Nintendo News in 2019 by Andrew Lindeman
On February 13th, Nintendo held its first Direct of the year. For those of you who don’t know what a Direct is, it is a small video conference where new games are revealed and previously announced games get new features or release dates declared. Within the 37 minute video, 9 new games were announced along with tons of ports featuring Nintendo mainstays to the newest, and strangest, battle royale. Along with the main direct, they also have held a Pokemon and a Nindies (short for Nintendo Indies) Direct.
The show started strong with Super Mario Maker 2, a game which allows you to create your own 2D Mario levels with features from over 30 years of Mario platforming, such as Cat Mario and slopes to slide the famous plumber down. The first game in the series had a large community of people making incredibly challenging missions for people to try and beat and then speedrun to see who could get the best times. With the user base of the Switch already being double the size of the Wii U, and the fact that watching/streaming games has never been bigger, I expect this to be a huge hit for Nintendo. The be released in June 2019.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the new entry in the tactical rpg series, was given an official release date along with a look into the setup of the universe. The world of this game has three neighboring countries called the Adrestian Empire, the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance. As the main character, you are a teacher at an officer’s academy within a monastery that is in the center of these three lands. You will train and test the students so they gain exp and learn new skills for the battles you take them into. Along the way, the students will interact and create bonds that you can plan around to get bonuses in fights. The release date is July 26th.
Tetris 99 was announced and released that day for free to anyone who is a Nintendo Switch Online member. The membership is similar to Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus in that it allows you to play online and also gets you access to certain free games. In the case of Switch Online, there is a growing library of NES games, with new features added to some of them. Tetris 99 is a battle royale but for Tetris, so instead of shooting each other, you send blocks onto other peoples games as you play yours. While you play your game of Tetris, there are four options for who you want to attack. They are: random, attackers (people attacking you), badges (a system based on k.o.s and how many blocks you have sent), and K.O.s ( people with the most knockouts). It is hectic and fast with no game lasting longer than five minutes. Definitely worth downloading since it is free.
Astral Chain is a very anime-esque looking action game from Platinum Games, developer of top notch action games such as Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Nier: Automata. The story seems to be that you are police who are bonded with these crazy looking creatures who you use to help rack up combos against giant tech laden monsters attacking the city. Normal everyday stuff. The game was announced with a release date of August 30th 2019.
To end the show, Nintendo announced a remake of The Legend of Zelda; Link’s Awakening. This originally black and white Game Boy game from 1993 has been beautifully remade into a top down 3D adventure with an art style similar to the old Christmas specials like Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. It is set to be released in 2019.
The Pokemon Direct was only seven minutes long and didn’t reveal anything too shocking compared to the last twenty years of Pokemon. Titles for the new games are Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. There is a new map called the Galar Region that looks to be based off of England. Starter Pokemon are Fire, Water, and Grass as always with Scorbunny being the fire, Sobble being the water, and Grookey being the Grass.
With all these announcements and some they made at E3 or later in 2018, it is looking to be a really good year to be a Nintendo fan (if these games don’t get delayed). Here is a calendar of Nintendo’s production in 2019.
January – New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe
February – Tetris 99
March – Yoshi’s Crafted World
April – Nintendo Labo VR / Box Boy + Box Girl
Nothing in May
June – Super Mario Maker 2
July – Fire Emblem: Three Houses / Dragon Quest Builders 2
August – Astral Chain
Somewhere in Summer – Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 / Daemon X Machina
Fall – Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Pokemon Sword and Shield, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, and Dragon Quest XI port.
For the Indie Direct, there were two big pieces of news. The first being that Cuphead, a Microsoft produced Xbox exclusive, is coming to the Switch. This could be be the beginning of a relationship between Xbox and Nintendo, where Nintendo acts as the handheld Xbox never made to bring smaller games such as Cuphead, Ori and the Blind Forest, and possibly the streaming service that Microsoft is currently working on to the Switch. The other exciting announcement was that an indie dev is getting to use a Nintendo property in Cadence of Hyrule. A game from the creators of Crypt of the Necrodancer where the player fights enemies to the rhythm of the music playing. The fact that Nintendo is opening up its properties to indie devs means we could potentially get some smaller, interesting takes on classic franchises. As far as games I am excited for from this Direct, I am looking forward to Bloodroots, The Red Lantern, and Rad. https://youtu.be/wUnpK23g4FY