Upcoming Games December

Upcoming Games December

It's a new month, which means new Video Games! Check out this selection of upcoming releases.

Conor Caulfield

As the year winds down, we start to get some of the most esoteric and interesting games of the year.
The ones that didn’t need to hit the black friday sales now all pile into the few weeks before Christmas and hope that they don’t trample each other.
There’s at least one massive AAA release still to go this year, while a swarm of indies and smaller AA titles hope to take advantage of the relative quiet to carve out their own niche.
As the backlogs of 2023 grow, lets see what will be sitting right on top with December’s Releases.

Steamworld Build

Developer: The Station
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing
Platforms: PC/Xbox/Playstation/Switch
Release Date: 01/12/23

Launching on the first, Thunderful continue their experiment with building games for the Steamworld Universe but in new genres. This time, an old west mining town inspired city builder that eventually opens up a dungeon master style spelunking layer in the spirit of the original Steamworld Dig. As players attempt to have their settlement thrive and gather resources, all of this will be leading to a different end goal than the genre normally does. The goal isn’t to build the biggest city possible, instead, all of the work of your town is in service of developing the technology to escape the planet before it breaks.

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince

Developer: TOSE
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Switch
Release Date: 01/12/23

Elsewhere on the 1st though, an overdue reprisal from Square Enix and developer TOSE as the Dragon Quest Monsters series comes back to modern consoles with Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince.
Effectively a pokemon like, this spin off series has players battle enemies by issuing commands to captured monsters from the bestiary of Dragon Quest.
It’s a throwback in many ways, but not least because the last western release for the franchise was back in 2011 for Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2. The graphical stylings suggest that some things have stayed the same for this new entry, so it will be interesting to see how modern audiences gel with classic gameplay this time around.
Especially in the wake of Dragon Quest Spinoffs being something western audiences are much more receptive to nowadays.

A Highland Song

Developer: Inkle
Publisher: Inkle
Platforms: PC/Switch
Release Date: 05/12/23

Sometimes you look at a game and all you can think is “That looks lovely”. That’s very much the case with A Highland Song from Inkle.
The studio’s follow up to critical darlings Heaven’s Vault and 80 Days sees them attempt to capture the spirit of the Scottish Highlands as you navigate them in a 2D Platformer filled with naturalistic graphics and familiar music.
Inkle have promised a new kind of “Open Platformer” that will see players exploring different trails and paths through repeat playthroughs, all in service of discovering the secrets of the Scottish Wilds. We’ll see just how well they’ve managed it on December 5th.

Disney: Dreamlight Valley

Developer: Gameloft
Publisher: Gameloft
Platforms: PC/Xbox/Playstation/Switch
Release Date: 05/12/23

It wouldn’t be a month of video game releases without some sort of cosy life sim game releasing - and this one has the full power of the House of Mouse behind it. Disney: Dreamlight Valley is one of the first big efforts that Disney games have been working on, and the folks at Gameloft already know they have a hit on their hands from the success of early access.
In fact it’s so successful that they’ve decided to change up the sales strategy, going from a free to pay launch to a full priced title.
So now if you want to live a life surrounded by (and doing quests for) all your favourite characters, you’re going to have to pay for the game, and the upcoming expansions, and the internal currency. The Mouse is gonna get his cut.

Sonic Dream Team

Developer: Hardlight Studios
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: Apple Arcade
Release Date: 05/12/23

From Mice to Hedgehogs then, also on the 5th, Sega look to follow up the rousing success of Sonic Frontiers with a game that’s decidedly more old school in design. Sonic Dream Team is pretty explicitly evoking the Sonic Adventure series mixed with Tony Hawk as it doubles down on the platforming and rail grinding aspects of the former. The curious one for this is that this game is purely on Apple Arcade at launch, and will presumably be launching for other platforms when that exclusivity is up. Considering that Dream Team seems to be evoking many beloved aspects of the Sonic Adventure titles, some folks will likely be counting down the days.

Arizona Sunshine 2

Developer: Vertigo Games
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Platforms: PC
Release Date:07/12/23

The follow up to one of the most popular VR shooters - Arizona Sunshine 2 from Vertigo Games on the seventh is hoping that a traditional sequel will work for the medium.
A new campaign, a canine companion you can interact with and the return of Horde and Co-op modes will all be music to the ears of players.
The original game from 2016 was much lauded for it’s brutal combat and limb destruction - and for how it helped solidify VR Shooter conventions - how much better will things be with 7 years of development and advancements under their belts?

The Day Before

Developer: Fntastic
Publisher: Mytona
Platforms: PC
Release Date: 07/12/23

With developer Fntastic now very confident that they’ll actually release on the seventh of December - it’s time for the world to find out what The Day Before actually is.
We’ve known that the core of the game is a third person zombie shooter MMO for a while - and a fairly generic looking one based on their one big gameplay stream - but then they started talking about the game’s spa features, and showing off Sports cars for exploring an abandoned city.
There’s now little doubt that when The Day Before finally releases, it will definitely be an actual video game you can play and not a scam. But will it be a good game? That remains to be seen.

