A reader presents his theory that Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom will be Nintendo’s last major game on Switch and used to promote the Switch 2.
Like every The Legend Of Zelda fan I was eagerly awaiting the Nintendo Direct this week, even though I knew there probably wouldn’t be much information. If the game’s not due out till next year Nintendo aren’t ones to go on at length about a game that you won’t be able to buy for half a year or more. In the end they pretty much just announced the name and the release date, which is about what I figured and to be honest I could’ve imagined them doing just the name – so I was fairly satisfied.
It seems pointless to discuss the game itself at this point, since we know so little about it, but given the quality of the last one, and the fact that most of the same people are involved, I think it’s reasonable to assume that, even if it’s not AS good, it will still be a very good game in itself. It may even perfect some of the ideas from the flawed Skyward Sword, since a surprising amount of the footage so far seems reminiscent of that game.
Like I said though, I’m not here to predict what the game is going to be like, because that’s impossible, but I do have a theory about how it sits in relationship to the Switch itself. It’s my theory that it will end up being the last major Nintendo game on the Switch and a way to measure the improvements brought on by its successor.
By May 12 the Switch will be over six years old, which is not impossibly old for a console but it is well past the point at which you’d expected the next one to be announced, especially one that’s relatively low tech and could probably be much more powerful using more modern components – without even getting into a full ‘sequel’ console.
That’s what I assume the much talked about Switch Pro was going to be: an upgrade to some degree, but essentially the same console underneath, running the same games. There were so many rumours, from proven sources, about the Switch Pro that I have little doubt it was real at one point and that it only never happened because of Covid.
It would only ever have been a stopgap though, so once that window of opportunity closed it had no purpose. So Nintendo had a choice: carry on regardless and extend the lifetime of the Switch even further (remember, they’d almost certainly keep making the old one if the Switch Pro is only an upgrade) or just drop the idea and go straight ahead to the Switch 2.
Logically, the Switch 2 seems like the sensible decision and the fact that there have been no recent rumours about the Switch Pro makes me confident that’s the route Nintendo went. So that means that, under normal rules at least, you would expect to start hearing about the Switch 2 very soon. It seems clear that it has nothing to do with Tears Of The Kingdom at launch, but my suspicion is that the game is very important to the Switch 2’s reveal.
My hypothesis is that Tears Of The Kingdom will launch as normal and then relatively shortly after, probably in 2023 but possibly early 2024, Nintendo will announce the Switch 2 and one of the key appeals will be that it’s completely backwards compatible with all previous games.
The Switch doesn’t have any real backwards compatibility because it can’t use discs but before that Nintendo were very keen on the concept. So I think they’ll have seen how it’s become much more of a hot issue nowadays and will double down on it, offering increased resolution, higher frame rates, and effects like ray-tracing to games that already exist.
Sounds pretty appealing, no? And what could be a better way to promote this feature than the newly released Zelda game? So that’s my theory. I think Tears Of The Kingdom will be the bookend for the Switch and then everything after it will concentrate on the Switch 2 as its primary format.
The neatness of the idea is that they wouldn’t have to drop support for the original Switch anytime soon, as the same games could still be released on it – similarly to how they handled the Game Boy/Game Boy Color.
Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong – Nintendo are notoriously difficult to predict after all – but if I’m right… well, I’ll treat myself to a Switch 2 pre-order!
By reader Carbona
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