We caught a few glimpses of what Nintendo had in store for Switch games last October, but earlier this morning, the company finally showed its full hand.
Now we know exactly what will get us to pull out our credit cards, and it starts with a little something called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in March and extends on to the likes of Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and quite a bit more.
Wondering what’ll be worth playing on the Switch in the coming months? Here’s a look at the biggest games shown today, and be sure to read our roundup of the biggest new info that came out of Nintendo’s stream – including the release date and price. And then come back later today for our hands-on impressions of the system and some of the biggest games!
1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Due: 3 March
Damn, look at that trailer. We’ve already been hands-on with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, at least the still-unreleased Wii U edition, but this latest look at the game is absolutely marvelous.
Breath of the Wild is a new take on the familiar action-RPG franchise, with more of an open-world, survival-oriented feel, and the adventure looks suitably epic and seriously dramatic to match. And perhaps most importantly, it’ll be available on day one alongside the Switch, making this the must-have game for… well, we’d guess pretty much everyone.
2) Super Mario Odyssey
Due: Holiday 2017
Please excuse our tears of joy, but Nintendo just showcased a game that looks like a proper successor to Super Mario 64. Super Mario Odyssey is a fresh 3D platformer starring the beloved plumber, and it promises more of an open-world approach for the action.
You’ll explore an array of environments inspired by real-world settings, including a huge urban metropolis (New Donk City), a large jungle setting, and other locales that look a lot different from what we usually see from the series. It won’t be out until later this year, but from what we’ve seen, it’s enough to sell us on a Switch.
3) Splatoon 2
Due: Summer 2017
We liked the original Splatoon, but found the paint-shooting multiplayer game to be a bit underdeveloped – and ultimately not well served by the Wii U’s flagging support. But thankfully, the series has another chance to shine with Splatoon 2 on the Switch.
By and large, it looks very much like the original game, with the four-on-four Turf Wars being the main attraction, but you’ll be able to do some dual-wielding with the Joy-Con controllers now. Nintendo also promises other new weapons, post-release content, and ongoing online events.
4) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Due: 28 April
Nintendo skipped this trailer during the presentation for some strange reason, but for anyone who missed out on Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, it’ll be very good news indeed – and probably for anyone who loved the previous version.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundles in all the DLC from before, along with brand new courses and drivers, including some Splatoon action in the mix. It also has a revised Battle mode, the ability to carry two items at once, and an easier Smart Steering option to let young kids pick up the controller even sooner than ever.
Due: Spring 2017
Arms? Yeah, it’s called Arms. This inventive fighting game is billed as a blend of boxing and shooting – because while you are throwing punches, you’re actually catapulting your extendable arms across an arena to bash your foe in the face.
You’ll use two Joy-Con controllers, one in each hand, and rely on motion controls to deliver punches. Local multiplayer should be the biggest draw, but it’ll also have online play and single-player battles.
6) 1-2 Switch
Due: 3 March
Ah, the requisite pack-in mini-game collection that shows off the Switch’s capabilities. 1-2 Switch has the kind of offbeat appeal of a WarioWare without the constant weirdness, and it’s a bundle of games that put the unique Joy-Con controllers to an array of uses.
Whether you’re dueling in a gunfight, battling with swords, playing table tennis, or milking cows (yes, really), 1-2 Switch‘s intriguing hook is that you’ll be able to play while locking eyes with a competitor, rather than ever needing to look at the screen. It seems like a neat, social evolution of the original Wii’s motion-based appeal.
7) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Look, if you have even a passing interest in the open-world fantasy odyssey that is Skyrim, then you’ve probably found a way to play it over the last five years. Still, the Switch provides an intriguing new prospect: convenient on-the-go play.
You’ll be able to bring Betheda’s epic wherever you are and get the full experience, and if you’d rather pop it onto a big screen, you can certainly do so. Don’t expect any fresh content here, but even so, this is one of the finest games of the past several years, and will hopefully be just as brilliant on Switch.
8) Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Due: TBD 2017
Apparently 2015’s Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U – follow-up to the original Xenoblade Chronicles – wasn’t a proper sequel, because now we’ve got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 officially on the horizon for Switch.
Chronicles 2 will release sometime this year and looks pretty polished from the trailer, which shows another sprawling epic of a Japanese role-playing game with anime-like drama, a new hero to command, and surely some new awesome-looking mechs to zip around in. It’s something to look forward to once you wrap up Zelda.
9) Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
Street Fighter II? Haven’t we played (and purchased) this a million times already? Yes, we have, but the allure of the most iconic fighting game of all time still continues, and this looks to be the ultimate edition for the Switch.
The biggest hook will be the ability to pop off the Joy-Con controllers and throw down with an opponent anytime or anywhere, but Ultra Street Fighter II also has two new fighters (Evil Ryu and Violent Ken) and the optional redrawn HD characters seen in the last-gen console editions some years back.
10) And plenty more…
Nintendo had a rapid-fire array of trailers and teases at the event, with other highlights in the bunch including Fire Emblem Warriors (a Dynasty Warriors spinoff, like Hyrule Warriors), a new Shin Megami Tensei game, and Square Enix’s Project Octopath Traveler (above), which has a dazzling mixed 2D/3D aesthetic. Also, a new No More Heroes game is early in development.
Meanwhile, there will be multiplatform games we already know well: FIFA will release later this year, plus we saw Minecraft, Sonic Mania, Steep, Skylanders Imaginators, Super Bomberman R, and Just Dance 2017 in the trailer. And as announced long ago, both Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI are coming, although we don’t know about availability outside of Japan just yet.
The launch lineup seems very thin, with The Legend of Zelda and 1-2 Switch confirmed so far, and maybe only a couple other games ready on day one, but at least some interesting picks are coming in the months thereafter. And hopefully we’ll see a huge stack of further game announcements by the time E3 rolls around this summer.