The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, E3 is dying, and Nintendo has stated they are not planning a Direct to coincide with the traditional announcement season in June. And yet, it has been some time since the Big N’s last online presentation, and we can assume that they were planning to reveal some exciting news around this time of the year. And then there are those Amazon leaks…
It may be that Nintendo’s future marketing strategy is more akin to how they revealed Paper Mario: The Origami King by simply dropping a trailer and moving on, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have hope. There’s something truly special about having a series of highly-anticipated announcements packaged into a tight online presentation, and Nintendo Directs have been leading the way in this regard for years. So here is what I would love for the next Nintendo Direct to look like, based on my own personal wishes and what we currently know is coming in the future or what is strongly expected to be revealed.
This means I’m not throwing a potential Mario Kart 9, Pokémon Snap 2, or *looks poignantly into the distance* Mother 3 into consideration simply because they would be awesome to see. This outline is my attempt to ponder what may have been Nintendo’s E3 2020 Direct and sprinkle a little bit of personal yearning into the mix.
THE COLD OPENER: BREATH OF THE WILD 2 TRAILER
Knock us over from the word go. This would give some nice symmetry to last year’s E3 Direct which closed with the reveal trailer for a sequel to 2017’s beloved The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A follow-up to the critically lauded Switch launch game was always an inevitability, but it’s time we get more details about where the developers are taking this Hyrule next. That reveal trailer showcased a darker tone with Hyrule Castle being ripped from the earth and zombie Ganon looking appropriately terrifying.
Does this mean we’re travelling to a new overworld? Or is it an updated version of the first game with locations and enemies getting a fresh look? Are we finally getting Zelda: Undead Nightmare? The trailers leading up to the original Breath of the Wild were some of the greatest of all time, so hopefully Nintendo has the same marketing team behind this game to send everyone’s hype levels through the roof. A release date would also be the icing on the Hyrulean cake, with March 2021 feeling like a sensible guess. Also, I don’t actually want it to be called Breath of the Wild 2. It just sounds clunky to me, so instead go for something like Song of the Wild or Breath of the Sky.
THE HUMBLE BRAG: ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS UPDATES
Okay, Nintendo, this is your victory lap. Whether you’ve spent the last few months obsessed with Tom Nook’s mortgage simulator or not, there’s no denying that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the feel-good smash hit game of 2020, with 13.4 million copies already sold and counting. More importantly, it’s been a lifeline for those millions of people who have been desperate for some calming escapism during a difficult year.
So, it’d be nice to see what new experiences the game is going to offer in the near future. These don’t have to anything astronomical, as a new island to explore or a returning character such as Brewster or Katrina would satisfy a lot of players who are now comfortably in their New Horizons routine. But mostly, there would just be something sweet about Nintendo acknowledging the game’s success and what it means to players. And maybe a formal apology for those pesky eggs. It hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing, after all.
THE MEAT AND POTATOES: CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF MARIO
This will be the heart of the Direct, and what Nintendo will want gamers to look forward to the most during the remainder of the year. There have been rumours floating around for a while now that Switch owners can expect a flood of Mario games to come washing onto their systems as a celebration of the red plumber’s 35th year anniversary. The rumours suggest that several of these titles will be from Mario’s past, re-released and re-packaged for modern gamers. If such murmurings turn out to be true, then you can bet your coin collection that these Mario games will have a huge precense in the Nintendo Direct, as they will be the primary first-party releases for the rest of 2020.
We already know about Paper Mario: The Origami King, but there is still plenty to elaborate on with the game’s release looming so close – especially more details on the revamped battle system. But what about those re-releases? Well, the rumours suggest that Nintendo is remastering Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy in HD and potentially combining them into a single collection of 3D Mario bliss. Furthermore, Super Mario 3D World is looking likely to get a Deluxe Edition on Switch, which wouldn’t be surprising seeing as it’s one of the lone major first-party Wii U titles not to be ported over yet. But could we also see a tease for Super Mario Odyssey 2 or a brand new Mario sports game?
The possibilities are endless here, but whatever happens, Nintendo’s main mascot should make a massive splash with his games during the next Direct…unless those rumours turn out to be complete garbage.
