If you were to summarize the release of games on the Nintendo Switch, how would you do it? Would you point out the high-quality games like Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey? Or point out the Wii U titles that never got its chance to shine? There is nothing wrong with choosing the latter option since, in some respects, it does give the game a second chance while allowing players who did skip the Wii U another chance to play the game.
What is nice about the “Wii U ports,” though, is how a good chunk of these games are more than just simple ports. Games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe got to see additional characters, and a battle mode while Pokken Tournament DX saw more playable Pokemon and assists. And then there were bigger titles such as Hyrule Warriors getting a “Definitive Edition” with all the content from both the Wii U and 3DS versions in one massive title. And while players might be split on Super Smash Brothers Ultimate “being a Wii U port” too, there’s no denying that it was a demand that people did want to see on the Switch as the launch of the console back on March 3, 2017.
Isn’t that crazy to think, though? We are almost there to the Switch’s third anniversary and moving into year four soon enough. While we do have plenty of games to look forward to, such as Animal Crossing New Horizons and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, there’s a good chance that we could see two more Wii U ports make their way to the Switch. The question is… Which ones will they be?
Wii U Ports Year 4?
So you might be asking, “Why would they port any more Wii U games to the Switch? Don’t we have them all?” While there are a good number of them on the system currently, there are still a few that have not had the chance to make their move yet. Before we speculate on what those games could be, though, it should be fair to explain why many are under the impression of this possibly happening.
Over on ResetEra, Nintendo insider Emily Rogers did make an interesting comment. For those who might not know who Emily is, she has a record for having Nintendo information that is fairly accurate and credible.
“I say this as someone who is optimistic about this year.
My only concern about 2020 is that Nintendo might lean a little too hard on re-releases of older stuff as a crutch to fill out their calendar. Nintendo has already officially announced Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Xenoblade Chronicles 1 remaster/remake for this year. I can also confirm that Nintendo has (at least) two more unannounced Wii U ports. They are not difficult to guess because there aren’t many Wii U games left to port.
Also, if you aren’t into Animal Crossing, then the first 3–4 months of 2020 won’t be super amazing for you personally. Nintendo is obviously treating Animal Crossing as their big March title, so that’s something people will just need to accept. And as we saw with 2019, Nintendo likes to dump most of its biggest releases in the second half of the year. Which typically makes the pacing for the first half of the year slower by comparison.”
What does this mean?
So if you are a Switch owner and if you aren’t too keen on becoming Tom Nook’s plaything by being abandoned on a deserted island while going into massive debt, the start of 2020 might be a touch barren for you. Of course, we do have games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, Persona 5 Scramble, and the 5th DLC fighter in Smash Ultimate for the start of the year, but Nintendo is effectively banking on Animal Crossing to carry them for the start of 2020. That’s nice and all, but then on other platforms we do have Yakuza 7, Dreams, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Nioh 2, Resident Evil 3 Remake, and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake during that same time frame, so that might be a touch tricky to contend with.
That said, though, let’s look at her first paragraph once more. With Tokyo Mirage Sessions coming in a few weeks and Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition coming later this year, Nintendo might be close to running the Wii U Well dry. There’s still a fair number of titles on the Wii U that can find their way onto the system still, but one could argue that by this point, we likely won’t see anything too drastic for titles that might not have had a big impact back when they got released. Still, what could those games be exactly what we should be keeping an eye out for?
Five possible Switch Ports
5) Star Fox Zero
Original release date: 2016
As one of the final Wii U titles before the Switch took over, Star Fox Zero was the game many fans were looking forward too. At least up until we finally got it. If you did play the game on the Wii U, you probably could point out the one glaring issue that the title had, and that was its controls. While many did say the controls took some getting used to, the overall game itself was alright. A mixed reception at worst, but still a game that some did enjoy.
If we were to see this come to the Switch, there would have to be a lot of revisions the game would have to see: Including the said overall controls. It could be possible that by making the controls to a controller, the gameplay itself would improve, but the Wii U Gamepad was indeed its main gimmick. That and with the structure of the game itself, it would seem highly doubtful that we would see anything new to it if it were to have any additional content.
Overall, if you do want to play Star Fox on the Switch, there is always Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Go buy it and get a nice Arwing figure for you to display on your shelf.
Possibility: Highly Unlikely
4) Pikmin 3
Original release date: 2013
Ever since the start of the GameCube, the Pikmin titles continue to be a favorite among players who enjoy strategy games and exploration. It can be fun to command colorful Pikmin, command them to murder the local wildlife, and have their remains to build up your army, and it should come as no shock to consider how many re-releases the games have had in the past. Both Pikmin and Pikmin 2 did have a “New Play Control!” version in 2008–2009 for the Wii and also got onto the Wii U’s virtual console service in 2016. And while it should be easy enough to work around the lack of a Wii U screen for Pikmin 3, that should be a sure-fire choice to see ported to the Switch, right?
