The inaugural BDG Nintendo Direct summary
Welcome to the first Nintendo Direct summary of the Big Daddy Gaming era. In fairness, we hadn’t done one for most of our time as Nintendad, such has been the wait. To say it has been excruciating is an understatement. Due to the pandemic, amongst other factors, we haven’t had a true Direct in almost 18 months. For comparative purposes, you could have birthed two humans in that time.
Don’t overthink that last point.
With Nintendo giving us just over a day to prepare ourselves; both mentally and in terms of managing to secure a coveted Sainsbury’s Click and Collect slot (those chocolate brownie Hob-Knobs aren’t going to deliver themselves), our minds raced as we envisioned the delights Nintendo had in store for us.
The obvious elephant in the room was The Legend of Zelda. With Sunday 21st February marking the 35th anniversary of the release of the original NES game in Japan, and following on from Nintendo’s celebration of their moustached mascots own 35th last year, the chances of us seeing the LoZ series getting the same treatment was inevitable, right?! Nailed on, some might say. Unfortunately, the fervent backlash and criticism of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, due in no small part to its own slapdash presentation, was the final nail in the coffin for us seeing a triple pack of Ocarina of Time/Wind Waker/Twilight Princess (to follow the SP3DAS blueprint of N64/GameCube/Wii title.
July 2nd. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
With Nintendo putting the emphasis on games releasing in the first half of 2021, we all got excited about stealth drops a-plenty, and some of the bigger titles that would be shown off being imminent, ready to fill the final hole in our collective lockdown lives. While there were a few titles that will release before July 2nd, there were equally as many reveals and dates that were after. Odd, to say the least.
With all the pre-match chatter focusing on the what-ifs? let’s explore what we actually saw, in greater detail.
The direct kicked things off with new Xenoblade shown off. The cinematic trailer saw Rex exploring a world where Pyra/Mythra, his voluptuous, schizophrenic life companion, has gone missing and with Rex searching for his favourite plaything. As the trailer progresses, I was racing in my mind, a tempestuous storm brewing. Was this additional DLC content to the base game of Xenoblade 2, was this Xenoblade 3 or a stop-gap entry, an XC2.5, if you will? The combat would surely be different as you be without Pyra and Mythra for, at least, a portion of the game, I assume.
They say when you assume you make an ass out of you and me. I double arsed myself last night as the end of the trailer revealed that this wasn’t a trailer for a new Xenoblade game, but instead was the latest reveal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter Pass 2. Oh Nintendo, must you perpetually play with me so. Stop toying with my heart, as if it were a toy heart!
The Nintendo Direct summary headlines are often…
Next up we were treated to a headline reel of reveals.
- Fall Guys is Nintendo Switch-bound in the summer. In unrelated news, water is wet.
- Outer Wilds lands in Nintendo Switch in the summer. Makes sense. It’s a solid title and a perfect fit for the Hybrid.
- Famicom Detective Club double pack. Looks interesting enough if that’s your jam. I’m personally more of a Marmite fellow myself. Regardless, The Missing Heir and The Girl who Stands Behind launch as a double Famicom Detective Club pack on May 14th.
- New Mosu game incoming. Samurai Warriors 5 lands on Nintendo Switch in the Summer, however, when we have two perfectly cromulent Zelda branded Warrior titles, I personally shall give this one a miss.
- Legend of Mana is getting a sprite-ly makeover, with improved visuals and the addition of arranged musical pieces. It looks charming enough and will surely do well when it lands on Nintendo Switch on June 24th.
- Monster Hunter Rise got a bit of screen time next, which was a shame IMHO, as but twelve minutes into the presentation, we were seeing content that we already knew about. Despite my own misgivings, it looks like a perfectly cromulent gaming experience. If you’re that way inclined. Unsurprisingly, the release date remains March 26th.
