Despite Nintendo’s recent, conspicuous quiet on the topic, the second expansion for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is still coming soon, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told me this afternoon during a quick chat in midtown Manhattan. We talked about that and a host of other topics, including the demise of MiiVerse, the Switch’s surprise GameCube controller support and whether Fils-Aime should make a mid-interview call to the CEO of Netflix.
But first, here’s your minor but hopefully reassuring Zelda update:
Nintendo detailed the second Breath of the Wild expansion at E3 in June, dubbing it the Champion’s Ballad, and promising a sizeable add-on adventure. But the company did not provide a release date during an expansive September online showcase of Nintendo’s holiday line-up, only providing a November 10 release date for a new array of Amiibo figures for the champion characters highlighted in the expansion. Asked if the Amiibo release dates indicated the date for the expansion as well, Fils-Aime said: “We will shortly be announcing the date for that content, so I would not lock and load on November 10th.”
Fils-Aime wasn’t in town to talk Zelda. He arrived to promote the launch of Super Mario Odyssey tonight and to highlight the company’s latest winning streak. Nintendo’s had a huge year with a hit new console and several big games. He was bullish, of course, boasting about Switch, 2DS XL and even the prospect of some 200 more indie games hitting Switch by year’s end.
A lot of Nintendo’s big releases and forthcoming slate is well-known to Kotaku readers, so, as always, I poked around to find out about some less widely-discussed Nintendo topics.
- We hit upon the surprise support of GameCube controllers for the Switch, a feature that popped up in the system’s newest firmware. “In our latest system software update, it enables third-party peripherals to work on Nintendo Switch,” Fils-Aime explained. “As a result, the peripheral for Wii U that allows it to attach GameCube controllers also works.” A sign of Super Smash Bros. Melee support incoming? “Of course, there’s nothing to announce on this,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say, Stephen, that that peripheral working was as much a surprise to us as it was to consumers.”
- On classic games, considering that Nintendo’s revered game designer Shigeru Miyamoto just told Game Informer that “When you think about the playstyle of the Switch it would be great if I could play all classic games on it.” Fils-Aime said there is nothing to announce, of course, but he added this: “We’re gratified to have some of the best content ever created be unique to Nintendo platforms. We’re also gratified by our community that they want to play this content. What we’ve said is that there’s going to be some classic content that’s part of the Nintendo Online proposition. We’ve said we will unveil more about that proposition next year before it launches.” But does the establishment of this dedicated classic console business like the NES Classic preclude Nintendo from releasing classic games in other ways? “It doesn’t preclude it,” he said.
- Nintendo’s very own social network, Miiverse, is closing down in November. Why shut Miiverse down altogether when it still seems useful on the 3DS and 2DS, even if the Wii U is fading away? “Miiverse was a great community,” Fils-Aime said. “It was something we thought would be integral to the Wii U proposition along with Nintendo TVii. Unfortunately the Wii U didn’t scale the way we hoped it would, which makes continuing those services financially challenging.” But why not keep it open on 3DS? “They’re all linked,” he said. “From a service, architecture and delivery [standpoint], it’s linked. Once we made the decision for it to be concluded on Wii U, it meant it would be concluded for 3DS as well as the viewing service on your PC.”
- On the status of video-on-demand services on Switch, Fils-Aime said that such services “are going to come in due time,” pinning the roll-out of them on those companies having their apps ready to go. Pressed if that included Netflix, he said, “You’d have to ask the folks at Netflix. I have [Netflix CEO] Reed [Hasting]’s number.” I requested Fils-Aime call him up to ask. He chuckled, but he did not make the call.
- Nintendo’s My Nintendo rewards service has yet to offer Switch-specific rewards in terms of game downloads or other perks. Fils-Aime indicated that will change. “There are unique elements coming for Nintendo Switch. We’ll be announcing those in due time. We do believe having a strong loyalty program for all of our products is important and certainly our fans appreciate it.
- And finally... Me: “Do you want me to ask you about Mother 3?”
Fils-Aime: “No. [pause] Do you want the eye beams coming out?”