♪ Oh happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, a Direct there on my birthday, happy birthday to meeeeeeeee! ♫
So yes, there’s a Nintendo Direct on Wednesday 14th, well, 13th for me but it’s pitched as a midnight event so technically it is the 14th, which is alright. Anyway, as you can imagine, the Internet has gone into hype overdrive – not least that it is confirmed this direct presentation is 45 minutes long – almost double the 24 minutes of the E3 Direct! That’s… quite a big thing seeing how much Nintendo packed into that little bombshell. Funny though, can’t remember most of it…
But of course I do enjoy one thing above most when it comes to Direct Shows, and that is the rumour mill that springs up around it. And so, I’m going to do a rumour round-up; not a comprehensive list, because let’s drop a truth bomb – Mother 3 will arrive the day Reggie announces his retirement. You know he’s only doing this now to mock you, right? I love the guy, but he has a cruel, dark streak deep down that makes you wonder…
I’m trying to keep the rumours in-line with what could be realistic. I’ll rate them in terms of likeliness, but if it’s just absolutely stupid I’m not interested in looking at it. Examples of this are: Destiny 2 on Switch – box art and Amazon Listing images are easy to fake, and I’m pretty sure that was ruled out earlier in the year (though admittedly, it would be funny to see the meltdown on social media). Also, I won’t be saying anything that has already been confirmed; Mario Odyssey footage is a given since Nintendo said there would be new information, so it’s not really a rumour, is it?
I’ll be updating in the next day or so as more rumours circle.
CALL OF DUTY ON SWITCH
Likelihood; Somewhat Plausible.
There has been a lot of talk that Activision is working on something for the Nintendo Switch, and the most obvious candidate for a lot of people is a new Call of Duty game. Seeing as how it remains quite a big deal for the industry, and that it still sells well enough annually that they keep pumping them out, I think we’re hip to the idea that Call of Duty is coming at some point to the little hybrid console.
The question is – will this be the time to drop that announcement? It’s plausible, seeing as there is of course Call of Duty: World War II coming in November, but I maintain that this is unlikely to be the game that will grace the Switch. I happen to believe that when it does drop on Switch, it’s more likely to be a previously released game, perhaps Modern Warfare Switch or something along those lines – it could even be a unique Switch game, seeing as Activision did do a special Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified for the Vita.
I think it is somewhat plausible; but temper those expectations a little. WW2 is quite an ambitious game and I can’t see Activision wanting to strip it down for the Switch, if it does… as I said, Black Ops Declassified is your best example here. It’ll be its own little thing.
SMASH BROS. SWITCH
Likelihood: Very Likely.
This seems like an obvious one really. This is a Direct Presentation dropping on the third anniversary of Smash 4, and most do not think that is coincidental. I happen to agree; Nintendo is many things, but it’s not completely oblivious to one of its own huge game releases. Smash Switch has been a thing most people have wanted since the Switch was confirmed back in October 2016, and it would be a massive extra string to the bow of the Switch right now.
Unpacking the detail of the rumour though – I don’t think it’ll be an entirely new Smash Bros. entry – far more likely that it will be a port of the Wii U version with a few additional modes and a few additional characters. What those characters would be I wouldn’t even want to begin to theorise, because Sakurai made it clear that anything was possible when he dropped both Cloud Strife and Bayonetta into the game. And now more third parties are on board with the Switch, the possibilities of what could end up in the game have grown exponentially.
Still, the date is certainly conspicuous enough to suggest this will be one of the few “new” announcements during the stream, but seeing as it is primarily pitched at games coming soon – yeah, if it happens, which is very likely, it’ll be a port job. A brand new Smash is a few years away yet.
APPS, VIRTUAL CONSOLE AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Likelihood (in order): Almost Definite, No Chance and Very Likely.
Unpacking this in order: Apps, like Netflix and a proper Voice Chat – I’d say this is an almost certainty at this point. Reggie Fils-Aime has made it clear apps would be coming quite soon, and with the backlash to the Mobile App and the fact Nintendo is discovering an ancient and rare technology called Bluetooth, I wouldn’t be shocked that they detailed some native voice app for the Switch base unit. Other apps – well, the usual fare I’d suspect, Amazon Video was a big thing on Wii U so pretty sure they’ve been working on that one for a while.
Virtual Console, whilst I want it and have made very clear that I want, seems like an absolute non-starter. Right now, Nintendo Retro seems to be primarily pitched towards the Mini Consoles, and with the SNES Mini coming in a few weeks and the NES Mini being re-released next year sometime, it’s highly unlikely Nintendo will want to compete with that hardware, not until they can solidify the premium online component at least when they’re going to have to get this stuff rolling.
