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EarthBound and other revivals are defining Nintendo's early 2022

It feels like "can I play it on Switch?" was a driving theme for today's Nintendo Direct.

Bryant Francis

February 9, 2022

2 Min Read
The title screen for EarthBound, as seen on Nintendo Switch Online.

Nintendo showed off an Earthbound port, a Wii Sports successor, and other notable games in its first Direct presentation of 2022. Said presentation was light on explosive new game reveals, but heavy on fan-favorite ports of games ranging from Chrono Cross to Valve's Portal.

Unseen at said presentation were any updates on Nintendo's sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, its new Metroid Prime game, and Bayonetta 3. All three titles (and some other rumored projects) have drawn the most interest in Nintendo's presentations, but today's video mostly focused on titles releasing in early 2022. Those games are not scheduled for that window.

The bulk of Nintendo's in-house offerings felt like popular revivals from older eras. These included Wii Sports spiritual successor Nintendo Switch Sports and Mario Strikers sequel Mario Strikers: Battle League. Another Fire Emblem Warriors game inspired by Fire Emblem: Three Houses is on the way. 

The Xenoblade Chronicles series will also get a third entry, and Nintendo showed off new features for the upcoming games Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Splatoon 3.

A large number of reboots, remakes, and ports of older titles also stole the show, and it seems Nintendo's interest in capturing fan excitement for classic titles is becoming a bigger part of its Nintendo Switch online subscription service. Ports of Earthbound and EarthBound Beginnings (a localized version of Mother, the original Famicom game) landed on the Nintendo Switch Online service. It's the first time the series has been available on modern Nintendo devices . 

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, the more expensive iteration of Nintendo's subscription offerings, is getting more content to drive interest from hardcore Switch owners in the form of exclusive courses for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Remakes of the first two Front Mission games and niche JRPG Live A Live also appeared, as did ports of the Klonoa series, Chrono Cross, Portal, and a cloud computing-powered collection of the Kingdom Hearts trilogy. 

The Switch still lives large as the most reliable way to play many beloved video games on the go, and it's likely the soon-to-arrive Steam Deck won't dramatically dent that market. If today's presentation seems slightly tame, it seems that Nintendo is counting on that portability interest to drive it through the first part of 2022. It's likely that more work on its blockbuster titles will be seen in the summer, when it would normally do a presentation adjacent to E3.

E3 of course, is not happening in-person this yearPossibly not at all

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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