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Nintendo in 2021: the possibility of new hardware, and the promise of some blockbuster games (Switch Pro, Breath of the Wild 2 and more)

VysePSU

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May 9, 2019
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Nintendo's often gone its own way when it comes to doing its business, but as Microsoft and Sony rolled out their latest hardware at the tail-end of 2020 it felt at times as if the company had vanished entirely, a paper-thin release schedule in the all-important months leading up to Christmas making the Switch feel at times like the forgotten console.

In 2021, that's surely about to change, and after a period of relative silence - understandable, of course, given the global circumstances and the pressures they've placed on developers - Nintendo is set for its most significant year since the launch of the Switch back in 2017. Looking at the release schedule as it stands, skeletal and incomplete, you might not ascertain as much - with the likes of Bravely Default 2 and Persona 5 Strikers, those first few months are double-A all the way - but then you get to the tail-end of March and the release of Monster Hunter Rise, perhaps the most significant new release on Switch in an age.

After the record-breaking success of Monster Hunter World, Rise feels like a homecoming of sorts, returning to Nintendo's stable equipped with a new set of tricks learned on its blockbuster outing while it punches up the quirkiness that once made the series' name. Running on Capcom's RE Engine - a first for the series, as well as for the Switch - it promises to look absolutely sublime. And, of course, there's that sneaking suspicion it could look even better with the help of some new hardware.

That a new Switch model will arrive this year feels, at this point, like a given. Indeed, the real surprise is how long it's taken - while the Switch forges its own path with its hybrid nature, Nintendo's handhelds have typically been refreshed some two to three years into their lifespan, a pattern the release of the Switch Lite held true to. What exactly, though, would a further revised Switch look like? 4K support seems a given, albeit by way of Nvidia's AI upscaling, but beyond that there's a whole world of intrigue and enigma.

How will it slot into the Switch's current ecosystem? How will it handle older games, newer ports that might not have been previously possible and - perhaps most importantly - will it mean the floodgates will finally open when it comes to first-party games? The Switch's first year was remarkable for the support it received when it came to software, with marquee entries in the Mario and Zelda entries, plus new IP from the Mario Kart team in the shape of the formidable Arms. Is it unreasonable to expect news on what's next from all three - be it the release of Breath of the Wild 2, a new Mario or an all-new Mario Kart for Switch?

If even just one of those comes to pass it'll be a bumper year for the Switch, with of course the safest bet being Breath of the Wild 2 arriving to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Zelda series. It's not the only birthday Nintendo's stars will be celebrating, with Donkey Kong turning 40 while Metroid turns 35. What chance a glimpse of Metroid Prime 4, or another Samus-themed morsel to sate our appetites while we wait for Retro Studio's return?

For Nintendo's core audience there's plenty to get excited about, while beyond there's the official opening of Super Nintendo World in Osaka, and towards the end of the year the prospect of our first look at Illumination Entertainment's 2022 Mario movie - which, after the disastrous 1993 effort, feels like one of the bigger risks Nintendo's made in a while. If even half of that comes to pass, it'll certainly be one of Nintendo's biggest years in an age.

And for all Nintendo seemed to sidestep the tail-end of last year, it still ended 2020 on top, Animal Crossing: New Horizons taking the Christmas top spot as it thunders along on its way to some 30 million units sold while some 70 million Switch units have found their way out into the wild. A quiet year for Nintendo is still remarkable in its own way - the prospect of it hitting 2021 with all cylinders firing is something else altogether.


Donkey Kong and Samus turning 40 and 35, respectively. I'm thinking we'll get an update for Metroid Prime 4 but it would be great if Nintendo were to announce Metroid 5 (sequel to Metroid Fusion) as well this year. Mario Kart 9 would be amazing. I'd also like to see new entries for some of their dormant IPs like a new F-Zero or Golden Sun 4.

What are you expecting, GAF?
 
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SinDelta

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May 21, 2020
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I hope for anything on Breath of the Wild 2. Ocarina of Time in the BotW engine for Zelda anniversary would be the hypest shit. Bundle of TP HD and WW HD is more likely though.

Bravely Default 2 and Monster Hunter Rise are certainly on my radar.

Some hopes, unrealistic expectations-

Golden Sun coming back would be nice as another RPG series for Nintendo.
Xenoblade X Port
Xenoblade X/2
Xenoblade 3
Any new F-Zero entry.
A grand space opera/open-world Starfox Adventure on the scale of say Mass Effect or Kotor. Seems like a series that has never realized its potential.
 
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Dampf

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Jun 28, 2020
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I hope this will be a good year for Nintendo fans. 2020 was just terrible.

Imagine the Zelda collection will just have N64 and GC/Wii roms instead of the actual remakes lol
 
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Amornalx

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Dec 22, 2020
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I hope this will be a good year for Nintendo fans. 2020 was just terrible.

