Nintendo Directs are online presentations from Nintendo that function similar to press releases but instead of being limited to the press, these are released to the general public. Nintendo Directs are more than just mere press releases though – these presentations are done in lighthearted and fun ways, often featuring Nintendo’s figureheads like Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, to name a few), Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, and even Iwata himself. Check out this GIF taken from the Nintendo Direct presentation shown during E3 2014:
Can you imagine any of Microsoft’s or Sony’s top executives putting on a show the way Iwata does? I can’t.
The brainchild of the late Satoru Iwata, Nintendo Directs have become very popular with fans of the company especially because of how these are presented. Go through comments sections on several video game websites and you’ll see people clamoring for this month’s Nintendo Direct, especially since we haven’t had one since Iwata passed away.
This is the very first Nintendo Direct of the post-Iwata era and this is also conveniently scheduled just before the holiday season – perfect timing for any announcements that could boost holiday sales. So I’m quite interested in what Nintendo has in store for their fans.
I wrote a couple of expectations ahead of time in preparation for this but here are the important announcements that I’m really looking forward to. The more of these things show up in today’s Nintendo Direct, the happier I’ll be:
A new New Nintendo 3DS exclusive game. If that doesn’t make sense, blame Nintendo and their naming convention. But yes, I bought a New Nintendo 3DS XL anticipating games to be released exclusively for it. We’ve only seen two so far. Where are the rest, Nintendo? I’m not expecting a lot of New 3DS exclusives, just one would suffice.
New Super Smash Bros. DLC Characters. The voting for the next Super Smash Bros. fighter ended more than a month ago and we still haven’t heard anything about this from Nintendo since then. Who’s going to be part of the Smash Bros. roster? Shovel Knight? Bayonetta? Son Gokou? I’d be disappointed if Nintendo doesn’t reveal any information about this. Even just announcing names will make me happy.
A release date for Fire Emblem Fates for the West. I’ve been having geekgasms since Nintendo revealed this game (titled Fire Emblem if in Japan) early this year. I need to know when this is coming out because there are two versions of this game (Conquest and Birthright) and I’m planning to get both, so I need to prepare myself financially for this.
More information about Metroid Prime: Federation Force. I’m probably in the minority about Metroid Prime: Federation Force – I’m actually looking forward to it. But my investment in this game is based solely on the promise of a 3rd person shooter co-op game for the 3DS. I need to see more of this game to sustain my interest in it.
Announcements of 3rd party games for the Nintendo NX. I’m not expecting Nintendo to reveal any information about the Nintendo NX – I think it’s much too early and I’d rather have them keep their cards close to their chest. But what I want Nintendo to announce are third party titles for the Nintendo NX. Square Enix already declared that they’re developing Dragon Quest X and XI for the Nintendo NX – wouldn’t it spark renewed interest in Nintendo and attract new customers to the brand if more titles were announced as early as now? The lack of third party support for Nintendo consoles has been a problem since the days of the Gamecube, so I’d like to see Nintendo finally address this.
And that’s my list. So how did Nintendo do?
Before the presentation started, there was a disclaimer on the Nintendo Direct website saying that NX will not be discussed. So scratch that expectation off my list. On to the actual discussion… There’s a lot that was announced, actually. This Nintendo Direct started with a confirmation that an HD version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is indeed coming to the Wii U. This was followed by news of updates coming to games that are already out – The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes, Splatoon, and Super Mario Maker content are coming in the next couple of months.
Most of the games that were discussed after that were titles that I already knew about, like Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. Early on, the feeling of disappointment started to build as the presentation went on about games that were already known to me. To be clear, I’m only interested in 3DS related news and even on that side, there wasn’t anything new – I already know about Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, Mario and Luigi Paper Jam, and Final Fantasy Explorers. I’ll skip through the titles that weren’t notable for me, because I simply did not have any reactions to them other than “I already know about this game”.
I perked up a bit when a saw a small gem in the rough in the form of a new Free-to-Play puzzle game for the Nintendo 3DS called Pokemon Picross. Picross games are popular in some circles and I’ve never had the chance to play any of them, but this may be something worth looking into specifically because it’s free.
Finally, information about Fire Emblem Fates was discussed, and this was when I started to get excited. North America is getting both Birthright and Conquest this Feb. 19, 2016. But wait – there’s more! Nintendo is releasing a special collectors edition that has both Birthright and Conquest and the third version called Revelations that, to my knowledge, was download-only. This collector’s edition has all three, plus an artbook and a carry pouch for the 3DS XL. I’m actually completely satisfied with this one announcement, but of course I continued to watch.
The next notable announcement for me was the surprise release of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow on Virtual Console for the 3DS. I never thought this would happen but it will. Will I buy any of these games? Probably not, but I’m sure there are a lot of Pokemon fans out there who passed out after this announcement.
Next up was a pair of Dragon Quest titles that I was also keeping an eye out for and admittedly, this was the first time I’ve seen confirmation that these would be localized. So 3DS owners are getting both Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King in 2016.
And then the big reveal, the moment that made my jaw drop – the announcement that Cloud will be joining Super Smash Bros. as a DLC fighter!
I never thought that Nintendo would include of the most popular characters of the Final Fantasy franchise simply because Final Fantasy VII (the game Cloud is from) was never released on a Nintendo console. But man, what a get! Just look at the video game icons in Super Smash Bros. – Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Ryu, and now Cloud! They should bring Solid Snake back and make this franchise a battle of true video game all-stars. To close this Super Smash Bros. segment is a teaser for a special Super Smash Bros. broadcast in December 2015 so we know there’s more DLC fighters coming.
So how was the first Nintendo Direct of the post-Iwata era? Looking at the entire presentation as a whole, it was more of a standard, low key presentation with little of the fun elements that the most popular Nintendo Direct editions had. There were definitely a lot of announcements, but I either already knew about these or wasn’t interested in them in the first place. There’s something in this presentation for most Nintendo fans, but there wasn’t any big reveals from my perspective.
Nintendo didn’t mention any New 3DS exclusives or announce anything about Metroid Prime: Federation Force, but I’m coming away from this Nintendo Direct knowing that Fire Emblem Fates is going to be released in less than four months and that Cloud is probably going to be one of my mains in Super Smash Bros., so I’m happy nonetheless.
Did you catch this month’s Nintendo Direct? Were you satisfied? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.