Nintendo Direct E3 highlights: new Zelda in development and Animal Crossing delayed

Today’s E3 Nintendo Direct packed in a lot of content into just 45 minutes. The company kept the highlight for last though, announcing that a full sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was in development.

Bringing a second full Zelda to the Switch hardware is a strategy similar to that it used with Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64 – which brought with it huge critical and commercial success. With all the brilliant engineering work that’s gone into the mechanics of the first game, it’s easy to see how a second title could leapfrog off that to incredible heights.

The trailer was more than just a very brief tease as well, with numerous characters on show, and a hint that the game may reuse some or all of the world map of its predecessor – though presumably packed with different challenges.

Tempering that excitement was the announcement that the much-awaited Animal Crossing: New Horizons has slipped back to a March 2020 release date. So we can scrub that title from our Christmas wish list, though it will still land in the financial year at least. March is getting very busy indeed once again. Still it was good to see that the game is coming on nicely, with a beautiful clean graphical style.

Nintendo also showed off more of Luigi’s Mansion 3, that is coming this year, but there’s still no date announced for that. The delay to Animal Crossing may mean Nintendo is having to rethink its schedule for the latter part of the year.

And speaking more of this year, we saw a lot more of the delightful Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and got a confirmed release date of the 20th of September. It looks like a lot of work has gone into this, with a really solid yet cutesy feel about it.

Plus Zelda-themed sequel to indie hit Crypt of the Necrodancer, Cadence of Hyrule, got a release date of June 13th – only a few days to wait is a nice surprise. It’s also great to see Nintendo working with exciting indies, and letting them use the company’s IP, to create content like this.

One other highlight, away from Nintendo’s own franchises, included confirmation that The Witcher 3 is coming to Switch. It’s a marvel that it’s possible at all, and it’s a big boon for the platform to get such a heavyweight western RPG, following on from Elder Scrolls earlier in its life. It’s coming later this year.

Read more of our stories and analysis from E3 2019 here.

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