Now that the February 2022 Nintendo Direct has been beamed into our brains, it's almost daunting to look back and think about just how many huge announcements were packed into this 40-minute showcase. Primarily focusing on Nintendo Switch releases for the first half of 2022, the Direct showed that there's plenty to look forward to in the coming months.
From big updates to games we know are coming like Splatoon 3 and Kirby and the Forgotten Land, to out-of-nowhere premieres in the form of Mario Strikers Battle League and Nintendo Switch Sports, it genuinely felt like there was something for everyone in this Nintendo Direct. Oh, and we're finally getting new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe tracks. What a time to be alive.
Nintendo has certainly set the stage for the year ahead, then, but if you missed the Direct as it happened live, we've provided a roundup of all the biggest and best announcement trailers that you can watch below.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Following the success of both Hyrule Warriors titles, as well as the first Fire Emblem Warriors game, it was almost a given that developer Omega Force would be on board to add a fourth Musou to the Switch based on Nintendo IP. And much like how Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity focused specifically on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes does so for 2019's Three Houses.
Three Hopes will return players to the war-torn land of Fodlan, where a trio of nations dance between uneasy truces and all-out warfare. While some new faces appear in the trailer, we also see returning characters like Byleth, Edelgard and Claude.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes releases on June 24, 2022.
Mario Strikers Battle League
Considering the last Mario Strikers game launched all the way back in 2007, seeing Mario Strikers Battle League announced for the Switch a decade and a half later is as bizarre as it is welcome. The original Mario Strikers titles were fun and stylish soccer spin-offs, and we couldn't be happier to see the series find a home once again on the Switch.
The striking (ha) art style of the originals appears to be intact, this time with flashy cut-ins before characters send out their special moves. Other notable additions include alternate outfits that grant stat boosts and an Online Clubs mode where up to 20 players can form a group to challenge the ranks online.
Mario Strikers Battle League releases on June 10, 2022.
Splatoon 3 Salmon Run
One of Splatoon 2's best modes, Salmon Run, is making a return in the threequel. Salmon Run: Next Wave brings the horde mode into Splatoon 3 with some key updates. New Boss Salmonids will make an appearance to spice up gameplay, and it looks like players can now toss the golden eggs they need to collect to progress through each wave.
Splatoon 3 received an updated release window of "Summer 2022," meaning that it's likely to launch sometime between June and August this year.
Square Enix announcements
Alongside an update to the soon-to-be-released Triangle Strategy, Square Enix's presence at this Nintendo Direct was monumental. We're getting a remaster of PS1 classic Chrono Cross, remakes of mech strategy games Front Mission 1st and Front Mission 2, and a remake of the previously Japan-exclusive Super Famicom RPG Live A Live being made in Octopath Traveler's HD-2D engine.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition releases on April 7, 2022, while Front Mission 1st launches later in the year. Meanwhile, the Live A Live remake is heading to Switch on July 22.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
Another huge surprise came in the form of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, which is offering up remakes of both Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil. Bandai Namco's early-PlayStation-era mascot was never a mainstream hit, but he's developed a devoted cult following over the years who are undoubtedly delighted to see him make a return.
The remakes look to be of a fairly high quality, and from the sounds of it, the iconic soundtracks of both games will be intact as well. Though we do wonder if the music will be remastered or rearranged at all.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series releases on July 8, 2022.
Nintendo Switch Sports
Mario Strikers Battle League isn't the only sports title being cooked up for the portable wonder this year, as Nintendo Switch Sports will soon have us flailing with our Joy-Con controllers much like we did back in 2006 on the Wii.
Nintendo Switch Sports packs in tennis, badminton, soccer, chambara, bowling and volleyball into one athletic package, with golf arriving later this year as part of a free update. What's more, all sports support online play, meaning that this iteration of Nintendo's Sports series could be the most competitive yet.
Nintendo Switch Sports releases on April 29, 2022. Additionally, a technical test is being held for the game's online play between February 18 - 20, where a handful of the sports will be playable.
No, we're still not getting an official Western release of Mother 3, so we'll have to make do with cult classic RPGs Earthbound and Earthbound Beginnings releasing on Nintendo Switch Online's SNES and NES libraries respectively.
Both of these phenomenal RPGs are still worth playing to this day. Mixing oddball visuals and often shockingly dark themes, the Earthbound (or Mother) series continues to be hugely influential to this day, even inspiring modern classics like Undertale.
Both Earthbound and Earthbound Beginnings are available to play right now as part of Nintendo Switch Online's retro game libraries.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC
Pinch us, because we still think we're dreaming. We thought we'd have to wait until Mario Kart 9 to get some brand new racing action with Mario and chums, but Nintendo went and announced the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which will add six waves of eight courses up until the end of 2023, making for a total of 48 (48!) new tracks.
Well, we say "new," as the Booster Course Pass is essentially going to be a best-of collection of Mario Kart tracks spanning the entire series, from Super Mario Kart all the way up to Mario Kart Tour. The first wave includes classic tracks like the Wii's Coconut Mall and N64's Choco Mountain.
The first wave of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's Booster Course Pass arrives on March 18, 2022. The pass can be bought for $24.99 / £22.49, and is included with Nintendo Switch Online's Expansion Pack tier at no extra cost.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Nintendo Directs usually go out with a bang, and February 2022's presentation was certainly no exception. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has been rumored to be in development for a while, but Monolith Soft's next big JRPG is now official, and it looks utterly gorgeous to boot.
The two-minute announcement trailer is mostly comprised of in-engine cutscenes (with some gameplay segments showing off Xenoblade's trademark sense of scale) and has left fans with a ton of questions, particularly pertaining to the identities of certain characters, who could be returning from past games in the series.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is releasing sometime in September, 2022.
What we didn't see at the Nintendo Direct
As impressively chock-full of new announcements this Nintendo Direct was, the gaming giant obviously can't pack everything into one 40-minute presentation.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 was - perhaps understandably - absent. Perhaps because Nintendo isn't quite ready to show off more of the game, or didn't want it to steal Xenoblade Chronicles 3's thunder. Bayonetta 3 was also missing, although we did see that game close out Nintendo's previous Direct before this one.
Metroid Prime 4 continues to be elusive. Although, after three years since the game restarted development, we hope we'll finally see at least a teaser trailer at E3 2022. On the bright side, we know that Metroid Prime 4 is still very much in active development, given recent job postings from developer Retro Studios.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.