With the current console generation on its last legs, it’s no secret that Sony led the race for most of it. The PS4 has just broken 100 million consoles sold and that number might balloon to 110 to 120 by the end of 2020. Microsoft, who is looking to rebound, will have their sights fixed on the next generation. This leaves Nintendo, who has quietly been surging in console and software sales in recent months, with the opportunity to strike while everyone has their eyes on the future.
What makes this impressive is that the Nintendo Switch is relatively new in its product life cycle. Released in 2017, the Switch has quietly become a powerhouse with its impressive library of games. Normally, you’ll see one to two big releases a year, supplemented by smaller but high quality titles to tide fans over into next year. But in 2019, Nintendo threw caution to the win and is looking to kill the competition with rapid-fire releases that started in June and will end in November.
Super Mario Maker 2 was the first major release in June. You’re able to create and craft the Mario levels you’ve always dreamed of or play someone else’s creation. It is a lot of fun to play both solo or competitively and there are levels that will definently inspire you as people are incredibly inventive with the creation tools. This is easily one of the most accessible titles when it comes to user-generated content.
While Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and Cadence of Hyrule were solid releases for July, Fire Emblem Three Houses is the star for the month. A strategy RPG that doubles as a social simulator, Three Houses is one of the best releases of the year. It features in-depth mechanics, an engaging narrative, and layered characters. If you are looking for your strategy fix and want a challenge, look no further, because Three Houses has got you covered.
In August, PlatinumGames will be releasing Astral Chain, a third-person action-adventure titles that is heavily reminiscent of Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. Like other PlatinumGames, it looks insane with action ripped straight from an anime. The demos shown at E3 show great promise and if it lives up to the any of the previous titles released by the publisher, it may end up being one of the surprise hits of the year.
September is going to be packed. Daemon X Machina is a third-person shooter in a futuristic setting with the player engaging enemies in an armored mech. Konami, in a rather surprising move, is releasing a new Contra game and though the title doesn’t look great, its trailers make it look rough, it could still end up being really solid. The crown jewel for the month will undoutedbly be the remake for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. The game will feature updated mechanics and visuals that will help introduce the title to new audiences.
Moving forward, the much anticipated Luigi’s Mansion 3 will be releasing near the tail end of October. There hasn’t been an entry in this fan-favorite franchise since 2013 so it’s been a long time coming. This was a title that heavily showcased at E3 with the Nintendo Direct showing off the different ghost hunting mechanics and multiplayer gameplay. Gooigi, Luigi’s goo doppelganger, will be making their glorious return and is sure to bring as many memes as possible. It’s time for Luigi to finally find himself back in the spotlight.
Rounding out the year will be the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield. You can practically pencil this in as one of the best-selling titles of the year and may be a major console mover as well. There is a new region to explore, new Pokemon to train, and new gyms to conquer. While there has been controversy regarding the removal of certain Pokemon and features, this will more than likely not affect its sales projections. Expect Pokemon Sword and Shield to be a massive hit especially considering how popular this series is worldwide.
All things considered, Nintendo has bounced back admirably after the release of the much maligned Wii-U. The Switch has practically been the perfect console for those that want to play either at home or on the go. Nintendo will also be releasing a handheld version of the Switch, known as the Switch Lite to help further boost console sales. With a strong release schedule slated for the rest of 2019, Nintendo is working diligently to ensure they aren’t left behind when the next generation of consoles are released. Having an aggressive mindset with a number of high quality releases will do just that.
Well done Nintendo.