Achievements are, on the other hand, highly likely. A few developers now have at least suggested that Nintendo is working on an in-built achievements system for them, and whilst it’s unlikely to be some big detailed announcement – Nintendo could and probably will nonchalantly just say it will be coming, likely in time for the Premium Online thing to kick in.
Likelihood; Plausible Enough.
Hideki Kamiya has been teasing Bayonetta for the Switch for months now. I’ve long thought this was going to just end up a port of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, seeing as that would be the easy and let’s be fair here, obvious and safe thing to do. Switch is doing very well, people are much more likely right now to go out and buy it and I wouldn’t even be mad. Bayonetta 2 was fantastic. It deserves another shot on the market. People should be able to play it on Switch.
Still… he’s been dropping a lot of hints lately with the number “3” – Kamiya is a lot of things, the naughty naughty tease, but I don’t think even he’d be so cruel as to start beginning to hype up a Bayonetta 3 if he wasn’t absolutely sure it was going to happen. So yes, I do believe that Bayonetta 3 is in the pipeline.
The question then comes in – will it be revealed during the Direct? I’m… not so sure on that. It’s plausible, seeing as it seems to be in the works, but since Nintendo is trying to keep this as some kind of “Up to April 1st 2018” thing with a few new teasers, I have my doubts. That would mean Bayonetta 3 is almost done to slot into this window. I don’t think that’s likely. HOWEVER – if they reveal a Bayonetta 1&2 Double Pack coming in this window, they could very easily follow that up with a small teaser just saying hey guys and gals, Bayonetta 3 is also in the works so go buy the double-pack to get caught up.
So yeah, this is plausible enough as an idea. I just doubt it’ll be much more than the Metroid Prime 4 teaser – just a small taste, and nothing else. Hey, Bayonetta is a tease too… this is totally her thing.
Likelihood: Oh hell no.
No, this isn’t gonna happen during a September Direct.
Not that I don’t think Nintendo isn’t working on it; Nintendo is making it clear a lot of fan favourites are coming back and this would be gigantic, huge news that would break social media into itty-bitty pieces. But it’s because of that fact – that this would be such enormous, earth-shattering news – that I don’t believe for a second Nintendo would even so much as tease this. This is unquestionably an E3 2018 thing. This is a huge explosive announcement that would send shock-waves through the gaming landscape. This is… well, it’s an immediate, get-out-of-jail-free win card. It’s an I-WIN button.
This is, in my mind, an E3 announcement straight-up so no, I don’t think this is even remotely likely. But hey, E3 2018 will be interesting eh?
POKEMON SWITCH/METROID PRIME 4 FOOTAGE
Likelihood: Highly Doubtful.
Lots of people want to see gameplay footage of two casually dropped names at E3 – Pokémon Switch, and Metroid Prime 4. And I get that, because Dark Lord Cthulu knows that I am as eager as anyone on the planet to see these two titles in action. Thing is… I don’t think we will.
Pokémon Switch is likely to be showcased AFTER Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon drop; GameFreak and The Pokémon Company always get one game out before they start pushing another one, which I very much respect. On the issue of Ultra Sun and Moon for Switch – if that was happening, I think we’d already know. So no, unlikely in the extreme there. As for Metroid Prime 4 – it was announced at E3 that it was in development, which is awesome but it suggests to me that it was in very early development. Six months to do a convincing tech showcase for the Switch in Metroid Prime 4? That’s… ambitious, certainly, but realistic? I’m not so sure.
Both these titles will be done to death in 2018 as huge releases anyway so I think it’s fine to leave these two brew for a little while.
RESIDENT EVIL ORIGINS TRILOGY FOR SWITCH
Likelihood: It’s Complicated.
So, the outrageous rumour for today is that Capcom is going to drop some RE2 Remake footage for Switch -and- announce a compilation of RE Zero, REMake and RE2 Remake for the Switch.
I need to unpack this – RE Zero and REMake on Switch is an absolute no-brainer at this point and I can’t imagine now Revelations/Rev2 is coming to Switch that these two games won’t end up on the eShop at some stage very soon. They’re pretty much done, the Switch is more than capable of handling these games and they’d be very easy sells.
RE2 Remake for Switch would be huge news; and showcasing it would be a massive win for Nintendo. It would also suggest it’s coming in the next six months. That… that’s the bit I’m not so sure on. I don’t think this is a thing that will happen – not unless Nintendo and Capcom make a very big deal about the previous RE games coming to Switch. Which is likely. They could tease a little footage. Nothing in-depth. But since this is being done in the RE Engine – I know Capcom have been porting the engine over to Switch, and the talk has been good on this, but is it really ready enough AND complete and stable enough to do a straight-up Switch Port?
I… I don’t know. I doubt it. I’d love it. But I doubt it.
