Ghost Trick, Professor Layton, and Fantasy Life return in Nintendo Direct

The latest Nintendo Direct was a celebration of the Nintendo DS and 3DS eras.
nintendo ds games nintendo direct

The latest Nintendo Direct heralded the arrival of major surprises, including the return of several popular franchises and hidden gems from the Nintendo DS and 3DS era. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, long regarded as the most underrated game on the Nintendo DS, is finally getting a modern port and remaster for Nintendo Switch.

The beloved Professor Layton series will also return, in a new sequel subtitled The New World of Steam. Likewise, the wonderful 3DS RPG adventure game Fantasy Life will get a fully-fledged sequel.

Fans have begged for these returns for years, and their surprise arrival during the latest Nintendo Direct will no doubt spark some deep emotions. These releases are now old enough to be nostalgic for their target audience – and it’s equally fantastic that newer players will be able to dive deep with these classics shortly.

Read: Nintendo Direct: Every major game announcement in February 2023

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, the first wave of DS/3DS to be announced in the Nintendo Direct, is a phenomenal tale with rather clever mechanics. You play as Sissel, a man who wakes to discover he’s dead and has no memory of the incident. By harnessing his new, ghostly powers, he’s able to traverse various stages, uncovering new clues, and eventually solving the strangeness of his case.

The remaster of the game launches in Summer 2023 [Northern Hemisphere] and is well worth checking out, whether you played the original or not.

Hopefully, this leads to a wider spotlight on the Ghost Trick franchise – and potentially even a sequel.

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Next up, a new Fantasy Life game was announced.

It’s subtitled The Girl Who Steals Time, and appears to largely resemble its original 3DS counterpart. In the game, you’ll be able to take on a variety of career paths – cook, angler, woodcutter, blacksmith, paladin, magician, miner, etc. – and change them at any time for new quests and features.

The core twist of this sequel is that you’ll be able to travel between two time periods – a ‘present day’ and 1,000 years into the past – with your actions changing each world.

While unexpected, the sequel is most welcome. The original Fantasy Life was incredibly charming, and featured a freedom of choice that few other RPGs of its era offered. It was later adapted into an online game, but this ‘sequel’ was not warmly received.

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In 2023, there’s hope that Fantasy Life will finally get the new game it deserves.

A brief teaser swiftly following this trailer revealed a long-awaited sequel fans have been clamouring for. As revealed in the Direct, Professor Layton and the New World of Steam is a brand new, Layton-starring sequel in the beloved franchise.

The last ‘main’ Layton game was Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, released for Nintendo 3DS in 2013. This game technically concluded the overarching plot of the franchise – but it certainly left room for future adventures.

In 2017, a spin-off starring Katrielle Layton, daughter of the original Professor Layton, was launched for 3DS and later, Nintendo Switch, but this failed to reach the same heights as its predecessor.

Professor Layton and the New World of Steam looks to right the franchise ship, with a brand new mystery awaiting keen players.

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While this game was not dated, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited.

The Nintendo DS and 3DS eras deserve celebration – and it’s fantastic to see Nintendo finally diving deeper with its catalogue of unique and original franchises. Renewed partnerships with developers like Level-5 and Capcom are likely to bear fruit in the coming months.

Beyond these games, there were plenty of other surprises in the latest Nintendo Direct, including the return of the Metroid Prime series, and release dates for a handful of highly-anticipated games like Pikmin 4 and Disney Illusion Island.

You can see the full roundup of Nintendo Direct announcements on GamesHub.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.