What to expect from the February 2021 Nintendo Direct

Nintendo keeps us guessing with the reveal of a Nintendo Direct on February 17, 2021 at 2 p.m PT. What can we expect from the 50 minute presentation?

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Nintendo is finally ready to start the 2021 video game calendar hype fest with a Nintendo Direct set to premiere on February 17, 2021 at 2 p.m PT / 5 p.m. ET. It's been over 18 months since the gaming world was treated to a no-holds-barred all-you-can-eat full-fat Nintendo Direct smorgasbord of first and third-party teasers, trailers, and announcements. Nothing stirs up the hype quite like a full-fledged Direct. Troll postings of their announcements have become commonplace with would-be clout seekers creating fake Nintendo profiles as realistically as possible. All in the hopes of fooling the droves of eagerly waiting fans with a white text on red background stylized JPEG that we've been conditioned to point out like Leonardo DiCaprio in a Tarantino flick.

Almost an hour will be dedicated to giving us the goods on Nintendo's plans for its Switch hybrid console as the end of the fiscal year approaches and 2021 officially begins for corporate finances. The dockable handheld system has performed spectacularly for Nintendo and its shareholders since its last stock dip in 2019, which was still well above their previous lows in the mid 2010's. Software like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continue to drive sales, but long time Switch owners are hungry for newer and bigger experiences. The 35th anniversary for Mario dominated most of 2020 for Nintendo and this year we move into the time for Zelda to shine. Will the saga of the Triforce make up most of this Direct, or will the confirmation of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate news take center stage? Let's take a guess at what we can expect from the presentation.

What to expect from the February 2021 Nintendo Direct

The floodgates are open for Nintendo possibilities with 50 minutes of a new Direct coming February 17, 2021 at 2 p.m. PT

With 1986 being the start of so many iconic Nintendo franchises, the 35th anniversaries coming up this year are the worst kept secrets in scuttlebutt regarding any Nintendo Direct plans. Zelda's big three-five is less than a week away from the writing of this article and the Direct it is trying to prematurely dissect. Surely, the action adventure series will be a core focus of any upcoming news. I fully expect a release window for Breath of the Wild 2 to find its way into any new footage we are destined to see of the sequel, perhaps even a concrete release date. BOTW2 alone is enough to fill the spotlight that will be shown in Hyrule, being the direct continuation of the largest and arguably most acclaimed adventure of Link. For a legacy that now spans three and a half decades, I expect Nintendo to open the floodgates from Lake Hylia and give us a year worthy of the Hero of Time.

Remakes or remasters of earlier games are likely, maybe even in a collection similar to the Super Mario 3D All-Stars offering. I personally would love to see the HD remasters that are left languishing on the Wii U, Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD to finally get their Switch port dues. I'd also love to see Grezzo get the greenlight to remaster the Oracle of Ages and Seasons games in a style akin to Link's Awakening, which they skillfully handled to critical and retail success. Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask also share a lot of parallels with Breath of the Wild and its sequel, from a tone and development point of view. Maybe Nintendo will finally launch its next a-la-carte digital service with Nintendo 64 online and the original 3D adventure masterpieces. The possibilities are wide for Nintendo to celebrate Zelda, but its not the only IP reaching middle-age.

Middle-aged hunter seeks brainy bounty

It was over two years ago when we found out Metroid Prime 4 had restarted development with Retro Studios.

Samus has spent some time hibernating since her last foray in interstellar bounty hunting with Metroid: Samus Returns in 2017. The Prime series has been away for ten years longer than that. With 50 long minutes on tap for the February 2021 Nintendo Direct, it's time for some Metroid love. Metroid Prime 4 was teased with merely a logo during E3 the same year we got the last entry in the franchise. The galaxy must be growing more dangerous by the day and we're desperate to restore peace to it once again. I hope Nintendo is confident with the change in development that it felt necessary to make in order to deliver its promise of a Prime-worthy follow-up. If they are, expect to see an in-engine trailer and maybe even some gameplay of what will hopefully be a return to first-person exploration greatness for Retro Studios.

Seeing that Samus is also joining the 35 club, I hope Nintendo has more planned for Metroid than just Prime 4. Another classic 2D entry in the series is long overdue, whether or not it's a remaster or original game. Poor sales in the past might have put a damper on how Nintendo sees their genre-defining darling, but I think the Switch has the market share and rabid fan base that can turn any amazing game into a multi-platinum selling hit.

Stick with the hits

It's hard to imagine this roster getting any bigger but there's room for three more fighters.

Nintendo has confirmed that new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate details will be revealed during the February 2021 Direct. Being the best-selling fighting game of all-time, it's easy to see why the brawler that ends all game mascot arguments is still getting major love from its publisher. There are three new fighters yet to be announced, and I imagine we'll get another invitation video tomorrow. The second fighter pass for Smash Ultimate is halfway complete and this year isn't getting any younger. Sakurai and team have been working hard on implementing new characters and reworking levels in order to accommodate them. With all the work it must have taken to get Steve and Alex from Minecraft to fit into Smash Bros., the guesses are completely up in the air for who might be next in line for the coveted crossover.

Bandai Namco and Nintendo have been fairly good at surprising us with the reveals so far, I don't think anyone can claim to have the smart money on any bet. If I were to get a dream pick into the fracas, I would want it be yet another sword user. Before you close the tab out of disgust, let me clarify! I actually would love to see a nail wielder get a chance, the Hollow Knight himself. I imagine the anticipated sequel, Silksong, will also be a big part of the Direct.