That said, RE4, RE5 and RE6 will probably hit the Switch before this happens. Tell me I’m wrong. No, with a straight face. There we go, knew you couldn’t do it.
NINTENDO AND RARE DOING THINGS
Likelihood: Not A Chance – Microsoft Can’t Be That Stupid (Can They?)
This has been popping up on the Nintendo Direct Bingo Cards that are being pushed around on streamers, and I almost had to laugh at the notion.
I liked Rare back in the N64 days, and I wouldn’t be remiss to seeing Conker or Banjo-Kazooie make a comeback. But on the Nintendo Switch? Uhm… you do realise that Rare was sold to Microsoft, right? I don’t think Nintendo has any rights left from that sale, so I doubt its in a position to force the hand of Microsoft to release any of this stuff on a Nintendo platform (if they did, that would suggest Nintendo screwed Microsoft on the sale).
And even there – you do know the XBox One X is coming later this year, right? I’d argue that if Rare was to do any new Banjo-Kazooie game, or Conker or anything of that ilk, it would be more likely to be a 4K Remastering of these games in order to shift the XBOX on nostalgia value. I sincerely doubt that Microsoft would let arguably huge and potentially big titles drop on the Switch – Minecraft is a very different beast and we should be aware of that. Diddy Kong Racing… eh, I might concede on that, but I don’t think that is as nostalgic or big as anyone would like to believe it is.
So no, this is for me a total non-starter. It makes no sense, and more than that – Microsoft need those games way, way more than Nintendo does. Microsoft may be making some mistakes – we can all admit that – but I don’t believe it would be stupid enough to essentially give away those games to shift Switch units. Not when it is going to need to start shifting its own consoles, because at the current sales projection rate, the Switch could quite easily outsell the XBox One in about three years.
Microsoft needs those games for itself.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V SWITCH
Likelihood: I Wouldn’t Bet Against It Now.
Another entrant from the Bingo Cards doing the rounds, but unlike the Rare thing – this is one I think is actually far more likely.
Not an absolute, cast-iron guarantee by any stretch. But with L.A. Noire coming to the Switch in November, and that game having Switch-exclusive features, it seems the bad blood between Nintendo and Rockstar (which goes all the way back to Body Harvest on the N64, as I recall) has been eased off a little. And considering GTA5 is still an undeniable big-seller, still landing in the weekly sales charts years from its release, an injection of sales from the Switch would certainly help both companies out immensely.
For Rockstar, it’s an untapped market and a mobile version of GTA5. And for Nintendo, it’s arguably one of the biggest-selling mature games of the last few years which will help undo decades of opinion that it’s “just for kids”. And yes, I do think GTA5 Switch would be a system seller. I think Nintendo knows this. I think Rockstar knows this. I think intelligent protozoic amoeba from NGC 3109 with a powerful enough telescope could figure this out. It would be a massive score for Nintendo. And seeing as the Switch is likely to be the hottest thing this Holiday Season, Rockstar certainly wouldn’t turn down the opportunity for more sales.
This seems very neat and tidy and almost too obvious to be real. So of course, it probably won’t happen – but I certainly wouldn’t put any money against it at this point.
DARK SOULS ON SWITCH
Likelihood: Probable, But I Hope Not.
This is a constant rumour that keeps cropping up, FROM Software were one of the first major names to be listed as supporting the Nintendo Switch but to date we’ve seen or heard nothing about what they were planning on bringing to the console.
On the one hand, this makes a lot of sense; a Trilogy release for Switch, perhaps with some additional Zelda content because that seems to be the in-thing right now, would be a massive bonus for Nintendo. Again, it’s another big-brand ‘mature’ game that will help it gain traction with people and yes, the idea of Dark Souls wherever, whenever you so feel like it is quite the proposition. It’s also the obvious choice for their debut on Nintendo Switch.
But here’s the thing – likely as this may be, at some point, I’m actually more hoping for a brand-new crossover game, I mean, Zelda Souls is an absolute winner of an idea on paper and even thinking about it in practice seems like the perfect blend of two very distinctly different genres and companies. I’ve said before that the problem with games like Dark Souls is fans like myself have already poured hundreds of hours into the series across its three games. A new release like this on a new console, after the likes of me have Platinumed all of the games on the PlayStation, is a distinctly less appealing thing. I still have these games. The idea of portability… okay, I get to Dark Souls at the hospital, but do I really want to do that?
… fine, yes, maybe. But deep down, I’m hoping for something a little more meaty than just straight-up Dark Souls. UbiSoft managed to do a full crossover with Mario + Rabbids. I’d like to think FROM Software would take a bigger risk. But hey, whatever I feel about it Dark Souls would be a big score for the Switch, particularly in a trilogy pack, so take that as you will.