As we approach the end of January, it feels like, as far as gaming goes, 2024 is a big mystery, even more so than years past. We have some noticeable big hits coming out over the next month for JRPG fans but looking at what to expect this year, we barely know anything to come after March. Granted, this unexpected time could be the price of having one of the best years in the history of gaming during 2023 so maybe the major companies just won’t be ready for more heavy hitters for some time. That said, just last week, Xbox had a Developer Direct that gave us a look at what may be most of their slate for the year and it looks pretty promising. As far as Sony and Nintendo are concerned, rumors and speculation have us prepped to finally get the reveal of the next Nintendo console successor, which would be a massive industry event, and we may hear word of the next PlayStation mid-generation console, as well. In the meantime, however, I’ve prepared a sampling of five games that I’m excited about that should all release at some point this year so, without further ado, let’s take a look.

Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth

For many people, this may be their most anticipated game of the year and it’s just around the corner. Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth is the next entry in Square Enix’s unique remake trilogy for FFVII and, based on the last few years of work in the franchise, my expectations for this game are immense. FFVII: Remake not only managed to elevate one of the most revered JRPGs but it also breathed new life into it while forging a new path forward. However, Remake only scratched the surface of the game’s story, focusing on the first 10 hours of the original, so Rebirth is expected to be the real meat of what this trilogy can be. I’ve avoided as many trailers as I could after last year’s Summer GameFest to make this as fresh of an experience as possible. That said, I know we can expect great things from the adventures of Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith so I can’t wait to see how it unfolds with potential new changes when it releases on February 29th, 2024. Make sure to stay tuned for more coverage.

Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga

Having been revealed alongside the Xbox Series X during the Game Awards 2019, we’ve been waiting a long time for Hellblade 2 and, while I have some trepidations based on some of the latest news, I can’t help but be excited about this next entry. After the Xbox Developer Direct, we learned that Hellblade 2 would be a $50 title that rivals its in-game length to the original, which would put it to about 6-8 hours, if true. While I’m certainly all for shorter, highly curated experiences, there is something to the idea that Hellblade 2 was announced 5 years ago and it’s such a short experience, comparably. However, the original Hellblade eventually sold me on its Sony-like 3rd person experience once I embraced playing with headphones for a truly engaging game that managed to push the impact of audio in games to new heights. To that end, I expect Hellblade 2 will manage to provide twice as impactful of an experience in the same amount of time. Continuing the story of Senua in what looks to be a more beautiful and yet more horrific world is less than half a year away when the game releases on May 21st, 2024.

Stellar Blade

Having really only been last seen during the 2022 PlayStation Showcase, many in the industry anticipate that 2024 will be the year Stellar Blade, from the Korean studio Shift Up, finally releases as a second-party title on PlayStation 5. Even some of PlayStation’s latest blog posts seem to hint at this being true so it’s suspected that a “State of Play” may be around the corner to confirm the official release, among other things. Either way, I’m genuinely interested in learning more about what looks to be a very beautiful (in more ways than one “cough”) action game in the style of Bayonetta and maybe even NieR: Automata that follows the protagonist of Eve as she fights to reclaim Earth of alien invaders. Body physics and outfits aside, I think it’s great to see more Korean games leaving their mark on the industry so I’ll be happy to check out Stellar Blade once it releases. Looking at the limited trailers we’ve received so aafr, the game is reminiscent of the Xbox 360/PS3 era and that’s starting to become nostalgic for someone like me whose “gaming” career really took off then. On this list, Stellar Blade is easily the game we know the least about so, for now, I’ll eagerly anticipate more information and its eventual release during what I speculate to be Q2 2024.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle

Finishing off the January Xbox Developer Direct was our first look at MachineGame’s Indiana Jones game and, I must say, I am extremely pleased with what I saw. It’s been seven years since the last mainline Wolfenstein game was released from MachineGame’s and, while I’d love the ending to the modern Wolfenstein trilogy, I was very impressed with what we saw of this first person, puzzle-solving adventure game that’ll be putting us in the shoes of Indiana Jones. It was unknown what perspective we’d be in for this game but I think MachineGames made the smart decision sticking to what they know as, in the modern gaming landscape, The Great Circle could have ended up feeling like it was taking from Uncharted and Tomb Raider rather than the other way around. I’m also very interested to see what unique ways we can solve puzzles and perform combat challenges with the whip in ways that will further separate it from traditional first person shooters. From the stunning music to the Harrison Ford sound alike, our first look makes it really feel like the return to form that the franchise needs by giving us a truly authentic Indiana Jones experience. Of all the games on this list, however, I won’t be surprised if this somehow finds itself releasing in the beginning of 2025 but I have a good feeling that the team will be ready for the game to hit shelves by Holiday 2024.

Star Wars Outlaws

Revealed last year at Ubisoft’s summer press conference, Star Wars Outlaws is one the first major Star Wars games to come out of the end of the exclusive contract EA had over the Star Wars IP. This has been many years in the making and, while I don’t know how confident I am with Ubisoft being the first to truly take a crack at it, the game we saw looks to be one they fully intend to put maximum effort in with Massive Entertainment, the studio behind The Division, behind it. From the reveal trailer and gameplay, we saw last year, the game looks like it will attempt to strike a balance between a Star Wars “Grand Theft Auto” meets maybe Uncharted? Regardless, it’ll be nice to finally see a game that puts us in the world of Star Wars, not as a lightsaber-wielding Jedi, but as an actual regular Han Solo-like outlaw (thanks again, Harrison). I’ve long retired from the Ubisoft formula in Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry but I have faith that the team understands how important it is to us and them to get this game right so my expectations are fairly high. Rounding off the Disney-owned IP for this year, I can only hope that Star Wars Outlaws doesn’t get pushed out of 2024.

And there you have it, five games from the list of games we know about that will be some of my most anticipated games of the year. If there’s any you think deserved to make the list, feel free to let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear other perspectives on great games to check out. Thanks for reading and hears hoping another great year in gaming is in store for us all!