It’s been a long time coming, but it was totally worth the wait.
Nintendo hasn’t hosted a full-blown digital Direct presentation since September 2019, instead opting for brief announcement videos throughout a pandemic-affected 2020.
In this morning’s 50-minute Direct, Nintendo showed a tantalising glimpse of what’s coming to the Nintendo Switch console in 2021 and beyond.
Splatoon 3, a Zelda remaster, Mario Golf, and a free-to-play multiplayer Star Wars game headline an impressive lineup on the horizon.
Here’s the full breakdown of everything announced.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Pyra the next Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter
Speculation always runs wild over which characters will star next in popular fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With only three places remaining in the second and final DLC Fighters Pass, time is running out for everyone’s favourites to get in.
Right off the bat, the Nintendo Direct opened with footage depicting the Xenoblade Chronicles universe, before Pyra was unveiled as the latest character to receive an invite.
Pyra can also transform into fellow Xenoblade character Mythra mid-battle. Both Pyra and Mythra are actually weapons who can take humanoid form — it’s a bit weird and confusing, but who am I to complain about more badass anime waifus?
Pyra is due to enter Smash in March, in addition to the typical accompanying music and stage, with more details to come closer to release.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout coming to Nintendo Switch
After becoming a fun Takeshi’s Castle-inspired multiplayer sensation on PC and PS4 last year, Fall Guys is coming to Switch. We had a fun chat with the developers which is worth a listen!
The trailer says a Summer release, so expect that to be Winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
I wonder if Fall Guys on Switch will have a similar system for cheaters they trialled for PC players?
Brilliant sci-fi mystery Outer Wilds will be on Switch this year
If you haven’t played Outer Wilds before, you’re in for a treat come Winter.
It’s a time-looping galaxy exploration game with lots of puzzles and mysteries to solve. Oh, and the sun explodes every 22 minutes, so there’s that too.
Outer Wilds is weird and wonderful in all the right ways. Just don’t confuse it with The Outer Worlds, which is an RPG by Obsidian that’s already out on Switch.
Not confusing at all, eh?
Mystery visual novels Famicom Detective Club localised for the first time in the West
Never before officially released outside of Japan, murder mystery game Famicom Detective Club will hit our shores, fully localised and remade for the Switch as two games: The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind.
Originally released in the late 80s for the Japan-exclusive Family Computer Disk System, the fact we’re getting such an obscure game is very cool.
As far as visual novels go, the two Famicom Detective Club games appear to have impressively animated visuals, which adds a nice flair to a genre that normally favours static graphics.
This is extremely my shit and you’ll no doubt hear me rave about Detective Famicom Club when they launch on 14 May.
Samurai Warriors 5 slashes onto Switch this Winter
A big ol’ hack-and-slash game from genre veterans Koei Tecmo is releasing this Winter in the form of Samurai Warriors 5.
While the Direct was specifically to announce the Nintendo Switch version, Samurai Warriors 5 is also coming to PS4, Xbox One and Steam.
More info is due to be announced via monthly live streams beginning 25 February, likely via Koei Tecmo’s social media channels.
Original PlayStation classic Legend of Mana getting the HD treatment on Switch
From the popular Mana series comes Legend of Mana, originally released for the PS1 in the late 90s, now spruced up in HD for the Switch ready for 24 June.
One of the big selling points for nostalgia nerds is the ability to swap between classic and rearranged music — you love to see it.
Stay calm, we’re getting another Mario Golf game!
Hell yeah, more golf with Mario!
Mario Golf Super Rush is the latest Mushroom Kingdom game to take to the links, and it’s out on 25 June.
Unsurprisingly, it looks gorgeous and filled with personality like all Mario games. What really caught my eye is the addition of a story mode, where you play as a Mii character and level your way up through tournaments.
This takes me back to the great Mario Golf Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance, which featured an RPG-like story mode — something all the console versions lacked.
Beyond what promises to be a cool story mode, Super Rush includes Speed Golf as one of its multiplayer modes, where you all hit simultaneously and race to be the first to finish each hole. With all sorts of zany Mario power-ups, this ought to be a blast.
There’s also the option for motion controls so you can relive the silly fun of playing golf on Wii Sports back in the day.
I’m so bloody keen.
Revisit Capcom classics with Capcom Arcade Stadium today
Available right now is Capcom Arcade Stadium, a compilation of classics including Street Fighter II.
You can dive right in and start playing 1943 – The Battle of Midway for free, while additional games are available as extra packs for purchase.
Stubbs the Zombie is back from the dead
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse is a cult classic from the mid-2000s Xbox era, and it’s now coming to Nintendo Switch alongside other platforms on 16 March.
I never played Stubbs back in the day, so sing out in the comments if you have any particularly strong memories to share!
No More Heroes 3 touches down this August
Travis Touchdown and his juvenile ways return to Switch, this time taking on a bunch of aliens in another cross-genre adventure.
The third main instalment in the No More Heroes series is out on 27 August.
Slick card-based FPS Neon White on the way
A card-based first-person shooter – that’s not a sentence I was expecting to write today.
Neon White looks like a slick demon-hunting affair, and I’m keen to learn more about how the card elements work. The aesthetic is also very reminiscent of Paradise Killer‘s vaporwave look.
We’ll likely find out more ahead of its Winter release window.
DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power teams up in June
Releasing on 4 June, Teen Power looks to be an action game well suited for younger players, starring the likes of Batgirl, Supergirl and Wonder Woman in their youth.
There’s more than just action, however, as it looks like Teen Power includes school life and social gameplay elements as well.
