Predictions are arguably my favorite pass time in the video game space (besides the games themselves). The possibilities feel endless and hype swells at just the mention of an IP. Then all those hopes are dashed upon the rocks of reality throughout the year. It truly is a blast.
This is my third year of Max Frequency, which means it is time for my annual predictions for the Big Three (Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox). I did not do so hot in 2020, but my 2021 predictions are looking up. 👀
Before breaking down 2021 and sharing my predictions for 2022, I want to share my particular rule for predictions:
- Everything written down must come true for the prediction to be counted as correct.
Maybe someday I’ll add Rule #2, but until then, this is it. I have also hijacked a type of annual guess dubbed the “Kiefer” prediction. This is some outlandish, over-the-moon prediction named after the wackiness of having Kiefer Sutherland be the voice of Venom Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This is courtesy of my friend Peter Spezia, who is far more clever than I am.
Let’s rewind the clock and see what I thought was going to happen in 2021.
- Nintendo will acknowledge the GameCube’s 20th anniversary.
- For The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary, Nintendo will release a 3D Zelda collection, just like they did for Mario in 2020.
- There is no new “Pro” Nintendo Switch model released in 2021.
I did the best with the Big N this year! But I also fell flat on my face with specificity, especially in the Kiefer-level prediction. I was genuinely surprised when Nintendo of America tweeted out a celebration of the GameCube’s 20th anniversary. Really, the controller has far outlived the console, and the library is still essentially stuck on the platform. Hopefully someday the GameCube’s great library becomes reasonably accessible again.
Nintendo did celebrate Zelda, just in an entirely different way than with Mario. When you think thye’ll zig, they zag.
This third prediction was dicey. Before 2020, the rumors of a “pro” Switch were flying, so I pivoted to say no chance of a “pro” Switch release in 2021 (zig v zag). While the Switch OLED was revealed and released last year, there is no performance or gains over the original hardware. The quality bump comes to the display and form of the device. Plays the same games and the same quality. I was very close to losing this one.
- Sony will buy Bluepoint Games.
- Naughty Dog’s next project will not be announced in 2021.
- Backward compatibility will come to the PS5 for more than the PS4.
Sony went on quite the shopping spree in 2021, buying a total of five new studios to fold under the PlayStation Studios brand. Arguably, Bluepoint was the most obvious. It was also the funniest, thanks to a tweet from PlayStation Japan roughly three months before the acquisition was announced.
This prediction hurts the most. The spirit of the pick was Naughty Dog’s next new project, but I failed to write that. The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection actually comes out in just over two weeks. I am stoked to see Uncharted running at 120Hz, but it also made me miss the prediction…
- Halo Infinite is delayed again.
- At least two games previously confirmed for cross-generational support will drop their Xbox One versions.
- Microsoft will announce that the Xbox One consoles will receive an xCloud app, turning them into streaming boxes.
Halo Infinite was not delayed in its entirety, in fact, the multiplayer dropped early! But 343 did delay co-op campaign and Forge mode. This has been one of the strangest AAA releases I’ve ever seen. Microsoft needed to start getting a return on their investment. In the end, no one will remember the game was released in a chunky way.
Despite my thinking that dropping versions is the wise move, Xbox stayed true (so far). The support Playground Games had for Forza Horizon 5 blew my hair back. I want to give credit where it is due!
Microsoft wants xCloud on as many devices as possible. It made sense that they’d include their own devices.
And to round off 2021, here is my Kiefer Prediction:
Nintendo will release a 3D Zelda collection that includes an HD port of Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D, as well as Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD. The long-rumored HD port of Skyward Sword will be a standalone release.
I leaned too hard on them celebrating Zelda the same as Mario. Rumors of the Wii U Zelda HD remakes getting ported to Switch is almost as old as the Switch itself. I thought scaling up the 3DS remakes would bring something new. I did correctly guess that Skyward Sword HD would be a stand alone title. Sometimes I do wish I got half points…
All together, I got 4/10. That is one correct prediction over 2020! I am hoping for more improvement this year.
- The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches in 2022.
- Game Boy (GB/C/A) games join Nintendo Switch Online.
- A new Donkey Kong game is released on Nintendo Switch.
