Let us pray.
“Oh gods of Content™️ – God of Top 10 Lists, God of YouTuber Drama, and of course God of Reaction Videos – we thank you for this day and for the Nintendo Direct we are planning to watch this evening. We ask that you place your blessing on this Direct. May it nourish us and make us angry at strangers on the internet, and may it give us hours upon hours of podcasts, stream clips, YouTube videos, memes, blog posts, and of course that most sacred form of Content™️: TikToks. We pray this in the algorithm’s name. Amen.”
That’s right adventurers, tonight (February 9th, 2022) at 5 PM EST Nintendo will be announcing their lineup for the first half of 2022 in that most holy of traditions, the Nintendo Direct. It’s a time of celebration and yet mourning, a time of anticipation and dread. This article of course is in celebration of the anticipation phase, an article in which I say stuff like “they’re definitely going to have a new trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land” or “no way Metroid Prime 4 makes a showing at this Direct!” My goal this morning is to share what I think will and won’t appear so that maybe, just maybe, I will be right enough about something that this post can go viral and people I’ve never met can send me death threats. Isn’t the internet beautiful? I liked the format I used for my last set of predictions
and also I am too lazy to make new art so let’s start things off with my realistic predictions.
Realistic predictions are things that are probably going to happen because other people are also predicting those same things. Because that’s how science works – if enough people say stuff, it’s true!
I think it is pretty obvious that Kirby is going to get some attention. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has a March release date, so chances are good that Nintendo will want to remind people to go and buy it. This may not necessarily be a big blowout – I could see it happening in a sizzle reel unless they just deeply feel like there is a new mechanic to show off. A multiplayer feature, for example, is the sort of thing I could see getting focus in a full trailer.
For much the same reason, I think we can bet on Triangle Strategy getting a bit of attention as well. With Bravely Default II, Squeenix did a final demo to show people how much the game had changed since its original demo, and I can see a similar thing happening here. We’ve heard how much has changed, but this would be an opportunity to see it in action. I used to think Triangle Strategy seemed pretty cool but I’m not too excited for it these days – at least until Squeenix turns around on their incredibly thoughtless decision to create NFTs.
Speaking of games I was excited for until the executives running the companies making them turned out to be at best clueless buffoons and at worst manipulative scam artists, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope has a 2022 release date and right now is the only game we know about this year that has Nintendo’s mascot in it, so they’ll probably want to show it off a bit. They’ve only shown the battle system very briefly, so I could see this game getting a few more details on how the new battles work now that there is no longer grid-based movement.
All these games from NFT hawkers have made me depressed so let’s talk about something not depressing: my kid! I’ve mentioned in previous Direct discussions that my child is obsessed with Splatoon, and with Splatoon 3 having a 2022 release date but almost no info available about the game I anticipate an announcement related to this game. One thing Nintendo likes to do sometimes is announce a Direct in a Direct and I think if that is going to happen with any game, it would be this one. Splatoon typically has multiple game modes including a story campaign to share information about; plus the devs like to do their whole “squid research facility” bit and that’s gonna take longer than what fits in a reasonably-sized trailer.
Wild predictions are things that are not going to happen, but we say them anyway on the off chance that we can look cool for being right about something. Or it’s something you tell yourself to feel better even though you know it is very unlikely, like “hey, the person I voted for in this election is going to make my city/state/country a better place!”
Mario + Rabbids cannot be the only Mario game that Nintendo is working on. After all, it isn’t even fully their project. There will almost definitely be another Mario game in the works, and I think we’ll get a little tease of what that game is going to be like. I’m anticipating something that plays in 3D space inspired by the experiments they did in Bowser’s Fury – hopefully incorporating some of the ideas I wished for after experiencing the game for myself. And also hopefully starring Luigi.
My next wild prediction is that Hollow Knight Silksong will finally get a confirmed release date. Why now? Because I have finally played Hollow Knight, that’s why! Team Cherry has been waiting for me, specifically, to get with the program. Now that I am invested and interested in a Hollow Knight sequel, it’ll get announced. That way I only had to wait a couple months instead of like, four years or however long everyone else has been waiting. I’m sorry, but also, you’re welcome.
