2023 was a great year for gaming. There were a lot of games to play and a wide variety of titles to choose from and enjoy. While there were a few standout failures, 2023’s successes more than overshadow its shortcomings.
A month has already passed. From what we can see, 2024 is shaping up to be just as good. We're not even a quarter of the year through, and already, some games have proven to be massive hits. But which of these games should we look forward to? What new surprises lie in store for us in the upcoming months? Let's take a look at some of the game genres currently trending and some of the games you can look forward to in each of them.
The undying popularity of the open world survival multiplayer genre
The open world survival genre is a staple for many people. The premise is simple, with each player spawning in a random part of the map to loot, search, and fight in an effort to stay alive. Along the way, they’ll have to fend off NPC enemies and other players in a hostile, dangerous world.
It's no surprise that games like Conan Exiles, Rust, and Day Z are all massive titles, with thousands of players logging in each day to play. The kind of gameplay loop they encourage gets players invested and can get pretty addictive, especially when most of the gameplay involves interacting with other players.
Still, who could've predicted that this year's most beloved survival game would be indie developer Pocketpair’s Palworld? Launched into Early Access back on January 19, Palworld is a cute little survival game that took the world’s heart ( and wallet ) by storm. Reaching an all-time peak of 2 million players, Palworld’s not even a month since release, and it’s already one of Steam’s largest games.
And who can argue against having such a winning formula anyway? It features what people want out of the genre - guns, collectible creatures called Pals, base building, and multiplayer. What’s not to love about it? Palworld proves that while the survival genre has stagnated a little, it's not out for the count. With Pocketpair promising to keep constant updates going, this hype is sure to keep going well into the year.
Renewed interest in Role-playing Games (RPGs)
Bethesda's own Starfield was a disappointment in the eyes of its fans. Who could’ve thought that this household RPG giant could stumble so much? Currently, Starfield sits with a mixed review score on Steam, a gaming score surprising when you consider how beloved Bethesda’s other titles are. Could it be that RPGs just aren’t in season anymore?
Of course not! Larian Studio's Baldur's Gate 3 was an undeniable success. It was 2023’s Game of the Year and used Wizard of the Coast’s beloved Dungeons and Dragons IP to bring players magic and adventure. It featured customizable characters, complex plotlines, and a strong return to the RPG roots that gamers love. Companions are interesting and deep, and their respective storylines can be influenced or abandoned as desired, with your actions having actual consequences. It is by far one of the most complex RPGs to come out in 2023, and its quality shows
Similarly, we here at Mega Cat Studios love our role-playing games, so we made WrestleQuest. Channeling our love for the genre, WrestleQuest is our very own attempt at blending interesting turn-based gameplay with the over-the-top antics of wrestling media. Experience the story of a hero wandering the land, ready to dish out punches, piledrivers, and powerbombs to those who stand before him.
The popularity of Free-to-Play mobile games
Mobile games might get a bad reputation for their predatory microtransactions, but game developer Mihoyo's been knocking it out of the park recently. Their games, Honkai Star Rail and Genshin Impact, are two of the most popular mobile titles to date and have an incredibly large fanbase to fall back on. These mobile games also have PC ports on the Epic Game Store and are both titles in their own right.
Honkai Star Rail is a far more linear experience of the two. Being a turn-based RPG, it focuses on having good team compositions, emphasizing turn manipulation through creative use of skills and ultimates to win the day. Its story is a fantastic romp through different worlds in an interesting galaxy, and it is, at its heart, a fun sci-fi adventure with lots of memorable moments and twists to keep you invested. You can download it via Epic Games.
Genshin Impact, on the other hand, is a more action-oriented JRPG game style. It features real-time combat, an expansive open world to explore, and a combat system reliant on understanding elemental reactions. It focuses on timing your attacks and dodges to take advantage of enemy openings, leading to a robust combat system that remains enjoyable the entire game. The story, while whimsical, is still fun, and the fantasy world you explore seems straight out of a fairytale, with dragons, great beasts, and wandering gods roaming the land for you to meet, It's a fantasy myth come to life; and it brings a type of scale never before seen on a mobile title. You may download it via Epic Games
Resurgence of Real-Time Strategy titles (RTS)
RTS games were the peak of gaming back in the early 1990s and 2000s, with games like Starcraft and Warcraft 3 showing off the best of what the genre was capable of. While the fanbase of RTS has mostly stagnated, its fanbase is still as loyal as ever. Remakes to old strategy games like Age of Empires 2 and Stronghold, as well as newer titles like Company of Heroes 3, have tried to keep the fire going, but it’s really two up-and-coming games that have been getting the lion's share of attention as of late.
Frostgiant's Stormgate is one that takes great care to channel series roots, taking elements of previous games and combining them to make its own thing. Headed by RTS veteran developers, Stormgate seeks to push a more active type of play, with neutral creeps existing for you to kill out on the map to encourage more active play. All the while, the scale of engagements is far bigger than what you’d expect of RTS titles, and battles become bigger and more expansive the longer the match goes. You can follow it on Steam here.
On the other hand, the indie title ZeroSpace was kickstarted back on December 14, 2023, and makes far more extensive use of hero units and map control to differentiate itself from its peers. While resources are steadily available, more valuable ones used to buy higher-tier units are scattered around the map, forcing you to be proactive and constantly skirmish with your foes to defend your workers and your production. Heroes, as well as recruitable mercenaries, play a big part in what ZeroSpace wants to do. You can check it out on Steam.
Image courtesy of Frostgiant’s Stormgate on Steam
Image courtesy of GiantGrantGames on YouTube
Remasters and “Remakes” of classic games
Who can forget the recent successes of remakes like Dead Space and Resident Evil 4? Similarly, who doesn’t love a good remaster of a solid title? The recent upsurge of people who like good remasters and remakes is unmistakable. Both types of remasters and remakes have garnered praise for being good, solid titles based on beloved classics. Whether it’s redefining a classic’s legacy like that of Resident Evil 2 or a celebration of the past like Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters, the world loves these types of games, and it shows.
Image courtesy of Final Fantasy 6’s Pixel Remaster
2024’s up-and-coming powerhouse in this genre is the 2nd game in Final Fantasy 7 ’s Remake trilogy. Originally Playstation exclusive, the first of the trilogy found its way on Steam on June 17, 2022, and was applauded for its combat, its fun new takes on characters, and its stunning graphics and presentation.
Image courtesy of the Square Enix Games
The 2nd game in the Trilogy, Rebirth, is soon to arrive and bring more of what people love. Slated to come out on February 29, 2024, this game seeks to cater to new and old fans, bringing back its beloved characters and new storylines. Rebirth looks like it will be a solid title, and with how much hype it has, I’m not surprised at how many people it’s left with bated breaths.
What other trends do you think are coming up?
There are a lot more gaming genre trends to look out for in 2024, especially when more games come out and the public’s demand for games changes once again. What other gaming trends do you think will take off in 2024? Subscribe to our newsletter and join our Discord. We’re eager to hear more of what you think 2024 has in store for us.
This article was written by Alexander Ryan Ong Cuaycong