A few weeks ago, Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata addressed investors to explain why the company wasn't failing as badly as it seemed, and why he shouldn't step down. He also bowed a few times because in Japan, when you fuck up, you gotta bow in front of your investors.
He talked about how the console-maker would continue to support both its handheld and console business moving forward, all the while experimenting with "quality of life" improvement technologies and non-game applications for mobile. He spoke in very ambiguous terms, making wide promises that we still don't fully understand.
Nintendo wasn't about to show trailers for upcoming games to a bunch of stuffy old investors. That's what Nintendo Directs are for. That's what today is for, with one slated--surprise!--for this afternoon. It's been revealed that there's going to be a Nintendo Direct at 2 pm PDT/ 5 pm EDT, and it's going to be broadcasted worldwide. The only information we have is that it'll focus on "Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games launching by the end of spring."
This is a big deal for a number of reasons. One: it's the first Direct since the aforementioned "Sorry the company is doing terribly, please don't fire me" conference. Two: it's worldwide, and Nintendo usually saves its biggest announcements for worldwide Nintendo Directs. Three: it's at a weird time--typically they take place during Japan's afternoon, but this one is starting at early in the morning in Japan.
What does it all mean? Well, that's the thing: we have no idea. But if we had to guess--and why not, guessing is fun--there are two very different ways this could play out.
First, let's put on our optimism hats (which is a red Mario cap with a Nintendo logo on it, in case you were wondering). Tomorrow will be an extremely important, substantial Nintendo Direct. There could be a huge price drop on the Wii U, or some other massive revelations. Seriously, Nintendo needs something big right now. The Xbox One is about to get Titanfall, the PS4 is weeks away from Infamous: Second Son, and Nintendo is still acting like people give half a shit about Cranky Kong. While the company will surely touch on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Yoshi's New Island, and Mario Kart 8 during tomorrow's presentation, it could also reveal major new games for the latter half of 2014.
Let's not forget that it was around this time last year that a Nintendo Direct announced Wind Waker HD, Yarn Yoshi, the next Xeno- game, and plenty more. This could be The One We've Been Waiting For--the megaton--and that might be the reason it's posting at a weird time. Nintendo of Japan might want to extra time to answer questions and deal with fallout, instead of forcing the global press to speculate overnight. This could be huge. New Zelda? A Smash Bros. release date? [Update: Platinum Games, Next Level Games, and members of the Super Smash Bros. development staff have tweeted about the event since this article was originally posted.] Nothing is off the table while we're wearing our optimism hat.
But when we take it off, hang it up, and put on our pessimism hat (which is actually more of a helmet with "B0RN 2 CRY" written on it), we're reminded of another possibility: Nintendo is even more screwed than we fear. What if those games aren't even close to being ready? What if Zelda Wii U is two years away? What if Smash Bros. won't be out in 2014? Most of the promises Iwata made were for 2015, and there's a chance that tomorrow's Nintendo Direct could be a total letdown--a reminder that sometimes, Nintendo screws up real bad.
Which will it be? We seriously don't know. It'll likely fall somewhere in between, with one or two things that surprise us, and a few cringe-worthy moments that make us wonder what the hell Nintendo is thinking. The good news is it's less than a day away, so you won't have to switch between hats too many times.