Nintendo unveils new “Mario” animated film starring Chris Pratt and expansion for Switch Online

Some of the best games of the 1990s (and a few really random choices) will be included in the 16-bit Sega Genesis collection for Switch Online. (YouTube screenshot)

Nintendo took to major live streaming platforms Thursday afternoon for the first time since E3 to announce some of what it has in store, including an animated feature film based on the Super Mario franchise.

Over the past few years, Nintendo has frequently held pre-recorded press conferences called Nintendo Directs to reveal news and updates on its upcoming games. The pace of its Directs has slowed at a relative rate over the past year and a half, however, mainly due to the effects of COVID-19 on Nintendo’s release schedule. Direct Thursday began with an explicit disclaimer, stating that all release dates are subject to change due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, some of the most important items on a Nintendo fan’s wishlist were conspicuously missing from today’s Direct. News from the next and last fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is selected for a special virtual presentation by Smash producer Masahiro Sakurai on October 5th, and no one even mentioned Breath of the Wild 2.

Mario Creator Shigeru Miyamoto unexpectedly took the stage to reveal details on the upcoming Mario film, however, set to hit North American theaters on December 21.

While Miyamoto hasn’t had any footage to show, he did reveal the film’s all-star voice cast, which includes Chris Pratt (Avengers: Endgame) like Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy (Queen’s Gambit) as Princess Peach, Charlie Day (It’s always nice in Philadelphia) like Luigi, Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peel) like Toad, and Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda) like Bowser.

Mario’s traditional voice actor, Charles Martinet, will also appear in the Mario film in unspecified “surprise cameos”. Martinet has voiced Mario for about as long as the character has had a voice, from the years 1992 Mario teaches typing, and achieved a Guinness World Record in 2019 for the most video game voiceover performances with the same character.

In Nintendo’s gaming news, the company plans to expand its Switch Online subscription service from the end of October. In a new “Expansion Pack”, Switch Online users can upgrade to a new plan that will unlock access to a new library of selected games for the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis systems.

While Nintendo has not disclosed any information on the cost of the new plan, it has revealed that its starting lineup for the expanded Switch Online will include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Sonic the Hedgehog, Gunstar Heroes, Phantasy Star IV, and in a little surprise, the rail shooter Sin and Punishment, which was never released outside of Japan during the original lifetime of the Nintendo 64. All retro games available will also include online multiplayer, where available, as with Mario Kart 64.

After launch, Nintendo plans to add more N64 titles to the Switch Online library, such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Golf, and Paper mario.

The current version of Switch Online costs $ 3.99 per month. Subscribers have access to a cloud save for their local data, can play Switch games online, and can stream a large, but weirdly random, selection of retro games from the NES and SNES libraries. The new subscription plan would encompass all existing features of Switch Online in addition to the new N64 / Genesis libraries.

Switch Online subscribers will also be able to purchase new wireless controllers direct from Nintendo for $ 49.99 each, which mimic the look and function of the classic Nintendo 64 and Genesis three-button gamepads.

Nintendo also released a long new trailer for its 2022 game. Splatoon 3, as presented by an unnamed “squid finder” in a lab coat. Splatoon 3 takes place in a new location, Splatsville, the City of Chaos, where the various Inklings wage turf wars as a recreational activity. Like its predecessors, Splatoon 3 is a multiplayer shoot-’em-up where two teams of four compete to cover as much of the scene as possible with paint.

Splatoon 3 will also feature a new single-player story mode, titled The return of mammals. In the world of Splatoon, all mammals on the planet were already extinct except for two cats, and playable Inklings are technically squids. The story mode will answer the question of where the mammals went and why.

Fan-favorite character Kirby is also making a return to Switch in the spring of next year. In Kirby and the forgotten land, Kirby ends up on the beach near an abandoned town and must explore it for a way home.

It’s a particular look for Kirby, contrasting long-abandoned urban decadence with the joyful adventures of a pink puffball, but also brings Kirby’s traditional action / platforming style to 3D for the first time in a long time.

