After a delay in light of a Japanese earthquake, Nintendo’s latest Direct video presentation finally went live on Thursday evening, and it included confirmations of long-rumored games and ports for the Nintendo Switch—along with a surprise NES controller pack launching next week.
Coming September 18, the same day as the new paid Nintendo Switch Online service, the NES Controllers two-pack will be sold exclusively at Nintendo.com for $59.99—and you’ll need to be a paying Switch Online subscriber to place an order. These controllers connect wirelessly to Switch consoles, and they also include latches to hook to the sides of a Switch console, but Nintendo advertises this solely as a controller-charging feature. Meaning, you won’t be able to use these NES controllers in traditional Switch games—particularly when you might prefer a traditional D-pad over the Joy-Cons’ clicky buttons.
Those NES controllers will be compatible primarily with Switch Online’s NES game collection, and we now know which 20 classic first- and third-party games to expect in the USA at launch:
Baseball, Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, Excitebike, Ghosts ‘N Goblins, Gradius, Ice Climbers, Ice Hockey, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Pro Wrestling, River City Ransom, Soccer, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Tecmo Bowl, Tennis, Yoshi
Additionally, Nintendo teased the next nine games to expect in the line-up: Solomon’s Key, NES Open Tournament Golf, and Super Dodge Ball in October; Metroid, Mighty Bomb Jack, and Twin Bee in November; and Wario’s Woods, Ninja Gaiden, and Adventures of Lolo in December.
As previously announced, any of these games with two-player modes can be played online with friends, but new in this presentation was a look at the game-selection interface, which is in the above gallery. Games will be presented as giant, original retail boxes. Nintendo has confirmed that these NES games will function offline for up to seven days after your last online log-in.[Update, 9:34 p.m. ET: Nintendo of Europe has uploaded a video that shows how the NES-gaming interface will look on Switch; we’ve shared it above. It includes very high-speed swaps between games, along with confirmation of four “suspend” points per game, should you wish to save your progress without hunting for a save point or leaving your Switch on at all hours.]
New games, ports, and sequels
Nintendo bookended the presentation with two very brief teases of long-running series sequels. Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Animal Crossing (no subtitle) are slated to launch in “2019,” Nintendo says, and the former game received a brief gameplay trailer with hints of new mechanics slapped onto the series’ familiar capture-ghosts objective. The latter received a much vaguer tease, with nothing more than series character Tom Nook appearing with a brief dialogue passage indicating that a sequel was coming.
Nintendo also confirmed Yoshi’s Crafted World, which finally puts a title and a “spring 2019” release window on a game that was simply known as “Yoshi” for a while. The presentation also showed more of how the game’s playful “explode both sides of a level” system will work in a “2.5-D” mix of hand-crafted 3D objects and a fixed, side-scrolling plane. The publisher also rattled off news about free content updates to the games Mario Tennis Aces and Splatoon 2.
The Switch port frenzy continues, as this Direct video confirmed a ton of older games coming to the system, including Nintendo’s own New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe—a compilation of every level from the Wii U games with new playable characters—and an astonishing eight games in the Final Fantasy series. In addition to a previously announced Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles port, Square Enix confirmed the series’ recent Final Fantasy XII remaster, and ports of the original versions of VII, IX, and X/X-2 Remaster, all in 2019.
The Direct video confirmed the first Katamari Damacy game on a Nintendo console, dubbed Katamari Damacy Reroll, coming in “winter 2018,” and it will ship with unique Joy-Con control options. We’ll also soon see a seven-game pack of Capcom beat-’em-games from the late ’80s and early ’90s arcade era, dubbed simply Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, on September 18.
Much of the presentation centered on games that had already been announced for Switch, including Blizzard’s Diablo III, Capcom’s Mega Man 11, Ubisoft’s toy-filled Starlink (complete with a Star Fox cameo), and 2K Games’ Civilization VI. (The latter leaked a few days ago, apparently due to someone not getting the memo about Nintendo delaying this Direct presentation.) And Nintendo offered one tiny dribble of hope for 3DS owners starving for new content: Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, a port of the 2010 Wii platformer coming to the portable in “2019.” (What, they couldn’t hold out for the 10th anniversary?)
Japan had its own Nintendo Direct video, which was notable for a few reasons. For one, Japanese fans will be offered Famicom versions of that NES controller bundle, but also, Ubisoft sprung a surprise announcement: a “cloud version” of the upcoming adventure game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Nintendo Switch’s Japanese eShop already features a few cloud versions of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games, particularly Resident Evil VII, and these allow paying customers to stream a special version of those games off of servers à la PlayStation Now. Thus, if you’d like to enjoy that upcoming Ubisoft open-world game on your Switch, brush up on your Japanese.
Listing image by Nintendo