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The Nintendo Direct’s biggest announcements were other announcements

Stay tuned, Animal Crossing and Smash fans! Not like you had any choice ...

A villager smirks as another villager sits on a whoopee cushion in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
We’ve got to wait until October for more Animal Crossing news? Whoopee.
Image: Nintendo
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Heading into Thursday’s Nintendo Direct, fans had high hopes and reasonable expectations for three pieces of news: Animal Crossing New Horizons and its badly overdue content update; the reveal of the last fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; and maybe an official name for the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

And fans got … two announcements of an announcement, and zippo.

If not for meaty reveals of Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and the cast of the Mario movie, Nintendo could be fairly accused of trolling its audience. Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ post-launch support has been so thin lately that Nintendo felt the need to apologize for it back in July.

Although fans did get a glimpse of Brewster and his cafe, The Roost (whose return they’ve been pleading for), Nintendo thanked them for their patience by … asking them to wait patiently for another live stream event, in October, to hear more about New Horizons’ next update. They didn’t even provide a date for this steam.

More puzzling is Nintendo’s need to break out the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter announcement for its own October stream event. Roster updates for Smash have typically been a top-of-the show announcement for past Directs. Instead, Nintendo is holding this one for a presentation with director Masahiro Sakurai, on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. EDT.

Granted, this is the 82nd and last playable character of a game that launched in 2018, but as far as additional news to share, Nintendo says that fans will see the final Mii Fighter costumes in this show as well. That seems like a long wait for something that could be easily cleared up now.

Finally, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, or whatever that ends up being titled or subtitled, was the longshot of these three as far as new details or reveals. It’s a sizable game, after all, and it won’t be here until next year. But the game’s title has taken on more intrigue than usual, as Nintendo is purposefully holding out on grounds that the title itself might give away too much. That’s given rise to a slew of fan theories, some of the thinking more wishfully than others, and a no-show on Thursday means that speculation mill continues to grind out a very thin meal.

Taken along with Hollow Knight: Silksong going AWOL again, and fans could be forgiven for feeling that they were baited with the promise of big news and given incremental updates. That’s kind of unfair to Kirby, the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis (!!!) controllers (and their games), and even Chocobo GP, which are breaking news we rushed to cover.

Still, announcements of announcements are kinda/sorta dirty pool, no? Especially when played on a fanbase this devoted.

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