Howdy, and Happy (almost) New Year, folks! As we bid adieu to 2022 in gaming, it’s time to look forward to the future. On this episode of Weekend at Dave’s, I’m joined by fellow editors Sam Martinelli and Amanda Tien for a very special 2023 gaming preview. To make things interesting, we even conducted our own fantasy gaming draft!
Catch it all in the full podcast episode below. Or, if you’d prefer to read along, we’ve also provided a transcript and show notes. Nifty!
(0:00) — Intro
(2:58) — Reflecting on 2022
(7:38) — 2023 Gaming Preview
(21:44) — Fantasy Draft Time!
(1:08:36) — New Year’s Resolutions
(1:12:45) — Outro
Intro: Theme from Final Fantasy XVI (Masayoshi Soken)
Outro: Theme from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata, Hajime Wakai)
Want to hop to a specific portion of the transcript? We’ve got you covered:
David: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to Weekend at Dave's. Here for this... this... I guess not this week. This month. This year, potentially? Yeah.
2022's only episode is going to be a very special one because we've got two special guests. We've got Sam Martinelli and Amanda Tien, both of our editors here at The Punished Backlog. How are you two doing?
Amanda: Great. So ready to do this and discuss the games for next year. I'm really pumped. 2023 looks like it'll be great.
Sam: I'm really excited for a Weekend at Dave's on Wednesday.
David: Oh, yeah. I meant to start with that. Damn, that would have been good. Yeah. I was like, it's Weekend at Dave's. It's also never on a weekend.
Amanda: The week between Christmas and New Year's is the ultimate weekend.
David: It is a weekend. It's a permanent weekend. It's a state of limbo.
Sam: I agree with that. It definitely feels like it.
David: Yeah. I don't know what I was thinking when I came up with the title of this. I was like, what sounds cutesy? I was like, oh, it's never recorded on weekends. It never goes live on weekends. Hell, it's never week to week. But anyway, I'm glad–
Amanda: I like your graphic, too. It's like you're at a cabin. I like to imagine you there.
David: Yeah, that's what the art of the podcast is, too, that Anna Hickey designed back in the day. Very cozy.
Sam: Big Firewatch vibes.
Amanda: That's a game that still delights and haunts me. We were talking about that earlier.
David: I still need to finish that. I had slowdown on my PS4 version. But I digress.
Amanda: I could easily roll up on my own Firewatch podcast. Still thinking about every now and then, like, damn it. I have thoughts about that game... You can cut that part out.
David: No, we'll keep it!
In the spirit of looking forward yeah, we're doing a 2023 gaming preview. And so how this is going to work is, we're going to go around the horn for a little bit, just talking about our most anticipated games, and then we'll wrap up the episode with an exciting fantasy style draft.
And for those kind of reading along with this transcript, like the transcript form in blog format, you'll be able to read along at your own pace and kind of see where our thoughts are and maybe how those thoughts differ when it comes to drafting games to compete against one another.
Anyway, yeah, let's head over to the first segment, which is our own most anticipated games. So I figured we could ask a couple of questions. I really want to get both of your takes on just kind of the general gaming landscape in 2023. What stands out to you most?
In fact, maybe we should start first with just general sentiments, vibes about 2022 and how 2023 might compare, I think. Amanda, I'd love to start with you. How did you feel about this year, these past 12 months? And how do you think 2023 is going to compare.
Amanda: Yeah, for sure. This is perfect. Since I was already kind of going off in the first five seconds.
I think 2022, I feel like, was this year where everything kept getting delayed, right? We're like, oh, okay, big surprise. And so what it did end up doing is that it really gave a lot of space for so many indie games to flourish, or even games... like the fact that we got three Pokémon games. Sort of nuts. And then Disney was doing Dreamlight Valley, games that even maybe would not have gotten as much attention even from these bigger developers are coming out. Pentiment kind of stood out. So I think 2022 was a good year for sort of unexpected games, both from big and small publishers.
And so looking at 2023, it just looks so stacked with like, oh, these are those games. These are those games that we've been hearing about at E3 or whatever, the things that aren't E3 for years. And it's happening. These are going to be those games. And so it's a little overwhelming, but also exciting to think that we could finally be playing these big games.
And I do think the other thing I was thinking about like, oh, I feel like I really have to get a next gen console. Like so many of these games, they're not listing Xbox One anymore. Rip. So yeah, those are my two thoughts for 2023.
David: Awesome. Sam, what about you?
Sam: Yeah, I agree with what Amanda was saying that it felt like in 2022, I think 2022 was generally better than 2021 game wise, even though I think 2021 was better than some people would suggest. But it was because we had a little more focus on Immortality and Pentiment, As Dusk Falls, and games that not just because other games got delayed, but because it felt like bigger companies were more interested in highlighting these games as well.
Stray is another example of... I didn't play it, but it was clearly something that PlayStation wanted to highlight as something that you could play on their platform. Same with Sifu, games that wouldn't normally be these big deals.
Now, next year, now we're getting like every couple of weeks. Some major publisher has some major IP that they've been working on for years. It feels like one of those years where I don't know if we could possibly pick what the Game of the Year will be, but everyone will be satisfied. I think everyone's going to get some version of something they want.
David: Yeah. Sam, you'll have to remind me, was it this year or last year that you and I did the Punished Cast that kind of got banished to the Shadow Realm, that never made the light of day? Was it this year?
Sam: It was this year. We recorded a preview of 2022. And I think the reason why I didn't post it, other than wedding planning, was I looked back on it, and I think 10 of the games that we talked about all got delayed. And God of War and Sonic Frontiers were the only ones that actually came out.
David: It's funny though, because I remember when we were doing it, in the back of my head, I was thinking, like, I don't know if I even necessarily believe that 2022 is going to be that good of a year.
But as I look back on it, it's funny. Like, in spite of the fact that so many things got delayed and that 2023 looks really good, I feel like 2022 will still have a very special place in my heart. There's still a lot of really great indie games that came out, a lot of great AAA games, and a lot of games that I'm looking at thinking to myself, being like, damn, I have to catch up on a lot of these games. I didn't play Kirby, which I saw on your Best of Year list is like, one of the great platforming experiences that you've had in recent memory. And I'm like, shit, I didn't even play it. I didn't even play that. I didn't play, everyone's raving about the Mario + Rabbids sequel. I'm like, I haven't played that yet.
And so, I don't know, it's really exciting that I guess every year has its gems. I just think of like, 2019 where I literally could not come up with... I had my top two games of 2019, and it was Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was my winner and Dragon Quest Builders 2 was my runner up. And I was like, maybe I just had a very stressful year and didn't have enough time for games. Or maybe I'm like, there was nothing to play. So definitely don't feel that way this past year. But 2023 is looking pretty good.
David: Speaking of 2023, we're talking most anticipated games. So if you had to talk about just your... what game are you most excited about? You two. Again, I'll kick it back to Amanda. What's your most excited, most anticipated game?
Amanda: I want Starfield to be good so badly. I'm not sure that it will be, but I want it to be good. I'm a really big space nerd. I really wanted to be an astronaut. And honestly, if someone gave me the chance, I still would. If they bring back Teacher in Space, I'm going for it. Mass Effect is my favorite series of all time. So I want Starfield to be good and I want it to come out. I don't know if either of those things will be true, but that's what I'm highly anticipating.
David: Sweet. Sam, what about you?
Sam: Take a guess. I'm joking. It's going to be Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
David: I wasn't sure. I'm like, was it Starfield too?
Sam: I'm looking forward to Starfield, and I'm just... one note on Starfield: What I want from that game is not for it to be the best, biggest thing. I want it to be a janky, like undercooked classic Bethesda experience. I want us to all be comfortable having something that's a little wonky.
But yeah, Zelda. I mean, obviously everyone loved Breath of the Wild. I love Breath of the Wild. I love all the Zelda games. But what I really want from Tears of the Kingdom is not what I think everyone else wants. I think everyone else wants something to blow their mind, just like Breath of the Wild did, to further expand on those ideas and really make this feel like this fully immersive massive environment.
And I kind of want Zelda to be weird again. I hope Link can turn small or has some item that allows him to, like, shoot chickens at people or something. That's what I want from Zelda games. And I think this game, one of the reasons why it's taking so long, obviously just Nintendo seems like it was hit pretty hard from the pandemic early on, but I think they're going to try lots of goofy ideas, which is to me where Zelda games really live. And that's what I want the most.
David: Yeah, it's interesting that you say that because I think I'm someone who... I liked Breath of the Wild a lot and I think much in the same vein of even like Elden Ring from this year, which, spoiler alert, I think this might go live before my list, but my Game of the Year is Elden Ring.
Amanda: That's good. (laughs) Somebody at Punished Backlog gave it Game of the Year.
David: We have a very eclectic... I like the mix that we have between Immortality; Ragnarok, which I'm glad you both played because I didn't; and Elden Ring.
But Elden Ring still had a swath of a swath of tens, like just a cavalcade of tens from critics. And if I had to score it, I'd scored exactly how I scored, and I did score... I reviewed Breath of the Wild for the website way back when and I gave it a 9.3. (Correction: I actually gave it a 9.2.) And I still stand by that score because I'm like, it's great. I really enjoy it. I really enjoy the fact that it's trying something new and that it's kind of turning the open world genre on its head. But at the same time, there are glaring issues with both experiences that are kind of hard to call it either perfection or just whatever we consider 10 is, like...
It's really good. Breath of the Wild was really good. And I'm excited for Tears of the Kingdom, but at the same time, I kind of want them to go back to just classic, like, set dungeons. I love Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask. I love those games and I think if they could inject some of that personality, Sam, to what you're saying, into Tears of the Kingdom, oh, that would be so cool.
Sam: Hookshot, man.
David: Yeah, let's get a hookshot. Get that back. Well I guess there's flying...
Amanda: Well, then, David, what's your most anticipated game?
David: I'm glad that we're all giving different answers this time too. Mine is probably not a surprise. It's Final Fantasy XVI. I am excited for Tears of the Kingdom and I think... I don't want to give too much away ahead of the draft. I do think Tears of the Kingdom will probably be the best game to come out in 2023, but who can say for sure?
Final Fantasy XVI, everything I've heard about it... My story with Final Fantasy is so hit and miss. It's just such a rollercoaster ride where Final Fantasy XII is my favorite game of all time. I got really–-me and fellow Punished Backlog writer Kei, slash friend–-got really excited for Final Fantasy XIII. Ended up disappointing. XIV launched, was a train wreck and they, you know, obviously saved it. XV came out, was also kind of a train wreck but messy and yet somewhat kind of wholesome and enjoyable. I platinumed that.
(Editor's Note: Watch me platinum it here.)
And yeah, I don't know, XVI just looks really cool. It's got I don't know if either, you know, but it's under like the helm of Yoshi P who is the producer for Final Fantasy XIV. So he's someone with a track record. It just looks cool. It's taking inspiration from Game of Thrones and it's kind of like less about graphical prowess and more about just kind of like shutting up and putting a good game in front of consumers, and they have like the Devil May Cry person doing gameplay.
So there's a lot of reasons why I think it could be kind of special and I also just appreciate, maybe I'll write an article about this someday, I appreciate a game that can kind of communicate or in the press cycle doesn't say too much, right? It's just like you put out a trailer, you let the trailer do the talking. Elden Ring did the same thing. Tears of the Kingdom is doing the same thing and it's such a far cry from even past Final Fantasy games like XV where you'd get like... I think honestly, they put out so many developer diaries and little previews about the game that I almost knew every beat of the story before the game came out. Like they teased every boss in what ended up being like a 25-hour game, 30-hour game.
And I think you could look at something like Forspoken that is coming out next year. I don't know if either of you are looking forward to Forspoken. Spoiler alert, that demo was not great. But I feel like they are saying way more than they should and they are sharing way too much. Like, I don't know why they published a demo. I think they had people who might have been interested in Freya's story and Forspoken and now it's kind of I don't know. Less is more as I'm learning, as I just verbally spat a lot of stuff at both of you. Less is more.
Amanda: No, but actually, speaking of which, I don't see Forspoken on this list.
David: Yeah! Not so subtle shade. I know I went back and forth. I'm like, you know what? I'm going to give the last spots to Eiyuden Chronicle and Wolf Among Us 2. Yeah. At least Wolf Among Us 2 could be good.
Amanda: Might be my other anticipated hit. I was obsessed with Wolf Among Us, and the amount of times I have gotten excited and then dismayed about Wolf Among Us 2, either occurring or not occurring is like just torture. Yeah. So I can't even anticipate it because I'm just afraid.
David: Well, here's the thing. So that segues really nicely into the last segment of this part, which is kind of sleeper hits. I don't know if Wolf Among Us 2 qualifies, but for both of you, what is kind of your pick for 2023 that... We know our big AAA games, right? We know our Tears of the Kingdom and Final Fantasy XVI and Starfield.
But if you had to, like, bank on something and it doesn't have to be necessarily critically acclaimed, just something for you, what's a sleeper pick for yourself that could be like, hey, this game is on my radar. I don't know what to expect, but it could come out and really surprise me and jump to the front of my personal Game of the Year list in 2023.
If you had to pick one, what would your pick be? Amanda?
Amanda: Yeah, I think Redfall could be really sick. I think Arkane has done such a fantastic job with their first person, like, single player adventures. I'm really amped about them branching into co op.
There's, like, two things that worry me about Redfall. One, I think that just the gaming space, there's been a lot of vampire and/or zombie shooters lately and just, like, in sort of a resurgence of what I think was going on in the early 2000s also. So I think I'm a little concerned that it's just sort of a flooded space in general.
And two, that so much of Arkane's aesthetic is sort of this creeping, solitary, lonely experience and that there's sort of this moodiness in general that kind of comes from being this single player adventure. And so co op will really radically change that. It's this co op vampire shooter, whatever. And I'm really curious to see if Arcane can handle it stylistically.
I'm sure graphically it'll be fine. And I imagine the gameplay will be fun. Arkane's games are always kind of fast, and there's an urgency to the combat that's really delightful. But I don't know what the mood will be like. And I'm always looking for more co op games. And so if it's good, that would be great. But I'm curious about it. I don't know if it's a sure thing, and I think it'll be if they do it well, it could sort of open this new realm of games for them and kind of spice up that space. But it could also just be another... womp womp.
David: I love it. I think that's a great pick. Sam, what about you?
Sam: Yeah, so Redfall is definitely something that's on my radar, but for my sleeper pick, I think Redfall is going to review well. I don't know if it's going to be a game that all of us love, but I think Arkane games generally do well.
Amanda: Yeah, I think it'll be fine.
Sam: Assassin's Creed Mirage is what I'm thinking about and I'm not even sure that was on our leaderboard and honestly I'm not even sure it deserves to be.
David: It is on leaderboard. It's low though.
Sam: Okay, maybe there's some recency biased because I just finished Assassin's Creek Rogue, but I like the idea of this series going back to basics and just having a normal linear storyline with some open world elements to it instead of what Valhalla was, which was, "What if Horizon Forbidden West also wasn't good looking?" Just like just too much content, too many things to do that aren't interesting.
And Mirage, I think it's got potential and that also could just easily get a 68 on Metacritic. Like, I have no idea which way it's going to go, but that's the game I'm like, I'm most curious about that one.
