Cut down a tree, grab a rock, collect what the plant fiber is, and quickly float together an axe. 2023 looks set to be a pretty strong year for new survival games, and you’ll need something sharp to hack your way through them.
The year ahead looks like a promising year for the survival genre, and that’s good news for fans because 2022 was a bit disappointing when it came to new survival games. There were a few gems scattered throughout the year, especially in Early Access, like the vampire survival game V Rising (opens in a new tab)colony builder Stranded: Alien Dawn (opens in a new tab)and survival city builder Farthest Frontier (opens in a new tab). And Dwarf Fortress (opens in a new tab)The Steam release finally closed out the year.
For the most part, however, 2022 felt lighter than recent years for new survival games, mostly due to delays, as several big games missed their release dates and slipped into 2023.
But put the past behind you and look forward to the future. It’s the New Year and we are sharpening our axes for the coming months. Here are 12 survival games to look forward to in 2023.
11 bit studios has not exact confirmed it Frostpunk 2 will be out in 2023, although it said a leaked 2024 date was “false”. In other words, we are crossing our fingers that “coming soon” does not mean that we have to wait until 2025 for the follow-up of such an influential game. The post-apocalyptic survival city builder and community simulator sequel continues the struggle to stay warm on a frozen planet, this time moving on from the era of coal burning and into the age of oil. Naturally, the biggest threat to survival is still exactly what you’d expect: humanity itself.
Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl
It’s been a long, long road Stalker 2, which will actually be the fourth Stalker game. Originally planned for 2012, the open-world survival FPS was later cancelled, but re-announced in 2018 when developer GSC Game World reformed. The latest delay was completely understandable: the developers were located in Kyiv and had to move to Prague due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We still hope that Stalker 2 will reach its release date in late 2023.
Who’s ready for some dinos and Diesel? The sequel to Early Access survival game Ark: Survival Evolved is coming this year, along with an animated series, both of which will feature Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel. We don’t know much about Sheet 2 yet, but the trailer shows what you can expect from Studio Wildcard: lots of dinosaurs and people running around on them.
Sons of the forest
Fans of the gruesome survival game The Forest hopefully don’t have much longer to wait for the sequel. Sons of the forest was originally due in May 2022, then moved to October, and is now scheduled for February 2023. This time you’re on a remote island searching for a missing billionaire, but we expect things to go wrong quickly, forcing you to cut eke out a life there, building and crafting and fending off bloodthirsty cannibals.
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria
The first survival game set in Tolkien’s world (opens in a new tab) will take you deep into the ruins of Khazad-dûm, the former dwarven kingdom, in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth. Play either solo or co-op as you mine for minerals like mithril, build a base, battle orcs and goblins (and probably much worse) and craft weapons and machines deep beneath the mountains.
We’ve called it “Pokémon with Weapons” because, frankly, that’s exactly what it looks like. A bright fantasy world with cute and cuddly creatures to collect, but also heavy machine guns and forced labor camps. Palworld is bizarre, but we can’t say we’re not interested in playing it. Farm food, survive harsh weather and gather an army of creatures to fight alongside you. (If any of them die, you can always eat them.)
The day before
This one is a bit of a wildcard. On the strength of a couple of long trailers with some heavy DayZ and The Division vibes, The day before rocketed to the top of Steam’s most popular games, but we haven’t heard much about it since. It’s ambitious: a huge open world with both rural and urban areas, zombies, vehicles, PvP, looting and survival. There are a lot of moving parts to deal with, and while we hope it will deliver, we’re not entirely sure it’ll be as good as it looks.
Like many of the 2022 games, Nightingales The Early Access release slipped into 2023. The survival and crafting game set in the Victorian era sees you stranded in a bizarre realm filled with monsters and magic where you can build an estate and craft weapons and equipment. Portals to other realms containing valuable resources can be opened, and interestingly, combat isn’t the only way to deal with enemies: you might be able to negotiate a truce with certain factions, like giants, to avoid solving every problem with a shotgun blast.
Also known in 2023:
Wanderlust: A cute and cartoony survival game where you hunt, craft and fight zombies.
State of decay 3 (opens in a new tab): The latest news on State of Decay 3, which was announced in 2020, has been pretty sparse, but we’re still hoping for a 2023 release.
Ascent of Ashes: RimWorld modders create their own standalone survival game focused on real-time tactical combat.
Wizard with a gun: Craft enchanted ammo and unload on your enemies in this base-building survival sandbox.