2023 is shaping up to be a big year for games. Between the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Final Fantasy XVI, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Starfield, Street Fighter VI, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Diablo IV and Hogwarts Legacy, we’ll have no shortage of titles to play over the next 12 months.
While you’ve likely heard of most, if not all of those, what you may not have known is just how many other 2023 games hail from Canadian studios. Indeed, quite a few of them do, ranging from new entries in such major franchises as Minecraft and Dead Space to promising indies spanning all kinds of genres.
Due to the ever-evolving nature of game development, some of these are titles that have been delayed and, therefore, have shown up on previous lists. There’s also no guarantee that any of these games won’t see further delays. In the meantime, though, there’s a lot to be excited for in 2023 from Canadian developers, and here’s a small taste of that.
Developer: EA Motive (Montreal, Quebec)
Genre: Sci-fi, horror, third-person shooter
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release date: January 27th, 2023
Nearly 10 years after the release of Dead Space 3, EA’s acclaimed sci-fi horror series is back, compliments of Canada’s own EA Motive (Star Wars: Squadrons). Taking inspiration from Capcom’s incredible remake of Resident Evil 2, the Montreal-based developer has created a compelling reimagining of Visceral’s original Dead Space that expands upon the original story while giving everything a stunning modern sheen. The remake also leverages current-gen consoles’ SSDs for a loading screen-free experience that should only enhance Dead Space‘s signature eerie atmosphere.
Developer: Kyle Banks
Publisher: Mooneye Studios
Release date: TBA 2023
Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kyle Banks and his wife moved from Canada to Scotland, and that journey helped inspire a video game. Enter Farewell North, an adventure game in which a young woman and her Border Collie must restore colour to a darkened world while recovering her memories. All told, it looks to be quite the emotional story about depression, and exploring the Scottish Highlands-inspired setting should make for a uniquely absorbing experience. And yes, you can absolutely pet the dog!
Goodbye Volcano High
Developer/Publisher: KO_OP (Montreal, Quebec)
Genre: Narrative adventure
Platform: PlayStation 4/5 (timed console exclusive), PC
Release date: TBA 2023
After delays out of 2021 and 2022, Goodbye Volcano High is (hopefully) set to finally release this year. Focused on teenagers going through their final year of high school, the game aims to tell a sentimental coming-of-age story with anthropomorphic dinosaurs. And beneath that fantastical premise is a push for rare representation: Fang, the main character, is non-binary and actually voiced by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Lachlan Watson, one of Hollywood’s youngest non-binary actors.
Developer: Mojang, Blackbird Interactive (Vancouver, B.C.)
Platform: Xbox consoles, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: First half of 2023
One of the biggest games of all time is getting a brand-new spin-off in 2023, and it’s being co-developed by Vancouver’s own Blackbird. In Minecraft Legends, the Nether’s corruption of the Overworld leads a great hero to unite the mobs and defend their home. Gameplay-wise, Legends blends real-time action combat with ally-commanding strategy mechanics to deliver something wholly unique for Minecraft. You’ll also be able to team up with — or fight against — other players to defend your village.
Developer/Publisher: Inflexion Games (Edmonton, Alberta)
Genre: Survival, crafting, shared world
Release date: First half of 2023 (Early Access)
New IPs don’t come around often, and certainly not those from BioWare Edmonton alums (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect) like Aaryn Flynn. But Nightingale isn’t selling itself on pedigree alone — it aims to pull you in through its rich Victorian gas lamp setting filled with fearsome magical creatures. Whether on your own or with other players, you’ll have to travel the mystical land, build out your character and face off against monstrous beasts.
Developer/Publisher: Cococucumber (Toronto, Ontario)
Platform: Xbox consoles (plus day one on Game Pass), PC
Release date: TBA 2023
In 2021, Cococumber released its acclaimed turn-based RPG Echo Generation, and now, the Canadian developer is crafting a more action-focused spin on the genre. As Ravenlok, players will be transported into a fantastical monster-infested world ruled by the evil Caterpillar Queen. Beyond the Alice in Wonderland and Ghibli-inspired setting, Cococucumber aims to tell a heartfelt coming-of-age story filled with real-time combat, creepy creatures and more of the studio’s signature charming voxel art style.
For more on Ravenlok, read our interview with Cococucumber co-founder and director Vanessa Chia.
Sea of Stars
Developer/Publisher: Sabotage Studio (Quebec City, Quebec)
Platform: PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: Mid-2023
Sea of Stars is a prequel to Sabotage’s acclaimed 2018 action-platformer, The Messenger, and follows two young heroes who must wield the power of the sun and moon to stop an evil alchemist. This retro-inspired RPG features new music from Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda, as well as a teamwork-focused combat system inspired by the iconic Square RPG, a beautiful 2D pixel art style and grind-free progression system. All in all, it looks like a perfect mix of homage and modernity.
For more on Sea of Stars, check out our preview.
Sons of the Forest
Developer: Endnight (Vancouver, B.C.)
Genre: Survival horror
Release date: February 23rd, 2023
Studio Endnight’s sequel to its 2018 cult hit The Forest boasts a more realistic open-world sandbox filled with even deadlier threats to survive against. Now, though, you have a 3D printer to craft items, a greater number of weapon types, seasonal changes for warmer and colder weather challenges and full co-op support. Without any NPC quest-givers, how you survive in this cannibal-infested hellscape is entirely up to you.
Developer/Publisher: Folklore Games (Montreal, Quebec)
Genre: Narrative, adventure
Release date: TBA 2023
For the past several years, two Canadian school friends have been toiling away at Spiral, a game about an elderly man going through cognitive degeneration. As you relive his memories one last time, his disease will begin to affect all facets of the game, including UI, music, characters and environment. At the same time, Folklore says it doesn’t want its debut title to be “tragic,” with the experience instead intended to evoke feelings of “empathy, patience and love.”
Developer/Publisher: Visai Games (Toronto, Ontario)
Genre: Narrative, cooking
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: Spring 2023
Following a delay out of 2022, Venba is ready to serve a delicious main course of South Indian cuisine. Drawing from creator Abhi’s personal experiences of immigrating to Toronto, Venba follows an Indian mother, her husband and their child as they adjust to life in Canada. By preparing signature Indian dishes, the family is able to reconnect with their homeland’s culture. Throw in a wonderfully distinct art style and authentic Indian soundtrack and Venba looks real appetizing.
For more on Venba, read our interview with Abhi.
Of course, this only covers some of the games that are confirmed for 2023; others include The Outlast Trials from Quebec City-based Red Barrels, Tails: The Backbone Preludes from Vancouver-based Eggnut and Homeworld 3 (Blackbird Interactive).
That’s to say nothing of the many Canadian games that we know are on the way, but likely are still a ways off:
- Assassin’s Creed Infinity (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Quebec)
- Dragon Age: Dreadwolf (BioWare Edmonton)
- Unrevealed new PlayStation IP (Jade Raymond’s Haven team in Montreal)
- Unrevealed new multiplayer-focused IP (Amazon Games Montreal)
- Untitled new Mass Effect game (BioWare Edmonton)
And, naturally, there are so many more unannounced Canadian games that could be formally revealed throughout the year.
For now, though, which Canadian games are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.
A round-up of 2022’s top Canadian games can be found here.
Image credit: Sabotage/Xbox/EA