Nintenduary: Looking forward to 2020

Stacey Henley and Gaming Editor Alex Darbyshire give you the details of Nintendo's January announcements

Stacey Henley
22nd January 2020
Images: YouTube (IGN), YouTube (GameSpot)
Nintendo have been very busy bees since the turn of the New Year, with new announcements in some of their flagship franchises. Let’s take a look at Pokémon and Super Smash Bros.

Byleth joins the battle!

Byleth, the protagonist from the latest Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, has been officially revealed as the latest character to join Super Smash Bros Ultimate. There were some pretty outrageous predictions, with Crash Bandicoot, Sora, Dante and, as always, Waluigi popular picks amongst the fan base.

Despite Three Houses being a huge contender for Nintendo's 2019 game of the year, the reception to Byleth has been mixed. We already have several Fire Emblem characters after all, and it does feel like the House Leaders - Edelgard, Claude or Dimitri - might have brought more personality to the party.

The game's famously hard working director Masahiro Sakurai immediately referenced the criticism of 'too many swordsmen', countering by providing Byleth with all four Hero's Relics from Three Houses: a bow, axe and spear to go alongside the sword.

Other news from the Direct included the addition of Mii costumes for Assassin's Creed's Altair, the Rabbids, Mega Man X and Cuphead.

After the other Fighter's Pass characters brought something distinctly new and unexpected to the table, Byleth feels like a bit of a downer

After the other Fighter's Pass characters brought something distinctly new and unexpected to the table (Joker and Banjo especially), it does feel like a bit of a downer to end on a fairly samey character guaranteed to be divisive, from a franchise already heavily represented in Smash.

Of course, it's not the end though, is it? While Byleth will not be met with universal praise, the surprise reveal that a whopping SIX more characters will be added by the end of next year certainly will be.

That means those audacious predictions aren't going away any time soon. Fingers crossed it's Pokémon's Ball Guy next, right?

Stacey Henley

Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass

The first announcement in Game Freak’s presentation in the Nintendo Direct on 9 January came as a pleasant surprise. Fans of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon were treated to a trailer for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, coming to Nintendo Switch in March.

A remake of the beloved 2005 GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS action RPGs. As a fan of Pokémon but someone who has been recently disappointed by the franchise, I think this could be an excellent game to pick up just in time for the Easter Break.

The picture book style of the remake may not be the strongest art style, but the gameplay appears faithful and all the mechanics are there.

You can play a demo on the Nintendo Switch eShop right now to check out if this game is for you!

The second and more important announcement was the details of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass. This time around, instead of offering third versions of games, al-a Pokemon Platinum, Emerald, or Ultra Sun/ Moon, the expansions to the games are simply accessible after purchase using your current save data.

There are two parts to this expansion pass. Part one arrives in June 2020 and features the Isle of Armour, a brand new areas, exclusive pokémon and new characters and mentors, as well as new fashion choices for your trainer and their bike. Part two, coming in Autumn of 2020 will take players to the Crown Tundra. I love snow areas in Pokémon games, there’s always a cosy charm to them. 

These new areas will feature some legendaries from past games

These new areas will feature some legendaries from past games in Pokémon Dens, as well as several new legendaries to set the areas apart and give players something big to hunt for.

In addition, more than 200 pokémon from past entries have been thrown into the mix, redressing one of the biggest grievances of many Pokémon fans. I’m not entirely happy with Sword and Shield, but I can’t deny the effort Game Freak are putting in to supporting this game post-launch.

Alex Darbyshire
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AUTHOR: Stacey Henley
Stacey Henley can most often be found roaming through vivid expansive spaces and discovering the world around her, but only in video games. In real life, she mostly stays home. Blog at Tweet at @FiveTacey. Published in TechRadar & WhatCulture

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