It’s that time of year diehard Nintendo fans call “January,” when we know the least about the rest of the year despite it also being when we want to know about it the most. So then us fans all get together and make unreasonable guesses about what the rest of the year might look like, but ultimately, nobody guesses correctly outside of an anonymous 4chan poster. So, that’s the time of the year it is. “January.” It’s both a testament to the endurance of the human spirit and the power of imagination, as well as a masturbatory exercise in self-loathing. Happy January, everyone!
Below is my list of things that will happen this year, minus the collapse of the natural world and the rise of the New World Order. These month-by-month predictions are separated into Main Attraction (announced or rumored big thing that will definitely happen), Backup (announced or rumored smaller things that will definitely happen), and Wild Card (unannounced thing of varying size that may not but probably still will definitely happen). They should be roughly as accurate as last year’s predictions. Happy future, everyone!
Main Attraction: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
EZPZ. This game has already been announced for a worldwide launch on January 11.
Backup: Travis Strikes Again, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, PIranha Plant
Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story will launch alongside New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on January 11 while Travis Strikes Again drops exactly one week later. Smash’s Piranha Plant DLC will be the only first-party surprise of the month, and it will drop January 25 to keep those Friday specials rolling.
Wild Card: Mother Trilogy
Unless we also get Mother Trilogy, because this is the year. I… can… feel… it… About as much as I felt it last year and the year before that. But this year I say we’re getting the whole trilogy instead of just Mother 3 because when you shoot for the moon you land among Mothers.
Main Attraction: Metroid Prime Trilogy
Although technically unannounced, a Metroid Prime Trilogy port was heavily rumored by so-called industry insiders in late 2018 and, like last year’s Bayonetta collection (which was also released in February) did for Bayonetta 3, this would stoke the hype flames around Metroid Prime 4. It just makes too much sense…which, given Nintendo, means this may not happen after all.
Backup: Untitled Goose Game, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Wonderful 101 Port
Untitled Goose Game doesn’t have a release date, but if they’re willing to release it untitled why wouldn’t they release it otherwise unfinished, if need be? Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles also doesn’t have a release date, but it will be the first of many FFs to release next year because it’s the one people want least. Finally, a Wonderful 101 port will support the as-yet-unannounced Wonderful 102 coming exclusively to Switch next year.
Wild Card: Switch Fit
In a stubborn attempt to prove they are not just a games company, Nintendo will release a revamped version of their old “quality of life initiative” called Switch Fit. It will focus on both physical and mental health and be sort of a hybrid Wii Fit/Brain Age for the fitbit generation. Nintendo will also strike a deal with the federal government to subsidize the cost of the game for anyone covered by Obamacare. Or we might just get Pikmin 3 HD.
Main Attraction: Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing will launch in March to help Nintendo sell 20 million Switches by the end of the fiscal year. It will manage to just barely meet that goal, and it will clearly be thanks to Animal Crossing. The game will feature increased connectivity between towns and feature a wide variety of mini-games, both of which will be used to push Nintendo Switch Online. In a shocking turn of events, it will not receive a subtitle.
Backup: Mario Kart Tour, Resident Evil
Mario Kart Tour will release as a surprisingly robust experience and will even feature an online multiplayer mode that will become a series staple. Still, fans will clamor for a true follow-up to Mario Kart 8, since many of the tracks will be dumbed-down versions of classic courses. Resident Evil will also release as a perfect “adult” complement to Animal Crossing.
Wild Card: Point-and-Shoot Gallery
Announced in the January Direct, Point-and-Shoot Gallery will drop on the eShop in March. It’ll be a mash-up of past Nintendo “shooters” Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley, and Link’s Crossbow Training, and will feature a new Nintendo-fied Time Crisis-like adventure mode. It will be the first in a loosely affiliated series of “gimmick” games that take advantage of the unique properties of the Joy-Cons.
Main Attraction: Yoshi’s Crafted World
In honor of cute baby animals, metaphorical rebirth, and incoming allergies, Yoshi’s Crafted World will drop shortly after the start of Spring. It will be shockingly good and the first game in the series to fully step out of the original’s shadow by thoroughly exploring the stage-flipping mechanic. It will be the highest-selling Yoshi game to date by a significant margin.
Backup: Shovel Knight, Super Meat Boy Forever, Mortal Kombat 11, FFVII, Skyward Sword HD
As announced, indie darling Shovel Knight: King of Cards will launch April 9 followed by Super Meat Boy Forever later in the month and Mortal Kombat 11 on April 23. Final Fantasy VII will also drop to massive sales, as will Skyward Sword HD, which will make several quality of life improvements to the original game including multiple control schemes.
Wild Card: WarioWare: Shake and Bake, Joker
WarioWare: Shake and Bake will launch on 4/20 as Labo did last year. Its main mode will be a fairly typical onslaught of micro-games that dive into the limitless possibilities of the Joy-Con. It will also feature an unexpectedly deep culinary side mode called Cooking Wawa. Finally, Persona 5 R will release with the Joker Smash DLC on the same day.
