Earlier today, Nintendo announced financials for the current fiscal year, including monumental sales for Animal Crossing: New Horizons in six weeks on the market. Buried within the briefing however was talk of how COVID-19 has impacted development for future Nintendo games.
You can check out a full recap of the briefing in the tweet thread below, by longtime Nintendo fan translator David Gibson. As one of Gibson's tweets notes further down in the thread, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Nintendo developers to work from home in Japan, which has had a significant impact on the development of future titles.
The @Nintendo has begun, will do my best to pass on main points, sorry for any mistakes. Talking about risk from virus- David Gibson (@gibbogame) May 7, 2020
Internal delays to Nintendo's development schedule has been backed up by longtime industry analyst Daniel Ahmad in the tweet below. It should come as relatively little surprise that Nintendo might have to reschedule the launches of games that were originally planned for the latter half of 2020.
For what it's worth, I've already heard that some Nintendo FP games have been delayed internally or that there is uncertainty on release dates due to the challenges from COVID-19 and switch to work from home.- Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) May 7, 2020
But what could these games be? There's no official confirmation as to which games have been hit the hardest by the shift to working from home, but in Nintendo's slides for the briefing, you can see that Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4, and a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are all listed under future planned titles for the Nintendo Switch.
This absolutely isn't confirmation that any of the titles have been internally delayed as a result of COVID-19, but it is interesting to note the three planned games in the context of internal delays at Nintendo. Right now, Nintendo has relatively little planned for the latter half of 2020: Pokemon Sword and Shield's two expansions are perhaps the biggest releases of the next six months.
Whatever the case, it would seem like Nintendo's plans for the rest of 2020 are understandably up in the air. But there's some good news to come from all of this. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 13 million copies in just six weeks, already topping the lifetime sales figures of other franchise games like New Leaf and Wild World.