2020. Twenty-twenty - the future. There's something about that number which sounds impossibly advanced to anybody born in the 20th century, but we're almost there. By now we were supposed to be wearing silver jumpsuits, piloting flying cars and ingesting nutrient pellets in place of food, but it seems we can't even get hoverboards right. What's going on?
Still, we are living through a golden era of video games. There's never been such a wide range of different gaming experiences available across platforms, and Nintendo is part of the gaming vanguard with Switch and the way it dovetails beautifully with our gaming habits as we enter the third decade of the 21st century. Even if you argue that things were better back in the day, retro enthusiasts enjoy a multitude of ways to play the classics these days and the sheer accessibility, variety and quality of video games available is staggering.
With Nintendo in a fantastic position with Switch and Switch Lite, and with some big-name games on the horizon, the gaming future is looking rather rosy, too. Below we've collected the Switch games that we're most looking forward to in the coming year, in more-or-less release order. We'll need some luck to see the last couple on the list launch in 2020, but let us dream, hmm?
Kicking 2020 off with an old friend, the doctor is back when the imaginatively titled Dr Kawashima's Brain Training for Nintendo Switch schedules an appointment in early January. Having spent so many hours on DS working through the polygonal practitioner's puzzles, we're eager to see if our brain has aged along with the rest of us over the past few years.
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One of the Wii U ports we wanted to see make the jump to Switch, we didn't hold out too much hope. Fortunately, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore should help spread appreciation for the original's quirky mash up of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series beyond those few who played it on Nintendo's previous console. Anyone who did play the original found an engrossing, off-the-wall showbiz tale with a dusting of Fire Emblem favourites, and we're itching to see how it holds up on Switch.
The HD version of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath originally released 10 years ago, 5 years after the initial launch on Xbox. The series creator has had some mixed feelings over the years when it comes to Nintendo, but we're delighted to see Stranger's Wrath make its way to Switch and we'll be checking it out in January to see how it compares to our memories of the original.
As you might have twigged from the subtitle, Darksiders Genesis is a top-down hack-and-slash prequel to the Darksiders Trilogy. It's out on PC and Stadia as we speak, but the console version arrives in February 2020 - presumably benefiting from post-launch tweaks and patches from the other versions.
What has us excited, though, is the fact that Airship Syndicate is developing this entry in the series. When Vigil Games - the developer of the first two Darksiders titles - closed down, most of the staff found their way to either Gunfire Games (who developed Darksiders III) or Airship Syndicate (responsible for the thoroughly enjoyable Battle Chasers: Nightwar), so we're intrigued to see they can do with their old IP.
There's no shortage of excellent fighters on Switch, but there's always room for more and the heritage of this one has us most excited to put it through its paces on Nintendo's hybrid console. Samurai Shodown released on other consoles this year to positive reviews, and the Switch version is already available in Japan. We here in the west have to wait until Q1 2020 to jump in, and we can't wait to see if this Switch port can live up to the other great ports we've seen on the console.
SpongeBob is 20. Take a moment and let that soak in...
Back? Yes, everyone's favourite absorbent, yellow and porous undersea resident SpongeBob SquarePants is returning to consoles in remade form for SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. The original 3D platformer was from the GameCube/PS2/Xbox era and is generally remembered fondly. With games like New Super Lucky's Tale and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, we've seen a mini-renaissance of quality platformers in the classic-style mould, but there's always room for more. Assuming developer Purple Lamp Studios can serve up a quality platforming patty, we're looking forward to tucking in.
Animal Crossing isn't a game really, it's a lifestyle. It's been a while now since Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS and the hybrid nature of the Switch suits the relaxed gameplay of the series perfectly. With a host of new additions and tweaks to the formula, we can't wait to take Tom Nook up on his island getaway offer and jet off to Animal Crossing: New Horizons on 20th March.
It's Minecraft, but without the crafting. That might sound like a very strange idea, but we're intrigued to see how Minecraft works as a relaxed dungeon crawler. The game's being developed in Unreal Engine 4, so we're expecting great things from the Switch version - we'll find out how it holds up in April.
Trials of Mana, a fantastic Japan-only Super Famicom RPG known as Seiken Densetsu 3, only recently received an official localisation and release in the west as part of the excellent Collection of Mana Switch release. As a sequel to Secret of Mana, it was always likely to be good, but such was the quality of the game and the localisation that we're gagging to play it again in its remade, reimagined form.
