Nintendo Switches It Up With A Creepy Smiling Man Game Trailer Leaving Fans On Edge

A person wearing a trenchcoat and a paper bag over their head with a smiling face on it.
Nintendo has posted an intriguing and disturbingly creepy game trailer to YouTube, and to quote one of the top tongue-in-cheek comments, "Man, weird direction for Luigi's Mansion 4." And that would be true, except this obviously isn't a Luigi's Mansion game. Apparently, however, it is an upcoming horror game for the Nintendo Switch (or, unlikely, a launch title for the Switch 2), and judging by the reactions, Nintendo fans are here for it.

As an avid horror fan, so am I. Like so many others, I'm also genuinely intrigued by a trailer drop that is very much out of character for Nintendo, which is typically focused on family friendly content. Sure, there have been exceptions via third-party developers and studios, and Nintendo itself has dabbled into the realm of horror with its Luigi's Mansion lineup, but not like this. Not anything like this.

Have a look at the age-restricted trailer...

The short trailer simply shows a person dressed in a trench coat and a paper bag with a smiling face over the top of their head. Some notes from a toy piano play in the background while the old-style film footage flickers and jumps. At the 9-second mark, it quickly zooms into a shot of the person's hand, which appears to show a missing finger. Overall, it gives off American Horror Story vibes.

Nintendo's Smiling Man post on X/Twitter.

It concludes with Japanese characters (笑み男) that translate to "emio" or "smiling man." Adding to the intrigue, there's a dedicated website for the upcoming game, and posts on X/Twitter by Nintendo's various accounts with the hashtag, #WhoIsEmio? Indeed, that's the big question, and comments across YouTube and X indicate that fans are on the edge of their seats.

"A proper Nintendo IP that's a horror genre is not something I had on my 2024 Bingo card but I'm so here for it," one user wrote. Another stated, "The last thing an emulator user sees," in reference to Nintendo's hard-line stance against unauthorized game emulators.

To be clear, this doesn't necessarily indicate that it's going to be a first-party title by Nintendo. However, that's also a very real possibility, given the 'Nintendo Switch' intro. It's also not a fake-out in terms of the content, as the beginning of the trailer makes clearly visible an ESRB M (Mature 17+) rating badge.

Whatever this is, I and many others can hardly wait to find out.