UPDATE 4: Image & Form Games announced shortly after the Nintendo Switch reveal that their hit indie game, “Steamworld Heist” is in development for Nintendo Switch. This makes it the first independent game to be confirmed for Nintendo’s new platform, along with making Image & Form the first independent developer to publicly pledge support for Nintendo Switch.
UPDATE 3: Nintendo clarified a few more questions about Nintendo Switch when asked by IGN. They confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will absolutely continue to support Amiibo in all compatible games, but declined to comment on whether the Nintendo Switch’s tablet-like unit will feature touch input capability. Nintendo did however elaborate a bit on the Nintendo Switch device itself, confirming a rumour that the ‘brain’ of the hardware is in the portable tablet unit, with the base unit primarily serving as a way to provide output to a television, while also charging the portable unit’s battery. Nintendo then said that they have much more to announce regarding the hardware’s capabilities, and these announcements will be made before the Nintendo Switch’s launch in March, though they will not be made right away. Lastly, Nintendo confirmed that the two detachable Joy-Con controllers, known as ‘Joy-Con L’ and ‘Joy-Con R’ will be packaged with Nintendo Switch, and the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller will be sold separately.
UPDATE 2: Nintendo has confirmed a lengthy sampling list of third-party publishers that are confirmed to be making games for Nintendo Switch on Twitter. Currently, there are 48 confirmed third-party studios pledging support for Nintendo Switch, which is over double the 21 that initially pledged support for Wii U. This article has been updated with an additional paragraph and list, outlining third-party publishers and developers that are currently confirmed to be working on Nintendo Switch games.
UPDATE: Nintendo has confirmed to multiple online outlets that the official name for the Nintendo Switch’s detachable, transformable controller is the ‘Joy-Con’. The traditional game controller shown in the reveal video appears to be sold separately from the Nintendo Switch device itself as well, and is officially being called the ‘Nintendo Switch Pro Controller’, reminiscent of the approach to the Wii U’s optional conservative controller option.
Original report follows:
A literal frenzy of speculation was finally put to rest by Nintendo today, who finally, at long last, unmasked their in-development next-gen game platform, which, up until now, has simply been known by the code name ‘NX’. The platform was also defined by a metric ton of rumours, and now that the first trailer, a snappy three-and-a-half minute preview of what the platform actually is, how it works, and a few games in the works for it, has been revealed, we can start separating fact from fiction.
First and foremost, the device’s official name is ‘Nintendo Switch’, a name that, sure enough, was never leaked by the relentless rumourmongers. One rumour that was completely correct however was the fact that the device is a console/handheld hybrid, a small, slick device that allows owners to play games at home in a more traditional living room setting on one’s HDTV, or take a tablet-like screen with two detachable mini-controllers on the sides anywhere to play games on the go.
This was demonstrated with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as a massive game of that scope still appears to run perfectly and without compromise on the handheld tablet screen, just as it does at home on an HDTV. When one returns home, games appear to move and scale effortlessly between the tablet and home module, with someone shown to be able to immediately resume a play session after plugging the tablet back into the base unit, and another person playing completely uninterrupted when removing the tablet. Another rumour that was correct is that the device uses cartridges, which was quickly glimpsed as Nintendo 3DS-esque carts were plugged into the top of the portable tablet at an airport. Inevitably, the platform also seems to support Nintendo’s highly successful Amiibo NFC figures, since they are quite conspicuously glimpsed beside the base unit at one point.
What wasn’t anticipated though is how Nintendo Switch will work beyond the simple console/handheld designations. True to Nintendo form, there were a couple of cool surprises that, again, miraculously escaped the myriad leaking efforts. While the tablet screen having two detachable controllers on the sides was revealed by scoopers in advance, which fit into the base unit when not used for portable gaming, the device does include a more traditional game controller, one that mostly resembles an Xbox One controller in shape and design, specifically for home gaming.
It also wasn’t previously revealed that a picture frame-like stand built right into the tablet lets you balance it on a flat surface for car rides, plane flights, etc.., while also making local wireless multiplayer sessions super easy (since you can’t see the screen of your opponent during split-screen play), or how the detachable controllers can both be held vertically in your two hands, not just shared between two players. The tablet also includes its own headphone jack, and appears to be able to be fastened to windows as if it were a portable television for multiplayer gaming in cars. Finally, the detachable controller parts can be used in their holder as well, if you want to game at home, and not use the traditional controller, possibly indicating that the holder has some sort of unique functionality for certain games.
As for the games, only a few were teased, though some other great surprises were also glimpsed here! Beyond The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which we learned was coming to this platform as well as the current Wii U a while ago, we saw the first footage of Nintendo’s all-new three-dimensional Mario game, which showed Mario running through both an Old West-esque town and a desert-like pyramid setting, while leaping around and dodging Bullet Bills, which possibly has some unique functionality with the detachable controller holder module.
