Nintendo recently held its annual shareholders meeting, and one of the questions asked of representative director and president Shuntaro Furukawa was about the lack of future titles with release dates attached. Usually at this time of year we’re coming right out of E3 and Nintendo has just announced its software release schedule for the rest of the year. However, due to COVID-19 there has been no E3 and no major announcements from Nintendo regarding its holiday plans. Here’s what Furukawa said as a response.
In the annual shareholders meetings, we have routinely shown a video of E3, which was usually held just before the meeting. But this year, none of the large industry events are being held because of COVID-19, not just E3, and Nintendo also has no plans for any such events. We intend to use other methods flexibly in order to deliver the latest information on our products, so please stay tuned. We have continuously released information, including the announcement of a new fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch and the announcement by The Pokémon Company of new Pokémon-related titles.We think the Nintendo Direct format is very effective for us to directly and clearly convey information about games to consumers.
It’s true that we did just get information drops from The Pokemon Company and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai. Pokemon delivered trailers for a Pokemon Snap sequel as well as Pokemon Unite while Sakurai unveiled the newest Smash Bros. fighter, Min Min. All that news was welcome — even if I’m skeptical of Pokemon’s plans — but we didn’t get the kind of “megaton” announcement we’re used to hearing at E3. Maybe that will come later this month, but until then all we have to look forward to in 2020 is Paper Mario: The Origami King (later this month), Bravely Default II (sometime in 2020) and The second round of Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC (this autumn).
I think Paper Mario could be great and the Pokemon DLC, called The Crown Tundra looks to be bigger and more exciting than the first round with new forms of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. However, we’re still waiting on highly-anticipated titles like Metroid Prime 4 and a The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel that was teased at last year’s E3.
Is one of those games secretly slated to release in the near future, or is Nintendo’s silence a sign that they still need much more development? Other series we haven’t heard from lately include Star Fox, Pikmin, and Donkey Kong. Maybe one of those franchises is getting a new entry soon. I’ve only been waiting 23 years for the next kickass Star Fox game. I’m so desperate that I own both Star Fox Assault and Star Fox Zero, to say nothing of Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet, which wasn’t even supposed to be a Star Fox game.
I think we’ll get something in the coming weeks from Nintendo regarding its 2020 plans, but the soonest we see Metroid or Zelda is probably 2021. Hopefully something super secret and fun (Splatoon 3?!) has been in development all this time, but I’ll have to reserve judgement until I see it.