This calendar year already includes a veritable wealth of brand-new multiplayer games being developed across all sorts of genres, from survival to MMO, from fighting to cooperative shooters, and much more.
The list below only includes titles that have had their developers explicitly confirm a 2023 release window. While there’s a chance at least some of these multiplayer games could be delayed into 2024, we cannot rule out potential surprise releases, like the long-awaited The Last of Us multiplayer game by Naughty Dog or the survival MMO Dune: Awakening by Funcom.
Also in Wccftech’s Most Anticipated Games of 2023 lists: Fighting, RPG
Ark 2 (TBA – PC/Xbox Series S/Xbox Series X)
Studio Wildcard delivered one of the biggest debuts in gaming with Ark: Survival Evolved, a hugely successful dinosaur-themed survival game that had sold 16 million units between PC and consoles as of August 2019, with another 10 million installs on mobile devices.
Ark: Survival Evolved remained popular among multiplayer games fans for many years, earning enough revenue to warrant spin-off games like the VR title ARK Park and the Minecraft-lookalike PixARK, not to mention an animated series featuring big-time actors like Vin Diesel, Gerard Butler, Russell Crowe, Michelle Yeoh, Elliot Page, Jeffrey Wright, Karl Urban, Malcolm McDowell, Monica Bellucci, David Tennant, and Alan Tudyk. Most importantly, the sequel game will be released in 2023, starring Vin Diesel.
With the help of Unreal Engine 5, Studio Wildcard aims to deliver big changes and improvements in Ark 2, such as cross-platform modding, third-person Soulslike melee combat, dynamic world events, sensory-based creature AI, deeper progression/skill systems, localized weather, and much more.
Throne and Liberty (1H – PC/Consoles)
These days, MMORPG fans don’t exactly have a lot of choices when it comes to new triple-A games. In 2023, NCSoft will release the first new AAA MMORPG in years: Throne and Liberty. Originally meant to be the next-generation version of the company’s most prized IP (Lineage), Throne and Liberty eventually transformed into its own thing.
Unlike most Korean MMOs, it will put a lot more emphasis on PvE activities like raids and boss fights in an effort to win over the Western PC and console audience. Of course, that doesn’t mean PvP won’t be available; Guild and Occupation Wars are confirmed. However, most of the zones in Throne and Liberty will be safe, so players won’t find themselves attacked by other players if they don’t want to.
NCSoft also promises a living, dynamic world where the day/night cycle and the weather are a major influence on the monster population and even on how certain class abilities work. The whole world is said to be seamless, dungeons included.
Diablo IV (June 4 – PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSS/XSX)
The next iteration of the premiere hack-and-slash franchise should be a lot more appealing to multiplayer games fans. For one thing, Diablo IV is adding back a feature that was sorely lacking in its predecessor: PvP. According to the game’s lore, the Lord of Hatred Mephisto has cursed specific zones of Sanctuary to be so-called Fields of Hatred. Here, players will get the chance to flag themselves for PvP and fight each other for glory and spoils.
Blizzard has also improved cooperation between players, who will be able to create clans, trade between themselves, and group up regardless of the character levels. Giant world bosses roam the zones of Sanctuary, encouraging Diablo IV players to band together and defeat them in the newly implemented seamless open world maps. It may not be a full-fledged MMOARPG like Diablo Immortal or Lost Ark, but it’s close.
Blue Protocol (2H – PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X)
We first got to see Blue Protocol in Summer 2019. Even back then, the online action RPG developed by Bandai Namco’s online division looked very interesting, and the early Alpha tests conducted in 2020 relayed very positive feedback from the participants. However, the game suddenly went dark for a couple of years, leaving fans to wonder if it would ever come out.
Luckily, Blue Protocol resurfaced in late 2022 thanks to publisher Amazon Games, with a scheduled release date in the second half of 2023 for PC (Steam) and next-gen consoles. After choosing one out of five classes (that can be swapped at any time), players may face the game’s PvE content solo or with the help of fellow players. If you don’t have any friends playing, Blue Protocol lets you join with others through matchmaking or simply by browsing the recruiting parties.
But the game’s largest challenge will be the Raid activity, where up to 30 players fight against a massive boss. To manage such large groups in-game, Bandai Namco Online added the Teams feature, Blue Protocol’s equivalent to Guilds or Clans.
Street Fighter 6 (June 2 – PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSS/XSX)
CAPCOM’s premiere fighting game is preparing a return to form after the somewhat underwhelming Street Fighter V. So far, all the signs point to Street Fighter 6 being very good, including the online network tests conducted a short while ago. Francesco explained:
Online matches are a world apart from its predecessor. Street Fighter 6’s experience was almost flawless, even though the game is still far from release. Being in Italy, I played smooth matches against players from the rest of Europe with no rollback, as well as matches against players from further away regions like the United Arab Emirates and even the United States; although these matches did have a little rollback, but nothing that made the experience unplayable. I even played against a Japanese player, and the experience was not smooth, although I expected much worse. There are also some options that players have been asking for for years, such as canceling the match if the system detects it is being laggy or getting awarded League Points if the opponent ragequits.
CAPCOM may have added a World Tour single player story mode, but the heart of Street Fighter 6 will be its highly competitive multiplayer games and tournaments.
The top five most anticipated multiplayer games were but a small taste of what’s coming in 2023. We found another ten promising multiplayer titles scheduled to be released this year (barring delays, of course).