The Nintendo Switch had a relatively dry year in terms of new releases, and several of its key games meant bringing over some of the last exclusives from the Wii U, further sealing the fate of the system.
The Wii U was a criminally overlooked system during its day, and it received many incredible games that didn’t sell many copies. When it became obvious that the Switch was a hit, it started the ball rolling for the awesome Wii U titles to be ported over with new features. Nintendo already planned to do this with the biggest games on the system, as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was one of the first Switch titles revealed, but the extent was likely extended by the success of the new system. Over time, more and more Wii U games were ported to the Switch. The Wii U still had some killer exclusives as of the end of 2019, so there were plenty of reasons to keep hold of one.
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The Switch’s schedule was comparatively empty in 2020, but it had the power of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to help keep it relevant. The pandemic clearly hit the company hard, which is why we still know so little about what’s coming next year. Nintendo and other developers filled several holes in the Switch’s schedule with Wii U ports, including Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, Pikmin 3 Deluxe, and The Wonderful 101: Remastered. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury was also announced for a 2021 release, and there are rumors that it was also supposed to come out this year, but it was delayed by COVID. Three of the few remaining Wii U games are now on the Switch, and there will be few reasons left to keep hold of a console once Bowser’s Fury is released.
In terms of first-party games, the Wii U is almost spent. The HD remakes of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker are likely being saved for a 3D Zelda collection, as 2021 marks the 35th anniversary of the series. After that, there are only a handful of games that are so tied to the Wii U GamePad that they would be almost impossible to port, like Game & Wario and Star Fox Zero.
It’s great that games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions and The Wonderful 101 have had the chance to reach a wider audience on the Switch. Pikmin 3 Deluxe has been selling incredibly well in Japan, showing that there is still a lot of love for the series. It’s just a shame that the Wii U is running out of exclusives. The system never captured the imagination of the public in the way that Nintendo hoped it would, and many games were hung out to dry as a result. There are few reasons to buy a Wii U in 2020 and even fewer reasons to keep hold of one going forward. It’s incredible to see the Switch becoming such a worldwide sensation, but it could have used more hits of its own in 2020, rather than relying so much on taking from the past.
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Scott has been writing for The Gamer since it launched in 2017 and also regularly contributes to Screen Rant. He has previously written gaming articles for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. He has been gaming since the days of the ZX Spectrum, when it used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set.
Scott thinks Chrono Trigger is the best video game of all time, followed closely by Final Fantasy Tactics and Baldur’s Gate 2. He pretends that sorcerer is his favorite Dungeons & Dragons class in public but he secretly loves bards.
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