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Nintendo Direct Highlights – February 13, 2019

The wait is over. Nintendo’s first 2019 Nintendo Direct dropped the 13th of February at 5 PM EST, a veritable Valentine’s gift for fans everywhere. The last Direct the video game juggernaut released was September 2018. It’s been quite a while.

Nintendo previously noted the Direct would feature information on the new Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Beyond that, however, was anybody’s guess. Speculations abounded about what would be featured—from Wii U ports to the next major Pokémon or Zelda installations. Now that the Direct is over, we can dig into the top announcements.

Super Mario Maker 2

As the countdown hit zero and the title screen zipped away, fans were met with a very familiar scene: Mario running in a classic side-scroll scenario. However, just after that, Mario impales his tiny Italian heinie on a spiked enemy, the game pauses, and a tell-tale menu appears. The level editor.

Super Mario Maker was a major hit on the Wii U, in spite of releasing at the tail-end of the vastly-less-popular system’s life cycle. Fans have been practically begging Nintendo for a port. Now, they get a sequel in the form of Super Mario Maker 2.

Details were sparse, aside from a June 2019 release window. Yoshiaki Koizumi, the “guide” for the Nintendo Direct, stated there will be new elements and features. The only other details provided were some clips of gameplay.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

While not an information-heavy announcement, there are some relevant details here. We know Joker is part of Challenger Pack 1. Now, we know that is coming before the end of April. On top of that, we’re told that five new SSB Amiibo (Simon, Snake, Pokemon Trainer, Squirtler, and Ivysaur) will be released sometime 2019. If you’re a collector, you better hop on these fast.

However, the direct literally gave us a giant question mark regarding the 3.0 update. “You’ll just have to wait to find out!” Thanks, Narrator.

Oninaki

If you’re familar with I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphere, you’ll feel at home in Oninaki. The classic, chibi-esque sprites are gorgeous. Gameplay harkens back to the days of Legend of the Dragoon and earlier Final Fantasy titles.

This Square Enix title is sure to leave a mark on the hearts of fans. No, it may not be a huge title. But it runs in the same vein as Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler. If you like classic JRPG with a heart-warming/heart-wrenching story, keep an eye out for Oninaki when it releases Summer 2019.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

At long last, the next Fire Emblem console game has been given a release date! The last console game to release was Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn on the Wii. Yes, the Wii. That was February 22, 2007. Twelve years.

Three Houses introduces, well, three houses. Think Harry Potter houses. Yes, this has a school setting. You pick the house and play its story. This sounds a little along the line of Fire Emblem: Fates on the 3DS. If you’re not familiar, Fates had you choose one of two families. Then you played through the story of that particular family. Later, you could replay the game on the other side.

If you’re as excited as I am, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. The original Spring release has been pushed back to July 26, 2019. Further out, but still better than during the season of candy canes.

Final Fantasy

I earlier mentioned Final Fantasy. Lo’ and behold it appeared. Final Fantasy VII is getting a port to the Switch on March 26, 2019. It’s not specified what version this is. But if you’ve already played the title, you’re probably well acquainted. But wait, there’s more. The newly remastered Final Fantasy IX is also coming to Switch. You won’t have to mark your calendar for this one. It’s out now following the Nintendo Direct.

Additionally,  if you care, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! is also dropping to Nintendo’s hybrid console on March 20, 2019.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Many Zelda fans were crossing their fingers for a new title featuring our green-tunic hero. Nintendo sort of delivered. The classic Link’s Awakening is being completely remastered. Every pixel has been overhauled into an adorable, slightly-top-down chibi masterpiece. If you’ve always wanted to play the older Zelda games, but could never get into the older style, now’s your chance.

It may not be the next, new Zelda game. But, it’s bringing forward one of the classics into the modern age. I’ll definitely be picking this up.

Honorable Mentions

Nintendo announced information for 29 different games. Covering every single one would be grueling, not only as a writer, but as a reader. Who wants to read 29 synopses when you can just watch each individual trailer on YouTube? Yeah, that’s what I thought. But, I’d like to point out a few titles I thought warranted at least some attention.

For those who have been hankering for some Star Fox, you can at least pick up Starlink: Battle for Atlas to experience the Star Fox-themed April 2019 update.

Lovers of life/farm sims like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon can return to the fantasy world of Rune Factory 4 Special later in 2019. Or, you can wait for Rune Factory 5.

Revered for its commentary on mental illness and praised for its strong story, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrificeis a fantastic title to add to your Switch library this upcoming spring.

I don’t really know what it’s about, but it looks cool. Astral Chain seems to be Nintendo’s next big title push. It feels like a sci-fi Xenoblade (if you look at Xenoblade as sitting on the fantasy side of the spectrum). More info is likely to come before it’s August 30, 2019 release date.

All Games and Dates

Game Release Date
Super Mario Maker 2 June 2019
Super Smash Bros Update 3.0 Spring 2019
Super Smash Bros Challenger Pack 1 Before the end of April
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Update April 2019
Rune Factory 4 Special Late 2019
Rune Factory 5 TBA
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Summer 2019
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Free Update February 13, 2019
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker DLC March 14, 2019
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Summer 2019
Dragon Quest Builders 2 July 12, 2019
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition Fall 2019
BOX BOY! + BOX GIRL! April 26, 2019
Disney Tsum Tsum Festival 2019
Oninkai Summer 2019
Yoshi’s Crafted World March 29, 2019
Yoshi’s Crafted World Demo February 13, 2019
Fire Emblem: Three Houses July 26, 2019
Tetris 99 February 13, 2019; Nintendo Online Members Only
Dead by Daylight Fall 2019
Deltarune: Chapter 1 February 28, 2019
Daemon X Machina 2019
Daemon X Machina Demo February 13, 2019 (Limited Time)
Grid Autosport Summer 2019
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Spring 2019
Mortal Kombat 11 April 23, 2019
Unravel 2 March 22, 2019
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered May 21, 2019
Final Fantasy VII March 26, 2019
Chocobo Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! March 20, 2019
Final Fantasy IX February 13, 2019
Astral Chain August 30, 2019
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening 2019