The year 2023 is definitely spoiling gamers in terms of high-profile launches. To date, there have been as many as 25 titles (and aDLCs) that have received an average rating of 90/100 or higher - on at least one platform. And yet, we still have such potential hits as The Talos Principle 2 or Super Mario RPG ahead of us.
The current year is already a record-breaker, at least if we consider the history of review aggregation websites - Metacritic or OpenCritic. I'd even be tempted to say that 2023 is the best year in the history of gaming, and certainly one of the most successful when it comes to lauches as seen by critics.
To confirm this, we have the relevant data. As noted by Axios, 2023 saw the release of more than twice as many gaming "diamonds" as the industry has averaged over the past decade on an annual basis. This is because this amounted in round numbers to 12 highly rated game per calendar year (2018 turned out to be exceptionally good in this respect, when 19 such games were released).
- As if that were not enough, 2023 brought us as many as two titles close to perfect (at least in terms of reviews), i.e. Baldurs Gate 3, which, by the way, was for some time the best-rated PC game in history, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Both of these games received an average rating of 96/100 on Metacritic ..
- Remasters and remakes also did well this year - Metroid Prime Remastered, Resident Evil 4 (93/100) or Dead Space (89/100), which really fell short of a 90.
- A brick to the record 2023 was added by "exclusives." In addition to the aforementioned Zelda, Nintendo delivered to the market, among others, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, while Sony released Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
- Among the extremely highly rated titles was also the Phantom Liberty expansion for Cyberpunk 2077, which received an average rating of 90 for Xbox Series X/S.
- Although Xbox Games Studios does not have a game in this year's catalog that received an average rating of 90/100, it is worth mentioning successful titles from under the company's wings, such as Hi-Fi Rush.
As you can see, it's a great time to be a gamer. The reason for the flood of successful launches is certainly the entry of the industry into what we can call the "post-COVID" period. The studios managed to return to normal operation mode after the pandemic and finally released projects on which work had clearly slowed down during the COVID era. However, there is also a fly in the ointment when it comes to gaming in the broadest sense.
Tough year for developers
The current year, unfortunately, has not been as successful for everyone in the industry as the games that have come out. What's more, the last few months in gaming have been marked by massive layoffs that affected even the most established studios.
Studios that parted with some staff include PlayStation Studios, Telltale Games, Team17, Epic Games, Striking Distance, CD Projekt RED, Niantic, Firaxis or Crystal Dynamics. Moreover, some studios, such as Volition, have announced complete termination of operations.
Let's hope that, overall, a successful 2023 will have a positive impact on the situation of workers and the game industry in the coming months and years.