Last week’s Nintendo Direct focused on the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, due to release on the Nintendo Switch this December. With a couple of games coming out before the winter release (Super Mario Party and Pokémon Let’s Go!), I was surprised that the entire Direct, coming in just under 30 minutes, focused on nothing but the newest entry into the long-running fighting series. With the somewhat lukewarm reception Nintendo received from their E3 presentation, it’s clear the hype machine for this guaranteed game-of-the-year is running in overdrive mode.
All that aside, the Direct provided some great insight into what’s going on behind the scenes of this “Ultimate” game and what to expect when it releases. With a presentation that was almost as overstuffed in detail as the game’s roster, let’s break down some of the highlights of last week’s showcase.
Something Wicked This Way Comes — Castlevania Casts A Chilling Spell And Murders (!!!) Luigi
First off, RIP Luigi. Our favorite plumber-turned-ghost hunter didn’t stand a change against a deadly scythe.
With an opening that sets a darker tone than ever before, we’re treated to two new additions to the roster; Simon and Ritcher. Though my experience with the hauntingly fun franchise is limited, it’s nice to see Nintendo continuing to inject some fresh blood into the series while providing some chillingly fun baddies into new, beautiful stages.
Dark Samus Sports A New (Metroid Prime 4-Inspired?) Look
With little known about Metroid Prime 4 other than that it’s “in development” (and rumored to have some serious developer clout, á la Star Wars 1313 devs working on the project), the announcement of Samus’ rival joining the fight with an updated look leaves fans wondering if this was a tease as to what’s to be expected in the continuation of the Metroid Prime trilogy when it arrives on the Switch.
Stages Old and New
If you thought the announcement that every previous fighter being playable was too much, watch out! The total stages, which are playable from the very start, cap out at 103. Talk about options…
Forget Apple Music and Spotify, SSBU Is Where It’s At…?
I’m sorry, but I literally laughed out loud when the Direct showed a (too chic for this world) millennial plugging her headphones into her Switch and dropping it into her designer bag to get her groove on with one of the 900 music tracks featured in the game. I believe this to be a sin as bad — if not worse — than using your iPad to record a song during a concert or taking a photo during a broadway musical (*homosexual gasp*). This is not a thing, nor should it ever be a thing.
A Seemingly Superfluous Showcase Of The Main Menu
When series director Masahiro Sakurai dove into a showcase of the main menu, I thought this direct was completely going off the rails; still shell shocked that someone would dare use a Nintendo Switch as a makeshift iPod. After going through the traditional menu items, the video zooms out to a blurred piece of the menu. With a green background and what looks like a Luigi-style skull and crossbones, could this be a new battle royale mode? In my mind, it would make sense for Nintendo to capitalize on the success of games like Fortnite and include this gameplay mode. I for one would highly enjoy running around an open arena as Peach; hup-chaaing my enemies into oblivion with the grace and poise of a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills.
A Surprise Ending And A Villain From the Past
When the Direct ‘ended’, we get a post-ending glimpse of DK and Diddy Kong looking at something off-camera. I braced myself that we’d get one of the terrible villains from the rebooted Donkey Kong Country series as a playable chqaracter, but a familiar shadow from the 90s loomed over. Could it be the croco-vile villain from Donkey Kong Country on the SNES? With a Kind Dedede fake out, we were in fact treated to DK’s original nemesis, King K. Rool — the series’ latest addition to the roster. What’s most exciting about the reveal of the all-but-forgotten baddie is the possibility of what’s to come for Donkey Kong and friends in future games. Could we see a revamped Donkey Kong 64 in high definition?
With a slew of announcements and a confirmation that this game is extra beyond words, I’m left wondering how Nintendo plans to follow up with future Super Smash games when the bar is set astronomically high. What did you think from last week’s Nintendo Direct?