Imagine the Zelda collection will just have N64 and GC/Wii roms instead of the actual remakes lol
Trust me, 2021 can't be worse than 2020, unless that ww3 actually happens
 
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Fake

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Dec 20, 2018
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I hope this will be a good year for Nintendo fans. 2020 was just terrible.

Imagine the Zelda collection will just have N64 and GC/Wii roms instead of the actual remakes lol

Well, they're cheap to make and give Nintendo a loads of money.
 

Ellery

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Feb 17, 2019
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I would be ready to jump in on the Switch this year if they manage to increase the quantity of their quality first party titles. Feels like it has become somewhat quiet surrounding the AAA single player Nintendo first party titles for the Switch that I could be interested in. Hopefully they can tackle that this year with a more powerful Switch and games.

Will definitely keep an eye out for that
 

Captain Toad

I advertise for PlayStation. For free.
Dec 1, 2020
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Imagine the Zelda collection will just have N64 and GC/Wii roms instead of the actual remakes lol

I'd bet that's more likely than not for the N64 games, if they were to add Majora’s Mask at all.
 

AJUMP23

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Sep 29, 2020
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BOTW 2 with a Switch pro, that will be good enough for me. I would like some updates on a new Mario Kart, and the Metroid prime 4.
 
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michaelius

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Jan 5, 2012
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I saw some rumors about possible oled screen Switch for this year. That would be only thing that can make me upgrade to it day 1 from current version :)
 
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Nikana

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Jan 26, 2016
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WIth the rumor of the Pro being simply a new dock I think it makes sense to still launch it next to the new zelda. As long as it works with existing switches I guess you could really launch it at any time.
 

LordOfChaos

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Mar 31, 2014
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I'm thinking we'll get an update for Metroid Prime 4 but it would be great if Nintendo were to announce Metroid 5 as well this year.

:pie_thinking:
Edit: After doing the above I realize you mean a sequel to Fusion/the 2D platformers
 
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Woopah

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Jun 15, 2019
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This is my personal expectation, and this is with several things slipping to 2022 or not being localised:

Jan - Nothing
Feb - Bravely Default 2 + 3D World
March - Pokémon Snap
April - New EPD 4 IP / Zelda collection part 1
May - Metroid V
June - Splatoon spin off (RPG)
July - Fire Emblem 4 remake / Zelda collection part 2
August - Mario Golf / Prime trilogy.
September -BOTW2
October - 2D Donkey Kong / Bayonetta 3
November - Diamond/Pearl remakes / New EPD 9 IP
December - nothing
 
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VictorVectors

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Nov 24, 2020
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Donkey Kong and Samus turning 40 and 35, respectively. I'm thinking we'll get an update for Metroid Prime 4 but it would be great if Nintendo were to announce Metroid 5 as well this year. Mario Kart 9 would be amazing. I'd also like to see new entries for some of their dormant IPs like a new F-Zero or Golden Sun 4. What are you expecting, GAF?
Breath of the Wild 2 in flaawless 1080p30 with a 1440P UI is what I'm expecting. Wow me Nintendo.
 

Aldric

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Feb 15, 2016
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Wonder if we'll see Monolith's medieval IP or if it's vaporware. They should have a game ready to show anyway, if not this game something like Xenoblade Chronicles X 2 would be great.

 

Kokoro2020

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Dec 29, 2019
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Give us Mario Kart 9 already.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was a port, and Mario Kart Live is a side game, so I still see a possibility in Mario Kart 9. In fact, both of those games came out likely to hold us over until that comes out. Chances are, the game has been in development for a long time, but just never announced.
 
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UltimaKilo

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There’s a lot of games Nintendo could launch this year that would keep them as the hottest ticket item of the year.

BotW2, Metroid Trilogy (if not MP4), Xenoblade, Pokémon & Animal Crossing DLC, Donkey Kong... they could have surprises like Golden Sun, Pandora’s Tower, The Last Story, Octopath Traveler 2 and many others.

I personally would consider a Switch Pro with Bluetooth compatibility, DLSS and a 1080p display.
 
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GeorgPrime

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Jan 9, 2020
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I hope for anything on Breath of the Wild 2. Ocarina of Time in the BotW engine for Zelda anniversary would be the hypest shit. Bundle of TP HD and WW HD is more likely though.

Bravely Default 2 and Monster Hunter Rise are certainly on my radar.

Some hopes, unrealistic expectations-

Golden Sun coming back would be nice as another RPG series for Nintendo.
Xenoblade X Port
Xenoblade X/2
Xenoblade 3
Any new F-Zero entry.
A grand space opera/open-world Starfox Adventure on the scale of say Mass Effect or Kotor. Seems like a series that has never realized its potential.

