Today, Nintendo surprised fans with the unexpected, unannounced release of a Nintendo Direct Mini on their YouTube channel. Stuck at home due to quarantine and social distancing, Nintendo lovers around the world rejoiced at the good news. Although officially labeled a "Direct Mini," the update was still chock-full of news about upcoming Nintendo Switch releases.
The Direct was preceded by an announcement that, due to COVID-19 related concerns, the release dates in the video (which are also the dates mentioned in this recap) might not be fully accurate. Nintendo also expressed its support and concern for fans around the world affected by the novel coronavirus.
First, we were immersed in the expansive world of the upcoming Switch release of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, with a currently stated release date of May 29, 2020. Shulk and his friends have plenty of adventures in store! Check out a more in-depth look at this exciting offering here.
It's not just Xenoblade Chronicles which will be making its long-anticipated debut on the Nintendo Switch. We also got a look at Bioshock: The Collection (featuring Bioshock 1, 2 and Infinite), Borderlands: Legendary Collection (including Borderlands 1, 2, and the Pre-Sequel), and XCOM 2 Collection. This was truly the Direct for collections and complete editions!
Although we were only treated to a brief gameplay preview for each title, the adorable accompanying graphics quite effectively communicated Nintendo's love for these popular franchises. We think they will be in quite good hands on the Switch! All three titles are so far slated for release on May 29.
Next, some popular Marvel superheroes dropped by to say hello as we got to witness the Fantastic 4 taking on their infamous enemy, Dr. Doom. All four of the classic heroes got to show off their unique gameplay style and some of their special moves. Shadow of Doom was revealed to be an upcoming expansion pass for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. It is available now, along with two previously announced DLC expansions, Curse of the Vampire and Rise of the Phoenix.
Previously only available for Apple's subscription-based gaming service, Shinsekai: Into the Depths will also be making its way to the Nintendo Switch. Produced by Capcom, Shinsekai is an underwater exploration game where you play as the last surviving member of the human race. Unable to return to Earth's surface due to the onset of an ice age, you must instead travel down to the depths of the ocean, solving puzzles, upgrading your gear, encountering strange creatures and, of course, always keeping an eye on your oxygen supply. Combining rich, colorful wildlife and ruins with the eerie, isolated setting of the deep ocean, Shinsekai truly provides a unique player experience.
The Switch release of Shinsekai: Into the Depths will feature two new gameplay modes. The intense "Another Dive" is a timed challenge in which players must complete a maze and fight a monster, all without any saves or checkpoints. On the other end of the spectrum, the must chiller "Jukebox Mode" allows players to enjoy the game's soundtrack as much as they desire and play around with audio filters to create their ideal listening experience.
Shinsekai: Into the Depths is currently available for purchase on the Nintendo eShop.
Recent release Animal Crossing: New Horizons got some news as well. A free update will allow players to participate in the upcoming "Bunny Day" event, which will run from April 1-12. A special character, Zipper T. Bunny, will hide eggs all over the island for you to find. You will also be able to use these eggs to craft exciting new egg-themed clothes and furniture pieces.
Nintendo also announced that future free updates would be forthcoming, including one featuring an Earth Day event. We'll keep you updated as more news comes out!
Quirky office-based puzzler Good Job! stood out for three reasons: unique art style, the major potential for chaos, and the fact that it is available immediately! In Good Job!, you take on a position completing odd jobs at your father's company. It's up to you whether you will solve the puzzles in an "efficient" manner or a "chaotic" one - personally, I'll be going the "destruction and explosions" route shown in the trailer.
Atlus's romance-focused puzzle title Catherine: Fullbody will release for the Nintendo Switch on June 7. Take control of indecisive Vincent as he battles his own nightmares and tries to choose the perfect partner between Catherine, Katherine, and Rin. This was considered to be one of the more surprising announcements featured in the Direct Mini, but color us excited and curious about whether Atlus's Persona franchise will be the next title to be announced for a Switch port!
High energy "fitness fantasy" Ring Fit Adventure will also be receiving a free update, available now. The update introduces a "Rhythm Game Mode," where players can work their arms and legs to the tune of popular tracks from Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Also included in the update is a female voice option for navigator Ring and "Jogging Mode," which allows players to explore in-game maps with monster battles turned off.
Tactical RPG series King's Bounty will be receiving a sequel, titled King's Bounty 2. A release date was not announced.
Fans hoping for an update on fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's upcoming second round of DLC characters got what they wanted—well, sort of. Nintendo announced that the next fighter would come from the ARMS series, but clarified that further news would be forthcoming in June. Based on earlier comments by Smash developer Masahiro Sakurai, it is likely that the global COVID-19 pandemic is the reason behind this delay.
Alongside this news, a free trial of ARMS was announced for Switch Online members. It will be available from today until April 6.
We got quite an extended sneak peek at Bravely Default II, the upcoming sequel to Square Enix's 2012 role-playing game. Fans got to meet the four playable characters, Seth, Gloria, Elvis, and Adelle, as well as see hints about what threats and enemies await them on their epic journey. The trailer confirmed that Bravely Default II will feature the unique battle style of its predecessor, combining powerful "Brave" moves with defense-focused "Defaults" and allowing characters to switch jobs through the "Asterisk" system.
A demo for Bravely Default II is available now, with the full game debuting later in 2020.
June looks to be a big month for the Nintendo Switch. Tentatively slated for June 5 is Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. The game brings 51 tabletop favorites, including chess, shogi, backgammon, darts, and more, to the Nintendo Switch. Online competitive play will also be available. 51 Worldwide Classics is currently available for pre-purchase.
GungHo Entertainment announced Ninjala, a free-to-play multiplayer action game coming in May 2020. Up to eight players do battle against each other, controlling ninja characters who use special bubblegum to enhance their ninjutsu powers. Weapons available in the game will include baseball bats, yo-yos, hammers and other as yet unrevealed items. We hope this one comes out soon—we're ready to get poppin'!
Two more titles were announced to release today. Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy allows players to study the way of the Jedi under the tutelage of Master Luke Skywalker. Panzer Dragoon Remake teams you up with your very own Blue Dragon mount to shoot down monsters, battleships and other airborne threats. It is available for Nintendo Switch as a timed exclusive.
In addition, the following upcoming titles for Nintendo Switch were briefly highlighted:
- Star Wars Episode 1 Racer, coming soon
- Action RPG Trials of Mana, coming in April
- Rhythm game Fuser, coming in fall
- Elder Scrolls spinoff Blades, coming in Spring
- Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus, coming in May
- First-person shooter Vigor, in closed-beta beginning April 9
- Open-world racer Burnout Paradise Remastered, with no release date announced
- Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, available for purchase tomorrow
- A port of role-playing game The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, coming in late June
- Quirky puzzler Mr. Driller Drill Land, also coming in June
- Fast-paced action-adventure Minecraft: Dungeons, coming in Spring
Recently, Nintendo has begun a trend of ending its Direct videos with a "just one more thing" surprise announcement. Despite today's entire Direct being a surprise, it did not break this trend. We received exciting new information about the Isle of Armor, the upcoming DLC expansion for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Read more about the Isle of Armor, which will release in June, here.
Let us know—what was your favorite part of the Direct? What upcoming title are you most excited about? I'm looking forward to trying out Good Job!, the Bravely Default II demo, Xenoblade Chronicles, Catherine Fullbody, of course, the Bunny Day event in New Horizons—looks like I'll be having a very busy few months of gaming ahead of me!