After way too goddamn long, we’re getting a full-sized Nintendo Direct. A good chunk of that will be dedicated towards Smash, but there’s plenty of time to get info on what to expect over the next few months for Switch owners.
The note on the Nintendo Direct page says “games coming to Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2021”. That means we should expect first and third-party games, which makes sense since the first half of 2021 includes Pokemon Snap and probably at least one Zelda remaster. It’s also been a while since we’ve seen any Breath of the Wild 2 footage, and if Nintendo’s asking for almost a full hour of our time, that’d be the perfect way to close things off.
But on a concrete level, what do we want to see? Here’s some ideas…
Some Super Mario Party DLC
Let’s start proceedings with the thing that is the least likely to happen. Mario Party outsold both the Pokemon: Let’s Go! games, Splatoon 2 and even Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. Any game that has sold almost 14 million copies would have immediately had a year or two’s worth of content greenlit.
Hell, games that sell half or a third as much as Super Mario Party at least get something. I can’t actually think of any other studio, or publisher, that would make over 10 million sales from a title only to go, “Fuck it, let’s do something else.”
Even just an announcement adding online play to Super Mario Party would do. C’mon, Nintendo.
Anything, anything at all about Sports Story
The follow up to the Queensland-made Golf Story — which apparently has land pirates, pinball, secret levels, cricket and a metric ton of stuff — was delayed in August last year. Sports Story was originally aiming for a mid-2020 release, and given the time it’s already had in development, a mid-2021 or late 2021 release feels about right.
Please, Hollow Knight: Silksong
Silksong has been in the works for ages. It was playable on the PAX Australia floor a couple of years ago, and was very tight. I’ve been waiting for some more Silksong news throughout all of 2020, but given the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow feels like a good time for a release date.
I’m not willing to take a bet on whether Silksong will do what Hollow Knight did on the Switch — an instant announce/release — but either way, it’s hard not to seeing Silksong being an absolute blast. Do us a solid, Nintendo.
More Pokemon Snap gameplay
It’s due out on April 30, provided it’s not being delayed like everything else. We haven’t seen too much of how the remade Snap is going to function on the Switch — gyro controls maybe? — so now is a good time to learn more. Nintendo might also delay any Snap news until next week, when the official anniversary for Pokemon kicks off.
Some Breath of the Wild 2 footage, and whatever’s happening to Phantom Hourglass
There’s been a bunch of new trademarks approved lately, including one for Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. So it seems pretty likely that we’ll get at least one remaster for the franchise’s 35th anniversary.
The first footage of Breath of the Wild 2 was shown off at E3 2019, and Nintendo hasn’t said anything about the game since then. A second reveal at this year’s (digital) E3 would make sense, but you’d imagine the 35th anniversary of the franchise is a pretty good platform to get people hyped about the sequel all over again.
Another possibility that’s continuing to do the rounds is a Wind Waker remaster. Personally, I’d bet on Nintendo pushing that to the second half of the year just because Wind Waker is much more beloved.
They did mention that this Direct would only focus on games in the first half of 2021. So it’s probably likely we’ll only see one remaster, and maybe smaller bits of content (like DLC for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity). Wrapping the older Zelda games into a combined collection is also a pretty smart move, too.
It’s time for Donkey Kong: Country to return
Zelda‘s turning 35, but there’s even a bigger anniversary for Nintendo this year: Donkey Kong. The franchise turns 40 this year, having first released on July 9, 1981 in North America.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze made the jump from the Wii U back in 2018. The Donkey Kong classic games were also added to Nintendo Switch Online last year, but that’s not the same as a proper remaster. And given that Nintendo loves celebrating anniversaries, you have to imagine at least one of their studios is working on something. I’d take a remake of Donkey Kong Land or Donkey Kong 64 — they’d both do great on the Switch.
For the love of God Nintendo, do something with F-Zero
17 years is a bit of a weird number. But that’s how long it’s been since we had F-Zero Climax, the last entry in the series. That’s more than enough time for something, and given that it’s also 30 years since F-Zero was released in the West, a remake or re-release of F-Zero GX would be perfect.
Plus, if we’ve got a crazy difficult high-speed racer to focus on, it’ll help everyone forget that it’s been way too long since Nintendo did anything with Mario Kart. Give us Mario Kart 9 already.
Nintendo 64 or Gamecube games through Nintendo Switch Online
But putting the leak aside, people have been wondering when Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) would get some N64 or Gamecube titles. There’s definitely an argument that a lot of those titles would warrant a remaster or proper re-release in some form. But NSO also needs to up its game. It’s horrifically deficient as a service compared to Xbox Game Pass, or even the quality of what’s available through PlayStation Plus. It’s also just good business sense for Nintendo to start dropping some heavy hitters through NSO.
It’s about time for Splatoon 3.
The staying power of Splatoon — predominately in Japan at least — is pretty incredible. The game was still one of the best selling downloadable titles for Nintendo over last year, holding its own against Smash Ultimate, Minecraft and Breath of the Wild.
It’s one of those franchises that gets lost a bit in the Nintendo conversation. And I get that when Nintendo also has Zelda, Pokemon, Mario Kart, the Mario franchise generally, and all the various spin-offs. But Splatoon 2 is still a massive success, with almost 12 million units sold. Most developers would kill for that kind of success. Hell, even for most of last year, Splatoon 2 was still selling more than Super Mario Maker 2.
With the massive success the Switch has had over the last few years, a Splatoon sequel could do real well. The Switch wasn’t really known as a device that you played shooters on when it first launched. Now, it’s a huge success and there’s a huge Fortnite fanbase on the Switch who would be perfect targets for Splatoon‘s brand of gameplay.
Metroid Prime 4? Maybe?
One can dream, right?
What would you like to see from tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct?