Following the Wii U, which, despite strong sales of a few of its titles, was ultimately a commercial flop by most standards, a lot of people were ready to write Nintendo’s eulogy as a hardware manufacturer. However, as anyone who has been around for awhile is well aware, Nintendo should never be underestimated and is always ready to bounce back from the brink of failure in spectacular fashion.
The Switch just celebrated its two-year anniversary and is showing no signs of slowing down, breaking sales records left and right and is in striking distance of the Xbox One to become the second best-selling console of the current generation. Much of that success has to do with the Switch’s software library, which not only contains the usual greatness from Nintendo itself but stronger third-party support than a Nintendo console has had in quite some time. The Switch also just has a large number of titles period for this point in its lifespan… and unlike the Wii, it isn’t padded out by an excessive amount of party game shovelware and lazy license-based garbage (yet.)
As we go into the Switch’s third year, the console continues to have a bright outlook in terms of both the quantity and quality of its upcoming lineup. Here, we highlight some of the most noteworthy titles that have been confirmed to be releasing sometime in 2019, though of course release dates are always subject to change. And just for fun, we’ve sprinkled in a few titles that don’t yet have a concrete release window but just might surprise us by showing up for the Switch before the end of the year.
25 Possibly Coming: Doom Eternal
The Switch port of the 2016 Doom reboot surprised a lot of people, not only because it existed at all but because it was a technically proficient version of the game— and playable on a portable system, no less. Best of all, the Switch version of Doom actually sold well, which meant that Nintendo console owners were finally wising up and learning to support third-party games to help ensure that they get more of them.
And getting more of them they did, first in the form of a Switch port of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, followed by the announcement that the upcoming sequel Doom Eternal would be coming to Switch alongside the PS4, XB1, and PC versions. It’s unclear if the Switch version— or any versions— will be out this year, but here’s hoping.
24 Confirmed: Yoshi’s Crafted World
While Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is a bonafide classic that some people even call their favorite “Mario game,” subsequent attempts to keep Yoshi’s Island going as its own separate franchise have largely fallen short. It wasn’t until Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U that the usually-green dinosaur finally got to star in a decent platform game that wasn’t just another disappointing Yoshi’s Island remake/sequel.
Sticking with Woolly World‘s basic gameplay formula but going with an aesthetic that is more cardboard than yarn, Yoshi’s Crafted World looks like it’ll be another fun, visually-arresting platformer for kids and families when it hits the Switch later this month. We appreciate all these Switch ports of Wii U games and all, but we like it even more when a Wii U game gets an actual sequel on the Switch instead.
23 Confirmed: Mortal Kombat 11
A lot of people like to still retroactively rag on Nintendo for censoring the original Mortal Kombat when it came to the SNES, but that’s a pretty silly complaint given that every single subsequent MK that has come to a Nintendo platform has made the transition with all the mature content intact. In fact, the Wii U is the first Nintendo console to ever lack a Mortal Kombat game, something that won’t be repeated with the Switch.
Furthermore, unlike what often happens with MK games coming to a Nintendo system, Switch owners won’t even have to wait that long to get their hands on Mortal Kombat 11— the game is slated to hit Switch in May, only a month after the other versions. Just don’t hold your breath for any Nintendo-exclusive characters in the game!
22 Confirmed: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
One surefire way to know that a console is doing well is when third parties start bringing out AAA games exclusively for the platform. It’s easy enough for cynical people to say they don’t need a Switch because they don’t care about Mario or Zelda, but when games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 start showing up, it takes a lot more effort to objectively dismiss the Switch’s lineup.
The long-awaited sequel to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series— which itself was the follow-up to the X-Men Legends games— Ultimate Alliance 3 brings back classic characters from the franchise while also introducing ones that have gained popularity since the release of the last game thanks to the MCU. See the Guardians of the Galaxy mixing it up with the Avengers, the X-Men, Spider-Man, and more sometime in the summer/fall 2019 range.
21 Confirmed: Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age
When Squaresoft and Enix merged into Square Enix in 2003, it effectively brought an end to one of the biggest rivalries in gaming history: Final Fantasy vs Dragon Quest. Of course, Western territories had long since chosen Final Fantasy as the preferred franchise, while in Japan, Dragon Quest was and continues to be the bigger series. But one thing that can’t be disputed is that the DQ franchise has been far more consistent, and that tradition continues through the 11th installment, finally being released outside of Japan last September for PS4 and PC.
