Nintendo’s latest showcase was an utter disappointment. There, I said it. Now before you bring out the cosplay pitchforks and magic mushrooms, Nintendo fans, I can explain why I say this on what was showcased on February 17th. Nintendo did appease some fans, but I don’t think they hit the mark overall in this latest Nintendo Direct. If you are not a JRPG or Splatoon fan, you would probably be sadly disappointed like I was. From the newest reveal of the next Smash characters and bland presentations that didn’t have that “wow” factor. I am not saying all was terrible, but Nintendo has shown time and time again that they are not listening to their majority fanbase.
I will highlight where they missed their marks and how this latest Nintendo Direct could have been a smash hit. No pun intended. Again this my opinion, so I would encourage you to have your own. I am still a Nintendo fan at heart and always have been before I even laid my hands on a PlayStation or Xbox controller. Let’s take a look at why I think this latest Nintendo Direct was an utter disappointment.
Smash Reveal Character Woes… Again
Let’s get down to a big issue I have been having with Nintendo and Smash Ultimate lately. The Fighter Pass 2 has been disappointing so far. As of yet, there haven’t been any characters revealed on that pass that blew my mind besides Sephiroth. You may say I am biased, but given his popularity globally with the iconic Final Fantasy VII, his stardom is up there with Cloud. Also, given that he used to be an assist trophy, he still gives Waluigi a glimmer. Besides that, Steve from Minecraft was another character introduced into the world of Smash, given how universally popular that franchise is. So you catch my drift on popularity?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s latest reveal of Pyra and Mythra leaves much to be desired. Honestly, if you are not familiar with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you wouldn’t be that excited. Another missed opportunity is to have a cool and fresh character beyond imagination. It’s not the first time this has occurred. Remember when Byleth was a DLC character for the first Fighter Pass? Byleth from the Fire Emblem franchise, the 8th character from the franchise to grace the Super Smash Bros. roster. The problem is too many Fire Emblem characters. Not necessary given the number of franchises that Nintendo can pull from either first party or third party sources.
Not saying Pyra, Mythra, and Byleth are not interesting fighters. I think they are not mind-blowing picks, unlike Banjo, Joker, and Sephiroth that were jaw-dropping due to their vast popularity. I believe Nintendo is catering more to a more “niche market” with more JRPG love or franchises popular in Eastern Hemisphere. Not Crash, Dante, or even Sora. Two more slots left on The Fighter Pass, and I hope they are not disappointing.
What About Zelda?
Oh, Zelda. Arguably the most beloved franchise in the Nintendo mythos. The Legend of Zelda series is riding high with the Breath of the Wild success and fairly successful prequel Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Countless hours exploring dungeons, questing, and carelessly smashing pots on multiple platforms. Given that the 35th anniversary of the franchise is this year, I expect the same treatment that Mario received last year with Mario 3D: All-Stars. Nintendo did have a brief Zelda announcement, with no new Breath of the Wild 2 trailer.
So what did we get instead? If you are expecting a “Zelda 3D: All-Stars,” you are sadly mistaken this time around. However, we did receive The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. That’s it; another port of a Wii U title. Unlike Mario Kart 8 and Pokkén Tournament, it seems like this game will be an updated graphics port only.
Not saying Skyward Sword was a disappointment, but if you go into a room filled with fanatics and asked, “What title do you want to appear on the Switch?” You would have very few people raise their hands for Skyward Sword. This does not rule out the possibility of a Zelda 3D: All-Stars game, but this announcement was subpar at best. Had it been Twilight Princess or Wind Waker, you will definitely have more hype around this reveal. Only time will tell if Nintendo will have a proper 35th Anniversary title for the green tunic-wearing hero.
Missing Older IPs?
Where are the older IPs? Where is the new Metroid Prime? Star Fox? F-Zero? Earthbound? These are valid questions to ask of Nintendo. Of course, the new IPs on the market like Splatoon, Arms, and other titles are the trend. However, many Switch owners such as myself are waiting on the older IPs’ resurgence we have grown to love for decades.
The last announcement was a teaser trailer for Metroid Prime 4 during E3 2017. Outside of the announcement of a reboot in development in 2019, it’s been crickets and lost hope. Besides the big three franchises of Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon, there is no word of any other older franchises coming out. I would love to see a Star Fox game soon, and I am sure I am not alone.
The Good Aspects from the Direct
Despite some criticism coming from this article, there are some aspects to rejoice from this latest direct. Splatoon 3 was a welcoming announcement, especially for fans of the series with more zany action and new open-world exploration. Mario Golf: Super Rush is the latest golf outing for Mario, which is nice. However, I would hope in the future we can bring Mario and friends back on the soccer pitch or baseball field. Star Wars: Hunters was revealed for all the far, far away galaxy fans out there. Apex Legends and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout will additionally be making their debuts on the Switch soon. I guess it’s better late than never. So there are some things to look forward to this year.
Overall and Hopeful Future
Overall, I would say that Nintendo missed the mark here. Another disappointing direct outside of a few “niche market” targets. By “niche market,” meaning franchises that are appealing to a select few crowds. The majority of Switch owners flock to bigger names such as Mario and Zelda. I’m honestly not impressed by what Nintendo has to offer so far this year. A few ports are either re-releases with upgraded graphics or game debuts of titles already present in the market. Nintendo needs to step it up, especially with Microsoft and Sony making big plays for their latest consoles.
I wouldn’t be alone in saying that having a title like Metroid, Star-Fox, or even Breath of the Wild will turn heads and grab our attention. However, it seems like Nintendo is not listening to their fanbase. It shows in their poor decision-making, restrictions, and Smash Bros. roster choices. Again, you don’t have to agree with my assessment of Nintendo’s latest direct. I want Nintendo to succeed this year, and I look forward to what could be in store in the future. Hopefully, a Zelda 3D: All-Stars featuring Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, Metroid Prime 4 trailer, Breath of the Wild sequel trailer, and two new characters for Smash Bros. Ultimate will eventually break the internet.
That’s all I ask, Nintendo; please make it happen.