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

Developer: Owlcat Games
Publisher: Owlcat Games
Platforms: PC/Xbox/Playstation
Release Date: 07/12/23

The final big CRPG of 2023 is launching from it’s early access on December 7th, as Owlcat Games releases Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader.
This is adapting the tabletop RPG of the same name, meaning there’s a strong mechanical core to the game even before Owlcat bring the same quality, care and skill that they’ve brought to the Pathfinder series.
With a focus on ranged combat inherent to the setting, the devs have put a lot of thought into how team abilities, shooting and cover synergise and blend, to bring an X-Com style tactical layer to the game.
If the narrative layer, where players will have the freedom to be as puritanically imperial or radically divergent as they wish, ends up feeling as complex and thought out as everything else, this could be a capstone on an amazing year of CRPGs.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Developer: Massive Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC/Xbox/Playstation/Amazon Luna
Release Date: 07/12/23

The last new AAA release of 2023 is being glibly described as Far Cry: James Cameron Edition, but the seventh’s Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a slightly more curious prospect than that description would imply.
Being led by Division series creators Massive Entertainment, this is going to be a first person shooter where players take on the role of the Na’Vi in a stunningly realised rendering of Pandora - created by the latest iteration of the Snowdrop Engine. It’s still an open world Ubisoft title, but this time the idea is that as a Na’vi you’ll be moving through that world more dynamically on your own two feet or taking control of various animals to explore (including entire flying sequences).
What might be the biggest change up from the normal Ubisoft formula though is something teased in the previews - as this game apparently has very little handholding in the open world areas, something people have been asking for in this type of game for years.
This is one of Ubisoft’s first big entries into licensed titles, and after a few years of minimal releases, there’ll be a lot riding on how much audiences want to play in the world of Avatar in 2023.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis

Developer: Square Enix, Applibot, Inc.
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC
Release Date: 07/12/23

The final game of the seventh of December though is a port - but one from Square Enix as FFVII - Ever Crisis comes to Steam.
Originally released on mobile, this is technically another step in the FFVII Remake verse. Fans can look forward to easier access to a remake of all aspects of the original game in a classic chibi format.
Though there’s a few additions - as this game will be including all the prequels and spin offs like Advent Children or Dirge of Cerberus, along side new narrative elements around the origin of SOLDIER and Sephiroth.

It’s the ultimate Final Fantasy VII game and a perfect way to get caught up on the narrative before FFVII Rebirth blows up the canon again like Remake and Intergrade.
Or at least it would be if it was a pleasant experience and not a single player, mobile exclusive, free to play, episodic game with lootboxes as monetisation. You’ve been warned.

Stargate: Timekeepers

Developer: Slitherine
Publisher: Slitherine
Platforms: PC
Release Date: 13/12/23

One of the ways to do licensed games well that we’ve talked about in the past is to take an existing genre entry - then tweak it to match a property. So when Slitherine got hold of the Stargate license, that seems to be exactly what they did.
Stargate: Timekeepers then is Stargate meets Jagged Alliance or Commandos. Stealth focussed tactics action from a small squad - as you try and accomplish missions following the end of Stargate series 7.
For fans, this should have everything you want (except the original cast unfortunately) as you travel to alien worlds from December 12th.

Pioneers of Pagonia

Developer: Envision Entertainment
Publisher: Envision Entertainment
Platforms: PC (Early Access)
Release Date: 13/12/23

On the 13th, we get something a little special. A Spiritual Successor to the Settlers series, but one actually being made by the original designer.
Ubisoft’s Settler games have had a disastrous last few entries, being deeply disappointing to long term series fans. And after all that, there’s been enough of a gap in the market that Volker Wertich and Envision Entertainment have decided to try and do it right.
Early Access will launch this December, and it’s got everything you’d expect from this type of game, loads of building types, loads of resource gathering - an extra focus on exploration and connecting disparate peoples for Settlers fans.
This is a game that could really sweep in and steal Ubisoft’s thunder as Envision cater directly to an underserved audience.

House Flipper 2

Developer: Frozen District
Publisher: Frozen District
Platforms: PC (Xbox/Playstation in March 2024)
Release Date: 14/12/23

The follow up to the viral mega hit House Flipper releases on the 14th, hoping that a remodel will sell players on this being a whole new game.
Developer Frozen District frame this as a floor to roof overhaul - not only are they refurbishing the game with a full story mode and creative mode, but they’re going to do up the graphics and patch up some of the mechanics and systems from the original, including the ability to build new houses entirely.
Players adored the original, with it finding a real home with streamers expressing their creativity as they rebuilt houses. Frozen District will be hoping that a polished sequel will be enough to tempt new buyers this time around.

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising

Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Cygames
Platforms: PC/Playstation
Release Date: 14/12/23

2023’s Fighting Game Renaissance continues into December - as the folks at Arc System Works didn’t want to be left behind by Capcom and Netherrealms.
On the fourteenth we’ll get Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising - the latest iteration of the 2.5D fighting series that never fails to at least look stylish.
The big deal this time though is under the hood - as Arc System Works finally brings both cross play and roll back netcode to the game from launch. To say these will open up the playerbase is an understatement, as now the population of players who can appreciate these games will be massively expanded.

Resident Evil 4 Remake (iPhone Port)

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: iOS
Release Date: 20/12/23

Finally - on the 20th, as everyone winds down for the break - Capcom have decided to try and manage a holiday miracle. We’ve seen ports of Resident Evil 4 before, it’s one of the most platformed games of all time.
But in 2023, Capcom and Apple are teaming up to get this year’s Resident Evil 4 Remake running on an iPhone, natively with a performance any gamer would be happy with.
With a port to phones less than 12 months after the game’s launch - and in a native format that would be unthinkable even a year ago - this might not be something that’s on your radar to play, but you should definitely be interested in whether it works or not.

And that’s your lot before the holidays kick off and you can dig into that massive backlog!
2023 truly has been one of the all time years for games releases (even if it has been chaos for the industry) as we’ve had a swathe of amazing releases at both AAA and Indie scales, alongside revivals for franchises thought dead.
The holiday break should be a perfect time to catch up - and then we can start talking about the absolute onslaught of games that will be coming out in 2024.