An enhanced version of DQXI is now coming to the Switch, and will be out in the U.S. by the end of the year. It features new orchestral music and the option to play in a special 16-bit graphics mode carried over from the Japan-only 3DS version.
20 Possibly Coming: Shin Megami Tensei V
As one of the games first shown alongside the public reveal of the Switch itself, Shin Megami Tensei V has been one of the most-anticipated titles for the system. Two years on, Atlus still hasn’t committed to anything resembling an official release date, though they did at least finally confirm a North American version this past fall.
Part of the larger Megami Tensei brand that also includes the Persona and Devil Summoner offshoots, Shin Megami Tensei is technically the main series and goes all the way back to the 1980s. But in that time, there have only been four core numbered installments, making a new one a huge deal— and an even bigger one for Switch fans as it is exclusive to that platform. Maybe a 2019 release, especially in the West, is a long shot… but it’s not impossible.
19 Confirmed: Super Mario Maker 2
The original Super Mario Maker was one of the killer apps for the Wii U as well as perhaps the best example of a game that wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without a tablet controller. A sequel seemed like a foregone conclusion, but it was still exciting when Nintendo officially unveiled one in February— especially since it was also revealed that Super Mario Maker 2 was coming as early as June.
Among the confirmed additions to the game this time around are the ability to make sloped terrain, and the inclusion of assets and mechanics from Super Mario 3D World. Luigi is heavily featured in the promo art, hinting at a multiplayer component, but that has yet to be confirmed. Our fingers are definitely crossed that we’ll be able to create co-op levels.
18 Confirmed: Team Sonic Racing
There’s no denying that Mario is king of video game kart racing, but that’s not to say that his former rival, Sonic, doesn’t also know his way around a track. After a rough start with the Sonic Drift series, Sonic and company became legitimate contenders in the genre with the two Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing games— even if their titles are an awkward mouthful.
Abandoning the Sega fan service and focusing on just the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Team Sonic Racing is going to be a more story-driven affair but is still expected to have the same level of polish and fun on the track. While this means less character and level variety, that doesn’t mean the game itself won’t still be a blast. But we’ll all find out for sure when it hits the Switch this May.
17 Confirmed: Super Meat Boy Forever
One of the early success stories of the big indie gaming movement of the late-2000s, Super Meat Boy hearkened back to a time when games were easy to learn but difficult to master, humbling a generation of gamers who had gotten lazy with the the comparative easiness of modern gaming.
Original programmer Tommy Refenes is once again the sole credited programmer on Super Meat Boy Forever, which began life as a merely a mobile version of the original game but eventually evolved into a full-on sequel. Among the major differences this time around are randomly-generated levels said to be based on how the game is reading the player’s skill, and the ability to kick and punch. Nintendo proudly showcased the Switch version back in the summer of 2017, and it’s finally set to release this April.
16 Confirmed: Animal Crossing
It’s hard to believe, but the last traditional Animal Crossing game was New Leaf, released all the way back in 2012 for the 3DS. If you need proof that Nintendo had quickly lost faith in the Wii U, look no further than the company not even bothering to put a core AC game on the system.
Hopefully, that extra time has meant that the company has been working hard to finally reinvent the formula that they have essentially been recycling since the original installment when the AC series finally gets a new mainline entry for the Switch later this year. Though, after the insult that was Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival for Wii U, we’ll just be happy to play a good AC game again even if it is just more of the same ol’ Tom Nook servitude.
15 Confirmed: Astral Chain
While they sometimes have to take on ill-fated licensed fare to help keep the lights on, Platinum Games has largely developed a reputation for being one of the most consistent and reliable game developers of the last decade, especially in the realm of action games. And while they are also hard at work on the third installment of a certain trilogy starring a certain curvy witch— more on that later— for Switch, the always-busy team recently unveiled yet another Switch game that have in the pipeline that is slated for release this summer.
Little is known about Astral Chain beyond what can be culled from the debut trailer, but so far it looks like the typical stylish, over-the-top action that Platinum is best known for. We can’t wait to learn more about this promising title in the coming months.
