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WILD SPECULATION FOR THIS WEEK’S NINTENDO DIRECT

After 530 days, Nintendo has finally announced a new Nintendo Direct, its flagship livestream reveal series, for Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. PT. Roughly 50 minutes of updates on everything the Japanese gaming giant has in store for 2021 are in store, giving us plenty to sink our teeth into.

The specifics of Nintendo’s latest Direct are still up for debate, but, as has become tradition, wild speculation and predictions ahead of the event are the standard pregame festivities.

With that in mind, here are a few of VENN’s predictions for Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, from new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighters to a surprise cameo in a wildly popular multiplayer game.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Gets Evil With Ivo

The last two Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveals have been Internet-breaking affairs, with Steve and Alex from Minecraft striking a match amongst the fanbase before Final Fantasy VII baddie Sephiroth fully set the Smash community ablaze himself. Knowing that Wednesday’s Direct will feature some Smash Bros. news, but will not be entirely centered on the fighting game, tells us the character reveal might not have the same level of notoriety, though it will obviously still be a recognizable face.

To that end, we’re going with Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog as the next DLC entrant, adding a much-needed villain to the roster (joining Ridley, King K Rool, Piranha Plant and Sephiroth as Ultimate’s latest baddies) while also giving the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise a sorely-needed second representative. Mario’s old rival deserves his own counterpoint in the world of Smash, and Eggman has the potential to be a completely unique character thanks to his many devices and traps.

A second possibility here is Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, if only because rumors about the character’s inclusion have been rampant for months now.

The Last Hunter is on the Island

Back in December, Epic Games announced two monumental partnerships regarding its megahit Fortnite as both Sony and Microsoft would add one of their exclusive characters to the game — Kratos from God of War and Halo’s Master Chief, respectively. That leaves Nintendo as the only console maker in gaming without an exclusive character in Fortnite, and we think that changes tomorrow.

But who? Well, while a lot of attention is being paid to The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary, it’s also Metroid’s 35th birthday. What better way to celebrate the iconic sci-fi action franchise while also bringing the series to a new set of eyes than to drop hero Samus Aran into the Battle Royale while it’s currently looking for new hunters? With Metroid Prime 4 in the works (not to mention the magazine racks currently in-game in Fortnite with a suspicious-looking symbol) this partnership makes too much sense not to come true.

A Link to 35

Speaking of that Zelda 35th Anniversary, we would be absolutely shocked if Nintendo didn’t mention it in some way. While we don’t expect any news on the follow-up to 2017’s Breath of the Wild (since Wednesday’s Direct specified only games from the “first half of 2021” would be focused on), we are excited for some indication on how the company will be celebrating the milestone.

Zelda’s anniversary could follow Super Mario’s 35th in three ways: real-life apparel; a collaboration with Animal Crossing: New Horizons; and The Legend of Zelda 35, a Battle Royale-style competition where players make their way through the original Legend of Zelda game, adding enemies to other players’ games with the last one standing being victorious in the style of last year’s Super Mario Bros. 35. A port of one (or both) of the Wii U Zelda HD upgrades Twilight Princess and Wind Waker may happen as well, but we’re thinking that’s coming in late summer (if it happens at all). There will be more on Zelda’s 35th throughout 2021, but as a jumping off point, this is pretty good.

Back to the Galaxy

The most conspicuous absence from Super Mario 3D All-Stars was Super Mario Galaxy 2, a follow-up to 2007’s Mario masterpiece. With the plucky plumber’s 35th anniversary celebration winding down at the end of March, we’re thinking this oversight will be righted on Wednesday.

An eShop exclusive download of an upgraded Super Mario Galaxy 2 would be a nice surprise for those who wanted to keep Mario’s space-faring adventures going in 3D All-Stars. A shadow drop would be more than welcome as well, so long as it doesn’t also carry the “This will go away on 3/31/21” caveat of Super Mario Bros. 35 and 3D All-Stars. What’s up with that date, anyway?

Nintendo 64!

The NES Online and Super NES Online features are cool perks of the online membership, letting us relive some classic games and odd one-offs from yesteryear. We are thinking some more games might be added to each of those, but the real prize here would be the addition of Nintendo 64 Online.

It’s the next logical step in the online offerings, and the 64 is a console that was available from the beginning of the Virtual Console back on the Wii, so it’s time it makes its Switch debut. Initial offerings, if we got to choose, would include both Legend of Zelda games (1998’s Ocarina of Time and 2000’s Majora’s Mask), Pilotwings 64, Wave Race 64, Yoshi’s Story and Star Fox 64, among others. N64 Online is overdue in some fans’ eyes, so what better time to make it a reality.

Here are some predictions from other members of the VENN editorial team:

No Phoenix Wright Predictions? Objection!

It’s Ace Attorney time, baby! For the last four years, Japan has been home to two Ace Attorney games that were never localized or released anywhere else. This may no longer be the case, and there’s a good chance we might hear about it in tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct. A rating for The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles was recently filed by the Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. While there hasn’t been an official announcement or any word from Capcom, it seems the collection of two games will likely find its way to Switch — and soon.

But why stop there? We just got word that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy recently surpassed 1 million sales worldwide since its release in April 2019. Now that we’ve had a successful time with the first three games in the series, wouldn’t it make sense to release the next three games in a second trilogy pack? Is that time now? I certainly hope it is. And if that wasn’t enough, how about we slip Phoenix Wright one of those coveted Smash invitations while we’re at it. Think of the moveset, the music, the stage! Let’s make tomorrow an all-out Ace Attorney blowout! — Michael Koczwara

Breath of the Wild 2

I know Zelda was already mentioned, but I immediately disregarded it for my own opinions. We’re getting a Breath of the Wild 2 announcement tomorrow. Anything less than that is a disappointment and my sadness will know no bounds.

I’d also like to see Doug Bowser dressed up as Link — or Tingle. — Patrick Shanley

Persona 5 Steals Hearts on Nintendo Switch

Persona 5 is one of the most popular entries in the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff series, and yet it still hasn’t made its way to the Switch. That’s likely about to be rectified. It’s perfect timing, really. Persona 5 Strikers is right around the corner and it’s a direct sequel to the original game, headed to PS4, PC and Switch on Feb. 23.

Protagonist Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves, is already a playable character in Super Smash Bros. (and a crowd favorite.) We’re also getting a new Shin Megami Tensei game as well as a port of the classic Nocturne in the near future. And yet we’ve seen zero Persona entries hit the Switch yet. What better time to pull the trigger on a port than right now? If we do see Persona 5 coming to Switch, it’d have to be the newest Royal edition, with additional content and even potential DLC.

It wouldn’t even be out of the realm of possibility to see Persona 4 come to Switch as well, though a set of Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5 releases for the console-handheld hybrid would certainly be welcome. Of course, we all know that Persona 3, the best Persona game, is dead in the water at this point. It’s still nice to dream about, though. — Brittany Vincent

Raccoon Smash

We already talked about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal possibilities, but there’s one character I’d love to see join the roster: Tom Nook. Animal Crossing is already a Nintendo IP, and Smash is all about bringing Nintendo characters together in a brutal battle royale. Imagine the landlord racoon yeeting turnips at Mario, Zelda or Pikachu, blasting them off the map. Truly epic. — Brittany Spurlin

Photo courtesy of Nintnedo

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