Nintendo Directs are always exciting because they contain some of the year's most notable game reveals. While the Nintendo-published headliners of the show are what everyone typically talks about, there are plenty of other third-party announcements that round out these shows. Though some of these games might seem like filler during the presentation, they are sometimes the most meaningful parts of the showcase when one looks back after the fact.
The February 9 Nintendo Direct was no different in that regard. It contained significant first-party reveals like Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, Nintendo Switch Sports, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. However, five other announcements from the show felt just as significant, even if they were much more niche. From games that are getting a second shot at life to ones that are much more experimental, these are five atypical games from the Nintendo Direct that players should pay attention to.
Live A Live
LIVE A LIVE - Nintendo Switch
Not only did this game lay the groundwork for RPGs like Octopath Traveller and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, but it's a win for the fan translation community as well. Live A Live is the next game to use the HD-2D style Square Enix created for Octopath Traveler, but it's actually a remake of a Super Famicom JRPG that never came out in North America.
It follows seven different protagonists across different time periods, from prehistory to the Wild West to the distant future, before they all come together to fight the King of Demons. Its segmented story structure was a bold narrative choice in the 1990s and influenced the structure of many modern JRPGs. I recommend watching Did You Know Gaming's Region Locked video to get a complete sense of what this game is about and why it never came to the West.
Previously, the only way to play this was a fan translation from the group Aeon Genesis, and their efforts have kept this cult classic relevant since its release. This release is a huge win for fans who've worked hard to preserve these lost JRPGs and gives new players a chance to experience an innovative JRPG story.
Live A Live will launch for Nintendo Switch on July 22.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series - Nintendo Switch
Klonoa is an obscure platformer franchise from Bandai Namco Entertainment. While Klonoa games have been well-received thanks to satisfying platforming mechanics and surprisingly engaging stories, games in this series haven't sold very well. As such, Klonoa was largely ignored as the North American versions of its games skyrocketed in price. As a result, it became more difficult for new players to find out what makes Klonoa so great.
During this Nintendo Direct, Bandai Namco Entertainment confirmed the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, a remaster of console platformers Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, is coming to Nintendo Switch soon. This package will introduce Klonoa to a whole new generation and possibly revive the series if it sells well enough.
Platformer fans should keep an eye on Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series when it releases for Nintendo Switch on July 8, 2022.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story | Announce Trailer
Missed this one? Don't worry, it was only in the Japanese Nintendo Direct. While North American viewers missed out on this live-action video game's reveal during the Direct, it's still releasing in the West and looks wild. The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story follows two characters named Haruka Kagami and Eiji Shijima as they try to solve four Shijima-related murders that have taken place over the last 100 years.
It's like Last Night in Soho meets Sherlock, and a unique take on the choose your own adventure game split into three phases. In the incident phase, players watch the murder unfold and look for clues to help them solve the mystery. In the reasoning phase, players come up with a hypothesis for who committed the crime using all of the information they have before seeing how their choices play out in the solution phase.
This game's experimental narrative structure and development team consisting of people who've worked on Metal Gear Solid V, Nier: Automata, and The Naked Director make it one of the boldest games to come out of any of the Nintendo Directs on February 9.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story will hit Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and PS5 on May 12, 2022.
Front Mission remakes
FRONT MISSION 1st: Remake - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Remakes of the first two games in the Front Mission series were confirmed during the Nintendo Direct. Front Mission is a classic strategy game series from Square Enix, though Forever Entertainment is handling these remakes. Players command squads of mechs called Wanzers in a future conflict between the fictional Oceania Cooperative Union and Unified Continental States. These remakes are more shocking than they might initially seem when one considers that the last game in the series was Left Alive.
Front Mission never garnered worldwide appeal, so the series was dormant for some time. In 2019, Square Enix released Left Alive, a stealth action game set in the Front Mission universe. Critics panned Left Alive because of its bad story, lots of glitches, and clunky and frustratingly hard gameplay. Most franchises could never recover from something as terrible as Left Alive, but Forever Entertainment is trying to make Front Mission relevant again with these remakes. A new generation of players will finally learn what made this series unique and, hopefully, Front Mission's reputation will be restored.
Front Mission 1st will launch sometime this summer, while the sequel's remake is still in development.
Disney Speedstorm - Nintendo Direct 2.9.22 - Nintendo Switch
While many of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it reveals during the Direct were from Japanese studios, Disney Speedstorm is a more mainstream title to keep an eye on. The reveal of a Disney and Pixar racing game might seem negligible, especially in lieu of the Mario Kart 8 DLC news, but it might be a surprisingly successful title on the platform. It's no secret that Mario Kart 8 has been extremely lucrative on Switch, and it's a full-price title. Disney Speedstorm will be free-to-play and features lots of Disney and Pixar characters that might be even more recognizable to children than Mario and his friends.
For parents that don't want to spend money on Mario Kart or kids looking for free games to try on their Switch, Disney Speedstorm will be a very appealing option. It seems like a solid racer regardless of its price point. While Disney Speedstorm is the kind of game hardcore gamers roll their eyes at this, don't be surprised if a free-to-play Disney racer with local and online multiplayer becomes one of the most popular games on Nintendo Switch when it launches this summer.