Looking forward at 2019: Nintendo
What does Nintendo have in store to make the Switch even more successful?
The Nintendo Switch will soon begin it’s third year in the market. The lineup of games that the system already have is amazing, with games like Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. As the new hybrid console gets older, it’s just a matter of time until other big Nintendo franchises makes an appearance, and the company already made some promises regarding loved series.
Before the start of 2019, Nintendo fans got used to seeing this year stamped at the end of every big announcement. It’s good to be assured that a game you like will come out in less than a year, but delays happen all the time. Recently Nintendo released a video about the development of Metroid Prime 4. It wasn’t really slated for this year but there was still hope. Now they’ll restart development on the game, this time with Retro Studios heading the project.
The only game with a release date, so far, is Yoshi’s Crafted World. It was announced at E3 2017 and it’ll be released March 29th. This new Yoshi game counts with a cardboard aesthetic and a mechanic where you can play the level backwards seeing what’s behind it. This will be the first Yoshi game on Switch, the last one being a WiiU title released in 2015.
As mentioned before, a lot of titles don’t have an specific release date attached to them, starting with the next installment in the Pokemon series, the 8th generation. It was announced at E3 2017 that the Pokemon Company was working on a core RPG game in the series, later in May 2018 they revealed Pokemon Quest and Pokemon Let’s Go but reassured fans that a main game would come in the second half of 2019. It’s safe to assume it’ll release this year and follow the same formula the past main games had, with a few new improvements.
The developers behind Pokemon, Game Freak, announced another project, during E3 2018. The game has a working title of Town and it’s completely new and different. You play as a character that must defend and uncover the secrets of a Village, where the whole game happens. This RPG is set to release in 2019 and it looked far into development from the reveal trailer, so it could actually come this year.
Next on the list is a game that has been anticipated for a long time by fans, Luigi’s Mansion 3 (working title). The first game in the series came out on the gamecube in 2001, and the next installment was released on the 3DS in 2013. This time fans won’t have to wait another 12 years to play the next game, because this third title is scheduled for a 2019 release. It was announced with gameplay at the September 2018 Nintendo Direct, so believing that it’ll really come out this year seems like a good bet.
The Nintendo Switch was revealed on a Nintendo Direct in January 2017, and in that same presentation a new unnamed Fire Emblem title was announced. Only at E3 2018 the project was named… Fire Emblem: Three Houses. It’ll be the 17th entry in the series and the one to bring the game back to home consoles after more than 10 years of only handheld entries. Based on the E3 trailer, it’s clear that the developers are introducing new elements (like a full 3D character walking on the game’s environments) and changing how the battles are represented, but at the same time keeping it faithful to the series. The game suffered one delay and it’s currently scheduled for a Spring 2019 release. It could come out at the expected window but another delay seems possible, all there is to do is wait for more information.
Announced out of nowhere and as the opening of the E3 2018 Direct, Daemon X Machina surprised everyone with it’s aesthetic and cool mechs. It’s being developed by Marvelous First Studio, the team behind God Eater 3. In the game you play as a mercenary that control a powered suit, and with it you fight other mechs and giant robots. It has a leveling system and diverse weapons to use on the battlefield. Since it’s reveal it has been set for a 2019 release, and from what they’ve shown, Daemon X Machina will most likely hit stores this year.
At the end of the September 2018 Direct, Isabelle appeared and fans of the Animal Crossing series were filled with hope for a next installment coming to Switch… but it was just her character reveal for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Nintendo knew what they were doing, so at the end of the trailer Tom Nook appeared and casually announced that a new Animal Crossing was coming in 2019. The latest installment, New Leaf, was released on the 3DS and it’s the 7th best selling game on the system, outselling Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS. The new game will definitely be a success but there’s still no updates on development or gameplay shown, which could indicate a delay. The next Nintendo Direct will probably feature the game in some capacity.
This next title wasn’t announced in a Direct, it was featured in The Game Awards 2018. The Switch logo followed by the Marvel logo had everyone surprised, what could it be? At the end of the trailer, the answer, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. The previous entries in the series were published by Activision, the first one came out in 2006 and the second in 2009. This time Nintendo is publishing and Team Ninja is developing, the studio behind the Dead or Alive series, NioH and Ninja Gaiden. The new game is scheduled for a 2019 release and despite not having a specific date, the reveal trailer showed a lot of gameplay, so there’s a high chance it’ll come out this year.
Another game was also announced at The Game Awards… in 2017. It was Bayonetta 3. The reveal trailer was brief and showed Bayonetta in a way we have seen before, being outplayed and possibly losing a battle. It’s purpose was to let everyone know that the game was being developed and to support the re-release of the first and second game on Switch. A date was never given, and there were no updates regarding the game since, making it’s release date a big question mark. It could happen this year, but if 2017 was the beginning of the development cycle, a 2020 release seems more likely.
The last announced game that could come out in 2019 is Shin Megami Tensei 5. This next entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series was first shown during the Switch reveal in January 2017, and later confirmed to be coming to the West. These games are highly praised JRPGs with unique mechanics, and are known to be more hardcore than it’s famous spin-off series, Persona. The fact that Atlus, the developers, have been quiet about the game might be an indicative that it won’t come out in 2019, making it seems more like a 2020 release.
Beside all these announced games, Nintendo also has other plans that are worth mentioning. First, the cultural phenomenon involving the Super Smash Bros Ultimate DLC fighters. The first character announced was Joker, from Persona 5, and there’s still 4 more to go. It’s going to be a big deal the whole year and Nintendo knows that. The other important factor for Nintendo in 2019 is their mobile endeavor. They’ve already announced Dr. Mario World and delayed Mario Kart Tour, both are supposed to come out later this year.
The last variable that could be huge is the possibility of a revision to the Switch in 2019. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that a new version of the console would come this year, according to their sources. Nintendo has a history of making revisions to their handhelds but not their consoles, since the Switch is a hybrid it might happen.
Looking at this year and beyond, it’s clear that Nintendo’s lineup of games for 2019 is already big and it’ll probably get bigger, since the company always have surprises in store for fans. The Switch has been a success since it’s launch and it’s also a great platform to play indie games on. Let’s hope that Nintendo keeps the momentum going to make 2019 an even better year for games.