There's a big Nintendo Direct happening today, which will give us fresh looks at some of the upcoming Switch games launching later this year. While Nintendo has said that the Direct will be "mainly focused on Nintendo Switch games" launching this winter, we're heavily reading into that "mainly" with the hope of seeing something new, or big updates on titles already confirmed to arrive in 2022.
The timing is interesting, as the smaller Nintendo Directs tend to happen around 3pm BST / 10am EDT. But this Direct is in Nintendo's major slot of 11pm BST / 6pm EDT, which gives a sense that there may well be some major announcements happening, rather than merely updates on already confirmed titles. Nintendo has also held a major Direct every September for the past five years, so there's certainly precedent.
Bearing all that in mind, here are our Nintendo Direct predictions, which range from almost guaranteed showcases to our hopes and guesses based on rumors.
With the Metroid Dread release date mere weeks away, it feels like a sure bet that we'll see at least something from Samus' upcoming 2D adventure. The game launches - alongside the Nintendo Switch OLED - on October 8, but we have had plenty of trailers and teasers for the title in recent weeks, so it could be that the gameplay shown in today's Direct is something more discrete.
Nintendo Switch OLED
Although Nintendo has said this Direct is mainly about games, we'd be surprised if the company's upcoming hardware release didn't at least get a mention. The Nintendo Switch OLED launches on October 8, which is only a few weeks away, so feels like the prime time to remind would-be buyers of its existence.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
Another title that's bound to get a little air time at the Nintendo Direct is the upcoming remake duo, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The games originally launched on Nintendo DS, but are being given a Switch facelift that'll debut on November 19. The headline new feature is the art style, which is quite different to its original design. The Underground is also getting an upgrade, so perhaps this could be the focus for today's update.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Due to arrive on January 28, 2022, you can technically count Pokemon Legends: Arceus as one of the winter Switch titles, which makes it prime for a showing at the September Nintendo Direct. We got a lengthy look at the game at a recent Pokemon Presents live stream, which revealed Hisuian variants of classic Pokemon including Growlithe, so it'll be interesting to see what The Pokemon Company shows off next, given its tendency to want to keep the majority of the surprises under wraps.
Mario Kart 9
It's not so outlandish to imagine a new Mario Kart game could be in the works. After all, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an updated version of the excellent Wii U game that came out near the launch of the Switch console back in 2017. With quite a sizable chunk of time since we saw a new instalment in the long-running franchise, this could be the time we see it make a comeback with a shiny new entry that makes the most of the Switch.
Big Animal Crossing: New Horizon update
It's been a long time since we've seen anything new come to the sandy shores of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so a big update feels well overdue. Rumors have been circulating for some time about the possibility of seeing the return of Brewster with the addition of a café in the museum. Could this finally be the time we see Isabelle and Tom Nook confirm what we've all been hoping for? We really could do with some new content to breathe some life back into our island getaways.
Splatoon 3 update
Nintendo has already shown off some of the features of the upcoming return of Splatoon, such as an early look at character creation, as well as some of the weapons we'll be splatting some ink with. But we could see more Inkling action during the showcase that will hopefully show off something new. Given that the last update revealed we'd be seeing the launch of Splatoon 3 sometime in 2022, there's also the chance that we'll get a more exact release date this time around.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 update
One of Nintendo's most highly anticipated titles is undoubtedly The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, and if previous showcases are anything to go by, we'll likely see more of the game in the latest Nintendo Direct. The last trailer showed off a host of exciting new features and foes, but it'd be great to get a glimpse at some of the other surprises in store. With a 2022 launch window, here's hoping we get that all-important release date.
New Kirby game
We haven't seen the adorable pink blob lead his own adventure since Kirby Star Allies back in 2018. While Kirby has been copying a lot of iconic characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it would be great to see our vacuuming hero return for a new mainline platforming adventure that does something fresh and creative. The world could always do with more Kirby, so here's hoping we see him make a comeback in a big way.
Bayonetta 3 has been one of the most long-awaited releases, and we haven't really seen all that much of the game. With every Direct there's always the hope that we'll get to see Bayonetta make an appearance and despite Platinum Games staying relatively quiet about the sequel, Nintendo Treehouse's Bill Trinen confirmed it was "progressing well" and to "stay tuned". Maybe this could finally be the time.
New Nintendo Switch Online collections
There have been plenty of rumors lately that suggest Nintendo is gearing up to add more classic games to the Nintendo Switch Online virtual collection - although the reports suggest they may not be included in your Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Currently, you can access NES and SNES titles via the service, but reports suggest that Game Boy and N64 game support is in the works. It is also the 20th anniversary of the Game Cube this year, so perhaps those titles are ripe for a Switch revival instead.
Nintendo 64 controller for Switch
To go alongside these Switch Online rumors, there is also talk of Nintendo releasing an N64 controller for the Switch. Nintendo recently filed a product application to the GCC, which included the 'HAC' prefix use for Switch hardware. The filing stated that images and diagrams for the device would arrive on September 24, which just happens to be tomorrow - the day after the Nintendo Direct.
Metroid Prime Remaster
Another rumor that's come in hot off the press is that of a Metroid Prime remaster. According to the new leak, the remaster would launch on Switch in early 2022 to celebrate the game's 20th anniversary. It's not clear if this is a trilogy remaster or just the first game, but we're excited either way to replay the classic title.
Donkey Kong game
This year marked the 40th anniversary of Donkey Kong, but the milestone has yet to be celebrated by Nintendo. It's been a long time since we saw the famous ape feature in a mainline game, and with such a big landmark anniversary, now feels like the right time to see a new Donkey Kong game. Back in May there were even rumors that one may be in development by the Super Mario Odyssey team, so maybe this showcase will finally confirm for it for us once and for all.
Here's our pick of the 25 best Switch games you can play right now.