I think a lot of these games that we have on this list are gonna be fine. Like, they're going to be okay, they're going to be good. Zelda. Whether it's Diablo, Street Fighter VI, Final Fantasy, they're all going to be fine. But Mirage could be great or it could be a disaster and I just want to know what's going to be.
David: Yeah, it's interesting. It's cool that you both went with kind of big studio games because at first my gut answer and maybe I'll stick with it, was going to be... Is it Sabotage, is the name of the studio? Sea of Stars which I know, Sam, I know you're excited for too.
I know that's like, in the indie space, and so... For me, I think it has a lot of potential because I love Chrono Trigger. I know you really like Chrono Trigger, Sam.
Sam: Yeah, I love it.
David: Anytime that there's a studio that's trying to kind of capture that magic, I really appreciate it. In fact, there was a– Shout-out to Chained Echoes on Game Pass this year, which released honestly, a lot of people are raving about it and I've played bits of it up until... I've had a couple of hours in. Really captures that Chrono Trigger magic. And anytime I see a game that wants to kind of live up to one of the goats, that's awesome.
If I were to go with a non indie pick, I would probably say maybe Suicide Squad just for the same reason as kind of what you were talking about Amanda with Redfall, where it's made by a very capable developer. And I know people are kind of maybe discounting it because of the prospect of it being more of like, actually, correct me if I'm wrong, is Suicide Squad, is that a co op game or is that just specifically a single player game, but you just switch between characters? Do we know that?
Sam: I very genuinely have no idea.
David: Yeah, I think that speaks to the general murkiness around the messaging around that game. And it's weird because we've known about it for years now and maybe it has been going through some kind of development hell, but it's Rocksteady, right? And the Batman games were awesome for the most part, and I think any... you can't afford to discount or underestimate an effort from that studio. Unless of course, the studio itself, I know, has been going through some issues and hopefully there's been some kind of reckoning, rightfully so, within the studio.
But unless a lot of the great talent has left, I feel like that game should be pretty solid. So that would probably be a runner up pick for me. But yeah, Sea of Stars I'm really excited for.
Amanda: For the record, it is an optional four player online co-op game.
David: Yeah, see? I know people's tendencies or thoughts could be... "Hey, could that be another Arkham Knights or whatever, Gotham Knights? And I'm like, I don't think so. I think it's probably more likely to be a Redfall situation. But who could say for sure? It might not even come out. Who knows is it even going to come out?
Amanda: Who knows if any of these games are even coming out...
David: That's the big theme of 2023. Like high risk, high reward.
Amanda: Which is also why it would be so funny if Wolf Among Us 2 does come out.
David: And everything else gets delayed?!
Amanda: It would be very on brand.
David: I love it. That could be like the year of... what was it? E3... 2015? 2017? Or like the "E3 of miracles" where just the stars aligned and we had like Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy VII... No, I'm getting it mixed up. XV? Shenmue? Whatever it was, it was a good time.
David: Cool. Well, thank you all for your responses. And I guess that also segues really nicely into this latter half of this podcast episode, which is to draft, now, our picks.
So for those listening, I'm just going to run down the rules real quick. We're kind of adapting our fantasy gaming draft that we did way back in 2018, which was a fun time, but it was a lot of work because there were a lot of participants and I kind of broke my back doing a lot of writing recaps, and I'm not sure how many people read, but it was fun to put together. So we're going a little light mode this year for 2023.
So the goal is to assemble a fantasy team for those familiar with, say, fantasy football, fantasy sports, of 2023 games, with the goal of having the highest possible aggregate Metacritic score.
The rules are that each person gets six picks of games to draft. We'll draft in a snaking order that has been predetermined, but basically of the six games that you choose, you're going to add the scores together of how they perform. And we'll go by, say, highest platform.
So let's say a game releases on PS5 and PC, but the review copies went out on PC. So there's 70 reviews on PC. Like, let's say Starfield, right? Bad example. Xbox, PC for Starfield. Let's say there's 70 review copies on PC and there's 30 review copies, 30 review scores for Xbox. We'll take the score from PC.
If a game gets delayed, it automatically counts as a zero. So there's a little bit of like a risk reward mechanic where you could go for a game that could be really high potential, like, say, Hollow Knight Silksong. But if it doesn't show up in 2023, doesn't release, then it it's a it's a it's a goose egg.
Thankfully, we're going to just kind of score the highest four of the six. So that gives us a little bit of leeway to be strategic here. Think, like, I don't know, ACT SAT. We're super scoring. We're getting like, you get the best benefit of the doubt, four out of six. So feel free to go big on the picks.
And then typical red tape is that there are... You can't choose a DLC even if it's standalone. I would say no remasters or ports, but remakes are fair game. And maybe three, the collective, us three, we can decide if someone comes with kind of like an on the fence pick. I have one game in mind that I didn't include on this list. And I don't know, I guess it's technically a remake and I'm kind of like... no. So we can cross that bridge when we come to it... if we come to it.
In any case, rules sound good to both of you?
Sam: Good here.
David: Awesome. So our draft order will be Amanda, you'll kick us off, we'll go Sam. I'll go third, and then we'll go snake. So then me, Sam, Amanda, and so on and so forth until we've drafted six games.
So to give everyone like, a little bit of the lay of the land before we jump into the draft, I put together or we put together, but I will take responsibility in case this list is trash. We put together a 2023 Fantasy Gaming Power Rankings, which I'll just kind of briefly touch upon.
And the general sentiment is from top to bottom, say, the first title I select down to 25 is like, we're going in descending order from kind of highest potential to lowest potential. So those listening might not agree, necessarily, you might not agree with exact placements, but this is just to give a starting point for our discussions as we start drafting stuff.
So number one, probably shouldn't come as a surprise to too many people. I have Tears of the Kingdom, sequel to Breath of the Wild. Pretty much standard. Don't have to explain too much about that.
Number two, might be a spicy pick, but I have Final Fantasy XVI.
Three, I have Diablo IV.
Four, I have Star Wars Jedi Survivor.
Five, I have Starfield, which, you know, I guess if we're talking in terms of NBA talent on like a draft board, Sam, you know, I love my NBA references. I'm like, this is like a high prospect, high potential prospect that also has a propensity for being injured, like a glass cannon. So Starfield could be delayed. It could also be buggy at launch. So there are some things about that.
Resident Evil 4 Remake I have at number six.
Number seven, I have Forza Motorsport. Just ever trucking along.
Number eight, I have Baldur's Gate 3, another kind of high potential pick.
Nine, I have Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
10, I have The Last of Us Factions, which we don't know for sure if it's releasing this year, but if it does, probably has a good chance of being good.
Hollow Knight Silksong comes in at 11. Probably a very high potential game, but who knows if that game comes out.
12, We have Fire Emblem Engage. Shout out to our Fire Emblem Three Houses playthrough from the summer... fun times.
13, we have the Dead Space Remake.
14, we have Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, a game that probably, I would say, could have been higher on the list, but it very easily could be a 2024 game.
15, we have Street Fighter 6.
16, we have Tekken 8.
17, we have Redfall.
18, we have Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
19, we have Assassin's Creed Mirage.
At 20, we have Hogwarts Legacy.
At 21, we have Sea of Stars.
At 22, we have Octopath Traveler II.
At 23, we have Oxenfree II.
At 24, and I'm going to butcher the name, I think it's Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes.
And at 25, last but not least, The Wolf Among Us 2: a game that could be awesome, could maybe be bad, and maybe it could never appear at all. Who knows, maybe it's a figment of all of our imaginations.
