Nintendo fired off it’s first Direct of the year on Wednesday, February 9th. In case you missed it or don’t have time to watch it, we’ve got you covered with a round-up of all the big announcements and little hitters. Let’s cut the intro short and dive right in.
The first, and arguably biggest announcement was “Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.” Depending on your gaming taste though, and how much of a Nintendo fan you are, this might be the highlight of the Direct for you. To be honest, unless you’re a hardcore JRPG fan, this is where the excitement starts and ends.
The next piece of news was from something previously announced, “Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp” for the Switch. The two turn-based strategy titles, originally released back on the Game Boy Advance, are coming to Switch on April 8th. It was followed by another game announcement that, while new to the Switch, is not new to gaming in general. “No Man’s Sky” is getting a port to Nintendo’s console this summer. We suppose it’s nice to have the game in handheld mode, but it’s not exactly huge news.
That being said, we did get something pretty cool to follow that up with the announcement of “Mario Strikers: Battle League.” Of the many Mario sports titles, the “Strikers” series has been one that has been staggeringly silent, especially given the popularity around the world of soccer/football. The last entry was almost 15 years ago on the Wii. Suffice to say, this title has been a long-time coming. It’s set to release on June 10th.
This was followed by some news about the co-op Splatoon 3 campaign; a nice addition to what’s been traditionally a competitive multiplayer shooter with some single player campaign elements to it. Speaking of campaigns though, a hard shift followed this when Nintendo announced the first of several non-first party games in the form of a Front Mission remake. The mech based, tactical RPG series from Square-Enix will be delivering a remake of its first title to the Switch this summer.
Coming out of left field was a new Disney racing game, Disney Speedstorm, which seems to be the company’s version of Mario Kart. Instead of Nintendo characters though, the roster of racers is pulled from the pantheon of Disney and Pixar IPs. Worth noting though is that it’s a free-to-play title. Anyone familiar with what Nintendo’s done with it’s “Mario Kart Tour,” free-to-play mobile game, is well aware of the potential pitfalls that come with this model of game. We’ll see how it turns out.
Some rapid fire releases came next, revealing a decidedly mixed bag of titles. The first among them was an uh, odd flex we guess. Coming to the Switch is a remaster of “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” and the Wii version of it at that. For those who may not remember, back when the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii were going at it, the Wii’s inferior capabilities often meant that games had to be completely retooled for that console when compared to the competition. So, we’re getting the Wii version here… yay?
Continuing along, the previously confirmed “Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection” was briefly mentioned alongside the chibi mobile suit style, “SD Gundam: Mobile Alliance.” Salvaging this segment though was the official announcement of the remastered re-release of Chrono Cross, this time as “The Radical Dreamers Edition.” This would make for the 2nd, but not the last noteworthy mention of a Square-Enix remake; more to come on that later.
Nintendo returned to its own intellectual property for a moment with more teases about “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” coming out on March 25th. Specifically, Mouthfull Mode! We then got a flurry of announcements including “MLB: The Show 2022,” a cloud-based version of the “Kingdom Hearts” trilogy, a remastering of “Klonoa” 1 & 2, and a port of the two “Portal” games!
Here’s where we get another shocker for JRPG and Square-Enix fans. In a completely unexpected move, the company revealed a complete remake of their Japanese exclusive Super Famicom RPG, “LIVE A LIVE.” Unless you’re a hardcore fan of translated ROMs from back in the day, the only thing Western fans may know about the game is that one of its music tracks, “Megalomania,” as the inspiration for the similarly titled “Undertale” song “Megalovania.”
Otherwise the title is well regarded for its deep narrative that features various characters across different eras of time and space and how their stories ultimately intersect. The game appears to be redone in a graphical style akin to the HD-2D style defined by Octopath Traveler.
Returning back to Nintendo itself, a new “Sports” title (“Wii Sports” and “Wii Sports Resort”) was announced, titled “Nintendo Switch Sports.” Included sports are tennis, bowling, sword-fighting aka chambara, badminton, volleyball, and soccer. Golf was also mentioned to come later as a free DLC update. Do we really need three different net sports in the form of tennis, volleyball, AND badminton? We don’t know, but it does give us an excuse to say the word shuttlecock.
Following a showcase of volleyball gameplay, more games were announced including drumming rhythm game “Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival,” tactical strategy game titled “Triangle Strategy,” a rehash of the DLC for “Cuphead,” some extra game modes for “Metroid Dread,” and the first two “Earthbound” games (for the NES and SNES respectively) being released on Nintendo Switch Online later today.
You might think that this would lead to news about “Mother 3,” but you’d be wrong.
Another quick flurry of game releases were made including Zombie Army 4: Dead War, Konami’s GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon, a Demon Slayer title, LEGO Brawls, and the Two Point Campus sim business management game.
Then we had possibly the strangest move possible. So, for whatever reason, instead of making a new Mario Kart game, Nintendo is going to be making DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The DLC consists of 48 courses, taken and redone to fit with the Mario Kart 8 design. The DLC will be released over a period of months starting on March 18th. If you’re one of the people who enrolled in the expanded Nintendo Online pass, you can get these courses for free, but they can also be purchased as a standalone for $24.99.
And then there was the final game, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which was also announced to bridge the stories between Chronicles 1 & 2. The celebrated RPG series has come into its own following the incredibly popular 2nd entry and the remastering of the 1st title from the Wii to the Switch. RPG fans only have to wait until September for the game to drop, which isn’t that far off given the year is already packed with some big Nintendo games.
And there you have it, all the announcements from the Nintendo Direct in one, tidy package for you. Even though it was a lot of old news and niche titles, if you’re a JRPG fan, this was a pretty huge direct. If not, well, do you like the idea of Mario playing soccer? Cuz if you do, then uh, at least you’ve got that coming up!