Nintendo is known for being one of the greatest developers of the industry. I know making that claim is a bit hyperbolic but considering they kickstarted the 2D platformer back in the 80’s, helped establish some of the basic rules of 3D gaming on the Nintendo 64 and opened up the doors to new generations of gamers with the DS & Wii….they deserve that title.
The Wii U released in 2012 and is sadly did not become the success that Nintendo wanted. It was a system with great games but poor third party support, lack of creative usage of the GamePad outside of select games and just bad messaging hindered the platforms success.
Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch officially most recently and many are excited about the platform! I want to share my take on the announcement, what I expect from the platform and some personal desires I have for Nintendo’s console/portable hybrid.
Switching Into the Current Generation – The Announcement
Nintendo released the above video the world October 20th, 2016. It was the first time we saw this ‘NX’ in action and….it is a console you literally take on the go. This concept is nothing new and something Sony experimented with through the PSP, Vita and PS4’s Remote Play over the years. But Nintendo doing this opens the doors to some creative ideas, as the company is known for having a ‘twist’ to traditional ideas.
I would hazard to guess that the ‘twist’ is the Joy-Cons, as we could see special joy-cons be produced for specific types of games. For example, I could see some motion control-supported ones be a possibility and that allowing you to play something like Wii Sports Switch or something at home.
The system is also rumored to support IR Aiming and Touch Screen Controls out of the box, so that can create some fun gameplay styles/modes outside of the traditional controls seen in the trailer. But traditional controls and a very ‘simple’ idea is my main excitement for this console. It isn’t a Wii U trying to be ‘different’ because it had to be, but it is more like the DS or GameCube. A platform with some unique features but still offering that traditional mentality to not alienate gamers away from the platform. The ‘go anywhere’ nature it seems to demonstrate too will easily appeal to older college-aged gamers so love gaming but travel all the time.
I really like this trailer and the console seems to be hitting all the right notes for me personally. It will have (at least for the first six months) a lot of third party support, have good hardware, and a solid launch line up. Excited to learn more about the Nintendo Switch next year with Nintendo’s own special conference being held January 12th 2017.
Mild Expectations – What I Assume Will Happen With the Switch
Nintendo will likely have the games shown off in the announcement video release close to the systems launch (year one games at the very least) and I expect Smash Brothers for Wii U to get a enhanced port on the Switch considering Mario Kart and Splatoon are seemingly getting that treatment. Nintendo wants the ‘best’ or ‘evergreen’ Wii U games on the Switch I feel, so seeing stuff like Mario Maker & Super Smash Brothers come to the platform is something I feel is a safe expectation to have.
We also have the large amount of third party studios listed that are supporting the system and while many can point to the Wii U’s list of third parties, I feel that things might be a bit different this time. With the system having the portable element, easier to work with hardware and support for modern engines (Unity & Unreal Engine 4), I feel we can expect a larger number of third party games to release on the Switch.
Another factor to third party support is indie studios and Japanese publishers, as I feel many who worked on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita will likely work on the Switch. Talented studio Image and Form Games is an example of this, as shortly after the announcement of the Switch they came out openly and stated they wanted to work on the platform.
Dragon Quest is also set to have a home on the console, with Square Enix coming out again to say that Dragon Quest XI will come out on the system. SEGA is another example, with Sonic having a home on the system even when the system was called the NX (with SEGA announcing Project 2017 for the NX back in July).
My last major expectation is that is supports some form of Backwards Compatibility for the Wii U and 3DS virtual console. Many games are part of that library, so it would be a waste to just throw those libraries out the window and start over again.
Hopes for the Switch – What I Personally Want From the Switch
I have a lot of personal wants for the system but mainly that the third parties announced for the system stick with the system. With the better hardware and ease of development, I would hope they develop for the system for the next year or so of the system’s life-cycle.
I would also like for Nintendo to make some specific games, mainly a new Metroid and F-Zero title. Both are franchises that haven’t gotten new mainline games in years and would be wonderful to see come back. Metroid whenever it is 2D or First Person, would be awesome to see come back. I think a studio like DrinkBox could be a nice fit with Metroid, as they did a great job with a Metroidvania like game with Guacamelee back on 2013.
F-Zero would be cool to see, but with Mario Kart confirmed for the system (MK8 Re-Release, Remaster or Expanded release), we might not see this (if it does happen) for a while. Mario and Zelda are confirmed for the system and both look fantastic.
Mario seems to be an mixture of the linear levels from 3D Land/World but with mechanics from Mario 64/Sunshine/Galaxy. I loved the Galaxy games, so seeing Nintendo go in this direction with Mario holds a lot of promise for me. Zelda has impressed me since it’s announcement and I hope that the game is a fun experience when it releases early 2017.
The only third party game I honestly want to see land on the Switch is Sonic Mania, but I see that being a given, considering SEGA’s great relationship with the company. Likely not announced yet due to the Switch’s digital game plans not being announced yet.
Overall, the NX holds promise and I hope it is a fun system that everyone enjoys. We will be hearing about it again next year, so while the wait might be a while, at least we know when we will hear more about it.