Nintendo Switch Pro, Virtual Console, and BotW 2 in 2021

Breath of the Wild Screenshot

Nintendo might be up to something.

2020 was a big year for Nintendo and it seems like it’s all leading up to something big. The Switch also just got its biggest Online update yet and with little to show for it so far. So many things are coming (or, ending) for the Switch in March 2021 that it’s become too much to be coincidental. Several “limited edition” games are being removed from the eShop and store shelves, while even more games are being released. Big ones, too. Speculation is buzzing, some unbelievable, some now. Either way, it’s definitely worth talking about.

“Switch Pro”

Nintendo Switch
Will Nintendo announce a successor to its highly successful handheld/console hybrid this year?

A lot of Switch fans speculate there will be some new hardware coming out in March and it doesn’t sound too far fetched. March 3rd signals the 4th anniversary of the Nintendo Switch. There’s a historical precedent for Nintendo releasing new hardware pretty regularly, especially for handheld consoles. For reference, the 3DS already had 2 new iterations by its 4th anniversary, without even counting the New 3DS.

With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen. The Switch Lite is still relatively new. Not only that, there are new Switch bundles that aren’t out yet. Nintendo stated to shareholders that there would be no new Switch console in the fiscal year of 2020. Still, the fiscal year ends in March, so it’s reasonable to think it could happen.

Zelda’s big birthday

It’s worth noting that The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary begins on February 21st of this year. If Mario got a year of celebration, why not Zelda? It’s easy to think that Nintendo may have something big planned in regards to Zelda’s big 35th.

Breath of the Wild 2 got a recent trailer that stated the game is “in development,” and a 2021 release alongside some new hardware would make a lot of sense. The original Breath of the Wild got similar treatment in the transition between Wii U and the Switch, as did Twilight Princess between the Gamecube and Wii.

That weird online update

The Nintendo Switch recently got one of its biggest updates yet in the form of a new Online page. It’s anchored to the console’s home screen and holds everything to do with Switch online content. It’s strange, because all of the online features on the page are already accessible elsewhere, often in more convenient ways. You can access the eShop from the Online app, which is redundant, as the Online app is right beside the current eShop icon on the Switch homepage.

It also holds all the current NES and SNES titles available for Switch online on a chronological timeline. Firstly, the timeline feature is much more difficult to navigate than the current NES/SNES apps that were, and still are, present on the Switch. Secondly, the timeline ends in 1997. Why would Nintendo even bother with these features? What’s the point of all this?

It seems to me, that it’s either a UI disaster or Nintendo is finally gearing up for some form of a Virtual Console. My guess would be the latter. Fans have been demanding a Virtual Console for so long that Nintendo might actually listen for once.

Nintendo’s recent game removals and game additions, Zelda’s 35th anniversary, and the bizarre new Online update all lead to… something. While there’s no real way to know what they’re planning, it’s safe to assume it’s something big. Everything is up in the air for the Switch in 2021, but it’s just too much to ignore.

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By Nathan Grant

Nathan is a freelance writer, and avid video game player. He claims to have "gotten good" at Dark Souls, and 100%'d Breath of the Wild.