(Note: The following list was created to provide a rough projection of Metacritic success for 2023's biggest games, ahead of our gaming draft. It is by no means comprehensive, and—knowing me, who constructed it—it's probably not all that accurate. Take it with a grain of salt.)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- Final Fantasy XVI
- Diablo IV
- Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
- Resident Evil 4 Remake
- Forza Motorsport
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Marvel's Spider-Man 2
- The Last of Us Factions
- Hollow Knight: Silksong
- Fire Emblem Engage
- Dead Space Remake
- Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
- Street Fighter VI
- Tekken 8
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
- Assassin's Creed Mirage
- Hogwarts Legacy
- Sea of Stars
- Octopath Traveler II
- Oxenfree II
- Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
- The Wolf Among Us II
David: Anyway, thoughts on that list? Or we can just hop right in. That's just setting the stage. Again, I take responsibility if this is way off, but just meant to give us a starting point.
Amanda: I think it's great.
David: Cool. All right, so we'll kick things off to you, Amanda. You get the first pick and Sam, you're on deck. So maybe you want to start thinking.
And by the way, as we do this, it'd be great if as you kind of make your selections, give us a little bit about why you're thinking that and say you're going against the list. Why? Would just love to hear the reasoning.
Amanda: Sure, yeah, that sounds great. I was so honored and excited I got the first draft picked. I felt very lucky. And I feel like I have to take Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, although I'm going to be honest, I think I don't know either of you know this. I never played Breath of the Wild, like at all. But I know people love it and I know it's great.
And I wasn't a big... I didn't have Nintendo consoles growing up. I had a Game Boy. I never really played the Zelda games growing up, and by the time I started it, I think I was just a little too late. I think the few times I've tried Breath of the Wild, I don't know if I had the love for it. Maybe I should give it a go again this year.
But anyway, I'm going to pick Tears of the Kingdom because I think it's going to do great. Even if it's not what people expect, I'm sure it'll be beloved. So that's all I'm going for.
Sam: Amanda, Amanda, Amanda.
Amanda: There's just a shocked silence over...
David: I'm shocked, I tell you!
Sam: I'm not shocked that you didn't play Breath of the Wild. I'm shocked that you didn't like any other Zelda games or just missed the window.
Amanda: I know. I think I had my very first my grandfather had a Game Boy, like the original Game Boy. He was always into new tech and so he had gotten it and he couldn't really figure it out, but he was like, this is neat. And he handed it to me and he was like, why don't you try playing this? And he had the original Legend of Zelda on there, and I was obsessed with it. I loved it, but I just wasn't very good at it. I was like seven, so I was playing...
I never got past any of the first dungeons, but I remember thinking like, this is really cool. I love his little elf outfit and he's got his sword and I'm just running around like, slicing chickens and just grass or whatever.
But yeah, I'm trying to remember. I also played my cousin's Ocarina of Time once for like an hour. And I liked that you could time travel. But yeah, I think I just missed I'm not patient with dungeons, so I don't think–
David: But that's the nice thing about Breath of the Wild, is, I guess you could count the shrines as dungeons, but it's way more about the world. And I would even say something like, for all of its flaws, Skyward Sword, a lot of it is just about navigating the world and talking to people and solving puzzles out in the open world or the overworld and the dungeons are more like added spice. I don't know.
Amanda: Nice. Well, then maybe I'll have to maybe as penance or reward for picking them first, I'll actually play Breath of the Wild and so I can earn my pick. I remember one time I did a fantasy baseball draft with Sam actually, I got first draft pick and I picked Mike Trout and everyone was like, furious that I got Mike Trout and then I wasn't active the entire season. I was like, there's too many numbers in this. I don't want to manage this.
And everyone was just angry the whole season because–
Sam: Mike Trout won MVP that year.
Amanda: Yeah, exactly. I think that's par for the course.
David: Did you win the league?
Amanda: I think I did better than I deserved to given that I never lodged back in.
David: I love it. Goodness. Cool.
Sam, you're up.
Sam: All right, so Amanda chose my pick for most anticipated game, so I'm going to pick her pick in Starfield, actually.
David: Oh, JUICY. All right.
Sam: Well, here's what I actually kind of believe: In any draft, whether it's fantasy or the NBA Draft, NFL Draft, you pick the high upside guy that's near the top. You don't go safe early. Some I'll with the high upside guy in Starfield.
I think that this game could be... it could be disappointment, it could be buggy, it could be kind of a mess. But I have a hard time believing that people are going to play like, 40 hours of this game or 50 hours and not get really into it, not get really deep into it. I think it's definitely going to make waves. I think it's going to review well. I think it's going to sell well or relatively speaking, because it's on Game Pass, too.
But yeah, it may be misguided confidence, but I have confidence in Starfield. I think it's going to be messy and it's not going to be a fully polished game, and it's probably going to have a lot of boring side quests, but I don't know, man. There are people out there still buying versions of Skyrim. Starfield is going to be fine.
David: Yeah. Makes total sense. I feel like Phil Spencer and Microsoft, they've acknowledged that the first party slate has been lacking, to say the least, and I feel like they know they need a win in this column. And I think that means that's why the delay of Starfield felt significant from this year to 2023, and the fact that... do we have a date or is it still like sometime–
Sam: Still nebulous.
David: So that is the main reason I'm like I'm a little surprised, Sam, that you go for something without a release date, but I got to respect it. I feel like it must come out next year. There's no way it's not going to come out. And I think it will be a really stellar game. I'm excited for it.
Cool. You know my pick, so it's definitely probably bias speaking, but I'll try to break down why I'm going to pick my pick, and that's Final Fantasy XVI.
For me, I feel like it depends. When I look at a Final Fantasy game and a big Final Fantasy release from Square Enix, I look at a few things. I look at kind of the trajectory of Square Enix as a publisher. Like, the quality they go through kind of ebbs and flows.
And I feel like we're entering a bit of a golden age of Square Enix, where if you look at games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, which was really a stellar game, you look at Final Fantasy XIV, which Endwalker just released this year, came out and was really well received, it feels like they're kind of firing on all cylinders. They had Dragon Quest before it, and they still have a couple of duds. Final Fantasy XV was not a great game. Kingdom Hearts III was kind of not a great game.
But with XVI, I think with their leadership, having someone like Yoshi P producing literally the fact that they're being a little more candid about, hey, this is just a work in progress, we're trying to make the visuals look a little better from the first few reveal trailers. And true to their word, the visuals have looked a lot better. I think the voice acting looks really amazing. It kind of reminds me of Final Fantasy XII a touch.
And here's the big piece, is that they are sticking with action RPG, which I think a lot of real series like, longtime series fans don't like, they want to go back to turn-based. But I think for the sake of a mainstream audience and mainstream critics, having kind of a more actiony kind of battle system is really important. And the fact that it's done by– Oh, sorry–
Amanda: No, I just said I agree with that.
David: Yeah. And the fact that it's done by the Devil May Cry V combat person is huge. Sam, you can talk to it. Devil May Cry V was dope. That was a great game.
Sam: It's awesome. It's so good that maybe I remember playing Devil May Cry V before playing God of War 2018 and thinking like I liked God of War's combat, but Devil May Cry V was next level.
David: Like, it's it's incredible. And so I'm not like, let's set expectations. I'm not expecting Devil May Cry level combat in an RPG like Final Fantasy. But if they can get anywhere close and they can tell, like... I've heard that Final Fantasy XIV is some of the best storytelling in the series.
And so if they're able to merge, meld those two things together, like, really compelling, compelling combat, great storytelling in... I think it's going to be like a 60-, 70-hour game, which is kind of really the sweet spot, I think, for a Final Fantasy game where it's not too long, not too short.
There are some question marks. I got to call out my guy Yoshi P when he said the explanation behind why there are not people of color in this game is a little jarring. And then to see that it's, you know, rated M with hate crimes, I'm like, all right, what's going on in this game?
