Thinking back to some older Nintendo Direct broadcasts between Europe and North America, the formula used by both was often largely the same - there'd be shared segments from Japan led by former company President Satoru Iwata, and then regional sections that specified local promotions and release dates. In general the announcements would mostly tie together, with occasional discrepancies in download game showcases or relatively minor details.
Yet the 12th November Nintendo Direct last year shook that routine up - the tragic passing of Iwata-san in the Summer meant that the glue uniting the regional broadcasts was gone, with different presenters and styles not only in the Western territories but also in the Japanese equivalent. The Japanese Directs have established a young host - who made his debut in Spring 2015 - but there isn't the same cross-over appeal to bring the broadcasts together around the world.
In some ways, should this disparate approach continue, it'll be a pity. One of the most enjoyable aspects of E3's Digital Event and Treehouse broadcasts, perhaps, is that they're showcases watched and shared by players from around the world. Even in the old standard of Nintendo Direct broadcasts with their own European and North American segments there were those moments commonly shared, such as Iwata-san and Miyamoto-san performing a skit as Luigi Bros., and at present an equivalent current-day dynamic doesn't seem to be there. Those interested in European and broader PAL releases will be in one room and North Americans will be in another, and the post-Direct chat will likely stay in those separate camps too.
It should probably be said that different doesn't have to mean bad, even if we are bemoaning the potential separation of territories for Direct-related festivities. The November effort from Nintendo of America went for a relatively light-hearted approach at times, with a Yo-kai Watch sketch standing out. Nintendo of Europe had its moments with Satoru Shibata but was a little more straight-laced; Brit Ed Valiente will also return this time after his fairly substantial role in November, and if he says "Pokémon" his pronunciation is sure to get fans talking...
The broadcasts will also differ due to the quirky release discrepancies that have developed between regions. This is a topic we tackled last year, as seemingly important releases got stuck in bizarre limbo depending on where you live. For example, Nintendo of Europe is teasing Yo-kai Watch to feature prominently ahead of a 29th April release in the region - yet it was out in North America for the Holiday season last year.
Then there's the small matter of Fire Emblem Fates, if indeed it'll feature. It's had a hugely successful launch in North America but doesn't even have a firm release window for Europe; it's a surprising state of affairs. It's not just in Europe, either - Nintendo of America may devote time to Bravely Second: End Layer, which has already made its mark in the EU. Of course there are many other games that require updates - say hi, Star Fox Zero - and we'll be doing our usual round of predictions in a 'what we expect' article well ahead of time on 3rd March.
With the November Direct broadcasts being the first since Satoru Iwata's death there was an understandable solemnity at first, and a sense of ground being freshly established for the broadcast series. Whether the template will evolve in each region this time out will be interesting to see.
Following the very recent six minute Pokémon Direct which was weakened by leaks and brevity, this is at least a chance for Nintendo to truly kickstart the year for Wii U and 3DS. The remit is understandably limited - Spring and Summer games for Wii U and 3DS, NX and mobile definitely off the table - and this will want to hold off from any big-hitting E3 reveals. Yet there are key upcoming releases to show off, potential small surprises and localisations to come, and a general opportunity to give Wii U and 3DS fans some excitement and anticipation for the short-term. It may just be the reality that Europeans and North Americans - ultimately - won't have much common ground to chat over in the immediate aftermath.
In any case, the first full Nintendo Direct of the year is almost upon us; whatever your region there's bound to be plenty of hype and buzz.
As always we'll be covering, streaming and live blogging both the Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe Direct broadcasts. Will you be Team #NintendoDirectNA or Team #NintendoDirectEU?