Nintendo released its earnings for the last fiscal year and its outlook for the next year on Thursday, and the release schedule for the rest of 2020 is looking surprisingly barren for a company that typically announces games over a year before they're released. While we don't know what Nintendo's strategy will be when PS5 and Xbox Series X launch this fall, two major titles stand out as Nintendo's heavy hitters once next-gen in full swing.
Based on hints from the earnings call, is it possible that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid Prime 4 are the next major Nintendo releases — and that they'll be released sooner rather than later?
In a sub-section of Nintendo's financial report for the last fiscal year called "Launch Schedule of Primary Nintendo Products by Region," the company lists upcoming releases. Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is due out in late May globally, Bravely Default II will be released in the United States later this year, and three exciting titles are listed as TBA: Bayonetta 3, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, and Metroid Prime 4. This designation is given to titles that are in active development, even if Nintendo isn't ready to share the release date for them yet.
As of now, these are the only officially announced games on the horizon for Nintendo fans as next-gen consoles like Xbox Series X and PS5 ramp up marketing leading to next-gen console releases later this year. While these Nintendo titles aren't necessarily coming out this fall, their listing here still means that these are probably the next three major Nintendo titles that'll be released in the coming years. Other items on this list are ordered by release date, but these three seem to be listed alphabetically — which is to say that the Breath of the Wild sequel might be released before Bayonetta 3.
What do we know about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2? Nintendo announced a sequel to the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild during its E3 2019 Nintendo Direct. The trailer was vague, showing Link and Zelda exploring an underground cavern an unknown creature is awakened and causes a great disturbance in Hyrule.
Nintendo has not announced anything else about the title since then, and the void of new information has caused a slew of fan theories to emerge. If The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is coming out in late 2020 or early 2021, we should hopefully hear more about it soon, though Nintendo has canceled its plans for a June Direct already. Some kind of announcement later in the summer does still seem plausible.
What do we know about Metroid Prime 4? First announced by Nintendo at E3 2017 just a few short months after the system's launch, Metroid Prime 4 is one of the more hyped Nintendo games to look forward to. The series had been on a hiatus for over a decade before that announcement, so the response was positive even though no gameplay has been shown in all this time.
Nintendo remained silent on the game for over a year and a half before confirming in January 2019 that the game's development had run into some difficulties. Because of this, development was restarted at Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze developer Retro Studios, and Nintendo has not mentioned the game outside of these financial reports since.
The fact that development was restarted just over a year ago means that it is unlikely that Metroid Prime 4 will come out this fall or even in 2021. Still, that means it will be released once the next generation of gaming is in full swing and will be following in the footsteps of games like Halo Infinite. We'll just have to wait and see how it stacks up against that and the classic games in the Metroid Prime series.
What is in Nintendo's 2020 lineup currently? Outside of these games, there isn't much that's officially announced for players to look forward to. Right now, all Nintendo mentions in their fiscal earnings presentation are Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, which launches on May 29, Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics on June 5, and DLC and updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Other Nintendo Switch exclusives launching this year include Bravely Default 2 from Square Enix and No More Heroes 3 from Grasshopper Manufacture, both of which have vague 2020 release windows. Bayonetta 3 has also been announced, but there's been little information out there for quite some time, arguably even less than for Metroid and Zelda. There is a lot of confusion with what exactly Nintendo's schedule of releases will look like over the next year right now, so hopefully, the company will share more info about it soon.