14 Possibly Coming: Bayonetta 3
Nintendo did a lot wrong with the Wii U, but there are also some things they at least tried to do right— one of which was snatching up the sequel for cult hit Bayonetta and announcing it as a Wii U exclusive. From that point on, Bayonetta has essentially become a Nintendo-exclusive franchise, and we’re going to see more of her on the Switch beyond the ports of the first two games and her appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
All we’ve seen so far of Bayonetta 3 is a very brief teaser, but there are few game characters that we’re content to be teased by. The lack of new footage means it’s likely still a ways off, but Bayo likes to keep us on our toes, so we wouldn’t count her out for a surprise return sometime this year.
13 Confirmed: Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night
With the launch of Kickstarter, Keiji Inafune and Koji Igrashi— key figures behind Mega Man and Castlevania, respectively— saw an avenue with which to leave behind companies they felt stifled by and create true spiritual successors to the franchises that were being mishandled by their parent companies. Inafune’s attempt, Mighty No. 9, fell far short of that goal. We can only remain optimistic that IGA’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night fares much better.
The much, much delayed game was originally supposed to have a Wii U port— that’s how long ago Bloodstained was meant to be released. But its Nintendo representation moved to the Switch, and all signs point to Bloodstained finally being released sometime in the next few months. Don’t let us down, IGA. Castlevania fans have been put through enough heartbreak already.
12 Confirmed: Dragon Quest Builders 2
It might seem like a really short lead time between Dragon Quest Builders 2 and the original game, the latter of which only just hit the Switch last February. So how can the sequel be promising a July release of this year already? Well, Dragon Quest Builders was actually first released for the PS4 and Vita in Japan way back in January of 2016, so the developers have already had three years to work on part two even though Switch owners only just got the first game.
If anything, Square Enix are probably taking a risk releasing the sequel while so many people are probably still enjoying the original, but we’ll never complain about too many DQ games getting localized for the West— sometimes, we don’t see one for years at a time.
11 Confirmed: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
One of the most unfairly overlooked games of Nintendo’s jam-packed February Direct was the Switch port of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, originally released for PS4 and PC in 2017. Considering that developer Ninja Theory took a year bringing it to Xbox One and then another year on the Switch port, it’s obvious that they want each version to be the best that it can be. And if any version has a lot to prove in terms of what it can accomplish from a technical standpoint, it’s the Switch version.
Like most Ninja Theory games, Hellblade is a fast-paced action game at its core, but the story also explores complicated themes of psychosis, the depiction of which earned the game praise from neuroscience experts. If you missed the other versions, give it a try on the Switch when it releases this spring.
10 Confirmed: Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Even though Switch owners still haven’t been told for sure that they’re getting their own version of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy— though we have to imagine it’s a matter of “when” instead of “if”— Activision has at least confirmed a Switch version of their next PlayStation-era remaster coming this June.
Though they cheaped out a bit this time by only remastering one game instead of a collection of them, the original Crash Team Racing is the one that’s most worth having anyway. And as people are no doubt finally starting to get a little tired of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a great way to keep busy until the Switch finally gets its first truly new Mario Kart installment. Still, Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing, while not amazing, would’ve been a nice inclusion…
9 Confirmed: Dead By Daylight
While the words “online shooter” in terms of a Nintendo Switch game typically conjures images of cute octopuses spraying ink and characters popping llama piñatas while dabbing, there are actually more hardcore shooters on the Switch already and even more on the way. And one of the most interesting upcoming games that hopes to change the way people think about online shooters on the Switch is Dead by Daylight.
Due out in the fall, the Switch port of the PS4, XB1, and PC game is an online-only multiplayer game where five people play asymmetrically in teams of one versus four, with the four having to hide from and escape the one. Reviews for the other versions have been somewhat mixed, but most agree it’s an intriguing concept and it might find a nice home on the Switch.
8 Possibly Coming: Digimon Survive
While Digimon fans take offense when the franchise is dismissed as a Pokémon rip-off, there’s no disputing that it has failed to maintain the popularity of Nintendo’s monster battling brand. But Digimon has never really gone away, at least not in Japan— it just hasn’t had as much of a presence anywhere else in recent years. Bandai Namco is hoping to turn that around, however, with the upcoming Digimon Survive.
Looking to reinvent the brand a bit with a different gameplay style and a darker tone, Digimon Survive, true to its title, is about trying to keep your creatures alive under harsh conditions rather than capturing and battling them. Not much else is known about the game, including when it is actually going to come out, but a 2019 release isn’t outside of the realm of possibility.
