Nintendo Recap — Pokémon Legends: Arceus looks promising thanks to new features and E3 might not happen
Welcome everybody to this week's Nintendo recap. 2022 is already off to an exciting start with new trailers for both the upcoming Pokémon and Kirby games, giving us greater insights into both adventures. Plus, one of the most popular Assassin's Creed titles is coming to Switch and the next Mario Kart is reportedly in development. Additionally, in-person E3 2022 has been canceled, but it looks like this probably would have been the case regardless of the Omicron variant. There's plenty to talk about so lets a-go!
New Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer shows off wild encounters, missions, and more
There's been a lot of confusion and curiosity surrounding Pokémon Legends: Arceus since it was first announced considering it heavily deviates from the normal Pokémon format. The Pokémon Company has attempted to enlighten fans and get them hyped for the game through various social media posts and trailers. As part of this, a 13-minute Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer released Thursday. It explained several aspects of the game including Noble Pokémon, how to interact with and capture wild Pokémon, character customization, and more. While there's still plenty that we don't know, the latest trailer answers several questions and has gotten us at iMore more excited for its release.
Many have said this before, but this long trailer makes one thing certain; Pokémon Legends: Arceus was heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The open-world exploration, variety of terrain, and even the minimalist piano music all feel like it took cues from Link's latest adventure. We even see a player seamlessly switch from riding a Wyrdeer over land to jumping into the air and flying with the help of a Braviary. Plus, the Pokémon catching mechanics seem to give the game more depth.
Players can sneak up on certain Pokémon and attempt to catch them simply by throwing a Poké Ball, but others require more work like battling or the use of items to make them catchable. Not to mention, your game avatar can even get attacked while out in the wild, so players will need to dodge and make use of the open space. It really looks like Arceus will provide a unique Pokémon experience and I can't wait to get my hands on it when it releases on Jan. 28, just two weeks away.
Mario Kart 9 in development with a new "twist"
Tokyo-based industry analyst Dr. Serkan Toto told Gamesindustry.biz that Mario Kart 9 is in development with a new "twist". This led many fans to speculate what the new gimmick could be.
On Twitter, #NintendoKart became a trending topic as players dreamed of additional video game characters landing themselves behind the wheel of Nintendo's flagship racing game, much like how fighters from various games have made their way into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It wouldn't be out of the question. After all, it was only with 8 and 8 Deluxe that more characters outside of the Mushroom Kingdom were added in like Link, the Inklings, and Isabelle from Animal Crossing. Characters like Samus Aran, Princess Zelda, or even certain Pokémon would liven the series up a bit and encourage players to buy the newest entry. Some players have already modded additional characters into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to make things more interesting. However, whether this is the route Nintendo takes remains to be seen.
In the meantime, we've seen several other companies attempt to come into the silly racer space like Nickelodeon Kart Racers, Chocopo GP with Final Fantasy elements, and even Garfield Kart. It's not surprising so many companies are developing their own multiverse racers given how well Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has continued to sell on Switch. Even though it's technically a Wii U port, it's the best-selling Switch game by far with over 38.74 million copies sold and it continues to sell well each month.
However, with how much money 8 Deluxe is bringing in, there's absolutely no need for the Japanese gaming company to release Mario Kart 9 any time soon. It's more likely that Mario Kart 9 will be headed to Nintendo's new console after the Switch. It would make for a great launch title since all the fans yearning for it right now would most definitely go for the new console.
That means right now, the only Mario Kart title made for Switch is Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Nintendo knew there was demand for a new Mario Kart on Switch, so it went with an experience that tried something new without cannibalizing the sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
More news surrounding Mario Kart entries will undoubtedly come over the next few years and we'll be here to report on it when that happens.
Uncertainty surrounds E3 2022
E3 2022 will be an online-only event if it even happens at all. With the global pandemic reaching a record number of new cases in the U.S., it wasn't too surprising when the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced it once more wouldn't be having a physical E3 event this year.
However, as explained by Rebekah Valentine of IGN, it appears the ESA gave up on having an in-person E3 event for 2022 as far back as last fall, before the Omicron variant was even a factor. It usually takes place in June, but so far, no official dates have been announced and some sources have stated they haven't heard any formal plans for the show at all. It's uncertain if we will get a digital E3 2022 event either.
Nintendo fans shouldn't fret, though. Regardless if there's a big game event with multiple publishers, we are certain that Nintendo will still have some big announcements for us in the coming months. There are plenty of exciting Nintendo Switch games coming out this year and the company more than likely has several standalone showcases in store. It wouldn't be surprising at all if we still get a large Nintendo Direct in June (around the same time E3 is usually held).
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection coming to Switch isn't all good news
For many Assassin's Creed fans, the Ezio games — Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed Revelations — are the very best in the series. Fortunately for Switch owners, these once demanding PC games are headed to Nintendo Switch on Feb. 17, so you can play them on the go.
However, an official press release reported by NintendoLife explains that while the physical version of the game does come with a cartridge, only Assassin's Creed II will be on it. Brotherhood and Revelations will be digital downloads that require the cartridge to be in place to play them. According to Nintendo:
This is understandably frustrating for fans who like to purchase physical cartridges. If anything, it makes a case for simply purchasing the collection digitally since two of the three games will be digital anyway. Regardless of how you buy it, these games were influential in Assassin's Creed history and are worth a playthrough if you haven't checked them out before.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land comes in March with two-player co-op and new Copy Abilities
This week, Nintendo finally revealed the release date for Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which launches on March 25, 2022. We also learned that this adventure can be played solo or with a buddy in local two-player co-op. Player 1 gets to take charge of the titular Kirby while Player 2 controls spear-wielding Bandana Waddle Dee. Together you get to explore an abandoned civilization, fight enemies, and save the other Waddle Dees.
Due to a disclaimer that appeared during the new trailer, we know there are some optional, additional features for Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) subscribers, including some kind of toy vending machine, and being able to see what Copy Abilities are the most popular among other players. There are likely additional features as well. For all we know, the vending machine might have something to do with scanning Kirby amiibo.
At any rate, with co-op and online features, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is really starting to look like a fun time. If nothing else, it looks like it's taking 3D platforming cues from Super Mario Odyssey, but will provide a more thorough multiplayer campaign experience for fans to enjoy.
See you next week
That's it for Nintendo news this week. I'm counting down the days until I can pick up my Pokémon Legends: Arceus preorder on Jan. 28. Until then, I'll content myself with catching Legendaries in Brilliant Diamond.
I hope you all get to play your favorite games this weekend and maybe even discover new ones as well.
Until next time.
- Rebecca Spear
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.