Main Attraction: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses will launch with a bevy of new tedious army-related mechanics. While the core gameplay will be as strong as ever, the story will be less ambitious than anticipated and those new army mechanics will make high-difficulty playthroughs an unfortunate slog. Some people will be disappointed by the game’s waifus while others swoon over them. None of those people will feel ashamed.
Backup: Team Sonic Racing
Team Sonic Racing will be pretty good, but most cart racing fans will be playing Mario Kart Tour or waiting for Crash Team Racing. Someone’s “Gotta go last”!
Wild Card: Super Mario 64 Deluxe Ultra Remix for Switch
This game will basically be Super Mario 64 in HD, but it will also include eleven of the levels cut from the original refurbished for the modern player’s palette. Players will be able to turn off and on many of Odyssey’s conveniences, such as not having to exit a level after nabbing a star, and some of the game’s signature speedrun glitches will be intentionally retained. Its absurd name will be proof that even though Nintendo is in the midst of a stellar rebranding, they are still Nintendo.
Main Attraction: Daemon X Machina
Daemon X Machina will be an underwhelming mech shooter game that gains a cult following and eventually a much-improved sequel that Nintendo plays a greater role in developing. It will be short and unpolished, but it will sell relatively well since the Switch is lacking in mechs.
Backup: Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, Final Fantasy IX, Resident Evil 0
Fans of each series will be happy to see these games on Switch, though other games in their series or genres will outshine them by year’s end.
Wild Card: Mario Golf Mobile, Overwatch, Tracer, Paper Mario: Planet Peach
We will get the Mario Golf game we all want but not on the platform we want it on. It will, however, feature RPG mechanics that blow Mario Tennis Aces out of the water and will eventually tie into Mario Golf Hole-in-One releasing for Switch in early 2020. We will also get an Overwatch port on Switch and Tracer as a Smash DLC character the same day. Finally, Paper Mario: Planet Peach will be a return to form for the series, but will have players play as Paper Peach scouring the galaxy for Mario. It will make use of some of the clever gameplay concepts introduced in the 2005 DS game Super Princess Peach and it will be hilarious. During chapter interludes, the player will play as Mario, who is being held hostage on Planet Peach by the one and only Bowsette.
Main Attraction: Town
The headliner for this month is the upcoming JRPG from GameFreak, Town. Though its world is small in scope, the game will be lengthy and strategically deep. Much like Octopath Traveler, which was July’s headliner in 2018, Town’s uniquely limiting structure will be its greatest shortcoming as well as one of its greatest strengths.
Backup: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
July’s backup will be Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the long-awaited crowdfunded Igavania. Although some early builds received mixed reception, the final game will rival Symphony of the Night and will feature a surprise not unlike Symphony’s inverted castle.
Wild Card: Endless Ocean: End of Days, Pikmin 4
Endless Ocean: End of Days will mark a return for the Endless Ocean franchise, though it will blend elements of survival horror into the core oceanic exploration experience. Nintendo’s riff off Subnautica will be even more terrifying since it will be built around the real-life horror of climate change and take place across rapidly dying seascapes such as coral reefs and the Arctic Sea. The final boss will be Dick Cheney riding an oily, deformed Leviathan. Or we might just get Pikmin 4.
Main Attraction: Shin Megami Tensei V, Dragon Quest XI
July won’t be the only month headlined by JRPGs. This month, we will get DQXI and SMTV, each with meddling Switch-exclusive content. Neither will sell well outside of Japan, where they will sell like the hottest of cakes.
Backup: Dragon Quest Builders 2, Final Fantasy X/X-2
Doubling down on JRPGs with re-releases and spin-offs, August will also see the launches of Dragon Quest Builders 2 and FFX/X-2. Playing FFX on the Switch will be great, but the biggest surprise will be Dragon Quest Builders 2, which for many will be a surprise game of the year candidate.
Wild Card: Tomodachi Life 2: Also End of Days, The Witcher 3: Breath of the Wild Hunt, Geralt of Rivia
Tomodachi Life 2: Also End of Days will be at once a fanciful life sim as well as sardonic social commentary on our global culture’s erosion of privacy and self-obsessive descent into a technocratic hellscape. The final boss will be Mark Zuckerberg riding his own arrogance. Though he won’t be much of a threat on his own, he will be flanked by his faithful Siberian Husky summon, StockDrop. It will be developed by Ubisoft and there will be Far Cry 5 hats. We will also get The Witcher 3: Breath of the Wild Hunt, which will be identical to the original The Witcher 3 except Geralt will be able to climb some things. Geralt will simultaneously release as a DLC character in Smash, where he will also be able to climb some things.
Main Attraction: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order will be enjoyable in co-op but most will wonder why it didn’t release alongside Avengers: Endgame in April. And the answer is something that has to do with the MCU that I can foresee but do not understand since I don’t care about it. But just you Marvel fanatics wait and see!
Backup: Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn
In this surprisingly lackluster month, a 3DS port is happy to play second fiddle. It’ll be Kirby’s Epic Yarn with a little something Extra, and the world will be ever-so-slightly better off for it.
