23 September saw a full-length Nintendo Direct, the first since June’s E3 presentation. Consisting of around 40 minutes of information about games coming later this year and next year, there was a lot to take in. Here’s the lowdown.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
The Direct opened with a trailer for Monster Hunter Rise DLC, entitled Sunbreak. Moody shots of dragons greeted viewers, with a sweeping orchestral score. Releasing Summer 2022, we know very little else about it, but following the warm reception of the base game, I think we can expect good things.
Mario Party Superstars
Yoshiaki Koizumi, the usual presenter of Nintendo Directs and a familiar face to Nintendo fans, made his first appearance after the cold open. More information about the upcoming Mario Party Superstars was shown, including the boards (including Horror Land, which has a day and night cycle), the new Mt. Minigames, and the game’s online multiplayer capabilities. Superstars launches on 29 October, and pre-orders are available now.
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
This new RPG from Yoko Taro, director of the Nier series, was revealed to a backdrop of ethereal piano music. The art style is beautiful and is shown off in abundance, as the game is based entirely around cards, taking a tabletop RPG structure. It is coming to other consoles as well and has a release date of 28 October. A free demo is available now.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
This heavily choice-led RPG lets you play as a detective, allowing you to shape and mould the story according to your decisions. It comes to Switch on 12 October.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Expansion Pass (Wave 2: Guardian of Remembrance)
The second wave of Age of Calamity DLC is coming to Switch on 29 October. In the trailer, we saw the Baby Guardian having what appeared to be a flashback of the various characters, such as Zelda, Link, and Mipha (with a young Sidon getting himself into trouble, concerningly). We also saw the scientists, Robbie and Purah, being their usual quirky selves.
Chocobo GP was shown off, and it is quite simply a Final Fantasy racing game in the cartoony, chibi, Crystal Chronicles art style, coming sometime during 2022. I was particularly intrigued by the eight-by-eight elimination tournament. It’s a modern racing game, so obvious comparisons to Mario Kart can and will be drawn, but as the second FF racing game (after Chocobo Racing on the PlayStation 1), could this be an unlikely new series? Time will tell.
Smash News (Kind Of)
Of course, everyone’s hearts jumped into their throats when the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate music started to play, but Koizumi was very quick to shut down any expectation that the latest and in fact last fighter was going to be revealed.
Not at that moment, anyway.
He announced instead that the final Mr Sakurai Presents was going to be on 5 October, and in this, we’ll see the reveal of the DLC fighter and a bit of gameplay. Koizumi made it abundantly clear that this was going to be the last presentation pertaining to Ultimate, so I suppose this is where the Smash 6 rumour mill really begins: alternatively, maybe we can let Masahiro Sakurai finally have a well-earned break.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
We got to see Kirby finally make the jump to true 3D in the trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land. The best way to describe it, on the level of movement and gameplay at least, is Super Mario Odyssey but, well, with Kirby. This trailer really drives home how bizarre it is that Kirby took such a long time to appear in an open-world game: gorgeous visuals, beautiful score (of course, with bits of classic Kirby series music weaved in), and plenty of instances of Kirby using his familiar transformation abilities all point to something to get really excited about. This blend of old and new is coming to Switch sometime during Spring 2022.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC
Once again, we got a little bit of info followed by the announcement of a subsequent presentation. The Roost is being added onto the museum, but we’ll have to wait until October to find out more, when a special Animal Crossing Direct will air. The content itself will be added in November. The absence of Brewster the pigeon, always a calming presence in previous installments, has felt a little glaring so far, so it’s really nice to see him turn up again.
More Free Content For Mario Golf: Super Rush
The golfing game is receiving two new characters, namely Koopa Troopa and Ninji, as well as two new courses. The update is available now for all players.
Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition
Coming around Christmas time, this is a port of a 3DS game, set in a Disney-themed world.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Is Coming To Switch
This classic action RPG is making an appearance on Switch, and while we’re not getting the remake that is currently in development, it’s exciting that more people will have a chance to play the original. Pre-orders are available now, with the release date being 11 November.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human (Cloud Version) and Dying Light: Platinum Edition
‘Cloud versions’ of games essentially allow Switch players to play games that wouldn’t be able to run on the Switch’s hardware: they are streamed to the console, and this upcoming survival horror is being added to the current list, with three-player co-op being included too. Dying Light 2: Stay Human is available from 4 February 2022, along with a free demo. The game’s prequel, Dying Light: Platinum Edition, is also getting a more traditional release on Switch on 19 October of this year.
From the makers of Octopath Traveller, this tactical RPG has been tweaked according to player feedback from the Demo Version, which is a trend I really hope to see more of. Elements such as the difficulty and the visuals have been ‘finetuned’, ahead of its release on 4 March 2022. Preorders are available now.
Metroid Dread was shown off even more, with a pretty long trailer and lots of things to dig into ahead of the game’s release date. The rough storyline involves investigations into the X Parasite, and we see Samus being chased by a yellow robot that we later discover is one of many research robots “gone dark”. Some of the locations within the game, such as Burenia, were named, and they would all appear to have unique environmental elements. Metroid Dread launches 8 October, with pre-orders being available now.
Nintendo Switch Online: Nintendo 64 and Sega Mega Drive
Next, we got to see the new editions to the Nintendo Switch Online library of retro games. Nintendo 64 games are the latest to be added to the roster, including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Mario Kart 64. Perhaps surprisingly, we’re also getting Sega Mega Drive games (the console known as the Sega Genesis in the US), such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Ecco the Dolphin. More games are also coming down the line, such as Super Mario 64, and new N64 and Mega Drive controllers are being released, to go with the existing NES and SNES ones.
There’s a catch, though: these would appear to be available in a sort of add-on pack, and no indication was given as to the price of this additional content. We’ll obviously find out more at a later date, but I am curious as to if this extra pack contains any more benefits, or if players are simply paying for these new games.
As is common in Directs, a sizzle reel showed us snippets of the games that didn’t get their own full trailers. The Shadowrun trilogy, Castlevania Advance Collection, and Actraiser Renaissance (originally on SNES) were shown, as well as the announcement that the second chapter of Deltarune was going to be available on Switch as an immediate free update to the first chapter, after its PC release last week. A trailer was then played featuring more games, including the announcement of digital pre-orders for Shin Megami Tensei V.
The Mario Movie’s Cast Is Revealed
In a departure from specifically game-related content, Shigeru Miyamoto turned up for a few minutes to tell us about the voice cast for the upcoming animated Mario film, made by Illumination (you’ll know them from Despicable Me, most likely). This section felt a little surreal, but we got to see that Chris Pratt had been cast as the voice of Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser, amongst others. Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, will interestingly be appearing in cameos only. We’ll have to see how this film turns out, but I am nothing if not intrigued.
Splatoon 2 launched a few months after the Switch in 2017, so it’s great to see another installment. The story mode is called Return of the Mammalians: all mammals except for two cats have vanished. The trailer had some scary glitching and monster-like creatures, and then we saw a (real) man wearing a white lab coat, introduced only as a ‘Squid Researcher’, tell us a little more. The game is coming sometime during 2022.
It wasn’t immediately obvious from the beginning of this trailer that we were about to see the time-slowing, gun-wielding witch turn up, but when she did, Christmas came early for Bayonetta fans. After years of little-to-no information, this was beyond exciting. The setting seems quite dark, and Bayonetta herself has had another slight redesign, with a similar thing having happened from 1 to 2, but what hasn’t changed is the spectacular, over-the-top combat and (naturally) Bayonetta’s taunting of her opponents. This is definitely a trailer to watch multiple times in order to digest everything. Bayonetta 3 is slated to arrive next year.
The fantastic and perhaps sometimes frustrating thing about Nintendo Directs is that there’s always a huge variety of games on show. Not everyone will be interested in everything, but there’s a good chance everyone will be interested in at least something, and with teasers for upcoming presentations in the next few months, the flow of Nintendo news doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
Words by Mia Chitty
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