The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is still largely a mystery, but Nintendo is poised to have a strong 2022 even aside from its most anticipated game. BOTW 2 wasn’t at Nintendo’s February 2022 Direct, which has reignited speculation about a potential delay, even though the last official word from the developer indicated a release date sometime this year. Only being a few months into the year, there is still plenty of time for BOTW 2 to finish up development and release before the calendar turns, but even if it does get pushed into 2023, Nintendo has plenty of other games launching on the Switch throughout the year.
For many, the Breath of the Wild sequel is the most anticipated game coming from Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda is a flagship franchise, but BOTW appealed to a broad audience, and was widely celebrated for its enticing open world exploration and physics sandbox elements. With relatively little footage from the game, it’s hard not to speculate, but it may be best to stop thinking about BOTW 2 and instead look toward upcoming games that are more tangible. Even titles that similarly lack lengthy gameplay showcases, like Bayonetta 3, feel more likely to come in 2022, in part because of their more recent appearances in Nintendo’s marketing.
Nintendo already had a strong start to 2022 with the release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Being one of the largest media franchises in the world, Pokémon is practically guaranteed to sell well, but Arceus brought a reinvention of the video game series’ formula that certain fans have been hoping would come for years. Game Freak and The Pokémon Company are never interested in resting on laurels, though, and Pokémon will continue its future of open world map design with the recently announced Scarlet and Violet. The beginning of March also saw the release of Triangle Strategy from Artdink and Square Enix. Although it’s not a blockbuster like Pokémon, Triangle Strategy received admirable reviews, and helps the Switch continue to be a destination for fans of tactics games.
Although Nintendo hardly let Arceus get any breathing room before the announcement of Scarlet and Violet, Gen 9 is still a ways away, most likely coming out prior to this year’s holiday season. For now, many Switch owners will likely be getting ready for the release of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. In a manner similar to Arceus, this is the beginning of a new era for Kirby, since Forgotten Land is the first title in the series to feature fully three dimensional gameplay. Kirby and the Forgotten Land‘s demo is available, and the platformer sees Kirby whisked away to a post-cataclysmic realm, where a group known as the Beast Pack has captured the Waddle Dees that were brought alongside the titular hero. Shortly after Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Nintendo Switch Sports is bringing the wildly popular Wii Sports formula to Nintendo’s latest console.
Nintendo’s biggest mascot is slated to make numerous appearances in 2022, in games both new and old. Mario Strikers: Battle League was a surprising announcement from the February Direct, and is expected to arrive on June 10. It will finally bring a third game to the Mario Strikers series, which last had an entry on the Wii in 2007. Mario + Rabbids will also receive a sequel in 2022 – Sparks of Hope. The collaboration between Nintendo and Ubisoft brings another tactical combat game to the Switch, but drops the grid-based battle system of its predecessor. Mario is not only starring in those new games, but is bringing new content to the Switch’s top seller. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s lazy but genius DLC will see an astounding 48 new tracks gradually come to the game by the end of 2023.
Nintendo’s 2022 schedule seems so packed because of the numerous additions to existing franchises, with Bayonetta, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Splatoon looking to follow suit. All have a planned 2022 release window for their third entries, although September’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is also part of the larger Xeno series that has been going since 1998. Bayonetta 3 has had a mysterious development cycle similar to that of BOTW 2; it was announced in 2017, but just recently resurfaced with some gameplay footage in September 2021, where a release window of 2022 was announced. Splatoon 3 has a Summer 2022 release window, and is expected to bring back the single-player, co-op, and competitive multiplayer elements of its predecessors.
2022 continues Nintendo’s efforts at rereleasing classic titles as well. A Nintendo Switch Online subscription has long entitled players to emulated NES and Super Nintendo games, but just last year the more expensive Expansion Pack tier added N64 and Sega Genesis games to the service. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and F-Zero X are the two latest additions to that line-up. EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound (Mother and Mother 2 in Japan) were also rereleased to some fanfare earlier this year on NSO, but many fans are still hoping for an official localization of Mother 3.
Although Nintendo still hasn’t brought Mother 3 to Western audiences, another elusive, classic JRPG is coming to the Switch by way of a remake in July. Live A Live and its notoriously debated pronunciation originally released only in Japan on the Super Famicom in 1994. It will now be available with visual updates to an HD-2D style and brand new voice acting. The first two Advance Wars games are set to get a similar treatment in 2022, but have recently been delayed without a new date. The Game Boy Advance strategy titles are getting remade for the Switch as part of Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp.
Nintendo’s bountiful first-party offerings have expectedly taken the spotlight, but the Switch’s release slate is rounded out by numerous third-party titles coming in 2022. Ubisoft is bringing the exploits of perhaps its most famed Assassin to Nintendo’s platform with Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection. It includes three games starring Ezio Auditore da Firenze during the Italian Renaissance – Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations. Valve’s best games are also coming to Switch with Portal: Companion Collection, a bundle of both Portal games, returning to consoles for the first time in over 10 years. The tradition of old games coming to Switch continues with the April 20 rerelease of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, although its sequel has sadly been excluded.
More recent games – No Man’s Sky and Outer Wilds – are also getting ported to the Switch in 2022. Plenty of new releases are coming to the Switch as well, like LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, MLB The Show 22, Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and Sonic Frontiers. It often feels like the Switch gets left behind when compared to PC and other consoles, but 2022 is shaping up to be a stacked year for Nintendo‘s console. There are many games to look forward too, regardless of whether or not the sequel to Breath of the Wild actually releases this year.
Next: Every Sign That Points Toward BOTW 2 Being Delayed Past 2022