Fire Emblem: Three Houses will be there. What else?
After what felt like (and actually was) the longest ever recorded passing of time between Nintendo Direct presentations, Nintendo is finally set to wow us with a brand new thirty five minute block of non-stop Nintendo news at 2pm PT/5pm ET/11pm BST/9am AEDT on Wednesday, February 13th (Thursday the 14th for Australia). Are you excited? You should be! After a record-breaking 2018 and with the Nintendo Switch selling gangbusters, this is Nintendo’s first big opportunity to outline their 2019 plans, lock down some release dates, and just totally surprise the heck out of us.
So what can we expect from it? What can we not expect from it? What would be so crazy it would be a dream come true? Let’s break it down.
Which Switch Games Might We See?
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is guaranteed to be at the Direct considering Nintendo specifically name-dropped it in their Direct announcement. Three Houses is a fully fledged (and potentially massive) console-sized turn-based tactical Fire Emblem game announced at E3 2018 which we still don’t specifically have a release date for outside of “Spring 2019.” Expect this game to take up a significant portion of the presentation with gameplay, story clues, a firm release date locked, and launch content plans, potentially with a $400 special edition that comes with an actual sword. I made that last part up but it would be really cool. Swords rule.
A Switch port of Super Mario Maker would be a no brainer, although it would have to be retooled a bit to work without a dedicated touch screen stylus. Seeing as Wii U ports like Mario Kart Deluxe and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Remake Origins: 44 and ½ Coins (not actual title) continue to sell exceptionally well, Mario Maker would be massive. Plus there are already a billion player made levels out there to download so that means pretty much endless content on day one.
Less likely but still very possible is the announcement of Pikmin 3 coming to Nintendo Switch, seeing as the game has the potential to connect with a much larger audience now than it did on Wii U. Porting the entire Pikmin trilogy to Switch and having it all in one place would be a beautiful, wondrous thing. More people need to experience this bizarre, whimsical franchise where you scavenge ship parts and murder obtuse insect creatures in what I assume is some guy’s weird backyard.
While we’re here hypothetically porting trilogies to Switch, the Metroid Prime Trilogy appearing in Nintendo’s presentation would be a gigantic make-good for any Metroid fans bummed about the recent announcement of a delay in Metroid Prime 4’s release. The Switch has been out for almost two years and there are no dedicated Metroid games on it despite being flooded with dozens of Metroidvania games. We won’t be playing Metroid Prime 4 for a long, long time. Metroid Prime Trilogy would be the perfect holdover.
Speaking of ports, a Switch port of Assassin’s Creed III recently appeared in numerous online retail listings and even Ubisoft’s official website before sneakily disappearing so it seems obvious to expect this game to hop out of a haystack and reveal itself officially during this week’s direct. Third party developers are continuing their “port any game you can think of” approach to Switch to mostly positive sales results, so more games like this are always welcome, especially because they help pad out the library between AAA first party games and darling indies.
That said, 2019 is all about Animal Crossing Switch. Animal Crossing is not so quietly one of the best selling Nintendo franchises and the recent mobile game (albeit a stripped down experience from the usual Animal Crossing fare) was a huge success. We first heard word of Animal Crossing Switch last year and I expect the game will take up much of Nintendo’s 2019 E3 press conference and show floor theme. I don’t expect it to launch this spring or anything, but it feels just right to get a development update this week that features some gameplay. I for one cannot wait to revisit this bizarre world where a child leaves his family to take a train to a village full of talking beasts who befriend him to trade gently used clothes and furnishings, all while a malevolent business raccoon in a sweater forces him to make mortgage payments. Game of the century.
Oh, and don’t forget that Smash Bros. is still going incredibly strong with record sales, yet there are still some pretty big question marks surrounding its upcoming DLC characters. Nintendo Directs are the PERFECT place for a surprise character announcement. Fingers crossed for No More Heroes’ Travis Touchdown, created by legendary game maker Suda51. Suda was just recently hanging out with Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai so let the speculation begin! Yes, I realize how tabloidy that sounded. No, I don’t care. Travis Touchdown rules. Put him in Smash. At the very least, we’ll probably get some gameplay footage of Persona’s Joker in Smash, but if we’re lucky, Travis Touchdown will show up and kick his ass because I like him more.
With Mario Kart 8 still being a gigantic hit (it’s the best selling Switch game) we probably won’t hear about a new console Mario Kart any time soon. However, there’s also the upcoming Mario Kart Tour, a mobile version of Mario Kart coming to phones this summer. We haven’t seen it yet and there are a ton of questions around how it will control, which characters will be in it, and if they’ll charge 99 cents per Blue Shell, so learning more now would be awesome. I really, really hope that Blue Shell thing doesn’t happen. Blue Shells are annoying enough.
There’s also the upcoming Pokemon game, but realistically, that one is so big it will probably get its own Direct later this year or be a huge focus of their 2019 E3 presence. The “Let’s Go” games just launched and are still being played by millions so I don’t mind waiting a bit.
And to round things off with some actual release dates: expect dates for Daemon X Machina and Luigi’s Mansion 3.
What About 3DS?
Well, Nintendo’s tease of the direct specifically mentioned a focus on Switch games, so Nintendo fans still rocking their 3DS might be out of luck. That said, if there are any new 3DS game announcements this week, expect them to be met with hundreds of variations of “why isn’t this on Switch?” pleas.
What WON’T Be There?
Metroid Prime 4! It actually feels relieving to say that instead of just wildly speculating that we’ll see a full gameplay trailer, box art, release date, and amiibo line like we do every time Nintendo prepares any sort of announcement for us about anything. No, Metroid Prime 4 recently had its development timeline effectively rebooted and kicked to Retro Studios (makers of the first three Prime games) so we don’t expect to see anything about it just yet.
Unless… maybe… they show us something? Which they could! It’s possible! I mean, it’s statistically VERY improbable but like, what if they did? Like, what if the Direct ended and Reggie came out and was like “Hey, you still there? Did you notice the shirt I was wearing under my fancy Brooks Brothers blazer this whole time? Let’s take a look!” And then he tears open his jacket like ‘80’s Hulk Hogan and reveals a brand new image of Samus Aran, the Metroid hunter, and she’s really strong and has a cool new suit and she’s badass and everybody loves her because she’s so great and everybody watching the Direct faints from happiness and then Reggie is like “Metroid Prime 4 is available RIGHT NOW and it’s TOTALLY FREE” and it automatically starts downloading to your Switch and the file size is somehow really small because Nintendo is good at that and we all wake up from fainting to play Metroid Prime 4 immediately and then suddenly it starts snowing EVERYWHERE ON EARTH and we all get the day off to play it and it’s just the best, most beautiful, perfect day in the history of the universe.
Realistically, though, it probably won’t be in the Direct. Thank you for allowing me to publish that fanfiction in the meantime, though. It’s good to dream.
Anyway, what do you EXPECT from the Nintendo Direct? What’s your dream Switch game announcement? Let us know in the comments below!
Brian Altano is a host and producer at IGN. Follow him on Twitter.