Release: 2023 / Platform: PC
Have you missed being abused both physically and psychologically in a remote mental institution by one of the world's most sadistically twisted organizations? So have we! Just like Outlast, Outlast Whistleblower and Outlast 2, in Outlast Trials we'll be subjected to a horrific array of atrocities but with one significant difference from the previous games; you're not alone. Well, sure, you can choose to torture yourself on your own too, but at its core, Outlast Trials is designed with collaboration in mind, for up to four players. You and your friends are prisoners of the aforementioned organisation and are forced to undergo a series of gruesome trials on various levels designed to test your psyche and your ability to work together. That we're then joined by other inmates who can no longer be recognised as functioning human beings is something that's as hair-raising as you'd expect from an Outlast game, and we look forward, despite the risks to our mental wellbeing, to once again being huddled in a pitch-black corner with night vision goggles over our eyes, the battery on our camera which is dangerously close to red, while a twisted maniac searches for us just a few feet away.
Alan Wake 2
Release: 2023 / Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
We at the editorial office still remember the feeling of nervously skipping through a pitch-black forest, where shadow monsters llurk behind every tree, armed only with the flashlight that has the world's weakest battery, and a tiny little pistol. Alan Wake was a psychological thriller about the award-winning author of the same name, who now makes his return in 2023 with another dark and mysterious tale. Remedy is of course once again in charge of development, and since the studio's last title, Control, raised the bar significantly for what atmospherically enigmatic action games can look like while also revealing that Alan Wake is part of the same universe, we can't help but shudder with anticipation when imagining what the eerie sequel will be like.
Alone in the Dark
Release: 2023 / Platforms: PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Thirty years after the original game first saw the light of day, it's time to bring Edward Carnby back to life and head to the American South, deep into rural Louisiana, to set foot once again in the haunted Derceto Manor. This time we can experience the nail-biter from two perspectives, both as the series' iconic protagonist private detective Carnby or as Emily Hartwood. Once again, we hope the game will be filled with a heavy dose of monster slaughter, an awesome story, delightful exploration and difficult puzzles. But if you thought this was a straight remake, think again, as this is more of a "reinvention" as the developer calls it, a sort of re-creation of the original Alone in the Dark. Sure, those of us who have played the game before will be able to nod in recognition from time to time, but on the whole we'll be as surprised as everyone else. Anyway, we here at the editorial office are really keen to see what Mikael Hedberg, the man behind the story of SOMA and Amnesia can mix up in the pot to scare us all back to the nineties and once again make us wear the famous brown trousers in shame.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
Release: 24 March 2023 / Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 Xbox Series X|S, PC
Close doesn't cut it, as the saying goes, but now we're really, really close to the finish line for the release of one of the most anticipated games in a long time. Eighteen years ago, Capcom gave us a new-look horror that swapped out the previous cringe-inducing creepiness for pure heart-pumping stress-horror that had us all running screaming like maniacs calling for mummy with a mostly empty pickadoll being chased by a horde of angry Spanish peasants armed with various farming tools, in search of blood and slow torture. And now it's finally almost time to experience the game once again with heavily tweaked graphics and more responsive controls, and we here at the editorial team can't wait. We're itching to be chased by Dr. Salvatore and his trusty chainsaw dripping with blood, we want to kick ass at donuts that are missing out on good delicious stuffing and we can't wait to meet the merchant again and hear his raspy classic "What are you buying?" Resident Evil 4 was the ultimate horror game when it came out in 2005, and after seeing what Capcom accomplished with the Resident Evil 2 Remake, you know in your spine that this is going to be good. The only question is how good.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
Release: 9 March 2023/ Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S Nintendo Switch
Fatal Frame, or Project Zero as the series is confusingly called in Europe, has been around for quite a while now. With peculiar inspiration from Japanese horror film aesthetics (such as The Ring), the series is now more than 20 years old, but between its inception in 2001 and the last original game, 2014's Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, the games had never sold more than a million copies worldwide. This qualifies the series to be called a bit of a "cult classic" rather than a true contender to Resident Evil or Silent Hill, but to the delight of fans, the aforementioned Maiden of Black Water at least got a remaster just under two years ago, and now it's time for the next Fatal Frame to get a revamp; namely Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. It was originally released in 2008 for the Nintendo Wii, and then only in Japan. So this is the first time we Westerners get the chance to fend off ghosts with flashlights and the game's patented camera on Rogetsu Island, and find out why Ruka Minazuki, Misaki and Madoka are being held captive on the terrifying island...
Release: 20 April 2023/ Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
2023 is undeniably filled with - admittedly long-awaited - sequels and remakes/remasters on the horror front, but there's also a great desire for some new names, not least after last year's newcomer Callisto Protocol was something of a watershed. One of 2023's new IPs is spelled Ad Infinitum, which, according to a Google search, turns out to mean "without end", "over and over again without end" and "forever". A chilling-sounding title that seems to allude to the main character's traumatic stress disorder and recurring nightmares of World War I. The trailer from last year hints at P.T. and Amnesia-like gameplay with a dash of first-person walking simulator, where horrific dream sequences merge and break into the memories of the trenches and sickbeds. The German developers at Hekate also stick consistently to the native language, which creates an extra form of authenticity.
Release: March 2023 / Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Among many older gamers, System Shock, released in 1994, changed the way we look at games. Running around Citadel station trying to survive SHODAN's evil plans, facing off against an AI on the loose and showing everyone clearly and proudly what little she thinks of humans all made for an unforgettable experience in the original System Shock. Many didn't get to experience this game but this is about to change. A faithful remake with a dream team was to be released in 2022 but it didn't work out that way. Now in March 2023, this will be released they say. Almost 30 years later, everyone will see if the game lives up to its reputation or if it's just nostalgia.
Layers of Fears
Release: Early 2023/ Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Not to be confused with the game Layers of Fear, despite sharing the name of the 2016 title. Layers of Fears, plural, is a reworked version of Layers of Fear 1 and 2. The idea is that it will weave together the stories of the two games as well as show new perspectives on what happened from new characters. All this also brings better graphics thanks to Unreal Engine 5. So this year we can expect horror where people who create art go crazy(er) and their horrible past comes to make life hard for them.