I actually don’t believe my own first prediction. Zelda games always get hit with delays. But I am playing for points here! If I think Nintendo will delay the game (zig), then I need to say they will release the game on time in 2022 (zag). For points!
This addition to NSO was rumored for last year, even before the N64 and Genesis tier. This feels obvious, which probably means Nintendo will not do it. If they do though, I’m curious what the NSO-exclusive controller will be modeled after.
It’s time for the big ape himself to return. With the Super Mario movie out next year, Donkey Kong being voiced by Seth Rogen, AND a Donkey Kong movie reportedly being in development…It. Is. Time.
- Insomniac Games will announce a new game for PlayStation VR2.
- Naughty Dog’s new game will not be released in 2022. This is not The Last of Us remake rumor swirling around.
- PlayStation’s Game Pass and xCloud competitor is released at a lower annual price than Game Pass Ultimate. It will include first-party games on “Day One.”
Insomniac Games has made four VR games and two mixed reality games. With the size of the studio and the sheer quality and quantity they are outputting, I’d actually find it hard to believe they are not working on a PS VR2 game.
Yes, yes; this is a clarified version of last year’s prediction. The current rumor-sphere is that the remake of The Last of Us will drop later this year. I could buy that, assuming my theory of them adopting the engine tech and gameplay from The Last of Us Part II to the original game is correct. It could be wildly different than that and still come out in 2022. More importantly, I think the notion that their multiplayer game will not release in 2022 is the key takeaway here.
To be honest, I haven’t read about or dug into the latest stories on PlayStation’s competitor to Game Pass, seemingly dubbed “Spartacus.” I’m just shooting my shot. PlayStation already has an online subscription for play and free games – PlayStation Plus; and a online game streaming service – PlayStation Now. They’ve had these for years, but have seemingly botched the marketing on PS Now. What makes sense to me is to combine Plus and Now (just like Xbox with Gold, Game Pass, and xCloud to make Game Pass Ultimate) and offer it at one price. How they’ll make it cheaper is by having fewer third-party games in the service and no access to PC titles. PlayStation could have this service include Day One games and focus on the sheer quality of their titles.
- Starfield is delayed.
- The Last Night by Oddtales gets a release date and launches in Game Pass.
- Game Pass and/or xCloud will come to a competitor’s platform.
I’m sorry to be so negative with Xbox. I just don’t believe that Starfield could have a date before Halo Infinite and them stick to said date, especially in these remote work times. Throw in the fact that Halo Infinite is incomplete, I just don’t see Starfield hitting their date and if they do, it being a buggy or incomplete mess. Mind you, I personally don’t think it will be a big delay, but a delay nonetheless.
I just want The Last Night to come out soon pretty please.
In continual pursuit of their mission to get Game Pass on every screen, Xbox will succeed in forming a deal with either PlayStation or Nintendo to bring game streaming to the platform.
Kept you waiting, huh? It’s time for my Kiefer-level prediction!
Both Nintendo and PlayStation will provide access to older games and generations not previously available via their subscription programs.
Okay, the writing may come off in a general way, but here’s the vision. The GameCube and, to a certain degree, the Wii are no longer playable on modern hardware. While the 3DS had an Ambassador program and the Wii U offered a Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS Virtual console, those platforms have too been widely unaccessible for years. Some of these consoles and their games should come to the Switch via NSO.
Similarly, PlayStation Now offers access to PS4, PS3, and PS2 games. Although, there seem to only be 21 PS2 games available. I think in this launch of the “Spartacus” program, Sony opens the floodgates and adds a plethora of PS1, PS2, PSP, and Vita games.
There’s no real reason to include Xbox in this since their backward compatibility is astounding. I’d love it if Sony would let PS3 discs or digital purchases be recognized and streamable to the PS5. Same with PS12 and PS2. It’s time to open the vaults and give as much access as you can with your own first-party titles and through third-party relationships.
2022 could be a real repeat of 2017 and 2018 with top-tier titles on the horizon. There should be Zelda and God of War: Ragnarök. Horizon Forbidden West is out in just over one month. Bethesda is releasing their first game since 2015. Big companies seem to be on the path of providing some form of official access to older games, making the celebration of games easier to the most people. I’m excited for what this year has to offer. Here’s to a great 2022!