Ah, my favourite season of the year! The sun is out, BBQ invites are flowing and the vibes are at their best.
You would be wrong to assume that summer isn’t a great time for gaming as we are in such a golden age that we are spoilt for choice as to what to spend most of our time playing.
There are gems of all sizes below, ranging from AAA to the indies but we try our best to list our five most anticipated releases coming out in the hottest season of the year.
Of course all release dates below are correct at the time of writing so these are always subject to change or delay.
1. Street Fighter 6
(Developed and Published by Capcom)
One of the most recognisable gaming franchises of all time enters a new era this summer and I am gassed that many of our friends are talking about it.
Fighting games have been my favourite genre since Virtua Fighter 3 on the Dreamcast and the hype around this game is eerily similar to the Tekken popularity back in the ‘00s.
Considering the lukewarm reception to Street Fighter V, it has been great to see the overwhelmingly positive reaction to new characters such as Lily and Kimberly while the OGs including Ryu and Chun Li have been given fresh coats of paint.
There’s a real gritty vibe to the World Tour mode with your character fully embodying the essence of being a Street Fighter and with in-game commentary from the likes of WWE wrestler Zelina Vega (or Thea Trinidad) and long-time commentator TastySteve, Capcom have gone to great lengths to ensure that this is a game enjoyed by many for the next few years.
(Developed by Sunnyside Games, Published by Dear Villagers & Edigger)
Nocturnal is a side-scrolling action adventure platformer set on an island plagued by darkness and a mysterious mist!
You play as Ardeshir, a deserter who has returned to his home island of Nahran amidst the upheaval in search of his brothers.
To keep the mist at bay, Ardeshir must wield flames to banish the darkness and the creatures lurking within.
From the world to the character designs, Nocturnal’s beautiful art style draws you in from the moment you land on the island but where it truly sings is in its shadows and flames.
Almost feeling alive, the billowing darkness gives the building's interiors a sense of dread and claustrophobia that makes each new light source feel like a port in a storm and wielding those flames even more of an empowering lifeline!
To survive Nahran you’ll need to polish your platforming skills to run, jump and dodge your way through the myriad hazards hidden in the dark. But it won’t just be your acrobatic skills being brought to bear as you’ll need to solve puzzles to carve your way deeper into the island and towards your goals!
Pitting you against both humans and monsters, the combat of Nocturnal feels satisfying, tense and varied as both come in a variety of types!
With the human enemies, you’ll have to contend with a mix of long, medium and short ranged foes with complimentary attack patterns but it’s in the more monstrous foes where you’ll be really tested.
Making you truly appreciate the lifeline your waning flames are, each encounter in the dark feels like an intense juggling act as you balance your flame management against the increasingly tough and varied enemies!
Out of all the demos I played during the Steam Next Fest, Nocturnal was far and away my highlight! I’m looking forward to seeing Ardeshir shine long into the summer night from 7th June on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch.
3. AEW Fight Forever
(Developed by Yuke's, Published by AEW & THQ Nordic)
AEW is gearing up for their first console game and it’s really sweet to see them pair up with legendary wrestling game developer Yuke’s.
Where the current WWE 2K series has focused on a super clean engine that has a pretty spot-on simulation of the real life sport, this game has taken a more niche, arcade-like approach. Another way this game aims to separate themselves from the 2K series is how Fight Forever is meant to be one game with semi-regular updates to the roster, giving the game a lifespan of a few years, as opposed to the annual model we see with the likes of FIFA, Madden and NBA 2K.
It’s no secret that this game is the spiritual successor to WWF No Mercy, one of the most popular wrestling games of all time, and while I’ve never played the game, I would like to see how a modern version of No Mercy plays.
Former World Champion and massive gamer Kenny Omega has reportedly been hands-on for the duration of the game’s development. He assured fans that this game would be easy to pick up yet difficult to master, which sounds perfect to me.
Many of our favourites such as the aforementioned Omega, Jon Moxley, MJF, Jade Cargill and more are going to be immortalised in a variety of match types including Falls Count Anywhere and the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch.
4. Baldur's Gate 3
(Developed and Published by Larian Studios)
If you’re anything like me, nothing scratches that itch like a good RPG. Mix in a wondrous world full of engaging characters, choices and consequences and you’ll get the Baldur’s Gate franchise.
A full decade after the last instalment into the beloved franchise, Baldur’s Gate 3 is back and in the hands of the Larian Studios, the studio behind the seminal classic Divinity: Original Sin 2.
Differing from the first two instalments, Baldur’s Gate 3 eschews the pausable real-time gameplay for more traditional tabletop RPG-style turn-based dice rolling system for your skill and combat checks.
With such veterans of the scene at the helm I’m feeling incredibly excited to return to the Forgotten Realms, create a character and dive in.
5. Lies of P
(Developed by Neowiz & Round 8 Studio, Published by Neowiz)
I can’t believe we are getting Pinocchio in a Bloodborne-inspired game!
I don’t usually go for games that try to emulate the Souls style but I definitely have a soft spot for dark, gothic settings. Lies of P is set in La Belle Époque (The Beautiful Era), you are expected to lie through your mechanical teeth as you yearn to become human.
I cannot wait to connect the dots as we aim to solve the mystery in Krat while fighting a host of grotesque monstrosities.
The visuals are breathtaking, which instantly makes me think of carefully drawn Berserk manga panels. I’m looking forward to exploring the city while unravelling the hopefully complex story.
Will Mr. Geppetto be found? Will we get to be a real boy? I hope to find the answers to these questions in August 2023.
See? I told you, excellent games of all sizes and genres are about to change the landscape over the next few months.
I’m sure people are going to yell at us for excluding certain titles but what games are YOU most excited to play this summer? Let us know!