By brilliantly bridging the gap between home console and handheld gaming — not to mention releasing a stellar year-one game lineup — Nintendo delivered its first must-have system in what feels like ages, selling over 10 million units of the Switch in a staggeringly short amount of time.
But now that Mario, Zelda and the sheer buzz of the Switch’s launch are behind us, can the Big N keep up the momentum? Here’s what to expect from Nintendo’s hot new console in 2018, from new features and services to the system’s next crop of must-have games.
Game lineup: What’s the next Zelda?
The Switch’s 2017 success can be attributed largely to the system’s superb game lineup, which gave us two of the best games ever made: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.
Big releases like Splatoon 2, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Doom, Rocket League and the system’s treasure trove of indies certainly didn’t hurt either.
Nintendo seems poised to maintain that same variety and volume going into 2018, though it’s unclear if we’ll get anything that makes quite the same impact as Mario or Zelda.
Kirby: Star Allies
Leading the first-party charge for 2018 are Kirby Star Allies and an unnamed Yoshi title, both of which look to offer charming 2D platforming in the kinds of gorgeous, colorful worlds you’d expect from a Nintendo game.
Switch owners also get ports of Bayonetta 1 and 2 — two incredible, hyper-stylish action games that were criminally underplayed on the ill-fated Wii U. This will help drum up hype for Nintendo’s upcoming Bayonetta 3, which currently has no release date and seems more likely for 2019.
Japanese RPG fans can look forward to Lost Sphear and Project Octopath Traveler, the latter of which is a Switch exclusive that seems aimed specifically at old-school Final Fantasy junkies. Big AAA titles such as Wolfenstein II, Payday 2, Outlast, Mega Man 11 and the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection are all set to hit the Switch this year, as are smaller titles such as Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Dragon Quest Builders, and Shovel Knight: King of Cards.
The Switch certainly won’t be hurting for great games to play in 2018, though it feels like the console’s next true system sellers are at least a year out.
You can also expect more games that take advantage of the system’s unique Joy-Cons the way 1-2 Switch and Arms do. Speaking to Japanese newspaper Asahi (as translated by Nintendo Everything), Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima teased that he’d like to see more games utilize the Joy-Con controller’s motion control and HD rumble capabilities.
The Switch certainly won’t be hurting for great games to play in 2018, though it feels like the console’s next true system sellers are at least a year out. The next installment in Nintendo’s beloved Fire Emblem tactical role-playing series is slated for 2018, but considering we haven’t seen any gameplay or an official title yet, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it slip to next year.
Project Octopath Traveler.
And then there are the big guns: Metroid Prime 4 and the Switch’s currently untitled Pokémon game. These are arguably the system’s two most anticipated titles, but considering that both are simply labeled as “in development,” you shouldn’t expect them until at least 2019.
Switch Online and Virtual Console
In addition to getting a bunch of new games, the Switch will debut its long-awaited premium online service in 2018. Dubbed simply Nintendo Switch Online, this $20-per-year service will allow you to play multiplayer games online, get exclusive eShop discounts, and download a variety of classic titles that will include Super Mario Bros. 3 and Balloon Fight. There’s no set release date for the service, but some rumors suggest we might have to wait until fall.