2022 is here and with it, a plethora of new Nintendo games to get excited for. This March will mark the fifth birthday of the Nintendo Switch, and half a decade later it seems like the Big N’s hybrid console is showing no signs of slowing down.
This year — at least on paper — looks to be a bit of a step up from the lacklustre release schedule that was 2021. While some of Nintendo’s biggest 2022 titles have etched their debuts into the calendar, release timing for the company’s supposed heavy hitters of the year is still shrouded in mystery.
So let’s take a look at what Nintendo has in store for 2022, touching on everything from Pokémon Legends: Arceus to the untitled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel to the rumored ninth Mario Kart.
To quote one adorably-mustached plumber: “Lets-a go!”
Confirmed games with a release date
Pokémon Legends: Arceus — January 28th
Kicking off Nintendo’s year is Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Legends: Arceus looks to break the mold of Pokémon games of yore by opting for larger, open-world style areas and more action-based gameplay. The title comes from the prime Game Freak team after developer ILCA tackled last year’s Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Arceus takes place in an ancient version of the Sinnoh region and for the first allows players to battle and catch Pokémon in real-time. This means instead of transitioning to a separate battle screen when entering an encounter, players go seamlessly from exploring to catching/battling in a fashion similar to the Monster Hunter series.
Triangle Strategy — March 4th, 2022
Harkening back to the days of Final Fantasy Tactics, Triangle Strategy brings its incredibly deep tactical RPG gameplay to Switch on March 4th. Don’t let the obtuse name fool you; the latest from the Octopath Traveler team at Square Enix looks to be a choice-driven and strategic role-playing game all wrapped in one of the prettiest packages ever.
Triangle Strategy builds off the HD-2D art style the Octopath team perfected with its last game. It combines 3D environments with pixel-based sprites, creating a look that both feels new and nostalgic at the same time. This is how you remember those SNES RPGs in your head from back in the day, but it’s actually real and totally beautiful.
Lay it on the line as you command a group of warriors, make game-altering decisions, and shape the future of the fictional continent of Norzelia.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp — April 8th, 2022
After a delay from last fall, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp will finally hit store shelves on April 8th. The remaster of the first two Game Boy Advance-era Advance Wars games will bring this bite-sized approachable strategy experience to the switch and will do so in this new and updated package.
The virtuoso of the classic remaster, WayForward, has been toiling away on this bundle for years. Fans of the series have been starving for content for over a decade as developer Intelligent Systems moved away from the franchise back in 2008 and onto Fire Emblem.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp will serve as a love letter to one of Nintendo’s long-lost IP, while also offering the opportunity for new players to see what all the talk is about.
Super Mario Bros.: The Movie — December 21st
Despite not being a game, Super Mario Bros.: The Movie may be the most important release on Nintendo’s 2022 calendar. The upcoming CG-animated film comes from Despicable Me studio Illumination and is currently set to hit theatres on December 21st, 2022.
The movie made headlines last fall when its cast was announced during a Nintendo Direct. With names like Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Charlie Day taking on the roles of Mario, Princess Peach, and Luigi, there was of course going to be heated discourse.
Nothing from the film has been officially shown as yet, but fans are sitting with bated breath as the calendar marches ever closer to its inevitable release date. The film is set to hit theatres during the holiday 2022 season.
Announced games without exact 2022 dates
Kirby and the Forgotten Land — Spring 2022
The first of Nintendo’s “confirmed” 2022 slate without a definitive release date is Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
Not much has been shown from Kirby and the Forgotten Land, other than its mysterious debut trailer which featured Kirby traversing what seems to be an overgrown post-apocalyptic city. The gameplay shown is still definitively Kirby, though, with the little pink puff sucking up foes and taking on their powers.
Where The Forgotten Land deviates from the Kirby formula is in its world. Instead of the iconic Dreamland locale the Kirby series is known for, this game offers something much more metropolitan. On a gameplay front, Kirby and the Forgotten Land does away with the sidescrolling levels of past titles like Kirby Superstar. Instead, Kirby traverses this city in three dimensions looking more akin to something like Super Mario Odyssey than Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope — 2022
Rabbids fans rejoice! Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope marks the second time Nintendo has lent its beloved Mario characters to Ubisoft, as they are paired up with the Rabbids in an entertaining tactical adventure across the Mushroom Kingdom.
Sparks of Hope is the follow-up to 2017’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and doesn’t have a confirmed release but is rumored to be coming sometime in Spring 2022. The title was announced back in June, so surely a Nintendo Direct in the next couple of months will confirm it’s coming earlier rather than later.
Splatoon 3 — TBA
The third installment into Nintendo’s competitive third-person shooter series is set to release sometime in 2022. Splatoon 3 was announced as a part of a Nintendo Direct in February 2021 with the nebulous release window of 2022.
Splatoon has garnered quite the cult following in the seven years since the first game’s debut on Wii U, and Splatoon 3 will look to wrap fans in its inky tentacles as players travel to the sun-soaked Splatlands. The title will feature a new single-player campaign as well as a full multiplayer suite, carrying over the past games’ emphasis on player expression and customization.