But I'm too tantalized. I'm too inspired. I got to just know what this is about. So I got to I got to ride or die with my pick Final Fantasy XVI.
Amanda: I was typing in the pick Final Fantasy XVI for you.
David: Thank you. I'm also kind of self conscious because I feel like my mic is picking up everything I do when I sip water, cough or type on the keyboard. So I appreciate that.
Amanda: No, it didn't. It was all good. If anything, it was like Final Fantasy XVI, Final Fantasy XVI!!
David: I feel like Danny Ainge, I'm like, I got my man, got my pick, got my pick.
Sam: You feel like Danny Ainge in that you're a huge asshole?
David: (laughs) Hey, we're winning it this year.
Sam: We? He's with the Jazz!
David: Well, I meant like, we as in the collective Celtics universe.
All right. This is interesting because I didn't think I'd get this far. I actually don't know what I want with this next pick... I'm looking at the list–
Amanda: (laughs) You didn't think you'd get this far, you mean in the draft?!
Amanda: You're like, "I've got to get Final Fantasy XVI!! If I don't get it, I'm gonna–"
David: Yeah. I didn't know. (laughs)
I'm going to read up the picks on the board that are kind of near the top for those listening. So we have Diablo IV, Star Wars Jedi Survivor and Resident Evil 4 Remake. I have to be honest, I'm a pretty straight and narrow person on the draft board, Sam and Amanda. I go with what the projections say, and it's very biased because I came up with the projections. So this is no surprise here.
I think I'm going to go with Diablo IV. And I think the reason is, first of all, we have the benefit of the doubt here. We have some information. People previewed it, and it seems like the previews went relatively well. So I am going based on that, partially.
There's a chance that Blizzard just doesn't get it right. Sam, you talked about Diablo Immortal. You wrote an article about it, about how much it sucks. So there's a chance.
Sam: Worst game. Worst game of 2022.
David: So it is ballsy. I would say this is maybe my Starfield pick, where it could be really bad. At the same time, I think even Blizzard understands that even more than, like, Overwatch 2. Right? Like, that seeing them botch that launch...
Really kind of we need a little bit of risk in our lives. And I think Diablo IV is my risk. That's about the risk profile I'm willing to take on.
Sam: Well, in fairness, though, Diablo IV, like... Overwatch 2, the launch was bad, but the games, like, works fine. Like like, Diablo IV I think, has a pretty high floor as a game. Like, I don't know if it's going to be incredible. I mean, I think it looks good. Yeah. But I think generally it's at worst, going to be a better looking version of Diablo III.
David: Yes, I think so. And I think it goes beyond, like, Overwatch 1 or 2 where Overwatch you can make the serious argument that Overwatch 2 is just a reskin. Right? Like, I understand it's not; they have added stuff, but it's more like an Overwatch continuation.
Whereas I feel like they know that based on backlash to Immortal, based on initial backlash to kind of Diablo III and some of the mechanics in that game, that Diablo IV has to be a return to form for the franchise. So it does give me hope that this game, like, I'm interested. I'm I actually want to play the game. Like, I want to play it on my PS5 or or Series X. And I just want to kind of get lost in that world. So. I've never played Diablo before. So hopefully it's a good one.
Sam? I think back to you. I'm excited to see what your pick is going to be here.
Sam: All right. So I can't do another huge risk here. I need to balance it out a little bit. So I'm going to play a game that definitely is going to come out soon and it's definitely going to be good. And that's Resident Evil 4 Remake.
David: Whoa. Sam. Sam you're throwing me off, buddy. You went past both the picks I thought you were going to go. Damn.
Sam: Yeah, I figured on the big board, Jedi Survivor is higher. And I loved Jedi Fallen Order. That probably was my favorite game of 2019. But there's always a part of me like, man, there's always still EA. There's always still, like the last game launched with a lot of technical issues. So this one could too.
So I'm looking at it from a Metacritic standpoint. On Metacritic, Jedi Survivor maybe gets like 86 or something, and Resident Evil 4 Remake, I think gets at worst, 89.
Resident Evil 4 is one of my favorite games ever made. I'm still iffy on the remake personally, just because I like what Resident Evil 4 was. Even all the parts that people say don't hold up. Like, to me, the combat being awkward is what makes it good. Right. But the remake looks it's trying some new ideas. It's trying a more horror style approach. I think that game is going to make waves. So I stand by the stick.
David: But plus, to your point, like, Capcom has really been on fire. If you have the other remakes, they've done, right? Resident Evil 2. I guess... well, Resident Evil 3, maybe less so. But Resident Evil 2 and then Resident Evil 7 and 8 were both phenomenal in terms of net new games. So I think that's a safe pick. I think it's a good pick.
Amanda, back to you.
Amanda: Yeah. I'm also going to throw you off even more. I think I'm going to go Hollow Knight Silksong.
David: Whoa. I love it!
Amanda: Yeah. I think it'll come out in 2023 and I think it'll be great. I think it'll be... I have to imagine that it will still have all of the things that people loved in in the first one, but also just like take it to new levels. And I feel like it'll critically do do quite well. So I'm also kind of hedging my Metacritic bet.
David: Can I just say, I hope you destroy us in fantasy this year. I really hope you win.
Amanda: I'll be far more involved in this than the Mike Trout season.
Sam: I'm still mad about that.
Amanda: I know. I could tell. Sorry!
Sam: I also drafted Miguel Cabrera that year right when he started to get old.
David: I don't do baseball fantasy. I can't do it.
Amanda: It's a lot. That was the thing is that I like baseball. But it's just there's so many games that you have to crunch it so much. And I just immediately I was like, I made a mistake.
David: I tried basketball. It was no good.
Sam: Football is the only good fantasy sport.
Amanda: It's me again, too. Because it's snaking. Oh, shit. You're right. There's something... there's...
Sam: I didn't think I'd make it this far.
Amanda: Exactly! Well, there's sort of this moment, so I've been teaching the past two years and there's this moment, you know, like when you're watching other people, like do the Zoom screen share thing. And you're like, this is how... just share screen. Just click on that. Just do it. Just, it's not that hard. Just like where you're watching somebody try to start a PowerPoint and they're like, where's the thing? You know?
And I just like, consistently hit that. Every time it was like a day to teach class. I'm like, hey, guys, like, got to click my button. Where did that go? You just sort of like panic, I guess. It's like a screen stage fright? And so I think I just got a little bit of it, so I can appreciate... Sorry for teasing you, Dave, two seconds ago for his pick stage fright.
David: No, it's funny!
Amanda: Okay. here we go. All right. OOH. I'm also going to do something a little naughty here. I'm going to do the Dead Space Remake.
I just think they'll do a good job with it. And I think it could be a good bet. But now I might be of two... two adventures here. I don't know. Let's go for it. Yeah. But I'll do Dead Space Remake.
David: I like it.
Sam: I say one thing about that remake?
Amanda: Yeah, go ahead.
Sam: So I just played Dead Space 1 this year, the original. And they made the one change I absolutely did not want them to make for the remake, which is that the main character talks now.
And I liked that he didn't talk in the first one. I remember that well. But like, everyone wants to release games where the main character talks all the time. Or someone is talking all the time. Now, I know High on Life and Forspoken are getting a lot of extra guff for this. But Horizon and God of War do that too. I kind of want a game where I’m just like, “Look, bring back audio logs. Let me determine when I listen to stuff.”
David: That's why Nintendo... I know people have clamored for Link to be voice acted–
Sam: Absolutely not.
David: But it is a part of the charm, that he doesn't talk. And I love the fact that Zelda and others talk. They kind of balance it out that way.
Sam: I like that no one talks to any of these Nintendo games. I don’t need a voice actor for Birdo.
