I haven’t been this overjoyed with a Nintendo Direct in some time. It’s not that they haven’t been enjoyable or surprising. They just haven’t been THIS enjoyable or THIS surprising. Maybe it helps a little that I was able to be home to watch it live, much to the dismay of a hungry fiancee of mine. Here’s the top three things I would have loved to see in this Nintendo Direct based on my desires at the moment…
- Animal Crossing announced for Nintendo Switch
- More significant Splatoon 2 content
- Details on Metroid Prime 4
I only received one of these but it was so good that it made up for the rest. Let me just start from my favorite thing… Splatoon 2 content. This came in two back-to-back waves of incredible delight.
Splatoon 2’s Version 3.0
Coming soon to a Switch console near you, we’ve got Splatoon 2’s next major upgrade. The Splatoon series has always been about consistent updates to ensure the game ‘stays fresh’. We usually get new weapons or new stages at a rate of about one of each per month. Only once before this with the current 2.0 version did we get a big boost like the 3.0 promises.
The first thing the Nintendo Direct promised on this was that 100+ new pieces of gear were coming. They already had a huge influx of gear enter the game last time but that wasn’t enough apparently. Like with the first Splatoon, it is my absolute goal to collect each possible N.A.-available gear, unlock all the possible slots, and then upgrade them all to the fullest. So when Nintendo goes and ups the gear counts… that moves my goal post. You know what though? Bring. It. ON! Many Splatoon gamers like to focus on getting that one favorite set of gear maxed and with their preferred bonus-set. In fact, Nintendo made this easier with Splatoon 2. However for me, while I do like having a set of ‘Serious Gear’, I usually like changing my outfit constantly to just do as stated above. I’m excited to keep this trend going.
Next Nintendo announced new stages. Two of which are returning stages. One is brand new. While most folks might be bored with the prospect of old stages returning, usually this is an exciting endeavor because of how Nintendo has made sure to refine and improve each before release. While familiar, these stages hold key changes that really affect how the stage is played. So far they have improved each and every one. Arowana Mall and Moray Towers are key examples. For me, my favorite stages from the original are Saltspray Rig, Camp Triggerfish, and Moray Towers. As I just mentioned, I was lucky to get the last one early. Well, today they announced Piranha Pit and Camp Triggerfish are returning. Both a good but the latter is GREAT. Piranha Pit was fun because it had some areas that were challenging to reach but gratifying to succeed at. However I do feel like the stage was easy to have one side overtake the other and keep it that way unfairly. A few Splatoon stages had this issue. From the quick glance, they may be trying to rectify this. The hint they showed off shows a more open middle-area with more exposed conveyor belts and wider lead-up platforms. There also appears to be slightly more cover, which will come in handy. Then they showed off my beloved Camp Triggerfish. The theme of this stage is so cool and I was heartbroken to learn this didn’t make the top-three cut in the poll they did a few years back. However it is clear now that they were not intending to pick only three returning stages. At first glance here it seems a sponge has been added in your home turn to allow you easier access up to the top wall which was always good for evading the chargers that tend to hold the middle ground. Plus if you take the back way and wall it appears there is a well hidden zip-line that likely takes you around to the corner. That will be invaluable to maneuver around the stage. What a flippin’ delight! They also announced a new stage, Wahoo World. Due to it’s level of freshness, it’s near impossible to tell what makes it unique and special thus far.
Then Nintendo announced some more things in quick succession. There soon will be a Rank X in Ranked Battle. I thought hitting S in each mode was good but clearly I will need to strive not just for S+ but an X. I may not though.. I’m truly not trying to get so into the competitive scene that I stop enjoying it. We’ll see. Finally they shared a bit that Callie is returning to the in-game area for the single-player mode as long as you resolve certain criteria. Considering fans have been shouting for her return since the game released, this is definitely Nintendo listening to its fans. After this Nintendo Direct, I really can’t argue that they aren’t. This is a Nintendo we have not quite seen in some time. More on that with what they announced next.
Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion DLC
Nintendo has never before requested that gamers pay for its DLC content. Since the dawn of the Squid, these bonuses have been continual and free as a means to justify the full price point. I truly feel like the original bare-bones Splatoon did that, but to each their own. Splatoon 2 continues the trend but with Nintendo looming about soon charging for online play (in order to theoretically support a stronger online structure), it seems that the end of free DLC is coming… sort of. Nintendo announced paid DLC for Splatoon 2 today but it was honestly both something everyone has been asking for and something nobody ever thought to ask. The trailer begins with an Octoling on the ground of a dingy subway. She gets on her feet and looks at her surroundings. She looks oddly playable (and thus I exclaimed as such in the Discord chat I was hanging out in). The trailer has this Octoling walking through a subway past all sorts of known and unknown characters. The music is new and badass. Then we see evil Octolings and the trailer gets more intense. Suddenly it becomes obvious that there is some kind of single player content involved… Nobody I know has ever mentioned the idea of Octoling first-player content let alone really more single-player content. The single-player mode in this game is stellar so it is an absolute treat to have more. Then they announce that if you complete it, Octolings become playable in Splatoon 2’s online multiplayer. This is the key thing people have been begging Nintendo for since the release. Did they have this planned the whole time? Nobody knows… but regardless, once again Nintendo is listening. The Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion launches this summer. The eShop currently has it set for July 31st, 2018, which could be somewhat of a placeholder. It is a Tuesday after all. Chances are it’ll release on July 26th, 2018 instead, a Thursday. Needless to say, they already have my money… and I have a neat Octoling Shirt to hold me over.
