It’s safe to say, the Nintendo Switch is a success. The dark days of the much maligned Wii U are long behind us and we are moving forward with a relevant product for the 1st time in almost a decade. With E3 just around the corner, this seems as good a time as ever to evaluate the state of proceedings, regarding Nintendo and their business moving forward.
Now, predicting what Nintendo are going to do is folly by any stretch of the imagination, but looking at the console objectively and discussing what it needs is an altogether different game, one that I’m going to play in this very article. Just for the record, there will be the odd prediction thrown into the mix here for good measure. Essentially though, what I’m looking to ascertain is, with 2 very successful years of Switch sales under their belt, what Nintendo should be looking to do moving forward to further cement their rightful place as the perpetual entity in the history of video game culture.
So without further ado let’s get down and dirty!!
It goes without saying that the main selling point of any system is the games available, just look at Microsoft as an example of this. With the Xbox One, and furthermore the X, being the most powerful console on the market, estimates show that it has sold roughly 41 million units worldwide. It launched on November 22nd 2013. The Nintendo Switch in comparison has sold 35 million units despite launching around three and a half years later on March 3rd 2017. Nintendo have an entire lifetime of cutesy characters to call upon for inspiration. Marry that with the aforementioned struggles of the Wii U, and the subsequent audience that never got to experience Nintendo’s inaugural foray into the world of HD gaming, and you’re left juggling an insatiable inundation of IP’s, potential games to further sell systems.
For due diligence, the PS4 has sold 92 million units since launching exactly one week prior to the Xbox One, on November 15th 2013. What Sony have done with the Playstation this generation is phenomenal, but the behemoth success of the PS4 backs up my point – games sell systems. Sony have a combination of power and exclusive content, and to quote Shaun Carter ‘Men lie, women lie. Numbers don’t’
Digressions aside, here’s a list of games we think should release in 2019.
- Super Mario Maker
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Astral Chain
- Animal Crossing
- Luigi’s Mansion 3
- Pokemon Sword/Shield
- Link’s Awakening
- Dragon Quest Builders 2
- Dragon Quest XI S
- Deus X Machina
- Cadence of Hyrule
- Marvel Ultimate Aliance 3
That list alone for an entire year would be phenomenal. When you consider that this list is for games releasing in the next seven months it simply defies comprehension. If we break it down further, there is a new infinitely playable Mario game, the first Fire Emblem console experience (Warriors doesn’t count) in over a decade, the same for Animal Crossing. A new IP from the team that made Nier Automata, a new IP from Game Freak alongside the first core Pokemon entry on Nintendo Switch. Two Dragon Quest entries, a cel shaded game with giant mechs, a Marvel title to appease those itching for something after the run away success of Avengers: End Game and not one, but two Zelda titles, in whatever guise they take.
I think I can say in all honesty, there is something for everyone there. Cadence of Hyrule aside, this list doesn’t include any indie titles either.
So back to E3. What can we expect to see. Just those game, with solid dates would be absolutely fine. But if we were to jump further down the rabbit hole, we could explore titles such as Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime IV, games we know are in development, but know absolutely nothing about. Seeing a small snippet of Bayonetta 3 at the end of the direct isn’t completely unlikely. And is it beyond the realms of possibility to see something from my good friends Retro Studios.
Since taking over development of Prime IV they will have undoubtedly have put the barbecues on hold and got hard to work. While gameplay is incredibly unlikely, a little teaser – a 12 second cinematic could happen. It’s reported they put together a presentation to show Nintendo that they were ready for the project and with nothing released since Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, both on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch, there’s really nothing to say that they haven’t accrued a whole load of assets in the past few years.
And what of Monolith Soft? What have they been up to since wrapping development of the simply stunning Torna DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2? Rumour has it they have three projects on the go. The constant news about their staff numbers increasing certainly leans towards this. Surely a Xenoblade X port can’t be far away.
