Preview: Nintendo 2018

Welcome to part three of our previews for the 2018 gaming season, so far we’ve taken a look at what we expect to see from Sony and Microsoft over the course of the next 365 days and so its time to turn our attention to Nintendo. The house of Mario had an incredible 2017, with the Switch making Nintendo relevant again in the console market, the 3DS trucking along and mobile becoming a viable third pillar for the company. All in all it was a very solid year for Nintendo (maybe there best ever), which of course means that the bar is set incredibly high for them in 2018. So how does Nintendo plan to top 2017? Here’s our preview of the year ahead.
If the current state of Nintendo’s gaming ventures could be described succinctly, it would be ‘full of momentum’. The Switch is selling like hotcakes, the 3DS is still getting a steady stream of games (now going into its 7th year) and Nintendo has quickly been learning the ropes of the mobile gaming industry. It almost seems like Nintendo can do no wrong right now and there’s plenty of excitement among their fan-base for what will be coming in 2018. To fan those flames, Nintendo themselves have stated that they wish to sell 20 million more consoles in 2018 and to do so they would obviously need some big, BIG games to reach that target.
And for 2018, Nintendo already has a ton of solid 1st party games lined up on the Switch. Starting February with the updated ports of Bayonetta and its sequel we also know that Kirby: Star Allies, Yoshi (2018) and Fire Emblem (2018) will all be released at some point this year. In addition the Switch also has a strong lineup of third-party exclusives such as Travis Returns: No More Heroes, Runner3 and Project Octopath Traveler – all slated for 2018 releases as well. Simply put, the first half of the year of the Switch is looking very, very strong and which should carry the system past its one year anniversary.
It’s also pretty refreshing to be able to report that the third-party lineup for Nintendo’s console is looking very strong in 2018 with games coming from all manner of publishers and developers. So far titles we know we’ll be playing games such as Lost Sphear, Dragon Quest: Builders 2, Payday 2, Attack on Titan 2, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Fe, Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition, Mega Man 11, Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. These games represent an unprecedented level of support for Nintendo, support that has not been seen in decades and truly represents that the Switch is here to stay.
Of course the Switch isn’t Nintendo’s only platform on the market as the Nintendo 3DS is still trucking along and looks to have a solid 2018 as well. While we don’t know a lot about Nintendo’s first party plans for the system (Kirby: Battle Royale and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido are pretty much it) but the third-party lineup is much stronger and will definitely keep 3DS owners happy throughout the year, especially if you like RPGs. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux and The Alliance Alive are all on their way, which means we’ll be keeping our dual-screened systems charged for months to come.
Trying to predict Nintendo’s future has always been a rather large challenge since the company loves to try to surprise gamers and take a different path than their competition, but we do have a few ideas as to what we might see. For one, Nintendo will have a ‘swan song’ for the 3DS and give the system a send-off worthy of its history. Whether that’s a new Mario or Zelda game or something else will have to be seen but you can bet Nintendo will have something special for the handheld. And then for the Switch we’ve already seen hints of a new Pok√©mon game and Metroid Prime 4 but can also expect news on a new Super Smash Bros., Animal Crossing and potentially Mario game before the year wraps up.
Nintendo has a big year ahead of them. Already many Switch and 3DS games have been announced and are coming soon and we just know Nintendo has more in store for us as the year moves on. Of course one of these systems is in its twilight and the other not even a year old, so there’s a lot more interest in seeing what is next for the Switch and what is beyond the system. And while we might not get a look at the Switch’s successor in 2018, this year is critical when it comes to Nintendo continuing the momentum of the system and laying the groundwork for what will come next.