Tomorrow's Nintendo Direct to discuss spring releases, but what are they?

What, you thought the year was over? As if. Nintendo, apparently not content with letting writers enjoy the post-release season lull, has announced a Nintendo Direct for 6am PT on December 18. And unlike the last Direct, where absolutely nothing of value was revealed and the aforementioned writers woke up early for nothing, this one is international, meaning we're likely to get some big news.

According to the press release, the Nintendo Direct will be "focusing on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS software launching through spring 2014,"--which is to say games coming out through next June. It's an interesting promise, given that the only game with a solid release date between now and then is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Sure, Nintendo could broadcast an hour of Cranky Kong bouncing around on his cane like an asshole, but odds are we're in for something more substantial this time around. Nintendo has nearly a dozen big releases that are still without solid dates, and some of them should be landing within the next four months.

So, what's coming after Tropical Freeze? Well, let's go down the list.

Nintendo mentioned a spring release for Mario Kart 8 when it was revealed at E3, so we might hear more about that. Though Mario Kart 7 hit 3DS during a December, Mario Kart Wii--which went on to sell somewhere in the vicinity of oh my god how many millions?--came out in an April, and I feel like that might be when we see 8 on the Wii U.

Mario Kart 8, alone, is a big deal, but things are looking even better on the 3DS front. Yoshi's New Island was playable at E3 and actually has a name (unlike that Yarn Yoshi game, which I can't see releasing before July), and the unfortunately named Kirby Triple Deluxe has a Japanese date in January, meaning that a Spring 2014 release in the US/UK is totally in the cards. But those were the easy ones--and I doubt that it's all Nintendo is releasing before the end of spring.

Though Smash Bros. producer' has recently waved away rumors of a pre-summer Smash Bros. in recent weeks, I'm not totally convinced that we won't be surprised by a May launch. There's also a chance that Bayonetta 2, which was playable at E3 2013, could be out pre-E3 2014. Other games, like Project X, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, and Zelda Wii U are almost certainly releasing in 2014, but I wouldn't expect to hear a peep from them before E3.

Then again, Nintendo could throw a Hail Mary and reveal Zelda or Metroid or Starfox (or all three?), since they would absolutely sell systems, but… don't get your hopes up. Either way, be sure to swing back tomorrow morning to find out exactly what Nintendo's plans for the first half of 2014 entail.

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