The June Nintendo Direct was announced just a day before its air time, and as soon as it was official, everyone rushed to bring out their predictions and "leaks." Nintendo definitely gave us everything they promised, which was around 40 minutes of info on games mostly coming out this year, as well as new Pikmin 4 info. The biggest surprises of the show for most people were the announcements of Super Mario RPG for Switch and a new 2D Super Mario game by way of Super Mario Bros. Wonder. We covered the show live, and you can check out the reactions of our NVC panel, but we also wanted to share our reactions to the Nintendo Direct in writing.
As far as Nintendo Directs go, the announcement that got me most excited was actually for a collection of games, the youngest of which is nearly 20 years old. I'm of course talking about the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1, which bears a striking resemblance to the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection released for the PS3 (minus a few games). They aren't even remakes or remasters, it looks like we're just getting the original versions of the first 3 MGS games, and honestly, I'm fine with that. They hold up surprisingly well, and I love them all a lot, so being able to drag them along with me on my Switch means more chances to play Metal Gear, and that's a good thing. Other than that, I felt the Direct was pretty decent.
Definitely didn't expect to see remakes of Super Mario RPG and Luigi's Mansion 2, and I'm still processing Super Mario Wonder, the newly-announced 2D Mario game with a new elephant power-up. It looks so weird! But it also looks really interesting, probably because it is so weird. The animations and personalities were the real stars of the reveal trailer. Sure, we got some gameplay stuff, but it was mostly to show off just how bizarre this game is, as well as give us a look at the surprisingly expressive animations of the characters. It's almost like Super Mario directed by Chuck Jones. I'm very excited to see how it all comes together.
As decent as the Direct was, I didn't get what I was really hoping for, acknowledgment of the existence of Switch versions of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, but that's fine. We can't all get what we want, and besides, I've been saying for a while I wished MGS games were on Switch, and now I can close that chapter of my wish book. We also didn't hear a peep about Metroid Prime 4, which isn't surprising at this point, but I felt like there was a chance we'd get some kind of update. Maybe Metroid Prime 4 is going to do for the Metroid series what Tears of the Kingdom has done for Zelda (and honestly, all open-world games). I have a feeling that's not the case, though. A sad feeling.
This particular Nintendo Direct left me feeling pretty whelmed, which isn’t a bad thing! Perhaps it’s due to already getting some great first party games earlier this year, but I wasn’t expecting any huge shocking announcements other than some really good ports. Even then, I’m pretty stoked to finally have another side-scrolling Mario out in a few months that can finally break free of the “New” format, and appears to be going absolutely bonkers in its visual style. I also feel just a little bad for Everybody 1-2-Switch!, whose bare-bones marketing the day before the direct got absolutely punted aside by the superior WarioWare: Move It!
As far as unfulfilled dreams go, I’m no longer shocked by the lack of Metroid news, and am becoming more inclined to believe that Metroid Prime 4 on Switch is no longer a thing, and may have been quietly reworked to become one of the leading launch titles for whatever Nintendo’s next console is.
I enjoyed the Direct, but it was missing one or two major announcements to make it truly feel like a Nintendo summer showcase of old. My expectations were raised by Metroid Prime’s excellent Remaster release in February – it seemed like Nintendo was getting fans ready for the sequel this holiday, which would’ve made a June reveal very likely. On top of that, we haven’t seen a truly original Nintendo game reveal in a while – think something along the lines of Arms or Splatoon to join the ranks of Nintendo classics like Mario, Zelda, or Kirby (or not, in the case of Arms). And since I’m being greedy now, a new hardware announcement is way overdue. Setting aside the much-anticipated next iteration of the Switch hardware, Nintendo’s surprised us with micro consoles, Game & Watch units, and even cool experiments like LABO before. Nintendo seemingly knew it needed a few more tasty morsels for Nintendo fans, as it dropped in a premature reveal of Princess Peach’s next standalone adventure. The all-too-short glimpse seemed at odds with the rest of the Direct. I would’ve preferred a more fully-featured reveal at a later date, but it’s clear Nintendo wanted to acknowledge Peach’s move to the forefront of its character roster based on her much-lauded appearance in the Super Mario Bros. movie.
But with all that out of the way, I have to say that what Nintendo did show was absolutely delightful. I’m so ready for a new 2D Mario game, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder looks very, very promising. While it was the star of the Direct for me, I only narrowly beat out the reveal of Super Mario RPG. I had somehow convinced myself that the original game and characters like Geno were locked up in some ancient Square/Nintendo partnership limbo that made it too complicated to bother with a remake. But that’s exactly what we’re getting: no pixel remaster or Nintendo Switch Online release, but a full polygonal reworking of an underplayed classic, with updated music by Yoko Shimomura on top of it all! Add to that Vampire Survivors Switch, a new WarioWare, and returning favorites like Pikmin 1 and 2, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and a Star Ocean The Second Story R remake, and we’ve got a pretty solid lineup.
I'm one of a handful of folks out there absolutely elated to finally see Detective Pikachu Returns. And it's quite the return, considering the sequel was announced in 2019 with no word of it since! Other than that, I was a little surprised to see how Mario-focused the Direct was generally. Those games look generally cool, and while I play to play Super Mario RPG, I do wish we got a platform adventure Mario game rather than a side-scroller. The latter are the classic, but I like my Mario games with enough space to triple jump in any direction of my choosing. I'm also a little surprised we didn't see another very specific Miranda and friends game, Fashion Dreamer. That's out later this year and we still don't have a release date for it. Overall I thought the direct did a good job setting up the rest of the year and a little bit of early next year.