From retail to digital, everything about the first year of Switch feels carefully planned and smartly calculated to avoid any major software droughts. Every single week, I’ve found something worth purchasing on the system. This week, there was Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap on the eShop. Next week is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Puyo Puyo Tetris. Two weeks after Mario Kart is Minecraft, and the week after Minecraft is the release of Ultra Street Fighter II.
Traditionally, summer has been a slower time for video games, but that’s not the case for Switch. Major titles such as ARMS, Splatoon 2, and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle are scheduled for release between June through late September. And according to Nintendo, Switch’s momentum will continue to build into the holidays with Fire Emblem Warriors, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Nintendo’s release strategy for their software has been absolutely brilliant. I can’t stress enough how impressed I am with all of it. Releasing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe one month after Breath of the Wild was a genius move. Releasing Minecraft two weeks after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is another genius move. I like how Nintendo is releasing ARMS one day after E3 ends. Why? Because during that week, everyone will still be in Nintendo-hype mode. I like how Splatoon 2 is releasing in July because kids will be off from school. Releasing Mario + Rabbids before Super Mario Odyssey will make the wait for Odyssey feel much less painful.
Last year, I said that the first year of Switch (March 2017 through March 2018) would blow away Wii U’s last five years of software. I don’t believe that I was making some outlandish hyperbolic statement. Many of the Wii U’s most critically acclaimed games — Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, Lego City Undercover, Shovel Knight, Rayman Legends, Minecraft, Fast Neo Racing, Terraria, 1001 Spikes, Mutant Mudds, Little Inferno — are either available on Switch now, or they’ll be available later this year.
Yes, Wii U had great quality titles like Splatoon, Hyrule Warriors, and Xenoblade Chronicles X. But this year, Switch is getting Splatoon 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Yes, Wii U had great indie titles like Runner 2, Steamworld Dig, and Stick it to the Man. But this year, Switch is getting Runner 3, Steamworld Dig 2, and Flipping Death.
It reminds me of that one song — “Anything you can do I can do better.”
There are plenty of surprises that we still don’t know about. Retro Studios, for example, has been working on a top-secret project for three and a half years. Is Camelot or Next Level Games working on any sports titles (Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Mario Strikers) for the Switch? Are there any other third party collaborations with Nintendo that we don’t know about? Can we expect any Switch announcements regarding Smash Bros or Pokémon at E3?
And what’s the deal with Pikmin 4 which Shigeru Miyamoto keeps discussing in multiple interviews? Hopefully we’ll find out in soon.