Amanda: Sam Martinelli wants silence and silence only!
Sam: Yeah. Here's my opinion. Everyone shut up. (laughs)
David: So very Bo Burnam of you.
Amanda: The new gaming desire is just like, more games need people to just shut up.
Amanda: I do think there is this desire, like... You can project more of how you're thinking and how you want your character to be when they're not talking, but when they're talking all the time, you're just like, that is not... So, that's a fair critique.
Sam: Remake looks good, though. It does look good.
Amanda: All right, so that's Sam, then, that's next.
David: Sam, you might still grab your pick!
Sam: I am going to get my pick. I'm picking Forza Motorsport.
David: I love it.
Amanda: There it is.
Sam: Yeah. So anyone who has read my stuff for a while knows I’m a big fan of Forza Horizon, those games are all incredible to me. I think it's the best Xbox franchise.
Forza Motorsport is also good. It's just more classic racing sim, but also classic racing sims A) review really well, and B) they’re just good. I know when I get Forza Motorsport on Game Pass, whenever it comes out this year, I know exactly what to expect. Maybe it goes above and beyond, but I know it's going to be a solid, realistic racing game where I'm going to have to tune up my car and be very careful about what cars I choose for which race.
I'm really excited about it. It's not the most unique, exciting game, but it's exciting in the sense that if you're excited to go to a restaurant you go to all the time, where it's like, oh, man, I really just want the tacos from this place. That's kind of what Forza Motorsport is going to be.
Amanda: That's a very nice pitch for Forza Motorsport. And actually, it reminded me of, there's this genre of games that kind of existed when we were coming of age where people were starting to realize, like, “Oh, I guess girls could play video games too. I don't think they'll be into whatever games we're making, so let's make games that girls could be into.”
And there was, like a really high quality, like, gender commentary stuff aside, there were some really high quality horse racing games that were coming out and I was like a little horse girl for a minute and, like, hearing you talk about Forza Motorsport was like, yeah, that's how I felt picking my horses for my different horse girl races. And that made me very excited.
Maybe I'll try Forza Motorsport, but I'll just tell myself they’re horses. Is that good?
Sam: I mean, horsepower.
Amanda: There you go, perfect.
David: I love it. To tie it together, I feel like Forza Motorsport is the workhorse back of your fantasy team, Sam. You know?
Sam: Yeah. That's my Derrick Henry.
David: It's your Derrick Henry. You know that Forza Motorsport is going to produce for you, you know, it's going to show up come game time. Not going to get injured either. So good pick.
David: All right, so I'm up. And again, I didn't know I was going to make it this far either. (chuckles)
So I'm looking at the board now. I'm going to speak it, talk it out with you all, and with listeners. So we have Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. We've got Baldur’s Gate 3. We've got Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and I'll probably keep it within that three, knowing me.
So I think I think I got to go with this, and this is a little out of character for me. I'm going to probably go with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
And my reason is that, I feel like Respawn is really one of those underrated developers. And I know, Sam, you’ve shouted from the rooftops how good they were with Titanfall 2. And I agree that... Jedi Fallen Order I didn't love. I like Jedi Fallen Order. I thought it was a good game. I didn't think it was like a monumental game.
But I think this could be their time where they've had time to reflect on what worked in the first game, what didn't work so well, and make for a really compelling sequel. Maybe I'll leave it at that. But I think that there's enough kind of Star Wars hype right now. Let's not also discount the fact that Andor came out and was stellar just from the television side and the fact that they're kind of hitting the iron while it's hot and releasing Survivor right on the heels of that. And Disney+ is kind of starting to find its groove.
So I kind of have faith that it's going to be a pretty big game. Could not, right? Could be kind of an underwhelming sequel, but I'd like to think it's going to be something special.
Amanda: I agree. I have to imagine, too, that there's pressure from Disney for it to be a good game. Do you know what I mean? I think in a way that maybe when Fallen Order came out, everyone was like, all right, we'll see what happens. There's so few Star Wars games that even really make it past development hell, so we'll find out. But I agree. I think Survivor is a strong pick.
Sam: And like you said, Respawn has not made a bad game.
David: They don't miss.
Sam: They don't miss.
David: I forgot I'm snaking. But I do have my other pick. My other pick is going to be Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
And so for this one, I think you wrote about it for the website, Sam, but I wish I could have written the article, which is that, Miles Morales... I liked Spider-Man, but I loved–
David: I loved that game. I still think—well, I guess probably not, right? God of War Ragnarok is stellar and Elden Ring is stellar—but in terms of in that early slate when it was kind of slim pickings for PS5 launch titles, I know it was cross platform, but I would still say I liked Miles Morales over Ratchet Clank Rift Apart. I liked it better over Returnal.
I just thought it was such a great game and the storytelling was phenomenal. Gameplay is like buttery smooth. I don't think these games will ever be, say, like, gameplay wise, quite as compelling as, say, like a Batman Arkham game. But I think the storytelling... I love the fact that you can play as characters that reflect who we are as people, just like complexion wise, society nowadays. It's cool being able to play as a Black character, and it got memed to hell and back. But I don't know, it does have the swagger of a black teen. Right?
And, like, seeing those animations and the care that Insomniac put into the experience really made it memorable. And not to mention, isn't the Into the Spider-Verse sequel coming out in 2023 as well?
Amanda and Sam: Yeah, it is.
David: I think these things tend to work out really well. Where I could have sworn it was Marvel's Spider-Man released at the same time as Into the Spider-Verse. So I think there could be a little bit of a zeitgeist effect there, too. So I'm excited for Spider-Man 2.
Sam: The only reason I didn't pick it is because I'm still not 100% convinced it's coming out this year, or in 2023.
David: That is a good point. This could be a risk.
Amanda: All right, Sam.
Sam: All right. It is me. Okay. So this is one of those where we break off in the draft where all the stuff that people are pretty sure are going to be good have been taken. Everything else, there's some stuff that may seem, like, less risky than others.
But I'm going to kind of do a wild card here. I'm going to pick Street Fighter VI.
Sam: So I do like Street Fighter a lot. I'm not good at it, I'm not into the competitive scene, but I do just like the vibes of Street Fighter, the language of it, the way the combat works. I just think Street Fighter games are always fun, except when I'm just getting completely destroyed.
Amanda: Isn’t that how it always is. Right?
Sam: Yeah. But with Street Fighter VI, first of all, all of the previews seem like this is going to be a special game in the series, that it's making all the right changes to the meta and the visual style and the single player modes.
But also they're adding a more casual control scheme. And so for people who might be listening who don't play a lot of fighting games... Like Street Fighter has a particularly byzantine set of moves for a lot of its characters where if you don't just automatically know how to flick your stick exactly in the right direction and then press the right button combinations, you're basically just button mashing at that point.
So simplifying it, making it so that someone who has a harder time getting into new characters makes it so that kind of person has an easier time with the game... That I think is going to really resonate with people.
And I know that I personally just I can't wait to try certain characters out that have existed in Street Fighter for a long time, but it was move sets I just couldn't physically do. That's really exciting to me. That's something that makes me excited about the game in a way that Street Fighter V did not. So I think that game is getting really good.
Amanda: Yeah, it's a strong pick. I like that.
David: Agreed. It's hard to go wrong with fighting games.
Amanda: I think the next one I'm going to do, I'll try to be a little safer, I'm going to do Baldur’s Gate 3, which is one of the last ones from our top 10 of the list because it's been in early access for a long time.
I do think it'll 100% come out this year, although catch me say that 100% and then watch it not come out. But I do think it'll come out and I think there's just been a lot of love and time paid attention to it. I think it's going to be... it's not a game for everybody. It's similar to sort of what you were talking about, David, earlier, where some of these games are sort of trying to echo and capture this older magic.
