management are being added to make your racing experience all the more real. New damage models alongside real-time raytracing on track will make your cars look and feel more authentic while making your racing experience all the more believable. All of this will run at a smooth 60 fps with 4K resolution, and with the improved engine, the physics overhaul, and all the new rendering techniques, the king of racing sims is planning its triumphant return sometime in the spring of 2023.
Arkane Studios is back after the success of “Deathloop” with another new IP, “Redfall.” Being developed by their Austin Studio under Harvey Smith, “Redfall” will take players to the coastal town of Redfall, Massachusetts, which has been taken over by a vampire living cult, and as you can guess, the town is running amok with vampires. The game will feature up to four-player co-op with four unique characters, each with their own individual abilities and skill trees. We have a whole article talking about reasons to be excited about this game, so feel free to check that out if you’d like. “Redfall” plays in first-person like the previous Arkane games but has an emphasis on gunplay this time around, which is unlike their previous titles, other than “Deathloop.” There will be a narrative tying the entire experience down, and in typical Arkane fashion, you can expect a ton of environmental storytelling and lore that will come packed with this adventure. “Redfall” will take the immersive-sim genre to new heights and will be released sometime in the first six months of 2023.
A new IP from Bethesda that has been 25 years in the making, “Starfield” is the next first- or third-person RPG that will feature a ton of choices, perks, and stats for players to build around and check off. Bethesda games have always been big in their size, scope, and ambition, but “Starfield” is taking those things to literal new heights and will take place in space. Set in our own far future, “Starfield” will be a space-faring odyssey that begs the question, “What lies out there?”. The game will feature over 1000 planets with 100’s systems that we are free to explore alongside ship customization that allows you to build your own ship from scratch. Being a Bethesda game, you can expect tons of varying choices that will alter your story experience and allow you to encounter and join interesting factions to personalize your character and play in accordance with what you identify as. Robust character creation, quite literally a gigantic world, and tons of sights to see and places to go are what awaits us in “Starfield.” My question is, “Will there be black holes in the game, and if so, can I fly into one?” I ask in the name of science, of course! “Starfield” comes out sometime in the first six months of 2023.
Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl
Finally, we have “Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl,” an open-world action narrative game being made by GSC Gameworld in Ukraine. After tons of delays, for a good reason, it seems like the game will finally see the light of day this year. If you have seen the recently released “Come to Me” trailer, then you know how insane this game looks, both visually and narratively. Everything about this game, from its action to its story to its immersion factor, looks on point, with incredible visuals thanks to the Unreal Engine 5, stellar voice acting, and fantastic lore. I know I’ll be playing this game in Russian with subtitles on for maximum immersion, and I know this game will be a banger when it comes out sometime in 2023.
These have been some of the biggest games coming out on day one on Xbox Game Pass in 2023. A thing to note is that most, if not all, of these games are slated for the first six months of the year, so we have no idea what more awaits us, but I can guarantee that there will be a lot more coming to the service. I haven’t even mentioned any of the indie games, and even in the AAA sphere, there are a handful more that have already been confirmed to be joining the service. Game Pass provides unrivaled value to its subscribers and a ton of exposure to the developers by highlighting their releases. Just look at the success of “High on Life.” If you are an Xbox owner, then Game Pass is a no-brainer, and with so many incredible games releasing day one on the service, 2023 is shaping up to be a big year for Xbox.