Spotlight Shines on Nintendo’s Biggest Games
Two weeks after its Summer Nindie Showcase, Nintendo has announced a new Nintendo Direct.
Airing Wednesday, September 13th at 3pm PT | 6pm ET, the Direct will last just under 45 minutes and highlight “upcoming Nintendo Switch and 3DS titles.” Nintendo made the announcement via Twitter and their official website.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 11, 2017
Weeks back, I posted five predictions in advance of August’s Nindie Direct. While I found myself incorrect on many fronts (curse you, Team Cherry *shakes first*), I learned from the process, and won’t make the same mistakes twice.
Here’s five predictions for what we can expect from this week’s conference:
1) Existing Fall 2017 titles highlighted
This is a pretty safe assumption to make, given that the Direct is focusing on games coming out “over the next few months” according to Nintendo’s site. With Super Mario Odyssey already confirmed to make an appearance, it makes sense to expect other games in Nintendo’s fall lineup as well.
Among the list of possible inclusions: Metroid: Samus Returns, Fire Emblem Warriors, Pokken Tournament DX, and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
Between those first party exclusives and other third party content like FIFA 2017, NBA 2K18, and Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2, Nintendo should have plenty of games to plug come Wednesday afternoon. Expect sizzle reels and trailers galore for much of the Switch and 3DS’s upcoming fall releases.
2) Xenoblade Chronicles 2 gets release date… for better or for worse
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been surprised by Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s level of presence this summer. The game demoed well at both Gamescom and PAX West, adding fuel to the fire that XC2 would indeed hit its intended 2017 release target.
I’ve been skeptical since the game’s announcement that it would actually make 2017. Xenoblade Chronicles X, the previous game in the series, came out in 2015, only 2 years ago. Given the sheer scale and scope of the game that Monolith Soft and Nintendo have been boasting in previews of the game, I find it hard to believe that they’d get everything done in time.
And yet, here we are, with 4 months remaining in 2017 and Nintendo touting a big showcase for their Fall 2017 lineup. If XC2 is to get a release date for this year, it would have to be this week. Heck, even if the game has ended up getting pushed to 2018, I think we’ll hear the news on Wednesday.
If I was a betting man, I’d wager that the next big JRPG from Monolith Soft will release in February 2018—it just seem’s right to me. That said, I’d love to be wrong, and see XC2 release alongside Super Mario Odyssey in October, or even in November/December. We’ll know soon enough.
3) A focus on Japanese collaborations
The upcoming Nintendo Direct takes place on September 13th. Also in September? Tokyo Game Show.
With the best and brightest of Japan’s gaming developers and publishers readying for the massive public trade show, I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see some big related announcements on Nintendo’s virtual stage this week.
It’s been a while since we heard from Square Enix. While they’re working on a Switch version of the I Am Setuna sequel, Lost Sphear, what happened to the Silicon Studio-led Project Octopath Traveler? Or Atlus’ new Shin Megami Tensei title?
It’s been nearly eight months since the January 2017 conference that announced both of these titles, among with a bunch of partnerships with games in development for the Switch. Looking at the above list, several big question marks persist, especially with Platinum Games and From Software.
Likewise, From Software has remained especially quiet after the release of Dark Souls 3, not even showing up at Sony’s E3 like many had hoped to announce a sequel to their hit game Bloodborne. Again, could we see them, this time representing Nintendo and the Switch? The sky’s the limit here.
4) Nintendo’s Nindie lineup finally gets it stuff together
Look—I’ll be the first to admit that my predictions for the Nindie Showcase didn’t exactly work out. However, I defend myself by saying that it’s not my fault. Nintendo missed an opportunity to announce release dates for several high-profile indie games in development for the Switch.
Yooka-Laylee, Stardew Valley, Hollow Knight, and Rocket League continue to not have hard release dates, despite being confirmed for 2017. With four months left in the year, Nintendo has to come out sooner or later with when we can get our hands on them.
With a recent Yooka-Laylee Switch update and Stardew Valley already submitted for certification, it looks to be sooner rather than later when we’ll get official word from Nintendo. Given the tens of thousands likely to tune in on Wednesday, now seems like the perfect time to break the news.
5) A few hints of games to come in 2018
Reading Nintendo’s announcement of Wednesday’s Direct, one thing immediately stood out to me. On Twitter, they say that the Direct will feature “upcoming” Switch and 3DS titles, while on their website they claim it is “mainly focused” on “the next few months.”
Notice a trend here? Not once to they say the Direct will only focus on 2017 games.
While this may be coincidence—or worse, further evidence that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is getting delayed—I have reason to be hopeful. Nintendo has always cared greatly about how they convey their messaging. Heck, the company managed to keep two new Metroid games under wraps from the public until recently.
With the likelihood that the lack of a ‘2017’ was no accident, you have to wonder what 2018 games could make an appearance on Wednesday. Kirby and Yoshi, both revealed during E3 2017 for 2018 release on Switch, seem like obvious candidates.
At the same time, I can’t help but dream bigger. Metroid: Samus Returns releases Friday, September 15th. What better way to drive sales for your 3DS remake than to give new information on the elusive Metroid Prime 4? Could we see new concept art or even *gasp*, a trailer?
One thing is certain: this Direct isn’t playing around. Lasting just under 45 minutes, the video conference will be nearly double the length of Nintendo’s 25-minute E3 presentation. And as I recall, most people were skeptical of Nintendo going into E3, only to be genuinely surprised by how mean and lean that Direct turned out to be.
We’ll see if this new Direct continues to bring the heat on Wednesday.