It has not been an awfully long time since the last Nintendo Direct, and already we have another. As far as the Switch is concerned there was not much new here aside from one very prominent announcement, and a bunch of extra information for games that have already been announced. The 3DS was a different story however, as there were several big surprises on that front.
The 3DS is set to receive a new installment in the WarioWare series, Dillon’s Rolling Western is getting a 3DS sequel called Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, and Nintendo is working on a Bowser’s Inside Story remake similar to the recent Superstar Saga remake, along with a port of the GameCube iteration of Luigi’s Mansion. 3DS is also getting a port of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, though Nintendo chose to announce this during the Switch portion of the direct, since it is getting a Switch release also. Other that this, Nintendo also showed off the previously announced Detective Pikachu, which looks really good. The 3DS portion of the Direct was perplexing in that Nintendo showcased so many games that one would love to have on the Switch. Detective Pikachu, Bowser’s Inside Story, and Luigi’s Mansion are all things that would be great to have on Switch…
On the Switch side of the presentation Nintendo opened with news that they have released a demo for Kirby Star Allies. A HD port of Okami was then announced for a midyear release, only seven(ish) months late to the party! Next up was this author’s pick as the most exciting and relevant news to come out of the Direct – and that is that Octopath Traveler now has a firm release date, and players will be able to get their hands on it on July 13. The first footage for Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes was then shown off, and it looked like absolute crap. The game looks like a cheap smartphone game, with graphics that are substantially worse that the previous two Wii entries in the series. It really was quite a nasty shock.
Nintendo showed off footage from the Switch port of Dark Souls, which they used as an opportunity to unveil their forthcoming Dark Souls Amiibo. Mario Tennis Aces was then showcased for a good long while, and completely deflated any anticipation that this author previously had for it. Nintendo has made the game’s mechanics terribly over-complicated, meaning that it lacks the intuitive simplicity that is the hallmark of good tennis games. As previously mentioned, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was then announced for Switch, and that was followed up by the announcement that the worst indy RPG ever made is being ported to Switch – eventually.
Next up Nintendo revealed belated ports of the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, Little Nightmares, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole – nothing much to write home about there. Hyrule Warriors was shown off, and will be releasing May 18. Nintendo is going to host an Arms tourney, if anyone still cares about that game. Splatoon 2 update 3.0 was announced alongside the single player Octo Expansion.
Finally, Super Smash Bros. was announced for release in 2018. Nintendonlies are telling anyone who will listen to them that this will be a completely new Smash Bros. title, however people who’s brains have not been crafted out of Labo are thinking that this will almost certainly be a port of the Wii U game, albeit with the addition of some new characters, such as the Inklings.
You Will Never See Shenmue’s Ending
You have to laugh, because otherwise you would cry. This week Yu Suzuki announced that the Shenmue story would not be wrapped up with Shenmue III because he wants to make a further two Shenmue games.
“Yes, the end will be open for a sequel. It will not be possible to finish with this third episode.
There are a total of 11 chapters that make up the whole story.
Over the past 14 years I originally planned for there to four or five games to the series. If at all possible, I would still like to realize the full story of 11 chapters.”
This author has lived the vast majority of his adult life with the potential of a Third Shenmue game being widely regarded as an impossibility. Whenever someone would mention Shenmue III they tended to sound just like the kind of people who unironically talk about the Dreamcast 2 like it could happen! So basically Shenmue III was never going to happen, and Yu Suzuki was relegated to the backwaters of videogame development for a decade.
Then it happened, during the E3 of 2015 Yu Suzuki took to the stage and announced that Shenmue III was going to Kickstarter – a funding campaign that would go on to suck in over 6 million dollars of fanboy cashola. Sure, this was not exactly a bloated Sega budget, but Sony would be handling the cost of marketing and porting the game to the PS4.
Life is seldom perfect, so when an opportunity that is good enough presents itself, then one must seize it and adapt their plans in order to make the most of it. Yu Suzuki might have dreamed of creating an epic and expensive five game series on the Dreamcast, but when that failed the largess of project backers at least offered him a golden opportunity to wrap up all the loose ends that were left in the wake of the Dreamcast’s demise. Yu Suzuki just had to tighten his belt, and rework the plot of his game, doing whatever it it took so that everything could wrap up at the end of Shenmue III.
Yu Suzuki was presented with a golden opportunity and he has blown it. There is not going to be a Shenmue IV or a Shenmue V, just a Shenmue III with no ending.
Anthem Loses Its Writer
Anthem is a year away from release and it has just lost its lead writer. If Anthem was the typical sort of Bioware action RPG then this might not be such a crushing blow, but that is not the case. Anthem is a Destiny style MMO-lite, and new narrative content is going to be worked on right up to release, and beyond.
This leaves Bioware in a bind. Drew Karpyshyn was the most senior writer they had working for the company, and one of the only remaining old school pre-merger employees left to them. This comes on top of David Gaider leaving the company in 2016. Gaider and Karpyshyn both started working at Bioware around the same time. They worked together on the Baldur’s Gate II expansions, Neverwinter Nights, and Knights of the Old Republic. From there the output of the two writers diverged; Gaider dedicated himself predominantly to the Dragon Age series, while Karpyshyn was lead writer on Jade Empire, the first two Mass Effect games, and The Old Republic, before turning his hand to Anthem.
This leaves a hole that Bioware likely cannot fill. The logical replacement for Karpyshyn would have been Gaider, but he is no longer at the company either. Bioware has other writers, but none of them with the seniority of Karpyshyn or Gaider. They could tag in the writer of Mass Effect 3, because the ending he wrote really went down a treat! Or even better, Sam Maggs probably has her schedule free following the dissolution of Bioware Montreal – so fingers crossed she is not too busy being cyber raped to help in bringing some of that Mass Effect: Andromeda magic to the world of Anthem!