E3 2021: Nintendo spotlights new games, including 'Zelda', but doesn't mention Switch update

Speculation abounds that there will be an upgraded Switch console released this year

Nintendo has announced new games for its popular Switch console. Alvaro Reyes / Unsplash
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Nintendo revealed several products on Tuesday during its nearly 40-minute video presentation on the closing day of this year's virtual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

The Japanese video game company unveiled updated versions of its hit console games, including Zelda and Super Smash Brothers, but disappointed fans looking for a new model of its popular Switch console.

Rumours of a new version of the Switch had fuelled anticipation ahead of the presentation, despite Nintendo stressing ahead of time that the presentation would be devoted exclusively to game software.

The Switch, a wildly popular handheld game console, was first released in 2017.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 12, 2018, people wait line to sample Nintendo Switch games at the 24th Electronic Expo, or E3 2018, in Los Angeles. Nintendo on June 15, 2021, unveiled updated versions of its hit console games including Zelda and Super Smash Brothers, but disappointed fans looking for a new model of its popular Switch console. / AFP / Frederic J. BROWN

In the pre-recorded session, Nintendo didn't mention the console upgrade, which is expected to be released later this year. Bloomberg reported the company plans to introduce a new model with a seven-inch OLED display and a faster graphics chip.

Instead, Nintendo showcased coming instalments of beloved games from its Super Smash Brothers, Metroid and Zelda franchises, as well as a Guardians of the Galaxy title that will be on the Switch, as well as rival consoles Xbox and PlayStation.

Nintendo said its highly anticipated next game in the Zelda franchise, a sequel to Breath of the Wild, will be out in 2022.

The company didn't share a final title or many other details, although a brief trailer showed the game's hero, Link, using abilities that weren't in the first game. Series producer Eiji Aonuma said the sequel would take place in the skies above the first game's world.

Nintendo's promotional video was full of fan-pleasing announcements such as Metroid Dread and WarioWare Get It Together both coming out on Switch this autumn. The company also showcased role-playing game Shin Megami Tensei V and said the beloved, niche novel collection Danganronpa, which is available on other platforms, would be coming to Switch.

Nintendo reported its highest annual profit last month, after Covid-19 lockdowns caused sales of the Switch console to soar as more people sought indoor entertainment.

The company said at the time that surging sales were propelled by the runaway popularity of the Switch and the family-friendly game Animal Crossing, which became a hit in the pandemic.

The Switch was the US's top-selling console in 2020, according to NPD group, a market research company.

Tuesday marked the fourth and final day of E3, which is to return as a real-world event in Los Angeles next year.

Additional reporting from AFP and Bloomberg