Nintendo unleashed a bevvy of announcements ahead of the holiday retail season Thursday with a new edition of their Nintendo Direct live-stream events.
Fans watched on YouTube, streaming site Twitch and social media channels, reacting en masse to the hour-long digest of game announcements and new trailers.
It was the first Direct event since the death of Nintendo of Japan’s president and CEO Satoru Iwata, who usually hosted these shows. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé thanked fans for their condolences since Iwata’s death in July.
Here are some of the most notable announcements that received the most thunderous fan reactions.
Final Fantasy’s Cloud joins Super Smash Bros. roster
Super Smash Bros., available for both Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS consoles, is a brawler starring a mashup of Nintendo and other video game characters, from Mario to Link to Street Fighter‘s Ryu. The newest character is Cloud Strife, from Squaresoft’s (now Square-Enix) 1997 hit Final Fantasy VII.
Cloud, one of the most recognizable and popular characters in gaming for years, has always been at or near the top of characters fans wanted in a Smash Bros., game, but since FFVII was a Sony PlayStation game many pegged his chances of appearing as slim to none.
The internet collectively lost its mind at the reveal trailer. Note: lots of caps lock, and cursing, ensued.
WHAT? DID THEY JUST ADD CLOUD TO SMASH BROTHERS? WHAT?
CLOUD CONFIRMED FOR SMASH WHAT IS THIS WORLD pic.twitter.com/UqkrsJiDiW
It’s pretty cool that they finally put in fan favourite Goku into Smash Bros but I don’t get why he has a sword pic.twitter.com/7zXODNpckz
someone’s uncle who works at nintendo finally came through today
What the announcement of Cloud in Super Smash Bros. did to my timeline. pic.twitter.com/oPCF1dxSQe
Cloud, and a stage based on FFVII‘s Midgar location, will be available as a download for people who already own Super Smash Bros. No release date or price has yet been revealed.
Female version of Zelda’s Link comes to Hyrule Warriors
Hyrule Warriors is a brawler featuring characters from all corners of the Legend of Zelda universe. Nintendo announced that the 3DS version, out next March, will add Tetra, Toon Link and King Hyrule from Zelda: Wind Waker as playable characters.
It will also include a new character named Linkle, essentially a female version of perennial hero Link. Instead of a sword and shield she fights with dual crossbows.
Earlier this year, trailers for an upcoming Legend of Zelda game sparked speculation that the famous character in the green cap and tunic would be a female. Those rumours were later quashed by producer Eiji Aonuma.
Fan art of Linkle appeared on social media almost immediately after her reveal.
A new playable female character named Linkle enters the Zelda universe in #HyruleWarriors Legends. #NintendoDirect pic.twitter.com/UsQPJILMRu
I drew Linkle. :3 pic.twitter.com/6Y7xKokSye
linkle warmup sketch pic.twitter.com/zx6kF0vcI0
even though her name is really dumb, linkle is super cute.. pic.twitter.com/gBLhHNzTPY
Original Game Boy Pokemon games to launch on 3DS Virtual Console
The original Pokemon games started a decades-long franchise when they released for the Game Boy in 1996.
Now Pokemon Red and Blue, as well as their 1998 follow-up Pokemon Yellow, will be available in their original, four-shades-of-greyish-green glory as digital downloads on the 3DS. They’re scheduled for release on Feb. 27, 2016, the 20th anniversary of Red and Blue’s original launch.
It’s official. #Pokemon Red, Blue & Yellow will arrive on Virtual Console for #3DS on 27/02/2016! #NintendoDirectEU pic.twitter.com/VQvSM7EwkP
Other notable news from the Nintendo Direct included:
- Space shooter Star Fox: Zero got a release date of April 22. The game was originally scheduled for a holiday 2015 release but was delayed earlier in the fall.
- 2006’s Legend of Zelda game, Twilight Princess for the GameCube and Wii, will be the latest in the series to get a Wii U high-definition remake. The new version will include an Amiibo figure of Midna riding Wolf Link.
- A “web portal” for Super Mario Maker, a game that allows players to create their own Mario levels, will add search functionality to better help players find the kinds of levels they want to play.
- Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokemon Picross are free-to-play games with optional micro-transactions that will be available for digital download on the 3DS. Nintendo is working on mobile games for next year, some of which will be free-to-play, but no details on those titles have yet been released.