The Nintendo Switch is in a great place currently. The fortuitous timing of releasing Animal Crossing right when everyone was stuck indoors led to a huge spike in sales for the system in March. The mid-Summer release of Paper Mario and The Origami King surprised many, though the game’s lack of interest in being a traditional RPG like its lauded predecessors made it a compromised game in the eyes of some fans.
The other major non-port release for the Switch in 2020 was Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a game that is both a sequel to the first Hyrule Warriors and a prequel to 2017’s stellar Breath of the Wild. While this game continues to explore the excellent storyline of Breath of the Wild, it’s also a Warriors game, which is far from the wide appeal of the open-world action RPG that the predecessor was for the Switch’s launch.
Big Shoes to Fill
So, are Switch fans who are saying 2020 was light on games just spoiled by the system’s great first couple of years? The system’s first year on the market saw it get the aforementioned Breath of the Wild, the joyous Super Mario Odyssey, and one of the best JRPGs of all time, Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Ports of Wii U titles, like Mario Kart 8 and Pokken Tournament, made the system’s first year absolutely packed, and the sequel to Nintendo’s hottest new IP, Splatoon, gave the system a great competitive shooter for online play.
In 2018, the holiday title was Super Smash Bros, the biggest game release of 2018 and a massive reason to own a Switch in the first place. In 2019, mainline Pokemon finally made its home-console debut with Sword and Shield. Sadly, the eighth generation met with lukewarm reception due to the controversial removal of over half of the previously-available Pokemon.
2020 Drops the Ball
However, in 2020, that impressive release schedule fell off a cliff. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head and ruined everything, the Switch had a surprisingly light 2020 when the last direct of 2019 aired in September. The seemingly interminable wait for another drop of news was exacerbated by the sudden onset of the pandemic, throwing the entire year into question for Nintendo’s hybrid console.
When finally we did hear the news, it was mostly centered on the upcoming Animal Crossing and Xenoblade Chronicles port. The lack of a major holiday title was evident, and there was no surprise release to fill in the gap: Hyrule Warriors seems to have been the main title the company was banking on this holiday season. Nintendo has stated that they’re mainly relying on their backlog of excellent games to encourage new players to buy in on the ecosystem.
The next big games with confirmed release windows that players are excited about are coming early on in 2021. Shin Megami Tensei V, the highly anticipated fifth entry in the long-running RPG series, is coming in early 2021. Likewise, Monster Hunter Rise, Bravely Default 2, No More Heroes III, and Balan Wonderland will be hitting the system in 2021. However, many fans are anxiously awaiting news on two major sequels that have no solid release window: Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid Prime 4.
The lack of news from Nintendo regarding these major first-party titles has many fans scratching their heads. Along with Bayonetta 3, those games comprise some of the highest-profile games to have yet been announced for the Switch. Many people were hoping Breath of the Wild’s sequel would arrive by surprise for the holiday season this year. However, it seems we’ll still have to wait for that one: we don’t even have a release window on the game.