Nintendo held its last major Direct of 2019 featuring a host of new announcements and information regarding upcoming titles. Normally considered the biggest Direct of the year, yesterday’s video left many people underwhelmed with Nintendo’s first party announcements. While Nintendo did not wow viewers with a shocking “but before we go” style clip, there was plenty of reason to appreciate just how much Nintendo is accomplishing with the Switch.
Part of the reason many fans felt a bit dismayed by the Direct was influenced by the numerous leaks that flooded social media prior to Nintendo’s video. Most if not all leaks were correct leaving very little shock value when titles such as Overwatch, Assassin’s Creed: Rebel Collection, and Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition were announced. Oddly enough some of these leaks came courtesy of businesses themselves rather than investigative individuals. There is nothing wrong with leaks, but there is little denying the fact they take away from the unpredictability of the Direct. Thankfully, these third party additions are a welcomed one.
Titles such as those discussed above in addition to Divinity Original Sin 2, Trials of Mana, and The Witcher 3 serve as a reminder that Nintendo is very much a competitor to Sony and Microsoft. No, Nintendo will never get Red Dead Redemption 2, Borderlands 3, or Call of Duty Modern Warfare on the current generation Switch, but honestly, they don’t need to. The Japanese gaming company has proven that offering a quality selection of third party titles is all it needs to accompany its incredible first party offering.
The first party titles Nintendo did show, however, felt entirely unnecessary. Luigi’s Mansion 3 provided more information about new levels, which felt like over-the-top spoilers. Part of the magic of Luigi’s Mansion is discovering new areas, and hopefully there is more to explore in the full game. Pokémon Sword and Shield only showed off features that were puzzlingly insignificant. The inclusion of character customization was expected, and the “Curry on Rice?” section has already garnered memes. The update on Animal Crossing did not show anything new and felt more like filler than anything else by taking over five minutes of the Direct. All in all, the first party updates either provided too much information or just more of the same.
Aside from discussing software, Shinya Takahashi updated viewers on Nintendo’s online service. Again after leaks surrounding the patent for an Nintendo SNES controller and code implying SNES software in the future, Takahashi finally revealed that Nintendo is expanding its Online membership to offer SNES Nintendo Switch Online. This was a natural and necessary addition since the current online service felt stale, even for only $20. The retro gaming market has shrunk slightly from its peak only a few years ago, which begs the question as to whether an average user will fully utilize the offering. Nonetheless, the SNES library features an abundance of quality games.
Nintendo has spoiled viewers with its recent trend of finishing off the direct with one more surprise announcement. Usually there is no gameplay footage, aside from Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, but the wow factor remains the same. Confirming Zelda Breath of the Wild’s sequel is in development or the announcement of Animal Crossing just gives fans something to look forward to in the future. This time around Nintendo did not surprise us with a new first party title. Instead, Takahashi left us with a trailer for Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition. The original Xenoblade Chronicles received critical acclaim when it released on the Nintendo Wii in 2012, and an upgraded port is nothing to scoff at. It’s successor, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, was well received in its own right, and Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition should hold fans over until the next iteration in the series. The reception, however, may have been a little more positive had there not been rumblings of its existence leading up to the Direct.
Nintendo’s September Direct did not stun us as it has done in the past, but it did serve as an impressive reminder for the upcoming months. The Nintendo Switch is getting a lot of first and third party titles before the end of the year. Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Doom Eternal, The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and Pokémon Sword and Shield are all coming out in the lead up to the holiday season. The next Nintendo Direct will likely take place in January or early February, and might show off some of the titles many Nintendo fans were looking forward to. As of now, Nintendo still needs to fill in its summer and holiday months for 2020 with first party titles, and an early Direct should give us more information.