True 3rd-Party SupPORT
The other huge thing I felt happened in this Nintendo Direct is in terms of the kind of support Nintendo has. They have been growing and growing in support since launch and the amount of dev teams eager to jump on board is astronomical. Nintendo’s latest console is easier than ever to code for, port to, and enjoy anywhere. Naturally this is giving the gaming industry a heck of a reason to support the Big N! Nintendo Switch has seen a healthy release of new titles and a criticized amount of Wii U ports and ports in general. However for fans like myself, I don’t get to dabble much outside of Nintendo. My hard-earned income is mostly dedicated to Nintendo or you know… a mortgage. So if I can have other console games, non-tendo games, on the go and on my Switch? Yes please. Today, the amount of third-party support Nintendo has seems to be reaching new and exciting heights. None of the third-party titles announced today are new but they are also games nobody would expect to see on a Nintendo console in particular. In somewhat actual release order we have as follows;
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole – April 24th, 2018
- Little Nightmares: Complete Edition – May 18th, 2018
- Dark Souls: Remastered (plus Solaire amiibo) – May 25th, 2018
- Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy – July 10th, 2018
- Octopath Traveler – July 13th, 2018
- Okami HD – Summer 2018
- Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes – 2018
- Undertale – ‘coming eventually’
While for me, Octopath Traveler and Undertale are some of the most exciting titles, they are not the most notable. What is notable is the South Park, Dark Souls, and Crash Bandicoot titles. Seeing mainstream titles like South Park: The Fractured But Whole is awesome and breeds a lot of hope for new similar titles to appear on the Switch at the same launch going forward. With the Switch being about one-year old, I would suspect that if we are going to see release-date parity, it is going to happen in full-force this holiday season or not at all. Dark Souls, while not a game I’ve ever been too interested in, is a major ‘get’ for Nintendo as well. It’s a huge and beloved franchise for the quote/unquote hardcore gamer. I hope it finds a new audience on Nintendo Switch. Lastly, that Crash Bandicoot collection. What in the name happened here. How did one of Sony’s biggest mascots in the early and tumultuous times of the early Playstation era end up on the Nintendo Switch? While never flat-out owned by Sony, Crash Bandicoot was exclusively a Sony series for some time. In the early 2000s it made the jump to multi-platform with some mixed reactions. While it did release on Nintendo consoles, it has not done so with significant fan-fare. Now, Nintendo is flat out spotlighting the game. In June of 2017, the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy released on Sony Playstation 4. This July it’ll jump to the Xbox One S and the PC… but the Nintendo Switch is not getting left out. It is a truly definitive moment that should hopefully stoke the fires inside other developers who are considering spreading their games and franchises to Nintendo as well.
Is Nintendo’s 3rd-Party nightmare finally over? Probably not entirely but now it seems more like a funky dream with some weird bits instead of a flat out nightmare disaster. This is hopeful as hell. Fantastic news today. With the night looming ever more present, I am going to whip out the other big topics in quick bullet form. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to speak on some of these more in-depth later.
Super Smash Bros. for Switch Confirmation + New Characters
Directly after the Splatoon 2 announcements they used it as a means to transition to the news that the Inklings would be playable in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch. Oh yeah, and this is the first time they officially confirmed its existence. Oh and they hinted at ‘Breath of the Wild’ Link as a playable character. Is he replacing actual Link or will he be a new character as well? I’m sure we’ll find out by E3 2018. Exciting stuff.
Mario Tennis: Aces… Not Actually a Joker
Over fifteen playable characters… including Chain-Chomp. Four-player multiplayer with friends. Story mode with deep and varied challenges. Racquet damage to contend with strong shots. Motion controls if desired. Zone Shots, Trick Shots, Special Shots, lots of shots. There is so much going into this game. It is clear that Nintendo is having an ‘oops, we’re sorry’ moment here. The last Mario Tennis game was such a pathetic cash-grab (a la Animal Crossing: City Folk) that they are putting their all into this new one (a la Animal Crossing: New Leaf). This is certainly a game to watch. Releases June 22nd also. Just in time for Summer fun!
Kirby Star Allies Announces Even More Allies
I just… can’t get into Kirby games like I want to. I love the idea of Kirby. I think the character is cute and fun. I love King Dedede even more. Just… I never seem to love any games I’ve played of the Kirby franchise. So while this one is something I’ll pass on. The new characters they’re adding, from even old titles, is really neat and I give Nintendo props for taking the effort. Rick, Kine, Coo, Marx, and Gooey are all showing up soon enough, along with typical characters like King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee.
So Much More To Look Forward To This Year
There is so much more to look forward to. Below is a list of most other games discussed in this Nintendo Direct, and after it is a link to their actual video detailing all this. Give it a listen. Give some games a purchase. Some of these remakes have additional content to help the sell. Give Nintendo your time. It’s worth it.
- Detective Pikachu (3DS) – March 23rd, 2018
- Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (Switch) – May 18th, 2018
- Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers (3DS) – May 24th, 2018
- Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido – June 8th, 2018
- Also releasing on 3DS on the same day
- Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Switch Remake) – July 13th, 2018
- Also releasing on 3DS in some form
- WarioWare Gold (3DS) – August 3rd, 2018
- Luigi’s Mansion (3DS Remake) – 2018
- Mario + Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey (3DS Remake) – 2019
~Article Edited on 03/09/2018 to properly reflect the release nature of the Crash Bandicoot series on Nintendo platforms.~