No concrete release date has been given for Splatoon 3; however, with five years having passed since Splatoon 2 hit store shelves, the threequel will likely come sooner than later.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 — TBA
The untitled sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (colloquially referred to as “BOTW2“) is easily the biggest game on Nintendo’s upcoming slate, yet no one outside the Japanese game developer knows when it will release. Towards the end of last year, BOTW2 was given the release year of 2022, but no specifics regarding the day or month were revealed.
The Breath of the Wild follow-up looks to take on a much darker tone from its 2017 predecessor. The two trailers shown off for the game have given hints of a more vertical open-world, Zelda as a playable character and maybe even the return of classic dungeons.
With BOTW2 most likely being the heaviest-hitter Nintendo has in store for the year, if it does in fact hit a 2022 release, it will surely be Nintendo’s flagship fall title.
Though commonly known as Breath of the Wild 2, we don’t actually know if that will be the official name of the game. Ganon is afoot, and Nintendo has plenty of explaining to do when it comes to the Breath of the Wild sequel, which it surely will as 2022 goes on.
Bayonetta 3 — TBA
Following years of waiting, Bayonetta 3 is finally seemingly on the horizon. After floating in the ether since its announcement at the 2017 Game Awards, the Bayonetta threequel reappeared in September 2021 with a new trailer that finally offered a 2022 release window.
Bayonetta 3 is the latest in Platinum Games’ pulse-pounding action franchise where players take control of the titular witch Bayonetta. Despite being first announced five years ago, details on the game are still sparse. In the brief glimpses of gameplay, we have seen so far, Bayonetta 3 looks to be running with the ridiculous action of the franchise, ratcheting it up to levels never seen before.
The exact release timing for this project is still uncertain, but it could be any month. This game has been in development for a long time, so do not be surprised if Nintendo starts talking Bayonetta leading into the spring or early summer.
If you are looking to take on a kaiju alongside a Shiba Inu, whilst shooting magical bullets from your stiletto heels, then look for Bayonetta 3 when it releases sometime in 2022.
Wild card: Metroid Prime 4 — TBA
Metroid Prime 4 has become a unicorn game for Nintendo and its fans. Being announced at E3 2017, the latest first-person Metroid adventure still sits someplace in the empty vastness of Nintendo space. Prime 4 has shown no indication of coming in 2022, but having been announced as long ago as it was, it very well could.
The game has hit some roadblocks on the development front in the last couple of years. After initially being helmed by Bandai Namco Studios, the project was restarted in 2019 under the tutelage of original Prime developer Retro Studios.
Now, three years after that restart, it might finally be time for Metroid Prime 4.
Metroid Prime Remastered
And if Metroid Prime 4 is on the horizon, then so must be the oft-rumored Metroid Prime Remastered. This HD rerelease has been all but confirmed at this point, however, the extent of this remaster is still up for debate.
While some have heard that the full trilogy is getting the remaster treatment, others have noted that that was initially the plan but things have shifted as development has gone along.
Instead of all three coming in one package all at once, Nintendo insiders like Emily Rogers believe that this remaster will be comprised of just the first Metroid Prime, with 2 and 3 coming later down the line to build upon the foundation of the first game.
Talk has been that this Metroid Prime Remaster has wrapped development and is simply being held for the right moment. Well, if Prime 4 is on the horizon, why not release this remaster in anticipation?
Wind Waker/Twilight Princess Remaster
Also on the remaster front is a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Twilight Princess remaster. Nearly every notable release from the Wii U’s catalogue has been re-released on Switch at this point. The two major titles missing, though, are Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD.
With BOTW2 coming down the line, now would be the perfect time for these two legacy remakes to hit Switch. Both a Switch version of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess have been the talk of many an internet message board conversation over the past couple of years, and they have begun to feel like an inevitability.
Yes, Nintendo missed the 35th anniversary of the Zelda series in 2021, only putting out Skyward Sword HD on Switch. But these two games will surely come to Nintendo Switch — it’s just a matter of when.
Mario Kart 9
And last but not least on the list is Mario Kart 9. A new Mario Kart has been predicted by Nintendo fans since Mario Kart 8 came to Wii U back in 2013. This is the longest gap fans have had in-between proper entries in the kart-racing series, so surely 9 is coming and 2022 feels like the right place for it.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch has literally printed money for Nintendo. As of September 2021, the game had sold more than 38.5 million copies. Just looking at these numbers, Nintendo would be dumb not to be prepping a new Mario Kart for release.
The rumour is that Mario Kart 9 will come in 2022 and bring in characters from all across Nintendo’s franchises, similar to the Super Smash Bros. series. If the new Mario Kart is, in fact, coming later in 2022, you will likely hear about it around February or March of this year.
And that is 2022 for Nintendo. No matter what kind of gamer you are, there will be plenty to play on your Switch this year. From the sprawling plains of Hyrule to pockets-sized battlefields, the breadth of experiences from Nintendo and their partners will continue to astound into this calendar year.
Sure, much of that calendar remains a big question mark, but the games will come. It is just a matter of time before they do.