Protect the neighbourhood in Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
It’s been out on other platforms for a while, but the family-friendly shooter is coming to Nintendo Switch as a complete edition, with all the previous update content included.
It’s out soon, too, with a 19 March release date.
Miitopia makes the leap to Switch
The oddball little RPG adventure Miitopia is coming to Switch after originally appearing on the Nintendo 3DS.
Starring player-created Mii characters, Miitopia focuses on customisation and building relationships with other characters to grow stronger for battle.
Miitopia is out for Switch on 21 May.
Loads of Super Mario content coming to Animal Crossing New Horizons
I think this may get me to finally pull out the weeds from my Animal Crossing island.
As part of the elongated Super Mario 35th anniversary celebrations, an update coming next week to Animal Crossing: New Horizons will pave the way for Mario-themed goodies.
Beginning 1 March, you’ll be able to order a range of Super Mario outfits and furniture items from Nook Shopping.
This includes Mario and Luigi costumes, blocks, coins – and even functioning warp pipes to zip from one end of your island to the other.
Project Triangle Strategy – weird working title but cool concept
In the vein of Octopath Traveler‘s “2D-HD” style, the working title Project Triangle Strategy is a gorgeous pixel-art tactical game where choices have consequences on the story.
The dynamic choice system looks really interesting, where you’ll need to convince allies of your decisions, which subsequently impacts the narrative and who you can recruit.
It’s still a while away – probably to give the team more time to think of a decent title – with a 2022 launch window. Similar to Octopath Traveler, Project Triangle Strategy will have an open demo period (which should be live now) to help gather feedback.
Star Wars Hunters, an upcoming free-to-play multiplayer game teased
Set between Episode 6 and 7, Star Wars Hunters is coming this year. There are very few details other than the limited glimpse offered by the teaser trailer.
It’s got a cool logo, if nothing else?
Dodge balls, not wrenches, in Knockout City
Another one from EA, Knockout City is a dodgeball-like game set in a futuristic city with all sorts of colourful characters involved.
It looks like it could be good fun, although the online multiplayer market is a notoriously difficult egg to crack.
Knockout City is out on 21 May.
The World’s End Club takes its mysteries to Switch
From Too Kyo Games, a collaboration between the people behind such mind-bending games as Zero Escape and Danganronpa, The World’s End Club will join the Switch library on 28 May.
Originally an Apple Arcade game, I liked what I played of The World’s End Club, but it didn’t stick with me like the creators’ other works. The Switch version will reportedly coincide with the update including the story’s conclusion, so I’ll be keen to dive back in.
Hades gets a physical Switch release with extra goodies included
Hades was previously a digital-only title across various platforms. I say “was”, because it’s getting an ultra-cool physical release so you can add the mythological thirst trap to your shelf.
Included in the physical release will be a download code to redeem Darren Korb’s brilliant Hades OST, and a character compendium so you can lust after your favourite characters in published book form. You can wrap your mitts around this on 19 March.
To quote one Philip J. Fry: shut up and take my money.
Ninja Gaiden Master Collection packs three games in one
Fans of Team Ninja’s fast-paced action series will be delighted — Ninja Gaiden Master Collection includes Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 and 2, plus Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.
All previous DLC is included in the package, releasing on 10 June.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity expansion pass detailed
As expected, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is getting a bunch of DLC, much like its Hyrule Warriors predecessor did before it.
The expansion pass is for two waves of upcoming content, one in June, and the second in November this year. For $30, you’ll get more characters, challenges, weapons, stages and more.
If you enjoyed Age of Calamity, it seems like a pretty decent value proposition. There’s also an expansion pass purchase bonus, which will net you a new costume and weapon on 28 May.
More info on Breath of the Wild sequel coming later this year
Famous Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma appeared during the Direct to state that while the team did not have any updates to share about the confirmed Breath of the Wild sequel, development was progressing smoothly.
Of course, Aonuma didn’t rock up just to say sorry for the lack of update — he had plenty of other news to share.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD includes motion and button controls
Aonuma proudly shared that Skyward Sword HD will come to Switch on 16 July alongside a very cool Zelda-themed set of Joy-Con controllers.
Skyward Sword is a controversial one among Zelda die-hards; some love its motion controls, while others detested it upon its 2011 Wii release.
To bridge this gap, Skyward Sword HD will include motion controls but also have the option to use a more conventional control scheme without motion. Instead of mimicking a slicing action with a controller, you can make precise sword movements with the control stick.
Aonuma also pointed out that several core gameplay elements of Skyward Sword went on to become significant factors in Breath of the Wild‘s development — namely gliding, a stamina wheel, and collecting items to upgrade equipment.
Splatoon 3 goes Mad Max ahead of 2022 launch
Nintendo’s final announcement in this mega Direct was to show some introductory footage of Splatoon 3, the ink-filled shooting sensation.
The opening scene showed an Inkling character seemingly stranded in a barren wasteland, before boarding a train into the more familiar metropolis setting.
Perhaps this was hinting at what its story mode would involve? In any way, it looked moody as hell, which I’m 100% here for.
Roundup of previously announced games
Nintendo also raced through a bunch of games earlier in the Direct that had already been confirmed, to show off new footage and remind us of how close some of these are to release.
These games included:
- Monster Hunter Rise, coming 26 March
- Tales From the Borderlands, out 24 March
- Bravely Default 2, with a final trailer ahead of the 26 February launch
- SaGa Frontier Remastered, 15 April
- Apex Legends, launching 9 March with double XP for first two weeks
- Ghosts and Goblins Resurrection, 25 February with local co-op
Damn, that’s a lot of games to look forward to. Let us know what you’re keen to play in the comments!