So, as you can probably guess from the general lack of Nintendo Switch posts until now, I’ve been wholly avoiding the nonsense rumors, speculation and generally pointless gossip about Nintendo’s new console until this official reveal event just so what remained of my sanity stayed intact. This quickie post will actually be a preview to my hands-on later in the week where I form actual news based on what I see and play during my three hour time slot on Saturday. Tonight’s event was what I’d call entertainingly sedated with some expected releases, a few surprises and at least one must-buy launch title that should have been a pack-in. EDIT Of course, with only an hour to show off stuff, the event seemed… lacking in thrills to some extent. However, post-show, a small flood of reveal trailers for other games have dropped online, making the Switch a lot more impressive.
March 3, 2017 is the official mostly worldwide street date for the console which will launch with a $299.99 price tag in North America. The package will include a system, dock, two Joy Con controllers, HDMI and charging cables plus an AC adapter. A new Pro Controller is a separate purchase (and yes, third party peripherals are coming from a few companies. More on those in a separate post). A full list of features is here. The Switch will also be the first Nintendo system to require a fee for online play (Wii U and 3DS are unaffected), but there will be a free trial period at launch with some features disabled and the full paid version with a few perks to follow later this year. There’s also going to me mobile device implementation so players can communicate far better than possible on Miiverse.
As for games, well… it was a mix of oddball new stuff, the return of a few classic characters, a few sequels and… not much else for the moment. Some 80 games were said to be in the works, but the event revealed a mere 15 including a number of works in progress and very brief non-gameplay teases, trailers for a few below the jump. Oh, by the way… the Switch seems to be region-free. Huzzah! But this doesn’t mean the Asian territory e-Shops will be accessible if you can’t read the languages on them.
1-2 Switch: Two-player fun, but I have no idea what to make of this other than it’s a game where you have to watch the other person’s face and not the game screen to play. It could be a total sleeper that gets more respect once played (sober!). For now, it’s an undecided “Hmmmm…”
ARMS: Stretchy arm online/offline arena boxing/fighting game with a cartoon look. As if the dev team is trying to recapture Punch-Out in the Splatoon universe with a dash of Ready 2 Rumble. “Hmmmm…” part deux.
Super Mario Odyssey: Everyone’s favorite plumber is back in a great-looking but weird mix of visually distinct worlds from a semi-realistic stylized NYC-like city (New Donk City!) to fanciful and more Mario-like areas. Oh, and his red cap now has eyes and can be thrown to create a jumping spot and possibly be used as a weapon a la Odd Job in Goldfinger. This open world design seems to be a trend, as the biggest game of the event (and launch day must-have) just so happens to be Nintendo’s best-looking game on the new hardware. More on that in a bit.
Splatoon 2: Confession time: I’ve never played the first Splatoon, as I’m so over the running around and shooteminnaface arena multiplayer games no matter how non-violent they are. Still, it wasn’t hard to figure out this huge success was going to get a follow up thanks to the splashy manner it was introduced in the initial Switch reveal last October. So yeah, it’ll sell well.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Monolith does a follow-up to their Wii game that’s seemingly unrelated to the Wii U non-sequel and if those are indeed in-game visuals, it’s developer Monolith Soft’s best work to date. No release date yet, but it’s going to get bought and played, that’s for sure.
Fire Emblem Warriors got a too-brief tease before we were told Dragon Quest X and XI were Switch bound (for Japan at least), then getting news Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 are also Switch-bound and headed west, making publishers Square/Enix and Tecmo Koei along with veteran developers ChunSoft, Omega Force and Team Ninja the hardest working Switch developers. Sort of.
Atlus had a surprising Unreal 4 teaser for what’s looking like an HD remake of Shin Megami Tensei that surprised their North American branch it was in the works (oops!) before Square Enix popped back in, showing a visually striking game with an odd name: Project Octopath Traveler. It does look pretty darn cool, despite the awkward name expected in a modern SQ-E product that will no doubt endear it to fans:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was next up, but it got a too-brief tease with Bethsoft’s Todd Howard noting the developer/publisher is happy to be finally working with Nintendo (I guess Medieval Games on the Wii was a game best left unsaid, even though Zenimax only published it via their Vir2L Studios imprint). People have been bugging them asking if mod support will be in the Switch version, but I say don’t get your hopes up. Between no concrete release date and the paid online part of Nintendo’s plan not yet being revealed, I’m gathering this will be a port of the main game and possibly expansions made for Nintendo-only households who have never played an Elder Scrolls game before.
Goichi Suda of grasshopper manufacture fame popped up with a single image of No More Heroes‘ lead Travis Touchdowm to note he’s coming back in an untitled Switch game. Development hasn’t started, but as fans know, a Suda 51 game is going to be quite the experience. Two guys from EA took the stage to note a FIFA game is on the way (whee?) and after some back and forth “comic relief” from Nintendo of Europe and America (Hi, Mr. Miyamoto!, Hi, Reggie! Both are here in NYC, the event ended with this stunner:
Yep. A Zelda game on launch day. And a mighty great one at that. Contrary to some lousy rumors, the Wii U version is NOT canceled and will arrive on the same day. Nintendo isn’t insane – they know not everyone will run out and snap up a Switch for a few reasons (including, yes… availability). Having a surefire hit as a solid must-have on their older system and newest one leaves no one out and might even move a few new Wii U’s into homes that aren’t ready to make the Switch. The unfortunate thing was the dry nature of the translation that featured an unemotional English delivery coupled with an audience of quiet strictly business types. While this was a VERY welcome change from the fan-ish screaming and cheering found in US pressers, it didn’t go over well with the usual suspects (many YouTube screamers and their rabid fan bases).
For the record, many more games were announced after the hour-long event because you can’t show EVERYTHING in an hour. Here’s a list of most of what’s coming based on me poking around the internet:
1-2 Switch (March 3rd)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March 3rd)
Super Bomberman R (March 2017)
Has-Been Heroes (March 2017)
I am Setsuna (March 2017)
Just Dance 2017 (March 2017)
Snipperclips – Cut It Out, Together! (March 2017)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28th)
ARMS (Spring 2017)
Sonic Mania (Spring 2017)
LEGO City Undercover (Spring 20177)
Redout (Spring 2017)
Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)
NBA 2K18 (September 2017)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Fall 2017)
Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (TBD 2017)
Project Sonic 2017 (TBD 2017)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (TBA)
Puyo Puyo Tetris (TBD)
Fire Emblem Warriors (TBD)
Shin Megami Tensei HD Project (TBD)
Dragon Ball XENOVERSE 2 (TBD)
Dragon Quest X (TBD)
Dragon Quest XI (TBD)
Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 (TBD) (TBD)
Disgaea 5 Complete (TBD)
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (TBD)
Fast RMX (TBD)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (TBD)
The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth Plus(TBD)
Project: Octopath Traveler (TBD)
Rayman Legends Definitive Edition (TBD)
No More Heroes: New Title (TBD)
Minecraft Story Mode: The Complete Adventure (TBD)
Arcade Archives (TBD)
Farming Simulator (TBD)
Skylanders Imaginators (TBD)
Syberia 3 (TBD)
I have an appointment on Saturday to go see and play the Switch, so I’m going to report back with impressions and as many facts as I can over pure opining. You can’t be a responsible games journalist without hands-on time and a smaller ego that has you changing your mind after a few so-so first impressions. I’m admitting that not everything I saw floored me. But I’m certainly more than willing to hop in and play with intent of having my mind changed. Back in a bit with an update or two. Color me excited about what’s coming as well.