And I think that Baldur’s Gate 3 is a very intentional effort to continue that sort of board game, team playing. I mean, it's obviously from this Dungeons and Dragons lore, but I do think that... sort of what Divinity Original Sin 2 was trying to do. That sort of multiple player moving around, pitching like potions and whatever. It has a really robust looking character creator, which is always nice, but I think Baldur's Gate 3 will do well. I don't think it'll be a blockbuster hit, but I think it'll do well.
And then I think I snake; I do another one. So I will say... hmm...
I'm feeling really conflicted right here because... We've got left on the board, we've got Last of Us Factions, Fire Emblem Engage, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Tekken 8, Redfall, Suicide Squad, Assassin's Creed Mirage, and then that's sort of like the next tier.
I'm kind of conflicted between Redfall and Suicide Squad. I think both will do well and I'm just trying to decide, at least commercially. I'm trying to think... what I think will do better critically.
I'm going to say Redfall. I'll put my money where my mouth is there. I’ll do Redfall.
David: I think those are two really solid picks.
Amanda: Thank you... That's nice to have. (laughs)
David: It's really comforting coming from the guy who didn't know what he was doing.
Amanda: Oh, these are really strong picks. Not what I would have done, but! And not what I'm going to do!
David: No, I think part of... I even think you tapped on something, or you hit on something with Baldur’s Gate, where... I think about Hades.
Like Hades was an early access game and I was like, oh, sometimes I feel like there's a stigma toward games in early access where it's like, “Oh, it's in early access. The developers don't know what they're doing, or they need money,” or whatever.
And then when done right, they come out and they're like, really good because people were able to provide actual feedback. During the process, you know?
Amanda: Totally. And to get that data and just see where are people falling off, where are people getting annoyed with it, much less actual glitches and bugs. So I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful it could be good.
David: Cool. Sam, back to you.
Sam: Okay, I guess I only have two picks left. Yeah, I'm iffy on most of these, but I'm going to go with Fire Emblem Engage.
Now, to be clear, I have no interest in playing this game. I like Three Houses. I would rather just do another playthrough of Three Houses than try this game. It looks weird.
Amanda: I agree 100%.
Sam: Yeah, I think if you're someone who's played all these Fire Emblem games and cares a lot about these characters and it's kind of like this Fire Emblem multiverse thing, that's cool. That's what you would want.
I don't have that attachment to the series at all. But these games, people like them. People do love these games. They're all very well designed. They have great combat, interesting characters. Usually a story that keeps people engaged, so to speak.
I personally think it looks... I don't understand why they have to have... the color palette of the game in these trailers. It really puts me off.
Amanda: Me too.
David: It looks like a mobile game.
Sam: Which makes it weird that I'm still picking it even though all of us are like, ew.
David: I think it’ll be solid, though.
Amanda: And people who love the series are going to love it.
Sam: I look at these trailers for Fire Emblem Engage the way I've looked at every single Xenoblade trailer. This is not for me, but if you like this, you will play it for 200 hours.
David: Yeah. Like Intelligent Systems, they don't miss, right? Like, they really don't.
Sam: It depends who you ask because they also do the Paper Mario games.
David: Oh, okay. Good point. Okay. I think Fire Emblem games, let me specify, a bad Fire Emblem game has like a pretty high floor, right? Even if it was legit, like a phone game-esque experience, I think it could still be good. Honestly.
Sam: I'll say the Fire Emblem phone game was good.
David: Yeah, exactly. And it's on the Switch.
Sam: So that’s my pick.
David: Awesome. So I guess I'm the first to wrap up my picks. Got back to back. So I'm looking at the two that I had in the power rankings. And so there's Last of Us Factions and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. And then I look at my own picks.
Final Fantasy XVI, I'm sure that's a lock for this year. Diablo IV, I'd be surprised if it moved. Jedi Survivor is coming out. You're right, Sam, that Spider-Man 2 could easily slip out of, what, they're targeting in the fall. That could get pushed.
So I got to be careful with these picks because I think between Factions and VII Rebirth, those could also move.
Amanda: Yeah, those both make me nervous.
David: Yeah. So I feel like I have to start with a safe pick, and I think... I'm looking at the rest of this list. I think I'm going to go with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. I do think that game probably comes out this year, and I think, knowing Rocksteady, I think it'd be very... I don't know.
I just don't want to bet against them. I think it could be a pretty compelling game. It's a little weird that we haven't seen any gameplay yet, so that does give me some pause. But I think... I don't know, I just feel like that's going to be there.
And so when I look at the last two, as much as I want to, I have to think with my brain over my heart. Right. I already have Final Fantasy XVI in here. I really am looking forward to Rebirth. I would love to be wrong. I'd love for that game to come out this year. I'm convinced that game is a 2024 game, and I think if I choose it, that's just a zero that I'm taking on the board.
So I'm going to flex a bit. I'm going to choose Last of Us Factions as my last pick. I think that has a decent chance of coming out this year because I think Sony's slate, outside of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, what else are they releasing this year? Right. So I think that game has to come out, even if it's just kind of like, I don't know, in kind of like an introductory phase soft launch. I don't know. We'll see.
Amanda: Nice. All right, Sam it’s you.
Sam: Okay, so this is my last pick, and this is where I'm going to do the wild card pick and pick Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
David: Boom. Love it. CHAOS!!!
Amanda: How does it feel, David? Does it HURT?
David: It hurts. Now I hope Sam wins! (laughs) Can you both win? I hope I come in dead last.
Sam: So you said only four of these actually count.
Sam: I'm pretty confident in at least three of my games reviewing well. So I'm okay taking the risk on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. I think it's going to be good when it comes out. Really, the only risk is we have no real idea if this is coming out in 2023.
If we find out in November 2023 that's being delayed, it wouldn’t shock me at all. If at any point, they say, yeah, we need another six or seven months... Okay, take as much time as you want, make sure it's good. When you give me Holiday 2023, I'm like ugh... (laughs)
Amanda: It’s like, yeahhh, right!
Sam: Yeah, sure. Even the people working in the game, they're like, “What are you doing?”
You should just... instead of the summer 2022, whatever that pops up in the trailer, just go “It’ll get there when it gets there, right? There’s other stuff to do, man. Come on. Get a hobby.”
David: That's actually a good point that you bring up about the devs being... even the devs... I might have glossed over this, and I'm glad... So I'm glad neither of you picked this. But Diablo IV, I'm pretty sure, weren’t they on the record or some insider source said the devs are like, we're not hitting freaking June.
(laughs) So maybe I shot myself in the foot there.
Sam: But I actually did not read that, which makes me happier that you picked it, not me.
David: I'm glad I fell on the sword there for us. Let me be like a martyr so that we can get Hollow Knight Silksong and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, please. (laughs)
Anyway, Amanda, you get the final pick.
Amanda: Yeah, I've got the last pick and I've been sitting here typing a little bit. I've been trying to actually look and see how some of these other games, their predecessors were doing on Metacritic, trying to be a good researcher.
So Assassin's Creed Odyssey landed on 83 Metacritic. Valhalla is a little lower than that. So Assassin's Creed Mirage is still on the board, could be a solid pick.
I love Oxenfree and I love the studio. And they got acquired by Netflix, and the game recently got delayed out of 2022 into 2023. So I'm taking that as a good sign that more work and love is being put into Oxenfree. But again, even though they're acquired by Netflix, it's still a smaller studio, even though they have this bigger publishing arm. But Oxenfree 1 went at 80.
I think Octopath Traveler did quite well, didn't it?
David: Yeah, 84 for the first, perhaps?
Amanda: Yeah, I feel like we're in a solid 80s space. And so... hmm...
