Well, after what seemed like an absolute age Nintendo finally ended 2020’s Direct ‘drought’ without warning by dropping a 28-minute Nintendo Direct ‘Mini’ on us. Featuring a varied collection of games both new and new on Switch, along with a peppering of fresh announcements and updates to existing titles, it seems to have gone down relatively well from what we’ve seen online.
At the very least today’s surprise video was a release for the pent up anticipation Nintendo fans have had buzzing inside them since the clock struck midnight on 31st December last year. Yes, we’ve had a Pokémon Direct, the Smash Bros 5th Fighter reveal, the Animal Crossing Direct along with last week’s Nintendo Indie World Showcase, but we hadn’t really had the full-fat, honest-to-goodness, direct-to-us Nintendo Direct we’d been waiting for.
And some may well argue that we still haven’t. That ‘Mini’ appended to the title is more than an acknowledgement that the broadcast earlier today didn’t have any on screen presenters, as is the fact that it was dropped in its entirety at the time of its announcement; little fanfare and no time for people to whip themselves into a frenzy (well, not any more than they already are).
There was plenty of great stuff to chew in the half-hour video, that’s for sure, with confirmation that Xenoblade Chonicles: Definitive Edition will be launching on Switch in May, the announcement of an as-yet-unnamed ARMS character joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a DLC fighter in June, and a bunch of smaller updates, demos, rumoured releases and “available now“s announced.
Games like Catherine: Full Body, Burnout Paradise Remastered (hello EA!) and 2K’s triplet of offerings in the form of XCOM 2, Bioshock: The Collection and the Borderlands Legendary Collection are all exciting additions to Switch’s diverse library, although this Direct lacked the true bombshell announcements some might have hoped for. We didn’t get any previously unknown first-party games along the lines of Super Mario Maker 2 last year; no real megatons.
There were no Wii U ports, either, and despite plenty for Switch owners to be excited about in the short-term, Nintendo’s first-party slate is looking almost as blank as it was before the broadcast. Xenoblade will be fantastic, no doubt, but it’s a known quantity, a remaster of a game we played first back on Wii.
It’s difficult to know how much of an effect COVID-19 had on this presentation, and the pandemic gripping the globe right now will certainly have repercussions for game releases later on in the year. Fortunately, we’re all still basking in the warm glow of Animal Crossing: New Horizons at the minute – the perfect balm to difficulties many of us are living though at the moment. However, with that game now out in the wild there are some mighty big question boxes floating in the air around Nintendo’s plans for the second half of 2020, none of which were addressed today.
Nintendo’s surprise drop and branding of this Direct as a ‘Mini’ was a good move, especially as other companies seem to be struggling when it comes to managing expectations. All in all, we came away from today’s broadcast feeling great about the next few months of Switch releases, although we’ve still got the hunger for more. Nintendo has plans, of course, although perhaps due to the uncertainty surrounding the coming months the company wasn’t ready to commit to its next brand-new release just yet. With gamers eager for more details about Metroid Prime 4 and Breath of the Wild 2, there’s certainly plenty of scope for more announcements in the coming weeks/months. Perhaps we’ll see more Directs on individual games from now on rather than the quarterly blow-outs we’ve gotten used to.
But let’s not go there quite yet! There was loads of good stuff announced today and we want to hear your most anticipated games and what you liked best from this Nintendo Direct Mini. Feel free to answer the polls below and let us know what you enjoyed most.
Let us know below what you thought about the Nintendo Direct Mini with a comment in the usual place.