- In 2019, Nintendo plans to release the first-ever “core” Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch.
- Nintendo is also reportedly working on a new version of the Nintendo Switch, which could arrive in the coming year.
- Before the end of March 2019, Nintendo is expected to launch its first “Mario Kart” game for smartphones.
Nintendo is a notoriously secretive company, and much of the coming year for the Japanese gaming giant is a mystery.
That said, we have a pretty good idea about some of Nintendo’s biggest plans for 2019: a new main-series “Pokémon” game on the Switch, the first-ever “Mario Kart” game for smartphones in the not-so-distant future, and maybe even a new version of the wildly popular Switch console itself!
And that’s before we start talking about the big unknowns. Is 2019 the year when we see more of “Metroid Prime 4” than a logo? Perhaps “Bayonetta 3”?
Here’s everything we know – and a few things we’re less certain of, but are still entirely possible – about Nintendo’s coming year:
1. A new “core” Pokémon game
- The Pokemon Company
Pokémon is coming to the Nintendo Switch – prepare yourself!
Nintendo said a “core RPG Pokémon title” is coming to the Nintendo Switch. Not a spin-off, like “Pokémon Stadium” and “Pokémon Snap” way back on the Nintendo 64, but a full-on main-series entry.
The beloved Pokémon game series has always been a portable affair. With few exceptions, the only way to engage with the long-running series was on Nintendo’s handheld consoles. But with this new entry, that’s about to change.
Nintendo said the next main entry in the long-running Pokémon game franchise – the successor to “Pokémon Ultra Sun” and “Pokémon Ultra Moon” – will arrive in “late 2019.” For now, that’s all we know.
2. A new version of the Nintendo Switch?
Not a new Nintendo console, mind you, but a new version of an existing one: It looks like Nintendo is already deep in development of a new version of the Nintendo Switch.
Rumors point to logical upgrades, such as a brighter screen, better battery life, and a slimmer profile – Nintendo has yet to say anything officially.
That said, Nintendo has a long history of making new variants of its game consoles.
There are several different versions of the Nintendo 3DS handheld, for instance, some with more horsepower and bigger screens than others. The same could be said for the Nintendo DS before it, and the Game Boy Advance before that.
It’s more than just a rumor, it’s entirely likely that Nintendo will release new iterations of the Nintendo Switch. And 2019 is said to be the year that we’ll see the first of those iterations.
3. “Metroid Prime 4”
What is “Metroid Prime 4”? Little more than a logo at this point, at least publicly speaking.
“Metroid Prime 4” is the fourth game in the first-person “Metroid Prime” series. The franchise began its life on the Nintendo GameCube and drew a legion of loyal fans across several sequels. It’s been over a decade since the last major entry, “Metroid Prime 3,” arrived on the Nintendo Wii.
The next game is said to be in production by Japanese game company Bandai Namco, rather than the studio responsible for the previous three games, though Nintendo has yet to confirm as much.
After announcing the game through a logo back in June 2017 (pictured above), Nintendo has yet to say another word about the highly anticipated sequel.
4. “Bayonetta 3”
- Platinum Games
The “Bayonetta” games are a throwback to the “Devil May Cry” and “Ninja Gaiden” era of action games, which focused on lightning-fast reaction and control mastery. The better you took out a bunch of bad guys, the more the game would reward you. Those systems are then surrounded by a delightfully crazy story. In the case of “Bayonetta,” she’s a super-tall witch with guns in her feet. Sure!
Regardless of the often extremely silly trappings of the “Bayonetta” universe, the series is critically acclaimed. Nintendo is doubling down on its commitment to “Bayonetta” by getting the third game in the series as a Nintendo Switch exclusive.
After announcing the game in December 2017, we’ve heard little about “Bayonetta 3.” Like “Metroid Prime 4,” 2019 is a prime time to go into more detail on – and maybe even release – the next major “Bayonetta” game.
5. “Mario Kart Tour” — the first “Mario Kart” game for smartphones
“Mario Kart” has been a big deal for more than 25 years. And now – finally– it’s coming to smartphones as “Mario Kart Tour.”
The game is scheduled to arrive before March 2019, when Nintendo’s fiscal year ends, and thus far we have no indication that it will miss that deadline.
So, what is “Mario Kart Tour”? That’s the big question. Nintendo hasn’t spoken of the game in nearly a year. But there’s one game already available that offers a peek into what Nintendo may be doing with “Mario Kart Tour”: “Super Mario Run.”
Both “Super Mario” and “Mario Kart” are core Nintendo franchises. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” is the second-highest selling Switch game to date, behind only “Super Mario Odyssey.” It seems entirely likely that “Mario Kart Tour” will offer a few levels for free, then charge a lump sum for access to the full game (like “Super Mario Run” did). It’s the kind of game for which Nintendo can demand a premium, and it likely will.
6. “Yoshi’s Crafted World”
Like “Yoshi’s Island” for the Super Nintendo, “Yoshi” for the Switch is a platformer starring Yoshi. He can pause to aim and throw eggs at enemies, or he can consume them, or he can leap into the air and butt stomp down. Yoshi is versatile!
In the new “Yoshi” game, you’ll be able to walk into the background and occasionally switch up the entire orientation of levels. In so many words, it’s a new spin on the classic 2D formula.
Unlike some of the other games here, we know a firm release date for the new “Yoshi” game: March 29.
7. A new “Animal Crossing” game.
A brand new “Animal Crossing”? Yes, a brand new “Animal Crossing”!
If there’s one series that Nintendo Switch owners have been clamoring for, it’s “Animal Crossing.”
The beloved home-making game that’s endeared so many fans across nearly 20 years is finally coming to the Nintendo Switch. The tiny bit of tease that Nintendo offered during its Nintendo Direct presentation last year wasn’t intended to directly represent gameplay, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t look similar when the game arrives at some point in 2019.
Check out the trailer for it right here: