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8 of the most exciting announcements from the first Nintendo Direct of 2019

Published Feb 14th, 2019 11:24AM EST
Nintendo Direct February 2019
Image: Nintendo

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Nintendo fans had to wait more than three months between Nintendo Direct live streams, but the wait was worth it, as Nintendo dropped a few surprises alongside updates on previously announced games for 2019. A new(-ish) Legend of Zelda was the highlight of the stream, but Super Mario Maker 2 gave it a run for its money.

We also learned more about Switch exclusives such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and Fire Emblem: Three Heroes — all of which are coming this year. And if you were worried about third-party content, rest easy — there was plenty of it present, including a Definitive Edition of Dragon Quest XI.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening is not only one of the best Game Boy games of all time, but also one of the best Zelda games ever made. Yesterday, we learned that Nintendo is remaking the classic action RPG for the Switch with a completely new art style, and it immediately shot to the top of my list of most anticipated Switch games. No release date was shared, but Nintendo says that this colorful “reimagining” will hit the Switch in 2019.

Super Mario Maker 2

One of the best Wii U games is getting an official sequel on the Switch. Super Mario Maker 2, like the Wii U and 3DS games before it, lets players build and share their own 2D Mario levels using hundreds of assets from throughout the history of the series. The sequel will have new features, tools, and items.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

While Link might have stolen the show, Fire Emblem: Three Houses was technically the focus of the Direct. Coming July 26th, Three Houses is the first Fire Emblem game for home consoles in over a decade. You’ll take on the role of a professor at one of the three titular houses (The Black Eagles, The Blue Lions, and The Golden Deer) where you will lead the students in turn-based battles. If you know Fire Emblem, this looks a lot like Fire Emblem.

Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition

One of the best JRPGs of the past few years is coming to the Switch in 2019 with a few new tricks up its sleeve. In addition to containing the full game that arrived in the US on PS4 and PC last fall, the Definitive Edition will feature new stories, a fully orchestrated soundtrack, and the ability to switch to Japanese audio.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

Nintendo announced this surprise sequel last year, but the reveal video did not give us much of a feel for the actual game. Thankfully, this latest gameplay video does, showing off four-player co-op, the zoomed-in Heroic Camera, and the ability of characters (like Captain Marvel) to level and learn new skills.

Yoshi’s Crafted World

We already know all there is to know about Yoshi’s Crafted World, but considering it’s the only major exclusive slated to come out on the Switch within the next two months, it seemed worth putting on this list. More importantly, though, you can download a demo for the game right now from the Nintendo eShop.

Astral Chain

Another genuine surprise last night: We got our first glimpse of Astral Chain, the next big action game from Platinum (which is the team that made Bayonetta). It’s got that same Platinum flair we’ve come to know and love, but Nintendo wasn’t ready to say much about it, other than that it comes out on August 30th.

Third-Party Releases

First-party titles were the focus on the latest Nintendo Direct, but the company also announced release dates for several third-party games coming out this year. Some have already hit other consoles, while others will launch day-and-date on the Switch as well as the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Here’s the full list from the stream:

  • Final Fantasy IX | Available Now
  • Tetris 99 | Available Now
  • Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! | March 20th
  • Unravel two | March 22nd
  • Final Fantasy VII | March 26th
  • Mortal Kombat 11 | April 23rd
  • Assassin’s Creed III Remastered | May 21st
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2 | July 12th, 2019
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice | Spring 2019
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night | Summer 2019
  • GRID Autosport | Summer 2019
  • Dead by Daylight | Fall 2019
  • Disney Tsum Tsum Festival | 2019
  • Rune Factory 4 Special | 2019

It really wasn’t clear how 2019 would compare to a relatively slow 2018 in terms of game releases for the Switch, but between the known commodities, the surprise announcements, and the sizable collection of third-party titles, this year is shaping up to be an exciting one for fans of Nintendo’s latest console.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.