The big worry/criticism of Nintendo Switch right now is that, after a stellar first year, there isn’t much concrete news about 2018. After stunning re-imaginings of two iconic Nintendo series in 2017 – Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – what can they possibly do to match that going forward? Have they completely shown their hand already?
Well, while it may be hard to hit those heights, there is a lot of cause for optimism. Nintendo has several big games in development that we know about – and we are going to go through the biggest 5 that we need to hear more from this year. It may just reassure you; Switch has some big games on the horizon.
Let’s start with Yoshi. While maybe not at the level of a Pokémon or Metroid, a follow-up to Yoshi’s Woolly World (and the 3DS version, including Poochy) is a game to look out for in 2018. Unlike some games on this list, we even know what this one looks like (Nintendo spoil us, don’t they). Coming straight after the Metroid Prime 4 logo reveal in Nintendo’s E3 2017 Spotlight, and perhaps being missed by some as a consequence, Yoshi on Switch looks utterly adorable.
That hand-made art style, which started in Kirby’s Epic Yarn, is as beautiful as ever. Everything in the world looks like it could’ve been made by an inspired child, creating paper crocodile enemies and yarn Yoshis. The key game-changer this time around is an ability to switch around your perspective of the world, exposing the other side of these creations (the art style isn’t just for show) and allowing for clever puzzles.
However, Yoshi for Switch was a no-show in the Nintendo Direct Mini this month. A name, release window and more info on the game itself is needed, as you’d imagine Nintendo is targeting a release well before the winter. Either way, this is shaping up to be a solid Yoshi platformer that will be great fun in couch co-op.
As is a running theme in this piece, we know Fire Emblem is officially coming to Switch – in 2018, even – but we know very little else about it. This was announced in a Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct on 18th January last year, along with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for 3DS and Fire Emblem Warriors for Switch (Warriors released in October 2017). Despite this, we haven’t even got a specific logo yet. Even Metroid got a logo… Well, that’s for later in the article.
However, talking about Fire Emblem is important, as it could be a huge dark horse hit for Switch. It may not even qualify for the dark horse category, considering the rise to prominence Fire Emblem has had over the 3DS era. The utterly superb Fire Emblem: Awakening, Fire Emblem Fates, and the previously mentioned Shadows of Valentia have evolved Fire Emblem from a relatively niche series into one of the biggest on Nintendo handhelds. It is time for that to transfer to Nintendo’s popular new hybrid.
The gorgeous art style is just begging to be put onto that crisp Switch display. With the HD power of the console, it can not only make those fantastic cutscenes shine, but also elevate the rest of the game to a similar visual quality. As well as this, the turn-based strategy is already proven for handheld play. The likes of Awakening were masterful at keeping you going for just one more battle, until suddenly it is 2am and you’re wondering what you’re doing with your life. Now, you could play it handheld on the go, get home, and have the battle continue on the TV. Enticing prospect, eh?
If Fire Emblem is indeed coming this year, we surely have to hear about it soon. E3 seems too late, if we expect a Summer release date. It has been over a year since our first word on the title – may it soon be time to get some information? It is likely that there will be another Nintendo Direct between now and June, which would be an ideal moment for more news. Please?
Ah, Pokémon for Switch. Whether this releases this year may well define the success of Nintendo’s 2018. Perhaps the only franchise that can match up to Mario & Zelda in terms of mass appeal, the prospect of a full-blown Pokémon RPG on Switch is a salivating one. In a way, Nintendo has tricked Game Freak into finally making a mainline home console Pokémon title, by merging their handheld into the same system. Crafty!
Rumour has it that Nintendo is pushing very hard for a 2018 release date. Traditionally over recent years, Pokémon uses November as their release month – which does line up with President and CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, saying at E3 2017 that the game may “… not release for more than a year…”. Last week, a survey did also potentially point to a targeted 2018 release date. This is one you will likely not see until E3 in June; Pokémon would be an ideal candidate to lead Nintendo’s holiday line-up.
Metroid Prime 4
Metroid Prime 4 is not a 2018 game. Anyone thinking that it is… Get it out of your head now. Instead, move onto the unavoidable excitement of Samus coming to Switch in the future.
All good? Right. If you compare Nintendo’s first-party schedule to Sony’s for the PlayStation 4, Metroid fills the slot of The Last of Us Part II. It’s the return of an utterly beloved series, and likely looking at a 2019 release (despite what some people tell themselves). However, it is very possible for both games to unveil new information at E3 2018.
Nintendo may well give us something – maybe a glimpse of the gameplay; perhaps a tone-setting teaser ro establish the general setting. Remember, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption came out in 2007, more than 10 years ago. Will this game directly connect to how that trilogy ended, or essentially hit the reset button? The Prime branch of the Metroid series are traditionally first-person shooters, so that is what to expect.
A clever move that makes a lot of sense is announcing Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Switch. It would be brilliant for introducing the new audience of the Switch to the series in time for Prime 4, and keep fans happy whilst they wait. Similar to Zelda, and how the HD versions of The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess filled the long wait for Breath of the Wild. Oh yeah, and who is even developing Prime 4? It’s not Retro Studios…
OK, it’s not even funny anymore. Retro Studios, what are you up to? After the Metroid Prime 4 reveal, many wondered if the studio was returning to the series that made them so well-known. Alas, no.
Their most recent game is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Wii U back in 2014 (which is being ported to Switch, releasing May 4th 2018). Around the rollout period for Tropical Freeze, producer Kensuke Tanabe told IGN that Retro Studios has been at work on a new game for a few months. If this has continued since, then the project would have been in development for approximately 4 years. Working on an established series and then creating an original passion project brings a vibe of Guerrilla Games and the incredible Horizon Zero Dawn last year. Could Retro Studios be creating Nintendo’s next big IP?
Until Retro and Nintendo decide it is time to say more publicly, there is little information for us to dig into. Little, but not nothing – take recent job openings at the studio, which have included an environment artist and a designer. The environment artist position is no longer available (hopefully a good sign), and the designer listing includes the writing of “game scripts” as one skill. This could all point toward a project with a focus on the creation of a living world. With Retro Studios’ track record, the prospect of them making something new is massively exciting.
That was 5 of the biggest projects we know are underway somewhere, in some secret locations around the world. We may not have to wait too long to see of them, and in the meantime, Switch is getting new games on the eShop every week. A lack of games isn’t the issue, finding time to play them all is…
Final note: add the inevitable Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker release (maybe even a sequel?) to the list, and the Switch may be the greatest console ever. You know it to be correct.