With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC in mind, what does Nintendo's 2019 lineup currently look like, and how much do we actually know about it?

Nintendo have revealed a few key titles for 2019, but it's more interesting to see how much we don't know about it

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • December 5, 2018 at 5:01 p.m. PST

With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releasing this week, Nintendo are about to have yet another garguantuan launch on their latest hardware, the Nintendo Switch.

Of course, one of the subjects on the forefront of everyone's mind is just what characters we might see join the fray this time around as DLC.

I wrote a piece recently which detailed what Nintendo deciding the DLC rather than series director Masahiro Sakurai, as has traditionally been the case, could mean for the upcoming DLC in comparison to what we've previously seen in the game.

Of course, Sakurai still has final say on any roster decisions, but Nintendo are the ones making the character decisions and giving them to him, whereupon he can decide whether he thinks they'll be feasible as a playable character or not.

In that previous piece, I touch upon several subjects such as 3rd parties Nintendo are likely to want to strengthen their bonds even further with, Nintendo characters that they may want to push but Sakurai has previously overlooked, and more.

A key point, though, which this article will elaborate upon is which Nintendo projects are they interested in marketing for the upcoming year? There's a lot we don't know about, but let's take a look at what we do know, and compare this to previous years just to show how much is still unknown to us.

Known major projects on the horizon

Although Nintendo try to remain tight-lipped on upcoming projects until they're close to release, we do know about some of their upcoming projects. None of these projects have any set release dates, though some of them have release windows set mere months from now.

If you're looking only at the games we currently know that Nintendo are working on, which would likely be a mistake, but definitely tells part of the story, these titles are probably the biggest ones that Nintendo have coming up ... That we're aware of right now.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Yoshi's Crafted World was originally meant to release this year, and is the much anticipated followup to the highly successful Yoshi's Woolly World, which originally released on the Wii U in 2015.

As one of the original eight, Yoshi is definitely one of Nintendo's most famous characters, and somewhat curiously, remains one of only two franchises, alongside F-Zero, that has been in Smash Bros. from the very beginning but still only has one character representing its series.

Contrary to F-Zero, the Yoshi series is alive and well and receives new games at a steady pace, which tend to do quite well for themsevles.

Perhaps the biggest reason that Yoshi remains alone in representing the egg symbol is that Yoshi is so intricately tied with Mario, much moreso than other Mario offshoots Donkey Kong and Wario are, though if that were the case, why even keep the egg icon in for so long to begin with?

It's pretty clear that despite the massive overlap with Mario, Yoshi is considered to be its own series both by Sakurai and by Nintendo, and with a new game on the horizon, it's possible we'd see a new addition from it ... Though honestly, it feels like the inclusion of Piranha Plant already decreases those chances quite a bit.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

It's hard to forget just how hard Nintendo have been pushing Fire Emblem as a series when you look at Super Smash Bros., especially last go-around in Super Smash Bros. 4, for the 3DS and Wii U, where they added new characters Robin and Lucina in the base game, brought back Melee cut Roy as DLC and added Corrin as brand new DLC on top of that.

With the "Everyone is here" theme of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the new addition of Chrom as an echo of Roy, Fire Emblem now has the third most characters of any series in Super Smash Bros., only falling behind Mario and Pokémon.

Given how relatively small the series is in comparison to others, this can seem a bit awkward, though there's no denying that Fire Emblem has gained from the Smash inclusion and has become a bigger franchise for Nintendo than it was 15 years ago, especially since Nintendo decided to venture into the mobile market.

Whatever the case, there's clear precedence for Fire Emblem DLC in the last game, and with Three Houses being a grand return to a powerful system, with every game since 2007's Radiant Dawn being on a portable-only console, this is a game Nintendo will want to see succeed.

Still, even Nintendo might feel like enough's enough in this case. Time will tell if Fire Emblem gets yet another new addition via DLC, though odds are pretty good that it'll happen.

Animal Crossing

Ever since its debut back in 2001, Animal Crossing has seen a huge rise and become of Nintendo's absolute flagship franchises, with the biggest titles in the series selling on par with the likes of Mario and Pokémon.

The pacifistic nature of the franchise, though, made it difficult to imagine how to get a working fighter out of it, though Sakurai managed to reconcile those woes when he added Villager last game, and again in this game when beloved series mascot Isabelle joined the fray.

While they might seem a bit samey, again likely due to the nature of the series being about as far away from fighting as you can possibly get, the popularity of the series and the fanbase it has more than warrants additional characters if Nintendo are interested.

To me, this one seems a bit more iffy, since Animal Crossing characters by nature are similar to each other. While Villager and Isabelle definitely play differently from one another, you can see shades of the same inspiration for their moves, and it's hard to imagine pushing another character out from such a limited well, fightingwise.

If Nintendo wills it and Sakurai okays it, though, it's going to happen. This is likely to be one of Nintendo's biggest titles of 2019, so don't be surprised if it ends up bleeding over into Smash as well.

Luigi's Mansion 3

Out of the games we know about, this seems like the least likely one to get any form of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC.

First of all, Luigi doesn't have his own series icon in Smash, and any Luigi's Mansion content is firmly placed under the Mario banner.

