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Image: Nintendo

Nintendo interrupted one of its semiannual Nintendo Direct gaming showcases today to tease plans for its upcoming animated Super Mario movie.

Why it matters: Nintendo’s movie hype, just like its recently opened theme park in Tokyo, is part of its expansion beyond gaming.

The details: Lead Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said fans will have to wait longer to see footage from the animated film but revealed that it will premiere in North America on Dec. 21 of next year.

  • He also announced the English language voice cast, which includes Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Mario nemesis Bowser and Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, a character who usually doesn’t speak.
  • Nintendo is co-producing the movie with Illumination’s Chris Meledandri, the producer of the Despicable Me and Minions franchise. He was added to the gaming company’s board of directors earlier this year.
"Kirby and the Forgotten Land." Image: Nintendo

Nintendo devoted most of its show, which was watched by nearly a million people on YouTube alone, to gaming news for the Switch:

  • It added to the now late 2021 lineup of “Metroid Dread” and “Mario Party Superstars” with news of an expansion to its “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity” game (Oct. 29) and a port of classic Star Wars adventure “Knights of the Old Republic” (Nov. 11)
  • It also debuted a slew of 2022 titles, including “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” (spring), which puts Nintendo’s cute, pink puffball character in a 3D adventure set in a ruined city.
  • It showcased stylish shoot-people-with-paint “Splatoon 3” as a marquee 2022 release.
  • And it closed the show with the re-debut of “Bayonetta 3,” a 2022 sequel to an acclaimed action game series about a woman who fights demons with guns and her long, weaponized hair.
  • The company did not offer new details or timing info about “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2,” arguably its most anticipated upcoming Switch release.
"Splatoon 3." Image: Nintendo

The big picture: While the movie news showed Nintendo’s entertainment ambitions, the gaming portion of the event was a demonstration of the company’s gaming strength.

  • It showcased impressive-looking homegrown Switch exclusives.
  • It also presented many — including some exclusives — from major Japanese partners, including Capcom, Konami and Square.
  • A focus on games from studios in Japan makes sense given the Direct is airing just a week before the annual Tokyo Game Show, but it also underscores the more limited support Western publishers have shown for the Switch.

What’s next: The hype for 2021 Switch games will continue, as Nintendo held back on two major announcements.

  • It teased the addition of free content to “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and a final additional character for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” but said both wouldn’t be revealed until separate showcase events in October.

Go deeper

Behind 2021's wave of excellent games

Expand chart
Data: Eurogamer and Axios research; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Gaming publication Eurogamer just awarded its top recommendation — "essential" — to an 11th game this year, equaling the tally for 2020. That’s despite reviewing fewer games and with two months remaining in the year.

Driving the news: That achievement was earned by the captivating virtual card game “Inscryption” and continues a season full of stand-out releases. Many are from smaller studios that are benefitting from an unusual year in games.

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leave a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
46 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.