Nintendo´s mystery that is 2010 Q3/Q4 and the time after

Nintendo´s Media Summit 2010 is over – and it actually delivered! Kind of. American gamers can rejoice, while Europeans have to deal with an unknown date for Metroid: Other M sometime in Q3, and many other smaller games haven´t even been mentioned. Still, everyone got dates for Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies, Monster Hunter Tri and, most importantly, Super Mario Galaxy 2, which will be out at the end of May/early June, which is a lot sooner than many people expected. There is reason enough to be suspicious, though.


The first half of 2010 is definitely packed on the Wii. We already got Endless Ocean 2, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, and we´re getting Red Steel 2, Fragile: Farewell of the Ruins and Monster Hunter Tri. Not even mentioning a Mario- AND Metroid-game. All of that for just the first half of the year. That makes one wonder: What does Nintendo have up their sleeves for the second half of 2010?

Game-wise, we know of Xenoblade and The Last Story. Xenoblade does have a chance, as it is supposed to be released this spring in Japan. Tales of Graces should be coming overseas, as well. Then there´s Epic Mickey from Disney. And that´s it. That still is missing a real blockbuster for the end of the year, which is why many people started to think that that´s where Zelda Wii comes in. Satoru Iwata and Eiji Aonuma already mentioned that the game´s supposed to be released in 2010, but nobody really took that for granted until now. With all bigger known Nintendo-games coming out in Q2, though, that picture changed. Zelda Wii now seems like the obvious choice for Nintendo´s big Q4-title. And we also know that the 5th gen Pokemon-game will be released in 2010. Maybe we´ll be surprised and see an oversea release soon after the Japanese release date?

2010 looks really good on the software side…so good, actually, that it makes one wonder what´s after. All big known Nintendo-games will be out at the end of the year. Nothing left to release. It´s unlikely that we´ll see another Mario- and Zelda-game on the Wii, and filling 2011 with more niche franchises like Starfox, F-Zero and Pikmin (and Kirby) isn´t really a smart business decision.

It has been speculated many times, but it really looks like 2011 is the year we´ll see a new Nintendo-hardware. Whether that will be a handheld or home system is in the unknown, but some kind of hardware seems likely. It becomes all the more likely if you consider my theory about Nintendo engaging a hybrid-console concept, where there isn´t a clearly defined generational cycle anylonger. The one developer we haven´t heard from for a long time is RetroStudios, and taking all this time would suddenly make sense if it´s for a gorgeous launch-title of a new system. After all, an HD-game of the quality of a Metroid Prime is not something that can be done over night.

In the end, all of the above speculation is for fun only, because it´s the “Now” that is interesting at the moment. So let me, again, remind you to buy Fragile. And maybe GDC will reveal new interesting stuff.

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