The Strange Saga of the Unannounced January Nintendo Direct
We don’t usually give rumors their own articles (we have a rumor list for that), but the situation surrounding the rumored Nintendo Direct has reached the point where we can’t ignore it. This is either a crazy case of miscommunication and misplaced hype or an insane PR stunt.
The Nintendo Direct Rumors
It all started in November, when reports surfaced of a leaked email from EA discussing Fe, an action-adventure game coming to the Switch. It included a timeline that claimed information about Fe would be revealed at the January Nintendo Direct. This got fans anticipating a new Nintendo Direct… especially when, on December 31, eighteen placeholder listings for Switch games appeared on Amazon.
These placeholder pages, which were later taken down, included the same image that had been used after last year’s Nintendo Switch reveal event. More than ever, fans believed a Nintendo Direct was planned for January.
On the same day, a ResetEra user claimed the Nintendo Direct was scheduled for January 11, and a user on Reddit said Bayonetta 3 was one of the games the placeholder pages were meant for. A few more rumors joined the mix, and soon many Nintendo fans were anticipating a Nintendo Direct on January 11.
The Secret You’re Seeking
On January 5, Nintendo of America tweeted an image of Talkatoo, the bird from Super Mario Odyssey that gives players hints. It included Talkatoo’s dialogue about how he knows “the secret you’re seeking.”
What is the secret you're seeking? I know it, I know it, ha HA! I can't tell you! ♪ It's hiding somewhere and no peeking! ♪ Go find it, go find it, scra-CAW! pic.twitter.com/uOzojBR7A4
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 5, 2018
At any other time, this might have been dismissed as just a promotion for Super Mario Odyssey, but with fans looking forward to an unannounced Nintendo Direct, many people took it as a hint that the rumors were true. This belief was exacerbated since there are 11 capital letters in the message, along with other possible clues.
Based on Nintendo’s past patterns, it appeared likely that a Nintendo Direct on January 11 would be announced on either January 8 or January 9 at around 7 AM PST.
It didn’t happen, but as Nintendo sites exploded on January 9 with people questioning the lack of a Direct, Nintendo retweeted the Talkatoo image.
The Plot Thickens!
By January 10, fans were still looking for hints… and strange signs continued to pop up. GameStop tweeted that a Nintendo Direct was about to begin, and then quickly deleted it. A free space appeared on Japan’s Nintendo Direct page, which has happened before past Directs. And as fans clamored for information and posted memes about how much they want an announcement, Nintendo of America posted a new tweet.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 10, 2018
Now, an image of Chibi-Robo on fire might have nothing to do with the Nintendo Direct, but this tweet led to plenty of speculation. (Especially once the official Mega Man account responded with a picture of Heat Man, along with other responses, and Nintendo NY posted a Tomodachi Life Mii in a hot dog suit for no clear reason.) Is Nintendo acknowledging that the Internet is burning with demand for a Nintendo Direct? Is it a complete coincidence? Or have they decided to tweet random images to see what crazy theories fans come up with?
Only one thing is clear: the rumors of a January 11 Nintendo Direct caused considerably more waves than most rumors do.
Update: In the end, Nintendo posted an unannounced mini Nintendo Direct on the morning of January 11. We’ll cover that in more detail in our weekly news post.