I will take Sam's anticipated pick. I'm going to say Assassin's Creed Mirage because he made a really good case for why it could be a good game and why it could be the sort of return. Even though Basim, I hate him. He's such a jerk. His character made me so angry in Valhalla.
But I do think it could be a great game that I think gets to some of that stealth that so much of the series, the longtime lovers of the series, love, and I think even new people have been able to get a little bit of, especially in Odyssey.
So, I'll go with Assassin's Creed Mirage. I feel like it's a little bit of a safer pick for a solid 80.
David: I am now, I hope unequivocally that Amanda wins this because Silksong, Dead Space Remake, Redfall, Mirage, this is like—and obviously Tears of the Kingdom—I want all those games to be so good.
Amanda: I want them all to be so good. I want us all to win!
Sam: Personally, I want Hogwarts Legacy to be bad.
Amanda: (laughs) I know you do.
Sam: Out of spite.
David: I want it to be bad and good at the same time. I want it to be rebooted ten years from now under a different IP.
Sam: You want it to be a cult hit. You want something that reviews poorly but has a small following of people. And then take those ideas and make the Undertale of ten years from now.
David: I want Rockstar to make Bully 2, and just take a lot of the ideas. That I actually really want.
Amanda: (laughs) Oh, man, Bully! Oh, my God.
Actually, my cousin—fun little side fact—my cousin was a voice actor on Bully, and I asked him, I'm like, “Oh, what was that like? Was it fun?” And he was like, “It was really weird.” He was like, “I had to go into a room and I would just have to do different accents and just, like, yell mean things at no one and be like, ‘Oh, you popper!’”
So then he did ten more for me, and I was like, this is such an absurd little life. Because you think about those side characters. I often think about main character voice acting. They do that sort of like breathing or the grunts, and you think how weird it must be to record that in a studio.
But then even these side characters, you just have to yell and be, like, a weirdo on the outskirts. And you record hundreds of those and they use them.
David: What a small world. I love that. That's crazy. Oh, my gosh. Cool.
- Amanda - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- Sam - Starfield
- David - Final Fantasy XVI
- David - Diablo IV
- Sam - Resident Evil 4 Remake
- Amanda - Hollow Knight: Silksong
- Amanda - Dead Space Remake
- Sam - Forza Motorsport
- David - Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
- David - Marvel's Spider-Man 2
- Sam - Street Fighter VI
- Amanda - Baldur’s Gate 3
- Amanda - Redfall
- Sam - Fire Emblem Engage
- David - Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
- David - The Last of Us Factions
- Sam - Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
- Amanda - Assassin's Creed Mirage
David: Well, thank you both for taking in this fantasy draft. I know we went a little bit over, so I won't belabor the point for those listening. If you want to catch the full list of draft picks and the teams, head over to punishedbacklog.com.
I hope to be doing more, like, routine updates. I don't know if I'll do monthly updates like last time, because that was frankly a little exhausting. But maybe I'll do quick fantasy gaming updates where, like, alert, like a game released. Here's the score, here's potentially added insight, what this means, and maybe we'll capture your thoughts. If it's a game that either of you two backed, we'll get you on the mic like... Jason Tatum, Jason Tatum. Luka Dončić. What do you think about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?
Amanda: That would be great.
David: Cool. Well, any final thoughts about the draft or your teams? Or 2023? Or 2022 for that matter, before we wrap up?
Amanda: Yeah, I've got a question of what's your gaming goal for the year or resolution for 2023?
David: Should I start? I feel like Sam's the resolution person...
Amanda: I don't know, who's ready? You didn't think you'd get here. (laughs)
Sam: I can start because I actually am going to do a gaming resolution piece at some point. So I started looking up through Google Docs, what I've written down already, and of the ones I've written down so far, my number one is: Finish Persona 5 Royal.
David: I love that. That might be mine.
Sam: But it's going to take me so long because I got back in The Witcher 3. That's my goal.
David: That's a good one.
I'm going to adapt yours because I agree with it. I think I'm going to be like... mine would be: Finish games that you're really far into.
Like, I want to wrap up games that for whatever reason, I got 80 hours into or whatever. And Persona 5 Royal, I think I'm 80... 70, 80 hours into that game. There's still another like 30 hours into the game to play because of the expanded content, but I want to just finish it.
Lost Odyssey was a game from years ago that I fell off because I got to the final dungeon and it was too hard and I didn't like the game enough. I still have it, and thankfully, Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with it. I should just finish it.
So maybe finish some old games. I have, like, asterisks... I keep, you two know me: very detailed. I like to keep my list of my favorite games ever. I want to take some of the asterisks off and be like, I actually finished that game. So that would be mine.
Amanda, what's yours?
Amanda: Yeah, I think I want to be more intentional about the games that I'm playing. I think this year my goal was for 2022. I just wanted to play as many new games as I could because I really didn't... I really didn't have any games in 2021 that I felt really strongly about writing is my Game of the Year.
I felt I had a few that I kind of passed at, but this year I was like, I just want to, like, have enough games. Like, I look at Sam's end of the year gaming list and he does these great tiers. And I always think he's played so much new stuff. Like, that's great. Like, I need to... I need to just, like, play more new things. And so that was a great gaming goal for me this year, and I was really pleased with it.
But I think this year I want to give myself permission more to play just some of the things that I'm really interested in. So I think there's some sort of intentionality there with new stuff.
But we've talked about, already, Breath of the Wild, which I've never played with any real intent. Similarly, The Witcher 3, I think I got 10 hours into it and kind of fell off of it. And these are games that by definitions, I should love, and I think maybe I'll give them another go. So I don't know. My goal is sort of like to play these giant games both in my backlog and that are coming out and just be like, “That'll go great. I'll finish all of these for sure.”
So maybe to just live in denial.
David: I love it. Hey, there's nothing wrong with living in denial when it comes to games. Too many games. That’s the name of our website, The Punished Backlog. It's like we’re never finishing those games. This shit is never getting done; let's be honest.
We're procrastinating on the biggest group project of our lives. (laughs)
Amanda: Yeah. Somebody was like, “You didn't finish Elden Ring?!” And I was like, does anybody finish Elden Ring?! (laughs)
David: I just said it was my Game of the Year. I literally... I need to finish. I got, like, another 10, 15 hours left. I got to finish it before I publish the damn list!
Amanda: Oh, my God.
David: Oh, my goodness.
Sam, any last words on your end?
Sam: I think this year is looking really good just because a lot of games that we didn't pick look good. A lot of games that we didn't actually get to draft. Tekken 8, Sea of Stars... Yeah. I'm looking forward to this year.
David: Cool. Well, thank you both for being on. I think this is the most fun I've had recording a podcast episode yet, and hopefully we can get it together soon again and get the gang back together.
Amanda: Yeah let's do more. We'll go to your virtual cabin and have your Firewatch cabin. You can do a whole episode just about, like, games that bother you, years later.
Sam: The airing of game grievances!
David: Maybe we'll even record it on a weekend. It’d be great.
Amanda: I don't know if that's allowed.
David: Yeah, I don’t think that’s allowed. We have to not abide by the title.
Cool. Well, thank you both. And to those listening, thanks for listening to another episode of Weekend at Dave’s. We'll see you next time.
Amanda: Thank you. Happy New Year!
Team Amanda (Tears of the Backlog)
- Tears of the Kingdom
- Hollow Knight: Silksong
- Dead Space Remake
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Assassin's Creed Mirage
Team David (2 Fast 2 Fantasy)
- Final Fantasy XVI
- Diablo IV
- Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
- Marvel's Spider-Man 2
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
- The Last of Us Factions
Team Sam (A Hair Below Cromulent)
- Resident Evil 4 Remake
- Forza Motorsport
- Street Fighter VI
- Fire Emblem Engage
- Final Fantasy VII Rebirth