Nintendo just held its longest Direct streaming show in ages, lasting nearly an hour as they blasted through a massive list of announcements. Anything good?
Yeah, a few things. While the impact of the pandemic surely means that big new games will take longer to come out and lots of older titles will be refreshed and re-released in the meantime, the stream had good news for fans of Zelda, Splatoon, and Mario alike, as well as some exciting new experiences.
There’s also some fresh content coming for some of the Switch’s biggest games in the near future. Didn’t catch the stream? Here are the biggest announcements that you need to see.
1) Splatoon 3
One of the Switch’s absolute best multiplayer games is getting a sequel in 2022 with Splatoon 3. The initial post-apocalyptic environment (the “Splatlands”) in this trailer - complete with a trashed Eiffel Tower - gives way to a more familiar-looking urban setting (“Splatsville”) filled with vibrant signage and thumping tunes. And wild multiplayer battles too, of course.
The game is still a year off, sadly, but the trailer does hint at some expansion on the existing theme. For example, character customization already looks notably enhanced, while players launch onto the battlefields in a new way. There are some other fun teases in the trailer, and if you haven’t played Splatoon 2, now’s your time to right that wrong.
2) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
Where’s Breath of the Wild 2? Sorry, no luck: it’s in production and more info will come later this year. But for now, feast your eyes on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, the revitalised edition of the colorful Wii entry (that wasn’t Twilight Princess).
Skyward Sword saw widely glowing reviews when it first released in 2011, but has gradually seemed to draw more criticism over time - perhaps due to how much Breath of the Wild eventually upended the classic Zelda series design. We’ll be interested to see how this upgraded re-release fares a decade later when it releases on 16 July. There will be beautiful new Joy-Con controllers released alongside the game, too.
3) Mario Golf: Super Rush
We already got a new Mario Tennis for Switch, and now it’s time for everyone’s favourite plumber to return to the links in Mario Golf: Super Rush. By and large, it looks like a familiar new entry in the Everybody’s Golf-esque franchise, pairing cartoonish courses with Mario franchise characters and fun power-up twists.
Speed Golf looks like the most uniquely Mario of the modes, letting you use classic series power-ups on the course as you try to out-swing everyone else at a record pace. There’s also a Story Mode where you’ll use your own created Mii and work your way up to pro status. This one hits Switch on 25 June.
4) Project Triangle Strategy (Working Title)
Don’t put too much stock in that awful title: it’ll undoubtedly be changed by the time the real game releases. Still, the game itself is worth getting excited about: Project Triangle Strategy is billed as a spiritual successor to the Final Fantasy Tactics games of old.
Square Enix’s Switch original has a 2D-meets-HD aesthetic similar to Octopath Traveler, and this strategy role-playing game is taking a similar route to release too: there’s a free demo available now, well ahead of the eventual full game release. Give it a shot!
5) Everything else
There were a lot of games shown in this Nintendo Direct presentation, but truth be told, not all of it demanded a lot of extensive explanation. Many of the games are coming over from other platforms, whether recent or classic, including last year’s platforming multiplayer smash Fall Guys, as well as re-releases of older games such as Ninja Gaiden Master Collection and Legend of Mana HD.
Lucasfilm Games and Zynga are making Star Wars: Hunters - a free-to-play multiplayer battler - for Switch this year, but the teaser didn’t really show anything. EA’s Knockout City, meanwhile, is due out in May and looks to be a combat-tinged take on open-world dodgeball. Oh, and the 3DS’ Mii-centric role-player Miitopia is heading to Switch this May, too.
As for updates to existing Switch games, the new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter is the two-in-one tandem of Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, plus Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting Mario-themed items on 25 February and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will see an expansion pass with new stages and characters this year.