Nintendo’s latest Direct presentation was packed full of information, announcements, and details. Plenty will be written about and focused on the big announcement of a new Mario Maker so this will focus in on three standouts for different reasons from the latest Nintendo Direct. As per usual a sleeper is something that showed promise but is getting very limited if any traction amongst the community. It’s something people may have seen and said, “Hmm, that looks neat” but moved on. A breakout in this context is fairly similar to a sleeper in definition but it’s something that bursts onto the scene creating a new, or larger fanbase than before. The bust isn’t automatically the worst thing showed or the thing with the smallest buzz, but instead indicates something that just is not going to come together and deliver.
This was an interesting Nintendo Direct because it was bookended by two big-time Nintendo franchises and didn’t include highly anticipated games in Animal Crossing and Pokemon. I can see an argument for much of the announcements in between the opener and closer being lost on a majority of fans and falling into a sleeper like category. With that said, I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb and say Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is the sleeper from this Direct. Although this game is pretty well-known at this point and is catering to a certain audience who clearly knows of its existence, amongst delays and people starting to question the validity of the quality for this project I think it fits here. It’s not the breakout because I don’t think this thing is going to sell a bunch of copies or capture the attention of younger people who don’t share the nostalgia for Castlevania or displace Symphony of the Night for the people who do. But, I do believe this team knows what it wants to do and is going to allay any wayward visions of what this may devolve into, and maybe even surpass what people are expecting. That team put out Curse of the Moon which is an amazing homage to NES Castlevania and I think they will pull it together and nail Ritual of the Night too.
I’m going to step out of my element and declare Disney Tsum Tsum Festival as the breakout here. There is always going to be some latent interest because it is Disney and because Disney Tsum Tsum, in particular, is such a big deal in Japan. There probably won’t be a ton of articles written about this game from the Direct, once it’s out I bet most outlets won’t even review it, but this sort of reminds me of the type of thing that came out on the Wii and stealthily sold millions of copies. I can totally see parents buying this for younger siblings to play while the older sibling plays Smash Bros. Also, Kingdom Hearts 3 sold like 5 million copies in a week (including me), weirdo Disney fans (also me) will buy anything cutesy and Disney. There’s also the fact that Disney Tsum Tsum was (maybe still is?) a big deal in Japan and Disney fans and kids over here in the States could just now be finding out about it which seems like a recipe for a potential boom. The downside is, as mentioned before, this smells an awful lot like one of those Wii cash grabs and this could be just an awful arrangement of analogous mini-games. Of course, that didn’t stop those Wii games from selling either.
Honestly, for a Nintendo Direct that mostly seemed to leave positive vibes, there are sadly a few options for the bust. I was slightly tempted to put Tetris 99 here, not because the game or idea is bad, but I can totally see this losing steam after a few weeks. You need 100 people to play with and there is a scenario where people have their fun with this a peace out. Being free helps, but it’s also only available to Nintendo Online subscribers which severely limits the player base right off the bat. In the end, though it’s free battle royale Tetris, even if it only lasts a limited time it’s free fun for a few weeks. I really want to put Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered here simply because that video chunk they decided was OK to show most certainly was not. That thing was running at like 12FPS. On the other hand, it’s Assassin’s Creed 3, was anyone at all really looking to play that game. In a series in which a game (AC Unity) came out straight up, laughably broken, AC3 is still the black sheep, AC Unity laughs at AC3 when they all get together for the holidays. This remaster reminded me of Dark Souls Remastered on Switch, which was revealed on a Direct, and went on to get super delayed because that team was giving everything they had to get it running well on this particular piece of hardware. Which leads me to the actual bust, of which I bequeath this very SEO friendly title: Games Trying to Get on the Switch Because the Switch is Selling Like Hotcakes and They Want a Piece of That Action but Clearly Can’t Run on a Switch Without Severely Severing the Original Game Especially in the Graphical Department. That includes AC3 and its 12FPS, GRID and its 20FPS, Dead by Daylight which looked like a Gamecube port of that game and Mortal Kombat 11, which, I can’t imagine why people would want the worst looking version of that game on a system with no eligible d-pad solution. I don’t know why third parties and Nintendo are trying this again after they tried to flush the beginning months of the Wii U with similar handicapped big budget titles. I can’t imagine these sell great, like did a bunch of Switch users jump at a worse version of Wolfenstein like 6 months after it released everywhere else? Are people really looking for high end looking car racing on the Switch? I guess it’s novel in some way because it’s technically a portable gaming system playing these games, but it’s just not there yet and it feels like either these third parties or Nintendo is trying to force the proverbial square block through the round hole.