A History of the September Nintendo Direct and Why We'll Get One in 2021

By Sam Woods

August 31, 2021

For Nintendo fans, and video game fans in general, Nintendo Directs are something special.

The videos offer an opportunity to take a glimpse into the future of Nintendo’s consoles and what games players will be playing in the not too distant future.

With the sporadic nature of the events and the anticipation around the games that will be shown, speculation (and hype) always runs wild and this generally starts to heat up in September.

As temperatures begin to cool, Nintendo generally likes to heat things back up again. Here is a history of the events that the company has put on in previous years and why it’s likely we’ll get another one this September.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope – Nintendo Direct | E3 2021

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope – Nintendo Direct | E3 2021

Nintendo Direct (Wii U) – September 2012

Nintendo’s first September Direct took place back on September 13, 2012 and was focused around the Wii U.

The video showed off different console bundles, Virtual Console and a range of different games that included Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U and The Wonderful 101.

The showcases nine years ago certainly weren’t as slick or as exciting as they are today.

Pokemon Direct – September 2013

Following the Wii U deep-dive, Nintendo hosted a Pokemon Direct on September 4, 2013.

The 20-minute video gave players a deeper look at Pokemon X and Y, including the game’s Mega Evolution feature, as well as a look at Pokemon Bank.

While this direct was effectively focused on one game, Nintendo held a full direct on October 1, 2013, just missing out on the September window but definitely still in the ballpark.

Nintendo Direct (3DS) – September 2016

After a two year hiatus, Nintendo returned to their September direct format in 2016, with a focus on 3DS titles.

This time, we’re greeted with Reggie, asking where his “New Nintendo 3DS” is and all the “2017 games”, unfortunately, we were made to wait for those.

Instead, Pokemon Sun and Moon got a space on the show, Mario Party Star Rush was shown, New DLC for Animal Crossing: New Leaf was revealed as was Super Mario Maker for 3DS.

2016 was also The Legend of Zelda’s 30th anniversary and Reggie took the opportunity to talk about the series, the NES classic, the Legend of Zelda Amiibo.

Other big titles that appeared included the tentatively named “Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS”, which turned out to be Hey! Pikmin, Yoshi’s Wooly World and Dragon Quest VII.

Nintendo Direct – September 2017

September 2017 was the first time in a September Direct that the Nintendo Switch was involved, featuring alongside the Nintendo 3DS.

In terms of the 3DS, viewers got information on Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, Minecraft and Metroid Samus Returns amongst other games.

Nintendo Switch fans had plenty to get excited about too, with deep dives on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Octopath Traveler and Super Mario Odyssey which was a little over a month out.

Other Switch appearances included new Splatoon and Fire Emblem Warriors Content, a Skyrim release date and DOOM and Wolfenstein II reveals.

Nintendo Direct – September 2018

September 2018’s Nintendo Direct kicked off with the reveal of Luigi’s Mansion 3 and also revealed more info on the Nintendo Switch Online service, however, the direct is arguably best remembered for its double Animal Crossing fakeout.

Isabelle is seen trotting around the office, leading fans to believe a new Animal Crossing game is set to be announced, before being delivered her Smash invitation. After a demo of Isabelle within Nintendo’s fighting game, the Direct heads back to Tom Nook, who after some words of encouragement, reveals that a new Animal Crossing title is set for 2019 (before being delayed to 2020).

The presentation also showed off Pokemon Let’s GO Pikachu and Eevee, Super Mario Party, Yoshi’s Crafted World and Civ VI as well as the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate limited edition Nintendo Switch console.

Nintendo Direct – September 2019

September 2019’s Nintendo Direct was a bit of a letdown.

Nintendo showed off plenty of games, but unfortunately, there weren’t many surprises.

Some of the games on display included:

  • Pokemon Sword and Shield
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Overwatch
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3
  • Link’s Awakening
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2

While there are undoubtedly some great games there, most of it had already been announced and was just new trailers and information.

Nintendo Direct (Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary and Partner Presentation) – September 2020

Nintendo fans feasted last year as the company put on two separate Directs.

The first of which took place on September 3 and revealed tons of juicy games for Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary. These games included Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, Super Mario. Bros 35 and the heavily rumoured Super Mario 3D All-Stars.

Then, during the Partner Presentation, which happened two weeks later, players got a glimpse of Monster Hunter Rise, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Ori and the Will of the Wisps and the wonderful Balan Wonderworld.

Will There Be a September Nintendo Direct in 2021?

Almost certainly.

Nintendo has put on a September Direct for seven of the last nine years. Couple that with the fact it’s been almost three months since the last Nintendo Direct outing, one which took place at E3 2021, and we have a perfect storm.

There’s also still plenty of questions that need answering.

What does early 2021 look like for Nintendo? What has become of the rumoured Wind Waker and Twilight Princess ports? A new Direct seems the perfect opportunity to answer these, plus show off all the games the company has coming this holiday season.

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Sam Woods

Sam is the Managing Editor at DualShockers. He's been playing video games for as long as he can remember and you can regularly find him on his Nintendo Switch. When he's not playing games, he'll no doubt be suffering watching his beloved Ipswich Town.

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