Since well before the Nintendo Switch Lite was even revealed, there have been rumors and reports floating around of a mythical "Switch Pro." The "Switch Pro," as rumors and some reports have dubbed it, is due to be a more powerful version of the Switch. Considering the dozens of iterations on Nintendo's other handheld hardware—from the Game Boy Advance SP to the New Nintendo 3DS—it's the sort of rumor that feels like a given; an eventuality, rather than a "maybe."
Today, Video Games Chronicle dug into a new report from Taipei-based newspaper Economic Daily News. The paper reports that a new Nintendo Switch model "could" be entering production later this year, with a launch set for Q1 2021. Considering Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles are scheduled for this holiday season, the timing doesn't seem completely out of the ordinary. But this isn't particularly new news, as The Wall Street Journal, Eurogamer, and others have reported separately on the proposed console in the past.
The Economic Daily News reports that the new model will have improved "interactivity" and higher display quality. Alas, there's potential for the Switch to strive for higher resolution with its next model. 4K resolution is something both the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, as well as next-gen consoles, project handily already. As for improved interactivity, here's to hoping its touch screen works better with a stylus like the Wii U did, or perhaps more games take advantage of the HD Rumble.
All told, it's been a slow year for Nintendo. It makes sense, considering there's a pandemic, and most companies around the world have thus shifted to a work-from-home lifestyle. Nintendo stated earlier this year that the COVID-19 pandemic had indeed impacted its production of future games. The publisher and developer even skipped the typical E3-timed Nintendo Direct. It's led to a long drought of news about first-party releases, where we've seen Paper Mario: The Origami King, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and nothing else. But we're patient. We have other next-gen consoles to look forward to anywho.
As an owner of the Switch Lite who subsequently sold their launch Switch on Ebay, the time feels about right for a new version of the Switch to emerge. The non-foldable, budget-friendly 2DS launched just two years after launch. Meanwhile, the power-superior New Nintendo 3DS (and New Nintendo 3DS XL) launched just three years after the original platform's launch. This matches with what is seemingly the grand plan for the Nintendo Switch. The Switch Lite released late last year, and now seemingly the "Pro" version is nearly ready to roll. As of Aug. 2020, the Switch family has sold over 61 million units, including the classic and Lite versions.
We live in a time where console iterations aren't just a Nintendo thing anymore. While Sony and Microsoft dabbled with it in the past, with Slim models and the like, this past console generation is where it got serious with it. The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox Series X offered premium experiences for owners, perhaps moreso with the latter than the former. The New Nintendo 3DS once offered the same promise: It was a more powerful 3DS. It even had exclusive games, like an admittedly rough Xenoblade Chronicles port. If, from the sounds of reports, Nintendo's moving forward with a premium version of the console, it's easy to imagine a wishlist for it. Better portable performance; longer battery life, and 4K resolution capability, or at least HDR and the ability for more games to run at 60FPS.
Who knows when this news will leave the hushed whispers of industry analysts. It's been almost a year since the last full Nintendo Direct back in September 2019, though we've been occupied by a number of indie-focused showcases and game-specific Directs over the year. For now, all we must do is wait patiently, and dream about a more powerful Switch. After all, next-gen is right around the corner—maybe that includes Switch too.
Major Game Releases: August 24 to August 28
Here are the major releases for the week of August 24 to August 28. Want to see the complete list? Check out our full list of video game release dates for 2020.
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition [August 27 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android]: The remaster that no one ever expected is out this week. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition includes updated graphics, 13 new dungeons, a newly arranged score, voice acting, and even cross-platform multiplayer.
- Moon [August 27 for Nintendo Switch]: I never thought I'd get to play Moon, but this week, that changes. Moon's getting a Switch port, complete with an official English localization helmed by friend of the site Tim Rogers, the creator of our team's favorite video reviews on the world wide web. The original PlayStation RPG is seen as a classic for many reasons—for its humor, for its breaking of genre conventions, for its music. Soon, we'll get to see what all the hubbub is actually about for this parody RPG. Yay!