Today Direct ended with a new trailer for the long-delayed character action game Bayonette 3, which was originally announced in 2017. It places the main character, a gun-wielding witch (and notoriously high-level Smash Bros. character), in the center of a city besieged by monsters.

Along with her sleek combat moves, the new game also gives Bayonetta the ability to conjure massive monsters like dragons fighting on her behalf, allowing her to engage giant enemies on par. Bayonet 3 is (theoretically) scheduled for release in 2022.

Some of the other Nintendo Direct announcements today include:

  • Capcom Monster Hunter Rise, an exclusive for the Switch, should receive a “massive” paid extension called sun visor next summer. It promises new stories, locations, quests and, of course, new big monsters to hunt.
  • Ahead of its release in two weeks, Nintendo showed a new trailer for Metroid Dread. Samus travels to the unexplored planet ZDR to see if the deadly X-Parasite is still there, and why the previous team of research bots sent to ZDR has gone extinct. A series of files on Terror Metroid have been set up on its official website to dig deeper into the background and setting of the game.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons has a free update coming in November that will add new unspecified content to the game. Nintendo will go into more detail on this in a New Horizons-specific direct broadcast at any given time in October.
  • The next Mario Party Superstars (October 28) will feature five new maps from the N64 Mario party games, including Woody Woods, Yoshi’s Tropical Island, and Horror Land. A new feature also allows players to alone to play Mario partyBranded mini-games, locally or online, with a new Tag Match mode for co-op action.
  • Square Enix unveiled a new Japanese RPG from eccentric creator Yoko Taro (Deny: Automata). In Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars, all of its elements, such as characters, towns and stores, are represented as playable cards in a simulated tabletop game. A free demo is now available on Switch ahead of its October 28 release.
  • Paradox Interactive brings PC adaptations from Seattle studio Harebrained Schemes to Shadowrun at the Switch in 2022. Shadowrun Trilogy collect the 2013 The Return of Shadowrun (set in Seattle), 2014 Dragon fall, and 2015 Hong Kong.
  • A new Final fantasy-themed kart racer, Chocobo GP, arrives on Switch in 2022. You can play as customizable runners based on various signature creatures from the franchise, such as chocobos and the Summon Sword Gilgamesh.
  • Rune Factory 5, the last installment in the long Farming / Life sim / JRPG series, will be released on Switch in North America on March 22, 2022.
  • The long rumor Castlevania Advanced Collection made its official debut today on Switch. It brings together three Castlevania games that were previously exclusive to the Game Boy Advance – Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, and The air of sorrow – with SNES game Dracula X.
  • Deltarune: Chapter 2 is now available on Switch as a free update to the original Deltarune, Toby Fox’s sequel to his hit indie RPG Subtitle.
  • by Techland Dying Light 2: stay human will be released in a special “cloud version” on Switch on February 2, 2022, so gamers can stream it rather than install it locally.
  • A complete “Platinum Edition” of the original Dying light is slated for release on Switch on October 19, just in time for Halloween, which brings together the base game with all of its DLC.
  • The 2003 Star wars RPG Knights of the Old Republic will receive a re-release on Switch on November 11. Millennia before the events of the film trilogy, KOTOR is considered one of the best Star wars games never made despite being notoriously glitchy.
  • Mario Golf: Super Rush, released in June, today receives a free update that will add two new courses, as well as Koopa Troopa and Ninji as playable golfers.
  • Square Enix’s new tactical RPG Triangular strategy was originally announced on the February Direct show. In response to feedback from its demo on Switch, the game has been fine-tuned to improve its user interface, difficulty, load times, and camera control. Its release is scheduled for March 4, 2022.
  • SNES’s “god game” Actress made a surprise return. Square Enix remastered it in HD for the Switch as Renaissance actress, with new bosses and scenes, and a rearranged soundtrack. In one part of the game, you fight a multitude of monsters in side-scrolling action; in the other, you cultivate and expand the world to expand its population, which strengthens your character for the next action stage. It is now available digitally in the Switch eShop.

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