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On Wednesday, February 17 at 2pm PT (10pm GMT), the platform holder will livestream roughly 50 minutes of information focused on available games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and “games coming to Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2021,” it said.
Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai has tweeted that the Direct will feature content related to the series. The new Direct’s timing is also notable for its proximity to The Legend of Zelda‘s 35th anniversary, which is this weekend (Feb 21).
The company’s last general Nintendo Direct presentation took place on September 5, 2019.
The long delay for a full Direct has likely been due to the uncertainty over release dates during the coronavirus pandemic, with Nintendo traditionally preferring to announce titles in close proximity to when they’re planned to come out.
Although the platform holder’s full Direct presentations are now less frequent than when the initiative started in 2011, the Direct format has evolved with the addition of smaller presentations focused on indie games, individual franchises such as Pokémon, Smash Bros. DLC and the Super Nintendo World theme park.
Recently the company has aired a series of ‘Partner’ Directs, with presentations focused on games from third-party developers.
Gamer Network’s head of games B2B, Christopher Dring, told VGC last year that Nintendo doesn’t typically like to announce games too far from release.
“They like to show its fans stuff that they’ll be able to get their hands on, typically, within the next six months,” he said.
“In a year where their teams and projects have been hampered by Covid-19, it makes sense for Nintendo to hold off until they can deliver a Direct with a strong slate of exciting games. If they had dropped a Direct for Pikmin 3 or Paper Mario, great games as they are, the response will inevitably have been disappointing. So announcing those via a press release made sense.”
He added: “Nintendo’s big teams have been working on games for a while now. They have games coming, and they will be exciting when they can finally be revealed. It’s frustrating right now for Nintendo fans, but hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer.”
In June 2020, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa reaffirmed Nintendo’s commitment to the Direct model, telling investors that it believed the live-streamed presentations were still an effective means of communication.