The Nintendo Switch had an amazing first ten months on the market: it sold over 10 million units, released some of the absolute best games of 2017 and Nintendo paced their releases so expertly that only one month went by without a major exclusive game on the Switch. Many doubted that Nintendo could keep this domination train rolling into 2018, but this morning’s Nintendo Direct mini proved that, at the very least, the first half of the year is going to be jam packed with quality Switch releases.
January and February aren’t typically major release months for video games, but Nintendo has a few tricks up their sleeves to keep the hype surrounding the Switch high into the new year. The 2D action platformer Celeste, made by Matt Makes Games, is set to hit the Switch on January 25. Pokkén Tournament DX, the premiere Pokémon fighting game on the Switch (which will have to keep fans satisfied until a true Pokémon RPG hits the console) is set to receive its first wave of DLC add-ons on January 31: in it, the Pokémon Aegislash will be fully playable, and Mega Rayquaza and Mimikyu will join the roster as support Pokémon. Bayonetta 1 and Bayonetta 2 are coming to the Switch, as well as the 3D platforming adventure game Fe, on February 16. Payday 2 will hit the console on Feburary 27 while Super Mario Odyssey will be getting a DLC update with a competitive speed-running mode called Luigi’s Balloon World, new outfits and filters for Snapshot Mode that same month.
Spring is shaping up to look even better than the first couple months of 2018. Kirby will make his proper Switch debut with Kirby Star Allies — a 2D platforming game rife with his signature power-stealing dynamics — on March 16. Nintendo will continue with Wave 2 of DLC for Pokkén Tournament DX, which will include Blastoise as a traditional fighter, and Mew and Celebi as support Pokémon. Though April doesn’t have any major releases explicitly announced for it (yet), May will keep gamers busy. A port of the underrated Wii U 2D platformer Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is coming on May 4, and will include Funky Kong as a new playable character. Dark Souls Remastered will have countless gamers replacing the Switchs they’ll doubtlessly throw across their rooms in anger on May 25 — this remaster will also be coming to the PS4, Xbox One and PC. Some Donkey Kong themed DLC will be hitting Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle sometime in the spring, along with Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition and Mario Tennis Aces, which will include the franchise’s first story-mode since Mario Tennis Power Tour for the Game Boy Advance.
The Nintendo Direct Mini also announced a few Summer releases: Ys VIII Lacramosa of Dana, SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy and a port of the DS classic rhythm RPG The World Ends With You: Final Remix. However, there are still various games that Nintendo has announced for 2018 and beyond that haven’t been given release windows yet. Because they weren’t included in this direct, the following games can be assumed to hit in the second half of 2018, or perhaps even the next year, and we may not hear any more about them until E3, or at least until we get another Nintendo Direct.
An as-of-yet-untitled Fire Emblem game is supposed to come to the Switch in 2018. This is exciting for various reasons: Fire Emblem games are typically some of the best strategy titles in the medium’s history, and there hasn’t been a proper console Fire Emblem game since the Wii’s Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, which was released over ten years ago. Because the Switch is both a portable and a home console, the new title is liable to be one of the most beautiful, high-budget entries in the series. And, naturally, if a new Super Smash Bros. game ends up hitting the Switch, surely one of its new characters will grace the popular brawler as well.
Yoshi for the Switch is being worked on as well, and has a general release window for 2018. It’s a 2D platformer in the vein of Yoshi’s Wooly World and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and is being worked on by the same general team. It’s likely to be a breezy, low-difficulty game that includes extensive co-op functionality, and we’d be surprised if it landed on the system at any point after summer 2018.
Some non-Nintendo developed titles are planned to come to the Switch in 2018 as well. Square Enix’s Project Octopath Traveler is sure to scratch the classic RPG itch of Switch owners this year, No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again will bring insanity that only Suda 51 is capable of and Inti Creates, the team behind Megaman 9 and 10, are bringing the 2D side-scroller Dragon Marked for Death to Nintendo’s console as well. Even more 3rd party titles are sure to be announced for the Switch in 2018, and while some may be ports of games from other consoles, many will surely surprise us.
Finally, Nintendo has announced a few Switch exclusives that don’t even have a release year window, and may very well come out in 2018, 2019 and beyond. Bayonetta 3 was announced at the The Game Awards last month, and with its predecessors coming to the console in February, it’s highly possible that this stylish witch will grace the Switch a third time before the year’s end. Pokémon for the Switch is bound to be a massive undertaking for Game Freak, considering it will be the first mainline console title in the series’ history, so don’t expect it any earlier than late 2018. Lastly, a “talented new team” is hard at work on Metroid Prime 4 (which shouldn’t even be named that, but that’s neither here nor there), but given that it probably hasn’t been in development for long, and it only got a brief announcement teaser this last E3, it’s more likely than not coming in 2019.
These games could very well come out in the first half of 2018 as well, but a safer bet would be to assume that they’ll make proper debuts at E3 2018, or even other Nintendo Directs scattered throughout the year. Nintendo has been good about not announcing games far too early as of late, so if any unknown games get announced this year, it’s not unheard of that they’ll come out within 2018, or not much later.
All of these games predict a bright future for the Switch. All their bases are covered: Kirby, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and more will keep platformer fans happy, RPG and strategy fans will get to dig into games like Octopath Traveler and Fire Emblem, and even sports fans have Mario Tennis Aces to look forward to. These games, and more, are coming to this popular system, and Nintendo’s projected forecast of selling over 20 million units this year doesn’t seem all that farfetched.