("Super Nintendo Entertainment System" by Kamil S is licensed under the unsplash license)

Nintendo continued their tradition of big game announcements with their most recent Nintendo Direct on Wednesday afternoon. The virtual event highlighted new games in development, with most of them coming out in the first half of the year. The company announced Splatoon 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, a new Mario Golf game and more during the Direct.

Nintendo first started these virtual presentations in 2011, and since then they’ve become an exciting tradition for Nintendo fans. The last big Nintendo Direct was well over a year ago on Sept. 4, 2019, according to Nintendo’s website. While there have been multiple mini Directs since then, this year’s Direct was highly anticipated, with many guessing what would be featured. 

The first big surprise game of the show features the return of Mario and his colorful cast of characters in Mario Golf: Super Rush. The game will feature both button and motion controls that let you swing your remote like a golf club. A variety of modes including Speed Golf and a story mode were featured during the presentation. Speed Golf provides a fun twist on traditional golf, where everyone swings at the same time and does a mad dash to be the first one to complete the hole. In the story mode, you’ll play as your Mii character, buffing them up with stats and challenging your favorite mushroom kingdom characters. Mario Golf: Super Rushwill be available on June 25.

This new entry in the long running spinoff franchise will be the first on the Nintendo Switch. This will also mark Mario Golf’s first return to a home console since Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2003. The lastMario Golf game World Tour released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2014.

Nintendo announced a high definition port of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Nintendo Switch. The game will feature motion controls, like its Wii counterpart, as well as button controls to allow the use of handheld mode. This Zelda game is the first in the timeline, chronicling the creation of the iconic master sword. Many of the systems seen in this game were later refined in its critically acclaimed sequel,Breath of the Wild. Skyward Sword HD will release on the Nintendo Switch on July 16.

The Zelda franchise celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, making the announcement a timely one. While there were no updates on a Breath of the Wild sequel during the presentation, Eiji Aonuma, producer on The Legend of Zelda, did say that new information on it should be available later this year.

The surprise game to end the presentation was Splatoon 3. The ink-filled shooter will feature new weapons, maps and cosmetics for your squid kid. While a brief glimpse of the game was shown, the game  won’t be released until sometime in 2022.

Splatoon 2 was released in 2017 to critical and user acclaim. The game featured a new story-driven campaign and many in-game events called Splatfests. The final one took place on July 18, 2019. 

A new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character was announced from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Pyra/Mythra. This brings the total count of the historic roster up to a staggering 79 with more on the way. The new character will be released sometime in March. 

Other games were announced for the Nintendo Switch, including a Fall Guys port, the galaxy groundhog’s day adventure game Outer Wilds, Knockout City, Star Wars Hunters and many more. You can watch the full 50 minute Direct here.

Emmanuel Stringfield is a senior studying journalism at the University of Oregon.