Our next title provided us with the highlight of the Direct. A little Birdie may have mentioned it’s imminent arrival on Nintendo Switch and the Eagle-eyed among us might have seen the clues scattered in the stars for weeks. Par-for the course, Nintendo revealed an eclectic new Mario Golf offering, Mario Golf: Super Rush. It features a zany new mode that sees all players tee-off together and, in between shots, rush to the hole. Sjmowqmz aknkmwdm jewxzmom. Apologies, there was something sticky on my keyboard and I couldn’t get it off. A Bogey on my keyboard. konxshbxqe whxznxqos. Oh wait, another one. A Double-Bogey. I’m a huge fan of golf and the Mario Golf series in general. Very much looking Fore-ward to this one. It’s not too fair(a)way either. Oh, look an Albatross. Neat!!
I’m so sorry! If only a do-over was possible. Mulligans?
- Tales from the Borderlands amalgamates the world of Borderlands with the story-driven point and stylings of Telltale. In a world where Kanye brings Kim’s dead dad back from the grave, it’s nice to see Telltale rise again. Tales from the Borderlands arrives on March 24th.
- The singular stealth drop of the presentation sees Capcom Arcade Stadium bring arcade classics to the Nintendo Switch. A virtual console, if you will. Much like stealth drops in general, I have no interest in this title. I mean, how am I supposed to formulate an opinion on something if I haven’t previously read a review?
1943: The Battle of Midway is available for free, as a sort of amuse-bouche!
- Stubbs the Zombie in rebel without a pulse, heads to Nintendo Switch on March 16th.
Nintendo Direct summary – A game of two halves
So far, so good! Our Nintendo Direct summary is off to a flyer! Everything shown in the Direct releases before July 2nd so technically in the first half of 2021.
- Next up we finally got a release date for No More Heroes 3. August 27th…
- That was followed by Neon White, which has a release window of Winter 2021. Unless they mean Australian Winter….
- Following those wildly late offerings, we saw DC Super Hero Games: Teen Powers announced for June 4th. Hey, that’s in the first half of the year. Neat!
- Another title coming in the first half of the year, Plants vs Zombies: Complete Edition finally rocks up on the good ship Nintendo Switch. March 19th for that one!
- Remember Miitopia. That was a neat game (although, no Tomodachi Life). Well, Miitopia is getting a Switch port. It lands on May 21st and will be a full-price retail release…. Biggest of oofs!
- Something, something Animal Crossing X Super Mario. Free update on February 25th. Content goes live on March 1st. I think there’s a warp pipe..
As this sizzle reel came to a close, we we’re reminded of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. A game that released four days prior to the direct. Which was odd. This was followed up by a new game that definitely isn’t Fire Emblem X Octopath Traveller but sure does look like it is. Project Triangle Strategy (working title) will launch in 2022.
THAT’S. NOT. THE. FIRST. HALF. OF. 2021.
There’s a demo available now on the eShop and much like they did with Octopath Traveller, they’ll take feedback on board, moving forward with the game’s development.
Oh good! Another sizzle reel….
- Star Wars Hunters is a new free-to-play title set in the Star Wars universe between episodes 6 & 7 from mobile-monetizers extraordinaire, Zynga, of Farmville fame. Hitting the Switch in 2021. Likely not the first half….
- Knockout City was up next and with it, one of the more interesting looking reveals of the Direct. It’s co-developed by Velan (who brought Mario Kart Live into our homes) and EA Originals. Perhaps more importantly, in the context of this piece, it’s releasing on May 21st.
- It’s survival of the fittest in World’s End Club from NIS America. Landing on Nintendo Switch on May 28th. Hey! That’s the first half of the year.
- I’ve held off on Hades due to a combination of disdain for the roguelike genre and a lack of time to play anything except the boxed Nintendo releases. While I’m not a Switch-Corps-nonce, I do find that that the majority of games I play are ones I’ve picked up physically. So imagine my delight when they announced that Hades is getting a full physical print (not a Limited Run) and would release on March 19th, a day after my birthday! Ecstatic, is the answer.
- Ninja Gaiden triple pack incoming!! The Ninja Gaiden Master Collection land son Nintendo Switch on June 10th. That’s the first half, baby!!
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was a good game indeed. A paid DLC season pass seemed inevitable. It was even my dead-cert option for the BDG BINGO card. It looks a little wishy-washy, but the final part of the season pass will bring new missions at least. On May 28th, Link will receive a new weapon, should you purchase the pass, followed by new playable character and challenges in June. Still, technically the first half.