Wild Card: Unmapped
In September, Retro will reveal that they have spent the past five years BBQ-ing up a generic single-player third-person action game with a supposedly mature by-the-numbers narrative. It will be Nintendo’s take on Sony’s brand of action-adventure games such as Uncharted, The Last of Us, God of War, and Horizon: Zero Dawn (which true blue Nintendo fans know are actually all the same game passed through different visual filters). Everyone will call it a masterpiece and it will be a game of the year contender, but by 2023 it will be widely regarded as Retro’s worst game and people will clamor for more Donkey Kong. Then when the Switch Classic Edition is released in 2034, it will include Star Fox Grand Prix, which Retro’s secret B team finished but never released due to Starlink’s shoddy sales.
Main Attraction: Luigi’s Mansion 3
Despite seeming a bit too on-the-nose, the second sequel to Luigi’s Mansion will launch in October to capitalize on Halloween. And if by some fluke it launches earlier in the year, it will receive seasonal DLC in October. Either way, it will feature one giant hotel-mansion with a massive outdoor area including a swimming pool Luigi can awkwardly dive off of. It will also feature some unique ghost-catching mechanics, but its biggest draw will be its couch/online multiplayer, which will use the same map as the single player campaign but alter the location and difficulty of enemies. Both in and out of this co-op mode, players can play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad, and there will also be a Nintendoland-influenced battle mode where players can play as ghosts.
Backup: Resident Evil 4
Pssshhh… “Backup.” GOAT!
Wild Card: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Dreams, Leon Kennedy
When announced at E3, A Link Between Dreams will initially appear to be a direct sequel to the Game Boy classic Link’s Awakening. But upon release players will discover first-hand that it actually takes place during Link’s century-long slumber that he awakens from at the very start of Breath of the Wild. Taking place in Link’s subconscious after the three timelines have merged will make A Link Between Dreams the most surreal and unpredictable Zelda to date. In keeping with this merged timeline subconscious theme, it will combine and twist overworlds, dungeons, characters, and items from throughout the franchise. We will also get Leon Kennedy and Ashley as an Ice-Climber-like duo in Smash. Leon will be a formidable and sassy opponent, but also-sassy Ashley will take double damage and the player will lose a life whenever either of them dies. Fortunately, Leon’s down B will conjure a dumpster in which Ashley can take refuge.
Main Attraction: Pokemon: Wild and Tame
Wild and Tame will release in mid-November and be billed as the must-have Switch title of the year. It will be a fairly typical “core” Pokemon game, but will borrow several quality of life improvements from Let’s Go, including the elimination of random battles. It will also introduce a new “catchability” meter that determines how easy it is to catch an individual Pokemon based on its personal history. It won’t get as many new Pokemon as an average gen, but will feature many more variants of the original 151 a la Pokemon Sun and Moon, some of which will include particularly wild or dolled-up versions to fit the games’ central theme.
Backup: DOOM: Eternal, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
This trio will be the month’s major third-party headliners and will sate gamers too “mature” for adorable pocket-able monsters (though are such gamers ever truly sated?).
Wild Card: Mario Kart 9
Mario Kart 9 will supplement Pokemon for a no-holes-barred Black Friday banger. It will feature integration with Mario Kart Tour, a limited and disappointing track editor, a huge variety of playable characters, an adventure mode, and a reworked battle mode. Much as the graphic of “8” in MK8’s title showcased anti-grav, the graphic of “9” in MK9 will be a tribute to its hyper-fast sections of tracks, where players race at 250cc and their vehicles become hazardous to touch, as in F-Zero. Its Blue Shell will be terribly imbalanced.
Main Attraction: Bayonetta 3
Although no official release date has been given for Bayonetta 3, a December release would give it a holiday time slot that the similarly niche Xenoblade Chronicles 2 had in 2017 to supplement the broader appeal of Pokemon: Wild and Tame. Like Smash in 2018, it will launch the day of The Game Awards, where DLC for the game will be announced.
Backup: Super Mario 3D World Port, Star Fox Grand Prix, or Metroid Prime 4
We may get Metroid Prime 4 instead of Bayonetta 3, though Bayo is more likely. If we get Metroid, it will have a mission-based structure, take place on one world that builds off the original Prime’s Tallon IV, and feature several new abilities while also removing some introduced in Metroid Prime 2 and 3. Sylux will appear to be the main villain, but the end game will reveal Ridley, Kraid, and Grandmother Brain were pulling the strings. Whether we get Bayo or Metroid, we will also get either a Super Mario 3D World port or the long-rumored Star Fox Grand Prix to appeal to a wider audience. Nintendo will more or less have to go this hard to meet their fiscal year sales goal of 30 million.
Wild Card: Chrono Resurrection, Chrono
Also at The Game Awards, we will get the surprise announcement and day-and-date drop of the final Smash DLC character: Chrono. The third game in the storied Chrono franchise, Chrono Resurrection, will also be announced as a Switch exclusive, and will take place in between Trigger and Cross.
And then you will faintly hear a voice murmur “open your eyes.” And then the real you will awaken to the sight of Reggie standing over you wearing a Sigmund Freud pin, unto a world in which none of these magnificent predictions came true, for the real world cannot contain such untempered glory.