Though games have gotten increasingly expansive with time (almost to the point of feeling bloated at times), lately, it’s felt like more focused and linear experiences have been making a bit of a comeback – one that it seems like is going to continue into 2023 and beyond, with several games announced that are going to provide much more focused experiences rather than the open worlds that have become so common these days. Here, we’re going to take a look at some such games that we’ve got our eyes on.

DEAD SPACE

dead space remake

It’s ironic that we’re beginning a list about linear games with a title published by EA, and even more so that that title is the comeback of a franchise that was killed off by EA for being linear and horror, which the publisher felt at the time was a double whammy in terms of financial viability. Sure enough though, the tide seems to be turning, and with both linear games and horror games having a much wider audience in the industry, the upcoming Dead Space remake looks set to be a big success. All that we’ve seen of it so far has looked encouraging, so here’s hoping it sticks the landing.

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STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR

star wars jedi survivor

Of course, the game that opened EA’s eyes to the fact that linear experiences can still be very successful was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and in just a few weeks, Respawn will be delivering its sequel, Jedi: Survivor. Its metroidvania structure makes it less “linear” than many others in this list, at least in the traditional sense of the word, but of course, it will still be looking to deliver the kind of dense experience with constant forward momentum that its predecessor did.

RESIDENT EVIL 4

The Resident Evil franchise has been one of the biggest examples that has shown in recent years just how much demand is out there for more linear experiences, and not long from now, it’s going to get probably it’s biggest release in quite some time (which is saying something). Remaking Resident Evil 4 is a risky proposition, to say the very least. Capcom, however, has proven time and again that it’s more than up to taking on that kind of responsibility, so expectations are definitely high.

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SILENT HILL 2

Silent Hill 2 Remake_04

Of course, Resident Evil isn’t the only franchise that’s getting a major remake in the near future. Fellow survival horror stalwart Silent Hill is making its comeback, and it, too, is remaking it’s most iconic instalment to date. The fact that Bloober Team is developing the Silent Hill 2 remake has raised some eyebrows, owing to the developer’s spotty track record, but if it can find a way to successfully revitalize the game with improved visuals and gameplay while ensuring that it properly honours the story, the upcoming Silent Hill 2 will be a very successful remake.

LAYERS OF FEARS

Layers of Fears

Silent Hill 2 is obviously the biggest game Bloober Team currently has in the works, but it has other projects in the pipeline as well. One of those is Layers of Fears, which we haven’t seen an awful lot of so far – though it does sound quite interesting based on all that’s been revealed so far. Rather than acting as a traditional sequel, Layers of Fears will connect, reimagine, and revise the stories of the first two games to create something wholly new and unique. How successfully it does that remains to be seen, but the premise has certainly piqued our interest.

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FINAL FANTASY 16

Final Fantasy 16 isn’t going down the open world road. Of course, we’re still expecting plenty of large explorable environments in the game, but it was confirmed that the focus is going to be on gameplay that’s constantly moving forward, from one place to another, rather than diluting that momentum with an open world setting.

ALAN WAKE 2

Alan Wake 2

Survival horror games are well and truly coming back with a vengeance, to the extent where even Remedy Entertainment is jumping into the fray. A full-fledged sequel to Alan Wake has been a long, long time coming, and we’re finally about to get – though with its shift to full survival horror rather than being an action-adventure experience with horror elements like its predecessor was, it’s potentially going to be a very different kind of game. And that’s something we’re more than a little excited about – Remedy doing horror? Yes, please.

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MAX PAYNE 1 AND 2 REMAKE

Max Payne logo

We’re sticking with Remedy for a bit, because boy does the studio have a ton of stuff on its plate. Last year, it announced that it had partnered with Rockstar and would be developing a combined remake of Max Payne 1 and 2 – and sure, this is a project that’s in very early development right now, and several years away from launch. But fans have been begging for a Max Payne comeback for what feels like an eternity now, so to see the franchise not only coming back, but coming back with its original developer, is a massive deal.

CONTROL 2

control

Yep, we’ve got another Remedy game to talk about. Control was probably Remedy’s highest point in a long time, if not ever, and thankfully, the game has seen the critical and commercial success that it deserves – certainly enough to warrant a sequel. Back in November, Remedy and 505 Games announced that early pre-production had officially kicked off for Control 2, and… that’s pretty much all we know about it. We know that it’s going to be many years before the game arrives, but if it can recapture the brilliance of its predecessor, it’s going to be special.

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WO LONG: FALLEN DYNASTY

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty (1)

2024 will see Team Ninja jumping into the open world realm with PS5-exclusive action RPG Rise of the Ronin, but the developer isn’t quite done with Soulslike games either. Not long from now, we’re getting Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, which looks like Team Ninja took Nioh and then sped it up by about ten times. With faster and more furious combat, new combat mechanics, brutal bosses that will push you to your limits, and more, it’s looking like an intriguing prospect, to say the very least.

LIES OF P

Here’s another Soulslike action RPG launching this year, and one that quite a few people have had their eye on for a while. Lies of P takes the world and characters of Pinocchio and imbues it with the gothic horror vibe of Bloodborne, and though that’s a combination that most people could never have thought of, what we’ve seen of the game so far suggests that it works quite well. Lies of P seems to be offering everything that you’d want out of a game of this kind when it comes to combat, difficulty, atmosphere, world design, and more – now to see if all of that comes together well in the final product.

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REMNANT 2

Remnant 2

Yet another Soulslike, but different in its own way. Gunfire Games’ Remnant: From the Ashes has a pretty sizeable fanbase, with its blend of third person shooter combat, RPG mechanics, and Souslike structure appealing to a great many people, so it’s no surprise that December’s announcement of Remnant 2 was met with plenty of enthusiasm from a large number of people. We haven’t yet seen a great deal of the game, but with a release scheduled for sometime in 2023, hopefully that’ll change in the not-too-distant future.

ARMORED CORE 6: FIRES OF RUBICON

Armored Core 6 Fires of Rubicon_10

Ironically enough, FromSoftware isn’t putting out a new Soulslike title this year, but the developer does have something coming nonetheless. The Armored Core franchise has been lying dormant for many years, but From is finally ready to bring it back from the ashes. No, it’s not a Soulslike, but if the developer can bring the same level of mechanical ingenuity, gameplay depth, and worldbuilding to Armored Core that it has for each of its major new releases this side of 2009, we’ll be in for a treat.

THE WOLF AMONG US 2

the wolf among us 2

The Wolf Among Us fans have waited for this a long time, but 2023 seems to be the year where we finally get The Wolf Among Us 2. Yes, the Telltale Games that’s making it is not the Telltale that made the original, contrary to what its name suggests, and yes, we haven’t seen a ton of the game so far – but the original is easily one of the best modern adventure games we’ve ever played, so it’s hard not to be excited about the prospect of a sequel coming out relatively soon.

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