Before airing its Nintendo Direct for E3 2019, the company stated it would focus entirely on software. That meant no talks of an oft-rumored Nintendo Switch model, but it did give time to show off a strong lineup of tentpole releases throughout the year, including Fire Emblem: Three Houses in the summer, Pokémon: Sword and Shield in the fall and (finally) Animal Crossing: New Horizons in spring 2020. The latter comes in right before the end of Nintendo’s fiscal year, in which Nintendo hopes to ship 18 million Switch units.
Fans were treated to a few surprises here and there: No More Heroes 3, The Witcher 3 for the handheld console, Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and, of course, a teaser for the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The Direct opened with the introduction of the hero character from Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. There appears to be about a half-a-dozen characters to play as with moves taking inspiration from its turn-based RPG style of combat.
The show later closed with the reveal of another DLC character—one fans have been clamoring for for years. After a brief, heart-breaking tease, it was revealed that Banjo-Kazooie would finally arrive in Smash Bros. If the big collaboration from Microsoft and Nintendo isn’t unfortunately a brand new title in the series, it’s still a great addition and actually bittersweet seeing their old Rare compadres Donkey and Diddy Kong cheering on the announcement.
Accompanying its reveal in Smash Bros. was the trailer for the mouthful of a title that is the Switch version of Dragon Quest XI. The Definitive Edition features more monsters to ride, the ability to speed through battles and a 16-bit graphical toggle. A bit of this was shown at Square Enix’s conference but the Direct featured its actual release date: September 27.
One of Nintendo’s big titles for the year got a full overview in the Direct. The first entry in the series since 2013, Luigi’s Mansion 3 sees the gang visiting a luxurious hotel that, get this, ends up being haunted. Each floor of the tower has a particular theme to explore. And Luigi’s new Poltergust brings with it a few tricks, like being able to shoot plungers to pull at objects in the environment, doing a zoning attack against surrounding enemies and the ability to slam ghosts in the ground and against walls.
The trailer also showed off its online and local multiplayer mode, ScareScraper. Like the version in the 3DS entry, Dark Moon, the four-player multiplayer mode randomly generates a floor for the players to clear together.
In a surprise collaboration, Netflix has a tie-in game for its new Dark Crystal show, slated to arrive August 31 this year. The Jim Henson property will hit the Nintendo Switch as a turn-based strategy game not unlike Fire Emblem.
Everything about this remake of the 1993 Game Boy entry is arresting. Whether it’s the music or the new animation and art or the idea of stealing a bow from a vengeful shop owner again, the Link’s Awakening remake is shaping up to be as special as the original. The Direct trailer showed off “Amber Dungeons,” where you create your own level and complete it to get rewards like a bottle. It also revealed the release date: September 20.
The third title in the Mana series—known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 3—is being totally remade for the Switch as Trials of Mana. The 1995 action-RPG has never been released in North America and will join the original two, Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana, in a set called Collection of Mana released later today.
With a gameplay reveal already out of the way, Nintendo showed off a cinematic trailer for its next Fire Emblem title—and it’s expectedly earnest and melodramatic. There appears to be a class reunion for folks that totally killed a bunch of people, and there’s talk of friendship and opening your true hearts. There’s also mention of both sides of time, which might hint to some sort of new gameplay mechanic. The release date was also revealed: July 26.
The world needs more live-action mixed with Resident Evil. A trailer in which two people enter a suspect abandoned house in the woods to play some Resident Evil leads to the announcement that Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 will hit the Switch this fall. They may be less enthusiastically welcomed than Resident Evil 4’s arrival but what wouldn’t pale in comparison to that?
Heavily rumored to appear, Geralt and company will be taking their talents on the go with Nintendo Switch in 2019. Yes, even on a commute, you can put your adventure on hold for another game of Gwent.
Developer Suda51 teased this announcement and lo and behold, Travis Touchdown appeared dropping goofy one-liners and taking enemies out with a beam katana. No More Heroes 3 arrives in 2020, making it a decade since the second arrived in 2010 on the Nintendo Wii.
It’s been quite a while since the last entry in the run-and-gun alien shooter. Contra returns with a new entry September 24, but in addition, there will be 10 titles in the series made available today.
In addition to more footage of the new and exclusive mech game from the producer of Armored Core, the release date was also announced as September 13.
Polish publisher Forever Entertainment announced late last year that it was working on remaking the first two entries in the classic Panzer Dragoon series, and we finally got a glimpse of it in Nintendo’s Direct. The first of these remakes will arrive this winter.
Nintendo didn’t spend much time talking about its upcoming Pokémon games releasing November 15—the first proper mainline entries to hit a Nintendo console. But it did tease the ability to use the Poké Ball Plus controller as a way to take the new Pokémon in Sword and Shield on the go. You can’t, however, use it to play the game.
The next game from Platinum Games got a more in-depth trailer showing off its gameplay. Extra dimensional enemies called chimera rampage through a city, and using a sort of chain—perhaps astral—the characters can take control of them and turn them into “the legions.” These creatures can be used in combat, as well as to get through obstacles, like destroying a wall or making a platform to jump on to. The game is still slated to release August 30.
John Romero finally revealed his new project through Nintendo Direct. In collaboration with Paradox Interactive, Romero Games’ Empire of Sin is a mafia game set in Prohibition-era Chicago. It features a bit of isometric shooting as well backdoor deal making. The game is set to launch spring 2020.
Of all the little collaborations Nintendo has been doing with other companies, this remains one of the more inspired. The Zelda spinoff of the hit indie rhythm game Crypt of the Necrodancer is now coming very, very soon. The game will launch in two days on June 13.
Set for a November release date, the latest Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games features Yoshi ripping it on a skateboard, so there's that. You're able to compete online and there appears to be an old-school toggle that makes the game look like the Track & Field days on the NES.
Fans have been clamoring for information on the Switch entry of Animal Crossing for some time now. The Nintendo Direct had some good and bad news. The title, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, was formally revealed, as was the setting. Nook Inc. presents a deserted island getaway package (that consequently will put you in severe debt). A spin on the 3DS’ New Leaf and the mobile Pocket Camp, the player character sets up a tent and cozy campfire, picks up resources to craft items like a flimsy axe and visits island residents. In addition, there appears to be multiplayer as numerous player characters run across the island together. The bad news is that the game has been delayed to March 20, 2020, right before the end of the company’s fiscal year.
Right at the end of the Direct, Nintendo briefly teased that a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is in development. Featuring the same art style as BotW, Zelda and Link explore Hyrule Castle to find the decaying body of Ganondorf. After it awakes, the exterior of the castle billows with clouds as it seems to rise. This seems likely to be a sequel in the vein of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, with the art style and basic gameplay remaining the same.
I’m the reporter for the Games section of Forbes.com. I previously served as a freelance writer for sites like IGN, Polygon, Red Bull eSports, Kill Screen, Playboy and P...
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