A series of presentations beginning near the end of the Wii and DS era, Nintendo Direct has served as a way for Nintendo to present upcoming games, consoles, and services to the gaming masses without the need to wait for a major conference to roll around. Past Nintendo Direct presentations have brought fans some of the most important info in the publisher’s recent history, but it’s also been used to push a fair amount of nonsense on us.
On the heels of Nintendo’s recent Fire Emblem Heroes update, here are ten Direct announcements that left us scratching our heads and wondering just what exactly they were thinking.
10 Disney Tsum Tsum Festival
Disney Tsum Tsum is a series of stuffed animals that are almost reminiscent of Funko Pop figures, just in plushy form. Essentially another way for the Mouse House to pedal more merchandise, many Nintendo fans were likely left rolling their eyes at the February announcement of Disney Tsum Tsum Festival.
Quite honestly, it looks like yet another fairly bland party game, something of which the Switch already has plenty. It could turn out to be a worthwhile experience, but few Direct viewers likely cared all that much about this lukewarm announcement. One thing’s for sure, though; the plot is guaranteed to make more sense than what we saw in Kingdom Hearts III.
9 Fire Emblem Heroes
While separate from the traditional Nintendo Direct, Nintendo has spent quite a lot of time over the past two years advertising Fire Emblem Heroes. A mobile game which released two years ago, it’s not exactly the sort of thing about which fans are desperate to know more at this point.
Yet, Nintendo has dedicated presentation after presentation to their mobile endeavor, each update seemingly more trite and grating than the last. With the recent announcement of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, interest in the series mobile venture is rapidly diminishing as the franchise’s next major release draws closer. If the like to dislike ratio of the latest FeH Channel update is anything to go by, it’s time for Nintendo to move on.
8 Isabelle in Smash
Hype surrounding Nintendo’s then-upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was at an all-time high during the publisher’s September 2018 Direct presentation. While that Direct is remembered for having announced the first mainline Animal Crossing game since New Leaf in 2012, it also saw the introduction of Isabelle into Smash Bros.
Though that crossover fighting anthology is known for its wacky cast of characters, Animal Crossing’s Isabelle doesn’t quite fit that bill, and her inclusion felt about as natural as the Piranha Plant’s. We would suggest that Nintendo may be running out of characters to include, but there’s a pretty notorious purple antihero who still hasn’t found a place in the long-running list of games.
7 New Super Mario Bros. U for Switch
While that September conference gave us some info about which many are still talking, it also came with a fair amount of eye-rolling announcements that didn’t feel worthy of their time slots. Most notably, Nintendo controversially unveiled a deluxe version of New Super Mario Bros. U, the latest in their continued effort to port all of the noteworthy games from their flop of a system to the new tech.
Things got even worse when the port released with a sixty dollar price tag. While it may have been worth that were it a whole new game, fans weren’t all that keen on shelling out sixty bones on this rehashed experience.
6 Nintendo Switch Online
Perhaps the most controversial announcement of the September 13th Nintendo Direct was their pre-launch introduction to the Switch’s online network. Fans have complained that the service is lacking when compared to the competition, and Nintendo has always been behind-the-curve in terms of online play.
Among many head-scratching details unveiled during the event, fans were most perplexed at the fact that cloud saves would be tied to the subscription service, and how the system’s chat interface had to be set up through a smartphone. The Switch’s online functionality is definitely more than a little clunky, and they could have done a better job with the initial pitch.
5 BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!
This one shouldn’t seem all that perplexing to puzzle game fans, but the announcement of a Switch installment in HAL Laboratory’s BoxBoy 3DS franchise felt at least a little weird. Stacked with a bunch of box-related puns and Nintendo’s typical extraordinarily lame sense of humor, this probably didn’t feel worthy of a mention for many games.
That said, there’s definitely a certain subset of fans excited about this upcoming release, and it does seem like it would work well on the mobile system. Yet, the basic visuals and often simplistic gameplay don’t exactly dazzle, and it felt like an odd thing to show off during a Direct presentation.
4 Animal Crossing Mobile Direct
In late October, 2017, Nintendo dedicated an entire Direct presentation to the then-upcoming Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. At that time, Nintendo IPs appearing on smartphones felt like a new and novel concept, so fans of the franchise were definitely excited to be clued in. Though it turned out to be a decent little time-waster, Pocket Camp really wasn’t all that memorable, and they didn’t exactly do a great job of selling it.
The Direct made the game out to be the least interesting and most feature-devoid entry in the series. It’s a mobile game, of course, so it’s hard to expect a fully-fledged experience. Still, what Nintendo presented at the time likely turned more people away from the title than toward it.
3 ARMS Direct
When the Switch first launched in March of 2017, it was only really good for a few cheap party games and Breath of the Wild. As a result, fans were eager to hear more about Nintendo’s newest original IP ARMS. That said, while it may have been an ingenious idea, ARMS wasn’t really worth an entire twenty-plus minute Direct.
It was neat at first, but the entire thing was a bit long to sit through, and the game was more or less forgotten once bigger, better properties released for the system. It may still have its fans, but we probably won’t be seeing many more ARMS-related announcements in the future unless they plan on releasing a sequel.
2 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Paid DLC
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is another title which first saw life on the Wii U before being ported over to the Switch, and, while it’s nice to see Nintendo continuing to support the spinoff, this felt like a very strange announcement. With a total of five new courses, the DLC felt kind of barren, and it absolutely wasn’t worth mentioning during a Nintendo Direct presentation.
This had fans questioning exactly what Nintendo’s plans would be concerning DLC for their first-party titles in the future, a doubt which doesn’t mix well with the stigma already surrounding the Switch’s online service. Sure, some may have gotten something out of it, but this announcement almost felt more laughable than genuine.
1 Rune Factory 4 Switch Port
Seriously, Rune Factory 4? There’s definitely a subset of dedicated JRPG fans who can’t wait for this enhancement to hit the Switch later this year, but it left the rest of us scratching our heads. Rune Factory isn’t exactly a system-selling franchise, and it’s already a spinoff of the somewhat niche Harvest Moon series.
Granted, it’s appeal is much larger in Nintendo’s native Japan, but this isn’t destined to be any sort of major hit in the West. Does that mean it shouldn’t be included in a Nintendo Direct? Well, Nintendo can do whatever they want with their presentation, but it seems like an odd inclusion when stacked against more notable brands like Fire Emblem and Dragon Quest.