GameCentral readers try to work out why Nintendo are being so secretive at the moment and what their next big games might be.
The question for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what do you think, and hope, Nintendo’s next games will be for the Switch – considering nothing is currently scheduled.
Most people were understandably baffled, but the most popular guesses were simply that they had nothing new ready yet or that they were planning to reveal some secret new project. But many also pointed out how odd it was that they hadn’t announced any smaller titles either, especially a new Mario Golf or similar.
Applying Occam’s Razor I think the simplest observation for what’s going on is not that Nintendo has some super mega secret but that they reason they haven’t announced any new games is because… they haven’t got any.
Obviously they are working on them but I would guess that they became unsure as to when they would be ready and kept delaying an announcement until you get to where we are now and it’s all starting to get a bit odd.
They were probably gambling that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would be a big hit and, luckily for them, it has been, thereby buying them time until they can do some big reveals around June. I’m still surprised there’s no smaller projects like Mario Golf or a new Captain Toad or something. All we seem to have is a remaster of Xenoblade Chronicles, which I can’t imagine was at the top of too many wish lists.
In my experience the most common reason for Nintendo going radio silent is that they have something new coming out that they don’t want other companies copying (which does always happen).
The obvious guess would be new hardware but they’ve said it’s not that and I don’t think Nintendo would just straight up lie about something like that. So then it must be a new IP, which does make sense if you figure that they’ve run out of all their major franchises now and would have to either start doing sequel or resort to lesser ones.
I don’t think they’d do that (although Mario Kart 9 is in kind of a grey area – depends if they can come up with a new idea) so some kind of new franchise is both my best guess and hope. It may well also involve a new peripheral as well, which would explain the extra secrecy.
The most obvious guess for this Christmas’ big game is Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2, but if it is that why keep it secret, considering they’ve already announced it? Either it’s got some really weird gimmick or it’s not that and it’s been delayed, maybe leaving Nintendo unsure of what their line-up is now?
Who can ever understand Nintendo though? They ignore open goals almost every chance they get and then somehow make mega hits out of the weirdest of ideas. I mean, who’d think that this year’s two biggest games would be a next gen Wii Fit and a game about digging up fossils and watering flowers?
Good look to them I say. Whatever they’re planning I can guarantee it’s not going to be a brown military shooter and for that I’ll always be a Nintendo supporter.
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Revisiting the classics
Well, if the rumours of the Super Mario All-Stars type Switch compilation are true I’ll be very happy! Although, I’d be a tad disappointed if they only included Mario Galaxy and not the sequel, which may be the best example of improving on everything found in the original game. I’ve never actually been a massive fan of Sunshine, the water pack greatly altered the formula that 64 set up so well, but perhaps a second playthrough would change my mind. Overall though, a pack of Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy sounds tantalising.
I’ve been wanting a port of 3D World since I got my Switch and it seems as though this will also finally be happening. I still find it strange that Nintendo ported New Super Mario Bros. U before 3D World. But, that is really the last big Wii U game that hasn’t been ported. So, once that’s happened I’m looking for Nintendo to really ramp up development on new titles.
However, my most wanted Switch game at the moment is a HD Metroid Prime Trilogy. I’m sure many others will also mention this. I know Prime 4 is coming, but I would love to revisit Metroid Prime in HD, one of my favourite video game experiences.
I’d also like Mario Golf and a new F-Zero. I’d take a HD version of GX with online play. It’s funny because when you play through Super Smash Bros. Ultimate you realise just how many characters Nintendo have at their disposal. Actually, why not remake EarthBound using the Link’s Awakening engine?
GC: The New Super Mario Bros. are, undeservedly, far more successful than any of the 3D Mario games.
The fact that Nintendo haven’t got a big game (publicly) scheduled for the back end of 2020 is quite strange. Presumably they are (or at least were) going to have a big reveal around E3, but even so, it’s hard to think what that could be. The Zelda: Breath Of The Wild sequel surely isn’t ready yet, nor Metroid Prime 4 or any potential sequel to Super Mario Odyssey.
That doesn’t leave many other options for a surprise reveal big enough to be the core end of year release (except for some brand new game). Maybe a new Donkey Kong or Mario Kart? As much as I’d love a new Punch-Out!! or F-Zero or StarTropics, I can’t see them being popular enough to anchor the holiday line-up. Star Fox maybe, at a push, though I’d imagine (hope) that Zero would give them pause about doing that again.
My big worry is that Nintendo are going to rest on their laurels, like they did with the Wii, and do something weird like Wii Music or just throw out a port of Super Mario 3D World or Zelda: Skyward Sword and leave it at that.
I was trying to work out when was the last time Nintendo announced a big name game and I think it must’ve been at E3 last year. The last proper Nintendo Direct was September, but as far as I remember it was all about Christmas games, like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokémon, that we already knew about.
And yet they told us about Bayonetta 3 three years ago? You just can’t hope to understand their logic.
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Ever since the sequel to Zelda: Breath Of The Wild was announced around E3 last year, I’ve been hoping it would be out by late 2020. Three and a half years after the first one doesn’t seem unreasonable if it’s using most of the same assets and they green-lit the sequel on the basis that the team already had too many ideas to just put out more DLC (which I’m sure I read and, encouragingly, was the same reason for Super Mario Galaxy 2).
Despite Nintendo’s consistent claims that they don’t pay much attention to what Sony and Microsoft does, releasing that game by November would constitute the best timing for a game’s release since, well, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. By then you’ll be able to get a Switch and pretty much any game for under £200 and those who have been waiting will have access to an excellent back catalogue, including arguably the best ever instalments in most of Nintendo’s biggest series. Putting out a front runner for game of the year as an exclusive at the same time (a potential system seller even without previous releases) would be perfect.
That thread of hope feels increasingly thin though and I still think the reason for Nintendo’s silence is they just haven’t known if whatever they were planning for late 2020 was going to be ready.
Maybe by the time this Hot Topic is run we’ll know more but the Mini Direct on 26 March suggested one of two possibilities to me. Either they wanted to give all the third party stuff some limelight before they put out a belter of a Direct shortly afterwards, that focuses on what everyone is waiting for, or they’re not planning on saying anything else till E3 time and the Mini Direct was just a stalling tactic.
Either way, how they’ve handled it – calling the 28 minute video ‘Mini’ and giving absolutely no notice – suggests Nintendo themselves know it isn’t what people have been clamouring for.
Unless they feel like their next set of announcements will be well worth the wait, I think it would be far better for them to be more open in the spirit of managing expectation. At this stage, if whatever they put out (regardless of whether that’s next week or next June) turns out to be a few more Wii U ports and unambitious B-tier projects, serious trust issues will start to emerge as we all start accusing them of being deliberately silent about a shocking lack of big games just so they can keep up their strong hardware sales.
PS: I’m not one of those many people who was frustrated and disappointed at what was actually in the Mini Direct. The XCOM 2 Collection alone was enough excellent news to make it worthwhile for me, provided it runs well enough.
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