The State of Play – Nintendo Switch

Welcome to SquareXO’s new mini-series of features focusing on each of the big platform holders – first up is Nintendo, and we’ll be examining their 2018 and peeking around the corner at 2019. Get involved in the comments below, or tweet me @lloydcoombes to let me know what your thoughts are!

2018’s Game Awards ceremony was surreal. Despite not winning any awards, Nintendo were the talk of the gaming sphere owing to the surprise announcement of Persona 5’s Joker as DLC in Smash Bros Ultimate, with the game itself releasing just hours after the show. With Smash being a huge way to end the year for Nintendo, how is the Switch platform doing just under two years from launch?

Following on from an incredible launch year which led to GOTY contenders Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, many expected a “sophomore slump” of sorts for the Switch’s second year but the company’s first-party lineup dovetailed beautifully with an awesome indie lineup and great ports.

While October, November and December saw Super Mario Party, Pokemon: Let’s Go and Super Smash Bros Ultimate respectively, you could be forgiven for not realising how impressive Switch’s exclusive lineup was for the rest of the year. As a refresher, 2018 saw the release of Octopath Traveler, Mario Tennis Aces, and ports of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Quite the year, I’m sure you’d agree.

It wasn’t just Wii-U games that were ported though – fighting game of the year Dragon Ball Fighterz  landed in September, while the world-conquering Fortnite dropped during E3. Warframe arrived in November shortly after legendary looter Diablo 3, as did traditionally PC-focused games Civilization VI and Football Manager 2019. Oh, and if you’re the type to throw controllers, maybe don’t grab Dark Souls Remastered.

Continuing the theory that many people (myself included) will constantly re-purchase games just to own them on Switch, indie all-stars such as Guacamelee (and it’s sequel), Transistor and Undertale were gobbled up by the hungry Nintendo faithful. There were newbies too – Hollow Knight, Dead Cells and Into The Breach all proving to be incredible releases.

Between all of that, I think it’s fair to say Nintendo maintained momentum throughout 2018, but what of 2019?

We know Smash DLC is coming, and we have a rough guide of what to expect in 2019 from references made at various Nintendo Directs – a core Pokemon is expected, while Yoshi, Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are also due to land next year. Early 2019 also sees mech combat game Daemon X Machine land, and those alone have me excited, but what about what we don’t know about?

Metroid Prime 4 is on its way, and a remastered trilogy of its predecessors seems to be a good bet. We’ll undoubtedly get more ports (rumours are swirling regarding Persona 5), alongside exclusives like Bayonetta 3 and the recently revealed Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3, but Nintendo’s history of dropping a direct chock full of announcements with very little notice make them unpredictable.

Talk of a hardware refresh doesn’t seem to abate either, and with the constant iteration of the 3DS lineup it doesn’t seem unlikely. Whether it’ll be a “premium” version or a “cheaper” one is anyone’s guess, but the current console’s power limitations don’t seem to make it any less competitive than PlayStation 4 or Xbox One when it comes to offering an excellent console.

What have been your Nintendo highlights from 2018? And what are you most excited about for the hybrid machine in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!