- Tell Me Why, Episode 1 [August 27 for Xbox One, PC]: Dontnod Entertainment has another episodic game for this year, fresh off of finishing Life Is Strange 2 late last year. Luckily, players won't have to wait a year-plus to finish out the series. All three of its episodes are releasing in weekly succession, with Episode 1 dropping this Thursday. Tell Me Why is an original story following siblings Alyson and Tyler as they come to terms with their childhood. It is, notably, the first game from a major studio to have a transgender man in a leading role. The studio has been transparent about the story, and even released a FAQ for any players that may be worried about the trans character's portrayal. We'll have a review for the series later this week.
- Madden NFL 21 [August 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC]: This year's Madden NFL 21 is a big point of transition for the series. Later this year, the installment will hit Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Stadia. We don't know how the football sim will shape up on those platforms, but for current ones, we'll at least get a taste of the future of Madden.
- Wasteland 3 [August 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC]: After weathering a delay, Wasteland 3 is finally hitting consoles, as well as PC, Mac, and even Linux. Considering inXile Entertainment was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, this could be the last time we see one of its games on Sony's console. Look forward to our own thoughts on the RPG later this week, as well as on Axe of the Blood God.
- Project Cars 3 [August 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC]: It's a busy month for Slightly Mad Studios, though they probably want everyone to quietly forget about its first release of this month, Fast and Furious Crossroads. Project Cars 3 is revving its engines later this week.
Five Things You Should Know Heading Into This Week In Gaming
- At DC Fandome, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League from Rocksteady and Gotham Knights from WB Montreal, both developers of installments in the Batman: Arkham series, were revealed. Suicide Squad is more of a departure from Rocksteady, who last released Batman: Arkham Knight. The trailer shows Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang squaring off against an evil Superman, complete with a "B.O.B." needle drop in the midst of the teaser. The game's on track for a 2022 release. WB Montreal, who helmed the prequel Arkham: Origins, are donning the cowl again in its adaptation of the Court of Owls narrative. It will also be co-op, and is heading for a 2021 release.
- It's Gamescom week. Thursday marks the Geoff Keighley hosted and organized Gamescom: Opening Night Live event, though this year it's obviously taking place digitally rather than in Cologne, Germany. We'll see more of Fall Guys: Season 2, and more reveals during the event.
- Yakuza: Like A Dragon, colloquially known as Yakuza 7, finally has a release date. The uncharacteristically turn-based RPG from the Yakuza team is out on Nov. 13 for Xbox One, PC, and PS4. It will be available on day one of whenever the Xbox Series X launches, with a PlayStation 5 release planned for a later date. Sure sounds like a timed next-gen exclusive to me!
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is getting a formal reveal this week. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, we'll learn more about Treyarch's next Black Ops, which got a controversial teaser last week featuring archival audio and footage of KGB defector and conspiracy theorist Yuri Bezmenov. The last Black Ops game was just two years ago, meaning this year is skipping the typical three-year gap between Call of Duty studios's releases.
- Microsoft is backing Epic Games in its ongoing dispute against Apple. While a lot of the conversation has swirled around Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store, the arguably much bigger issue remains that Apple has now restricted Epic's access to the Apple SDK, hindering further development of Unreal Engine support for iOS and MacOS. Thus, it's putting game developers at a disadvantage.
Axe of the Blood God for August 17, 2020
Axe of the Blood God is our official RPG podcast releasing every single Monday. You can find subscription info here. We also put out an Axe of the Blood God newsletter every Wednesday, which you can subscribe to here.
Kat Bailey is on vacation, so hapless co-host Nadia Oxford takes over the Axe of the Blood God with help from USgamer news editor, Eric Van Allen. The duo put out the small fires that invariably crop up when Kat's out of town while they discuss Baldur's Gate 3, new RPGs coming to Nintendo Switch, and the troubles bogging down Bloodlines 2. Then developer Davionne Gooden joins in to talk about his upcoming RPG, She Dreams Elsewhere, as well as the challenges of putting an RPG on the Switch.