Nintendo will launch its first paid online service, Nintendo Switch Online, to over 20 million Switch users all across the world this September. With it comes the ability to upload save data to the cloud, play classic NES games online, and voice chat through the use of a smart-device application — all for the price of $19.99 per year. But there’s still one big brown Goomba in the room that needs to be addressed: where are all the must-have games launching alongside Nintendo Switch Online?
With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releasing several months later in December, there’s a clear gap in multiplayer based games during Nintendo Switch Online’s autumn launch window. So where does this leave us? Could Nintendo have any big unannounced multiplayer Switch games that could potentially justify the price of their new paid online service? At its most recent shareholder’s meeting, former President Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that Nintendo had unannounced “products” in the pipeline that the company plans to release before the end of this year’s holiday season. Our best guess is that at least a few of them will cater to the new features introduced by Nintendo Switch Online. So, with that being said, here are five big games that we think Nintendo could release alongside Nintendo Switch Online.
Warframe for Nintendo Switch
With the recent announcement of Warframe for Nintendo Switch, it makes perfect sense for Digital Extremes to time the release of its cooperative, sci-fi action game with the launch of Nintendo Switch Online. No release date was given when the Switch version was revealed at this years TennoCon, so there’s a chance that Nintendo could be working with Digital Extremes to time the release accordingly with the launch of Nintendo Switch Online.
Although Warframe is free-to-play, it still requires an online connection to play. If Nintendo plans to release Warframe alongside the online service, a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online could, in fact, be required to access the full game. As an online cooperative experience, Warframe is one of those titles that really benefits from voice chat and playing with friends — the two big features that Nintendo will introduce to the Switch with Nintendo Switch Online.
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Maker took the video game world by storm, creating a large online community through its emphasis on sharing levels with other players. The Switch version could potentially give access to that same content built by players from its Wii U and 3DS versions while remaining accessible only to those who subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online.
Nintendo could also include a cooperative mode for both local and online play in the Switch version, as well as implement an improved search filter to find your friends’ levels easily. It seems like Nintendo’s just waiting for the right time to release a new Mario Maker, and the launch of Nintendo Switch Online seems like the right time to do it.
Star Fox Grand Prix for Nintendo Switch
Despite no announcement of an official reprisal for the franchise, Ubisoft revealed during their E3 conference that Star Fox will be a playable character in the Switch version of its new game, Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Sure, flying an Arwing around in an open-world space adventure game sounds like a great time, but it’s not a real Star Fox experience, which is why the heavily rumored Star Fox Grand Prix is still up for discussion.
Star Fox Grand Prix remains unannounced, but our sources suggest that online multiplayer will play an essential role in the spin-off title. The core gameplay concept combines timed races and shooting; each defeated enemy results in a speed boost that would improve the player’s “lap” time. Sounds like a great contender for a Nintendo Switch Online launch title, doesn’t it? That said, we have yet to get any official confirmation of these details from Nintendo or Retro Studios.
Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch
Nintendo’s stayed tight-lipped about the next Animal Crossing, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sequel of the beloved social simulation game in the works for Switch. If Nintendo plans on quickly building a large install base for their new online service, then releasing a new Animal Crossing game with the launch of Nintendo Switch Online would undoubtedly be a compelling reason for fans of various levels of Nintendo devotion to subscribe.
In an interview with IGN during E3 last month, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the success of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp bodes well for the success of the next installment in that franchise. “We see tremendous opportunity in using the mobile platform to introduce IP to consumers who may not be as familiar. Animal Crossing is a great example,” he said. “Fans are really enjoying that experience. We’re introducing it to new consumers. That bodes well for whenever the next Animal Crossing might come.” With that in mind, we think that a surprise release of the next Animal Crossing game alongside Nintendo Switch Online would be a smart move for Nintendo.
FIFA 19 for Nintendo Switch
FIFA remains one of the world’s biggest franchises, and if the success of FIFA 18 is any indication, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. The biggest criticism FIFA 18 for Switch received was its lack of online features. Although online play was present, it was hindered by a lack of voice chat and any ability to play with friends. FIFA 19 fixes many of those issues, allowing players to invite anyone from their friends list and track their rivalry through a five-match season, both in FIFA and FIFA Ultimate Team. It’s also worth mentioning that the Switch version of FIFA 19 is set for September — the launch month of Nintendo Switch Online.
It’s frustrating to go from paying nothing for access to online features in games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 to suddenly having to fork up a subscription fee. So if Nintendo plans on making their online service as successful as what Microsoft created with Xbox Live and Sony did with PlayStation Plus, they’ll have to bring out some big games for the launch of Nintendo Switch Online.
For more on Nintendo Switch Online, check out everything we know about Nintendo’s paid online service, and why Nintendo sees Switch Online as the successor to Virtual Console.