Nintendo’s latest video game console is off to a killer start.
The Nintendo Switch is still hard to find, and it’s regularly beating the competition in sales. Its main launch game, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” is heralded as one of the best games ever made. And Nintendo had a huge new Mario game, “Super Mario Odyssey,” to follow up in October.
Between this year’s Switch games and 2018’s lineup, it looks as if Nintendo is finally delivering on its long-held promise to release a steady cadence of games from its biggest franchises. Heck, Nintendo is even making a full-on new “Pokémon” game for the Switch. That’s a first for “Pokémon,” a series forever tied to Nintendo’s handheld consoles.
With 2017 coming to a close, we’re looking back at Nintendo’s incredible year – and looking forward at what to expect in 2018.
2017: Nintendo released a sequel to “Splatoon,” a Pokémon spin-off, and a new series for Mario.
Considering that the console only launched in March, the Switch already has a mess of fantastic games. Nintendo started with the showstopper in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” which launched alongside the Switch in March.
“Zelda” was quickly followed by an updated re-release of “Mario Kart 8” – arguably the best “Mario Kart” game ever made – and an entirely new Nintendo-made entry in “Arms.” “Minecraft” launched soon after, and Nintendo even allowed the Switch version of “Minecraft” to play nice with the Xbox One, PC, mobile, and VR versions of the game. If you’re playing the game on one of those platforms, you’re also playing with people on the Switch!
“Splatoon 2” is a sequel to the delightful shooter that debuted on Nintendo’s failed Wii U console. It launched on July 21, and it’s excellent.
Following the launch of “Splatoon 2” in summer, a spin-off of the Pokémon series arrived on Switch in September: “Pokken Tournament DX.” It’s a 3D fighting game featuring — what else? — Pokémon, and it’s a re-release of a game previously available on the Wii U. Think of it as a precursor to the “core” Pokémon game coming to the Switch.
Nintendo followed up with a new kind of Mario game, where he and his pals joined up with Ubisoft’s Rabbids for a new game, “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.” It’s more of a tactical game than anything else:
But let’s not kid ourselves: The second-biggest Nintendo game this year was “Super Mario Odyssey.” It’s a gorgeous new Mario game along the lines of “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Sunshine.” It launched on October 27.
Looking ahead to 2018: A “core” Pokémon game, new entries for Kirby and Yoshi, Nintendo’s online service, and a new game in the “Metroid Prime” series.
“Kirby Star Allies” looks like a return to form for the franchise, with Kirby traipsing through 2D levels, sucking in enemies and absorbing their powers. It’s expected to launch in spring 2018.
During Nintendo’s presentation at E3 2017, the annual video game trade show that took place in June, the company also unveiled a new entry for Yoshi. The game thus far is just named “Yoshi,” and it looks like a twist on the old “Yoshi’s Island” format from back in the Super Nintendo days.
You can tell Nintendo is really serious about getting back into the good graces of its fans, because it’s releasing a new entry in the “Metroid Prime” series, long thought to be dead. The company showed nothing more than a trailer, but that was enough <a href=”https://twitter.com/Thafnine/status/876058971563593728″>to get some fans to lose their minds</a>.
In addition to the spin-off game this year, a new entry in the “Pokémon” series is coming to the Switch. Pokémon company president Tsunekazu Ishihara calls it a “core RPG Pokémon title.”
That sounds like a main entry in the Pokémon series for the Switch – a first for Nintendo, which has always made these games for its handhelds. There’s no gameplay to show yet, and Ishihara says the game could be “more than a year” out. Don’t hold your breath for a 2018 release on this one.
The Nintendo Switch Online service is scheduled to launch in 2018 at a price of $20 a year. For that price, you’ll get instant access to a classic game library and the ability to play games online.
Nintendo’s new service costs $20 a year (or $4 for a month or $8 for three months) and is scheduled to launch in 2018. When it arrives, it’ll be available only for the Nintendo Switch.
Beyond access to online gaming, which is free for now on the Switch, you’ll also get access to a library of classic games from Nintendo’s history. The first three games Nintendo showed off were “Super Mario Bros. 3,” “Dr. Mario,” and “Balloon Fight,” but more are expected to be announced as we learn more about the service.
Notably, those classic games are all from the NES: Nintendo’s oldest home console. Nintendo has yet to confirm whether games from the SNES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, or Wii U will appear on the service (to say nothing of Nintendo’s handheld gaming library). There is no release date for the service outside “2018” thus far.
What’s still missing? “Super Smash Bros.,” “Animal Crossing,” and many more.
There are still plenty of Nintendo franchises that could use a spin on the Switch. The most notable ones are obvious: “Super Smash Bros.,” “Animal Crossing,” and “Star Fox” all come to mind immediately.
Then there’s the more obscure stuff: “WarioWare,” “Punch-Out,” “F-Zero,” Nintendogs,” “Dr. Mario,” and “Brain Training.” And that’s before you start talking about really obscure stuff like “Earthbound.”
All to say one thing: Nintendo still has miles of depths to plumb before it runs out of classic characters and game franchises.
Of note, it looks as if we’ve just seen the beginning of Nintendo’s effort to release updated versions of games that debuted on the Wii U. Nintendo America’s president, Reggie Fils-Aime, told Vice earlier this year: “Given the [very low] install base of Wii U, there was some fantastic content that consumers did not get to play. So that creates certainly a business opportunity.”
Who knows when: Where is Netflix? YouTube? Amazon?
It seems like a given that Nintendo’s Switch console – a system built for use as a handheld and a home console – would get video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and others. It’s nearly 2018, and there are approximately zero game consoles without these services.
Yet, somehow, Nintendo’s Switch launched without any of these services and continues to exist with just one: Hulu. Though Nintendo’s never put a date on it, the company has repeatedly pointed to those services coming at some point in the future. When those services will arrive is the big question, and it’s one that Nintendo’s not answering (nor are Netflix and other services – we’ve asked).
This stuff isn’t exactly crucial, but it sure doesn’t hurt.