Video Games Weekly: February 24 – March 3, 2021
The last few weeks have been very eventful in the world of video games. There was a full Nintendo Direct, a Pokémon Direct, and a State of Play for Sony! Many things were covered and/or announced, so I will go over the biggest news from each event. There were also casting announcements made for the movie adaptation of Borderlands!
Nintendo Direct (February 17th, 2021)
We finally got the long-awaited Nintendo Direct. This was the first mainline Nintendo Direct since September 4th, 2019! While the overall presentation was lackluster, there were several notable and exciting announcements. The show started out with the announcement of the new additions to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, revealing Pyra and Mythra (Xenoblade Chronicles 2) to be the new playable characters! Square Enix’s Project Triangle Strategy (working title) was also shown with a playable demo, available to download now, and 2022 release date. There were newly announced games like Mario Golf: Super Rush, releasing June 25th, 2021, and a port of the Nintendo 3DS title Miitopia, coming in May 2021. The definite highlight of the show was the announcement of an HD remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which is coming to the Nintendo Switch on July 16th, 2021. A pair of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD themed Joy-Con controllers are releasing on the same day. The Zelda franchise celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2021 so the timing of an HD remaster for Skyward Sword is perfect. There were a few other remastered games and ports were announced, like Tales from the Borderlands, Outer Wilds, Fall Guys and Plants vs. Zombie: Battle for Neighborville coming to the Nintendo Switch. The show’s closing featured the reveal of Splatoon 3, showing off a trailer and release date (2022) for the game. The show had a few homerun announcements but overall seemed to be full of things that were not necessarily “mainline Direct” worthy.
Sony State of Play (February 25th, 2021)
While this State of Play didn’t necessarily shock viewers with new and exciting announcements or trailers at every turn, it served as an important update on where many games stood in the wake of COVID-19. We got to see new gameplay from Heart Machine’s Solar Ash and Housemarque’s Returnal, both set for a 2021 release date. New trailers were shown for Deathloop and Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. Kena: Bridge of Spirits also received a new trailer showing new story details. The game is now set to arrive on August 24th, 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Windows PC.
Pokémon Direct (February 26th, 2021)
The Direct started by giving a closer look at the new Pokémon Snap game coming to the Nintendo Switch on April 30th, 2021. We got a new gameplay trailer for the game and more details on the goals of the game. The announcement of three new Pokémon games also came during the Direct! The remakes of 2006’s Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl were titled Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl, respectively. The games have a release date set for late 2021 and were met with general excitement from Pokémon fans, though there were some reasons to be skeptical of the remakes. The remakes appear to have taken on a less than modern look, sticking to something more closely resembling the original Nintendo DS games rather than a total visual overhaul, such as the one that Pokémon Let’s Go: Pikachu and Eevee received. Nintendo also announced Pokémon Legends: Arceus, a game set long ago in the Sinnoh region. In this open-world Pokémon game, you are tasked with creating the region’s first Pokédex. Arceus is the god of Pokémon, and with a setting like the ancient Sinnoh region, it will be interesting to see the game’s story.
Casting Information (*Latest March 2nd, 2021)
With movie/TV adaptations of major gaming franchises coming (The Last of Us, Halo, Uncharted, ETC.) casting information may start coming more and more regularly as the shows approach their filming dates. On Monday, March 2nd we got an update on the cast of the wildly ambitious Borderlands movie. Ariana Greenblatt has been cast as Tiny Tina, the explosive-loving child who helps you throughout the events of Borderlands 2. Greenblatt, most well known for portraying young Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, joins the star-studded cast alongside Cate Blanchett (Lilith), Kevin Hart (Roland), Jamie Lee Curtis (Tannis) and Jack Black (Claptrap). The screenplay for the Borderlands movie was drafted by Craig Mazin (HBO’s Chernobyl) who is also working on HBO’s TV adaptation of The Last of Us. This Borderlands movie is generating a lot of hype and could be a hit at the box office when it releases.