Tonight at 6 PM EDT Nintendo will be unveiling their latest barrage of announcements in an event known far and wide as the “Nintendo Direct.” If you haven’t heard of this phenomenon before, I am jealous of you. The Nintendo Direct has become such a powerful sensation in the consciousness of the Nintendo fanbase that every week one is not announced, Navi the Fairy loses her wings. Or something. People get REAL pissed when Nintendo has not outlined every second of their release schedule for the next five years, and then when Nintendo does do that, the same people get mad that the game they wanted to be announced did not get announced.
Really, if the Nintendo Direct is anything, it is a Content™ farm. The Direct itself is a commercial for Content™ you’ll get to enjoy in the future. Influencers and news sites post their predictions about the Direct, their live reactions to the Direct, their post-reaction discussions about the Direct – all contributions to the vast ocean of Content™ that surrounds the main event. It’s a little ridiculous when you think too hard about it, but as long as you have the self-awareness to understand what you’re engaging with and when it is healthy to step back, the whole thing is harmless fun that can give you something to look forward to during a time where you may not otherwise have a lot going on. Like when you’re commuting, or filling out a boring spreadsheet.
I am happy to announce that I, Ian, the executive producer, creative director, head writer, lead artist, and social media manager of the gaming blog Adventure Rules – the Essential Companion of Heroic Adventurers – will be participating once again in the Content™ that is the Nintendo Direct phenomenon. What you are experiencing now is my predictions. What you can experience tonight at 8 PM EDT at twitch.tv/adventurerules is my reaction to the event. And next week around the same time, I will be participating in the recording of a podcast in which you can hear my post-reaction discussion after having an entire week to stew in my thoughts and feelings. And the whole point of this article right here is so my fellow podcasters can say things like “haha Ian, you were WRONG and you should feel BAD about being WRONG” and all of you in the audience can get a good chuckle out of that sweet, premeditated Content™. With all that in mind, let’s dive right in to the obligatory first section of all these things: my Realistic Predictions.
Realistic Predictions are predictions you think actually have a decent chance of happening. They should have some kind of basis in anecdotal evidence that would never hold up in a scientific study or a court of law. Stuff like “hey, this guy whose identity I cannot reveal to you said that Mario is gonna blow up the sun in his next game, and it’s totally not the same guy who told it to that other site” or “wow someone with a name like 0Ff3n$!v3$LuR69420 said on a weird forum that a patent just got filed for Mother 32 to be released in six months!” Without this hard-hitting evidence, no prediction can truly be said to be realistic. Luckily there has been a rich body of evidence recently that I can use to say stuff that could potentially happen but that for the most part I barely care about.
One thing I am pretty sure will happen and that honestly I am pretty excited about is that the final Smash Ultimate DLC fighter should be revealed. Why am I so happy about this, you ask? This is the last one! After this Direct the Smash discourse can finally be over, and the people with their hopes crushed can be grumpy and the people who are happy their character made it in can be happy and ALL of them can shut up. Boy am I excited for that. Overall I’m pretty happy with the Smash DLC as it has given me plenty of new characters to play as when my child wants to play Ultimate. As far as who this last character is? I need to predict SOMETHING so I can get laughed at later so let’s say…Kubfu from Pokemon Sword and Shield. They ended the first Fighter’s Pass on Byleth and made pretty much every human being on Earth angry as a result, and a Pokemon feels like the perfect way to do the exact same thing this time.
There’s been a lot of buzz about upgrades to the Nintendo Switch Online service, with some folks saying that GameBoy games are coming and some folks saying that Nintendo 64 games are coming. There’s also been a patent filed that is only one patent number off from the SNES controller that is only available through Nintendo Switch Online, so all of those things taken together seem to imply that Nintendo is going to do something that on its face seems like an improvement to the service but in all actuality fails to add value. People seem to be leaning Nintendo 64 over GameBoy because of the controller patent, which I suppose makes some degree of sense. My concern is that they’ll add Nintendo 64 games and then the titles will be like…Tetrisphere, Elmo’s Number Journey, and Chameleon Twist 2, and then they will update the titles available once every six months. No matter what they do, my prediction is that NSO will still not be worth the $20 you pay for it.
As far as any other realistic predictions, there’s gonna be some boring stuff like commercials for games we already know too much information about like Metroid Dread, or games they’ve only shown once but probably don’t have any meaningful details to add like Mario Party Superstars and Advance Wars Reboot Camp. I do have one realistic prediction that I actually care about, and that is that the Switch version of Disco Elysium: Final Cut will probably get a proper release date. We’ve known a Switch version was in the works for a long time, but recently it was finally rated by the ESRB. So I can imagine that with the rating now established, we can probably anticipate that game to hit shelves fairly soon and this would be the best time to talk about it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Disco Elysium and while I would have been happy to pick it up on PS4 given the opportunity, I get to play the Switch more often so having it there would mean that I can spend more time with the game.
Wild Predictions are things that you have no evidence for but just feel like maybe these things will happen. This is generally where someone would cop out and say stuff like “there’s gonna be a game I don’t expect there” and I mean, duh, but also philosophically if you expect not to expect a game then aren’t you still EXPECTING it?! Technically?! Anyway now I gotta say a bunch of stuff that I think they are going to announce even though I have no logical basis for it.
