Last year was one of the most exciting years for gaming in recent memory. From heavy-hitting titles with strong legacies such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Elden Ring to Kyoto-made indie game, Cursed to Golf, gamers had many reasons to rejoice and hole up in their respective gaming caves. We are now in 2023 and the games industry shows no signs of slowing down, especially when it comes to Japanese and Japan-inspired games. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come.

Final Fantasy XVI

After a six-year hiatus Square Enix is ready to bring us the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI. Set in the land of Valisthea, the game centers around the six factions within it that are on the verge of conflict due to a viral illness, referred to as “the Blight.” More information is still to come but as for now, players will take the role of Clive Rosfield, the firstborn child of the Rosaria faction. As per most Final Fantasy titles, the summons will play a key role, this time called Eikons, that are able to be controlled by humans called Dominants. Gameplay-wise, fans can expect action combat rather than the classic Final Fantasy turn-based combat. It’s the developers’ attempt at attracting a wider generation of players.

According to the trailer announcement at The Game Awards 2022, Final Fantasy XVI is scheduled to be released on June 22, 2023.

Street Fighter 6

The sixth installment in this much-loved fighting franchise seems like it will be Street Fighter‘s most unique rendition yet. Three game modes will be available where Fighting Ground will host training, arcade and online versus modes well-known amongst most fighting games. Where things get interesting is in the World Tour mode, featuring a single-player story mode that takes players around the world. Characters will be customizable and these avatars can then go on to fight Ryu-style, while also playing mini-games and interacting with the environment.

More details to come around the Battle Hub mode, but players can have it all on the Street Fighter 6 release date of June 2, 2023.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Universally acclaimed Breath of the Wild (or BOTW for short) is back with its sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. After two years of teases, September’s Nintendo Direct finally revealed further gameplay and new elements to the game, such as floating islands and the ability to soar. Not much else is known as of now about this open-world action-adventure RPG, but with BOTW director and producer Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Eiji Aonuma in charge, fans should rest assured that the core direction of the series should remain the same.

Can part two live up to the legacy of its 2017 origins? We’ll soon find out on May 12, 2023.

One Piece Odyssey

One of the longest-running manga titles of all time gets an all-new RPG game with One Piece Odyssey. Play Control Monkey D. Luffy and the cast of the Straw Hat Pirates to navigate through the town of Nanohana as well as other islands and dungeons. Players can freely swap between the various members of the Straw Hat Crew to explore the island and utilize their unique skills to overcome challenges. The combat system is turn-based and the battles are strategic. Place the right character in the right situation or combination and reap greater experience and rewards.

Players should get their straw hats ready, One Piece Odyssey is scheduled for release on January 13, 2023.

Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus

If yokai, Daruma dolls and a return to old-school side-scrolling platforms sound good, Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus is the upcoming game for you. Set in a fantasy Japan-inspired world, players adopt the role of Tentaihana, a celestial blossom that grows from a lotus seed after being blessed by the moon god. Explore everything from haunted bathhouses to the glittering metropolis and engage through the game’s tight movement system that allows for fluid jumping, bouncing and aerial combat. At the core of it, unravel the mystery of why Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus was sent to this realm and find your greater purpose.

With a fully backed Kickstarter, Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus is expected to launch in September 2023.

Like A Dragon: Ishin!

Hack and slash your way through the late Edo Period (1603–1867) with Like a Dragon: Ishin! While technically a  remake of the original game from 2014, this latest version will receive a worldwide release and marks RGG Studios’ extended foray into the overseas market. Reprise your role as Ryoma Sakamoto and prevail through conflict to ultimately find the murderer of your mentor down the streets of Kyoto. Developed by Sega and produced for the latest generation consoles and PCs, players can expect similar game systems but also four new fighting styles, including a sword and pistol hybrid stance.

Get your swords ready for Like A Dragon: Ishin!’s February 2023 release date.

Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni

Embark on a 3D action adventure as demon warrior Kuuta and his spirit friend Kazemaru in Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni. Set on the mysterious island of Kisejima, Kuuta, the lone survivor of the battle of Onigashima challenges the departed souls of past demon warriors in order to become strong and ultimately defeat Momotaro. Players can expect dynamic action and battle capabilities plus a unique co-op experience led by the teamwork between the two main characters. All of this takes place with dazzling colors and one-of-a-kind landscapes.

Produced by Shueisha Games, Kenei Design and Clouded Leopard Entertainment, the story is set to unfold on March 9, 2023.

Tokyo Stories

A city as eclectic as Tokyo has had its story attempted to be told time and time again and through a variety of mediums. Tokyo Stories, a soon-to-be-launched adventure mystery game, is but one new entrant. Three characters have thus far been introduced: The Girl who has come to the city in search of her friend, The Boy with a secret and The Missing Girl who has disappeared without telling anyone why. Design is what makes this game stand out with its unique blend of pixel art and 3D visuals, plus mood lighting and a grittiness that feels like Tokyo. Not much more is known about the game aside from its cryptic tagline: ‘The city continues to tell her story, even after her disappearance.’

It’s a mystery we’re hoping to solve once the game launches sometime in 2023.