Happy new year everyone! Welcome to my first instalment of Nintendo news in 2021.
I hope that everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. The new year is always a time to look both backwards and forwards, to take stock and plan ahead. It’s also a time for resolutions. With that in mind, in this new year blog post, I’ll be looking back at the Nintendo related news from December and looking forward to the upcoming games of 2021. I might even consider making some gaming resolutions of my own.
Currently hyped for: Zelda’s 35th Anniversary year
An Update on Updates
December began with a significant new Nintendo Switch firmware update (11.0.0), which was rolled out on the first of the month, and then bug-fixed on the 10th December. This added the Nintendo Switch Online icon to the home screen and, more usefully, a way to share screenshots and videos directly to smart devices. The process is cumbersome, I’ll admit, but is welcome nevertheless as it means we are no longer required to post pictures to social media to get them off our systems.
The beginning of December also saw two big games release on the Switch – Ubisoft released Immortals Fenyx Rising on 3rd December and Bethesda released the long-awaited port of DOOM Eternal on 8th December. The former illuminates a world that glows with the kind of sunlight last seen in the same developer’s own Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, whilst the latter revels in frantic action and features exclusive gyro controls.
The Game Awards Announcements
The Game Awards took place in the early hours of the 11th December. This event is as notable for its announcements as its awards. For instance, in 2018, Nintendo used the ceremony to reveal that the first DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was going to be Joker from Persona 5. They pulled the same trick this year, announcing that the next DLC character would be the villain of Square Enix’s much-loved JRPG, Final Fantasy VII – Sephiroth. This character was already very much back in gamers’ minds following the release earlier in the year of the Final Fantasy VII Remake for the PlayStation 4, and so the reveal garnered a huge online reaction.
As for myself, I’ve recently begun playing the port of the original FF7 on my Switch. I first played the game back in the summer of 1998 on the PlayStation, and I can confirm that the nostalgia is real!
Incidentally, Animal Crossing: New Horizons won Best Family Game at The Game Awards too, marking the end of a spectacular year for the cute island life simulator, which saw it sell well in excess of 20 million copies worldwide.
Among Us is now Among Us
The Nintendo announcements continued with the release of an Indie World presentation on 15th December. These indie directs sometimes contain huge surprises! The reveals of Cuphead for Switch and Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda have been recent highlights. (I picked up the second of these from Zatu this Christmas). The headline this time was that the hit game Among Us was heading to Switch. Indeed, it arrived on the console that same day – a move that no one found to be sus.
Super Nintendo World
I first visited the Mushroom Kingdom in the late 1980s on my family’s NES system. Level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. opened up a new and colourful world to me. The designer of that game, Shigeru Miyamoto, opened up another new and colourful world in a special direct on the 18th December – this one called Super Nintendo World. However, I sadly won’t be visiting anytime soon as Super Nintendo World is a new theme park in Universal Studios Japan.
New Year, New Horizons
For gamers, a new year always holds the promise of new games consoles and new games to play on them. Whilst we may not yet know about any potential Nintendo hardware revisions, we certainly know about a lot of future software releases. Here are some of my picks from the confirmed upcoming Switch line up…
The latest instalment in Koei Tecmo’s ‘Atelier’ RPG series is released on 29th January. Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy has a lot to live up to – the first ‘Ryza’ game, released in 2019, was the most successful of all the Atelier games to date. A fortnight later, on 12th February, Nintendo will be releasing the Switch port of the Wii U game Super Mario 3D World. This even includes the new addition ‘Bowser’s Fury’. Whilst there is still no sign of a Switch port of Persona 5, Persona 5 Strikers comes to Nintendo’s hybrid console in different editions on the 19th and 23rd of February respectively. Then, and perhaps most significantly, Capcom release the Nintendo Switch exclusive Monster Hunter Rise on 26th March. This is a game that is sure to rise to the top of the sales charts.
These are some of the higher-profile upcoming titles that we already know about. But there are other games whose release dates remain a mystery. There’s Bravely Default II (a demo for which drops on 26th February), No More Heroes III, Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4. Finally, there’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.
Endings and Beginnings
The year may only be beginning but there’s one big endpoint looming on Nintendo’s horizon - March 31st. This date marks the end of the 35th-anniversary celebrations for Super Mario Bros. It’s the date that Nintendo will de-list the omnibus collection Super Mario 3D All-Stars and will also stop shipping the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. handheld system to retailers. Sadly, March 31st is also the date on which the game Super Mario Bros. 35 will cease to be playable.
However, these endings may, just may, point towards new beginnings. For 2021 is the 35th anniversary year for other Nintendo franchises – specifically, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid.
The gaming world is usually obsessed with resolutions of a certain kind – image resolutions. However, at this time of year, we’re more interested in other kinds of resolutions. We’re not talking 4K but forward planning. I think my new year’s Nintendo resolution is to complete the Fire Emblem: Three Houses DLC story and then return for a second playthrough of the main game. But, of course, if Breath of the Wild 2 gets announced… well, I’ll certainly be playing that.
What are your Nintendo gaming resolutions for 2021? Have you got a game you’ve been meaning to return to, or a boss that you’re determined to beat? Let us know over on social media, @zatugames.