Breath of the Wild 2? We know Nintendo plan to reuse the custom engine they spent years perfecting for Breath of The Wild for their next new Zelda game. And job listings show they are seeking level designers who excel in dungeon design. While I have no doubt that Eiji Aonuma – san and co are hard at work, I just feel with Link’s Awakening around the corner, it’s too soon for even a teaser.
First and foremost, SNES games. NESflix was fleetingly fun and the SP editions were a nice surprise, but I think it’s safe to say they’ve run their course. As much nostalgia as they hold, they simply don’t (Super Mario Bros. 3 aside) hold up. SNES games however are infinitely more playable in 2019 and offer some exceptional gaming experiences. On top of that, you’ve got the option to release rare games such as StarFox 2, which so far has only seen release through the SNES Classic Mini.
The prospect of N64 or GameCube titles is tantalising, however, again, I feel we’re too early in the lifetime of not just the Nintendo Switch, but also the Online service for such treats.
More games like Tetris 99 wouldn’t go amiss though and my dream Online Subscription Exclusive would be Goldeneye Online. Sure, the licensing issue would be a pain in the OddJob, but if ever there was a time that Nintendo and Microsoft were in cahoots, it’s now. In fact, why not release it on Xbox Live simultaneously and offer cross play? Just imagine reliving the bunker, jungle or cradle, in a battle royale death match with complete strangers via the majesty of the worldwide web.
Other than the games offered, there are issues with the online infrastructure that need addressing sooner rather than later. The app is at this point utterly irrelevant and should simply be abandoned. Every game that wishes to offer voice chat should go the Fortnite route and simply allow a head set with mike to be plugged into your headphone jack.
Quickly matching with a friend should be something that is so much more streamlined. I want to be able to turn on my Nintendo Switch, see that Billy Bob Jr. is online and playing Mario Kart, and simply choose ‘join game’. After having a good belly rumble watching Billy Bob Jr. get jack knifed by Wario at the final corner, I’m hot to trot, character and kart already selected. In 2019, this shouldn’t be a lot to ask, but the basis of any self respecting online gaming service. The news that Super Mario Maker 2 won’t allow you to pair with friends to play online co-op genuinely made me shudder a little bit.
OS and more
Let’s not try to polish a turd here, the OS of the Nintendo Switch is incredibly bare bones. The fact that after over two years on the market, we still only have a light and dark theme is completely beyond me. Because of this, I think themes are something that have to become a more prominent part of the Nintendo Switch in the imminent future. Whether paid, or rolled out as membership rewards, it’s a long overdue step on Nintendo’s part. It would also finally give this humble hack something to spend his platinum coins on, rather than watching another wallet full expire at the end of every month!
Whilst not at the top of everyone’s most wanted list, folders are long overdue now. Being able to organise games into categories, be it by genre, publisher or even alphabetically will be a godsend for, if nobody else, people who review Nintendo Switch games.
The final part of this holy trinity is something that a lot of people have been hankering for since the dawn of time itself. Achievements. Having a little notification pop up on screen and tell you that you have just blocked your 50th blue shell in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or that you’ve inked a radius of 75,000 square meters in Splatoon 2, would certainly be incredibly rewarding and if it was tied into the Nintendo account in some way, maybe as a way of unlocking the themes we mentioned earlier or other such trinkets, it would add another level of intrigue into titles that perhaps you thought you had squeezed every last drop of delicious goodness out of.
Now, as someone who has, at the time of writing collected every single amiibo, this is bittersweet for me to write, but I feel like it’s high time for Nintendo to call it a day. The competition has all left the toys to life market, with Skylanders, Disney Infinity and Lego Dimensions all riding off into the sunset and retiring with grace and dignity. amiibo started with Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, it would make sense that, once all the DLC fighters have released, along with their respective miniatures, that Nintendo pulled the plug. The fact that we didn’t get a builder Mario and Luigi amiibo announced alongside Super Mario Maker 2 makes me think this could be a reality. If we don’t see any new amiibo announced alongside whatever we see at E3, it may well be a reality.
If you’ve stayed with me until the end, sincerely, thank you.
Do you agree with my mad ramblings? Sound out in the comments.
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