INSiGHT: Predicting Nintendo's First 2020 Direct

By Neil Flynn 07.01.2020 10

INSiGHT: Predicting Nintendo
It is the start of a new year and Nintendo fans are clamouring for a new Nintendo Direct to drop as soon as possible. Presentations have often been announced with very little lead time, normally with only 36-48 hours' notice, and the first direct of the year hasn't always dropped in January. Looking back from when the Nintendo Direct format began in 2012 there was an initial alternation between January and February being the first Direct of the year, the exception was 2016 when eager fans had to wait until 3rd March, having only had a Pokémon specific direct air at the end of February. However, since 2017 Nintendo have aired some sort of presentation in January, whether that be the reveal of the Nintendo Switch, a Nintendo Direct mini in 2018 or the Indie Highlights in 2019. 
Drilling further into the dates it appears that Nintendo prefer Wednesday's and Thursday's as all of their first Directs of the year air on either of these days. They have also seemingly preferred the middle-end of the month, meaning that a Direct could very well happen as early as next week (15th/16th January 2020), but take this with a large pinch of salt. Nintendo have notoriously marched to the beat of their own drum and very rarely have they caved into fan pressure. Even if a Direct does not happen in January Nintendo are expected to have a big year with a number of large titles already announced. So, what can be expected for the first 2020 Nintendo Direct?

Nintendo Switch Pro

Nintendo have huge competition in the hardware market with both Sony and Microsoft launching their next generation consoles. It remains to be seen if Nintendo will add a half-step upscaled Nintendo Switch Pro to the list of consoles being released this year, however, it was the January 2015 Direct that announced the New Nintendo 3DS and the January 2017 presentation that announced the Nintendo Switch. Examples of the types of features that Nintendo could address with a 'Pro' model could be a faster processor for better load times and download speeds, extended Bluetooth capabilities for wireless headphone use, stronger outer casing, revised kickstand, 1080p screen, a new docking station, faster charging and better ventilation.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

A bit of an easy prediction, given that it is releasing on the 17th January, this rather obscure WiiU port has a devoted following both from Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei fans which should help fulfil a handful of expectations for a slow January. The Nintendo Switch version will include some character threads from Fire Emblem: Three Houses and does include some previously released DLC from the WiiU version. Given the popularity of Three Houses this may get some much-needed love from fans of the latest entry in the Fire Emblem series.

Shin Megami Tensei V

Why not? Atlus have been very scarce on details of whether or not this game is still in development or not. Initially revealed in the 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation, Shin Megami Tensei V would add its pedigree to the long list of incredible RPGs on the system. This could be the perfect opportunity to reveal a few titbits on the upcoming title given the imminent release of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Expect further information to be revealed on the first big Nintendo hitter of the year. This was initially due for release in 2019, however, a longer development cycle was needed and perhaps a slight blessing in disguise given how packed Nintendo's Q4 release schedule was. Given that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the marquee release for Nintendo this quarter it is very possible that this will actually have its own dedicated Animal Crossing direct instead.

Super Smash Bros: Ultimate Fighters Pass - Fighter 5 and beyond

The huge whopping roster is about to get even larger. Nintendo have really outdone themselves with Super Smash Bros: Ultimate as the level of content updates have really been incredible. Rumours have been swirling about who the last DLC fighter for the first fighters pass could be. Our friends at Source Gaming are dedicated experts to predicting all things Smash Bros. Take a gander at their video prediction to who could be the 5th DLC fighter.

Nintendo confirmed back in September 2019 that there will still be more fighters being released beyond the fighter's pass. This could be a great opportunity to reveal the first fighter and maybe some amiibo information to keep the hype train going.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition gets dated


The Xenoblade series grows from strength to strength and while fans may have been wanting a sequel, the 3rd release of the original Xenoblade Chronicles will still be a welcome addition to any Nintendo Switch library. This could be scheduled for late Q2, perhaps nestling in the June window.

NES and SNES games added to Nintendo Switch Online

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The cadence of steady releases to the NES Nintendo Switch Online offering have since their initial inception. The Super Nintendo collection of games have also been neglected of consistent updates and while Nintendo did communicate that releases would be far and few between not many people would have predicted that they would have slowed down this much. The December 2019 update did bring 6 additions to the line-up but the SNES is still missing a number of its largest hits, most notably Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Donkey Kong Country and Earthbound. It would be surprising if Nintendo announced Nintendo 64 or Nintendo Gamecube games but don't rule it out completely. 

