Nintendo’s latest video game console is off to a killer start.
The barely three-month-old Nintendo Switch remains sold out everywhere. Its main launch game, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” is heralded as one of the best games ever made. And Nintendo has a huge new Mario game, “Super Mario Odyssey,” in the works that is scheduled for launch this holiday.
Between this year’s Switch games and what we found out recently about 2018’s Switch 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 just announced a full-on new Pokémon game for the Switch. That’s an outright first for Pokémon, a series forever tied to Nintendo’s handheld consoles.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of what’s coming to the Switch in 2017 and what to expect for 2018 — follow that below:
For a launch year, the Switch is getting 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 rerelease of “Mario Kart 8” — arguably the best “Mario Kart” game ever made — and an entirely new 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!
And that’s just through to now (June 2017) — much more is coming in the back half of 2017 and next year.
At this point, we know much of Nintendo’s plan for the rest of 2017. While several games are launching for the Switch leading up to this holiday season, the heavy among them is “Super Mario Odyssey.” It’s a gorgeous new Mario game along the lines of “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Sunshine.” It’s scheduled for launch on October 27.
Before “Super Mario Odyssey” arrives this October, Nintendo’s summer plans are dedicated to “Splatoon 2” — a sequel to the delightful shooter that debuted on Nintendo’s failed Wii U console. It arrives on July 21.
Following the launch of “Splatoon 2” this summer, a spin-off of the Pokémon series is heading to the Switch: “Pokken Tournament DX.” It’s a 3D fighting game featuring — what else? — Pokémon, and it’s a rerelease of a game previously available on the Wii U. Think of it as a precursor to next year’s “core” Pokémon game on the Switch. It arrives September 22.
Everyone’s favorite cartoon plumber isn’t just getting his own game later this year — he and his pals are joining up with Ubisoft’s Rabbids for a new game: “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.” It’s a more tactical game than anything else, and it arrives August 29.
2018: A “core” Pokémon game, new entries for Kirby and Yoshi, Nintendo’s online service, and a new game in the “Metroid Prime” series.
During Nintendo’s presentation at E3 2017, the annual video game trade show that took place earlier this month, the company 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.
Similarly, Nintendo recently debuted a new game in the “Kirby” series. It looks like a return to form for the series, with Kirby traipsing through 2D levels, sucking in enemies and absorbing their powers. The Kirby and Yoshi games are unnamed, and neither has a release date beyond “2018.”
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 to get some fans to lose their mind.
In addition to a new 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 — Nintendo’s newest game console, which operates as a portable handheld and a home console.
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 recently: “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? What about Hulu? 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, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, and others. It’s 2017, 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 without them. 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, Hulu, and other services — we’ve asked).
This stuff isn’t exactly crucial, but it sure doesn’t hurt.