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Nintendo just proved me wrong about the Switch

Samus Aran poses in Metroid Prime 4: Beyond.
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

It was only one month ago when I proclaimed that the Nintendo Switch was in its “filler era.” At the time, Nintendo was riding a wave of re-releases and left-field oddities that made it clear that its console’s life was winding down. We were knee deep in a return to the Nintendo 3DS’ final days, with the console going out quietly as developers saved their big guns for Nintendo’s next system.

Now, I’m eating my words. And I’m happy to do it.

With expectations at rock bottom, Nintendo came out swinging for what might be the Switch’s final dedicated Direct. The 40-minute showcase caught fans off guard by revealing new Mario and Zelda games, alongside a shocking first look at Metroid Prime 4: Beyond. While we saw a few ports and remasters, Nintendo made it clear that it’s not going to let its historic console drift off without a bang. It’s an unusual move, but one that shows how serious Nintendo is about pushing its momentum these days.

Nintendo Direct 6.18.2024 – Nintendo Switch

If you missed the show, it’s worth watching. Nintendo surprised fans right out the gate with the reveal of Mario & Luigi: Brothership. While fans may have expected another remake of a Game Boy Advance classic, Brothership is actually an entirely new RPG sporting a bold new art style. That graphical detail immediately stood out. You don’t often see companies visually overhauling established franchises in the final stretch of a console’s life. That tends to be reserved for new platforms, giving series a fresh start with new tech. Brothership is the kind of evolution I’d expect to see on Switch 2. Instead, we’ll be playing it this November.

That reveal set the theme for the show, as Nintendo’s first-party announcements all had their own equivalent shocks. The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom doesn’t just give Zelda her starring role for the first time; it does so with a radical new gameplay hook built around cloning objects. Super Mario Party Jamboree is the set to be the series’ biggest entry yet, with over 110 minigames, the return of motion-controlled play, and a 20-player online mode. It’s the kind of upgrade that could have been a Switch 2 launch game.

Zelda stares at a landscape in The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom.

Those titles will make for a busy holiday season, but what’s more surprising is that Nintendo is continuing that momentum into 2025. We already know that Pokémon Legends Z-A will hit the system next year, but we now know that Metroid Prime 4: Beyond is finally coming too. The long-delayed Metroid title finally got an impressive reveal trailer to end the show, setting the stage for what could be the Switch’s last big release. The action-packed clip looks like it could be the Switch’s most visually impressive exclusive to date, pushing the system to its limits one last time (though I’m not convinced that the footage we saw was actually running on a Switch).

Don’t expect many gaps between those big releases, either. High-profile ports like Donkey Kong Country Returns HD, Fantasian Neo Dimension, and Hello Kitty: Island Adventure will all keep the Switch busy, as will Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D Remake. At this point, it feels like we’ve passed the Switch’s expected lull and come back for its last breath.

This is the kind of send-off that every console deserves, especially one with an install base as big as the Switch’s. It’s always a shame when a company begins to launch its next console and stockpiles games for it, leaving players who had invested in the current console high and dry. Sometimes they’ll get thrown one last bone or two, but you can always feel when a company wants you to start saving up for the shiny new thing. For a while, it looked like Nintendo was doing the same, but I appreciate that it’s paying off the Switch to its end. It’ll get one final backlog, giving players a good reason to wait to buy the Switch 2 rather than impatiently rush into it.

If that was the final Switch Direct, it was a send-off for the ages.

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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