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Five Launch Titles Enough for Nintendo Switch?



Thus far, there are only five titles slated for the Nintendo Switch launch1-2-Switch, Just Dance 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildSkylanders: Imaginators, and Super Bomberman R.  While that might not seem like much, here’s why that’s more than enough and why less weight should be placed on console launch lineups in general.

The Legend of Zelda

For starters, one of the titles is a Zelda game, and while that might not float everyone’s boat equally, for most Nintendo fans that’s one of five to ten major reasons to buy a Nintendo console (ie. 1. Zelda, 2. Mario, 3. Metroid, 4. Pokémon, 5. Animal Crossing, etc.).  Not to mention that the particular Zelda title launching with the Switch looks to be massive and should sustain player’s interest at least until the next major title comes out.  While my time with the game has been brief, twenty minutes at E3 was enough to convey that Breath of the Wild was an all new breed of Zelda, with more to see, do, and explore than ever before.  And with Nintendo claiming that Breath of the Wild‘s map is twelve times the size of Twilight Princess‘s, it promises to be a truly deep, rich world to explore and, at first glance, certainly seems to have more vertical depth and a notable…breadth of the wild for players to traverse.  A completionist run through of a closed world Zelda title can easily run up to forty to sixty hours, so expecting Breath of the Wild, an open world game, to match if not double that seems like a sensible prediction.  Consequently, a play through of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild should more than entertain early adopters of the Switch until…

Near Launch Titles

Only five games may launch on March 3rd when the Switch does, but within the launch window of Nintendo’s latest console that number more than doubles.  In fact, three or more titles are expected to launch in March itself including Has-Been HereosI am Setsuna, and the adorably intriguing indie title Snipperclips, Cut It Out Together.  Not long after, the next new, major title for the Switch and the newest Nintendo IP, Arms, is due out sometime in the spring.  Perhaps more so than 1-2-SwitchArms looks capable of demonstrating just what the Switch controllers, the Joy-Cons, are capable of.  Reminiscent of Wii Sports and Punch-Out, Arms is described by Nintendo as having “depth, challenge, and replayability,” favorable words in any gamer’s lexicon.  Arms could easily be the competitive, multiplayer counterpart to the enormous, Zelda single-player experience Switch owners need to switch things up and keep the console from getting stale early on.   If not, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe certainly fits the bill.  A phenomenal Wii U experience both alone and with friends, Mario Kart 8 was undoubtedly a high point for the last Nintendo console, and Deluxe looks to be the best version of a near flawless game.  Just look at that sexy graphic design in the title!  Toting new racers, courses, karts, power-ups, and a long-awaited, previously missing battle mode, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features more than enough to justify a repurchase, on top of including all of the original title’s content, including the sensational DLC.  With only eight million copies of the original sold, this is a rare opportunity for millions to experience for the first time one of the best racing games of our time on what will hopefully be a far more successful and capable console.  Don’t let Mario Kart 8 Deluxe drive-by when it releases April 28th, shortly after the Switch launch.

2017 Titles

That’s all just in the relative launch window of the console!  The rest of the year looks equally if not more promising for the console with first and third party titles launching throughout.  And, with exclusives ranging from the magnificent looking sequel to Splatoon in Summer, to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 later in the year, to a brand new, truly unique 3D Mario title projected for the Holiday in the form of Super Mario Odyssey, on top of titles with releases to be determined, 2017 looks like a positive beginning to Nintendo’s newest project.  All of this goes without mentioning the inevitable return or follow-up to…

Virtual Console

While Nintendo has been relatively quiet concerning its virtual library of titles, it’s unmistakable that Nintendo’s massive library of past titles will once again be available for purchase in some capacity.  Whether dreams will come true and previous Virtual Console purchases will be linked to a player’s Nintendo Account and be immediately available at launch or some unspecified date at a low to no cost point remains to be seen.  Perhaps it will be a perk of Nintendo’s eventually paid online service.  With the Switch fully revealed, maybe this will be the hot speculation topic of the next couple of months, but until Nintendo makes a statement, there’s no saying.  At least not beyond saying old titles will be obtainable on the Switch at some point.  I guarantee it.  What remains to be said is that this is yet another excellent way to flesh out the launch of the console and the year ahead of the Switch.  Should rumors prove true and select GameCube games be downloadable on the Switch, 2017 could feature some brilliant throwbacks as well as new titles, perhaps to prepare gamers for titles to come.  Super Mario Odyssey has already been compared to Super Mario Sunshine, perhaps players will be invited to make the comparison for themselves. Perhaps the future of Luigi’s Mansion rests on the Switch, and players can once more take a spooky journey through the spin-off’s eerie roots.   Many rumors surrounding the Switch proved true, let’s hope these rumors come true too.