Following that sizzle reel of new announcements was another sizzle reel of games we already knew about. As such, I shan’t put further wear-and-tear on my keyboard by listing them here.
Breath of the Skyward
What followed will surely live in infamy as one of the most baffling, jarring and unnecessary things Nintendo has done in quite some time. Let’s set the scene.
The night is growing late, our collective eyes weary. The offerings provided by our gracious overlords average-at-best as the call of our bed beckons. The sweet release of sleep calls us to her buxom bosom. Then, god-amongst-men Eiji Aonuma appears on-screen.
OH MY GOD! IT’S Happening!
We’re finally going to see Breath of the Wild 2 in action!!
DAFAUQ?!! Why even bother mentioning it? And to try and make it humorous? Startling!!
Of course, the sweetener to the deal was the news that Skyward Sword would be receiving the HD treatment and landing on Nintendo Switch soon. July 16th to be precise. So, not in the first half of 2021.
A gift from the Goddess
Let me categorically state that Skyward Sword is one of the very best 3D Zelda games and was only let down by a few things.
- The controls were tiresome. The HD remaster will provide the same motion controls present in the original Wii version (via the Joy-Con) but will also provide a traditional input method and, as I suggested many years ago, map the sword controls to the right stick.
- The install base of the Wii had diminished at the point of its release. Sure, there were over 10 million Wii’s in the wild, but most were just collecting dust under people’s TV stands at this point. The Nintendo Switch on the other hand is in its prime.
- The Imprisoned is just a horrible gaming sequence. Thoroughly unenjoyable. Hopefully, Nintendo has been tinkering with that too and QOL improvements aplenty are inbound.
These issues aside, all of which could and should be fixable, Skyward Sword does so many things right.
- The dungeons are from the top-most-tier. Some of the very best in the series.
- The storytelling is poignant and powerful. Skyward Sword is the origin story of The Legend of Zelda and explains the law in a clear and concise way.
- Skyward Sword is the first Zelda game to utilise a fully orchestrated soundtrack. It sings, pun very much intended.
- The NPCs are weird and wonderful and memorable.
To further ease the pain of fans/generate huge amounts of income, Nintendo revealed a set of Joy-Con with designs reflective of the Hylian Shield and Master Sword. I like them. I only ever use Joy-Con for Ring Fit Adventure and LABO reasons but, regardless, big fan.
No mention of anything else for the 35th anniversary though, so perhaps we’ll have another Nintendo Direct summary soon, with a focus entirely on Zelda.
Just one more thing… that’ll release in 2022…
And then they revealed Spla3n. Neat. It’s releasing in 2022, so still a way off but it’s set in a new area and the Inklings here look more adept and have more varied move-sets, such as rolling.
Nintendo hoped that ARMS and Splatoon would become major players in the esport scene. While ARMS never had the legs, Splatoon at least has proven to be a hugely important IP for Nintendo. Could we see a move that makes it appeal to the reams of storm-less great unwashed who devour titles such as Fortnite and APEX? Could Nintendo make Splat3n free-to-play? 3-to-play even! It seems doubtful, but it feels as though Spla3n will need to bring some unique or game-changing to the party, otherwise the question will simply be: Why not make it DLC for the Spla2n game already on the Nintendo Switch?
As an aside, it’s worth noting that unless something magical happens beforehand, we’ll have had three Splatoon titles since we last got an all-new Mario Kart home console entry. We’re not just about facts here at Nintendo Direct summary HQ, we love a good stat too.
Nintendo Direct summary in conclusion
In summary, the first Nintendo Direct in 530 days didn’t smash it out of the park. Its juxtaposition was there for all to see. Perhaps the hype got to us all, even the more grounded and rational amongst us. It’s important, moving forward, that Nintendo makes Nintendo Directs a more regular occurrence, now that they’re back from their sabbatical. If they return to monthly or even quarterly events, we won’t mind all the filler, however, when we’ve waited a year and a half and were promised 50 minutes of games releasing in the next four months, in honesty, it all fell a little flat.
Thanks for joining us for our first ever Nintendo Direct summary. Hopefully, it won’t be our last. See you all in 530 days!