What to Expect From Nintendo in 2022

By | December 30, 2021

2022 is shaping up to be a big year for Nintendo. Not only will it be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Switch, but we’re also – hopefully – going to hear a whole lot more about Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and, perhaps most exciting, the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In addition, Mario will once again jump beyond video games to the big screen with Chris Pratt, of all people, taking on the role of the legendary plumber in Super Mario: The Movie.

While that is enough to inspire any fan to yell out “yahoooo!” whether you think Chris Pratt is right for a stocky Italian plumber or not, Nintendo is also known for its big surprises and delivering that which we least expect. Will we hear more about the fabled “Switch Pro”? Will Metroid Prime 4 or the long-rumored Metroid Prime Trilogy finally be revealed? It’s also been quite some time since Super Mario Odyssey was released. Could Nintendo be planning to release its sequel or a brand new experience in step with the upcoming film? The possibilities are truly endless, but let’s take what we know and look ahead to what we can expect from Nintendo in 2022.

The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the Rumors of a “Switch Pro”

The big question on everyone’s mind going into 2022 is undoubtedly whether the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will actually make its way to the Switch before 2023 begins. As it stands, Nintendo has committed to a 2022 release window, but as we know, an initial release date is never a lock.

Despite it being nearly five years since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we’ve seen very little of this new entry, and we don’t even have a proper name for it yet. The much-anticipated sequel was announced in 2019 with a brief teaser, and we didn’t get another glimpse of Link’s newest adventure until Nintendo’s E3 2021 Direct.

Another question is: what will it run on? Even though Breath of the Wild earned many perfect review scores from outlets like IGN, it wasn’t without its technical problems, even with the Switch being a brand new platform at the time. While it’s hard to overstate what magic the game DID accomplish, its inconsistent frame rate and sub-par draw distance did, for brief moments, take some out of what is otherwise a sublime experience.

Considering Breath of the Wild launched alongside the Nintendo Switch in 2017, many have assumed its sequel would be a showcase for the more powerful Switch that has been rumored for what feels like centuries now. There were various reports that teased a new model would arrive in 2021 with upgraded internals, a 7-inch OLED display, a faster Nvidia Corp. graphics silicon that will make 4K resolution possible when docked to a TV, and more. Instead, we received the still-great Nintendo Switch – OLED Model that did provide a better screen, but added nothing to improve performance.

Nintendo has repeatedly said it has “no plans” to release another Nintendo Switch model at this time, but it also said the same thing just five months before announcing the Switch OLED Model. With Nintendo, anything is possible, and while we should keep our expectations in check, never say never in regards to a dream announcement. It’s just important to note that, no matter what plans Nintendo actually has, pandemic supply shortages have massively hit gaming hardware production and may have altered what it thought its 2021 and even 2022 would look like. Either way, Zelda fans will soon, hopefully, have another incredible adventure to get lost in.

Exclusive Games Confirmed for 2022

The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be the most-anticipated game for many, but that doesn’t mean Nintendo doesn’t have a ton of other games in the works for the roughly 93 million Nintendo Switch owners out there.

In early November 2021, Nintendo shared a graphic that detailed the biggest upcoming exclusives headed to the Switch in 2022, and the first major game set to be released is Pokemon Legends: Arceus on January 28. While it isn’t the full open-world Pokemon experience many had hoped for, it looks to be a big departure from the tried-and-true formula of the previous Pokemon entries. This new adventure takes place in the feudal past of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl’s Sinnoh region and will have players exploring wide-open areas in their quest to catch ‘em all.

Nintendo will also be continuing its trend of letting third-parties release cloud versions of games that probably wouldn’t run as well natively, and the first one up in 2022 will be Dying Light 2 on February 4. On the non-cloud front, exactly a month later, Square Enix’s tactical RPG Triangle Strategy will be released with an art-style that is reminiscent of Octopath Traveller. Triangle Strategy is the last game on Nintendo’s list of confirmed 2022 games that has a definite release date, but there is still plenty more to discuss.

Spring 2022 will not only bring back the beloved Advance Wars franchise with Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp, but it will also see everyone’s favorite pink puffball of happiness return to the spotlight. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is another 3D open-world-ish take on an established franchise, and the story looks to take players to the ruins of a civilization long-gone that is giving us some The Last of Us vibes. Seriously.

Summer 2022 will bring with it the first major expansion for Monster Hunter Rise in Sunbreak. The first, quick tease of gameplay showed a terrifying new monster in an “eerie new setting,” and Sunbreak as a whole is also said to include a new story, new locales, even more monsters, hunting actions, and quest ranks, to name a few.

There are a few big games that only have a 2022 release window, and these include Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. Splatoon 3 was first announced in February of 2021 and looks to take players to a big desert metropolis hub city that will let them participate in both multiplayer and single-player activities. Splatoon 3’s campaign is called “Return of the Mammalians” and focuses on… well… the return of mammals in the world of Splatoon. It also appears that customization will play a much bigger role and players will be able to take an adorable companion creature with them into battle.

The Top 25 Switch Games (Fall 2020 Update)