Well… That’s harder to say honestly. Not to say that we won’t see a new Pikmin title since back during E3 2017, Shigeru Miyamoto did reconfirm that a sequel to Pikmin was still in development. There’s a good chance it could still happen, but one can argue that the time to port the game to the Switch can be time to develop what we could probably guess to be the fourth title. Of course, they could make this happen by making the official announcement of Pikmin 4 and give players something to play while we wait for the said title, but we’ll have to wait and see how that one plays out.
Possibility: Possible but unlikely
3) The Wonderful 101
Original Release Date: 2013
PlatinumGames and Nintendo have been the best of friends as of late, haven’t they? It wasn’t that long ago that Nintendo gave them a helping hand to make Bayonetta 2 a reality while also giving us Astral Chain last year on top of all the other high-end quality games we get from them. Some better than others, of course, but the games themselves are high quality. While they did have a few titles on the Wii U (and also co-developed Star Fox Zero with Nintendo EPD (Entertainment Planning & Development). Their first title on the system was a fun little hack and slash, Action-Adventure title, simply known as The Wonderful 101.
The game itself got generally positive reviews as many did point out how much they did enjoy the story, characters, and overall humor, although the combat itself did tend to be a touch repetitive. One of the bigger issues though, was the touchscreen since many did say that drawing the shapes was complicated. Yeah, a circle and a line were simple enough, but it can get a touch complicated for some when you start putting in “Pauses” and additional drawing shapes and have the game recognize them properly. Between that and how they did make use of the gamepad screen for puzzles and other things, it could be a challenge to bring the game over to the Switch.
Still, it isn’t to say that it is out of the realm of probability since, back in June 2019, there was a report mentioning a possible tease for a Wonderful 101 Switch port. The game wasn’t a big seller, but perhaps on a bigger system, it might stand a better chance of getting more sales.
2) Xenoblade Chronicles X
Original Release date: 2015
It can be crazy to consider how big Xenoblade Chronicles has become since it begun towards the beginning of the last decade. The Xeno series itself does stretch back to 1998 with Xenogears and Xenosaga, but the recent series on the Nintendo platforms (Xenoblade), has seen a wide range of high reviews. While we did get Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in 2017 (and the expansion title in 2018), there has been little word on the actual “2nd title” in the series: Xenoblade Chronicles X.
For those who didn’t have the chance to play the game, it was a spinoff title that was not meant to be a full-on sequel like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was. Following the destruction of Earth, humanity travels to the uncharted planet, Mira, in an attempt to rebuild. With you in control of a customizable avatar, you will explore the new world and its five continents to discover its secrets and stop humanity from dying out. There was so much to do and see in the game that it can feel overwhelming to do it all. But that was part of the fun. That and there were giant mechs you could pilot.
As for the chance of it getting a port to the Switch, that one is harder to say. There was a considerable amount of things you could do with the gamepad, but chances are that you could work around it if it were to see a re-release. That and with the original Xenoblade getting its re-release sometime this year, it is possible that we could see this title get a remaster too. Albeit probably on it 2020…
Possibility: Maybe not this year, but perhaps 2021–2022?
1) Super Mario 3D World
Original release date: 2013
Probably should come as no shock to see another Mario game from the Wii U port to the Switch, but this one is under a much more interesting circumstance. At this point, there are only a few handfuls of Mario games left, and with us having a Mario Tennis title, a different Mario Party, another go at the Olympics with Sonic, and Super Mario Maker 2, there aren’t that many titles left to port over. That only leaves three titles left: Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Paper Mario: Color Splash, and Super Mario 3D World. And if you had to pick the game that likely would be the most successful out of these three, you probably would pick door number 3.
Back when it came out, the game was critically acclaimed. It might sound silly to say that moving Mario’s gameplay into a 3D free-roaming while keeping the mechanics of a 2D side-scrolling platformer was a revolutionary idea, but ironically enough, it did work. There’s a reason why Super Mario Maker 2 did bring the option of a “3D World” to the game, and with the wide number of challenges we saw come to the game, it was no wonder why it saw praise from everyone.
Considering how it wasn’t that long ago that we saw Captain Toad Treasure Tracker come to the Switch, it is probably fair to guess that a 3D World port or even a sequel could happen too. As it was a title that didn’t rely too much on the gamepad and the chance to add in additional characters too, Super Mario 3D World is probably the safest bet to see as the next Wii U port.
Possibility: Highly Plausible
So What do you think?
So it occurs to me after writing this that there were a good number of games we did talk about that fell in 2013. Not sure if that was a good year for Wii U titles, or if that is just a simple coincidence. Still, it is only a matter of time until the good chunk of Wii U titles will find their way to the Switch while the others likely will either remain there never to see the light of day again or live on as an “improved” sequel. With many people speculating that we are going to see a Nintendo Direct sometime this month, perhaps that will be the time that we’ll get more details on another possible Wii U port. Perhaps something to look forward to during the summer? Or towards the end of the year?
Either way, it will be fun to see what Nintendo has in store for us and to see what new surprises we can see here at the start of the new decade. Until that time comes, are there any Wii U titles you are expecting to see a port over? Which titles do you think will likely happen? And which ones are likely never going to happen? Leave your thoughts down below, and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles on Nintendo and other things in the game world for 2020.