Despite the ongoing global pandemic and the economic devastation that has followed, 2020 has been a stellar year for Nintendo so far. Switch consoles have quickly become one of the most sought-after items for those in quarantine, with retailers everywhere struggling to keep them in stock and out of the hands of online scalpers. Add to this the incredible success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has surpassed its projected lifetime sales in just a single month, and it’s clear that Nintendo is barreling into the holiday season with some serious momentum behind it.
What’s surprising, then, is the fact that the company does not have a single concrete release date announced for any game coming to the Switch after mid-July. The uncertainty of today’s climate has certainly had an effect on the company’s plans regardless of its recent successes, leaving the remainder of its 2020 release lineup a complete mystery to consumers. Nintendo will certainly want to put out a few AAA titles to help keep the Switch relevant as next-gen consoles release during what is sure to be a crazy holiday shopping season. The question then is, which previously announced or rumored high-profile games could realistically be out by the end of the year?
Announced at the Game Awards in 2019, Bravely Default II is a sequel to Square Enix’s 2012 Final Fantasy-inspired JRPG for the 3DS. The story takes place on the continent of Excillent, where a new cast of characters will unite for a grand journey revolving around four elemental crystals that protect their land. The game is set to feature the same turn-based battle system from the previous installments, where players utilize Brave and Default commands to stock up action points and unleash them on enemies.
Square Enix has previously said that the game will be out sometime in 2020, although additional details have been relatively scarce since the March Nintendo Direct where the title was prominently featured. But a recent demo on the Switch seems to suggest that the game is pretty far along in development, so it may be safe to assume that we’ll still see Bravely Default II hit the Switch before the year’s end.
Initially known as Persona 5 S, Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is a crossover between Atlus’ Persona series and Koei Tecmo’s long-running Dynasty Warrior franchise. It picks up the story of Joker and the Phantom Thieves six months after the end of Persona 5, serving as a narrative sequel to the first game while completely changing up the turn-based gameplay in favor of the chaotic hack-and-slash action that Dynasty Warriors is known for.
The game has been out in Japan for a few months now without any word of an English localization, which is surprising given the success of Persona 5 Royal’s release here in the West. Yet a recent survey by Atlus West gauging fan interest in the game may be a hint of things to come and would certainly be a hit with fans looking for a portable version of the Phantom Thieves’ latest adventure.
It’s been almost three years since Platinum Games first revealed Bayonetta 3, and since then there’s been almost no news regarding the game besides a few cryptic comments from director Hideki Kamiya that it was still in development. Fans of the hack-and-slash action series have had to make due with Switch ports of the first two titles and a remastered version of Bayonetta for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, all the while hoping that the next Nintendo Direct will finally reveal when they can play the Umbra Witch’s latest outing.
This drought of information has transformed Bayonetta 3 from a relatively niche title into one of the Switch’s most anticipated games, something Nintendo could certainly use to its advantage this holiday season in the face of the impending launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The team at Platinum Games has reiterated several times that development is “progressing smoothly,” so hopefully it won’t be much longer before players are back in Bayonetta’s gun-adorned shoes.
Speaking of highly-anticipated games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 stands out as one of the Switch’s most exciting upcoming titles. Announced during Nintendo’s E3 Direct in 2019 with a short scene involving Link and Zelda uncovering a monster deep underground, news of a sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed games in recent memory had fans of the series clamoring for another adventure in the most detailed realization of Hyrule to date.
While it’s only been a little under a year since it was officially revealed, there’s still reason to believe we could see the title make a Holiday 2020 debut. Series producer Eiji Aonuma has said that Breath of the Wild 2 began as DLC before its size and scope eventually warranted a full project on its own. If the team is using the same engine as the first game and has been working on it for a couple of years, it’s entirely possible that Breath of the Wild 2 could make its surprise appearance as the holiday system seller Nintendo so desperately needs.
The recently circulating rumors of a 35th anniversary Super Mario collection that brings all of the plumber’s most cherished platformers to the Switch sounds like a dream come true for the legion of fans who’ve grown up with the character. Finally being able to play Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy in high definition and on a portable system would be a major selling point for the collection and could have Switch consoles flying off the shelves for the nostalgia alone.
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Nintendo has had an incredible year so far, but its holiday release lineup remains a mystery. Which AAA titles could carry the Switch into 2021?