Nintendo had a pretty substantial Direct this week, with mixed reactions amongst fans. This Nintendo Direct was a bit more substantial than the last few have been though, and I liked the details and hard dates given. From what I have been reading online, there a lot of people critical of the number of ports. However, I also read a lot of positive reviews from excited people. Personally, I am in the latter group. For the most part, Nintendo has been making all the right moves over the last year, so I trust they know what they are doing.
The Direct started by showcasing some 3DS games, which caught me by surprise. Like many, I figured the combination of the age of the DS platform and the success of the Switch, that the days of the 3DS getting support were coming to an end. IT appears, for at least another year, that is not the case. For release this year, Nintendo announced a Wario Ware collection, called Wario Ware Gold, Dillon’s Dead Heat Breaker, Luigi’s Mansion 3DS remake and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. FOr release in 2019, Nintendo announced a remake of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s inside Story with a smaller game Bowser Jr.’s Journey included. While there isn’t a ton of new games announced, it is evident Nintendo wants to keep their 3DS install base happy by releasing games that are new to the handheld system.
The Switch portion of the Direct felt like it was a barrage of games. For previously unannounced games, there is an Okami HD remake coming this summer, a sushi inspired puzzle game Sushi Striker: The Way of the Sushido is coming late spring, the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy is coming this summer, and a port of the popular WIi U game Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (with Mario Odyssey inspired stages added). The indie game Undertale is coming to Switch later this year along with Little Nightmare: Complete Edition. The title that seemed out of place based on Nintendo’s track record of kid friendly games was South Park: Fractured But Whole. The crude and offensive humor isn’t normally found on Nintendo’s consoles, so this is a welcome change of pace. I enjoyed South Park: The Strick of Truth a lot, and have been contemplating getting Fractured But Whole since its release. I’m glad I waited because I would rather get the Switch version over any other when it launces next month. The one new game that has caused a stir in the Switch community is Smash Bros. Is it a port? Is it a new game? My question is, does it matter either way? The Wii U didn’t have a large gaming population, so it will be new to a lot of us anyway. That being said, I believe this is a new game. If it were a port, Nintendo would have told us. The Samsh Bros announcement has a lot of people talking, and I know some people that are no longer gamers stating they are going to get a Switch just to play it. I don’t know the last time I have seen this level of anticipation for a game where no gameplay was shown. There were a total of 8 previously unannounced Switch games. Not bad for a late winter Direct!
The part I found really interesting about the Direct were the previously announced Switch games. There will be a Dark Souls Amiibo and network test, and a paid dlc pack for the popular Splatoon 2 in the coming months as well. In addition Hyrule Warriors and Mario Tennis Aces were given release dates for this spring. There was gameplay footage for Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes which will blend several different game genres. The update that had me the most hyped was for Octopath Traveler which will be released July 13. This game has been teased since the Switch was announced and returns to the old style, turn based, JRPGs I grew up playing. They offered some more details on the game as well, with half of the 8 main characters having been revealed. There are a lot of people like myself excited for Octopath Traveler.
With all these games being announced just a few months before E3, this got me thinking: “What is Nintendo going to do at E3?” It possible that they will skip E3 as they have done in the past… but I highly doubt it. My guess is that they will want to carry their momentum into the summer months, so expect some big announcements. My guess is that there will be some gameplay footage of Metroid Prime 4 and we should expect it in 2019, and there will be an announcement for Pokémon on the Switch with a release date this holiday season. Furthermore, I think the Pokémon game will not only include two titles as they usually do, but I think they will be a combination of Switch and 3DS releases. I think Fire Emblem will be announced for October. I think there will be a good amount of third party support at E3 as well. My guess is that Ubisoft will announce an exclusive (I hope its an Assassins Creed but I doubt it) game, Capcom will announce another Resident Evil port, and one other major third party will announce a game that will take people by surprise. I also think there will be several indie games announced as well.
As a long time fan of Nintendo, I like to see that they are returning to relevancy. I am excited for the spring and summer releases and look forward to the fall ones as well! Granted some of the games are ports of Wii U games, but no one really played them because the Wii U didn’t sell well, so who cares. Let’s enjoy these games as they are new to many of us.