Despite the release of both Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, and next month’s launch of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, recent leaks suggest that Nintendo is just getting warmed up for 2020. In celebration of Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary, multiple reports have leaked that the company plans to remaster Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Switch this year. If that weren’t enough, it was also mentioned that a deluxe version of Super Mario 3D World is planned for 2020, further cementing Nintendo’s commitment to reviving classic hits for the modern generation.
So as the remaster train currently shows no signs of stopping, what could we expect to see after the (rumored) Mario frenzy? Here’s my list of the most deserving and exciting prospects from Nintendo’s past that could best use a Switch makeover.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
It’s no secret that Skyward Sword is not my favorite Zelda game. If Breath of the Wild is an example of what the franchise looks like when breaking conventions, Skyward Sword is the exact opposite as the game stubbornly adheres to an outdated formula. It’s for this exact reason that makes the game a great candidate for a “directors cut” of sorts. I have issues with Skyward Sword, but it’s not a bad game. There are plenty of standout qualities deserving of appreciation, such as the art style, music, and characters. A remastered version could focus on these positive qualities while chipping away at the less desirable mechanics like dowsing or the repetitive third act.
Skyward Sword also heavily depends on an unconventional control scheme more so than any other Zelda- making it the one installment in the franchise that is the most likely to be lost in time. It is comparatively one of the newest Zelda games to have been released, and yet it’s already a pain to reconnect my Wii, set up the sensor bar, and scavenge for the MotionPlus attachment. The Switch would give Skyward Sword that added layer of convenience it sorely needs. Did I mention that 2021 marks the ten year anniversary of the title?
Fire Emblem: Radiant Collection
Speaking of games that are “lost in time,” could someone please help me find reasonably priced copies of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance? Buying both titles off of eBay can cost over $200. You could buy a brand new Switch Lite for the price of playing these insanely rare entries into the Fire Emblem franchise.
Besides the obvious reason that an updated "Radiant Collection" would give passionate fans of the series like myself a chance to play them finally, it’s also an excellent opportunity for Nintendo to capitalize on the Fire Emblem renaissance we are currently enjoying. 2013’s Fire Emblem: Awakening successfully introduced the series to mainstream audiences, an achievement that kicked off a string of financially healthy titles culminating in last year’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which currently holds the sales record for the franchise.
Remastering Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn within the Three Houses engine not only has precedence (Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia), but it would also give new fans of the series a familiar graphical touchstone to enjoy these classic hits. What better way to satisfy our need for more Fire Emblem as we wait for a fully realized sequel to Three Houses?
Advance Wars 1 & 2
If Fire Emblem’s relevance has only gone up over the past few console generations, Advance Wars has taken the opposite approach. The last release in the franchise was 2008’s Days of Ruin for the DS, and although the series has gotten some love from the indie community, an argument can be made that it’s time for Intelligent Systems to try again officially.
It's likely that the Advance Wars franchise will require more than a remaster or two to become relevant in the Switch era, but it's certainly a start. The Switch’s touch screen and online capabilities could springboard the content creation aspects while a high definition combover of the traditional Advance Wars pixel art would look gorgeous up close.
Pokémon Diamond/Pearl is the next Pokémon duo scheduled for a refresh ever since Game Freak started the tradition of remaking older installments with 2004’s Fire Red/Leaf Green. As I wrote in my commentary on the Pokémon Sword/Shield expansion pass, the Pokémon franchise has needed to march along to a yearly release cadence to keep up with the financial demands of the IP. The remaster route has worked wonders in helping Game Freak maintain that cadence without the added pressures of a new generation of Pokémon. It’s not really a question of “if”. The real news story would be if Game Freak decided not to take a second look at Diamond/Pearl in the near future.
Diamond/Pearl is also widely loved among the Pokémon community and should be an easy win from a public relations side of things; something that Game Freak could use after last year’s summer of controversy leading up to the release of Sword/Shield. It gives Pokémon fans something to sink their teeth into while we wait for the next installment of the series, further promotes the Pokémon Home subscription service, and could potentially incorporate some Let’s Go style mechanics to appeal to a broader audience. I know many of you might have some strong opinions about that last one, but it’s just a thought.
Super Smash Bros 64 and/or Melee
This might seem like a weird choice considering how all-encompassing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is as a complete package. It’s a game that has well earned its namesake multiple times over as far as I’m concerned. Yet Smash has never been a franchise to completely overwrite previous entries with newer releases. There’s both a casual and competitive admiration for each generation of Smash that makes people return to these games over and over despite the existence of an “ultimate” edition.
It’s also clear that we shouldn’t expect a sequel to Ultimate anytime soon. So why not reintroduce 64 or Melee in the time being as a much more convenient way to live out our childhood rivalries. These are also the exact kind of games that would greatly benefit from the Switch’s hardware and online services. What might the Melee community look like with 8-player Smash, system-to-system multiplayer, and online ranking capabilities?
Metroid Prime Trilogy
No Switch remaster list would be complete without the mention Metroid Prime Trilogy. Ever since Metroid Prime 4 was officially announced in 2017, rumors have swirled regarding the existence and impending release of the collection for the Switch. Alas, no Trilogy has been released, let alone announced. The lack of confirmation surrounding these rumors could have something to do with Prime 4’s complete development reboot early last year or because it just frankly doesn’t exist. Either way, it deserves to exist, and I would very much like to see it happen.
Metroid Prime Trilogy houses the best versions of each of the three Prime titles. Unfortunately, it shares the same price-gouging dilemma as the Fire Emblem games mentioned above and the same controller preservation issue as Skyward Sword. It’s incredibly difficult to find at a reasonable price, and even if you do find it, the games are not particularly convenient to play in 2020.
I haven’t even touched on the fact that the Prime games have woefully underperformed financially despite their critical reviews meaning that a lot of people have not played these games. If Prime 4 performs similarly to other first-party Nintendo titles this generation, it could likely sell more copies than all of the other Prime games combined. Although it would make me happy to see the Metroid Prime franchise finally get the justice it deserves, it also points to our desperate need to get a Trilogy like this in the hands of Switch owners as soon as possible.
- Golden Sun 1 & 2
- Mario Party 1-3
- Paper Mario
- F-Zero GX
All Star List?
What do you think of my list of the most deserving Nintendo titles that deserve the remaster treatment after the probable “Super Mario All-Stars 2” later this year? Are there any woeful omissions or ridiculous inclusions you take issue with? Let me know in the comments below or on my twitter: @romefawaz.