2018’s biggest Nintendo games haven’t even launched yet, but I just can’t stop thinking about 2019. Animal Crossing. Luigi’s Mansion. Pokemon. Maybe even a Metroid.
Nintendo’s 2019 lineup is absolutely stellar so far, with some of their truly largest franchises making the switch in the coming year. Animal Crossing has potential to usher in a new wave of AC fans, brought in partly by attraction to the mobile game, but also by the appeal of the Switch itself.
On a fundamental level Animal Crossing is suited to be a mobile title, which it gets to be on the Switch. Simultaneously, however, Nintendo gets to market the title as a gorgeous, new, home console HD Animal Crossing installment. Animal Crossing and the hardware it’s releasing on are simply perfect for each other. Fans have waited long enough.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi is set to take on a third mansion in Luigi’s Mansion 3. As is now somewhat of a standard with the Switch, expect it to take the series in a new direction. Its scale is bound to be far more vast than either of the two previous installments, as new heights are now possible with the hardware.
The newly announced sequel can build on the foundation of what Luigi’s Mansion has been, while taking on a new, more mature form. I’m not arguing Luigi’s Mansion should be a downright horror game. It should evolve with the audience, though. Many fans of Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube are older, likely playing more adult-centered games. Playing to that crowd in subtle ways can create a memorable installment that capitalizes on nostalgia in a genuine way.
Pokemon is another franchise deserving of a more mature take. Let’s Go is for casual players, and is meant to combine two audiences into one, simply making them Pokemon fans, rather than Pokemon GO-exclusive players.
The mainline RPG set to release next year must pull no punches. There can’t be any gimmicks, mechanic changes, or tweaks to speed up the game. I trust Game Freak, though. They’ve made it clear that the title will be completely separate from Let’s Go, more akin to the traditional handheld installments. This is great because the millions still delving into Sun, Moon, and even older versions like X and Y will have something familiar to turn to. And, as mentioned before, the technological leap this game will see is something fans aren’t fully aware of yet. Pokemon Let’s Go is gorgeous, yet Game Freak may be able to do more in terms of boosting visuals.
The game can mark the franchise’s much needed major update.
Metroid Prime 4?
Regardless of how the above three games turn out, there’s one common thread: they’re all launching next year. Three of Nintendo’s biggest series all within a calendar year. What’s different about 2019, though, is the unknown. There’s still bound to be another major title. Metroid Prime 4 stands out as a very likely candidate.
The much-anticipated game was first announced at E3 2017. Since then, we’ve seen nothing. That has to change in 2019. By January 2019 the title will have been in development for at least a year and a half, which should be enough time that the team can provide fans a substantial progress update. I really can’t predict whether or not it’ll be finished in time for a holiday 2019 release, but one thing that’s certain is Nintendo’s stance on promoting a game mere months before its launch. Super Smash Bros. was unknown before March, meaning there is surely more unannounced content Nintendo is being tight-lipped about. Metroid Prime 4 could be nearly complete and fans would have truly no idea. It’s not a sure-fire bet, but the prospect of Metroid Prime 4 launching next year is starting to feel more and more likely.
There are some bombs to be dropped on Sony and Xbox platforms next year, none of which are bigger than Nintendo’s slate, however. Games like Days Gone, Crackdown 3, and Kingdom Hearts are all anticipated by fans, but to what extent? Crackdown has been repeatedly delayed and Days Gone is seemingly lost in the hype of Sony’s other exclusives. Kingdom Hearts is sure to make waves across the industry, but it’s a January release, clearing the rest of the year for AAA games to drop. The other two major players, Days Gone and Crackdown, release in February.
Sony, though, has three titles that could really make a splash on the scene. Death Stranding, Ghosts of Tsushima, and The Last of Us Part II are all potential 2019 titles that could cement the Playstation 4 as the must-buy system. The Switch and PS4 are two hotly contested systems in regards to sales, and those stakes will surely ramp up in 2019. In short, both consoles have some killer software in the works.
There are some major titles to be seen in the coming year, but I genuinely feel Nintendo still has the best chance to hold the spotlight yet again. With so many Nintendo franchises getting attention, the Switch is set to dominate the year.
What do you make of Nintendo’s 2019 lineup so far? What surprises do you hope for? Let us know down below!
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