Nintendo has had a troubled history with third-party developers over the years. Their stubbornness in keeping to the traditional cart based format for the Nintendo 64 and small discs with equally small size limits for the Nintendo Gamecube made Nintendo less of a priority for developers, with many of them opting instead to work with the first two PlayStations. The Nintendo Switch’s massive financial success has changed some of that, but third parties have not really been a selling point for a Nintendo console since the Super Nintendo.
All that said, yesterday’s Nintendo Direct may have been its most packed third-party announcement ever.
The digital event announced the usual cabal of active multiplatform titles receiving a Switch port in the coming months. This includes the likes of Nier Automata and Sonic Frontiers. Nier: Automata is the critically acclaimed Platinum Games and Yoko Taro collaboration, which was released in early 2017, while Sonic Frontiers is the upcoming open-world Sonic game expected to release later this year.
Previously announced ports discussed were Monster Hunter Rise and the ports of the first two Portal games, which came out yesterday on Nintendo Switch.
Two sequels to platform-exclusive titles were also shown during today’s event. The sequel to the bizarre turn-based strategy crossover between Mario and Ubisoft’s Rabbids IP was shown off during the event. The original was fairly well received, which opened the door to a sequel (leaked several weeks ago through Nintendo’s website). Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope releases October 20th.
Another game with a surprise follow-up is Super Bomberman R 2. The original Bomberman release for the Switch was a launch title that didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but was lauded as one of the better launch titles apart from the big two releases of Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey. Given how little love the series has received in recent years, fans will be excited that there are still plans for the series in the future. Super Bomberman R 2 is projected for a 2023 release.
Beyond that, there was some big surprises. Megaman Battle Network was a beloved series of handheld tactical RPGs, mostly known for its original GameBoy Advance releases. The series has been long dormant prior to today’s announcement of a Switch port, and also includes the potential for a series revival if the sales of the port are encouraging enough. The port will be separated into two different collections for digital download some time next year.
Speaking of dormant games, how about PacMan World? The original PS1 platformer is receiving a full on remake for modern consoles, titled Pac-Man World: Re-Pac, and is coming out August 26th. Still no word on its more recent sequel, released in 2004.
Then there is Return to Monkey Island. The classic point-and-click series has not had a new title since TellTale Games did a not-so-great job in reviving the name for Tales of Monkey Island, an episodic release back in 2009. The game features a new paper cutout art style along with the typical point-and-click mechanics fans of the series have come to expect. A continuation of some sort has been rumored for a while, but had been unconfirmed until this Direct. The game is expected to release some time in 2022.
And last but certainly not least, the trilogy of modern Persona titles will be coming to every major platform, including Nintendo Switch. Ardent fans of the series have been pleading with Atlus to port the games to Nintendo platforms since the franchise was largely saved by Sega, and the subsequent huge success of Persona 5. The quality and performance of these releases is yet to be seen, but it still marks a substantial change for both Atlus and Nintendo as a company going forward.
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