Nintendo has been busy in 2021, shaking up the Switch by launching an OLED model while also introducing a digital library of N64 games for those who want a big hit of nostalgia.
But what can we expect from Nintendo in 2022? We’ve rounded up all of the news and rumours – as well as making our own educated guess – to try and determine what Nintendo has up its sleeve for the next 12 months. Check out our picks below:
A big years for Switch exclusives
There are a lot of great first-party games on the Switch, but it’s fair to say the stream of exclusives have turned into a trickle. New Pokémon Snap, WarioWare: Get It Together! and Metroid Dread all launched in 2021, but Nintendo otherwise relied heavily on remakes such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Fortunately, 2022 seems to be packed with a greater number of Nintendo exclusives, with Breath of the Wild 2, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Splatoon 3, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Bayonetta 3, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp and Kirby and the Forgotten Land all scheduled for release.
We’re not ruling out additional surprises either, as Nintendo likes to reveal release dates for games as late as possible. Metroid Prime 4 is most likely a long shot since Nintendo restarted the project in 2019, but we’re still not ruling out any shock reveals towards the end of 2021.
Game Boy games on Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo has been gradually expanding its library of classic games for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, with N64 gems such as Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time joining the library in 2021 (albeit at an extra premium).
Rumours suggest that Game Boy and Game Boy Color games could be next, potentially becoming available in 2021. If true, this could mean you’ll be able to play the likes of Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle and Seasons / Oracle of Ages and the first two generations of Pokémon.
We’ve also got our fingers crossed that GameCube games will join the library, as Wind Waker, Metroid Prime and Super Smash Bros. Melee are some of the very best games that Nintendo has ever published. But we’re probably being very optimistic that they’ll arrive on Switch in 2021, if ever.
The Mario movie
Okay, so we may be slightly cheating with this one since it isn’t a game or new piece of hardware, but you can’t underestimate how important 2021’s Mario movie could be for Nintendo.
The untitled Mario movie will be produced by Despicable Me’s Chris Meledandri, and features a star-studded cast. Chris Pratt will voice Mario, Jack Black will play Bowser and Seth Rogen will step into the role of Donkey Kong.
Nintendo has previously been cautious about licensing its properties for film adaptations, so to see a Mario film in the works is a watershed moment for the company. And if the film is successful, we could see more Nintendo-themed movies following, with the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Star Fox all great candidates to enter the world of Hollywood.
Wild card: Nintendo Switch Pro
It feels we’ve been waiting for the Nintendo Switch Pro to arrive for years now, and while we may have got the Switch OLED in late 2021, it unfortunately doesn’t offer the performance boost that many fans have been craving.
Bloomberg previously reported that several game developers are currently working on 4K games for the Nintendo Switch, despite the console lacking support for the Ultra HD resolution. This indicates that a 4K-capable Nintendo Switch could be in the works, although Nintendo has so far denied such claims.
It’s still very much possible that we could see a more powerful Switch arrive within the next couple of years though. The Switch OLED didn’t substantially improve the experience for those who like to play on a television, so Nintendo is under pressure to address that.
With March 2022 marking the Nintendo Switch’s 5th anniversary, it’s clear that the the console is in desperate need of an upgrade. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.