Put Your Detective Pikachu Hats On
Nintendo has once again stealth announced a new Direct. Dropping tomorrow—Wednesday, March 7—at 2pm PT, the Nintendo Direct will provide a half hour’s worth of information on Switch and 3DS games releasing in 2018. It will also include new details on Mario Tennis Aces.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 7, 2018
As past Punished Backlog predictions have proved here, here, and here, it can often be difficult to determine what exactly Nintendo has planned for any given Direct presentation. Still, it’s a lot of fun to speculate, and we’re pretty good at doing that here!
Taking into account facts, leaks, hopes, and dreams, here are five predictions for what to expect during tomorrow’s video presentation.
1) Nintendo Rides High On Kirby, Pikachu, and Mario
That part about me weighting facts along with hopes and dreams a few words back? That comes into practice immediately with this first prediction.
While Nintendo Directs are fun for their surprises, we have to acknowledge that a good chunk of this presentation will be dedicated to games we already know plenty about. Aside from the fact that Nintendo of America’s tweet literally cites Mario Tennis Aces by name, it also makes sense for The Big N to lean heavily into the rest of their upcoming games lineup for spring 2018.
Expect a gameplay trailer for Kirby Star Allies, which launches March 16 on Switch, along with some localized footage of Detective Pikachu, which launches March 23 on 3DS. Don’t be surprised as well to get more tidbits on Nintendo Labo (April 20 NA, April 27 EU), Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (May 4), and perhaps even Dark Souls Remastered (May 25).
As for Mario Tennis Aces, I expect we’ll see a blowout of coverage detailing the game’s single-player and multiplayer components, complete with playable characters, stages, and movesets. I also reckon we’ll receive some clarity regarding the game’s spring 2018 release window by way of a firm release date. Again, nothing too surprising here.
2) Yoshi, Octopath Traveler, and Fire Emblem Get Finalized Titles and Release Windows
Moving out of Q1/Q2 2018, two of Nintendo’s most heavily marketed titles have been Yoshi (Working Title) and Project Octopath Traveler (Working Title). While many may find it a bit silly that two of the Switch’s biggest games set for 2018 still lack proper titles, I believe that will be remedied during tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct.
Looking a little closer into the crystal ball, I could see both getting release dates as well. If a recent Amazon Germany listing (courtesy of Switch Watch) is to be believed, Octopath Traveler may be out before the end of the summer. Yoshi, meanwhile, seems like a perfect September title, just out of the crosshairs of a competitive October of releases (read: Red Dead Redemption 2).
Meanwhile, the upcoming Fire Emblem for Switch has been shrouded in much more mystery. While I still think this game is a ways off (November if I had to take a blind guess), we should finally see our first real trailer of the game during Thursday afternoon’s presentation.
3) Leaks Become Reality as Fortnite, Diablo III, Soulcalibur VI, and DBFZ Come to Switch
While Diablo III seems like a lock for the Nintendo Direct (if it wasn’t then, it certainly is now), it’s not the only game that industry insiders have been chirping about. Marcus Sellars, a frequent reporter of Nintendo leaks, claims that Fortnite will be coming to Switch sometime during August/September. Meanwhile, the Reddit guy who outed The World Ends With You: Final Remix (albeit misconstruing his source and assuming it was TWEWY 2) also claims that separate ports of Soulcalibur VI and Dragon Ball FighterZ are in the works for the Switch.
While these rumors are unsubstantiated, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see these games make their way over to Nintendo’s money-printing machine. With Nintendo’s online service prepped and primed to launch for realsies in September, now would be the perfect time to announce two of the hottest multiplayer games in recent memory (and one to come) for the company’s flagship console.
4) Bandai Namco Confirmed as Metroid Prime 4 Developers; More Info at E3 2018
While on the subject of leaks, it seems certain at this point that Bandai Namco will be handling the development of Metroid Prime 4. Regardless of whether or not that excites or disappoints you, it’s proof that production of Metroid Prime 4 is well underway.
It might be an ambitious prediction, but I think we’ll get official confirmation tomorrow that Bandai Namco is developing the game. Though I doubt the announcement will be accompanied by any concrete gameplay footage of Samus’ next adventure, there’s always a chance (no matter how small) that we’ll get our first trailer, either in-engine or CG, for the game.
The segment will end with the announcement that we’ll see much more of Metroid Prime 4 come E3 2018.
One can dream, eh?
5) Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch Unveiled
This will be the big bombshell at the end of the Nintendo Direct. No Pokémon, no Animal Crossing, no Mother 3… Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch.
I’ve specified the titled as such because I fully believe that the next Smash game will be closer to a Smash 4 Deluxe than anything else. With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Pokken Tournament DX, and Bayonetta 2 having re-released to an growing install base that has already surpassed lifetime Wii U sales, there’s plenty of easy money to be had by bringing Smash 4 to Nintendo Switch.
Does that mean we’ll never get a bonafide Smash 5 for Switch? Absolutely not. In fact, I’d wager that Smash 5 is already in early development by Sakurai and his crew. Nintendo is targeting a longer life cycle for the Switch (and who could blame them; it’s selling like hotcakes), and there’s plenty of time for a legitimate new entry in the Smash universe to grace our devices.
As for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, I’d love to see new characters, new stages, and perhaps even a few new modes—nothing on the level of Subspace Emissary, mind you, but some additional content to make existing Smash 4 players happy. There are many great candidates for inclusion in a Smash 4 Deluxe, from Spring Man/Girl (Arms) and Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes) to Neku (The World Ends With You) and Rabbid Peach (Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle). It might be a bit of a pipedream, but having Smash 4 in the palm of your hands (the 3DS version doesn’t exist) would be a delight for the senses.
And that’s that! Tune in tomorrow at 2pm PT to see which predications I got right (and which I got horribly, horribly wrong).
Sound off in the comments below with what you’d like to see from tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct!