After more than a year of waiting, Nintendo finally dropped its first big Nintendo Direct since December 2019. The prediction is high, as always, and it looks like Nintendo won’t be able to meet the high expectations. both of the fans.
Sure, the 50-minute presentation left some disappointment. While Direct includes some major first-party disclosures such as Splatoon 3 and Mario Golf: Super Rush, the presentation is a bit fragmented, with a handful of major Switch titles scheduled for the first half of this year.
If that sounds troublesome then take it a year as COVID-19’s long-term impact on gaming finally takes shape a year later.
Nintendo’s 2021 outlook
Nintendo’s presentation began with a disclaimer noting that anything disclosed during the live stream could change due to a pandemic. While it was just like a standard fine print, it set the stage for it by drawing on the reality of the situation.
The company’s 2021 lineup didn’t generate too much confidence. Mario Golf: Super Rush, No more heroes IIIand The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD are definitely big ticket games, but none of them will be coming until this summer. In fact, very few games appeared on the console this spring other than previously announced titles like Bravely Default II and Monster Hunter Rise, both are relatively appropriate role-playing games.
Instead, much of the stream is focused on HD re-releases and remakes. Switch owners will get the old games as Stubbs The Zombie, Stories from the borderand a weird dual embedding of the Nintendo 3DS game Miitopia this spring – not exactly the top release type Animal Crossing: New Horizons is last March.
In fact, the stream’s most interesting revelation didn’t come this year. Splatoon 3 and strategy game Project Triangle Strategy both of which are making fans gossip, but no game will come out until next year. Even worse, coming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequels didn’t appear at all, sparking some red signs of the game’s launch plans. The Nintendo Switch may not have a semi-exclusive system in 2021 unless it saves a Hail Mary for the holiday season.
It is particularly troubling that this already mild schedule may change. So far in 2021, major delays of video games have happened around every week. Ubisoft’s entire roster has essentially been ramped up later this year, with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake be delayed indefinitely. There’s every reason to believe that the same delays could affect Nintendo or the third-party developers it has featured in the stream.
Not surprising in this issue, but that doesn’t make it any less awake. The fact that 2020 is not an indication of how badly the video game industry will be affected by COVID-19. Any major studio game set to launch last year is in its final stages of development. Some AAA titles have received minor changes to the date so studios can adjust to a home workflow, but games like Finally our part 2 almost ready for delivery.
The situation is much worse for games that are not developed too far. Polishing the game from afar was a challenge, but really building something as big and complex as Horizon Forbidden West at home? Yeesh.
The major studios also seem to be quiet about how bad the situation is, which makes it difficult to diagnose the extent of the damage. Digital Trends has spent the past few months asking companies like Ubisoft if they can explain some of the specific challenges it is facing. To date, response has been a polite, but resounding “no comment.”
It’s not clear how much of a pandemic Nintendo’s plans have been, but the impressive Direct serves as the best preview of what’s going to happen (or isn’t imminent) in 2021. I have. Big studio releases could be farther and less, with HD remakes and free games doing some heavy work in between – all on schedule that could change any when.
It’s important for the fans not to direct their frustrations on the developers. Game makers are now on board with fans, struggling to tune in to the seemingly never-so-comfortable digital life. The fact that video games can exist at all times like this shouldn’t be taken for granted.
But maybe it’s time fans have to find some alternative gaming options this year. Fill up old backlog, explore some indie gems or join a live serve like game Final Fantasy XIV. Just don’t rely on major new releases to remove the rest of the social isolation, because it may take a very long time before the cycle returns to normal.
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