Second of all, there aren't really any notable characters to add from Luigi's Mansion except possibly King Boo, who could be a solid candidate, but may very well have been passed over for the ferocious Piranha Plant that shocked us all about a month ago.

Of course, we don't know exactly what Nintendo are planning with this new installment, but based on previous games, it seems unlikely that there's much to add from this game, and on top of everything else — most Mario-related titles sell on their own, without needing any extra marketing help along the way.

Metroid Prime 4

Metroid Prime 4 is the only title in this list that doesn't have a set 2019 release window, instead being a "TBA" title.

Although the game itself is hotly anticipated, the reality of the Metroid series is that there's little else to add than what we already have in the game.

For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we got both Ridley and Dark Samus, two of Samus' biggest nemeses. In short, it feels like the marketing for Metroid Prime 4 has already been done in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

While there's some talk about Metroid Prime: Hunters character Sylux being central to Metroid Prime 4, given the teaser featuring his ship at the end of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption over 10 years ago, it feels unlikely that Nintendo would push in a character before they know if anyone actually likes them.

Although such a thing has happened before with Fire Emblem's Roy, who was added to Super Smash Bros. Melee before his supposed debut game was even out yet, for the most part the Super Smash Bros. series has been careful in adding characters in before they've "earned their spot", so to speak.

When it comes to Metroid, it's hard to imagine what else they would add at this point, and it seems more likely that what we've got in Ultimate already is seen as adequate promotion for the upcoming game.

Schedules compared to previous years

Now, let's have a look at the known schedule for 2019 when compared to the schedules of the two preceding years, ever since the Nintendo Switch hit the market.

We'll be listing Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch games separately, but they're all shown by year.

Some of these games aren't Nintendo properties, but were indeed published by Nintendo, in some cases only outside of Japan, meaning that Nintendo footed the bill for localization and likely took a return of the sales overseas for each title as well.

2017 — Nintendo 3DS
• Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
• Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World
• Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
• Mario Sports Superstars
• Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
• Ever Oasis
• Miitopia
• Hey! Pikmin
• Metroid: Samus Returns
• Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters
• Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions
• Mario Party: The Top 100
• Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
• Style Savvy: Styling Star
• Bye-Bye! BOXBOY!
• Team Kirby Clash Deluxe
• Kirby's Blowout Blast

2017 — Nintendo Switch
• The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
• 1-2 Switch
• Snipperclips - Cut It Out, Together!
• Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
• ARMS
• Splatoon 2
• Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Developed and published by Ubisoft, but is a Mario property crossover and thus intricately tied with Nintendo.)
• Pokkén Tournament DX
• Fire Emblem Warriors
• Super Mario Odyssey
• Snipperclips Plus
• Xenoblade Chronicles 2

2018 — Nintendo 3DS
• Kirby Battle Royale
• Detective Pikachu
• Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
• Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
• WarioWare Gold
• Luigi's Mansion
• Dillon's The Dead Heat Breakers

2018 — Nintendo Switch
• Bayonetta
• Bayonetta 2
• Kirby: Star Allies
• Nintendo Labo
• Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
• Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
• Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
• Mario Tennis Aces
• Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
• Octopath Traveler
• Super Mario Party
• The World Ends With You: Final Remix
• Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu!
• Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee!
• Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

2019 — Nintendo 3DS
• Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey
• Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn

2019 — Nintendo Switch
• New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
• Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
• Yoshi's Crafted World
• Fire Emblem: Three Houses
• Animal Crossing
• Daemon X Machina
• Luigi's Mansion 3
• Town (working title)

Outside of the titles listed, Nintendo have also officially announced Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3, though both have a release window listed as TBA at the moment.

They've also mentioned that they're hoping to release a main series Pokémon RPG in 2019, but it has yet to have an officially confirmed release window, and hasn't even been officially confirmed as a title as of yet.

When you see these lists one after another like this, it should clearly illustrate just how little we actually know about Nintendo's 2019. The internal discussions regarding DLC may, and most likely do, include several titles we don't even know exist yet.

What does this mean for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

What this means is that while we can clearly see some upcoming projects as highly likely targets for a DLC push in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — for example, if we indeed do get a new mainline Pokémon game next year, it'd seem almost guaranteed to have one of the DLC spots reserved — we're really only seeing part of the picture so far.

Keep in mind that Nintendo try their best to work with small hype cycles. They try their best to announce games less than a year before they're released, something that was true of both Super Mario Odyssey and of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate itself, two of the biggest games to grace the Nintendo Switch so far.

As such, while it's easy to throw out predictions about Fire Emblem, Metroid and Animal Crossing right now, we really don't know what titles Nintendo have in the pipeline, and we're only working with half of an equation.

Another thing is that Nintendo are unlikely to want to spoil their own DLC — it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to have a huge franchise title be unveiled in a Direct and immediately show that they're also getting Smash DLC to coincide with the game's release.

In short, we're going to have a much easier time to make sense of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's DLC in hindsight than through any theorycrafting we can do right now. And that's probably a good thing.

What potential projects are you hoping to see from Nintendo next year? Are there any characters you're banking on making the cut for Smash? Let us know in the comments.

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