Find out why one writer thinks the timing is right – especially in light of recent rumors – for the Nintendo NX console to have one of the strongest launches ever.
Right now, interest in Nintendo's current hardware offerings is waning. The 3DS, while still enjoying strong sales, is slowing down, and the Wii U has already been far outpaced by its competition. I point to the general lack of a strong library for the 3DS and Wii U, especially early in their lifespans, as one of the main reasons why the systems are not performing as well today. So the question is: Will Nintendo make the same mistake with the Nintendo NX? I don't think so. In fact, I think that the Nintendo NX is in a position to have one of the strongest launch lineups and launch windows in the history of the company when it comes to exclusive games.
First off, if the strong PlayStation 4 sales are any indication, it seems as though the vast majority of hardcore gamers have decided to skip the Wii U entirely. The fact that the Wii U wasn't adopted by all that many gamers puts Nintendo in a good position to pad the NX library with Wii U re-releases.
Recent rumors point to Nintendo planning on doing just that with the NX's early lineup of games. Rumors from a source that has proven reliable in the past points to Zelda for Wii U releasing on NX, which would be a huge launch title for the system. Moreover, there are also rumors that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be coming to NX as well, and the Super Smash Bros. series has generally been considered a system-seller. I don't need to tell you that having Zelda and Super Smash Bros. for the system on day one would be monumental for the system.
If we assume that Super Smash Bros. is indeed coming to the NX, then Nintendo will need to add additional content to it to convince gamers to pick it up again. The game should release with all the DLC characters included on-disc, including major third-party characters like Final Fantasy 7's Cloud Strife, along with a wealth of additional characters. These new characters, if comprised of more Nintendo icons that have yet to appear in the franchise in addition to more jaw-dropping third-party guest characters, could be enough to tempt people to buy the game again on a new platform. Furthermore, it would sweeten the pot for those that have yet to pick up the game for Wii U.
Of course, one could argue that if gamers really wanted to play these Wii U games, then they would buy a Wii U to play them. I agree with that point, but that's why Nintendo shouldn't rely entirely on Wii U re-releases to sell the NX. As I have stated previously, these Wii U re-releases should be used to pad the NX's early lineup of games, so the system avoids having a general lack of games like the 3DS and Wii U experienced in their early days.
So let's just assume for now that the rumors are true and Nintendo does plan on re-releasing the aforementioned Wii U games for the NX. They would make for a good start, but obviously Nintendo has to do much more to convince gamers to pick up a Nintendo NX system. Luckily for Nintendo fans, I think that the timing is right for Nintendo to bolster the NX's launch lineup and window with even more first-party releases. Now, let me explain why.
As it stands, Nintendo has numerous projects in the pipeline that have yet to see the light of day on Wii U, meaning that the company could shift development of the projects to the NX, if they haven't already. These include games from legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto, who is currently working on a title currently known as Project Giant Robot, as well as games from Nintendo's other developers and studios.
One such game could even be a brand new Metroid game from Retro Studios. The last game released by Retro was 2014's Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze, so whatever the company has been working on has been in development for at least the past two years. Considering Retro's past success with the Metroid franchise, it would make sense for Nintendo to allow the studio to develop a new Metroid Prime game for NX.
Releasing a proper Metroid Prime game for the NX would benefit Nintendo in more ways than one. Not only would it give the NX a powerful exclusive game, but it would also allow the company to regain the trust of disgruntled Metroid fans that have responded negatively to Metroid Prime: Federation Force on the 3DS.
Having said that, there have also been rumors that Retro Studios is working on a new IP. I think that the studio's past work speaks for itself, and shows that Retro is more than capable of delivering high quality gaming experiences. Even if fans have to wait longer for a Metroid Prime game on the NX, the timing is still right for Retro to be able to deliver its new game within the launch window of the new console.
And finally, there is third-party support to consider. Nintendo doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to third-party games, as companies have struggled to find strong sales on the Wii and Wii U platforms. This has resulted in the Wii U library missing out on a number of major games (alongside the fact that it's just not as powerful as PS4 or Xbox One), and that is something that Nintendo will need to rectify if it wants the NX to be successful.
Unfortunatley, Nintendo has reportedly kept NX dev kits out of the hands of some third-party developers. This may prove to be a mistake on Nintendo's part, but even so, it is unlikely that the company is withholding the NX from the biggest-third parties. In fact, both Electronic Arts and Capcom have expressed interest in NX development, so there is still hope for the system to receive some of biggest third-party games.
If third-parties won't bring their games to the NX, Nintendo could always pull a Bayonetta 2 and fund abandoned projects in exchange for exclusivity rights. Actually, it looks like Nintendo may already be doing that, as recent rumors from the same source that accurately predicted the reveal of Pokemon Sun and Moon point to the possibility of Nintendo funding Beyond Good & Evil 2. Whether or not that's true remains to be seen, but it would be a smart move by the company.
To recap, we have no way of knowing definitively what the Nintendo NX launch lineup will entail until Nintendo pulls back the curtain, but there is evidence that shows that it could have a very strong launch window. There is a possibility that the system will see the likes of Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Beyond Good & Evil 2, and a brand new game from Retro Studios – possibly even a new Metroid Prime title – all within its first year of existence. And these rumors are on top of projects that the public has no idea about, which could include anything from a new Mario game to innovative new IP.
We will probably have a better idea of what to expect from the system's launch come E3 this year, and hopefully my prediction of an especially strong library games for the NX in its early days comes to fruition. One thing's for certain: 2016 will be an interesting year to be a Nintendo fan.