OBLIGATORY SMASH NEWS: FIGHTER PASS VOL. 2
This one is the safest prediction in the entire outline as we already know that someone from ARMS in coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in June. At the time of writing, we just don’t know who exactly will make it into the roster or how they’ll play. Will it be Spring Man? Min Min? A customisable character similar to the Hero from Dragon Quest? It’s time we find out, and it’d be pretty neat if this transitioned into a reveal for a new ARMS game as well.
But what’s more exciting is what Sakurai and friends have in store for the rest of Fighter Pass Vol. 2. Set to steadily roll out until the end of 2021, this Direct would be a great chance to showcase the next fighter to join this insanely large roster of gaming icons. There’s the potential for them to be tied to Mario’s 35th anniversary with someone like Waluigi or Geno finally getting their chance in the spotlight. Or have Nintendo and Microsoft become cuddly enough to have Minecraft Steve or Master Chief make an appearance?
Probably just another Fire Emblem character, though.
RAPID FIRE: THIRD-PARTY AND INDIE GAMES
So, I’m bundling this one up for the sake of an acceptable word count, but in fairness, that’s often how Nintendo treats their third-party and indie announcements in Directs. They get shown in quick succession through sizzle reels and short presentations, like they’re flicking through a page of dot points. However, that’s not to say that some of the upcoming third-party titles don’t warrant a deeper look. Bravely Default II looks to build upon the incredibly strong collection of JRPGs on Switch, while No More Heroes III and Bayonetta 3 have the potential to be stellar action games, despite us not knowing much about the latter.
On the indie front, Hollow Knight: Silksong and Axiom Verge 2 are much-hyped sequels to some of the best metroidvanias of the last decade. Add in Windbound, Baldo, and I Am Dead, and it’s easy to see why the Switch is such a popular destination for indie lovers.
THE BIG SURPRISE: N64 CLASSIC EDITION, OR N64 GAMES ON NSO
This prediction is based on zero evidence or substantial rumours and is simply the musings of an invested Nintendo fan. But, let’s be real here. It’s time. It has now been nearly three years since the launch of the SNES Classic Edition and gamers of the late nineties are crying out for literally anything other than the PlayStation Classic to satisfy their nostalgia cravings. So, it makes sense for Nintendo to bring out a Classic Edition for their legendary N64, complete with recreations of their awkward controllers and everything. I reckon the system could get away with only having 15 games as long as they are carefully selected to represent the best of the original library.
If Nintendo are too worried about taking attention away from their super successful Switch, then having N64 games come to Nintendo Switch Online would be the next best possibility. Having access to some of the greatest pioneers of 3D gaming would help further justify the cost of NSO and would probably be a better way for younger gamers to experience these classics. Now, if Nintendo could sweet talk Microsoft into allowing them access to Rare’s N64 offerings…
THE ‘ONE MORE THING’ MOMENT: LITERALLY METROID ANYTHING
I’ll take another teaser trailer for Metroid Prime 4. I’ll take Metroid Prime Trilogy coming to Switch. Heck, I’ll even take Metroid Prime Pinball 2. Okay, that last one would most likely feel underwhelming, but it highlights how desperate Switch owners are for Metroid content at this point. Sure, it may not be the Nintendo franchise most starved of oxygen (I’m looking at you, F-Zero), but a big triple-A Metroid game coming to Switch would help secure the system’s continual goodwill among fans and help pave the way for a bright future.
We know that Metroid Prime 4’s development restarted under Retro Studios. But that announcement came 18 months ago, so surely we are close to hearing more details about the next chapter in Samus’ journey. At the very least, it would be cool to see the developers talk about the game and how far along they are in achieving a finished product. Communication is key, so any kind of news surrounding Metroid Prime 4 or Metroid Prime Trilogy would be an exciting way to end my completely wishful Nintendo Direct.
And there you have it, an outline for the next Nintendo Direct that is completely formed from my imagination, but which hopefully has some roots in what is currently going on over at the Big N’s HQ. Of course, we can only wait to see what Nintendo have up their sleeves for the remainder of 2020. The release schedule is looking worryingly light past July, but while Nintendo may not be having the best year in terms of releases, if their next Direct looks anything like this idealistic outline, then Switch owners have reason to be optimistic about their system’s future.