2023 was an enormous year for Nintendo, with a record-breaking blockbuster movie, a theme park opening, and a pair of game of the year nominees in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Bros. Wonder. The question now is simple: How will Nintendo follow it up in 2024?
Nintendo is notorious for keeping its plans very quiet until the time is right, so it’s tough to project exactly what it will do over the span of an entire year – we didn’t know about either Super Mario Bros. Wonder or the Super Mario RPG remake until June of last year, and both of those games have already hit store shelves.
Still, we already know a fair amount about Nintendo Switch’s release calendar for the first half of the year, and we have a good idea about what to expect in the second half of 2024. And, of course, we’ll address the Elephant Mario in the room: Will Nintendo reveal new hardware next year, and if so, when will it launch? Here’s what to expect from Nintendo in 2024.
Nintendo in 2024: What’s On the Books
Throughout 2023, Nintendo published around one Switch game a month and it’s on track to do the same through the first quarter of 2024. We already have dates for games coming in January, February, and March, with a few undated games coming later down the line.
Another Code: Recollection is Nintendo’s January game. Coming on January 19, this is a full remake of Nintendo DS adventure game Trace Memory and its Wii sequel — Another Code: R – A Journey Into Lost Memories — which never saw a North American release. It’s a super cool remake of a niche game I figured had been lost to time, and I never expected to see this move from Nintendo. If you’re into games like Ace Attorney, Professor Layton, or Hotel Dusk, this is one to keep an eye on.
Nintendo is doubling down on Mario games following the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. We got three Mario universe games in the final few months of 2023, with four more on the books for next year. Game Boy Advance remake Mario vs. Donkey Kong is the first Mario game coming in 2024, scheduled for February 16. This updated version adds two-player co-op into the mix, with player two taking control of Toad. The new visuals look nice and multiplayer is a welcome addition, but with the original game’s runtime clocking in at just five hours, it remains to be seen if and how this puzzle platforming remake will justify its price tag.
March will see the launch of Princess Peach: Showtime, which is currently the only brand new game on Nintendo’s announced 2024 slate. Princess Peach: Showtime has the potential to be one of the highlights of Nintendo’s 2024 – Peach is long overdue another shot at her own game, and the costume transformations, gorgeous visuals, and charming gameplay we’ve caught glimpses of so far mean this is one to look out for.
We also know an HD remaster of Luigi’s Mansion 2 (formerly known as Dark Moon in North America) is coming sometime in the Summer, with a remake of GameCube classic Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door set for sometime in 2024. We’re also expecting the Splatoon 3 Side Order DLC in the Spring, which includes an additional single-player campaign that appears to contain some roguelite elements.
2024 will also see the continued slow trickle of amiibo releases, as the Noah and Mio Xenoblade Chronicles 3 two-pack launches in January and the Sora amiibo launches on February 16, finally marking the end of the Super Smash Bros. amiibo line that began a decade ago.
Will Nintendo Launch Its Next-Gen Hardware in 2024?
One thing that software lineup definitely screams is that Nintendo is winding down support for Switch. Of the five retail games we know about, four of them are remakes, which feels like a very telling sign of a console on its way out the door.
I’m extremely confident Nintendo will talk about its next-gen console in 2024. The next-gen Nintendo rumor-mill really ramped up in 2023, and despite Nintendo claiming otherwise, it seems like some third-party developers have already been briefed on the Switch successor, which means it’s only a matter of time until we hear something. A report from VGC claims Nintendo is planning for a second half of 2024 release window to ensure proper stock, and we’re also seeing new hardware bundles for both Switch Lite and Switch OLED, which could mean Nintendo is clearing out old hardware inventory to make room for the new.
Trying to nail down when we’ll hear about new hardware is a much tougher discussion. The Switch is still selling a lot, which is incredible for a console nearing its seventh birthday, and I could see Nintendo choosing to ride out the sales momentum for even longer. I think it’s entirely possible we’re already experiencing something along those lines – maybe Nintendo was planning a Spring 2024 hardware launch but ongoing sales success forced it to instead roll out a series of quick-turnaround ports and remakes to keep Switch alive for just a few more months.
The way I break it down, there are three possibilities:
- Announce new hardware in January/February for a Spring release
- Reveal new hardware in the Summer for a Fall release
- Tease new hardware in the Fall for an early 2025 release
My gut tells me that option two is the most likely thanks to what we know so far. First, the packed-out release schedule through March signals that we’re not getting new hardware this Spring. Princess Peach: Showtime seems like a tentpole release for Nintendo’s year, and I highly doubt they’d send it out to die just a few weeks before new hardware steals the spotlight.
Secondly, ahead of the Splatoon 3’s launch in September 2022, Nintendo revealed it would get two years of support via free updates. This means support is scheduled to end in September 2024, wrapping up the final ongoing DLC commitment Nintendo has on Switch. We just saw the final wave of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC, Smash DLC has been done for a while, and it makes sense that Nintendo would close out Splatoon 3 content updates just ahead of its new console, clearing the slate for whatever new ongoing software it plans to launch on the next hardware.
If I had to guess right now, I’d put my money on late October or November for a Nintendo console launch. If new hardware does launch in 2024, I feel pretty confident that a new 3D Mario will also launch next year, as that feels like the best bet for a killer app to launch alongside the console. Super Mario Odyssey was released over six years ago at this point, and while Bowser’s Fury was a delightful bite-sized 3D Mario game, I think it’s time for the next full-scale Mario sandbox.
