Yesterday's Nintendo Direct Was A Massive Disappointment

Nintendo fans have had a serious drought for the last year and a half as the company has had no official Nintendo Direct in what seems like forever. The company has run several Nintendo Direct Minis, a much shorter version of the event usually centered around a single game or franchise, in that time, but fans have waited (I'm)patiently for something more substantial. And we finally got it. Sort of?

Nintendo announced the Direct just a day ago, stating that the video would be fifty minutes long and that we would hear about the future of Smash Bros and “games coming to Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2021”.

Overall, the event was a pretty big letdown, and that second line is part of the reason why. Many of the games announced were not even coming this year, let alone in the first half of this year.

Additionally, the event was dominated by frankly lackluster-looking games from industry titans like EA, Square Enix, and Capcom. Nintendo Directs in the past have showcased these games, sure, but they’ve also pretty regularly given promising independent games a spot in the limelight as well. This time, though, the indies were very rare.

Here is the totality of the announcements from independent studios:

  • Mediatonic’s Fall Guys will be receiving a port to Nintendo Switch sometime in Summer 2021

  • Outer Wilds will be receiving a Nintendo Switch port sometime in 2021.

  • Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse will be receiving an HD remaster for Nintendo Switch this March 16th

  • Hades will be receiving a physical edition for Nintendo Switch on March 19th

  • And finally, AnnaPurna Interactive announced Neon White, a game coming sometime in Winter 2021

That’s it. It’s not to say that there isn’t some exciting stuff in there, but it’s definitely a little underwhelming.

Hades getting a physical release seems like a no brainer, and it’ll be nice to have a little physical memento for many people’s 2020 GOTY.

Fall Guys feels like something always destined to come to Nintendo Switch. Frankly, I was always a little surprised when I was reminded that the ultra-cute family Battle Royal wasn’t already on the platform. I do worry about a dwindling player base, but perhaps the game can get a second wind by launching on the system that is seemingly most perfect for it.

Stubbs the Zombie is a little bit of an odd one. The quirky puzzle-action game starring a zombie intent on eating the brains of people in a sendup of a 1950s city was middlingly received upon release for the original Xbox. The game has received a bit of a resurgence in recent years, and it always seemed like something I would enjoy, so I am pretty excited to finally try the game out. Side note: if you’ve never heard the soundtrack, it’s pretty incredible. A bunch of great alternative rock bands were asked to make covers of 50s/60s hits. Check it out here

AnnaPurna’s announcements are the most exciting. Outer Wilds was an artistic masterwork and perhaps the definitive game of 2019 that more people need to play. And Neon White looks pretty promising. The game comes from Ben Esposito, the talent behind the very fun and quirky Donut County, and has a killer concept surrounding assassins in heaven who have to kill each other to be the last sinner who gets to stay up in the clouds. The gameplay also looked quite fun, combing first-person shooters, platformers, and deck-building card battlers. Of all the things shown off at the presentation, this is the one to keep an eye on.

So here we are after a year and a half drought left possibly more disappointed than we all were before. How long will it be until the next Nintendo Direct? Will it even be worth it? Who knows. All I know is that I can’t wait to play that anime heaven assassin game.