Hopes and Dreams for a Potential January Direct

Not confirmed, but it might as well be

With a flip of the calendar, the speculative flames of a possible major Nintendo Direct on the horizon have been set ablaze once more — fueled along by a handful of hints, insights, “leaks”, and rumors.

Seeing as how each Direct presentation is basically viewed as a micro-E3 now days, this slew of materials has spawned discussion throughout social media forms about what Nintendo could be planning, not only for this Direct, but on the new year as a whole. After all, once January hits, the Big N — in accordance with common business strategies –traditionally lays out at least some of their timeline for the next 12 months in hopes of building anticipation in their fans.

Thus, after a 2017 that saw the Nintendo Switch become both a financial and social revolution of sorts, hope is high amongst new fans and old over what could be brewing this month and beyond. It all starts with a Direct, however, so here are our two cents on what may be revealed later this month:

Switch UI Improvements + Virtual Console

Although Nintendo delivered well on many fronts with the Switch during its inaugural nine months, there have been some highly requested fan features that have gone mysteriously forgotten by the company. Namely, these would be any semblance of a traditional Virtual Console system and certain UI improvements such as additional themes or customization. Both of these were heavily hinted at surrounding the console’s launch, but gone cold ever since.

Especially at the starting block of a new annual campaign, now would be a better time than any to get the nitty gritty details of upcoming hardware improvements out of the way. While the new Arcade Archives series of games has been a cute addition to a bolstered Switch lineup, it has made some worry for the prospects of a Wii-esque retro marketplace which emulated these classic titles in the same way. Therefore, knocking this out of the way early — in addition to a 3DS style theme system — would start the hybrid console out on a subtle right foot.

Ports, Ports, and More Ports

Once upon a time, fans worried that too many games getting ported to Nintendo’s newest system spelled doom and gloom for its future. Now, the gaming community can’t stop clammoring for them — and third-party developers like Bethesda, Rockstar Games, and CAPCOM have heard loud and clear. “Is it coming to Switch though?” has become a frequent top question on nearly every major game announcement and the trend of answering that with assurance is growing based on the Switch’s rejuvenation of portable gaming.

On top the planned February release of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, there is increased belief that other iconic titles such as Grand Theft Auto V, Dark Souls, and Final Fantasy XV may find their way to the Switch this year given the support of Rockstar, From Software, and Square Enix respectively. Also, never to be forgotten, there are always whispers in the wind of Wii U titles to see potentially see new life on Switch, including Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Super Mario Maker, or the hype train itself: Super Smash Bros. 

The Next Step for Fire Emblem, Yoshi, Kirby, and Beyond

But what about the titles that we already know are coming in 2018? If there is indeed an impending Direct, one could guarantee that the likes of Yoshi, Kirby, and Fire Emblem will make an appearance. Each of these IP have had their next installments confirmed to be releasing on Switch this year — with no release windows known quite yet.

As both Kirby Star Allies and the yet-to-be-named Yoshi title have had their moment in the sun during E3 of last year, Fire Emblem would be next in line for an info dump — seeing as how it’s initial announcement was almost a year ago. Each of these titles should rightfully hold Switch owners over until more details on Metroid Prime 4, Pokémon, and Pikmin 4 are shared.

The End of 3DS

With the advent the Switch and somewhat unexpected degree of its success, many Nintendo fans and industry insiders alike have considered the Nintendo 3DS line of systems’ days to be numbered. 2017 offered a nice swan song for the alternative handheld with the releases of Metroid: Samus Returns, Ever Oasis, Fire Emblem Echoes, and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, Nintendo now appears to be fading on support, with very little known for this new year.

As it stands, Persona Q 2, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, Kirby Battle Royale, and the expected localization of Detective Pikachu are the only ‘major’ releases planned for 2018. Of course, this doesn’t count out any possible surprises — a 2D Zelda or Pokémon spin-off come to mind — but curtain certainly seems to be closing on the longrunning dual screen system.

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