The Nintendo Switch has had plenty of hit games during its already record-breaking tenure, but there are still many franchises that haven’t gotten a full run at the console’s potential. Animal Crossing and Pokemon, for instance, have either had remakes populate the machine or had no representation at all outside of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While gamers knew some news was coming down the pike, today’s E3 presentation blew expectations out of the water.
Streaming its first day of E3 press talks through a Nintendo Direct (which fans can see below), Nintendo dropped a lot of knowledge on its upcoming first-party games, including a surprise Zelda announcement, town-simulating Animal Crossing: New Horizons, monster-battling Pokemon Sword and Shield, magical-adventuring Link's Awakening, and ghost-busting Luigi's Mansion 3. Plus, new Super Smash characters!
After the news that Smash would be adding Hero from Dragon Quest XI as its latest DLC character, the video showed off the aesthetically anime swordfighters taking down more familiar Nintendo mainstays. Those characters will come this summer. Which is all well and good, but nowhere near as exciting as when, after a brief fake-out aimed toward those steeped in internet rumors, Nintendo announced that fan favorite Banjo-Kazooie would be heading to Smash. The platforming duo (a bear and his backpack-bound bird friend) had long been pushed for inclusion -- and now they're heading to the battler this fall!
Next, the third Luigi's Mansion got a gameplay video showcasing the goodies in its haunted hotel, including a gross-out goo version of Luigi called Gooigi. It'll feature co-op gameplay ... but at what cost? The game will come later in 2019.
Fans certainly knew the most about Pokemon Sword and Shield and the Zelda remake (which will apparently allow for players to build their own dungeons), which is why those games barely got any time during the conference aside from showing off some more gameplay. But then, as a surprise, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild got a spooky teaser trailer announcing that a full sequel to the hit game was in the works:
Similarly, nothing was known about the new Animal Crossing beyond its basic existence. That's why it was a welcome surprise when Nintendo rolled out the Nook, Inc. Getaway Package. The island adventure has been highly anticipated and looked very exciting in the brief footage shown to fans:
Animal Crossing: New Horizons will feature a few new pieces of gameplay (vaulting over rivers like Luke in The Last Jedi) and come out on March 20, 2020. That's a yearlong bump for the game, which players had hoped would come out in 2019.
The Direct rounded out by announcing that a Dark Crystal turn-based RPG called The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics, based on the upcoming Netflix series, and older games — like the Mana series, Resident Evil, Contra series, and Witcher 3 — will be coming to the Switch later this year.