I also think Nintendo could announce Mario Kart 9 next year, and launch it as the big holiday game in 2025. Overall, the Booster Course Pass DLC content felt like a placeholder to tide us until something bigger, and I’m willing to bet Mario Kart 9 is somewhere close to completion. I’m also hoping to get an F-Zero GX HD remake to show off the power of the next console at launch, but that’s almost certainly just wishful thinking from a starving F-Zero fan.
Things will become a lot clearer just a few weeks into the new year. Nintendo almost always hosts a Direct in February, and I don’t see that cadence changing. If the February Direct is mostly about updates to games we already know about and maybe a couple more ports and remakes tossed in (Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, anyone?), it will further increase my faith in a 2024 hardware launch. But if Nintendo shares news on original, unannounced, bombshell first-party games for later in the year, it could indicate it’s going to squeeze even more juice out of Switch.
Is It Prime Time?
I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to publish a Nintendo predictions piece without at least mentioning Metroid Prime 4. January will mark five years since Nintendo revealed Retro Studios was restarting development on the long-awaited sequel. While it’s not uncommon for AAA games to take more than five years to make, I’d be genuinely surprised if we went another whole year with complete radio silence regarding Prime 4.
I’m not saying Prime 4 is a lock to launch this year, but I definitely think it’ll show up in a Nintendo presentation at some point. My best guess is that Prime 4 will come out during the next console’s first full year, with a cross-generation release on Nintendo Switch. Just like we saw with Twilight Princess on GameCube and Wii as well as Breath of the Wild on Wii U and Switch, Nintendo will honor its commitment to put Metroid Prime 4 out on Switch, while also launching a next-gen version for early adopters. That’s the best case scenario for Metroid fans — if you want Prime 4 to succeed sales-wise, you should want the 100 million-plus Switch owners to have access to it, even if that means the game doesn’t take full advantage of Nintendo’s next machine.
Nintendo’s Entertainment Systems Will Continue
As I wrote earlier this year, Nintendo is a full-blown entertainment company now and I expect to hear more about those ventures as we move into 2024.
We already know Universal Studios Japan will open a Donkey Kong Country expansion to Super Nintendo World in the Spring, and that construction on the Nintendo Museum in Kyoto will be finished by March. Maybe it’s time to book a plane ticket to Japan…
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Anyways, I think Nintendo and Illumination will waste no time in announcing their next partnership. While the end of The Super Mario Bros. Movie teased the inclusion of a certain dinosaur friend — and a second Mario movie is unquestionably a matter of when rather than if — I feel the next collaboration between Nintendo and Illumination will be a Donkey Kong movie. Donkey Kong is the star of Super Nintendo World’s first theme park expansion, meaning a Donkey Kong movie with Seth Rogen reprising his role just makes too much sense not to happen.
A New Donkey Kong Game?
So if Donkey Kong gets his own theme park and possibly his own major motion picture, what’s missing? How about a game!
I know Mario vs. Donkey Kong is on the way but that’s more of a Mario game than a Donkey Kong game. We haven’t seen a brand new Donkey Kong game since Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze launched a decade ago. It’s time for a new Donkey Kong platformer, and I’d love for the franchise to take another crack at 3D… But maybe with fewer collectible bananas this time.
Release the Pokémon
Regardless of quality, the Pokémon franchise runs like clockwork. Pokémon hasn’t skipped a year since 2015 and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon thanks to the massive sales the series brings in every single time.
2023’s Pokémon release was the DLC for Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, meaning we’re due for either a new remake or a new Pokémon Legends game. As much as I would love a followup to Pokémon Legends: Arceus that takes place in a different region, my gut tells me it’s time for another set of Pokémon remakes. The two likeliest candidates are probably remakes of Pokémon Black & White or a Let’s Go version of Pokémon Gold & Silver.
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Given that Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee relied a lot on motion controls and detached Joy-Con, I think Pokémon won’t go that direction in an effort to avoid alienating the millions of Switch Lite users out there. Instead I reckon we’ll see remakes of Black & White, potentially from ILCA, the same developer that worked on Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. For the heck of it, I’ll predict the titles will be Pokémon Pitch Black & Bright White.
Studios We Haven’t Seen Something From in a While
Even if new hardware is imminent, we can still expect some smaller releases to fill out the rest of the 2024 calendar. There are a handful of Nintendo studios we haven’t seen anything from in a while, and that could mean they’re getting ready to ship their next game next year.
Mario Party developer NDCube’s last two games were 2021’s Mario Party Superstars and 2023’s Everybody 1-2-Switch, but reports indicate Everybody 1-2-Switch was finished for a while before it launched last Summer. It could be time for a new Mario Party that follows up on Superstars, which was a total return-to-form for the series.
Mario sports developer Camelot hasn’t launched a game since 2021’s Mario Golf: Super Rush, so we could see Mario and friends suit up for another sports title. Camelot generally works on the Mario Tennis and Golf series, but I’d personally love to see them take a crack at a third Mario Baseball game.
We also haven’t heard from Grezzo in a while. The studio behind remakes like Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time 3D, and Luigi’s Mansion 3DS hasn’t developed a project for Nintendo since 2021’s Miitopia Switch port, so I wouldn’t be shocked if we hear about another remake or port coming from the studio.
Those are our best guesses for what to expect from Nintendo in 2024. It’s sure to be another huge year with lots of hardware speculation, and knowing Nintendo, we’ll surely get some surprises that no one would have been able to guess beforehand. What do you think we’ll see from Nintendo next year? Let us know in the comments.
Logan Plant is IGN’s Database Manager, Playlist Editor, and frequent Super Ninfriendo on Nintendo Voice Chat. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.