If they go again the Copy and Paste content direction and get inspired by Assasins Creed world building they can keep Breath of the Wild 2 for themselves.

Dont need that shit.

I want an Open World Zelda more like Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess with several regions and their own dungeons. you can even keep the physics and the exploration but it needs more "DIVERSITY"

Do it more like Terranigma. The region with the water dungeon is all dry and dead but as soon as you finish the water dungeon the water comes back to the region and it starts to blossom and nature coming back and stuff

I hope they will give me "Fire Emblem - Three Houses 2"
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

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Dec 8, 2019
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I expect people to be fiercely disappointed. People, not me. Especially those who don’t even have a Switch.

There’s many anniversaries this year, but hey, we all know bloody Luigi got a year of celebrations while Metroid’s 25th and 30th just went by unnoticed.

We could see some collections like Mario’s 3D collection. I”m not even wasting feels and energy imagining full-blown remakes at 60fps or such shenanigans. I’m ready to get minimum effort and be content with it. Not happy, but content. Even if I am somewhat disappointed that Pokémon gets remakes all the time. Just make all the original ROMs available with savestates and Pokémon Bank connectivity and be done with it, for chrissake.

Some additions and improvements to the NSO back catalogue would be nice, but let’s be real, the Switch has been out for 4 years at this point and we still have no GB, GBA, N64 or GC.

I’d definitely buy a hardware revision.
 

Ceadeus

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Jun 22, 2013
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I liked the new 3DS. For most of the games looking and running better. It's what I expect from the new Switch.

BoTW 2 is coming but I also would like older titles to get an update for the newer hardware . It would be about time to get our hand on anything Metroid for the Switch.

Why not finally, a North American /European release of DQ 10 online! Nintendo need its mmorpg .
 

lyra-ixi

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Aug 3, 2014
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i hope we get a Switch Lite revision with improved battery life. if not then i'll just buy whatever the heck the new hardware is. i just would prefer the Lite model but the current battery sucks.

as for games all i'm really wanting is a new 3d mario game (Odyssey 2 perhaps) or some more info on BOTW2.
 

Zannegan

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I put 40 hours in to that demo, I'm waaaaay past "being on my radar" phase and in to wishing this game would released in February instead of March.
I've been avoiding the demo because I know the wait will suck.

As for the release date, yeah it's a ways away, but I've been holding onto the unfounded and unrealistic hope that the game was held back to launch day and date with the Switch Pro. That's the wait that's going to kill me.
 

D.Final

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Oct 18, 2018
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One day, a sort of Switch 2 will come.
I just ask, Nintendo, to continue the support even for Switch Standard.
 

yurinka

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Switch had its (at least until now) peak year in 2020. I don't see them releasing a Switch Pro with more horsepower or 4K in 2021, I think they will release a proper next gen Switch successor (4K ready hybrid and with the horsepower of approx. a PS4 Pro, maybe ready for AR/VR/cloud gaming) in 2023. If something, they may release a Switch XL with slightly better screen and battery and that's all.

I think their main 2021 exclusives will be MH Rise, BOTW2 and 3D World. I think Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4 won't be released on 2021.
 
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Stilton Disco

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Aug 22, 2014
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I'm hoping for 2 Zelda collections, like the Mario one last year.

One with Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword (complete with a total overhaul to give it better pacing and proper controls), and another with the 3DS games, the Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask remakes, as well Link Between Worlds.

A proper trailer for Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3 would be groovy too.

I hope this will be a good year for Nintendo fans. 2020 was just terrible.

Imagine the Zelda collection will just have N64 and GC/Wii roms instead of the actual remakes lol
In some ways I'd be happier. MM in particular had a few downgrades with its remake. I'd be buying them both regardless though.
 

Meesh

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This is my personal expectation, and this is with several things slipping to 2022 or not being localised:

Jan - Nothing
Feb - Bravely Default 2 + 3D World
March - Pokémon Snap
April - New EPD 4 IP / Zelda collection part 1
May - Metroid V
June - Splatoon spin off (RPG)
July - Fire Emblem 4 remake / Zelda collection part 2
August - Mario Golf / Prime trilogy.
September -BOTW2
October - 2D Donkey Kong / Bayonetta 3
November - Diamond/Pearl remakes / New EPD 9 IP
December - nothing
Rock solid. ✌
 

Dick Jones

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I dont understand this need that Nintendo have to make a new Switch now. They don't. The Vita came out in 2011 and was the better handheld on paper and Nintendo never really saw the need to drastically improve their handheld until Switch. They have a nice spot where they are either the only gaming platform people own or they are the complement to gamers system of choice (Xbox/PS/PC). They released an underpowered home console in 2017 and it is selling gangbusters. There is no rush to enter the power market with a possibility of backfiring like Gamecube.