As per usual, Nintendo unveiled several Nintendo Direct Minis throughout 2020, and each met with different fan reaction. While some were seriously big announcements for the Japanese company, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and a few were geared towards the Pokemon franchise, many Directs were Partner Showcases. This means that it focused on non-first party titles, including the most recent Direct Mini.
Interestingly, it dubbed itself as the “last Direct Mini Partner Showcase” of the year, which is considerably specific language to use. This implies that Nintendo has another Direct livestream conference planned, but it will be neither a Mini nor a partner-specific showcase. It helps that Nintendo has had a direct in December for the past two years, and since the content of each December direct since the event’s conception have varied, it stands to reason it may end the year on a bang. If this is the case, what could Nintendo have planned for its final Nintendo Direct of the year? Perhaps 2021 points to two major events that could be teased with an end-of-the-year announcement.
Is there a limit to how many Pokemon Directs can occur in one year? Not only did 2020 start off with a Pokemon Direct, but two more Pokemon Presents occurred over the summer after that to show off the then-upcoming Pokemon Cafe Mix and New Pokemon Snap. But 2021 will be a big year for the franchise in a few ways.
Aside from the many rumors and alleged leaks that Diamond and Pearl remakes are coming to the Nintendo Switch next year, 2021 is the duo’s 15th anniversary. Because Pokemon has been following a pattern of remaking the main series games in the order of their release, Diamond and Pearl fall next in line, and wouldn’t it be a perfect gift to Pokefans on its 15th anniversary?
More importantly, 2021 is Pokemon‘s 25th anniversary. Because the 25th anniversary is the year to gift silver, this has led many fans to believe that Gold and Silver will see remakes, possibly in the form of new Let’s Go games. As far as Nintendo Directs go, it’s possible the Japanese publisher has plans to allude to these games in an upcoming conference to finish off the year while also delivering the big announcements fans have been craving for months.
Speaking of anniversaries, Legend of Zelda will turn 35 years old in 2021. This immediately follows Super Mario‘s 35th anniversary this year, which received a number of releases to coincide with the celebration. While Nintendo likely has big plans, the most probable game from the franchise that will release in 2021 is a Breath of the Wild sequel, and an end-of-the-year direct could be the perfect opportunity to announce such plans. At the very least, no one would argue with finally seeing more of that game, especially after playing Age of Calamity. Whatever the case, hopefully, Nintendo won’t have it planned for a limited-time release like Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
Furthermore, a Nintendo Switch Pro is heavily rumored for a 2021 release, and a Direct in December would be good timing as next-gen hype starts to settle. Nintendo itself hasn’t said a word about the console, but it’s said to release alongside a lineup of new games, possibly even the anniversary releases mentioned above.
This would also put Nintendo in the perfect position to compete with the sales of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, keeping consumers focused on the widely successful console by responding with an enhanced version. Some predict that the Nintendo Switch Pro will release on the Switch’s anniversary, March 3, 2021. Looking at Nintendo Direct schedules for past years, many final conferences land in November, though it’s not unusual for the last Direct to occur earlier than that. This was the case in 2019, when the last Showcase occurred as early as September, but overall, it was a small year for announcements in general.
That being said, though it wasn’t phrased as “the last Nintendo Direct” and specifically noted to be the last “Direct Mini Partner Showcase,” it’s possible that Nintendo doesn’t have anything else planned for 2020. Though, considering what 2021 entails for Nintendo’s big franchises, it’s likely that fans can expect the Japanese developer to have big announcements in the months to come.