It appears that ports for Nintendo Switch are also being made for Splatoon and possibly Mario Kart 8 (it’s vague as to whether this is an updated port or a new Mario Kart game, as several Mario Kart 8 assets are used), and the biggest surprise was an apparent announcement for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Nintendo Switch (though more likely, this will be the soon-releasing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition), as it was demonstrated liberally on the platform in the trailer. What appears to be an NBA 2K game was also seen at one point, either the current NBA 2K17, or next year’s NBA 2K18. This not only seems to indicate that Nintendo is making a renewed commitment to third-party support for Nintendo Switch, but also that they’ve secured publishers that haven’t made games for Nintendo platforms for over a decade, namely Bethesda! That’s certainly a vote of confidence for this machine!
The specs of Nintendo Switch are still a mystery for the most part, though it seems fairly evident that this is a powerful machine, and an extensive upgrade over both the current Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, regarding the platform’s respective home and portable gaming potential. The device is officially powered by NVIDIA architecture however, with NVIDIA themselves confirming this on their official blog shortly after the trailer went live. NVIDIA is careful not to directly reveal any solid specs, though they did confirm that Nintendo Switch is powered by their custom-built Tegra processor (it is allegedly a custom redesign of said Tegra processor, not a straight copy of the Tegra X1, as rumoured), and that it will boast an NVIDIA GPU with the same architecture as, “The world’s finest graphics cards.” Again, that’s nothing completely defined for tech specs, but that does accentuate the promise of a much more powerful gaming device than Nintendo has delivered over the past decade, as well as one that scales perfectly between home and on-the-go gaming.
If nothing else, the device seems to be at least comparable to the base model of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the reveal trailer also indicated that the device will be MLG-friendly, as teased with a staged professional gaming competition with Splatoon. Whether or not the claims of the device streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube in 4K is true still remains unclear, as does most of the platform’s built-in software and features, including the rumoured achievement system and premium membership option, though it really does seem like Nintendo is making a big grab for the core gamer demographic again, while still not compromising the company’s quirky, family-friendly reputation with its hardware and first-party game lineup.
UPDATE!: After announcing and showcasing the Nintendo Switch hardware itself, Nintendo has provided a lengthy sample list of publishers and developers that are confirmed to be working on games and licensing development tools for Nintendo Switch. The currently revealed roster of game studios working on projects for Nintendo Switch, excluding previously confirmed Nintendo-affiliated outfits like Nintendo EPD and The Pokemon Company, are:
– 505 Games
– Arc System Works
– Bandai Namco Entertainment
– Epic Games
– Firelight Technologies
– From Software
– Grasshopper Manufacture
– GungHo Online Entertainment
– Inti Creates
– Koei Tecmo
– Maximum Games
– Nippon Ichi Software
– Parity Bit
– RAD Game Tools
– Silicon Studio
– Spike Chunsoft
– Square Enix
– Starbreeze Studios
– Take-Two Interactive
– Telltale Games
– THQ Nordic
– Tokyo RPG Factory
– TT Games
– Warner Bros.
– Web Technology
Some of these game studios already publicly admitted to having games in the works for Nintendo Switch, namely after Ubisoft announced a port of Just Dance 2017 for the platform at this past E3, Sega confirmed a Nintendo Switch edition of their new currently-untitled Sonic game at the series’ 25th anniversary celebration, and Square Enix announced a Nintendo Switch edition of Dragon Quest XI a couple of months ago. Rumours also successfully pegged other outfits such as Activision, EA, Capcom and Warner Bros. as making games for the platform.
Still, there are some publishers that come as another big surprise, following Bethesda being revealed to be a new publishing partner for Nintendo Switch today, after largely shirking Nintendo platforms for about two decades! The presence of PlatinumGames, TT Games, Level-5 and Atlus is hardly a shock, as they’re frequent fliers with Nintendo hardware, and even Take-Two and THQ Nordic seem semi-predictable, but mature gaming outfits like From Software, Telltale Games and Starbreeze Studios are a very pleasant surprise, further suggesting that Nintendo wants to entice more seasoned adult gamers to invest in Nintendo Switch, especially when most of these companies pretty much entirely ignored Nintendo hardware before now.
The early presence of Nippon Ichi, Hamster, Spike Chunsoft and Tokyo RPG Factory should also be great news for Asian markets and Japanophiles, especially since these studios previously almost entirely hung out in the PlayStation ecosystem, suggesting that Nintendo Switch could start seriously loosening PlayStation’s grip on mature Japanese gaming. Epic Games’ presence also seems to confirm Square Enix’s slip that Nintendo Switch can run Unreal Engine 4 with ease, plus Unity, Criware, Autodesk, Havok and RAD Game Tools all point to a robust, indie-friendly development community with plenty of resources for Nintendo Switch as well. Finally, DeNA being listed among the publishing partners, after previously inking a mobile gaming partnership with Nintendo, seems to somewhat corroborate the rumour that Nintendo Switch will support Nintendo’s iOS and Android games in some way as well, even if this has yet to be officially confirmed by the Big N themselves.
Whatever the case, we finally know what to look forward to, and it seems like Nintendo is indeed sticking with the March 2017 worldwide launch window, as revealed at the end of the trailer. We’ll be sure to keep a very close eye on the development of Nintendo Switch, so keep coming back to Eggplante for all major news and updates on Nintendo’s very promising new platform!