Seemingly out of nowhere, it is already nearing the end of June, the halfway point of the year is fast approaching, and a busy few weeks of gaming showcases & announcements have left an array of teasers and trailers fresh in the memory. Obviously not all of the big announcements have a direct relevance for the world of in-game photography, but there are plenty that do.
Here then, is a round-up of the summer announcements that should give virtual photographers something to look forward to in the second half of 2023 and beyond.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Publisher: Bethesda Softworks | Release: 6th Sept 2023 | Platform: PC, Xbox X/S
Bethesda's first new IP in over 25 years looks like it has been something worth waiting for. With a bewildering array of things to do ranging from street-level RPG quests and biome exploration across more than 1,000 planets, to deep space simulation with ship and base building, this is going to be one huge time sink! Oh, and it was one of the only games this summer that actually showed a photo mode – so that's at least a 2x multiplier on the number of hours you will spend here.
The Crew Motorfest
Developer: Ubisoft Ivory Tower | Publisher: Ubisoft | Release: 14th Sept 2023 | Platform: PC, PS4/5, Xbox X/S
After 2018's The Crew 2 featured an innovative photo mode that even let players rewind time through the last 10 minutes of gameplay to find a shot, it is exciting to see what Ubisoft Ivory Tower can come up with this time along with their festival of speed in cars, boats, and planes. The game even features "photo quests", so the photo mode is all but confirmed.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Developer: CD Projekt Red | Publisher: CD Projekt | Release: 26th Sept 2023 | Platform: PC, PS4/5, Xbox X/S
Since a rocky start at launch, Cyberpunk has gone from strength to strength and CD Projekt Red aren't done yet. With an expansion to Night City, Phantom Liberty sees an all-new story, the return of Keanu Reeves, and Idris Elba added as another star name in the cast. Maybe they will even manage to upgrade the photo mode to get rid of the limiting orbit camera mode too.
Developer: Turn 10 Studios | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Release: 10th Oct 2023 | Platform: PC, Xbox X/S
The more sim-focused sibling in the Forza series, Forza Motorsport is getting a full reboot this year and there is every reason to expect that Turn 10 Studios will again include their popular photo mode tools for avid "Forzatographers".
Assassin's Creed Mirage
Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux | Publisher: Ubisoft | Release: 12th Oct 2023 | Platform: PC, PS4/5, Xbox X/S
You have to go right back to 2015's Assassin's Creed Syndicate for a main series entry that didn't include a native photo mode, and with Ubisoft being a big supporter of virtual photography, it would be a big shock if Mirage doesn't feature its own camera tools while going back to the series' stealth assassin roots.
Alan Wake 2
Developer: Remedy Entertainment | Publisher: Epic Games | Release: 17th Oct 2023 | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox X/S
This one may be a bit of a long shot and there has been nothing so far to suggest that Remedy's survival horror sequel will have a photo mode at all, but given how popular the feature has been in Control, there is certainly a lot of hope that the studio will continue their support for the virtual photography community.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Developer: Insomniac Games | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Release: 20th Oct 2023 | Platform: PS5
After some lengthy gameplay demos gave a good look at what to expect from the two Spider-Men, as well as the Symbiote Suit, Insomniac's full Spider-Man sequel is hotly anticipated by players and virtual photographers alike. The photo mode has even been confirmed thanks to some additional frames and stickers included in the special editions of the game, and all eyes will waiting to see what the studio can do to add to their award winning camera and lighting tools.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Developer: Massive Entertainment | Publisher: Ubisoft | Release: 7th Dec 2023 | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox X/S
One of two huge movie franchised games coming from developer Massive Entertainment under Ubisoft's publishing umbrella, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is already being likened to Far Cry in an Avatar skinned theme. If that's the case, then a photo mode may be a safe bet in this open world adventure.
Developer: One More Level | Publisher: 505 Games | Release: 2023 | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox X/S
Ghostrunner is set to return with more cyborg ninja-style katana wielding, bigger levels, tougher boss fights, and even a motorcycle coming later in 2023. Let's hope that the original game's fairly simple photo mode is also treated to an upgrade.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Developer: Square Enix | Publisher: Square Enix | Release: 2024 | Platform: PS5
The second part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake trilogy is on its way and, given the vague release window of "next winter", I'd take a guess that it will be into early 2024 at best. The other question is whether Square Enix will see fit to include a photo mode from the start this time, or whether photographers will have to again wait for an upgraded version at a later date?
Dragon's Dogma 2
Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Release: 2024 | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox X/S
The original game had some sort of rudimentary photo mode and Capcom have certainly been trying to up their photography game lately, so you never know with this one. If it does get a decent camera offering, expect the fantasy setting and dragons to be a certain appeal for virtual photographers. We will just need to wait until sometime in 2024 to find out.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024
Developer: Asobo Studio | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Release: 2024 | Platform: PC, Xbox X/S
Microsoft Flight Simulator returns with a huge number of new aircraft and activities including cargo runs, search & rescue, air ambulance, fire fighting, air races, gliders, and balloon rides. There is even a Dune crossover for some added sci-fi interest, all coming with a vast array of photographic opportunities at some point in 2024.
Star Wars Outlaws
Developer: Massive Entertainment | Publisher: Ubisoft | Release: 2024 | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox X/S
An open world, third-person Star Wars game that is set during the original trilogy timeline and sees you play as outlaws and smugglers. Photo Mode? Oh yes please, and with this coming from the studio behind The Division 2, there is every chance.
Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2
Developer: Ninja Theory | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Release: 2024 | Platform: PC, Xbox X/S
Things have been very quiet around Ninja Theory's Hellblade sequel since it was first revealed in 2019, so it was great to see Melina Juergens fronting a new showing for the game. The performance capture has been completed, and it the thrilling follow-on to Senua's harrowing first instalment is now scheduled to arrive in 2024. Here's hoping that the studio have been able to keep or improve on their already excellent photo mode too.
Developer: Playground Games | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Release: Unconfirmed | Platform: PC, Xbox X/S
Microsoft opened their very strong Xbox Games Showcase with a stunning look at Fable from Playground Games. With the incredible visuals labelled as "in-game footage", and a studio with a strong photo mode pedigree in the Forza Horizon series, this has to go to the top of many people's most anticipated lists. The downside is that it still doesn't have a confirmed release window.
Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Release: Unconfirmed | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox X/S
Capcom's mysterious sci-fi adventure does look very interesting, not least thanks to some hints of inspiration from Death Stranding and M3GAN, but it seems we will have to wait a while before finding out much more about this enigmatic title. In an unusual step, Capcom have released a new trailer which essentially announces that the game is to be further delayed with the release window now entirely unknown. Hopefully they can find some time in there to include a photo mode.
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