For about a month now the Nintendo crowd has been harping on about and hyping up an alleged January Direct concerning the Nintendo Switch. As it turns out they were doing this for good reason, as this week there was a Nintendo Direct. Well, a Nintendo Direct Mini at any rate. Regardless – a number of games were announced from both third, second, and first party developers.
As a result of hyping this up many Nintendonlies were deeply disappointed by this Direct because it was somewhat less than amazing. Several Nintendonlies even suggested that this was not the real direct, and that a proper direct would still be coming later this month – as though Nintendo is hiding a second Direct in the Switch dock along with the secret sauce second GPU that they will not shut up about.
There is no second Direct though. This week Nintendo announced a pretty full schedule for the Switch which leads all the way into E3. This looks to be a fairly complete list of the Switch’s major releases for the first six months of this year. It is even a much stronger schedule of first party content than either Sony or Microsoft have planned for the same period. Nintendonlies are still upset though, because they rely much more strongly on first party content, and then set their expectations to the moon.
Nintendo’s Q1 and Q2 Release Schedule
In terms of first and second party stuff Nintendo is planning on four major Switch releases before E3 – two brand new titles, and two Wii U ports. We already knew about Kirby: Star Allies, but this week its release date was pinned down to March 16. Nintendo followed this up by announcing Mario Tennis Aces, which is set to release in Spring of this year. It will be the first Mario Tennis game to feature a story mode since the GBA. A re-release of Donky Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will see release on May the 4th. It will feature the new addition of Funky Kong, who is so obviously intended to serve as an easy mode as to appear broken. Finally, Hyrule Warriors will also see a re-release during Spring. This is easily the weakest aspect of Nintendo’s new game announcements, though the game is inexplicably popular among a large number of people – so they are likely delighted by the announcement.
Nintendo also took the opportunity to announce the release schedule for three key pieces of DLC from some of 2017s bigger Switch titles. Pokken Tournament DX will see new character packs release on both the 31st of January and the 23rd of March. Super Mario Odyssey will see the free release of Luigi’s Balloon World during February. This DLC will enable players to hide balloons around a level which other players must then find – and is presumably intended to challenge the player’s mastery of the game’s traversal mechanics. Finally, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will see the release of a new DLC world in the Spring. The DLC will introduce Donkey Kong as a playable character.
Nintendo is clearly sitting out the post Christmas Winter period, just keeping things ticking along with DLC, but starting March it looks like they will have something substantial to release in every month leading up to E3. This looks to continue their 2017 strategy of having something to release in almost every month of the year, which has been credited with the Switch’s strong momentum throughout 2017.
Third Party Q1 and Q2 Releases for Switch
The Direct did not stop with Nintendo products however, as a number of third party titles were also announced – all but one of which are scheduled for the first half of the year. It must be said right off the bat that their failure to mention the immanent release of Bayonetta and Bayonetta II was truly perplexing, given that their February 16 release date is right around the corner, and the latter title is a 9/10 Nintendo exclusive. Because of that the biggest third party announcement of the Direct was probably The World Ends With You: Final Remix – but this was only by dint of the fact that it was the only Switch exclusive announced by the third parties. The game just looks to be a Switch port of the iOS version of the game, though apparently an extra scenario will be created for this version of the game. The World Ends With You: Final Remix was the only title of the direct not to receive a specific release window – it will release some time during 2018.
The remaining Winter months looks to be a big period for third party releases – not just because of the aforementioned Bayonetta games, but also because of the release of three other titles. January 25 will see the release of Celeste, an indy platformer. Fe, an EA action adventure, will release February 16. Payday 2 will also be releasing on February 27.
Rounding out the lead-up to E3 is Dark Souls Remastered, which puts the final nail in the coffin of Nintendonly rumours that Dark Souls III would [or even could] be seeing release on the Switch. Nintendo is announcing this as a big deal, but they are actually getting content cucked by Sony here, who will be enjoying a full physical trilogy of remastered Dark Souls games released to their PS4 on May 24, a day before the solitary Dark Souls Remastered title will be seeing release on Switch.
Ys VIII will then follow with a Summer release on Switch. This is actually a pretty good prospect for anyone who wanted a final physical release of Ys VIII with a decent translation. The PS4 version of the game famously required a full retranslation by NISA owing to their poor work the first time around, and so the Switch version will come with this refined translation already applied to the physical game – meaning that it cannot be lost to defunct servers. Finally, SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy will also come out Summer 2018, and it will also be published by NIS – though thankfully there will not likely be much of a script to ruin. This looks to be a fairly similar set up to King of Fighters, albeit with a 100% focus on waifus, which is always appreciated.
As readers can no doubt see this line up does not really leave much room for any big secret releases in the first half of 2018 – and Nintendonlies who believe that there are still big unannounced Nintendo titles set for release during the first half of the year are seriously deluded. There are no doubt some big announcements that Nintendo has in the pipeline, but these are being held in reserve for E3. One expects that Nintendo’s E3 Direct will announce at least one major title for Christmas 2018 release [along with several less important titles]. One also expects the E3 Direct to announce that Switch owners will now be able to purchase the first three Virtual Console titles – which will either be Wii or GameCube titles.
All things considered, between the first party content and third party releases, this is not actually a bad line up at all for any normal person who owns a Switch as a secondary console – it is only those sad wretches known despairingly as Nintendonlies who persist in dejected denial about this week’s Direct. One would advise them to develop some realistic expectations, but then we all know there is no chance of that happening.