Nintendo has already confirmed that their new NX console will launch in March of next year with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (along with the Wii U version), but it sounds like the NX launch lineup will be even stronger than that. MCV is reporting that sources close to Nintendo are saying that Mario and Pokémon games will also be ready when the NX ships out next year.
Nintendo launching a new console with entries from three of its most famous franchises doesn’t sound like big news, but there’s a lot to unpack here. Most significantly, it suggests that the rumors of a hybrid handheld/home console are most likely true. Eurogamer recently reported on rumors that the NX is essentially a high-powered tablet with breakaway controllers and a docking station for home use, and the news that Pokémon is coming to the NX supports that. Main entries into the Pokémon franchise have exclusively been released for Nintendo’s handheld consoles over the years — it’s possible that the NX game could be a side title like Pokémon Snap, but we’re guessing that the NX will get ports of Pokémon Sun/Moon, the seventh generation of Pokémon games slated for a November 18 release on the Nintendo 3DS. If that’s the case, it would be the first time a main Pokémon title is playable on the big screen.
We know Breath of the Wild will represent the Zelda franchise — that’s another port from an existing Nintendo console, with that game being in development for the Wii U for at least three or four years. That leaves the new Mario game as the only completely unknown quantity. The appetite for a proper 3D Mario game is there, suggesting we could see another entry in the Super Mario Galaxy series. Then again, Nintendo is many things, but predictable isn’t one of them.
It’s key that Nintendo gets these titles out early. The Wii U suffered from a lack of first-party titles, which has long been, and still is, Nintendo’s greatest competitive advantage over their video game rivals in Sony and Microsoft. Another slow start could spell doom for Nintendo’s console business, with the Wii U struggling mightily from launch until now.
We’ll know Nintendo’s plans for sure soon enough — with a promised March 2017 release date, it’s almost certain that Nintendo will officially reveal the NX before year’s end.