7 Confirmed: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series actually dates all the way back to 1990, but the franchise stayed mostly in Japan until Marth and Roy showed up in 2001’s Super Smash Bros. Melee and got non-Japanese gamers curious. Nintendo then decided to test the waters by localizing the next entry in the Fire Emblem series in the West, and the franchise has been a worldwide property ever since.
Unfortunately, that also began a period where the number of new Fire Emblem games began to slow significantly, with only three core entries released since 2012. This makes the upcoming Three Houses— due this summer— a really big deal, especially since it’ll be the first mainline game not released for a strictly handheld system since 2007’s Radiant Dawn for Wii.
6 Confirmed: Luigi’s Mansion 3
The GameCube marked the first time a new Nintendo console didn’t have a Super Mario game ready to go on the first day of its release in the U.S. The shock and disappointment of this revelation put an unfair amount of pressure on launch game Luigi’s Mansion, which people were too hard on because it wasn’t a sufficient replacement for a Super Mario game— even though it was never trying to be.
Luckily, most people have come around on Luigi’s Mansion since, and the game eventually earned enough retrospective love that Nintendo finally gave the game both a sequel and a remake on the 3DS. Now, after nearly 20 years, the series returns to consoles with the upcoming release of Luigi’s Mansion 3, which doesn’t have a firm release date yet but Nintendo assures us will be sometime this year.
5 Confirmed: The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Nintendo likes to save the biggest surprises for the end of its Nintendo Directs, and they certainly had a big one ready to cap off their February one— a full-on remake of the Game Boy classic The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Switch. And coming by the end of this year, no less!
A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time get most of the love in terms of retro Zelda games, but everyone who has played Link’s Awakening— which also saw a colorized re-release on Game Boy Color— knows that it deserves its place among the best and most unique Zelda adventures. It’s definitely a great candidate for a remake, especially since it essentially marks the return of classic 2D-style Zelda on a Nintendo home console for the first time since the series went 3D.
4 Confirmed: Oninaki
In between the latest new installment of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts, Square Enix have been releasing a bunch of smaller-scale RPGs that hearken back to their 90s heyday. Following in that tradition of games like Bravely Degault for 3DS and Octopath Traveler for Switch comes the upcoming Oninaki, which feels like something of a bridge between those two halves of Square Enix’s portfolio and is headed up by one of the directors of none other than Chrono Trigger.
Another of the more mysterious games on this list, all we really know about Oninaki at this point is that its an action/RPG with gorgeous visuals, and impressive pedigree, and is due to hit the Switch sometime in 2019. And, really, what else is there to know in order to be excited for this game?
3 Confirmed: Daemon X Machina
Not sure what to make of this game’s weird title that reminds us of what bounced-back emails used to say? Hop on Switch right now and download the free demo for yourself, as that’ll certainly tell you far more about the game and whether you should care about it than we possibly could.
That aside, it’s a third-person mech action game that is playable by up to four people at once and comes courtesy of the developers of the Senran Kagura games. Whether or not Dameon X Machina will have any “bounce” remains to be seen, but it thus far seems unlikely. Snarkiness aside, it’s a really cool-looking games that should scratch a lot of itches when it comes out later this year.
2 Confirmed: Pokémon Sword/Shield
For all of Pokémon‘s history up to this point, there has been a clear division between the console games and the handheld games. Most importantly, only handhelds ever got the real, core installments in the series, with consoles just seeing spin-offs and such. Well, with the Switch blurring the lines between what is a console and what is a handheld, a new mainline Pokémon game will finally technically come to a console this year with the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. And, no, don’t believe the rumors of a third game, Pokémon Gun— that was simply a joke that got taken too far.
Three brand new starters have already been shown for Sword and Shield, and we’re sure that’s just the start of the reveals that Nintendo will slowly dole out in the coming months.
1 Possibly Coming: Metroid Prime Trilogy
We wanted to mostly stick to games that have at least been officially announced for this list, but for the final spot, we couldn’t resist jumping on the speculation bandwagon for Metroid Prime Trilogy HD/Remaster/whatever it’s going to be called if and when Nintendo finally just confirms it.
Following the heartbreaking announcement that Metroid Prime 4 is likely still years away, Nintendo needs to do something to keep Metroid fans happy and the franchise in people’s good graces. What better way to do that then to release a remaster of the Wii’s Metroid Prime Trilogy, only in HD? The many supposed leaks of the game seem to point to there being a pretty good chance it’s in development, and maybe even coming fairly soon. Just make it official already, Nintendo— and for a 2019 release, preferably.