When Joker was announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we all assumed that Persona 5 would be coming to Switch. After all, it released on the PlayStation 3, so it's tough to argue that the Switch would struggle to run the game. However, while P5 is getting an updated release with Persona 5 Royal on PS4, there's still no sign of that acclaimed game heading Switchwards.
Instead, we're getting a hack and slash Dynasty Warriors crossover in the form of Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers. It's out in Japan in February, with a western release to follow. While it might not be the game we were hoping for, we've seen some excellent Warriors crossovers in the form of Fire Emblem Warriors and Hyrule Warriors, and this could be an equally tasty mash up, so while we'll keep hoping for Atlus to bring Persona 5 proper to Nintendo's console, we're intrigued to see what Omega Force has in store. Love that Joker.
Originally scheduled for 2019, this slipped into 2020 with the Switch version coming at some undefined later date following id Software's 20th March launch on other consoles. Perhaps the Venn diagram of Animal Crossing and DOOM players had too much crossover so id pushed DOOM Eternal back?
While the delay is disappointing, we'd rather DOOM Eternal on Switch spent a little more time in the oven and didn't come out until it's absolutely ready. Panic Button's Switch version of DOOM (2016) was one of the first 'miracle' ports we saw on the system, and with this sequel having been developed with full awareness needing it to scale down to Switch's mobile chipset, we're confident that this will be worth the wait and should be more than a match for its hellish predecessor.
We're huge fans of the original Streets of Rage trilogy, so the fact that Guard Crush Games and DotEmu are bringing back Axel, Blaze and Adam for a fourth outing fills us with excitement and just a touch of trepidation. Still, from everything we've seen so far, the care, attention and sheer love that's being poured into Streets of Rage 4 is hugely encouraging and we cannot wait to head out onto the streets once more and deliver some grand justice to the Galsias and Donovans roaming the neighbourhood.
2019's Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes was an enjoyable slice of stylish hack-and-slash featuring everyone's favourite lightsword-wielding otaku warrior, but news that the full-fat sequel No More Heroes 3 was in development got fans really jazzed. Expect cool jackets, sweet shades and porcelain thrones when Travis Touchdown returns for his third course which is still targeting a release sometime in 2020.
If there's one genre where the poor old Switch is really struggling, it's role-playing games. Truly, there are so few quality RPGs on the system that it's tough to---
Hang on, that's not right. Switch is positively swimming in excellent RPGs. Still, the more the merrier and Xenoblade Chronicles is a particularly fine example of the genre, so we're psyched to see the Definitive Edition joining its sequel on the system. Who doesn't love a big sword?
Okay, we've seen next to nothing of the Umbra Witch in 2019, not even at E3, so it's about time we get a serious dose of Bayonetta's trademark sass and sizzle. To be fair, we did get Platinum Games' excellent Astral Chain last year - one of the best Switch surprises of 2019 - but the lady with the magical hair has been uncharacteristically quiet for too long. 2020 is her year, surely?
Hmm, okay now we're starting to get a little optimistic. Having been scrapped and restarted at the beginning of last year, with veteran Metroid Prime team Retro Studios now at the helm, we'd love to see this filling in the Holiday 2020 window on Nintendo's release schedule. While that might be wishful thinking (Retro was advertising for an Art Director for the game as late as June 2019), we do expect to see more info on Metroid Prime 4 this year, though - and after the false start, Nintendo knows it'll have to deliver something truly special and we can't wait to scan every morsel they send our way this year.
In a similar vein to Metroid Prime 4, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we see The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 release in 2020. It is, after all, building on the framework and tech already laid out by its predecessor, and it has been in development for some time now. Still, it's rare for Nintendo to rush when it comes to its flagship franchises - one of the reasons why we'll be playing Animal Crossing in 2020 and not right now - but who can say. Right now, Nintendo has no other obvious candidate for a big Holiday 2020 release, but who can say what the next Nintendo Direct will bring.
Whatever happens, we can expect more information on the next Zelda game. 2020 is shaping up to be very interesting indeed, and we can't wait to see what else Nintendo has up its sleeve.
Those are the games that we're looking forward to in 2020, but what are yours? Let us know what you're excited for with a comment in the usual place.