February 2020 could be a historic month for Nintendo if recent rumors from industry insiders are correct. The gaming titan is reportedly primed for multiple least huge announcements via Nintendo Direct video drops before the month's end.
Prominent Nintendo leaker Zippo claimed on the video games forum ResetEra this Monday that Nintendo has plans to reveal more information about Animal Crossing: New Horizons — the company's next big release of 2020 — along with first-ever details for other unannounced games. Zippo did not specify any dates for these announcements, but the claims were backed up by a separate reputable leaker.
Sabi, another gaming insider who accurately leaked a majority of the headlining press conferences that occurred during E3 2019, gave Zippo their blessing on Monday with a tweet. They also cited Nintendo’s precedent of hosting Direct announcements within the month of February.
“A reliable friend of mine, Zippo, is claiming that there will be two Directs this month, for obvious reasons,” they wrote to their 28,000 followers.
Nintendo regularly skips some months of the year in terms of major broadcasts, but the company has hosted at least one Direct every February since 2012. Annually, February is a hugely important time of the year for the entire video game industry to build hype for the year's upcoming titles.
Last year’s major February news included the release date announcement for Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the unveiling of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s three starters. Those were both huge announcements for Nintendo fans.
This time around, announcements should include a closer look at Nintendo’s long-awaited Animal Crossing installment due out March 20, 2020. Sabi has also separately reported that the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel has been pushed back to 2021, and instead we might see Mario Kart 9 scheduled for release by the end of 2020. There's no telling what these supposed announcements might be, but a new Mario Kart game seems like a strong candidate.
Metroid Prime 4 is also always a wild card, but after numerous setbacks, there's no reason to believe it's ready for primetime just yet.
Gamers will need to wait until Nintendo confirms these alleged Directs, which it typically does a day or two before they go live. The company’s most recent Super Smash Bros. Ultimate announcement on January 16 was announced two days beforehand.
With the Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ March 20 release date rapidly approaching, a deep dive into the game seems imminent.
The title was supposed to launch in 2019 but was pushed back to this year. During E3 2019, Nintendo's deputy general manager Yoshiaki Koizumi said the delay was to "ensure the game is the best it can be." Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser later added that the company also wanted to avoid putting its developers under a stressful crunch schedule.
New Horizons is the most notable game that Nintendo has slated for 2020, but there will always be more ports, DLC packs, and potential surprise announcements in store for fans. The first Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion bundle has yet to receive a concrete launch date besides its June 2020 release window. The Pokémon Home service is also confirmed for release sometime in February but no concrete date has been confirmed.
One thing's for sure: February 2020 should be a big month for Nintendo, potentially followed by an even bigger year.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches March 20 for Nintendo Switch.