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Unpacking the February 8 Nintendo Direct

February 8’s Nintendo Direct revealed a shocking amount of new gaming content coming to the Nintendo Switch, with the live stream showing us expansions to recent games and even long-awaited continuations to beloved franchises.

The Direct began with a trailer showcasing the gameplay of Pikmin 4. The Pikmin franchise has remained a favorite with fans since its conception in 2001, and with its last installment having been released almost a decade ago now is the perfect time for a new game to be added to the Nintendo Switch’s roster.

Alph and Captain Olimar, two playable characters from prior installments in the Pikmin franchise (PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr)

The trailer showcased new playable characters and Pikmin, as well as new mechanics such as climbing. Most notable in the trailer however was a dog-like character, who will seemingly act as an assistant to the player, allowing them to bypass barriers and fully navigate the game’s world.

Both Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Splatoon 3 announced content for their expansion passes, with both likely getting major DLC content this year. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 revealed a new character and story expansions while Splatoon 3 gave a trailer for “Side Order” a post-game DLC for the game.

The direct also announced expansions for both Mario Kart 8 and the switch version of the 2011 game Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, with the expansion for the latter being titled, Kirby’s Return to Dreamland deluxe. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe will include post-game levels featuring the character Magolor, an important character in the base game.

The remake of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land (PHOTO CREDIT: Trusted Reviewers)

The direct announced that games for the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance will be available to play through Nintendo Switch Online. The games featured include Tetris, Super Mario Land 2, Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Mario Kart: Super Circuit.

A remastered version of the 2002 game Metroid Prime was announced to be coming to the Switch immediately after the direct. Nintendo is also currently working on a fourth installment in the Metroid Prime series, which was not showcased in the direct.

One of the most surprising reveals was a new installment in the Professor Layton series of puzzle adventure games developed by Level-5. The game, titled Professor Layton and the New World of Steam, will be the first of the series made for the Nintendo Switch.

Among other announcements included We Love Katamari: Reroll, Advance Wars 1 + 2: Rebootcamp, and Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, a spinoff game from the Bayonetta series.

Arguably the most important trailer showcased in the direct was for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the awaited sequel to the 2017 game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild and the most recent installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise. 

The trailer showcased new enemies, gameplay elements, and locations as well as hints towards the game’s story. The game’s release date was revealed to be May 12, 2023.

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