Yesterday, Nintendo unleashed the long waited Nintendo Direct, giving fans a peek into what’s coming the first half of 2018. Frankly, it couldn’t have come at a better time as the community hype had reached critical levels. The excitement kicked off late last year after a leaked EA document appeared online, seemingly confirming a Nintendo Direct happening in January. Then, Amazon added a bunch of Switch game placeholders to its marketplace before quickly taking them down. On top of that, GameStop just recently posted and deleted a tweet talking about a Nintendo Direct that set to kick off in 45 minutes. It got deleted nearly as fast as it was posted.
Throughout all of these events, Nintendo remained silent about its plans which essentially worked its fanbase into an outright frenzy. The company even got in on the trolling, posting odd pictures without context like Chibi-Robo on fire.
Well, after all that, the Direct arrived on schedule and while I’m not going to recap the entire thing, Nintendo had some pretty interesting announcements. One universal theme became pretty clear throughout the 15 minute video however: Nintendo isn’t afraid of ports and remasters. Honestly, I’m perfectly cool with that strategy.
At this point in time, I don’t think it’s unfair or even disparaging to say that the WiiU ultimately failed. With low sales, low install base numbers, and periods of long game droughts, it’s no surprise that Nintendo ultimately moved on. The unfortunate thing here is that the WiiU had a bunch of fantastic games to play, and these low install base numbers means that a lot of people missed out on them. That’s one of the main reasons Nintendo is bringing these games back. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that a bigger audience means more sales.
The nice thing here is that Nintendo doesn’t appear to be satisfied to simply port these games over to the Switch. Titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Pokken Tournament DX, and even the upcoming Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze (to name a few), take that base game and add more to it. The new content and features are there to entice players to pick up a copy of the superior version or double dip for those previous WiiU owners. Frankly, I’m glad people are getting an opportunity to check out many of these largely overlooked WiiU games as many of them were wonderful when they first launched.
I wouldn’t be too surprised to see this trend continue for Nintendo, as it does make for a great stop gap between major releases as well. Obviously, one huge WiiU title is still MIA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Super Smash Bros make its debut at E3 this year because a show that big needs big announcements like this. I’m expected a remade WiiU version with new content like characters and stages mixed in, similar to Mario Kart. Man, if this happens, the community would likely explode.