Nintendo's first-party release calendar 2015-2016
While Nintendo might not have the best reputation when it comes to third-party titles, their first-party lineup rarely fails to impress players. However, with many big titles being pushed further back each passing day, I've decided to compile this list of upcoming games that can tide you over until the next big Legend of Zelda or Star Fox hit!
Xenoblade Chronicles X
- JP: April 29, 2015
- NA/EU: December 4, 2015
Xenoblade Chronicles X is the latest title in Monolith Soft's Xeno series of video games. In it, players will be able to command their very own "Skells" ("Dolls" in the Japanese version). The game looks and feels much like its predecessor Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii and 3DS, but aims to take full advantage of the Wii U's hardware. Science-Fiction and Mecha fans will certainly want to keep their eye out for what looks to be a promising smash hit.
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
- JP: November 21, 2015
- EU: November 20, 2015
- NA: November 13, 2015
One of the few games coming to North America before PAL releases, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival is a virtual board game that bears similarities to the Mario Party series of games. The game requires amiibo cards and toys to play, and looks like a somewhat decent game. I mean, surely it can't be worse than Mario Party 10, right?
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
- International: ~November 20th, 2015
One of Nintendo's least talked about titles, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash aims to add... something to the regular tennis formula. Previous Mario Tennis titles have seen Mario and co. getting special rackets, power-ups, and more. However, we have heard and seen nothing about Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash other than a 50-second teaser trailer where players pick up Mega Mushrooms. All we know is that this game will probably offer more of the same that we expect from Mario Sports games, and that's never a bad thing.
Genei Ibun Roku #FE
- JP: December 26, 2015
- NA/EU: TBA 2016
Originally announced as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, Genei Ibun Roku #FE is a turn-based RPG that takes elements of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series, combining them into a colorful game centralized around music, swords, and demons. From what footage has been released so far, Genei Ibun Roku #FE looks like an over-the-top fun RPG that fans of either series will undoubtedly be excited to get their hands on.
The Legend of Zelda: Wii U
- International: TBA 2016
If Nintendo had stuck to their original plans, we would be seeing a Wii U Legend of Zelda title flying off store shelves in the next few months. However, the game has since been pushed back to 2016. The game promises to include a massive overworld, non-linear gameplay, and more horse-riding action than previous Legend of Zelda titles. Let's just hope that those rumors about Twilight Princess HD are true so that it can tide us over until Zelda U is ready.
- International: Spring 2016
Ever want to see Pokemon fight in a real-time environment, just like they do in the anime? Pokken Tournament is the game you've been waiting for. Similar to Namco's Tekken series, Pokken Tournament gives players control of a roster of familiar Pokemon as they relentlessly battle in circular arenas in true arcade fashion. This is looking to be one of the major Wii U titles in the foreseeable future post-2015.
Star Fox Zero
- International: April 22, 2016
Another game that players were hoping to see in less than a month from now, Star Fox Zero has since been delayed until early next year. The game features classic on-rails and all-range modes that we have seen in games like Star Fox 64, but with all new dual-screen mechanics and transformation abilities. Hopefully - like Zelda U - the delays will improve the game beyond expectations.
Nintendo 3DS/New 3DS
The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes
- JP: October 22, 2015
- NA/EU: October 23, 2015
- AUS: October 24, 2015
Tri-Force Heroes seeks to offer a more co-operative experience than the competitive nature of the Legend of Zelda: Four Sword series. In Tri-Force Heroes three heroes bearing a resemblance to Link set out across the kingdom of Hytopia to stop the evil Drablands Witch, who has put a curse of ugliness on the beautiful Princess Styla. The game looks to be much more whimsical than previous Legend of Zelda titles, and only time will tell if this game lives up to the franchise's standards.
- JP: July 11, 2015
- NA: November 6, 2015
- AUS: December 5, 2015
- EU: TBA 2016
A game that has recently trumped Pokemon in Japan for sales, Yo-Kai Watch aims to be the next big thing in childhood monster-catching. While it will be interesting to see whether or not Yo-Kai Watch has the same international success as Pokemon; if its sales are anything to go off of, Yo-Kai Watch might just be the go-to brand in the near future. Better watch out Pokemon Company!
Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
- JP: September 17, 2015
- NA: November 20, 2015
- EU/AUS: First-Half 2016
Speaking of Pokemon, the Pokemon Company seems to be carrying on with the success of its Mystery Dungeon spin-off series with Super Mystery Dungeon on the 3DS. Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon will be the first Mystery Dungeon title to have all 721 Pokemon in full 3D. If dungeon crawling is your thing, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon might just be up your alley.
Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam Bros.
- JP: December 3, 2015
- EU: December 4, 2015
- AUS: December 10, 2015
- NA: January 22, 2016
Following the trend of almost releasing every 3 years, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. is the 5th installment of both the Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario series. In this game, Mario and Luigi team up with Paper Mario to put all of the characters in the Paper Mario world back where they belong after Luigi trips over a mysterious book and lets them loose. Both series are known for their hilarious antics and timing focused turn-based RPG elements, and so seeing what Nintendo does with both series in the same game is sure to be interesting.
Hyrule Warriors: Legends
- JP: January 21, 2016
- International: March 25, 2016
Hyrule Warriors: Legends is a 3DS port of the well-received Hyrule Warriors game on the Wii U. The game features everything that was found in the Hyrule Warriors Wii U title - including DLC maps and characters - as well as several new characters, maps, bosses, and battlegrounds. The game can also link up with the Wii U title to unlock all the characters added in the 3DS version, although other features may - or may not - be exclusive to Legends.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest/Birthright
- JP: June 25, 2015
- International: TBA 2016
The latest installment in Nintendo's Fire Emblem tactical strategy games, Fire Emblem Fates sees the player take control of their very own avatar who is torn between two sides - their adopted home, and their birth home - in a war orchestrated by an unknown force. The game features interesting new classes that seem to be based off feudal Japan or Europe depending on the game you choose.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
- International: TBA 2016
This game has received a lot of controversy since its reveal at E3 2015. However, the game still appears to be in development with a release date in 2016. The developers have since released information that the game will have both a single player element, and have Nintendo's leading lady - Samus Aran - make an appearance. We can only wait and see if this game will live up to the expectations of Metroid Prime fans.
Bravely Second: End Layer
- JP: April 23, 2015
- International: TBA 2016
Bravely Second acts as the sequel to Bravely Default, a game that sought to bring back classic Final Fantasy elements that have not been seen in the series since the days of Final Fantasy games on the Super Nintendo. While not much information has been released about international distribution, it is known that the game will be arriving in other regions... eventually.
Will there be more?
That is the question on the minds of Nintendo fans. With the NX looking like it will be released in 2016, many of us will be wondering if the Wii U or 3DS will receive more first-party support before the next console comes around the corner.
Unfortunately, it looks like this might be the end of the foreseeable release calendar for now. These titles do look promising, though, so let's keep our heads held high and enjoy these first-party titles as they come!
Also, remember to keep this article on hand as I will update it whenever news comes around about new release dates and games in the future!