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What to expect from Nintendo in 2021: Switch upgrade, new exclusives, and more

Compared to previous years, this has been a rather quiet one for Nintendo. It’s slate of exclusives has been notably downscaled, although the circumstances of a global pandemic have ensured that Nintendo Switch continues to sell better than ever. 

Despite a lack of massive blockbusters, Nintendo arguably finds itself in a very enviable position as it heads into 2021. Anything could happen in terms of hardware, software and what direction the company decides to take with them. I love this aura of unpredictability and what exactly Nintendo could be planning. 

I’ve compiled a couple of my big predictions for Nintendo in 2021, touching on all the big games, rumours of a new console and other things I’d love to see from the Japanese legend in the next 12 months. Some of them are a bit silly, so apologies in advance for that. 

Switch Lite

A brand new Switch console

Rumours have been circulating about a new and more powerful Switch console for months now, with major outlets claiming that Nintendo plans to unleash it in the early months of 2021. Given the vanilla hardware is approaching its fourth birthday, it’s about time such a move was made to keep up with technological advances.

While the majority of Switch exclusives look fantastic, they can often be held back by performance problems and resolution boundaries that prevent them from being truly special. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening are a few recent examples of titles which would benefit massively from a small boost in power. 

It remains unclear what sort of power and design a new console like this would support, or if it even exists, but 2021 would be the perfect time for Nintendo to make such a reveal. Third-party ports such as The Outer Worlds and DOOM Eternal would actually feel satisfying to play on more powerful hardware, instead of being an inconsistent experience disguised as a technical showcase. 

Breath of the Wild 2

Breath of the Wild 2

This will undoubtedly be Nintendo’s biggest exclusive of 2021, acting as a sequel to a masterpiece which redefined The Legend of Zelda franchise. It’s bound to be fantastic, and the single trailer we’ve seen thus far teases a departure from normality with a darker, more serious tone and the potential for Princess Zelda as the main protagonist. 

Breath of the Wild 2 will seemingly use the same design of Hyrule as its predecessor, but will take place after the kingdom has been saved from Calamity Canon. Upon exploring beneath Hyrule Castle, Link and Zelda stumble upon an ancient evil that will likely need vanquishing once again. 

The Hero of Time is seemingly injured or infected by something in the trailer, hinting that he might need saving this time around. Only time will tell, but it’s likely we will see plenty of Breath of the Wild 2 in the coming months. 

Updates on big exclusives

At the time of writing, Nintendo’s exclusive slate is looking a little dry. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity closed out the year with a bang, but it will be a number of months until a new experience graces the platform worth shouting about. Details on Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4 and other major titles remain light, so we expect some big updates in 2021. 

It’s very likely that new exclusives will rear their head in the coming months from Nintendo’s selection of first-party studios, with Monolith Soft and others working on projects in relative secrecy. Plenty of questions remain unanswered, and I genuinely can’t wait to see what they’re hiding. 

More classic games on Switch

Super Mario 3D All-Stars have proven to be a massive success on Switch, which means that similar remastered bundles for Nintendo Switch are likely on the horizon. While we love revisiting classics, charging full price for three of them with minimal improvements is a bit of a stretch.

It sold millions, so I bet we’ll see Pokemon, Zelda and other classic franchises will appear before long. On the bright side, perhaps we’ll see Gameboy and DS games on the Nintendo Switch Online service next year?

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