A new Nintendo Direct is upon us, but it’s positioned differently than the last few major showcases that Nintendo held. The June 28 presentation is a Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase, calling back to a type of show Nintendo held frequently throughout 2020. It’s shorter in length — Nintendo says this show is 25 minutes — and it will be focused on third-party games not developed by Nintendo.
While this means that we shouldn’t expect the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or something on the level of Metroid Dread to show up here, we suspect that some big announcements are still in store. It’s always a lot of fun to speculate about what might show up at gaming events like this, so here are four things we want to see at this Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase this year.
This Ubisoft-published Mario spinoff was announced a year ago, but we haven’t seen it since. As Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a major third-party Switch exclusive featuring a Nintendo icon, we suspect it’ll be one of the main games featured during this Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase. We hope to see more gameplay, learn what’s different from the first game, and get a release date for this game whenever it finally re-emerges.
2017’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was a nice surprise as those Nintendo and Ubisoft franchises meshed surprisingly well and the game had solid XCOM-like strategy gameplay. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope will have a bigger scope as Mario, his friends, and Rabbids new and old based on those friends explore the universe in order to save cute star-like creatures with Rabbid ears called Sparks. We’ve only gotten a cinematic trailer and a little bit of gameplay so far though, so there’s still a lot about this game to reveal, and this showcase provides Ubisoft’s best opportunity to do so. If Mario + Rabbids: Spark of Hope doesn’t show up, I’d be surprised that this showcase was held at all.
While Nintendo says Partner Showcases are all about third-party games, it broke its own rules before. The October 2020 Partner Showcase featured games like Bravely Default 2 and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which were published but not developed by Nintendo. Several games are in a similar boat this year and could possibly show up. The most imminent is Live A Live, which is in a similar position to Bravely Default 2 as a JRPG developed by Square Enix. Nintendo will likely want to show it one last time before it launches in July, and this is a prime opportunity to do so.
Outside of that, there’s Bayonetta 3, a highly anticipated action game from PlatinumGames. It’s supposed to come out this year but still doesn’t have a release date, so Nintendo could reveal one here. Even Advance Wars 1+2 Re-boot Camp is in the same boat as it’s developed by WayForward and needs a release date after an indefinite delay. While Live A Live is the one I believe will be most likely to show up, seeing more of Bayonetta 3 or Advance Wars would be really nice.
This Square Enix fantasy strategy game is more obscure than the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, but Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together appears to be poised to make a comeback. It was a surprisingly ambitious strategy game for the 90s as it had a branching story as well as gameplay hooks like characters’ abilities and a weather system that has players constantly weighing options to decide what the best tactical move is. It should be more palatable to modern audiences now that games like Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Triangle Strategy are popular, so it’s a great time to reintroduce a series like this.
Square Enix appears to agree, as Tactics Ogre: Reborn leaked onto the PlayStation Store earlier this month. As Tactics Ogre: Reborn is also coming to Switch this year, this presentation would be a sensible place to reveal it. It’s unknown whether Tactics Ogre: Reborn will be an upgraded version of the 2010 PSP remake or yet another reimagining of the 1996 original. Either way, it’s bound to introduce this strategy game franchise to a whole new generation of gamers.
While I think we’ll have to wait a bit longer to learn more about Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate, we’re supposed to hear more about a series spin-off sometime this month. That game is Dragon Quest Treasures, which is a prequel to Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age that Square Enix describes as an “RPG treasure hunting adventure in another world.” We haven’t seen enough of the game in action to know exactly what that means, but Square Enix plans to reveal more about Dragon Quest Treasures very soon.
In May, Square Enix released a trailer confirming that we’d learn more about Dragon Quest Treasures in June 2022. We’re nearing the end of the month and still haven’t seen anything, which makes an appearance at this Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase seem very likely. Regardless, Square Enix and Nintendo have a very close relationship, so something from them is bound to show up here, whether that be Live a Live, Tactics Ogre: Reborn, Dragon Quest Treasures, or all three. And if Dragon Quest Treasures doesn’t show up here, we will at least learn more about it sometime this week.
All we can do is sit back and see whatever Nintendo has in store for us with this Direct.
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