Nintendo hosted its Direct event, early Thursday, showcasing a host of games launching within the first half of 2023. The nearly 45-minute-long presentation was streamed live across the company's social channels and featured most major IPs, including new trailers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Pikmin 4, and Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Among new announcements, Nintendo is finally remastering the original Metroid Prime, bringing a brand-new course to its acclaimed racing title Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and more. Beyond that, the company has made retro Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games available on the Nintendo Online subscription service.
Without further ado, here's a list of the biggest video game announcements from 2023's first Nintendo Direct event:
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe to Hogwarts Legacy, The 8 Biggest Games Launching in February
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom new trailer and price
Release date: May 12
One of the most anticipated games of this year, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom tosses series protagonist Link back into the world of Hyrule, albeit it feels more daunting this time. As an infectious blight takes over the lands, we're introduced to new enemy types, ranging from Wyvern-like creatures, a one-eyed ogre resembling a boar, and what seems to be a boss fight against a giant made up of runic blocks. There isn't much to uncover in terms of plot here, but we get to see the new mechanisms for traversal across the skies, as this time, we get to explore the floating islands. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom would also be the first Nintendo Switch exclusive to cost $70 (about Rs. 5,785).
Metroid Prime Remastered
While Nintendo still remains tight-lipped on the existence of a Metroid 4, the company has now announced Metroid Prime Remastered. And guess what? The digital edition is out now on the Nintendo eShop! Originally launched on Nintendo's ancient GameCube system, this new revamped version adds dual stick controls that help with easy navigation with the ability to change POV. Additionally, there's an in-game control setting that “recreates the feel of the original game.” Physical editions of Metroid Prime Remastered will be out February 22.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe demo and epilogue
Release date: February 24
Ahead of its launch later this month, Nintendo has announced a new epilogue for Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Accessible after finishing the main story, in it, you play as the interdimensional traveller Magalore, who lost his magical powers. The epilogue features an entirely new map, wherein players collect magic points by clearing over 20 levels — eventually restoring Magalore's abilities to his original state. Furthermore, the company has also made a free demo available on the Nintendo eShop.
Advanced Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp release date
Release date: April 21
Featuring a newly-reimagined style for the Nintendo Switch, Advance Wars is returning with its lead cast of Andy, Max, Sammy, and more, as you strategically defend the lands in a military-style turn-based combat system. Think of it like Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, but the characters can help with machinery repairs and boost abilities. Players can also design their own maps and share them with friends, in addition to partaking in a Versus Mode for head-to-head contests — both online and local. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp was originally slated for a 2021 release.
Pikmin 4 release date
Release date: July 21
In addition to getting a July 21 release date, the much-awaited Pikmin 4 received a gameplay close-up at the Nintendo Direct presentation. The trailer offered a look at the new, unnamed minuscule player character, as they ordered around the smaller, floral Pikmin species for aid in solving puzzles and defeating bosses in the backyard. We're also introduced to a friendly dog named Otachi, who is adept at breaking apart barriers and pulling giant carcasses.
Splatoon 3 expansion
Release date: Spring 2023
It's time to splash some more colour onto the grey, metropolitan Splatsville via the new expansion pass, which adds two waves of Splatoon 3 DLC content. The first one launches during the US Spring, and adds the Inkopolis map, a location from the original Splatoon, bringing with it the Inkopolis Plaza, shops, and occasional concerts from the Squid Sisters. The trailer then cuts to a darker theme, highlighted by a bleak, snowy locale, introducing a second single-player quest called Side Order — launching in the future.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wave 4
Release date: Spring
Mario fans might be disappointed to learn there is no standalone release for Nintendo's poster boy, but there's a new course racing onto the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe soon. Those who own the Booster Course pack will gain access to Yoshi's Island, taking you through vibrant underwater regions and a ramp into the skies. Birdo the funnel-mouther dinosaur, who first appeared in 2003's Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, is also getting added to wave 4 as a playable character.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon gameplay
Release date: March 17
Exploring the Umbra Witch Bayonetta's early days, under the name Cereza, Nintendo released a new gameplay trailer for Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon. The spin-off title sees the young, trainee witch on a quest to save her imprisoned mother, as she ventures deep into the forbidden Avalon Forest, ruled by fairies. Thankfully, we're not alone on this journey, as we're soon joined by the demonic Chesire, a brawny feline, who acts as our muscle. The game has you take control of both characters, with Cereza merely serving a supporting role by using spells to bind enemies in place. By switching controls to Chesire, we can deal massive amounts of damage to vanquish those threats.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 expansion
Release date: February 15
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is getting its third batch of expansion content on February 15, adding roguelike battles and a new character, Masha, a Lapidarist. Essentially serving as a crafting expert, she relies on special ores to build accessories that can bestow various stats — such as agility boosting. The roguelike addition has you select one character and battle waves of enemies, with each victory granting more heroes and special abilities. Developer Monolith Soft also announced the Volume 4 content — launching later this year — which adds a new story-based experience.
Disney Illusion Island
Release date: July 28
Starring iconic Disney characters — Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy — Disney Illusion Island is coming to the Nintendo Switch, this July. The cartoon-stylised platformer sees our heroes embarking on an adventure to seek three magical books, as they jump, swim, and swing around the mysterious island of Monoth. The game can be played in four-player local co-op as well, wherein each player controls a character. Share hugs for extra health points, play leapfrog for longer jumps, and throw down a rope for your allies to climb up.
Octopath Traveler II demo
Release date: February 24
Octopath Traveler 2 just got a playable demo on the Nintendo eShop, with saves carrying over to the main game, once it launches. Featuring a unique blend of retro pixelated and 3D CGI art styles, the game plunges you into Solistia, a bustling land divided by the sea. Play as one of eight eccentric characters, each with their own characteristics, and explore the lands as you see fit — engaging with the townsfolk and developing job and talent skills over time.
Game Boy on Nintendo Switch Online
Retro Game Boy titles are now available on the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. Key highlights of the library include Tetris, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, Metroid 2: Return of Samus, and more. The basic $19.99/ year (about Rs. 1,651) tier grants access to titles from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
Meanwhile, the Game Boy Advance (GBA) titles will only be available to those who own the premium Expansion Pack, costing $49.99 (about Rs. 4,129). This tier adds six more titles into the mix, including Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario Kart Super Circuit, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgames!, and Kuru Kuru Kururin.
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