3DS, Wii and WiiU remasters

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To bulk out the releases for Q1 and Q2 there might be a number of titles from Nintendo's recent past that could see a new lease of life on the Nintendo Switch. Fans are hopeful for Metroid Prime Trilogy, Pikmin 3 and Star Fox Zero to make the jump to Switch, while others are praying for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD to make their inevitable jump to the system. Nonetheless expect at least one Wii or WiiU game to be remade or remastered this year (other than Xenoblade Chronicles).

There could be an outside chance of some 3DS ports making their way to the Nintendo Switch, if so, then perhaps some of the now defunct AlphaDream's hard work on Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions or Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey could be revitalised. Alternatively perhaps a port of Metroid II: Samus Returns would appease those frustrated by the long wait for Metroid Prime 4

Mario Golf

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It is bizarre that Mario Golf didn't get a Wii incarnation, especially given the popularity of the golf mini game in Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. It would be surprising if Nintendo don't take advantage of the motion controls within the Joycon to replicate a golf swing and now that content and DLC on Mario Tennis Aces has slowed it would be appropriate if developer Camelot focussed their attention toward a Mario Golf game. This would be ideal for a late May release to help start the summer season early. 

What about the rest?

Nintendo like to keep their cards close to their chest and very rarely announce titles more than 6-9 months in advance. They will ensure they have a strong Q4 software line up to combat the impending juggernauts of the PS5 and Xbox Series so any news of Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4, Splatoon 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 might be kept for Nintendo's showcase at E3. It would also be odd to not hear from Mario in any way, shape or form, so expect some sort of Mario adventure in 2020, whether that be in a sequel to Super Mario Odyssey or the more likely option of Super Mario 3D World being ported to Switch. Finally, Pokémon is an annual franchise that consistently churns out new games or remakes, given that a new generation just launched with Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield it is highly likely that remakes of Pokemon Pearl , Pokemon Diamond (or Pokemon Platinum will see a Q4 2020 release, unless an enhanced port of Sword and Shield gets announced, (We predict that that would be called Pokemon Mirror) but this is not likely to see a release any time soon.

What are your predictions for Nintendo's first 2020 Direct? Do you think we are way off the mark or have we hit the nail right on the head? Let us know in the comments below.

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Pretty solid guesses, would love a switch pro even though I couldn't afford one haha

I feel like they will talk about Bayonetta 3 going by platinums recent vocalness. If they released windwaker hd in it I would be amazed I love that game so much and my wiiu is stuck with a corruption error and can't redownload it...

Yea I want to say they will say more about Bayo3 given they have chirped up in the past few days. I predict an August release window for it, similar to Astral Chain. I think we might get a quick trailer with a date and more info to come later in the year. If they did do it then I think it is what would close out the Direct.

In one way I'd like a Switch pro, but it'll be probably priced around the £350-400 mark if they did do it. I am not quite sure I can warrant that given that I could pretty much get a PS5 for that. 


Flynnie said:
In one way I'd like a Switch pro, but it'll be probably priced around the £350-400 mark if they did do it. I am not quite sure I can warrant that given that I could pretty much get a PS5 for that. 

True that, I think I am too interested to see Xbox and PS5 to drop lots on another switch

I'm still rooting for Switch Sports Club. We already have near enough confirmation that Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and Metroid Prime Trilogy are on the way. Then there's the upscaled Super Mario Galaxy that already exists on the Nvidia Shield system in China (officially from Nintendo), and rumours of a 2D Metroid remake.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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Personally if they bring back Metroid Dread or a Metroid V that would be good.

I'll be interested to see if they do bring any of those Nvidia Wii games over to westerners. Seems a bit strange to have it working in China and not porting them to Switch. Nintendo have got so protective in recent years that they just don't seem to want to sell their own games back to us!

Bayonetta 3, baby

Given how vocal Platinum have been I think that Bayo 3 is a possibility for this direct, likewise seeing some stuff about DMC3 as well. 

In fact I am almost certain that a direct will happen next week on Thursday 16th....but that's just me!

Flynnie said:
Given how vocal Platinum have been I think that Bayo 3 is a possibility for this direct, likewise seeing some stuff about DMC3 as well. 

In fact I am almost certain that a direct will happen next week on Thursday 16th....but that's just me!

style switching for DMC3 switch. calling it now.

everyone has been wishing for this feature forever. adding it would finally make it surpass DMC4's combat.

It is about time CAPCOM start adding in some additional features to be honest. I wish RE4 would have got some of that love!

Flynnie said:
It is about time CAPCOM start adding in some additional features to be honest. I wish RE4 would have got some of that love!

next gen consoles will get RE4 ports that will have ray-tracing!

screen-cap this.

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