Plenty of time for the little guys

Hollow Knight: Silksong is the sequel to an indie masterpiece and a timed Nintendo Switch console exclusive.
Hollow Knight: Silksong is the sequel to an indie masterpiece and a timed Nintendo Switch console exclusive.

Fifty minutes for a proper Nintendo Direct is almost too good to be true. The pacing of the famously Iwata helmed directly-to-you format has been brisk since the inception of the videos almost ten years ago when we were still lucky to have the previous president of the company with us. Teasers and announcements fly at the viewers in rapid succession, with barely the time to breathe between each one. News about Nintendo's plans for 2021 have been almost disconcertingly quiet since the summer of 2020 and the remnants of what used to be E3. Speculation and hearsay is at a fever pitch, this being the second predictive piece we've published in as many months on Shacknews. A considerable amount of time is sure to be spent on your Zeldas, your Metroids, and your Brothers of Smash; but there should be plenty of room for the smaller and larger guys on the docket.

It would be nice to get a Silksong release date after what seems like an eternity of waiting after Team Cherry unveiled the Switch console-timed exclusive two years ago. It will be nice to get some hard dates for 2021, at the least. The definitive 2021 release calendar for Nintendo has been anemic in regards to big titles. After New Pokemon Snap and Bravely Default II, there isn't a whole lot to be excited about, that is until the Direct changes everything. I expect we'll see a flurry of third-party announcements and smaller first-party projects that were previously unknown. There's even room for other big AAA Nintendo titles to make a scene and really send this Direct over the top.

The year and a half wait to set it off

Nintendo Land was one of the best showcases of Nintendo hardware and I'd love to see the idea revisited in 2021.

Eighteen months is a long time in the video gaming world. The wait for another big time Nintendo Direct has been excruciating for the Nintendo faithful. If this Direct is going to make the splash I'm sure it's going to, then Nintendo definitely has some showstoppers in store. One can only dream when the announcement of an hour of furiously fast Nintendo scoops lands on the collective Internet's doorstep like an oversized Amazon package full of video game bliss. I'm hopeful for a Nintendo Land spin-off that would essentially be a commercial for the real life Super Nintendo World. F-Zero can sell millions again and be the chocolate to Mario Kart's peanut butter, I know it can. A Mother reveal would be the mother of all reveals for retro fans everywhere and a treat for the millions of Switch owners looking for another unique experience like only Nintendo can provide.

I'm abuzz with excitement for the Nintendo news to wash over me. A tidal wave of rapid-fire clips that will be sure to get the nostalgia flowing, the hype boiling, and the Internet ruined for days with hot takes. The stage is set for this Direct to start the train on the 2021 video game release frenzy that arrives around the summer, and it's going to be fast. If you'd like to ruminate more about Nintendo speculation, check out our earlier feature about Nintendo's plans for 2021. Make sure to keep those browsers tabbed to Shacknews for breaking Nintendo Direct news as it happens tomorrow, starting at 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET on Nintendo's official YouTube or Twitch channels.

Contributing Editor

From the test launch of the NES in New York to 4K gaming in his living room, Bryan Lefler has been immersed in video games his entire life. Battle tested in the arena shooters of the turn of the century yet kind to all animals that may cross him, Bryan enjoys a breadth of games but strives to be the best in any contest of digital skill. He is a former esports competitor and has been part of the Shacknews community for over 15 years. You can also catch him on skankcore64 streams on the Shacknews Twitch channel where he plays through the N64 library.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 16, 2021 6:00 PM

    Bryan Lefler posted a new article, What to expect from the February 2021 Nintendo Direct

    • reply
      February 16, 2021 6:32 PM

      Give me that BOTW2 pls

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      February 16, 2021 6:34 PM

      Metroid Prime 4

      BotW 2 coming 2021

      Clay Fighter 3

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        February 16, 2021 8:00 PM

        Clay is an old man now, like all of us. He has no fight left in him. Let him retire.

    • reply
      February 16, 2021 6:37 PM

      Mario Kart 9, hopefully.

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        February 17, 2021 9:14 AM

        I think I'm actually okay with no Mario Kart for once. MK8 was so........ sterile? I dunno. Something about it lacked charm. If they are, they gotta mix it up to keep things interesting.

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          February 17, 2021 9:31 AM

          Besides some naggles with playing with friend online, MK8 was about perfect for me

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      February 16, 2021 6:54 PM

      GOLF STORY 2 please!!! (AKA Sports Story)

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        February 16, 2021 7:42 PM

        Honestly the first realistic prediction aside from Silksong that I’ve read lol

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      February 16, 2021 7:03 PM

      Switch Pro plz.

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      February 16, 2021 7:46 PM

      Silksong is my hope and seems likely given that franchise's past releases.

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      February 17, 2021 7:42 AM

      Don't care about Smash stuff. I think we'll get Zelda-related announcements since the 35th anniversary is this Sunday, I believe. Maybe a trailer for BOTW 2, but I don't expect concrete details until later this year.

      We should also get to see Mario Kart 9. Can't fucking wait.

      I don't even care what we see. I'm just excited for another proper Direct.

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      February 17, 2021 7:45 AM

      My wild guess: Zelda 35 Anniv. stuff, including Skyward Sword remake. Tease at BOTW2 for late 2021 or early 2022

      Mario Super Strikers for June release

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