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Backlog: The Embiggening – January, 2023

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By Nelson Schneider - 01/15/23 at 04:24 PM CT

Welcome back, once again, to another look into the near future! 2023 is here, and both We the Gamers and the Games Industry itself have the opportunity – and excuse – to start afresh. Will gaming turn over a new leaf in the new year? Or will we get stuck with the same corrosive trends, slowly eating away at us like cosmic entropy? I’m not a gambling man, but I’d bet on the latter…

Is there shovelware? You bet! Only in the new year, it looks like we’re only getting the Licensed Swill flavor. There are two games based on anime and/or manga: “One Piece Odyssey” and “Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.” Then there are two Licensed games that are also ports, with “The Witcher 3,” based on a series of novels, which is hitting 9th Gen consoles; and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” based on a graphic novel, which is getting a second chance at life on Steam after being de-listed from consoles.

Are there ports? Of course there are ports! The Switch is still out-in-front getting dumped on the most, with full-priced re-releases of “Art of Rally,” “Sheepo,” “Ion Fury,” “Dungeon Munchies,” and “Raiden 30th Anniversary” hitting the platform after previously launching elsewhere. “Raiden 4 x Mikado Remix” is, ironically, moving from the Switch to every other platform (what’s so great about ‘Raiden,’ anyway?), while the remaster of “Dead Space” (which doesn’t even have the courtesy of having ‘remastered’ in the title) is hitting the new-gen platforms, and “The House of the Dead Remake” is, finally, landing on Xbox… One.

Now, with all the crap out of the way, we can move onto new releases and see if they’re anything to get excited about! In multiplatform games we have… oh dear… A single, solitary new release… and it’s a Visual Novel called “Witch on the Holy Night.” That’s not a good sign of things to come.

With new multiplats being that dismal, then surely exclusives must be worse, right? Well… yes, and no. There are three exclusives coming in January! Two are for PlayStation and one is for Nintendo! Unfortunately, the PlayStation exclusives are another ‘Nep-Nep’ game in the terrible RPG franchise that apparently will never die, while the other is “Forespoken,” a generic Sandbox game that leans far too hard on the twin crutches of the ‘Lost in a Different World’ and ‘Strong Female Character of Color’ tropes. Nintendo isn’t going to save us from bad exclusives either, with a spinoff of their less-than-stellar TRPG series, “Fire Emblem Engage.”

Ouch! This lineup of crap is NOT a good way to start off the new year… but, honestly, how often does the Games Industry put its best foot forward in January? After all, they’re corporations, not people, and for them, the new year doesn’t start until March.

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