“After a strong 2018, both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS add to their large and diverse libraries with two solid games starring Mario and friends,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. “Nintendo is giving fans on both platforms good options to kick off their entertainment in 2019.”
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe includes the original New Super Mario Bros. U and its more challenging sequel, New Super Luigi U, for a total of 164 levels.
Both games feature up to four player simultaneous local co-op. Players can choose between Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and newcomers Nabbit and Toadette. Both Nabbit and Toadette are geared for younger gamers, offering an assist mode. Nabbit is un-phased by enemies and earns extra lives, while Toadette can turn into Peachette, letting her double jump, float, and bounce up from pitfalls.
Note that you’ll need additional controllers to play with three or four players.
The recently arrived Nintendo 3DS version of 2009’s Bower’s Inside Story features revamped graphics and gameplay. The new mode, Bowser’s Jr.’s Journey, puts Bowser’s kid in the limelight as he gathers an army and wrecks havoc. Bowser’s Inside Story is fully compatible with the Nintendo 2DS and 2DS XL.
Square Enix has been a bit slower than other companies to jump on the Nintendo Switch wagon. But better late than never.
Last fall Nintendo announced that several Final Fantasy games were coming to Switch. Today Square Enix confirmed the release date for two of its remastered Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD and Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age will arrive on Switch, as well as Xbox One, in April. The remasters were formerly exclusive to PlayStation and PC.
To celebrate the announcement, Akihiko Yoshida created a new piece of artwork showcasing the characters from Final Fantasy XII.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD will launch on April 16. The HD remaster originally released in 2013 on PlayStation 3 (and again on PlayStation 4 in 2015, and PC in 2016), and combines both Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel, X-2. Both games launched on the PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s, and Final Fantasy X is regularly ranked as one of the best Final Fantasy games ever made. It represents the first truly modern Final Fantasy game, with voice acting and a fully three dimensional world.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD will also be launching on an Xbox console for the first time, as it also arrives on Xbox One on April 16.
But wait there’s more. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is also coming to Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, on April 30. The Zodaic Age version is an HD remaster of the 2006 RPG that launched at the tail end of the PS2’s lifespan. Like the FF X remaster, it uses the improved international version along with updated audio and visual improvements.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age originally launched on PS4 in 2017. FF 12 is often ranked as one of the more underrated Final Fantasy games that didn’t receive the love it deserved when it originally released.
The Nintendo Switch is selling incredibly well, especially after the holiday season, yet Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa is looking toward the future.
In a recent interview with Japanese website Nikkei (and translated by Nintendo Everything), Furukawa spoke frankly about Nintendo’s past and future as gaming console developers:
We aren’t really fixated on our consoles. At the moment we’re offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software – and that’s what we’re basing how we deliver the “Nintendo experience” on. That being said, technology changes. We’ll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.
It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles. Nintendo’s history goes back even farther than that, and through all the struggles that they faced the only thing that they thought about was what to make next. In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles – flexibility is just as important as ingenuity.
The console comments are a bit surprising considering the Switch is almost lightning in a bottle. While it doesn’t have the explosive popularity of the Wii it’s already out sold the Wii U. Every game developer is pressured from fans to put their game on the Switch if they haven’t already and Nintendo has smartly jumped on the indie game craze.
Furukawa goes on to mention the huge market of mobile games and how he’d like to improve Nintendo’s presence in the mobile game space. Nintendo began releasing mobile games in 2016 beginning with Super Mario Run, followed by Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in 2017. The only mobile game published by Nintendo in 2018 was Dragalia Lost, an RPG developed by Cygames that’s become popular in Japan.
A mobile version of Mario Kart, called Mario Kart Tour, is due out before the end of Nintendo’s financial year (March 2019).
Clearly Nintendo would love to have another runaway mobile success like Pokémon GO, which was licensed to Niantic.
Furukawa also mentions movies and even theme parks as different revenue streams, and appears to be amenable to licensing their popular characters for such ventures. Furukawa recently replaced Tatsumi Kimishima as Nintendo president last summer.
If you received a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo 3DS this holiday season (or your already have one), you’ll want to head over to the Nintendo eShop for the New Year’s Digital Sale. From now until Jan. 10 you’ll find Switch and 3DS games up to 50% off. Hopefully you saved those Nintendo eShop gift cards!
Highlights include Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (25% off), Octopath Traveler (30% off), and Starlink: Battle for Atlas Digital Version (50% off).
A large number of games on our 2018 list of most anticipated games were delayed into 2019 – which is all the more reason to get excited for the new year! Next year will kick off with the very long awaited sequel, Kingdom Hearts 3, easily one of the single most anticipated games of the year. From there things get a bit less friendly-family, though still exciting, with the likes of Anthem, Mortal Kombat 11, and the Division 2.
The Switch is still going strong but as always Nintendo keeps its games close to its chest. For the purposes of this list, only games with 2019 release dates will be included.
Here are our most anticipated games of 2019!
