After the sinking of the Wii U ship, all eyes were on Nintendo and what they would do next. Everyone thought they’d drop out of the console race and invest more into mobile development. In typical Nintendo style, they blindsided us with the announcement and subsequent rapid fire release of the Switch. 20 million sales later and here we are. It’s 2019 and Nintendo seem to be going from strength to strength – but what happens next?
Nintendo release some of the best first party titles on the market. For decades, the gaming community have uttered the words ‘you go to Nintendo for First Party’. But in the last 2 years they have taken a baseball bat and truly knocked it out of the park.
Cast your mind back to the launch of the Switch. You went to the shops, picked up your dinky little hybrid and proceeded to buy Breath of the Wild. A couple of weeks pass and you finally open your curtains, admire your dramatic weight loss and inform your family you have not died. Such was the brilliance of Breath of the Wild. A true masterclass that redefined not only the series, but the genre.
Not satisfied with releasing one of the best games of the generation, Nintendo gave us Mario Odyssey. Mario has been hovering around general ‘meh’ for quite sometime. Not since Mario Galaxy 2, some 8 years prior, did Mario have a truly fantastic title. Mario Odyssey broke that streak. Delivering arguably the greatest 3D platformer of all time, they hit us with a one-two punch that Little Mac would be proud of.
With our collective minds more battered than a deep fried haddock, we expected, and needed, nothing else. Instead of getting some time to recover, we got a thunderous right hook to face with the meteoric launch of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. As a game, Smash Ultimate transcended to level a of quality and polish not often witnessed by mortal eyes. Not just an unbelievably good fighting game, Ultimate gave us the greatest celebration of gaming ever put to cartridge. It is as historic as the content it boasts. In terms of future sequels, Smash Ultimate might be toting a very literal title. It might actually be the last.
From software to hardware, lets discuss the feisty hybrid itself. Nintendo went from unimaginable highs with the Wii, failed to follow up with the Wii U and has been making steady ground with the Switch. Heck, more and more often people are ‘waiting for the Switch version’ when discussing multi-platform titles. Clearly the prospect of AAA gaming on the move is more enticing than anyone initially thought. But what happens when the plucky upstart becomes an old man and heads into retirement? Will Nintendo innovate and ditch the Switch’s unique features for something fresh? or will we just get a new, more powerful Switch 2? How do you surpass something so damn good?!
Speaking of surpassing things, lets rewind a little bit. How do Nintendo surpass Breath of the Wild? How do Nintendo surpass Mario Odyssey? These games are the pinnacle of their respective genres. Do you make Hyrule bigger next time? Add more moons to collect in Odyssey? Nah, traditional sequels are not Nintendo’s thing. If anything, they will go about making plans to reinvent the wheel again. But honestly, it took 20 years for the world to get over Ocarina of Time…how long before Breath of the Wild is usurped?
As unbelievably happy I am with Nintendo’s reinvigorated plunge into the market, I cannot help but wonder – where next? Honestly, I don’t know. Nintendo are nothing if not an illusive wildcard. Hopefully they keep on doing what they do best. Knocking our collective socks off with top quality products. Hopefully they get around to providing a top quality online service at some point, aye?