Nintendo has almost successfully completed the transferal of every game worth buying a Wii U for to the Switch, and now only a couple of titles remain. I’m going to predict that one of them will be announced for a release in January or February. Which Wii U title might that be? I’d say the most popular one left would be Xenoblade Chronicles X but I just have this weird vibe about that game that tells me they aren’t going to port it, especially with MonolithSoft already working on the third game, helping with Breath of the Wild, and allegedly working on some as-yet-unknown fantasy RPG. So maybe instead they do Paper Mario Color Splash, a game that received a decent response after the travesty that was Sticker Star and that some people might be more forgiving of now that Paper Mario Origami King exists. (Oh shoot I just remembered that they are already porting Fatal Frame so the whole basis of my argument is flawed but I already typed that whole paragraph and I don’t want to keep doing this so we’re leaving it in.)
Most of Nintendo’s biggest franchises are busy at the moment. Zelda is working on Breath of the Wild 2, Splatoon has a third game coming, Animal Crossing made their millions and have now left for vacation – but there’s one big hitter who doesn’t really have anything going on. If your mind just went to Donkey Kong, Kirby, or – god forbid – Star Fox, get outta here. The right answer is MARIO AKA Jumpman AKA The Great Gonzales AKA I’m running out of these nicknames. But the point is, all the Mario games this year have been ports or spinoffs, which means we have a plumber-shaped hole that remains unfilled ever since Mario Odyssey back in 2017. Some people expect Mario Odyssey to get a Galaxy 2 style sequel, which I guess is within the realm of possibility, but what I anticipate we will see is a new 3D game inspired by the experiments they conducted in Bowser’s Fury. The game won’t drop til sometime next year but they’ll at least be able to show off giant Bowser and the smaller platforming challenges and puzzles in a larger world that can be freely explored.
Unpredictions are things I don’t expect to be at the show at all. Basically if I unpredict something, I fully believe that Nintendo will absolutely 100% not show that game at the Nintendo Direct. Again, it’s really easy to be like “huh huh Mother 3 won’t be there” but my intent here is to guess stuff that feasibly could show up but I don’t think will despite the possibility having some basis in reality. In other words, unpredictions are essentially refutations of realistic predictions posed by other people in the Direct predicting Content™ business network thingy. So what don’t I expect at the show? Let’s dive in! Or should it be jump out? I don’t know.
Name a big upcoming Nintendo title you are excited for. Breath of the Wild sequel? That ain’t showing up. Metroid Prime 4? You’ll be lucky to see that before 2023. Bayonetta 3? More of a long shot than Bayonetta returning your affections. Xenoblade Chronicles 3? I think you get the point right now, yeah? None of these games are coming out soon and the Direct is focused on winter titles, so the likelihood of any of them being advertised here feels pretty weak. As I mentioned earlier I expect the majority of this Direct to be focused on heavily advertising the stuff that we already know is lined up for the holiday season. So I imagine that most of these heavy hitters are going to continue to languish for awhile longer.
More directly related to my own personal interests: there was rumor around E3 time that a Fire Emblem game was well into its development and would be announced this year. This same rumor also involved the now-confirmed Metroid Dread, so a lot of folks were giving it credence. I don’t put a lot of stock in this rumor. While naturally Intelligent Systems is absolutely going to be making more Fire Emblem and an announcement will come eventually, the rumor basically amounted to “yeah I have heard a bunch of fans say that Nintendo is gonna remake Geneology of the Holy War so that’s gonna happen, probably.” That…is not how predicting things works. I mean, who makes authoritative proclamations on lousy data totally made up by a bunch of internet weirdos? That’s like if I said “I know a bunch of people who say that vaccines don’t work” and then I based my decision off all of those uneducated losers instead of listening to scienti- …wait…
Hopes and Dreams
The final section of any good predictions Content™ is the part about your hopes and dreams. These are the games that, regardless of how unrealistic it may be and no matter how many or how few rumors there have been to back up your claims, you mention out loud on the internet because you just want it to happen so badly. And while much of this article may have convinced you that I am a cynical edgelord who is performatively against the cycle of hype surrounding games while still willfully participating in that cycle, I am still in fact just a regular ole Nintendo fan who has stuff that I hope will be announced for the console that I play the most often.
Okay so hope and dream number one does have some basis in reality, the timing is just way off. Recently a little game called Wildermyth hit the world of PCs, and that game has my name written all over it. A tactical roleplaying game with procedurally generated random story beats that can alter the course of your hero’s personal story, stories which the game can remember and carry on into future runs while your heroes become part of the standing legacy of your personal game world? Hell yeah, sign me up! The developers have stated that console ports are a thing they want to make happen, but the thing is that the game only somewhat recently hit the world of PC and the likelihood that the console ports are already cooking is very low indeed. So while I eagerly look forward to the day that Wildermyth does in fact hit my Switch, I legitimately do not expect tonight to be the night that happens. A guy can hope, though.
My other hope is not on my own behalf, but on behalf of my child. My kid LOVES Splatoon, to the point where my child’s nickname around the house is now Inkling. Inkling asks me regularly about when Splatoon 3 is going to come out and uh, I don’t know the answer to that question. It has been a long time since that game was shown in any capacity and we don’t know much about the single player story or what the new multiplayer options look like. Inkling would be super happy to learn more about the game and I imagine watching the video together would be really fun, particularly since the Splatoon devs tend to go all out with their costumes and the goofy premise of their “squid research.” So if anything Splatoon 3 could happen, that would be a fun moment.
Well there you have it adventurers, my predictions, unpredictions, my hopes and my dreams. I hope you’ve enjoyed my contribution to the Content™ cycle and that you’ll continue to do so as more Direct-related shenanigans happen on my stream and on the podcast where I will be serving as a guest. I’d love to hear about your predictions as well, so feel free to let me know in the comments what games you think we’ll see at the show (I have to say that as part of my Contract™).