For Younger Kids:
Kingdom Hearts III
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO Date: January 29, 2019
The Kingdom Hearts series has become a bit of a convoluted mess of a story since its original inception back in the PS3 era. But it’s also a beloved series that uniquely combines JRPG storytelling and world building with official Disney characters and settings. A lot of Disney and Pixar films have released since Kingdom Hearts II in 2005 and we’re excited to see the worlds of Toy Story, Monster Inc, Frozen, and Tangled come to life.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Platforms: Switch Date: Spring 2019
Yoshi’s Woolly World was an incredibly delightful 2D platformer on the Wii U. Yoshi’s Crafted World looks like the perfect sequel, this time featuring a world of cardboard and paper. Levels feature a unique 2-in-1 design as you can flip them to traverse the backside to uncover more paths and secrets.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Platforms: Switch Date: January 11, 2019
Nintendo knows not nearly enough gamers bought a Wii U and experienced many of the excellent games on that system. Many big Switch games are ports of Wii U games, and four-player side-scrolling New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe was is an obvious addition to that roster. The Switch version will feature two new playable heroes – Nabbit and Toadette and combines all the levels from New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U.
Although it’s releasing near the same time as the highly anticipated third film in the How to Train Your Dragon series, the game stars all new characters: newbie dragon rider Scribbler and his unique dragon hybrid Patch. The gameplay looks a lot like Skylanders, and we mean that as a big compliment.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Platforms: PS4, XBO, Switch Date: June 21, 2019
Mario and company aren’t the only kart racers around. If you don’t have a Switch (or even if you do) and pine for some alternative family-friendly multiplayer racing, Crash Bandicoot’s Crash Team Racing is being remastered with new tracks, karts, and online multiplayer. Better yet, the formerly PS-exclusive series is coming also to Xbox One and Switch.
For Older Kids and Teens:
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO Date: February 22, 2019
Sure it may be “BioWare Does Destiny with Mech Suits” but none of that sounds unappealing. Anthem pits players as Freelancers who customize their own Javelin mech suits to combat the many exotic and powerful threats around the alien planet. The shared world features up to four players joining missions together. BioWare’s trademark romanceable companions won’t be a feature, but judging from the trailers the world will be full of interesting characters and events.
Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
Platforms: PC Date: February 14, 2019
Global warming and climate change are hot button topics, and Civ is diving in head first with its second expasnsion. Gathering Storm will add natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and active volcanoes. A new climate system will increase these disasters as Civs grow bigger and burn climate-destroying resources like coal and oil. Gathering Storm will also add eight new Civs and two new scenarios.
Platforms: PC, PS4 Date: August 27, 2019
One of the biggest cult classics in gaming, the original Shenmue series on the Dreamcast failed commercially with its huge budget and production, but nostalgic fans helped crowdfund this third game. Shenmue 3 became the highest-funded video game in Kickstater (over $6 million), and we’re all desperate to see if that translates into a long-awaited winning formula for this unique adventure series.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Platforms: PC, XBO Date: 2019
Ori and the Blind Forest was a stunningly gorgeous 2D action-platformer that combined tight controls, intriguingly intertwined level designs, and a gripping tale of loss, fear, and protection. The sequel wouldn’t need to change much to make it one of our most anticipated indie games of the year.
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO Date: 2019
Like Shenmue 3, Psychonauts 2 is another infamous cult classic that is being revived thanks to a large crowd funding campaign. Game designer luminary Tim Schafer is known of many quality games over the years, but none as much as Pyschonauts, a 3D action game with Double Fine’s trademark humor and goofy characters about government agents who enter the minds of others. The surreal level designs and honest themes of mental illness should translate well into a modern sequel.
For Mature Teens and Parents:
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO Date: February 15, 2019
Post-apocalyptic Russia has never looked so good. Metro Exodus looks far bigger and more ambitious than the previous Metro games, while still incorporating an intriguing blend of survival horror, stealth, and first-person action.
Devil May Cry 5
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO Date: March 8, 2019
Capcom made waves this year with Monster Hunter: World, and are looking to continue that success with the fifth installment in the over-the-top action series Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry 5 unites previous protagonists Dante and Nero along with a new third character. Expect lots of hacking, slashing, and musical mayhem.
The Division 2
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO Date: March 15, 2019
The Division was a rough yet compelling multiplayer third person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic New York devastated by a pandemic. Over the months and years Ubisoft and Massive have supported the game with excellent updates, patches, and DLC. The sequel moves from New York City to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. Look for a beta to start up before launch.
Mortal Kombat 11
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch Date: April 23, 2019
One of the biggest names in games, let alone fighting games, was just recently announced at The Game Awards. The trailer was horrendously bloody and violent, which is exactly what we’d expect from a new Mortal Kombat. NetherRealm Studios is one of the best fighting game developers in the world and Mortal Kombat is definitely the favorite child.
Platforms: PlayStation 4 Date: April 26, 2019
Days Gone has been in development for several years as we’ve seen E3 stage demos since 2016. It stars rebellious biker Deacon in a zombie apocalypse that’s far less urban than most zombie fiction. A smart Deacon can use the dynamic weather, day/night cycle and wildlife to avoid and distract hordes of zombies – or lead them right into other people.
It’s shaping up to be a great year, and there’s so much more we don’t know about. Look for some exciting Nintendo news in the months to come. Happy New Year!