On 17 February 2021, Nintendo Direct returned for the first time since September 2019. During the 50-minute presentation, Nintendo announced a wide array of upcoming games to be released in the near future.
The presentation received mixed reviews across different social media platforms; despite some exciting news announced, many felt underwhelmed by the lack of information presented for other highly-anticipated titles.
Here’s a look at the most significant announcements introduced during the showcase, along with a few misses that left fans disappointed.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword returns with a Switch remaster
Arguably the biggest report to come out of the February Direct was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword being remastered for the Nintendo Switch. For those unfamiliar, the title was first introduced a decade ago, on the Wii, back in November 2011.
The HD remastered version transitions the game into the new hybrid console. In particular, there’s a new revamped button control system, to couple the motion controls, built around the Joy-Con controllers of the Nintendo Switch.
In short, the modified button-based scheme requires players to tilt the right thumbstick to control their character’s swords. The game is also multi-compatible for players looking to play on either the Switch, Switch Lite, or via a Pro Controller.
Furthermore, special edition Joy-Cons for Skyward Sword will be released in honour of the game’s debut on the Switch. The controllers are beautifully crafted, with designs resembling the Hylian Shield and Link’s Master Sword.
Nintendo announced that the game will be available for purchase on 16 July 2021.
Splatoon 3 confirmed to launch on Switch in 2022
The confirmation of Splatoon 3’s launch on the Switch in 2022 was another highlight of this year’s first Nintendo Direct.
This marks not only the third instalment, but it will also be the first new game for theSplatoon franchise to come out in five years.
Still a fairly young franchise, the colourful third-person shooter debuted back in 2015 on the Wii U. Since its debut, the franchise has built-up a healthy fan base and gained momentum with the addition of Splatoon 2,which launched back in July 2017 on the Switch.
The sequel was nearing 12 million copies sold by the end of last year, per Nintendo.jp, standing as one of the console’s best-selling games.
As expected, there are high hopes and a great deal of anticipation for the third instalment. Nintendo didn’t go into much detail for Splatoon 3, but it did tease fans with a short trailer. From what the teaser shows, there’ll be a desert setting, potentially new bow weapons, and a new city to explore.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate adds Pyra and Mythra to the roster
Nintendo also announced exciting new additions to one of its biggest titles: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be the latest characters added to the game.
Essentially, Pyra and Mythra will be considered as a single fighter, giving players the ability to swap between the two freely. Similar to Xenoblade, the duo will fight with a combination of sword attacks and magic, perhaps providing some familiarity to new players coming over from the Xenoblade franchise.
We first saw Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launch for the Nintendo Switch back in December 2018. Since then, the game has added several new fighters to its line-up. Bringing in Pyra and Mythra marks the tenth DLC character to be brought into the game post-launch.
Players will be able to use Pyra and Mythra in the game as early as March, with Nintendo stating that more details would come as we move closer to the release.
Biggest misses from the February 2021 Nintendo Direct
Some of the biggest misses from the February 2021 edition of Nintendo Direct were the highly-anticipated titles known to be coming out this year, as detailed in Nintendo Life’s report on the company’s financial report.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is arguably one of the most highly-anticipated sequels set to come out in a long time – not to mention that 21 February is also The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary.
As a result, many were hoping that a good portion of the Direct would be dedicated to showcasing the new game. Instead, director Eiji Aonuma briefly mentioned the game, but apologised by saying that more news will be coming later this year.
Bayonetta 3 is another title not mentioned during the presentation. In fact, we haven’t heard any official word on the game since December 2017. To this day, there hasn’t been a screenshot or even teasers of the game, despite its developer, PlatinumGames, teasing a major reveal last year.
Metroid 4 was another eagerly-awaited household title left out the discussions during the February Direct. Like The Legend of Zelda, the Metroid series’ 35th anniversary arrives in 2021, on 6 August.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t an address of the game during the Direct, leaving a bit of a bitter taste for those expecting Nintendo to celebrate the special occasion of its historic title sometime soon.
Despite there not being any news or a trailer for Metroid Prime 4, some remain optimistic. As is tradition for the Japanese gaming giant, Nintendo is expected to come through and show us something worthwhile when they feel that the product is ready.
While the Nintendo Direct did overlook some of the titles that fans were hoping to hear more about, it certainly detailed a bunch of exciting new games to keep Switch players entertained for the coming months.