Waiting May Be Worth It

Some of us are day one kind of people.  We like midnight showings of movies, we buy games immediately even if we don’t know that we’ll tackle them as quickly, and we want the latest piece of hardware on our TV stands or in our pockets as soon as possible.  For those like me, and diehard Nintendo fans to boot (have you noticed I write for a site called Goomba Stomp and host NXpress podcast?  I like Nintendo…like a lot.), the Switch has presented more than enough reason to purchase immediately, and my body is ready for the next Nintendo console. But, for everyone else, it might be worth waiting to buy the Switch.  While I want the console to succeed immediately and not to get caught in the vicious cycle the Wii U did where developers weren’t developing for the console because it didn’t have enough adopters, and gamers didn’t adopt the console ’cause it didn’t have enough support (for the record, it had more than enough of a library to justify purchasing it, especially by the end of its life), the thing about consoles is that waiting to buy in typically pays off.  Consoles get progressively better, cheaper, and come packaged with more later in the life cycle.  While $300 is more than justifiable for a portable home console (that’s amazing technology!), perhaps waiting to buy the Switch is the proper solution for many on the fence.  The library will only get stronger, the pack-ins better, and the services more sound.  While it may be worth it for the diehard Zelda fan to strike quickly, especially if they want to get their hands on the phenomenally enticing Special or Master Edition of Breath of the Wild, others may find many benefits to waiting. Especially since gamers seem to always have a backlog of games waiting to be completed.  Maybe now is a better time to finally tackle The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword if you’ve never beaten it before discovering an all new Hyrule in Breath of the Wild.

Conversely, backlogs provide excellent diversions during the slow seasons in gamers’ lives.  Whether the Switch will have any slow points in its first year remains to be seen.  Many announcements may await us, and E3 could be a source of immense joy for countless Switch owners.  Time will tell.  What’s true now is that less weight should be placed on a console’s launch titles.  Understandably, gamers want to reap the benefits of their investments immediately, but, historically, launch lineups are chalk full of games that are nothing short of a waste of money.  At the risk of sounding reductive, one of the greatest consoles of our time, the Xbox 360, featured nearly twenty titles at launch, none of which are even mentioned today, except for maybe Perfect Dark Zero, mentioned because of how disappointing a follow up it is.  The N64, on the other, only launched with two titles in the U.S., one of which, Super Mario 64, revolutionized 3D platformers forever and is considered by many to be one of the best games ever made.  But all too often the games a console is remembered for come much later in the console’s lifecycle.  No one talks about the Western launch title GUN for 360, but Red Dead Redemption, which launched five years after, is still fondly remembered and is receiving a well-earned sequel.  When it comes to launch titles, I’d opt for quality over quantity any day.  While the Nintendo Switch admittedly has a light launch lineup, one of its launch titles is the most promising game of 2017, and I for one can’t wait for the console’s launch, even with only five titles.  Personally, I’m about ready to make the switch to a new console and March 3rd can’t come soon enough!

Tim is not the droids you are looking for. He resides quietly in the Emerald City where he can often be found writing, reading, watching movies, or playing video games. He is the Xbox editor for Goomba Stomp and the site's official Pokémon Master.



  1. Ricky D

    January 16, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Thanks for the article Tim, although I am not yet sure I made the right decision in pre-ordering the Nintendo Switch.

    The Switch presentation didn’t promise us much until later in the year. Yes, there is Zelda but for us Wii U owners, we have the option to buy the game for the Wii U instead, and wait till a later date to buy the Switch when there are more games available to play.

    I Am Setsuna looks promising but it will also be released on the PS4 and on PC.

    Arms does pique my interest but I can’t afford to dish out another $88 for a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which I already own on my Wii U. And as much as I want to play Super Bomberman R, I can’t justify the $88 price tag here in Canada.

    As for as launch titles, you are right… there is launch day and the launch window which consists of the games that are released within the first month. The problem once again is the price tag. Both Arms and Super Bomberman look like fun, but when I have to shell out $460 for a console plus $88 for each game, not to mention accessories, I have to make a choice. Is it worth it?

    Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the game I am most excited for apart from Super Mario Odyssey but don’t be fooled, it isn’t getting a release date in 2017, at least not in North America.

    As for the online library: I already own almost every Nintendo game from the past that I would want to own and I also own every system (except the Wii which I gladly gave up). So the virtual console library isn’t much of a selling point for me at the moment since I own most of these games on my Wii U or 3DS or the original cartridge versions.