My next wild prediction relates to MonolithSoft. I know a lot of people are anticipating Xenoblade 3 because of some comments by voice actors and composers affiliated with the series. It would be logical to anticipate a third Xenoblade to make an appearance at this Direct. BUT. WHAT IF. Something else happened instead? Remember when Monolith was posting a bunch of positions for some kind of undisclosed fantasy title, and there was even some concept art floating around? My final wild prediction is that Monolith is actually going to announce that game instead of Xenoblade. There won’t be much about it, just enough to wet your whistle, but it will give us the tiniest peek at what they have been cooking up in their Secret Projects Division (of course that’s a thing, you don’t have to look it up).
Instead of what I think will be featured in the Direct, unpredictions are the things I believe will not show up. This is an easy section because all I have to do is list every iconic SNES title on a website’s “greatest of all time” list and say that none of them are coming to Nintendo Switch Online.
Listen adventurers. I know what you want. Nintendo knows what you want. The aforementioned Gods of Content know what you want. But no matter how badly you want it, the only words that will be said about the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are “we need a little more time with this game to give you the amazing experience you all deserve.” Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get a blowout this summer around E3 time and an early 2023 release date. But there’s no way in heck that a Zelda game – especially one of this scale – is being released on time.
There’s been a whole lot of buzz recently about Mario Kart, resulting from reports and rumors that the ninth title in the series is in development. The rumors are wild, folks. One that I saw said they were calling it Mario Kart 10 as a symbol of just how much they are building on the formula established by Mario Kart 8. There’s speculation that the game will be taking elements from Mario Kart Double Dash on the GameCube. So let’s just take a second here and now to acknowledge that this stuff is not happening. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still selling gangbusters. Practically speaking there is no reason to slow down its momentum by announcing that another Mario Kart game is on the way in the future. Maybe when a theoretical Switch Pro or Switch 2 is on the horizon, that is the time for a new Mario Kart. Think of the bundles! But for now, we’re stuck with 8 until the next console or the heat death of the universe.
Hopes and Dreams
Remember hopes and dreams? Those feelings of positivity and potential for a bright future that people sometimes experienced before the pandemic? Ah, good times. Anyway, this section is when I say stuff that I want to happen regardless of whether it is realistic or not.
Naturally this is where I make my obligatory mention of Fire Emblem, one of my favorite games series and the one that currently does not appear to have anything going on. Fire Emblem DOES have rumors surrounding a new release and they tend to all be focused on a remake: either of Genealogy of the Holy War or of the Radiance games. Personally a Genealogy remake would be my preference between these two options, but even that wouldn’t be what I really want to see. Three Houses was a significant FE title for me and I’d like to see the formula established in that game refined and expanded. Add a new weapon type (I’d love to see hidden weapons from Fates make a return), expand the selection of classes and remove gender blocks on class availability, allow weapon characters to use any spells they have learned same as spellcasters can still use their weapons, and make characters with more versatile skillsets so units have multiple viable paths rather than one or maybe two obviously correct choices. I’d also like to see the social systems expanded – more support conversations between compatible units rather than just 2-4, a robust selection of LGBTQ+ relationships, and a more noticeable mechanical impact from the bonds you form. I’d rather see them build on the positive direction of Three Houses than potentially take a step backwards by returning to an older game first.
My other perhaps more realistic hope is for new content for Mario Party Superstars. Super Mario Party could have benefited a lot from DLC boards and minigames, but Nintendo never went back and added content except to experiment with the online functionality. Superstars is a better game that it’s predecessor from the get-go but still could reach an even higher level of appeal with a bit more added to it. Five boards, while more than the previous game, is still less than a lot of the older Mario Party titles, which traditionally had around six or seven boards instead. Adding in some additional boards as well as some new playable characters to go along with them would be more than enough to get me interested in going back to the game to play some more online. I’d want to see at least one of the boards be a Bowser board, probably the one from Mario Party 2. Another Mario Party 3 board would be nice to catch it up to the other two, perhaps the icy board where you run from snowballs and skate around on the central frozen lake. As far as characters, my number one wish would be for Mayor Pauline from Mario Odyssey to make an appearance. Other fun ones would be enemy characters playable in the previous game like Shy Guy.
And there you have it adventurers, my offering to the Gods of Content. Will my predictions work out or will I be one of a million voices who said things that turned out to be wrong? Either way, I hope this provided you with some laughs and some excitement, that it helps to temper your expectations while also getting you thinking about your own desires for the presentation. Regardless of how it turns out, my hope is to have a good time and to embrace the ridiculousness of culture around the Direct, throwing myself fully into the nonsense. Whatever gives us seratonin during these crazy times, eh?