Now that 2020 is largely behind us, it’s time to look ahead at what the future holds for each of the game industry’s biggest platforms. While Sony and Microsoft both closed out the year by ushering in next-generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles, the Nintendo Switch is quickly approaching its fourth birthday, and it has quite a few big-name titles lined up for the new year and beyond.
Given how secretive Nintendo traditionally is, often announcing games only a few months before they hit the market, we’ve likely only gotten a small glimpse at Switch’s release calendar for the new year, but there are some exciting first- and third-party exclusives on the way. The first half of 2021 will see the release of Bravely Default II and Monster Hunter Rise, which will no doubt help sustain the system’s sales momentum going into the new year, while marquee blockbusters like Metroid Prime 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 are slated to follow at some point in the future.
And that’s to say nothing about any potential hardware revisions coming next year. While Nintendo hasn’t announced any such plans, reports continue to circulate that the company will release a new Switch model in 2021. Whether or not that will prove true remains to be seen, but at the very least, we can take a look at all the biggest games that are coming to Switch in 2021 and beyond.
We’ve heard very little about Bayonetta 3 since it was first announced three years ago during the 2017 Game Awards, but that long stretch of silence hasn’t diminished its standing as one of Switch’s most-anticipated exclusives. Developer Platinum Games has yet to share any concrete details about the title, but the brief announcement trailer that aired during The Game Awards featured the eponymous witch struggling in battle against a mysterious ghost-like creature. Beyond that, we know that Nintendo is once again handling publishing duties, as it did for Bayonetta 2.
Bravely Default 2
Originally slated to launch in 2020, Bravely Default II is now set to arrive on February 26, making it one of the first marquee releases to hit the Switch in 2021. Much like the original Bravely Default and its follow-up, Bravely Second, Bravely Default II is a retro-styled RPG featuring stylized visuals and a turn-based battle system. What sets combat apart from other classical RPGs is the unique Brave/Default mechanic, which lets characters skip a turn to build up Brave Points and unleash multiple attacks in one go. And despite the number in its title, Bravely Default II features an entirely new cast and setting, so you don’t need experience with the previous entries to dive in.
The third entry in IO Interactive’s rebooted Hitman series is coming in 2021, and thanks to cloud streaming, Switch owners will have a chance to take part in the assassinations as well. This installment is said to be darker and more serious in tone than its predecessors, as Agent 47 travels to various locations around the globe in pursuit of his targets. Hitman 3 launches on January 20.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2
It’s rare to see a Zelda game receive a direct follow-up, which made the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel such a genuine surprise back at E3 2019. The foreboding announcement trailer featured Link and Zelda exploring a cavernous dungeon where the pair discover what appears to be the mummified remains of Ganondorf, setting a dark tone for the story. Of course, Nintendo has been very tight-lipped about the title since its reveal, so we don’t yet know what direction the game will take or even when it will release, but it’s one of the most exciting exclusives on the horizon for Switch.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Traveller’s Tales’ Lego Star Wars titles have always offered a charming, lighthearted way to re-experience the beloved Star Wars movies, and the latest entry in the game franchise encapsulates the entire Skywalker saga, taking players through events from all nine mainline Star Wars films (depicted with the Lego series’ signature humor). Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga launches for all major platforms in Spring 2021.
Metroid Prime 4
It’s been more than three years since Nintendo first announced Metroid Prime 4 back at E3 2017, and we’ve learned very little about the title since then. The only update we’ve received came in January 2019, when Nintendo announced that it was rebooting development entirely, with Retro Studios–the team behind the original Metroid Prime trilogy–now helming the project. Since then, Retro has been quietly at work on the game, but given the studio’s sterling track record, Metroid Prime 4 remains one of the system’s most anticipated titles.
Monster Hunter Rise
Although Switch missed out on Monster Hunter: World, the hybrid system is receiving its own new Monster Hunter game next year in the form of Monster Hunter Rise. Set to launch on March 26, Rise is a traditional Monster Hunter title that introduces some unique twists to the beloved formula. Chief among these are the Palamutes, brand-new canine companions that you can ride and hunt alongside. Rise also features a new item called the Wirebug, a lasso-like creature that lets players grapple around the environment and adds a new acrobatic flair to combat.
Rise isn’t the only Monster Hunter game coming to Switch in 2021; the hybrid console is also receiving a sequel to Monster Hunter Stories, the cel-shaded RPG spin-off that was originally released for 3DS back in 2017. Rather than casting players in the role of a hunter, Monster Hunter Stories 2 places them in the role of a young Monster Rider, who can tame and form bonds with monsters. Unlike Rise, Stories 2 does not yet have a firm release date, but it’s slated to arrive sometime during the summer.
No More Heroes 3
After a brief stint inside an evil video game system, Travis Touchdown makes his triumphant return in No More Heroes 3, the next proper entry in Suda 51’s cult-favorite series. We still know very little about the title, but it’s coming exclusively to Nintendo Switch sometime in 2021.
Ruined King: A League Of Legends Story
The League of Legends universe is expanding in 2021 with the release of Ruined King, a single-player, narrative-driven, turn-based RPG developed by Airship Syndicate, the studio behind Darksiders Genesis. Featuring a cadre of well-known characters from the main game, including Braum, Yasuo, and Ahri, Ruined King promises to offer fans a different perspective on the world of Runeterra.
Shin Megami Tensei V
We’ve known that a new, mainline entry in Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei series was coming to the Switch since before the console even launched, but Atlus officially unveiled the title this past July with a cryptic trailer. Like many of the other big Switch exclusives on this list, little is currently known about Shin Megami Tensei V, but it’s slated to launch in 2021, and its reveal trailer ended with the tagline, “The time for Creation has come.”
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Much of the Wii U’s catalog has been migrated over to the Switch by this point, and now the system’s best game, Super Mario 3D World, is finally coming to the hybrid console on February 12. Super Mario 3D World was renowned for its boundless creativity and ingenious level design when it first launched back in 2013, and it remains one of the best platformers of the past decade. This Switch port is also complemented by a new batch of content known as Bowser’s Fury, and while Nintendo has revealed little about that, it’s the icing on what is already a delectable cake.
The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
There have been numerous games based on J.R.R Tolkein’s beloved fantasy series over the years, but The Lord of the Rings: Gollum looks to offer an original take on the familiar story. Little has been revealed about the title, but it pits players in the role of Smeagol/Gollum and features stealth-based gameplay. The game is slated to launch for PC and consoles sometime in 2021.