    Your article gives me hope that we will have some surprise releases later this year, but here’s the thing:

    I pre-ordered the Switch because of Nintendo’s recent problem of not shipping out enough stock. It was a decision I made just in case, I change my mind and there is no more stock left. But I didn’t buy the console because of anything they’ve shown us so far. Had Nintendo not had any problems in the past two years shipping out amiibo and the NES Classic Mini, I would have waited.

    Why? Because I can’t honestly afford another console.

    At the moment I am extremely broke and so come March 3rd, if Nintendo doesn’t provide us with any other reasons to actually buy into the console right away, I will not be picking it up. I’ll lose my $5 deposit but it is worth it at the end of the day when I will save the 460 plus dollars I would have spent otherwise.

    I get that you and Patrick are die-hard Nintendo fans but so am I. Hell, I launched a Nintendo podcast and named the website Goomba Stomp but quite frankly, I’m sick of Nintendo making empty promises.

    You both say the event wasn’t bad and well you are entitled to your opinion but looking at it as a fan and also in a business sense (meaning I run a video game website), the presentation gave me no reason to buy the system right away. What for? So we can review 1-2-Switch or Mario Kart 8 again? Splatoon 2 is big but as you well know I am not a huge fan of the first game.

    And I am not alone. I am the majority

    I am holding on to hope but Nintendo hasn’t provided us with much yet. I cringe thinking about how once again, we will have less than a handful of games worth reviewing on the podcast this year. I mean seriously.

    I guess if I had the luxury of spending money on anything I want, without worrying about bills to pay, I wouldn’t care, but most people have to make these tough decisions. Do I buy the Switch or the PS4 for less than the cost which comes with two or three games? I got my PS4 with Three Uncharted games for $350. That is $110 less than what the Switch costs. And I still have to buy all the accessories.

    I believe in paying into quality but I just can’t afford it … so here I am … having to make a tough choice. Do I buy a console that I won’t use for months except to play Zelda or do I wait until I can truly afford it?

    I think the answer is obvious. And for many they will make the same decision.

    • Patrick

      January 16, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      If you weren’t excited for the kind of games Nintendo showed at their presentation, then I doubt there’s much they can do at this point to sway you, and that’s fine. It’s your opinion, and nothing wrong with waiting, or even not buying. It’s Nintendo’s job to convince people, and if they didn’t get you, so be it. But they got me. The reason I’m a “die-hard fan” isn’t because of some blind or arbitrary loyalty, without logic or reason, like rooting for a local sports team; I genuinely like the kind of game experiences Nintendo produces more than what other developers put out, and what they showed off in the presentation appeals to me more than any of the AAA games the PS4 or Xbox One has ever offered. Not everything, but more than enough to make me very excited to invest in their hardware immediately, despite being strapped for cash myself. It’s as simple as that. If that’s not the case for you and many others, that’s fine. Nintendo’s sometimes strange directions have put off a lot of fans, but while others may scoff at them for this, I, and many others, applaud for it.

      After the initial shock at the emphasis on motion controls again, I found myself strangely more excited; this wasn’t just going to be a fairly traditional (albeit portable) console after all. Where others scoff, I am now more hopeful, because if I wanted traditional I wouldn’t choose Nintendo. But, of course, that’s me. Will there be enough who think similarly to make the launch a success? I don’t know, but I for one am glad they’re trying different things, even if they fail.

      I do empathize though. It’s hard to see every movie or play every game when your tastes are broad and inclusive but your wallet is limited, and choosing can be difficult. There are many indie games on other consoles I’ve missed out on over the years that I wish I could’ve played, but I know I can’t have everything, so I choose what suits me best, and so far, that’s been Nintendo. Others do what’s best for themselves. But instead of being disappointed that PS4 and XBox One don’t have enough that appeals to me, I feel lucky that there’s a console that does. I hope that doesn’t change.

      • Ricky D

        January 19, 2017 at 12:42 am

        Tim’s article is about the initial line up of games. Obviously, Nintendo is going to release incredible games in the future, but that doesn’t change my disappointment with the lack of game for the first few months. Also, the pricing in Canada is insane. I need to ask Nintendo about why Super Bomberman R is $20 in the US and $88 here in Canada. I may be a huge Nintendo fan but I have plenty of reasons to not be completely enthralled at the moment.

  2. John Cal McCormick

    January 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Five launch titles is enough. Just not these five launch titles.

    Zelda is obviously a big deal and is more exciting than the majority of launch titles we see for consoles. But the rest is very weak, and at only five games strong, not exactly giving potential customers a lot of choice. If you don’t like Zelda, you’re basically not buying a Switch.

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